College Planning Tips: Mom & Dad, Are You Ready to Send Your Kid to College? by Kourtney Perry

College Planning Tips: Mom & Dad, Are You Ready to Send Your Kid to College?

The thought of sending a child to college doesn't seem so bad in the early stages of their life. They usually enter 12th grade around 17 or 18 years old. So you think you have plenty of time, right? Yeah, I thought that until senior year rolls around and I had about nine months to get things in order.

My daughter graduated from Hoover High School in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2018. Let me tell you it is the most amazing experience ever! She is currently in her sophomore year attending University of Northern Iowa (UNI). She started out attending Hawkeye Community College while residing on the UNI campus. Here are some tips I learned along the way:

Transferring Credits

Many universities have ties with the community colleges that allows students to split there degrees in half. That means attending community college to take the majority of their prerequisite classes at a cheaper cost. They will then be able to transfer those credits to the university to finish their four-year degree. Pretty neat, huh? Your child is able to enjoy all the perks that the university has to offer such as student unions, attending all athletic games and being able to take advantage of the university lifestyle.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)

However, going through the process of getting my daughter to college was quite scary and time consuming. As a single parent, saving was not an easy task for me so I had to look at other options. The federal government provides money to students that fill out the FAFSA® application. The application becomes available October 1 of every year. The earlier you fill it out, the better. Your child could receive a reasonable amount of money to help pay for tuition and other expenses. Filling out the application will also put them in line to receive state money and the option to take student loans.

When filling out the application you will have to list the school that your child would like to attend or has been accepted into. Your child does not need an acceptance letter to put the school on the application. If they desire to go there then list that school on the application. We as parents will need to provide our income as the child will be seen as a dependent. Don’t be scared filling out the application. It is fairly easy with instructions throughout the process. The IRS provides a link to upload your tax information to the application. You will only need some basic information like your filing status and return amount.

Take Advantage of Free Money

On top of savings and federal money there are scholarships that your child can apply for. And let me tell you, there are billions of dollars in free money out there for any child to take advantage of. You can apply for a scholarship for being left-handed, blind, artist, singer, blonde and so much more. Just Google it. Many of them do have limitations such as the area the scholarship is provided, but each one will give you the guidelines up front so that you will know if you are eligible. 

Your child can start applying and accepting scholarships in grade school. Yes, I said grade school. The best thing is to make sure you keep track of them. There are no limits as to the amount of scholarships you can apply for. Many of them may require a short essay and a video, but aren’t they already doing those skills in class. Right?!

Start Early

I encourage any parents to start saving early for their child’s college expenses. With my daughter basically attending two colleges her tuition, room and meal plan for her first year cost around $10,000 for one semester. Now a majority of that money came from FAFSA® and scholarships. So again, apply, apply, apply. Setting up a college fund is the greatest stress reliever, too. Most banks can set your account up or there are college-saving programs out there like College 529 that offers tax breaks. 

I hope that this gives you some ideas to start thinking about the future of your child. They are our precious treasures who will one day rule the world.

The content on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered financial advice. The opinions or views expressed on do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

Take 30 seconds and join the 30Seconds community, and follow us on Facebook to get inspiration in your newsfeed daily. Inspire and be inspired.

Related Products on Amazon We Think You May Like:

30Second Mobile, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

​Worried About Saving for College? Here Are 3 Key Points to Consider

​FAFSA: What Parents Need to Know About Filing the FAFSA for Federal Student Aid

​So, Your Child Wants to Play College Sports: Where Do You Start?

11 Things I Want My Son to Know As He Starts College

Elisa Schmitz
As a mom and stepmom with seven kids we have put or are putting through college, thank you for these great tips, Kourtney Perry . So helpful. Welcome to 30Seconds. We look forward to learning more from you!
Kourtney Perry
Your very welcome! Thank you!

join discussion

Please login to comment.

recommended tips

100 Random Acts of Kindness for Kids: How to Make a Kindness Chart

How to Take Better Pictures of Your Kids: 3 Tips From an Amateur Photographer!

How to Grow an Indoor Herb Garden: Gardening Indoors Is a Fun Family Activity

How to Nurture Your Child's Imagination With Halloween Costumes!