Ben and his parents sat up late at their dining room table, combing through all of Ben’s college financial aid numbers one more time. Ben’s dad ran his fingers nervously through his hair. The problem? It was already summer, and every college that had accepted Ben for the coming fall was requiring him to commit to loads of student loan debt in order to attend.
“Is it too late to just try to go to a different college?” Ben asked. “I don’t know,” Ben’s dad said. “Are there any other colleges still taking applications?”
Kaylie had a similar but different problem. Kaylie and her family hadn’t planned ahead, so Kaylie didn’t have any college acceptances to choose from. “Do you think it’s too late for me to try to go to college this coming fall?” Kaylie asked her parents. “I don’t know,” her mom replied. “Are there any colleges still taking applications?”
The answer is yes; some colleges are still taking applications.
Here’s a great list of colleges still taking applications, provided for us by the good folks at CollegeSimply.com.
Be careful though.
If your child is applying to college this summer in hopes of attending college classes this fall, watch out for these 5 things:
1. Stay far away from “for profit” colleges and universities.
You can look up any college and see whether it’s a “for profit” university by going to collegedata.com. Just type the name of the college you’re considering into the search bar, and scroll the results until you see the word “Type.” If it says “Profit” under the word “Type,” run away and don’t look back. “For profit” colleges are notorious for saddling students with exorbitant levels of student loan debt while not preparing them for jobs in the real world.
2. Realize that by the summer before college classes start, the pool of financial aid money at each college has almost entirely dried up.
Your child simply won’t get as much money to help pay for college as she would have if she had applied for financial aid last October. You should still fill out the FAFSA form in hopes of getting some money, but know that the big money has already been handed out to students who applied earlier.
3. Don’t apply to college without a reason for going!
As an academic strategist, I believe strongly that students should not sign up for any college at all until they’ve completed three particular career assessments and have a potential career goal in mind. (Go to college without a career goal, and you’ll be like an archer who pulls the arrow back on the bowstring, shoots, and then years later looks around for the target.)
Contrary to what you may have heard, students as young as 15 can identify their individual strengths, personality types, and enduring interests, and take careful aim toward a lucrative and fulfilling career. I explain exactly how to get the three career assessments I recommend in chapter 13 of my book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt-Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward. Parents who take this step save themselves thousands over parents whose kids choose career by taking random college classes to see what they’re interested in.
4. Consider community college! It’s great!
Many community colleges take applications until late summer. Their tuition prices are bargain-basement low, professors tend to be caring and involved because they aren’t preoccupied with research, and students can transfer the credits they earn in community college to the four-year college of their choice later. (Just have your son check with his future four-year college to make sure that each community college class he’s considering taking will eventually transfer there.)
And best of all? Community college won’t hurt a student at all in the eyes of future employers, or on a future application to law, medical, business, or grad school.
5. Keep on applying for scholarships.
Scholarships tend to be a relatively small part of the picture when it comes to getting through college debt-free. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend that students apply for 10 scholarships each year anyway, starting in 8th grade and going all the way through graduate school. You can see a helpful post I wrote that provides 1.5 million places to look for scholarships, here.
There’s no part of parenting more important than setting your kid up for successful college and career life.
For clear, step-by-step help getting your kids through college debt-free, don’t rely on a loose collection of blog posts. You’ll miss hundreds of details that way. Instead, get your copy of my book:
You can “Look Inside” the book on Amazon for free by going to:
(Tell your friends.)
You can see the “Top 9 Questions Parents Are Asking Me About LAUNCH,” here.
Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1-3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.
And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it – especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.
Do you have friends who are parenting recent high school graduates? SHARE this post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn right now.
What about you? What are your thoughts about applying to college 1-3 months before classes start? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.
Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full time author, academic strategist, and speaker. Her writing and speaking help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. She also helps students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school at her website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.