Are you overwhelmed with how expensive college is? You may think it is impossible to be able to send your child to college, but I have learned that communication is key to making it a reality. My advice comes from having the opportunity to pay for my own college expenses and now as a parent trying to budget for my child’s future.
There are many ways to pay for college, so you will need to explore all your options to determine the most advantageous approach for you and your child. Do not take on all the responsibility for planning for your child’s college. Make him an active participant in his future by involving him in the process.
As your child approaches high school, this is the ideal time to begin having open, honest and mature dialogue about college and the associated expenses. The sooner you begin the discussions, the more time you have to prepare and strategize together. It is imperative that these discussions include your child because he is a stakeholder in these decisions, and he needs to be aware of what is expected of him. Will your child need to get a job to help with expenses or will he need to maintain a certain grade point average to be eligible for scholarships?
Devising a plan together will also send the message to your child that you are in this as a team and that you will try your best to assist in executing your child’s college goals. As important as it is to be on the same page with your child about planning for college, it is equally vital that your child has realistic goals about his college plans. For instance, if your child dreams of going to an Ivy League school but has mediocre grades and no savings, you may need to have a blunt discussion with him that his college expectations do not align with his credentials. Even if you have the financial means to afford an Ivy League school, it is highly unlikely that he would be accepted. In this instance, you may need to have a discussion with your child to explore other options.
On the other hand, your child may assume that because college is expensive, he will be unable to attend the school of his choice. If he has proven he is serious about his studies and his grades reflect this, you may want to encourage him to be more aggressive with his plans and possibly apply to a more prestigious college.
Just because college is expensive, do not assume that together you and your child can not make his college goals a reality. Allowing your child to be involved in planning for his college will cause him to have a greater appreciation for the effort and expense involved and instill him with pride and confidence that will serve him well into adulthood.
For more information on how to financially prepare your child for college, check out this article http://www.usnews.com/education/articles/2011/08/17/4-steps-to-financially-prepare-your-student-for-college.
ABOUT: Kelli Bhattacharjee has over 8 years experience in the investment and financial services industry. Today she is proud to be her family’s CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and offer her expertise and experiences to her readers. She is the creator of this website, which strives to provide valuable money and savings help to other family CFOs.