Top 10 Rugs for A Teen’s Dorm Room

Top 10 Rugs for A Teen’s Dorm Room

Why a rug you ask? When you are thinking about decorating a dorm room for a girl or a guy, the rug will pull the whole room together. Rugs for a teen’s dorm room will keep feet warm, add color or tone down a brighter room, and provide a bit of hominess for your teen when they create their “home away from home”.

If you missed purchasing a rug when you purchased items for your teen’s dorm room, this is almost a necessity because colder weather will be on its way soon.

Even with socks on, both of my college boys complained how cold the floor was before we got them a rug.

A rug is a great purchase because they can take it with them when they move into an apartment -depending on how well they take care of it. And, even if your teen is in a warmer state, a rug can pull an entire room together! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

 

Pin for later!

Rugs for A Teen's Dorm Room

 

Here are my top 10 rugs for a teen’s dorm room -(or teen’s bedroom) and the reasons why. 

These are all approximately 5’ x 7’ for a typical tiny dorm room. Almost all of these rugs come in different sizes, and many come in different colors.

There are so many wonderful choices of rugs on Etsy! There is no way that I could just choose one. The wonderful thing about these is that many are originals and not that much more expensive than what you find elsewhere. Just remember that these are kids we are talking about, so decide how well your teen will care for this purchase.

Some other choices from different stores are:

Here is a great rug if the color scheme is pink or grey. This is such a muted and soft pink, it would be super soothing in a room.

pink and white rug for a teens' dorm room

This rug is like a fiesta on your floor! It is multi-colored, so it would go with so many color schemes, but probably would be best if the bedding etc were more neutral to let this be a focal point! It is circular which I love as well!

fiesta rug for a teen's dorm room

This is another multi-colored rug which would go with almost anything. I love the colors, and it would be a really pretty addition to any room. This one is costs a bit more than the others.

multi-colored rug for a teen's dorm room

This lime green zebra rug comes in other colors and sizes, and would be a great addition to someone’s room who is a little bit adventurous.

lime zebra rug for a teen's dorm room

Here is a beautiful blue/white rug that would add a bit of class to a room with almost any colors. It is gorgeous all on its own, and would compliment any decor!

This boho rug in muted tones of gray would also be a great fit for any color scheme. It is a bit more casual than the other choices.

This rug is perfect with its price and muted earth tones for any room. It has a mix of all sorts of tans in soft stripes. My boys even said it would be okay in a guy’s room.

Here is another rug with a more nautical theme. It is navy with double white stripes. The orange and blue ones would be great with a more plain guy room.

This final rug is another multi-colored choice. It would go with anything, and would really make the final touch in a dorm room.

I just came across this one from Urban Outfitters, as I was finishing this post. This rug is a splurge, but it is so unique

Unique rug for a teen's dorm room

Don’t forget to order a rug for the bathroom, if that is attached to your teen’s dorm room. Many of the above rugs come in a smaller size that would be perfect in front of the sink.

And, don’t forget a spot cleaner for rugs –this stuff is amazing!!

Related posts

What Will My Freshman Need In The Dorm: The 4-1-1 for Success

Ways to Keep Your Child Safe at College

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

5 Essential Tech You Need For College

9 Backpack Essentials for College

 

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

Pin for later!

Rugs for A Teen's Dorm Room

Student Loan Debt: 5 Simple Ways to Prevent It

Student Loan Debt: 5 Simple Ways to Prevent It

Does your child’s future include college? One big reason to begin making plans for college is MONEY!!! We are trying to help our kids as they go through college, by helping to prevent student loan debt or at least reduce it for them.

Something else to think about is that your child’s future will greatly be affected by the choices he or she makes today. These two factors were at the top of the list while our oldest son was deciding on a college.  *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

Pin for later!

 

Let your teen know about student loan debt.

**See my list of 5 things to do at the bottom!

42 MILLION students owe $1.3 TRILLION in student debt!!!!

This number is astronomical already and is growing with each semester. Make decisions based on the amount of money that you have saved (or not), the choice of a major, and what is the likelihood of earning enough income to make a decent living when college is finished. If you can limit or prevent student loan debt for your child, they will be so much further ahead in life!

Approximately 70% of graduates with Bachelors degrees leave school with some amount of student loan debt…

Be very careful when reading the fine print on the documents that each school provides. If we hadn’t paid attention to our son’s financial package information, we would have accepted a student loan. It was right there in black and white, but if I hadn’t been checking through each item, I would have missed this line item.

I now know to look for it each semester and draw a line through it. Just because something is written down on proposed tuition paperwork does not mean that you, the consumer, need to utilize it. Look everything over very carefully! This is an easy way to help prevent student loan debt.

Prevent student loan debt is challenging!

Loan payments upon graduation can be more than their rent payments…

This is a very depressing reality! Make sure that you know approximately what a starting level employee in your child’s field of study will earn. It may not be enough money to live on when including loan payments.

