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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth La Porte

Financial Checklist for College-Bound Students

Updated: Jul 1, 2019

Hello Parents,

I hope you are enjoying a relaxing summer, but, guess what?  It's also a good time for your teen to be working toward completing his/her college applications (including extracurricular activities) before the busy senior year begins. 

Summer is a good time, as well, to take stock of financial issues.  With spiraling college and living costs, there's no time like the present to talk about money with your kids.  You can help them become more financially savvy by following these 5 tips.

1. HOW TO GET YOUR TEEN TO BALANCE A BUDGET Before your student leaves home, create a practice budget together and see how it works over time. Decide how much (and who will pay for) food, telephone, transportation, books?  Clarity will empower your teen to take the initiative both to spend and to save wisely. Here's a fast, free, and easy-to-use budgeting spreadsheet.

2. YOU MUST SUBMIT THE FAFSA TO GET ANY MONEY.  IT'S REQUIRED. In order for students to receive financial aid of any kind, they must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid every year they attend college, so, why not break out the chips n' dip and fill out the form together?  It's a good time to share the bigger picture of your family's finances, and it may even lead to talking about potential careers and majors.  I recommend filing on October 1 to get the most benefit.  For guidance filing your FASFA, contact us.

3. SHOULD YOU CONTACT THE FINANCIAL AID OFFICE? Yes! Colleges award scholarships and grants (free money) to both high school and current college students who do well academically.  Always review the college's financial aid web page and speak with the school's financial aid office before and while your student is enrolled.  Find out about department scholarships and other awards which may not be highly publicized. Knowing there are available scholarships can help keep your student motivated and focused.  Make sure to avoid these 12 FAFSA mistakes.

4. DO YOU HAVE A TAX-FREE STRATEGY? Compound interest is the best thing since . . . kale?  Show your child the high returns on interest when beginning to save early in life. Open a ROTH Individual Retirement Account and grow your savings tax-free, even into retirement.  Another option is a 529 College Saving Plan, an investment account offering tax-free earnings (only) when the funds are withdrawn to pay for education.  

5. WELLNESS AND PREVENTIVE CARE Though students up to the age of 26 can now remain on your health insurance plan, it is still a good idea to find out ahead of time the school's policies regarding medical care. Make sure your teen knows how and with whom to make a doctor's appointment, order a prescription, and get help with depression or anxiety issues. The Mayo Clinic has some excellent suggestions about how to identify   symptoms of depression as well as how to get help.

REGISTER: SMALL-GROUP FINANCIAL AID WORKSHOPS For a more individualized understanding of financial aid, scholarships, and savings plans, enroll in one of our Small-Group Financial Aid Workshops. This experience is designed for groups of up to eight parents to receive a more personalized overview of financial aid, a break-down of college costs, affordable college options, and to ask individual questions.  Contact us for more information.

REGISTER: THE COLLEGE ESSAY WORKSHOP Lafayette Library, July 29-Aug 11, 2019 Finish your UC and Common App essays before school starts!  Enroll today in The College Essay Workshop, a fun, innovative four-day workshop taking place at the Lafayette Library.   

Monday, July 29, 10am-2pm Friday, August 2, 10am-2pm Saturday, August 10, 10am-2pm Sunday, August 11, 10am-2pm

The College Essay Workshop is our practical and innovative four-day curricular program offering personalized college essay instruction for students interested in working toward finishing their applications in August.  Students will walk away with strong drafts and even finalized essays.  They will:

Review successful UC, Common App, and Supplemental essays and learn what works and why.

Brainstorm topics and engage in a fun writing exercises designed to bring out your natural voice and personal style.

Work in teams and receive whole class and individual feedback and support.

The Essay Workshop is conveniently located in the Lafayette Library’s Oak Room. Light refreshments will be provided.

Call 650-766-0969 or email us to register or for more information. Enrollment is limited to 12, so that we can assure each student receives a high level of instruction and individual guidance.  

Sign up with a friend, and you'll both receive ten percent off the cost of tuition. Tuition: $875 Thanks for reading and please forward to a friend!


Liz La Porte is an experienced college counselor and credentialed high school English teacher whose students have been accepted to Stanford, Harvard, UCB, Duke, Columbia and others. A California native, she attended Swarthmore College and UC Berkeley; Liz founded La Porte Education Advising, her educational counseling practice, in 2011.

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