Next Steps for a High School Sophomore
Set up a 529 College Savings account.
It's never too late to save! Even at this stage, more savings means less borrowing and could also provide state tax benefits.
CollegeBacker makes it easy to start saving in a 529 College Savings Plan in 5 minutes. Plus, it's a free program.
Maximize Your Financial Aid from Colleges. Evaluate How Your College Savings Strategy will be Viewed.
Need based financial aid is determined by "prior prior year" income. Understand what your adjustment options may be before it is set in stone.
Explore Employer Benefits.
Contact your employer to understand if they will help with college costs. Many employers offer scholarship programs, contribute to 529 plans or offer other tuition assistace programs.
Find or Schedule a Meeting with Your Financial Planner.
Grow your investment confidence to ensure you can pay for college, go on your dream vacation, and build your retirement funds.
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors is a professional association with over 3,700 financial planners across the nation. They make searching for financial planners easy based on your needs and geography.
Prepare for the SAT or ACT.
Exceptional scores may convert to free money so ensure your kid familiarizes themselves with the test(s).
PrepScholar offers affordable online SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Test prep courses. They're the only online programs scientifically designed to understand student strengths and weaknesses and customize exactly to your abilities.
Narrow Your List of Colleges.
Start thinking about the colleges that fit your academic interests, location demands, extracurricular desires, social needs, and financial realities.
SimpliCollege helps you explore college options based on your individualized needs and helps you keep track of key milestones and deadlines.
Keep Your Grades Up.
Better grades often translate into merit aid.
Need help? Consider getting a tutor. Wyzant has 1–on–1 lessons with the expert instructor of your choice. You decide when to meet, how much to pay, and who you want to work with.
Consider Taking Dual Enrollment or AP Classes.
Save money and time on your future degree while in high school.
Ask you guidance counselor what your high school offers to create your high school plan to boost your college credits now.
Evaluate Your Current Monthly Budget.
Review your income and analyze your expenses. Identify what expenses may be reduced and convert them into college savings.
Pocketsmith lets you manage your budget and forecast your finances to get clarity over your money. Use their personal finance software on the web to connect to your bank accounts securely and create cash flow forecasts.
Monitor Your Credit and Identity.
Review changes to your credit score and detect instances of identity theft by regularly checking your credit report.
Credit Sesame allows you to track changes in your credit report and score with real-time alerts for free. Credit Sesame lets you head off potentially fraudulent activity and pinpoint errors so you can take steps to address them swiftly.
Create Pre-College Budget.
Estimate how much you will spend on college visits, applications, and test prep.
Have a Kitchen Table Conversation about Paying for College.
Discuss your thoughts and expectations about what you expect to pay for college, any stipulations you have in mind about your funds, and how you envision your kid helping with college costs.
Did you know that $1,000 in savings
could save you $1,500 in student loan repayment*?
Planning in advance for college costs prepares you for this major financial investment. Whether you want to increase your search for free money, motivate your family to save, or just avoid (or reduce) student loan debt, taking time now to think about college affordability makes sense. Saving a dollar here and there can add up fast and moving those dollars into college savings accounts means less borrowing down the line.
* Based on a 10 year loan repayment with deferred principal payments at today’s interest rates. Actual savings may vary.