Find someone who has recently graduated in the field that your child has chosen, and find out this what they get on their paycheck, so that you can discuss this with your student. This way each of you are aware as he or she moves toward their future. Making a good choice in the beginning of college is crucial.

The cost of college skyrockets after the first 4 years, so switching majors can really be a financial setback if done after the sophomore year.

College grads in 2001 earned 10% more than they do now…

This is because the cost of living has increased so much, and many items that were once much more affordable such as healthcare, are now no longer fitting into even a reasonable budget. This can be super frustrating for today’s graduates because how can they get ahead if they are already behind?!

2 out of 3 students graduating won’t find an adequate job, meaning one that would pay for a reasonable living as well as enough extra for loan payments…  This goes along with what was said earlier. The fewer loans, the easier life will be moving forward. Read here.

More than two-thirds of student loan borrowers were surprised by some aspect of their student loan debt…Prevent student loan debt.

Student loan debt amounts are staggering

If loans must be taken out, then really pay attention to the total. Parents may not be paying much attention to this because they know their student will ultimately be responsible for this amount. This is not reasonable or fair.

Please take care to be honest with your child about what you can and cannot afford from the very beginning. That is where the conversation needs to begin.

And, please don’t wait until your student’s senior year! However, if that is where you are, by all means, get started!

31% of students who dropped out of college referred to finances as a reason…

This is, in part, because parents did not want to admit that they couldn’t afford the school that the child wanted to attend. Please know that even though this might be embarrassing to have to admit, it will be so much worse if your child has to drop out because of something that could have been prevented by honesty in the first place.

Real life happens! We had my husband’s student loans to pay off. Then real life happened, as in we had bills to pay… We don’t have that much saved in the way of college funds for our boys, and they know that good grades etc. will really help with getting good financial packages from schools.

It has helped that we have been honest and realistic about their choices about where they can go and what we can afford to pay. We have also been very upfront with them about the fact that they are in charge of all their spending money once they are at school as well.

About half of all college graduates are living paycheck to paycheck and many have had to resort to living with parents or grandparents…

I think back to when I first graduated. I truly lived paycheck to paycheck. I paid a little more in rent than I should have, but it was in a safe neighborhood, and that was important to me living in a big city for the first time in my life.

I literally lived on about $1.00 a day after all my expenses were paid. I lived on pasta and tuna at night, and knew to the ounce how much salad I could put in my container to stay at less than $2.00 each day for lunch in the cafeteria.

I couldn’t afford to buy enough groceries for both dinners and lunches. I ate a lot of oatmeal! I didn’t even have any furniture, and I slept on an air mattress for months.

A fact that is is so sad is that many young adults consider their loans to be a life sentence because it is so hard to get rid of! Please read this sobering article. Help your child now to make a good decision for their future!

Here’s my question… Are kids today willing to do that?

I came from a nice home with most everything I wanted as I was growing up. But, I was READY to grow up and move on. I’m not sure about today’s young graduates when it comes time to move on. Parents make it really easy for them to stay home.

But, here’s the thing. Getting a couple of roommates and striking it out on their own-even if they are super poor– is probably the best thing that we can do for our kids. At the very least, help them out at first, but work out a plan with your child for how they will gradually move out and on:)

I read a story the other day about mother giraffes. As soon as her baby struggles to his feet, the mom knocks him down. The baby struggles up again. Mom knocks him down again. It happens again and again.

Is the mom being mean? No! Because, guess what? Pretty soon the little guy gets stronger and stronger and more sturdy. And, then, he can stand on his own with no struggling or wobbling. He has learned, and she has done her job by preparing him.

Tough love can prevent student loan debt.

24% of millenials who attend college think that their loans will be “forgiven”…

Loan forgiveness is very rare. It is NOT something these kids should be counting on at all. Their plan needs to be to work, work, and work some more maybe at a main job with 2 or 3 side hustles to get their loans paid down.

The real world is manageable, but our kids need to have a plan and be mentally strong and able to handle it by being prepared.

Don’t let these numbers scare you!!

Now is definitely the time to start the process of preparing your child to go to college to get a great education and graduate with little to NO debt. You and your teen have to get into the mindset that this is a challenge that can be met.

Be proactive. You and your child have to be on the same page or at least supportive of each other’s efforts. Take the time to get informed. Do some research. You can start now wherever you are, however old your child is. The sooner the better!

5 things you can do!

1. Fill out the FAFSA! Due each year October 1. Fill out every year that you will have a child in college, beginning the fall of senior year in high school.

2. Grab my high school survival kit for yourself. This will help you and your teen get organized throughout the high school years.

3. Read my book: College Bound: The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School.

Here is the the blog post I wrote in addition to the book.

4. Apply for scholarships. Start now. It will make a huge difference! We have graduated 2 sons debt-free with these tips.

