Student News

May Checklist for Parents: COVID-Adapted

Shawna Newman

May 01, 2020

May Checklist for Parents: COVID-Adapted
There are things parents can do to help high schoolers and soon-to-be-college students prepare for their next life phase.
As a parent, you may feel helpless throughout the college application, admissions and college transition processes. Now, add the Coronavirus pandemic... The good news is we've developed this list to help you out! There are things parents can do to help high schoolers and soon-to-be-college students prepare for their next phase in life, despite these odd times. let's be real; they will always need you – whether they express it or not. Looking for more COVID-19 student-impact information? Find it here.
We have suggestions of what you, as a parent, can help your student with during the month of May, whether they're currently a high school junior (the Class of 2021) or a high school senior (Class of 2020).

High School Junior Parents - Class of 2021

1. Discuss Colleges & Go on Virtual Visits Have a casual discussion with your student regarding what he or she is looking for in a college in terms of academics, social and campus lifestyle.
And, for fun check sites like You Visit, Campus Tours or eCampusTours to see if the colleges that top your child's list have virtual tours. Helpful Tip: Gift your child a notebook for their visits. Encourage them to take notes on the things they liked, didn't like and questions your family has for the college admissions team. Once campuses open up, your child will be prepared to ask the right questions at the in-person campus tour. 2. College Lists & Research Assist your student in creating a list of the above factors and begin researching institutions that fit the criteria. From there, your student can begin to decide which colleges your family might like to visit and learn more about.
They can start to decide which colleges they would consider applying to and consider as contenders for college choices. 3. Recommendation Letters Encourage your student to email their teachers that he or she has a positive relationship with about potential letters of recommendation, before the end of this school year. Let them know that their teachers would probably appreciate an email considering they're missing interaction with students! Many colleges require letters of recommendation or, at the very least, recommend students submit them. Your child should also talk with their teachers once they return to school about their letter request. Teachers can become very overwhelmed with requests during college application season so now is a great time to reach out. 4. College Applications & Essays Help your student complete their first college application and an outline or rough draft of their essay – even if it’s just for practice. 5. Make Your Calendar It seems far away now, but make notes on your calendar for the following: • November: Apply for a FSA ID online so you can help your student with daunting financial aid forms. • January: Help your student complete the FAFSA. • March: Financial aid award letters begin to arrive. Help your student decipher what the letters are saying and contacting the schools if you have any questions or concerns. Be sure to make comparisons between different offers as well. 7. Help with Summer Planning Advise your student to sign up to volunteer, participate in extracurricular activities or take on a summer job – if they haven’t done so already. All of these will look great on their college applications! 8. Summer Savings Help your student set up a summer savings plan so they he or she can start saving for college now. Explain that, when it comes to saving for college, the earlier they get started on saving the better! 9. Scholarship Applications Encourage your student to begin applying for scholarships regularly now, especially during the summer, when they have down time. Our best advice that you could also share: Apply early and apply often! 10. Financial Aid Workshops Attend any financial aid workshops with your student to learn more about paying for school, as this topic will become prevalent throughout the college application process. Find a financial aid workshop in your state.

High School Senior Parents (next year’s college freshman) Class of 2020

1. Ask For More Financial Aid We know this is no easy task, it feels so weird to ask for more financial aid help from your college - BUT due to the pandemic students and their families are feeling the pressure due to financial changes. If you or your family has faced a financial hardship due to the national emergency, the federal government has given emergency cash grants U.S. colleges for students in your situation. This article explains the emergency cash grants and can help you discover much money your child's college has been given to share with students. Encourage your child to email their college's financial aid office to see how they ma qualify for emergency financial aid funds. 2. File a Federal FAFSA It’s the last chance to submit a FAFSA form for Federal aid this year – if you haven’t done so already! The federal deadline for the FAFSA falls on June 30 – so make sure you get yours in before then if you’d like to apply for Federal aid. The school and state deadlines typically fall sometime between February and early April, so it’s really best to submit your form as soon as possible after October 1! 2. Firm Up Summer Jobs & Internships Advise your student to firm up their summer job and internship plans – or to find a summer job, if they have not done so already. We're predicting a large applicant crowd to be looking for their part-time summer jobs here, very soon. Also the possibility of a summer internship is still on, as many businesses move to virtual internships. Encourage them not to give up on a summer internship! 3. Summer Savings Assist your student in setting up a summer savings plan so they start college off in a good financial state. 4. Develop a College Budget Help your student develop a college budget – that they can realistically stick to (keyword: realistically). 5. Scholarship Applications Encourage your student to apply for scholarships regularly, especially the extra down time we've all acquired. Look at these scholarships designed just for the Class of 2020. Also it's important to remind them, they will need to apply for scholarships, even as a college student. 6. Credit Card Considerations Once your student turns 18, they should begin to establish good credit. Discuss the idea of opening a credit card account with a low limit for emergencies only. 7. Final High School Transcripts Have your student email their high school counselor to ensure they have the correct college of choice on record and are forwarding their final school transcripts to their college. 8. College Summer Orientation Sessions Summer orientation sessions will look very different than they traditionally have. With many college pushing back orientation dates and/or moving them to a virtual method. Take note of any summer orientation sessions that your student needs to attend for college and start to making plans accordingly. You may encourage your child to email the admissions office to see if they're offering a virtual summer orientation. 9. Budgeting & Contributions for College (Aside from Tuition) By now you’ve likely discussed the tuition budget, but have you discussed the other areas with your student? Start looking into your own budget and once you’ve determined the amount you’re able to contribute to your student (if anything) discuss expectations with your student regarding computers, dorm supplies as well as other financial contributions for college living so that the entire family is on the same page. It’s best to discuss now because your student will have the entire summer to work, save and apply for scholarships and look for jobs on their college campus. Come fall, most student jobs on and off campus are difficult, if not impossible to find, so knowing earlier than later is to their advantage. 10. Help Your Student Stay Focused on Academics Encourage your student to finish high school on the best note possible. Let them know you understand how hard the switch to online classes has been. They will need those grades to ensure your admission to the college they've been accepted to!

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Shawna Newman

Managing Editor, Contributing Writer

Shawna Newman is the Managing Editor and a writer at Fastweb. She has over 10 years of experience in higher education. Her direct work with college admissions teams, financial aid officers, college deans, ...

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