Preparing for college is a years-long process. Many parents start saving soon after their child is born. And as the end of high school approaches, there’s plenty to do as students research, visit, apply and eventually head off to college. Though a to-do list may look different for different families, having a checklist of activities can help and here are the four activities to start with:
Researching colleges together
Some students may already know which school they want to attend, others may want to keep their options open. Grades and extracurriculars are just two among many factors that may help determine their college choices. Location, tuition, and specializations are also important considerations. Parents can add their suggestions to the list of possible schools and make recommendations. Parents may also want to schedule campus visits and accompany their kids on college tours.
Plan for college tuition
Parents can help guide and support their college-ready kids by having honest conversations about financial literacy and what the family can afford. Parents may want to show future college students what a repayment plan for student loans may look like, including examples of monthly payments. While federal loans are available to most students, parents may also want to consider other options, including using the cash value of a whole life insurance or universal life insurance policy* to help cover college tuition. Additionally, students can apply for scholarships and grants wherever possible.
Create a tracker for application deadlines
Parents may not necessarily be able to help directly with their child’s college applications, but they can help track and manage deadlines. Once students have created a list of colleges they want to apply to, parents can sit down with them and record the application deadlines in a spreadsheet, then sort them in chronological order. Parents may also help their children prioritize applications beyond due date by discussing which schools are their top choices.
Help manage rejection
One of the best things that parents can do for their kids during this stressful period is offer support and encouragement. Not every response will be positive, and rejection can shake a teen’s confidence, leaving them discouraged. Help them understand that a college rejection is not personal—admissions are influenced by multiple factors, some of which may be outside the student’s control. Allow them time to process the rejection but encourage them to focus on other applications and stay positive.
Utilizing the cash value through policy loans, surrenders, or cash withdrawals will reduce the death benefit; and may necessitate greater outlay than anticipated and/or result in an unexpected taxable event.
Source: Northwestern Mutual
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