5. One more thing that you can do is to hire a college and career counselor.

What they do is help you to formulate a plan based on your child’s strengths and talents. They take into consideration their passions and what they DON’T like as well! I am now training to do just this for College Ready Plan. I would love to visit with you and your teen about what their future holds. Sign up for a free discovery call today!

How about you? Are you helping your kids? Do you have any good ideas for the rest of us?

Related posts: 

High School Parent Toolkit

How To Find Scholarships -The System We Used to Graduate Our Son Debt-Free!

29 Ways to Prepare for College -Start Now!

How Will We Be Able to Afford College Next Year?

How To Plan a Budget With Your College Bound Teen

My Teen is Turning 18! What Are the Legal Implications?

Read my book about college and life prep? Here is the blog post that I wrote to go along with the book with some great freebies for you to download and print for your own family.

And, my friend, Rachel Skelly Murphy wrote a great book called, I Am Not Your ATM.

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

Pin for later!

Let your teen know about student loan debt.

15 Ways to Keep Your Child Safe at College

15 Ways to Keep Your Child Safe at College

How can you keep your child safe at college?

This is something that I think we all worry about when our kids are gone to college or out into the real world. This worrying will never stop for us, but we can rest a little bit easier if we prepare our kids. Here are some easy ways to keep a child safe at college -or as safe as possible without the bubblewrap!

These are discussions that should probably start a little bit at a time in middle school as they start to go out with friends. We trained our boys to always be aware of where they were. To look for exit signs. To pay attention to where they were going, and listen closely to directions.

Our kids are getting drilled at school, and we need to talk with them about things that are happening in the news, and have them think about what might be the best thing to do in each situation.

I have come up with some safety ideas that will hopefully ease my mind as well as yours! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

 Pin for later!

Here are ways to keep your child safe at college.

Keep your child safe -prepare them

Have some conversations with your teen before they leave for college.

Discussions:  About date safety. About “no means no, no matter when she says no”. About having a campus buddy. About being aware of their surroundings. About locking up medications.

College can be so much fun, but our teens need to be make aware of all of this and more. Talk with your teen!

Keep your child safe when going out

Drink scrunchie -Do you worry when you know your teen is headed out? This nifty little drink cover will keep anyone from easily putting a pill or powder into a drink. It can be worn AS a scrunchie until it is needed! Guys need to use these too, and they could have it in their pockets until needed. Rape is a serious issue, and this is a great defense against it. It comes in 4 colors.

This bracelet is the bomb for your daughter! -And, here is the necklace. These are a little more pricey. They are are pretty, though, and if needed, they would be great to have around. She can just push the button, and it activates a GPS device. No one would ever know!

This hair clip is actually a survival tool! It can be so many things… bottle opener, box cutter saw, screwdriver, wrench, and more! It can also be put on a keychain, just in case.

Here is a great tool to carry for safety. It has pepper spray and a stun gun. It is small enough to carry in a purse or pocket.

Here is a tiny portable charger for your teen’s phone. This is something that they should have charged at all times. If your teen has their phone, they can call for help, take a photo (or video) of their attacker or situation, and find their way home with its built-in GPS and flashlight.

This small device adds onto a lock for a door for more security. This would be good for anyone who would like some added security!

And, here is a door stopper alarm that your teen could put under their door at night if they wanted to fell more secure. 

ICE : Personal Safety App -This will: share your Real Time Location with someone you trust -they can see your current location using this app or any web browser. Keeps track of important medical or support information on Lock Screen for First responders and Doctor.

  • you can save useful information for rescue workers (allergy, medication, condition, identity, organ donor, blood type …) and doctor contact “in case of emergency”.
  • 3) ICE contacts for call in Emergency.

(There are lots of safety apps. Be sure to check into these to get the best fit for your family.)

Guy or girl, they need to be prepared. No matter what we envision for our kids’ relationships, I want them safe.

Once your teen turns 18, a lot of things change for both you and your teen. Check out this post to be sure that you both know the legal ramifications for this big birthday.

Keep your child safe -car safety 

Here is an entire post about travel safety for our teens (and ourselves!)

A road distress kit is an easy thing to throw into the back of your teen’s car -just in case!

Personal safety keychain

Anti touch opener -This is great to have in the car for opening doors etc without having to touch them -if covid continues to be a thing…

If your teen is anything like mine, they wear shorts year round. If they end up in a bad situation during cold weather, an emergency blanket is a great thing to have! They fold up tiny, and can also be something that is thrown into the back of the car.

Keep your child safe -health matters

Mental health safety for your teens

Here is a first aid kit for a dorm room or car -full of supplies that might be needed.

Our son had to purchase a safe for his meds after he them stolen. This is a must if your teen takes any sort of prescribed medication!

**Here is some advice from my son who graduated from college last year to your teens going into college, he was president of his fraternity for 2 years, and saw a lot of things… Remember that no one and no club should ask you to do things that you would not normally do. This should be a red flag.

