Juniors, begin college planning here

The college planning process starts earlier than it did a decade ago, with high school juniors in the thick of the college search before summer even hits. If there's an 11th grader in your family, you'll want to make sure you start thinking about higher education plans now by reviewing our list below. We've laid out the tasks to complete this spring with your child that will help you both get a handle on the admissions process and start planning for the future. Selecting a college is a big decision, with many crucial steps, but it's also a fun one. Try to enjoy the ride as much as possible.

Put these items on your to-do list for the next few months:

    • Check out our Applying to College web page. It explains the timing of the process, and describes the different types and components of the college application

    • Create an email address that both the student and parents can access, and use it for the entire college admissions and financial aid process. Make sure it's professional and includes the student's, not the parent's, name

    • Determine a shelf, drawer, or other central location in your home for paperwork related to the college search, including pamphlets, handouts from the high school, and mail

    • Have the student register for an account in MEFA Pathway to organize the college list, keep track of applications, and search for scholarships

    • Start researching schools online by exploring college websites and using tools such as the College Navigator

    • Check to see when colleges are visiting the high school and make appointments to meet with school representatives

    • Use school breaks to visit campuses. Read our tips before you go

    • Check the ACT® and SAT® schedules and make sure to have the student register for a test this spring

    • If available, set up a meeting with the school counselor for both the parent and student to discuss college plans and ask questions

If you have questions about applying to college, or want to talk through the process with someone, give us a call or email us. We're available at (800) 449-MEFA (6332) and