College Comes Quickly!

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I still remember what it was like during the stressful and (somewhat chaotic) college search process, and how it was not just hard for me but my single dad as well. As a current undergraduate at the University of Southern California (USC), I have learned quite a few things about what I should have done with my Dad before choosing a college.

I still remember what it was like during the stressful and (somewhat chaotic) college search process, and how it was not just hard for me but my single dad as well. As a current undergraduate at the University of Southern California (USC), I have learned quite a few things about what I should have done with my Dad before choosing a college.

Ignore the Sticker Price
Like my father, the majority of parents want to know exactly what each university charges for tuition. Now I know what I’m about to say may seem shocking, but ignore the sticker price. Although tuition is a significant factor when helping your son or daughter select their future alma mater, you should first place your focus on a school’s four-year graduation rate. Do at least half of all freshmen graduate in four years or less from your child’s first or second choice? If not, you and your child will most likely have to pay for an additional year of tuition and possibly increase your financial aid package. By referencing a university’s graduation rate, you will help your child find a college that will keep them on the four year track and leave school with less financial debt.

Don’t Panic – Financial Aid
Your child has just been accepted into their dream school, and you now must decide how you are going to pay for tuition. Hopefully, you and your child have already sat down together and completed the FAFSA form. FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid is what colleges use to determine a student’s eligibility for federal aid and should be one of your first steps in the financial aid process. You should also immediately contact the university’s financial aid office. Each university offers a significant amount of financial aid and scholarship money, and you and your child will want to know exactly how much financial assistance is available to you. If you think you are not eligible for financial aid, DON’T WORRY! There are literally thousands of scholarships available to students based on multiple criteria.

Speak with Current Students
During my time in college, I have found that some of the best information I received about USC came from my classmates and peers. Because they sleep in the dorms and interact with the professors, college students are experts on the subject of their respective campus and specific major(s). Make an effort then on the campus tour to ask a couple students (and not the tour guides) what they think about their university. The majority of students will not only gladly answer your questions but more importantly provide a real perspective on what it would be like for your son or daughter to be attending the university. If you are unable to travel or want to save money from flying across the country to visit college campuses, there are several online resources or official university websites where you can literally have you and your child’s questions answered by current undergraduates.

College Career Center
While it is up to your child to decide what he or she wants to major in, you as the parent should help your son or daughter choose a university that will allow them to become successful in their chosen career path. Gauge your child’s future success by speaking with a university’s career counselor. The office of career counseling will tell you what students are doing after they graduate, who hires them and what opportunities lie ahead for your child after earning their degree in a specific major.

Don’t Let Up
As the product of a single parent household, I remember how hard it was for my sole parent to raise three children and successfully send them off to college. Caretaker, breadwinner, tutor, cheerleader and disciplinarian, being a single parent (especially a single dad) with a child about to enter college is not easy but you can never let up. Your son or daughter depends on you to push them to their absolute potential and start the college search process early rather than later.

Blake Spiers Blake Spiers co-founded AskAboutCollege.com with best friend, Brian Hosokawa, out of his dorm room at the University of Southern California (USC) in 2007. Inspired by his own college experience, Blake wanted to create the ultimate resource where prospective college students can actually find Real answers to their important college questions. As co-founder, Blake is responsible for the day-to-day operations and the recruitment of new high school and college student users to the site.

Richard JaramilloRichard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”

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Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com, a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children. RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents “Make Life Happen…Again!”