If you have never had an alcoholic drink before, then don’t have a bunch all at once. No one should be making you drink. If you get into a situation that is uncomfortable, say that you have to use the bathroom, and use that opportunity to leave wherever you are.

If, for some reason, you cannot leave, text someone, anyone, for help. Tell them exactly where you are and what the situation is.

Keep your child safe -online safety 

This company has great plans for keeping your teen safe online as well as limiting their screen time, if that is something you are concerned about.

Be sure that your teen knows these basic rules for online security.

Make sure that your teen is aware of the ramifications of sexting. Even if you are sure your teen isn’t doing this, they still need to be made aware -just in case. It is a serious crime, especially once they are 18…

Related posts

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

Travel safety for teens

Sexting and your teen

Mental health safety for your teens

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

Pin for later!

Here are ways to keep your child safe at college.

 

How Will We Pay For College Next Fall?!

How Will We Pay For College Next Fall?!

Can You Afford to Pay for College?

Have you saved enough to pay for college? If yes, I applaud you. If not, maybe you’re just like me, hoping to find scholarships to help offset the cost and future debt for your kiddo. Paying for college is no small feat. Read on to find out where you can find money!

Need money to help pay for college?

I hear many of stories of how people pay for 100% of college with grants and scholarships. I am in the midst of trying to figure out this process with my sons who are currently in college.

Paying for college is ridiculously expensive. For the amount it costs today, I could have gone to college 5 times over. It really isn’t fair to our kids but, unfortunately, it is the reality.

Our Story

So, here’s our story. My husband and I have some money saved to pay for college, but we are hoping we have enough for all three of our boys. We pay for tuition, and the boys are responsible for the rest. (We spent years paying off my husbands schooling, so this limited the number of years that we have had to save for the boys’ college.)

Our oldest two both had part-time jobs. Our middle sone went to community college, and his older brother graduated from a nearby small private college.

We knew that we had to help them try to look for scholarships or we would burn through our savings pretty quickly. We started digging around the internet. Our middle son was an average student, so merit aid would not be an option. My guess is that this is the case for many American families.

Not everyone is cut out for AP classes in high school, and not all kids are skilled at taking standardized tests. So, the game was on, and I’m here to tell you what I’ve discovered. Hopefully, this will help you and your child! 

FINDING SCHOLARSHIPS IS HARD, BUT YOU CAN DO IT!

First, let me say that finding scholarships is HARD WORK. It’s tedious, so be ready and be patient. There are a lot of scams out there, but there are also a lot of people trying to help by telling their stories of how they’ve found money. 

There are some common threads among “the experts”. Since paying for college is such a huge burden, I’m sharing what I’ve learned here. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

Pin for later!

How will we pay for college?

GATHER INFORMATION

There’s a lot of information out there. Some good and some not so good. The more organized you and your child can be and work TOGETHER– the more success you will have.

I think this is really important. You and your child need to work as a team because the responsibility can’t be on them entirely. They are busy with school. Besides, we are smarter than they are, right? Ha!

I do think our kids need to have some “skin” in the game and understand how this all works. So, have that money conversation! Here’s my blog post about how that has worked for us so far.

GET ORGANIZED

How to get organized? You need a tracker of course! Simple, but useful. Below is what I am using right now to track the scholarships I find for my boys for which they qualify.

I’m sure by now that you are probably pretty organized after surviving elementary and middle school. But, I would suggest a separate binder/notebook or folder to keep your scholarship information.

Check out my parent toolkit for staying organized all through high school! All of this will help your teen be organized when applying for scholarships, filling out applications, etc. It all helps pay for college!

My friend Monica has put together an amazing scholarship tracker that keeps everything organized. Go to the bottom of the page after you click on the link, and grab one!

FIND SCHOLARSHIPS

You may have heard – the best place to start is LOCAL. Have your student visit their guidance office for local scholarships. Check with your employer, too. If your employer doesn’t have a scholarship, ask if they could create one!

Also, research your child’s current or future college. Check their financial aid website. Most likely they have scholarships ready for you to apply for now and have other resources/suggestions. My son applied for one at his community college last fall. He didn’t receive anything, but you never know until you try!

Here is a post where I break down how we used scholarships, as well as other strategies, to graduate our oldest from college debt-free, and his younger brother out of community college and other trade school hours debt-free as well!

Here are some other places to look:
Chamber of Commerce
Library- they have scholarship books to check out
Local businesses- Call your favorite business and ask or visit their website
Financial Institutions
Local Community groups or clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, church)
Alumni Associations
Educational Organizations
Civic Organizations

Here is a great place to find scholarships for your student🙂

Look in your library for scholarships to pay for college.

