Your Kid is Going to College – Now What?

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As parents we are excited when our child makes the decision to go to college. That excitement quickly fades when we think about all that is involved with them embarking on this adventure. If you haven’t put aside the money needed to pay for their higher education, there is stress about how it will be paid for. Once you have recovered from the shock of that, there is then the decision of where they will go to school. Then there is the stress of helping them figure out what course of study they should go into.

Financial
Unfortunately not every parent can put away the necessary funds needed to put their child through school. Although there are many different investment accounts available, there just isn’t always the expendable income to do so. There are some options though:

Financial Aid: have your child apply for financial aid. Depending upon what you make as a parent your child may qualify.

Scholarships: there is a vast array of scholarships available and you won’t know about them until you research them. If there is still time for your child to work toward certain scholarships, have them get on it now. If not, talk to your child’s school to start the research process. You’d be surprised as to what money is available. The scholarships you find may not cover all of your child’s education, but it could help to defray the costs.

Student Loans: these are available to just about anyone wanting to go to school. You may not want to have your child burdened with these loans, but it may be necessary for them to be able to go. One thing you can do to help is to make the loan payments while your child is in school and until they become gainfully employed or even the loans paid off. This may be how you make up for the fact that you were not able to put the money away ahead of time.

Deciding Where to Go
If your child is accepted into multiple colleges, you may have to help them make the decision that is best for them and their future. Help your child to make the best choice, yet keep in mind that although you may feel that you know better, it is your adult child’s ultimate decision.

If financial issues are part of the decision making process, there are ways in which you can help your child to achieve their dreams. When looking at putting your child through school to attain a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree, there is no reason why they can’t start out at a community or junior college. The associate’s degree that they receive there is just the same as the one from the university and is only a fraction of the cost.

Another option to look into is online schooling. This option works for things like your child needing to work while going to school or even if you live too far away for your child to attend school. Online education can provide you and your child with flexibility in many situations.

What to Study
At the time of making the decision of what to study, your child should be aware of what their interests are and that should help them to get started on making this decision. The only issue that may come into play is if your child wants to study something that you know will be difficult for them to find employment in. If this is the case, try to have them major is something else while minoring in their area of interest. This will help to make everyone happy.

Don’t get caught up on the specifics and just revel in the fact that they are actually going to go to school. If the decision has been made, then the rest of the pieces will fall together. Help to make this adventure one to remember for the rest of your lives.

Kelly Prachett is a career counselor and in her spare time she blogs for superscholar.org a site she often recommends to those who are trying to figure out which online colleges have the best online nursing programs. They have information on everything from the top distance MBA programs to the best online education administration programs.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents of college-bound children.

Image courtesy of reallyboring via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

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