The Student-Parent Connection: Looking Back

April 16, 2014 | posted by College Money Insider.

The Student-Parent Connection is a monthly feature here on College Money Insider. During the school year, we have a student and parent share their thoughts and experiences as they save up for college and go through the college application/decision process. Today’s post is by Christina Avery!

If you have any tips to help students save up for college, feel free to leave a comment below!

Right now we are in a lull in the college process.  Not much for us to do right now.  Jessica has registered for orientation at College of Charleston in July – should be nice and hot! Really at the moment we just need Jess to finish out high school…senioritis has definitely set in.  Lots of fun things happening soon – senior banquet, senior picnic, prom.  Hopefully she can focus enough to do well on her AP and senior exams in May.  Final transcripts will have to be sent to Charleston, so she needs to hang on just a little longer.

I am very proud of how Jessica has gone through high school.  She has done well with much tougher classes than I ever even knew existed! But really I am even more proud that she has a good head on her shoulders and a lot of common sense. That helps ease a tiny little bit of the anxiety I have of her going so far away for school.  Of course she’ll make mistakes, but I know she’ll take them in stride and learn from them. It’s really hard to believe she’ll be gone soon.  Such a bittersweet time.

As this will be my last entry (Jessie will have her last one next month), I am thinking about how this whole college application process has gone.  I think we have been pretty lucky.  It’s been pretty smooth. I’m lucky in that Jessica wanted to get applications done early and actually did it.  I would definitely advise folks to do the early admission.  It’s nice having those applications in before winter break. Getting the apps in was stressful for Jessica, but once it was done she was so relieved.  After that it was just waiting for those envelopes!

I’m also glad that I listened to some friends who already had kids in college that told me not to worry about visiting all of the colleges before she applied.  Initially I thought that was something we “had” to do.  But, no, there is plenty of time to visit schools once you know you are accepted.  I think it’s a great idea to visit schools beforehand to get a feel for what you like.  It was definitely good that we saw a very small school – Jess knew for sure after that visit she did not want that small of a school. Visiting a big-city school was also beneficial in that it let her know that she wanted a “campus feel” while at school.  So, I guess I’d say to visit a variety of school types, but don’t stress if you don’t see every school you or your daughter/son will be applying to – there will be time later.

The other factor I often hear parents worry about is filling out the FAFSA application. Once again, if you get it done early, it’s not too bad.  Just know ahead of time that the sooner you get your taxes done, the sooner the FAFSA app can be completed. Just have that tax information handy when filling out the FAFSA. Being prepared definitely helped in that process.  Overall our college application process has been really good. Much of the credit goes to Jessica being on top of things.  Thanks for letting me share our experience with you!