WEBSITES I USE

How 2 Win Scholarships
Monica Matthews is a former teacher and a stay-at-home mom of three boys. She’s a mom who worked with her son to earn enough scholarships to attend college for free. She has parent, as well as student guides which are extremely useful and worth the $27.00. I’ve signed up for her newsletters and she’ll let you know when to apply for scholarships. She always has up to date information on her blog.   Here is the link to her scholarship tracker which we use and love! 

The Scholarship System– Jocelyn Pearson. She has a free webinar you can register for here. She paid for 100% of her college expenses through scholarships. Jocelyn has definitely done her homework and has created a 2018-2019 Scholarship Guide. I liked her webinar. Very honest and tells it like it is. I took her course, and it has been really helpful over the years since my oldest son started college. 

JLV Counseling– Jessica has 10 years experience as an admissions officer. Her website has information on scholarships, college essays, test prep and has a newsletter you can subscribe to. I like how her site is easy to navigate.

SEARCH ENGINES

Scholly.com
“Scholly was created by Christopher Gray who won $1.3 million in scholarships through hard work, grit and determination. Realizing how broken and time consuming this process was, he and his team created Scholly to make things a lot easier for you.

Whether you prefer the mobile or web app, Scholly helps you fill out 8 simple parameters, and then our comprehensive and constantly curated scholarship database delivers a verified and personalized list of scholarships. Our platform also gives you access to management tools and scholarship essay resources to help you manage deadlines, track progress and win the money you deserve.” There is a monthly fee.

Scholarship Owl
“Scholarship Owls is an innovative platform designed to dramatically speed up your scholarship application time. All you have to do is fill out one application, and they will do the rest. They will match you with the award opportunities that best match your personality, grades, lifestyle, and more. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, they will take the information from your initial application and put it into the appropriate places on the scholarships of your choice.”

TUN
TUN stands for The University Network. It is a fairly new website. What I like about their scholarship tool is that you can search by GPA, scholarships to apply to by month, state, student interest and what year your student is in school. They also have information on student jobs, a textbook save engine, career advice etc.

MORE SEARCH ENGINES

College Board Scholarship Search
“Use this tool to find scholarships, other financial aid, and internships from more than 2,200 programs, totaling nearly $6 billion. Scholarship information is based on the College Board’s Annual Survey of Financial Aid Programs. Not only does it help you search for scholarships, but also provides loan information, calculators, and information for high school students and the college application process.” 

FinAid Scholarship Search
“FinAid was created by Mark Kantrowitz, a noted financial aid and college planning author. Mark was also publisher of FastWeb, the largest and most popular free scholarship matching service. Previously, he was a research scientist at Just Research, the US software laboratory for Justsystem Corporation of Japan. Mark has earned the praise of numerous college administrators, journalists and students and families for his dedicated work on the FinAid site; also, not surprisingly, he managed to fund his own schooling without spending a single cent of his parents’ money.”

Scholarships.com
“U.S. Department of Labor Search more than 7,500 scholarships, fellowships, grants, and other financial aid award opportunities. You can: 
Look through the whole list of scholarships arranged in order of closest deadline, you can narrow your list with “Search by keyword.” or enter a keyword about the type of award you’re looking for and use the filters to see only awards for certain award types, locations, level of study, and more.”

Books to Read

I highly recommend, as do “experts”, the Ultimate Scholarship Book 2023. I am going through this now and found quite a few in about 20 minutes. What I like about this book is that it is broken down by state, interest and there’s a huge section of just “general”.

I flagged them with post-it notes and added to our scholarship tracker. I write down the name of the scholarship, when they are due, and the amount my sons could earn. Yes, this is a lot of work, but free money works for me!

Have you read my book? Here is the blog post I wrote to go along with it. It includes lots of freebies to print out and use with your teen! There are things that your teen can do to help pay for college, or at least make it easier to get money via scholarships etc…

GOOD LUCK AS YOU FIND MONEY TO PAY FOR COLLEGE!

If you managed to read all of this, you can see that working with your teen and/or college student is all about teamwork. Come up with a schedule of when you both can work on finding scholarships, applying and completing applications. In the beginning, it feels awkward, but once you go through the process a couple of times, it becomes “old hat” and exciting to wait for the results.

So, let me know how it goes! Comment below. I’d love to hear your success stories and of course, please let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help!

Every little bit helps when you are trying to pay for college! I will keep you posted on how my boys and I do with our own search.

Related posts: 

27 Ways to Prepare for College

Our 2 1/2 Rules for Raising Teens

5 Ways to Improve Communication With Your Teen

7 Things to Know If You Love a Teenager

6 Books You Should Read If You Are Parenting Teens!

Looking for a Gift Guide for Different Occasions With Your Teen?

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

Pin for Later!

Find Scholarships to Pay for College|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

FAFSA: 3 Things to Know Right Now!

FAFSA: 3 Things to Know Right Now!

The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Your child’s college career could hinge on this one form.

Do not make the mistake of not filling out the FAFSA! Even if you think you won’t qualify, fill it out.

