Children grow up fast. Time goes by like a shooting star. Though it feels like we move at the speed of light, parents must slow down to focus on responsible obligations needed to raise well-rounded children.
As we nourish their growth, it’s important to introduce humbleness and humility, especially when it comes to their journey in education.
Allow time to ponder on college, not just saving for the cost of college tuition but encouragement towards making a smart choice when choosing a college. Here are a few tips to sustain your child’s educational growth and encourage them to make budget conscious decisions.
Start Discussing Now
Take it from Elvis — “It’s Now or Never”. Going to college can be an expensive venture, more specifically with out of state tuition. Going out of state for college comes with a heavy price tag and makes going home for the holidays a swim upstream.
Let’s face it, the economy is still rough for many of the working class and though many working class folks have aspirations, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to financially obtain. Not every family has the resources to pay for college tuition. Regardless of whether parents can afford it or not — take the time now and educate your child on a financially fiscal approach to higher learning.
If you’re a family that’s on a budget, it’s best to encourage your child to stay as close to home as possible or at the very least in state. Nevertheless, dedicate moments to discuss the pros and cons to all situations regarding college costs and feel free to start this conversation while they’re in elementary school! These little seeds of information will grow fast, so start planting them now.
Explore Your State
There’s a significant difference between in and out of state tuition. For this reason, in state tuition is usually much more affordable. Along with affordability is an increase in scholarships and grants.
Begin familiarizing yourself and your child with the colleges in your city and state. Research on what they’re academically known for, perks of the surrounding area, cost, etc. This way, you can narrow down the colleges that fit your child’s career choice better.
Next time you take a family trip within your state, take note of the colleges and universities. It’s a family learning experience and exploring what’s in your local region can be a very intriguing process. You may be surprised of the hidden gems you’ll find.
Help Set Realistic Goals
As you watch your child grow and support them in reaching for the stars, make sure to talk about working towards dreams and goals, affordably, and with the proper steps. We’ve all had our fantasy college that costs an arm and a leg, plus requires genius SAT scores. But it’s vital to sit down with your child and set realistic goals.
For instance, if you’re child desires to attend a college that requires high SAT scores, they need to buckle down for some serious SAT prep. This is the first step in achieving their goal and also a great step towards the advantage for scholarships and grants.
There’s a game plan involved and the end result doesn’t happen over night. Many times, students make large leaps and in turn overwhelm themselves when going after their goals. Those leaps include going to an expensive college that’s not practical to the family’s budget, taking out large student loans, signing up for credit cards, venturing far and not having a well thought out plan for the distant future.
Inspire and motivate your child to choose a path that they’re passionate about; however, teach them to pursue goals with a practical and sensible approach that includes endurance, hard work, humbleness and patience.
The Big Picture
When you guide your child to make economical choices, you are setting them up for a much less stressful situation upon graduation. Help them see the big picture. As your child comes out with a bachelor’s degree and minimal debt, they’re at a major advantage. Not just for the purpose of making money but for overall quality of life.
This will enable them to work because they’re passionate about what they’re doing rather than working because they have to in order to pay off student loan debt. Less debt, means more freedom and we all want that for our children — and even ourselves!
There is no class in high school that prepares students to understand credit card debt, student loan debt, IRS obligations and other important financial aspects we experience as an adult. No one takes your picture when you get your first bill. So, as a parent, it’s our obligation to ensure we share our experience and advice when it comes to making financial choices and choosing a college that will be all around beneficial for the long haul.
Donna Kay Morgese is a local hand crafter and freelance writer covering a cornucopia of topics, including the thriving digital world, budget, finance, education and health.