Key Considerations When Your Child is Going Off to College

One of the rites of passage in life is when your child is ready to head off to college. For them, it’s a moment of moving from their at-home teenage years into a new life where they are a young adult.

For you, as parents, it marks a turning point where you go from constant caretaker of a young being to a mentor who tries to help guide their child as they make their way in the world.

Senior year in high school seems to go by in a blur. There are admissions tests to be taken, college brochures to look over and financial aid forms to fill out and review.

Once the university choices are narrowed down there are lengthy applications and the all-important college essays to complete.

Then, finally, the first acceptance letter arrives and before you know it your kid will be off to their new school in just a few months.

Will They Go to a Local or Distant University

As a child grows up, they start dreaming about the university they would like to attend.

Perhaps it’s a prestigious Ivy league school on the East Coast, or a sun-drenched college in Florida or southern California.

It used to be so easy to accommodate that dream as everything was a simple plane flight away.

Now, with the arrival of a pandemic in our world, things have changed. Many parents and their children are starting to look at college options that are closer to home.

There is a comfort level knowing that home is just a long car ride away. Additionally, there are financial considerations.

Tuition at an in-state university is generally more affordable and may make more financial sense in these economic times.

Best Way to Finance Their Education

Every prospective student should fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as part of their college application process.

Then, when you receive an acceptance letter from a college, you will also find an offer of student aid in the packet. This document will outline the annual costs of your education, including tuition, room and board and associated fees.

You’ll also receive a detailed outline of the scholarships, grants, work study programs and federal loans that are available to you.

In most cases, you will still need to come up with additional money for the full year at school.

One of the best ways to finance your degree is to take out private student loans. These loans, which are offered through banks, credit unions and financial companies, will let you pay for your university program in full.

Living in the Dorm or in Off-Campus Student Housing

Traditionally, most students heading off to their freshman year of college would live in the dormitories on campus. It was thought that dorms offered a good transition from living at home to living in a group environment.

Although on-campus housing offers fewer amenities than off-campus alternatives, for many decades living in a dorm your first year was a default choice.

Now, with the prevalence of the coronavirus in many communities, parents and students are finding that an off-campus apartment is a far better choice.

In these dwellings each student gets their own private bedroom and bathroom. In a dorm there would be shared restroom facilities.

In addition, when you leave your apartment you walk straight out into fresh air and are not forced to walk through crowded hallways like in the campus student housing.

Sending your child off to college in the fall? Let us know about your concerns in the comments below!

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