Filling out this form will determine whether or not your student will receive Federal Student Aid, BUT it will also determine any monies he/she will get from the schools that they apply to as well. Most schools will require you to fill this out, so do it right away.

In other words, the information that is provided when filling out this form could help your family to get more money from different colleges! It is very important that you fill this out for many reasons. The due date is October 1, more on that below…

What is the purpose of the FAFSA?

–The main purpose of the FAFSA is to determine your EFC. This is an acronym for the Expected Family Contribution. This is a number determined by your answers on the FAFSA. It is a calculated number that the government thinks that your family should be able to pay towards your child’s college, not the actual number that you will have to pay… 

–It is most likely that the EFC is going away. This is because it is such a misunderstood term. It is still around until about 2023, and I will keep you posted here!

It will probably be replaced a “student aid index” or SAI. In some ways, SAI is just a new term for a similar calculation. The following link is a bunch of gobbledy-gook about the bill that might change things. Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021

The number we received for our EFC would work if both my husband and I each had full time, high paying jobs, and we lived on pork and beans every night, and never did anything that cost any money! In other words, don’t expect for your EFC to be realistic! This is a whole other blog post topic –how are we going to pay for college?!

Are you looking for answers as you parent teens? Here are more than 50 posts with all sorts of parenting situations and answers for you…

When should you fill out the FAFSA?

–You need to fill out the FAFSA–no matter what! And, fill it out in a timely manner. In other words, do this on the due date, again, this date is October 1.

Yes, it does determine the need based federal aid money for students who need it. But, it also helps schools determine the money that they give out for merit based aid. This is FREE money for your student.

Schools give out the money on a first come, first serve basis, so if you want any chance of merit based aid, fill that puppy out.

–The FAFSA is NOT JUST for need based aid. We thought about not filling it out because we knew that we would not qualify for the need based aid. But, by just filling out the FAFSA, my son receives $1000 off of his yearly tuition. Even if he qualified for no other scholarships, they reward this amount for filling out the form! Check with your child’s college and see if there is a similar situation. Aid is often determined by the numbers that you put on this form. I will say it again, fill out the FAFSA!

–After the FAFSA is filled out, each college starts rewarding their merit based aid. This is determined by the FAFSA, GPA, and various other factors such as ACT/SAT scores and strength of resumes. This is where hard work during high school both in class and out will really help! Your student will start to hear back from colleges after they have applied. Each school will send out letters of acceptance and denial.

–In acceptance letters, colleges will include their financial aid package. These could just be estimates, so read carefully. Keep track of all offers, and use them to get colleges to compete with each other to get your student to attend their particular school. A financial aid package can be appealed and should be, if your child really wants one school, but got a better package from another, let their favored school know. This is expected and it can work!

–As your child finishes up the first semester of their senior year, send updates of their GPA and resume to each school for which they have applied. It is still early in the game, and this can help with a better financial aid package. If there a life changing experience  has occurred, such as:  divorce, a death in the family or some sort of accident, let the school know. This is information schools need that could make a difference to the bottom line!

Pin for later!

Fill out the FAFSA!

How to fill out the FAFSA:

–FIRST, go to Fafsa.ed.gov and create a FSA ID for both you and your child. Then, fill out the FAFSA4caster. This will give you an idea of how to fill out the actual form when it is time. It will also give you an idea of all of the information you will need for filling out the dang thing! You will need your federal tax information, social security number, W2s, and any asset information. Filling out the 4caster will give you an idea of aid eligibility for decision making. Do this now, as in after you finish reading this blog post.

–SECOND, when you are ready, log back into the FAFSA website, and get this form filled out so that you can submit it any time after it is released, which is OCTOBER 1. It is a process, and not something that you want to think that you can do quickly some evening! Take your time. You might wait a week or two to complete it, maybe mid-October for the kinks to get worked out the first couple of weeks that it is available.

–DO NOT make any errors on the FAFSA! Triple check and then check again that you have entered everything on the form correctly. Have your spouse or significant other check it as well, a new pair of eyes can catch mistakes that you have overlooked the first 3 times that you checked for mistakes. Mistakes will lead to delays in your child receiving financial aid.

–Your child does not have to decide on a school at the time that you fill out the FAFSA, but fill it out anyway ON TIME. Here is a link with due dates for you to refer to. Once you have filled out the FAFSA for your oldest, then you will have to continue to re-submit yearly. (This is so that the government can check your child’s eligibility status, which will change if your finances change or you have more than one kid in college!)

–You can start the FAFSA and save your progress, if you need to stop for some reason. This is a nice feature. Because it does take a while to fill out!

There is a renewal option with some categories which will be pre-populated, but check all of this information carefully and make sure that it is all up-to-date. Most of the new info needed will be based on taxes paid.

