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Planning for college – it’s never too early

October 18, 2011

College planning should begin early

She may have 14 years, but it is never too early to start thinking about Quincy and college

Northeastern Junior College was abuzz this past weekend as approximately 600 students moved in to residence halls. There is a lot of action as students and parents move in, buy books, pay bills and get situated for the fall semester.

While it is an exciting time, starting college can be stressful with big changes and big expenses. Students who live on campus pay a little more than $5,000 for a full class load and meal plan, which is about half the cost to attend most universities today.

It was interesting to see some students and parents’ reactions as they begin move-in day. There are families who obviously have prepared for this day in more ways than one. Their finances are in order, they have everything packed and have discussed as a family what college is going to be like for the new student.

These families move from line to line with no surprises. Many of them already went online and completed everything with their financial aid and have set up payment plans. While dropping off a son or daughter can be difficult enough, it is lessened when there are no surprises on move-in day for these families.

Other students aren’t quite as prepared. Some had not looked at how much college costs until they step foot on NJC’s campus. While they applied for financial aid, they did not follow up to ensure they had the financial aid ready to pay for their expenses.

For these students, move-in day for them and their families is extremely stressful. Not only do they have to deal with all the changes with the move, they have one or two days to figure out how to pay for a large expense such as college.

The key to success is the right planning. College and paying for college should not be a surprise. When students and families have a goal early on to pay for college, they save for it. Parents ideally should put away money every month for their children’s college, and students should save money from part-time jobs or livestock they sell at the fair to put away for college. Make sacrifices early on so you or your parents do not have mounds of college debt.

The key is to set a goal, live below your means and make sacrifices over many years. This is not only the way to find success in paying for college, but also in every major purchase, whether it is buying a car, purchasing a home or saving for retirement.

If you look ahead and decide where you want to be, you can figure out how you need to live to get there. The individuals who do this generally are not concerned when it is time to buy a new car, go to college or retire. For those who do not plan, stress generally ensues when these major life events come about.

You undoubtedly have a major event on the horizon. If you want to be able to experience these situations with less stress, now is the time to start planning. A goal, a plan and a little sacrifice will enhance your quality of life and make these events in your lives happy ones.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2011 7:52 pm

    Great piece!

    • October 19, 2011 8:23 pm

      Thanks! Ever since Brooks was born I’ve been a little behind. How is countrygiggirls.com going?

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