stress of college prep

5 College Planning Pain Points

During a recent #CampusChat, participants shared what they know to be college planning pain points.  The following 5 college planning pain points seem to be common topics among our readers and Twitter chat participants. For a complete list, read the transcript on Smart College Visit’s Storify Page.

5 College Planning Pain Points from #CampusChat

Peer pressure is common throughout high school, but when it comes to choosing a college, don’t rely solely on what your friends say. College is where you take control over your life and the choices you make. Visit the colleges that interest you. If you don’t know where to begin, just go visit a college or two close to where you live. Even if it turns out that a nearby college does not have the program you want or the school is not a good overall, you will leave knowing more about the college admissions process and how to zero in on the colleges that pose the best fit for you. Learn from your direct experiences and research and share what you learn with your friends. Maybe you’ll be helping them as much as they think they are helping you.

Parental Pain is Bad Pain

Two huge pain points for parents! Understanding exactly what the Cost of Attendance (COA) will be for your child to attend the college of his or her dreams is a huge challenge but not an impossible one. There numerous resources available online, including Net Price Calculators (every college is required to have one and they are all linked on each college profile page here on Smart College Visit).  Event still, the time will come when you have to sit down with a college’s financial aid officer and get your questions answered.  As for letting your child go off to college, that’s something you have to prepare for, too. The good news is an empty nest is not the end of the world, it’s a new beginning, not only for your child but also for you. With a little planning, the transition can be a smooth one. 

Scholarship Experts Agree

Scholarship experts across the board agree that the more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you are win, one, if not many, awards. Try not to dwell on the first rejection; keep applying. Assume there’s a 10 – 1 rule, that for every 10 you apply for, you’re likely to win one. Persistence and starting early are two tips our Scholarship Mom recommends regularly.

Yes and since the cost of college is one of the biggest pain points when it comes to college planning, it came up more than once during #CampusChat. So, what to add to the discussion? The importance of the having the “money talk” with your teen. The importance of understanding the ROI of a college education with respect to life-time earnings, not just the salary right out of college. And, the importance of understanding that there are many affordable ways to go about getting a college degree.

It Takes Time

College planning needs to take in consideration the amount of time it may take others to do their part in helping complete the application process. The pain point for guidance counselors is when students don’t give them enough time. Completing recommendation letters, submitting transcripts, or completing application supplemental forms takes time! A single guidance counselor can have as many as a hundred students in need of attention. You are one of many, so plan ahead and give your GC as much advance notice as is possible.