Once the FAFSA is filled out, be sure that the colleges of choice are notified that you have submitted the complete form. This is also a good time to check each college’s website for admissions requirements and scholarship opportunities at the school. You really need to dig for this information sometimes, but is worth the extra effort. Every penny that your child is given is one less out of your pocket, or your child’s.

** Be sure that you fill out the FAFSA each fall that you have a student planning to attend college the following year.

CSS Profile

Another form you may need to fill out is the CSS Profile, https://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile. This asks for lots more information than the FAFSA, but is necessary for many private colleges. This is how they decide to distribute their non-federal aid, in other words, merit based aid. It is $25 for the first college you have to submit this to, and $16 for each college after. I will say, we didn’t have to do this for my son who is attending a private school.

He received a much larger financial aid package from this private school than the local state school–many thousands more, so filling this out might be helpful, if they require it. Make sure it’s necessary before filling it out though.)

I will say that, in my opinion, getting student loans may not be worth it in the end. Is a gap year for better finances an option? Outside scholarships are great, but start looking before senior year. Weigh all of the options and do the math.

Will their major and work experience by the end of college provide your teen with a job that will give them the income needed to pay back their loans?

That is the low down on the FAFSA. It is not something to ignore or forget. It will make a difference to what your family will have to pay.

Fill the FAFSA out every year because financial aid is determined yearly.

Other helpful posts:

How To Plan A College Budget With Your Teen

You Have An 18 Year Old: Be Aware Of These Little-Known Facts

27 Great Books For A Young Adult to Read For Success 

Best Tips for Applying to College

How Will We Pay For College?

29 Ways to Prepare For College

What Will My Teen Really Need in the Dorm?

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure to visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube where I share lots of helpful info for parents of tweens and teens! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

Pin for later!

Fill out the FAFSA!

How To Get Ready For College: 7 Things To Know!

How To Get Ready For College: 7 Things To Know!

How to get ready for college -that is a question easily answered with conversations that you can have with your child over their teenage years!

As we got our kids ready for leaving high school, it looked different for our olderst two boys so far. Because there is so much to know, I wrote about how to get ready for college using conversations with your teens.

Have you got a teen or two in your house? For awhile, we had three teenage boys. Our oldest two are now in their 20s, and we have survived so far.

One thing that we have used in our parenting journey is conversation. It has helped us to answer the question, “How to get ready for college?” Lots of talking  about lots of topics. Here’s a link to another post, 5 Ways to Improve Communication With Your Teen.

Pin for later!

How to get ready for college|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

College Bound came about as a way for me to give back to other parents. My husband and I struggled to find our way parenting our teens with no real road map in our hands.

There is no “what to expect” when your teen is 13 or 15 or 18….! We also wondered about the answers for, “How to get ready for college?”

We stumbled onto a system of having regular conversations with our teens. It has really worked for each of our boys, and they are all as different as they can be.

Grab the Conversation freebies here! I realized since publishing my book that I left out the questions and conversation starters for the end of each conversation-ugggh! So, here is a link to that list of questions. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Did we use magic in this process of getting ready for college?

Many of you might scratch your head and wonder how it is that we got our teenage boys to talk. It was not magic, if that’s what you’re wondering.

We started these “talks” when the boys were younger, always around the time that their grades arrived home. This occurred about every six weeks. You too, can talk to your teens.

The beauty of this system was that it happened regularly. The boys knew that when their grades came home, we would soon be setting up a time to meet with each of them one-on-one.

(And, just so you know, our expectations were that they get all As and Bs. The occasional C was only ok if they were trying their hardest in a subject that was hard for them.)  They knew that whether or not we were pleased with their grades, a meeting would occur.

It was amazing how many times we had to tell them to do better in school-still do to this day! It was a good and regular interval of time to have these conversations. Our teens could talk about all sorts of things that were going on in their lives at that particular time in their lives.

Keep in mind that my husband and I are not parenting experts. Far from it. However, we have gotten one kid out of his teens and out of college. Another has finished his associate’s degree, and our baby is a sophomore in high school.

This has been a fun, but challenging journey. I hope that some of what has worked for us will work for you!

If you are looking for other tips for parenting teens, check out this round-up post of more than 50 posts with all sorts of parenting subjects!

How to get ready for college or whatever else is to come

I broke College Bound into 14 conversations. They range in topics from setting up a college budget, obtaining letters of recommendation, contacting colleges with questions to finding scholarships, and more.

Each chapter covers a conversation, why each is important, different things to think about, and how to talk about each topic.

There are many other conversations with your teens that need to occur, but for the sake of the book, these topics were the ones I felt were the most important when thinking about college and life prep.

Award for Top 10 Finalist for Advice Book|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Will these topics matter if my child decides not to attend college?

Yes. All of these topics matter because if your child decides to go into the military, get a job, or go to trade school a resume will always be a good thing to leave high school with. Grades and test scores will matter. Maybe not to the degree as getting into college, but the real world is competitive.

