College Planning

Helping Your Child Get a Jump on Planning for College

Planning for college while your child is in high school can provide them with an advantage when applying for their first-choice university. Instilling a love of learning in your young child gives them a head start in life. There are also a few things you can do as they get older to help them start planning for college and a career. 

Planning for College in High School

Planning your child's college education while they're still in high school encompasses many things. But before you get knee-deep in financial aid, SATs, and applications, it's equally important to help them explore career paths during these pre-college years.

Laying the Groundwork for a College Major

Colleges today look at a student's accomplishments from all four years of high school, which is why you don't want to wait until your child's senior year to begin planning for college. For example, colleges today want to see well-rounded applicants who engage in a variety of extracurricular activities. As a parent, you can work with your child his or her freshman year of high school by discussing activities that you feel they have a natural interest or ability in. This could include sports, student government, the arts, etc. If they're having difficulty selecting an activity, speak to a school counselor who may be able to suggest something based on your child's skills, goals, and career path.

Elect to Take Electives

Once your child reaches their junior or senior year, they may also want to consider taking electives at the local community college. These types of courses can be helpful in gauging your child's interest and aptitude in certain fields of study. Internships are also a great way to explore a career.

Job Shadowing to Prepare for College

Another good way to learn more about potential career paths, is to have your child job shadow you or other family members, giving them a real-world perspective about jobs and the different types of workplaces. It can also help them narrow college choices down to selections that specialize in certain areas, and even help them identify which electives to take in high school. Why is it so important to have exposure to different career options early on? Because, having a clear end goal in mind can help motivate students to work hard toward a goal, and to stay on focused and on track.

In fact, according to ACT, a curriculum and standards-based educational and career planning tool that assesses students' academic readiness for college, few high school graduates are taking the time to select a major that best suits them. Yet students who select majors that match their interests are more likely to stick with it and finish their degrees on time.

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Helping High School Students Prepare for College

College is a huge investment of both time and money. This is why it's never too early for your child to begin planning for college. In addition to good grades, it's about being as well-rounded as possible and laying the groundwork to explore career paths and majors that might appeal to your child. For more information, visit the Protective Life Learning Center.


All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax-related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit www.protective.com.

Companies and organizations linked from Learning Center articles have no affiliation with Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

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