NEW SERIES: Getting your kid into college and figuring out how to pay for it.

by Jill Bender on December 17, 2013

Paying for college

Getting my kids into college is easy. Figuring out how we’re going to pay for it is not.

I am in full throes with my 17 year old and want to share with you what I am learning along the way. If you have a high school senior some of this is probably a day late and a dollar short because some deadlines have already passed. But it’s never too late.

If you have kids that will be here in the next few years this will be super useful.

And believe it or not, my best advice is probably for those of you with little ones, like elementary school and middle school age, because I’m going to tell you how to set their future so that you can assure scholarship money. Man, what I wouldn’t give to have this information so many years ago!

I will go backwards, though, and talk about things relevant to current high school seniors/juniors.

It isn’t a secret that I have yet to get my college degree. I did however, go to SDSU the summer I graduated from high school at the age of 17 and have since gone back twice to take classes online, but the cost is my biggest setback right now with trying to support two kiddos on my own still.

My point is that I have some experience with the whole college process, but now that I am navigating this college process as a single parent who just wants the best for my kids it is waaaaaaaaaaay different.

Plus, I will not put myself into debt to do get them an education so……. it ain’t easy. I will help them with 1/2 of any loans they have to take out, but I will not be taking a loan out in MY name. This is partly because I want them to take ownership, partly because I want them to take the process of scholarship applications more seriously and partly because I can see the light in my own debt and I don’t want to go backward. And frankly, I honestly don’t believe I should have to.

So I won’t.

My oldest took a year (or two) off and went straight to work.

My 17 year old is off to school next year and we are in the throes of college searching.

Scholarship searching.

Application filling out.

Meeting having.

Hand shaking.

And email sorting.

In his case we are also juggling the athletic angle too with baseball. So to make things two hundred times more difficult, we are also vetting school baseball programs, talking with coaches, talking sports scholarships, and so on.

It never really ends and I wish I had learned some of what I know now a year ago, if not ten years ago.

While I did go through the college application with my oldest, he was easy. He was staying at home and going to Denver Metro so there was one set of paperwork and wasn’t playing sports. And then he changed his mind, went to work and moved out. EVEN EASIER. icon smile

With J, not only has he applied to several schools, but we have the sports programs to consider. Cheaper school, good baseball program, will need to transfer and able to offer sports scholarship vs. amazing academic school, higher price, good baseball program, no athletic scholarship.

Obviously, we get a tuition break on schools in state, but we’re also getting waiver options for out of state schools too.

Fortunately, the kid has great grades and he did well on the ACT. That, and the fact that he’s a great athlete with a lot of potential, and he is 6’2″ he is being contacted by better academic schools. Which is AWESOME, right? But they also come with a higher price tag. Ugh.

So, come along with me as I navigate the process of figuring out how to do all of this and please be sure to ask questions.

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1 Tess December 21, 2013 at

Hi, I am very interested in the information in your college search journey. I to am a single mom if three with my oldest currently a sophomore in high school. I look forward to any / all information you have come across on your journey through college and scholarship hunting.
Thankyou

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