Better to get your money mojo on now — before you make any big mistakes in college.

Get Your Money Mojo On BEFORE College – You Won’t Regret It

Get Your Money Mojo On BEFORE College – You Won’t Regret It

CEE Standard: Earning Income

There is so much your students can be doing to prepare for college while they are still in high school. Learning how to manage money and participating in as many college readiness programs as possible will put them miles ahead.

From getting a part time job to attending college readiness seminars, point your high school students in the right direction today.Let’s face it. The cost of college isn’t coming down anytime soon. In fact, it’s most likely to keep going up. So we need to find ways to reduce costs and minimize the amount of money borrowed. But unfortunately, many high schoolers and their parents are ill-prepared to navigate college costs or provide guidance. Perhaps high schools could do more to prepare students for the non-academic side of higher education.

For the past year, I’ve been traveling around the nation facilitating workshops on financial literacy for both teenagers and adults. One of the most requested topics is student loans, and I thoroughly enjoy educating high schoolers and current college students on how student loans work, how to minimize balances, and how to respond to a financial crisis after graduation.

Most of the attendees are very bright from an academic perspective, but they know little about student loans or the financial aid process in general.

After making several presentations — about an hour and a half each — to high schoolers, I can make the following observations with some level of certainty:

  • Many high schoolers assume that their parents will foot the bill.
  • Some have a negative perception of public institutions but are unaware of the increases in attendance costs.
  • Many have no real knowledge of the financial aid process.
  • Many have no idea how money works or why it’s important to follow a spending plan.

Quite frankly, this lack of knowledge is disturbing and may well be a contributing factor to the massive amounts of debt incurred while attending college.

How to Prepare for College

1. Attend Free Seminars on College Readiness.

At these workshops — which are typically offered free of charge — teenagers will learn how to prepare for college, what to expect when they step foot on any campus, the importance of financial aid, and how to find scholarships.

2. Attend Career Planning and College Fairs.

Career planning and college fairs will grant teens an opportunity to explore their options and start thinking about what career path they wish to pursue after college. That way, they’ll have a much narrower list of options for possible majors when it’s time to make a selection.

3. Complete a Crash Course in Money Management.

A college-bound teen can avoid many of the most common money mistakes by attending a crash course in money management. Check with the high school to see if it offers a money management elective. Some colleges also offer a breakout session during orientation.

4. Participate in Job-Shadow Days.

There’s nothing worse than completing a degree and entering the workforce, only to discover you absolutely loathe the career choice you’ve made. Avoid the need to go back to college — and take on more debt in the process — by making sure what you’ve chosen to pursue in college will facilitate the career life that you love.

5. Seek Additional Academic Support.

The faster a degree program is completed, the lower the costs. Earning some college credits while still in high school (if possible) gives you a head start — and it’s free. Many high school students have the opportunity to participate in a dual enrollment program. This allows you to get both high school and college credit for the same class. The best part is that it is generally free or very low cost.

6. Get a Part-time Job.

If your schedule permits, getting a part-time job that doesn’t interfere with classwork is a great way to learn about money. An independent savings account is a quicker path to money awareness for many teenagers.

Check List

  • What college seminars are available in your area?
  • When is the next college fair you can attend?
  • Who do you know that can teach you about money management?
  • Know what career you’re interested in? Research who you could shadow for the day.
  • Have you considered dual enrollment?