By: South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Administrator of Future Scholar College Savings Plan
April 11, 2018
You helped him tie his shoes before his first day of kindergarten. You showed her how to braid her hair before the winter formal. He almost slept through his alarm on the day of the SAT, and she left her cap and gown at home on her way to graduation. As parents, your responsibility is to guide your child through the obstacles of adolescence, in hopes that they will be fully prepared for their next great adventure of life: college.
The shift from grade school to higher education is drastic and can often take a toll on the unprepared. Classroom sizes are tripled, and free textbooks are now a luxury of the past. Freshmen can find themselves overwhelmed with their doubling workload. With that in mind, here are some tips to help alleviate common troubles during this time of change.
Start Saving: It’s never too soon or too late to start saving, in order to ensure your child’s transition into college is as smooth and worry-free as possible. From diapers to high school, it’s always a great time to start a 529 savings plan for your child’s higher education. For questions about 529 plans, refer here.
Ease into academics earlier: It’s no secret that courses in college are far more rigorous than the classes your child took in grade school. To help simplify the transition, enroll your child in a handful of college courses in high school. Dual enrollment allows students to get a taste of a more advanced curriculum while in a comfortable setting.
Select colleges strategically: College applications are time-consuming, and application fees can start to add up. Narrow down the list to a handful of schools that fulfill your child’s academic, financial, and social needs. It’s always smart to include a backup school that is financially and academically achievable. Having a 529 savings plan reduces the chance of needing to fall back on a second-or-third-choice school due to financial restrictions.
Apply Effectively: Gather the appropriate documents to send the admissions office, and get them in as early as possible. This includes:
- Official High School Transcript
- Application Fee
- SAT/ACT scores
- AP Exam Scores
- Letters of Recommendation
Parents have a great deal of responsibility in this busy time, and economic stress can feel out of control. Luckily, 529 savings plans can assuage the pressure. You can explore, compare and enroll in the 529 college savings plan that’s right for you – check out the CSPN website.
About the author: Curtis Loftis is the State Treasurer of South Carolina. He also serves as the administrator of South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 college savings program. Visit treasurer.sc.gov or futurescholar.com for more information on ways to save through a 529 plan.