College Planning: What Are the Basics?

Earning a college degree is one of the best tools available for increasing earning power over your lifetime.  While obtaining this degree from either a community college or traditional four year university is no easy task, the experience can be rewarding in many ways.

Start Your College Planning Early

To insure you choose the right school and then make the most of your college experience, it is vital to begin college planning as early as possible. Proper college planning can mean the difference between a cherished chapter in your life and a boondoggle that runs your career aspirations off track.

Decide How You Will Pay for College

The first and most important college planning you must do is deciding how to pay for your education. College tuition rises every year, and a solid financial plan must be in place prior to applying to any colleges.

If you are not lucky enough to have a college fund already, there are still a number of ways to plan for the expense of college. There are a large number of scholarships and grants available and you should apply for as many of these opportunities as you are eligible. Financial aid is also available for the needy, but should be used as a last resort to avoiding graduating with a huge debt that will need to be repaid.

Find a College that’s Right for You

Prudent college planning also requires that the diligent potential student find the right school for them. Many High School seniors graduate already knowing what their career aspirations entail and can plan for this by selecting a school that has an excellent reputation in that field.

For those that are unsure of their intended major, it is important to find a school that has a solid general academic curriculum to allow you to fully explore many possibilities. Once you find the right major, you begin your learning in that area.

Are You ready for Life in College?

Though most go off to college after high school to learn and begin the journey towards a degree, it is no secret that a large part of the draw is the college life experience. College planning should take into account your desired social life while attending. Many universities have reputations as “party schools” which can be a plus or a minus, depending on the individual student.

Many potential college students find it helpful to plan ahead for how they will handle dorm life and being away from home for the first time. This type of college planning should consider distance from home and whether or not you will take on a job while attending school.

About the Author

Johnny Rogers is the creator of – The Online College Planning Guide. If you found this article useful, please consider Liking My Facebook Fan Page or Following College Tidbits on Twitter.

Image Credit: USACE

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