College—It's Closer Than You Think!

6 ways to prepare your child

AS APRIL 1ST loomed closer, I became more anxious. And I was just the mother! My daughter, Susy, a high-school senior, just wanted the waiting to be over. We were eager for it—the letter notifying her she'd either been accepted or rejected by the college of her choice—to arrive.

Today college pressure begins as early as the ninth grade. That's the year your child's GPA begins to count. Chances are, your child will start looking at colleges her first semester of junior year or even as soon as second semester, sophomore year. While senior year is normally application time, if your child applies for "early decision," applications usually have to be submitted by December.

I've been through this process five times with my five children—and I wouldn't want to do it again! But through it all, I've learned a few things that may help you and your child plan for life after high school.

Make Joint Decisions
Sure, your kids still need some parameters in making decisions, but they need a say in where they want to go to school. So decide—together—on approximately five colleges to apply to. If your child's not gung-ho about attending college, brainstorm two noncollege options about which you both feel comfortable. But don't consider any option in which your child will be left without a network of believers.

Check Out Fellowship Possibilities
When your child arrives on campus, she'll be on her own in an unfamiliar setting. Who she decides to be will be greatly influenced by who she spends time with. That's why, in this transition time, it's important your child has the support of a small group of solid Christ-followers.

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May 25

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