How to Help Your Kids Plan for College While They’re in High School
By Anthony ONeal
If you’re a parent, here’s something we’re both passionate about: making sure your kids have a great future. I want to help you and your kids get ready for life after high school so they can continue to college (and beyond) with a plan and a purpose! And a huge part of that is paying for school without student loans.
Yep, I said it. Your kids do not need to take out student loans for college. People might’ve told you that student loans are just a “normal” part of the college experience, and that going to school debt-free isn’t even possible. Forget normal! If having massive amounts of student loan debt is normal, then I want your kids to be weird!
The Biggest Problem Facing Today’s Students
Why am I so passionate about helping your kids avoid student loans? Well, there’s a major student loan crisis in our country right now, with the total debt coming in at over $1.6 trillion. And the average amount of debt per student at the time of graduation is over $35,000. Not cool!
When I was in high school, nobody warned me about the dangers of taking out loans—so I did. It got me in a lot of trouble, and I regretted it later. But now I have the opportunity to help the younger generation avoid making the mistakes I made—and here’s how you can help them too.
How Your Kids Can Prep for College Academically
Acing their academics now will only help them prepare for—and pay for—college. Here are the top three things they should do when it comes to their schoolwork:
- Get great grades. Honestly, GPA is one of the top things colleges look at when it comes to awarding merit-based scholarships. Encourage them to view their grades as a way to make money for school—kind of like a job.
- Learn how to study. Good study habits are a huge plus in high school and college. Help them find their ideal study environment by asking them what helps them stay focused. Do they need total quiet? Does music or white noise help? Do they need food or coffee? Do they get more done alone instead of with friends?
- Prep for the tests. ACT and SAT scores are two other important factors in getting college scholarships. Resources like test prep books or tutors can really make a big difference, too. But don’t worry if that’s not in your budget. You can help your kids by quizzing them, or working through math problems with them. Or you can even consider borrowing a prep book or splitting the cost of one with a friend.
How Your Kids Can Prep for College Financially
Money is everyone’s favorite part of the college process, right? Yeah, not so much. But remember, it’s totally possible to pay for school without loans. Here are three ways your kids can do that:
- Find scholarships and grants. This is free money that your kids won’t have to pay back! I tell students to spend at least an hour every day applying for scholarships, because it will really pay off in the long run. They can also find scholarships and grants by filling out the FAFSA form and by looking through the hundreds of other options online. There’s a lot of free money out there. Your teen just has to find it!
- Work. Having a part-time job throughout high school and college not only helps with time management and career skills, but also really helps them save money for their future!
- Budget. When your kids learn how to write down where every single dollar of their income is going, they’ll be way less likely to overspend—and way more likely to put their extra money into a college fund.
Yes, your child can go to college without student loans!
About Anthony ONeal
Since 2003, Anthony has helped hundreds of thousands of students make smart decisions with their money, relationships, and education. He’s a national best-selling author, and travels the country spreading his encouraging message to help teens and young adults start their lives off right. His latest book, Debt Free Degree, will be available October 7. You can follow Anthony on YouTube and Instagram @AnthonyONeal and online at anthonyoneal.com or facebook.com/aoneal.