College Acceptance Season: Making the DecisionSubmitted by Financial Planning Solutions, LLC on February 12th, 2019
Between now and May 1st high school seniors will be receiving college acceptance letters.
For most high school seniors, they can finally relax a bit: their hardest courses are behind them, colleges won’t be weighing spring grades for acceptance (even though colleges can change their minds on acceptance if the final transcript shows a major drop off in grades), and plans for senior trips and graduation parties with friends and family are underway.
But it is also a tense time for students—and their parents—as they wait for acceptance letters and the accompanying financial aid packages.
We tell our clients that in some ways the final pieces of the college plan are set at this point: initial selection of the types of schools have been made, sometimes specific programs or possible majors have been identified and hopefully, the budget for college has already been set. They are just waiting to hear from their favored school with hopes of an excellent need- or merit-based aid package.
With our three kids—one a junior in college now, the second a high school senior and the third a high school freshman—we know that the acceptance letters received in the spring of senior year are the result of careful planning—or the lack of it.
As a Certified Financial Planner™ Practitioner, I always thought that retirement planning or certain types of real estate transactions were the most complex to figure out. After specializing in planning for professional families with college-bound children 14 years ago, I learned that planning for college is one of the most difficult areas for most people.
The reason college planning is hard is because, in addition to its unique financial labyrinth, there are some major subjective decisions to make, including determining the best school for your son or daughter.
What does that mean exactly?
- Does it mean applying to the most academically challenging college that they can get into?
- Does it mean thinking about the schools your best friend or neighbor’s kid is applying to?
- Does it mean favoring the college that had the best college tour on a sunny day?
- Or, does it mean finding the cheapest state school?
Figuring this out requires a fair amount of exploration with your son or daughter, their guidance counselor, and with you and your spouse/partner. From our point of view, figuring out the money is the easy part.
Our son has received three acceptances so far, all from his ‘safety’ schools. We now wait for his favored schools which we believe will come with less merit/institutional aid but will likely be better environments for him to grow and become a responsible young adult. Even at the end of the process, it is not easy to decide. We shall see how it goes.
Is your son or daughter a senior waiting for college acceptance letters? Give us a call. We’re here to help.
Lyman H. Jackson
Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) is a Registered Investment Advisor. FPS provides this blog for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, tax, or legal advice. FPS only renders personalized advice to each client after entering into an advisory relationship. Information herein includes opinions and forward-looking statements that may not come to pass. Information is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Information is at a point in time and subject to change without notice. Such information may not be independently verified by FPS. Please see important disclosures link at the bottom of this page.