How Early Should I Start the College Planning Process?

Everyone knows the term 'the early bird gets the worm', and that wisdom certainly applies with regard to the college planning process. For young students considering college, it's wise to start planning around the time they enter high school. Keep reading to find out more about how early you should start the college planning process. Schools offering Global Operations & Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

College Planning Overview

Some say it's never too early to start the process of college planning. It's not uncommon to hear that students in eighth grade should start thinking about career paths and begin the college planning process. While some may think middle school is too early to start planning, it is inarguable that students should address college planning throughout their high school years.

Important Facts about the College Planning Process

Degree Field Evaluate schools and the types of degrees offered
Online Availability Online courses and degrees are offered with regularity in today's world
Financial Aid Review federal financial aid availability or scholarship options such as merit or private scholarships and special interest scholarships
Admission Requirements Many institutions require high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores, while others may also have deadline requirements, as well as background checks for certain fields of study.

Eighth Grade

The U.S. Department of Education recommends that students begin the process of planning for college even before they start high school. The organization provides a handbook and website to guide parents and middle school students through the college planning process. It is suggested that students in eighth grade should begin to explore career options and colleges.

Freshman and Sophomore Years

Students in their early high school years should continue to look into possible career paths and what colleges they might want to attend. They should take courses that may prepare them for college and also maintain good grades. Most colleges consider a student's entire high school career, not simply the last year or two.

Junior Year

Junior year of high school is usually when the college planning process is kicked into high gear. This is the year students take college entrance exams such as the ACT or SAT. Students in their junior year should start looking into college open houses and begin talking to recruiters.

Senior Year

By early in their senior year, students should have selected a few colleges they would most like to attend. Financial aid paperwork and applications should be submitted by spring of senior year at the latest, though deadlines may vary from one school to another. Many students send these materials in the fall of their senior year to stay ahead of the process.

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