Money Matters: 5 Tips to Help Your Teen Save for College

Preparing to go to college is an exciting time for many teens. Unfortunately, high tuition costs can make it a hard financial reality for a high school student to face, especially in the midst of preparing for graduation. Here are some tips to help direct your teen as they prepare to save for college.

1. Talk Through Expectations Early

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While it can be a hard conversation to have with a young teen, particularly when they aren’t sure what path they might want to take, it’s important to talk about realistic expectations sooner rather than later. Be honest with your teen about how much you can support them financially through college and how much they will have to be responsible for.

2. Open a Bank Account

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Of course the key to starting to save is having a bank account. Help your teen open one, perhaps with an account for saving and another for spending. Set up a plan or a budget to encourage your teen to deposit into their savings account; this will help them to build long term, healthy saving habits.

3. Get a Part Time Job

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In order for your teen to have money to put away in their savings account, they will need to get a part time job. There can be less time consuming options like occasional baby sitting jobs or neighborhood odd jobs, or something with regular hours such as a serving or retail job. Just be sure that your teen is able to balance school and work.

4. Consider a College’s Financial Aid

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As your teen begins to look into colleges, be sure to look for ones that have financial aid opportunities. If your teen can get a bursary or significant financial aid from a particular college, perhaps this college should be higher up on their list. Comparing tuition costs is also a wise thing to do early on in your teen’s college hunt.

5. Look for Scholarships

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Be sure to encourage your teen to apply for as many scholarships as possible. Every bit helps and even small scholarships add up! While some scholarships are for academic achievement, there are many that aren’t. Extracurriculars, volunteer experience and application essays are all taken into consideration as well.

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