Our First Podcast! Parenting High Schoolers

I just listened to our first podcast on SpotifyParenting High Schoolers.

Okay, we need an intro and we had a couple of rough spots (minute 19 when Ann went silent), but we did it!  Overall, I’d say we are off to a good start. Our first episode is talking about basic financial terms.  (We now have more than one episode.)

Read on and we’ll tell you all about it!

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We first mention our High School Survival Kit.

We created this toolkit for you.  Mel and I both wish we had something like this when our kids were in school.   Just having a simple guide to keep you and your student on track while you manage the chaos. You can download by grade or all of them for the 4 years.

This kit has all the essential cheatsheets you need to use as your child goes through each grade. So, after you listen or before, download your toolkit!!

If you want to listen to the entire podcast- Here is a link to Spotify or just look up Parenting High Schoolers where you listen to podcasts.

If you want to skip the intro, read below to get which minute applies to you!

5 basic terms you and your child should know when applying for college/vocational school

1Federal Application for Student Aid or FAFSA. Click here to learn how to complete this form. The first time takes the longest because you have to create ID’s for you as the parent and for your student. Then all you need to have is last year’s tax information. Overall, it takes about 20-30 minutes to complete.

An IRS link is available to use for most parents which will pre-populate your financial information. FAFSA can be completed beginning October 1st of each year.  Aid will be rewarded in the order that the forms are received, so don’t put this off.  You choose which colleges/tech schools the FAFSA information will be sent to.  Every school has a budget so, complete your FAFSA early.  This will give you a better chance for money.

2. EFC Expected Family Contribution- After you complete the FAFSA, the EFC will be calculated. For most of us, it will make you laugh out loud (or cry).  In simplest terms- it is a calculation that projects your “financial strength” and how much the government believes you can contribute towards the cost of college. Click here for more information.

3. COACost of Attendance is the “average” cost to attend for one academic year- fall through spring. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses.  Colleges adjust the COA yearly to reflect changes to these costs.  You can find this on any college’s website.

4. CSS ProfileThis is like the FAFSA, but it’s for private schools. College Board website is where it is housed. It is for non-federal aid and is used for over 400 colleges, universities and professional schools. It gives the school a clearer picture of financial need.  The school will let you know if you need to fill this out.

5. ScholarshipsEssentially this is FREE money. There are several places to look for scholarships to help offset the cost of college or vocational schools. Check out our Resource page for helpful websites and links where you can find scholarships.

Listen by Grade Level

Freshman Year (minute 12:40)

Start having conversations about college and the above mentioned financial terms.  Go to a college website and look up Cost of Attendance. See if they offer scholarships.  Now is the time to talk big picture of going to college and all that is involved.  Use our Potential Colleges list in the toolkit. 

Sophomore Year (minute 13:41)

The summer before your child enters sophomore year, visit a college or tech school.  Junior year is busy! So, spend a weekday or weekend and visit a college.  Use the tool below to get some ideas on college and tech schools. Check out my video below.

College Navigator

Check out a video I made via Loom

 Use our College Checklist to take notes. 


Junior Year (minute 15:39)

College visits should be in full swing! Use our College Checklist

Start applying for scholarships. To keep it easy, apply to one each month. Read our related blog post here.


Also, if your child is an athlete, have them register with NCAA.  NCAA will give you  an idea what division your child can play and what classes they will need to take in high school. This information will help plan your senior year. 

Senior Year (minute 17:49)

College applications are due in the Fall. In the Spring, your child will be receiving acceptance letters and award packages.  Now it’s time to use our Cost of Attendance Worksheet. Sit down and decide was is the best fit for you and your child.

Once your child is accepted, it doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to look for scholarships.  Scholarships are available while your child attends school. So keep looking!



Also, another tip is to send  updated transcripts once you’ve decided which college you want to attend. Most schools use grades from junior year and money is awarded in tiers typically. First tier maybe GPA. Second is based on ACT/SAT scores.   Tell your child  to continue to do well in school because there maybe more money available! 


Take Aways
Talk about money and your budget.
Download the parent toolkit
Visit colleges/tech schools.
Look for scholarships!

We hope this was helpful! Please share with your friends!

Related posts:  How Will We Pay for College Next Year, What Are the Most Helpful Items in a Dorm Room?, and How to Plan a Budget with Your College Bound Senior 


2 thoughts on “Our First Podcast! Parenting High Schoolers”

    • Thank you! We are trying our best to reach anyone with teens. Ann and I both were at a loss when we first had teens. We would love for you to share our info!

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