The better your teen looks coming out of high school compared to the next guy who is applying for the same program, the better their chances for getting that job or higher rank or whatever!

Have you grabbed my high school parent toolkit yet? It is a blueprint for staying organized through all four high school years! Get it here!

Isn’t a lot of this common sense?

A lot of it IS common sense. When we first started out in these teen years with our oldest, the amount of things that we did not know was overwhelming.

This book was born out of frustration with not knowing what to ask or even who to ask about parenting teens or how to get ready for college. Counselors at high schools are awesome, but totally overworked. They are also usually trying to help those kids with no support systems in place.

It seemed like other parents had the same questions as we had. So, between my husband and I, we started researching and asking questions to anyone who looked like they might have an answer. I read books, Googled a lot of things, and we both asked parents with older teens what had worked for them.

Have lots of conversations with your teens!

We talked with our kids a lot. Note the use of “with” and not “to”. Of course, there were times that we did talk to our kids, but we really wanted to engage them in conversation.

There were times that it seemed like our conversations were going nowhere fast, but then one of the boys would make a decision that made sense. Or one of them would tell us something that gave us a glimpse into the fact that maybe we were making some sort of headway into this parenting thing.

Parenting teens is NOT for the faint of heart. It takes consistency, patience, and stamina to say the least. Remember that many, if not all, of these conversations will need to take place gradually. Start where you are.

Having conversations with teens is not for the faint of heart!

If none of these topics have been discussed before, then choose one. Talk with your spouse or significant other first to make sure you are in agreement or at least know where you each stand.

Teens are super smart and will be able to tell if you guys are not of the same mind. They will use this to their advantage every time, so be prepared!

Do not try to talk about all of this at once! Have discussions a little at a time, and spread them out. It would be really easy to overwhelm both you and your teen.

The key is to just start.

Just because your teen might not be talking to you at this moment, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start these conversations. Try to find some common ground. Call a truce. Talk about starting this in the context of making plans.

Most teens are wanting to talk about the future, they are feeling lots of mixed emotions. They are scared, excited, overwhelmed, and usually have many questions if given the right situation.

These conversations with your teens are for them to start the process of preparing to leave your home. These are all topics that need to be covered in most situations.

Set some goals together. Make the time. Remember not to lecture, but have discussions. Let your teen talk and ask questions. Try not to interrupt.

[Reset Your Relationship is a course I developed for parents of tweens and teens. It will provide you with tools you need to reconnect with your teen. Simple and easy-to-implement strategies that will get you back on the right track with your teen. It is natural for your teen to want some privacy and to start pulling away. You can put limits on that and still stay in a close relationship! Check it out here!]

My teen thinks that they know it all…

I feel your pain. Have them do some research about the thing or things of which they are trying to convince you. This has worked for us, a lot. We had one son, who really thought he knew a lot about a lot.

He is super smart, but through his research online and asking around, he realized that maybe we knew a few things as well. This was something that we let him discover over time on his own.

We also have learned so much about parenting teens. Our teens were smarter and more responsible than we had given them credit for. Patience was something that we had to use in all of these conversations.

We learned how and when to shelf a discussion for later without everyone getting mad–not always, but most of the time. There is also the fact that our teens have so much going on in their lives, that they really appreciated these times to debrief and make plans.

Try to have some conversations with your teens!

Set up a time to have a conversation with your teen. Let them know when and why you are wanting to do this. Tell them that there will be time for them to talk about things that they want to talk about as well.

Start out short and sweet. See what works, and what doesn’t. Each child and each conversation will be different. Take notes. Try again soon. Grab my book, College Bound now!

You will hopefully find that your relationship with your teen will improve. It won’t always be great, but in general, your kids will talk more in every day situations than they used to. They will have more questions.

Teens want to plan for their own future, and you will find out that it is really fun to do this! Grab my three freebies for this system here. They are:

1. Template for keeping notes from each conversation.

2. Conversation starters.

3. Tips for success when starting this plan.

Download these freebies to help talk with your teen about college

There may be more going on with your teen than you think. Talking with them will hopefully help to bridge that gap, if there is one, between you and your teen.

If there is more going on than you can handle, here is the link to a good post about your teen and drugs. If you think that your teen may be depressed, check out this link for more information.

Share any ideas that you have that might help the rest of us! About parenting or how to get ready for college or anything! I can’t wait to hear what works for you. Remember to get College Bound here.

Related posts: 

Do you have an 18 year old? Here’s what you need to know!

29 Ways To Prepare for College

Our 2 1/2 Rules for Raising Teens,

5 Ways to Improve Communication With Your Teen,

7 Things to Know If You Love a Teenager  and

6 Books You Should Read If You Are Parenting Teens!

Looking for a Gift Guide for Different Occasions With Your Teen?

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure to visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube where I share lots of helpful info for parents of tweens and teens! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

Pin for later!

How to get ready for college|www.parentinghighschoolers.com