Attending college can be an arduous task that discourages people.

For parents who have not attended college within the past ten years, they might find themselves lost in the process of helping their children apply. Nowadays, college is a process that starts well in advance preferably from the birth of the child. If you as a parent or student have not started the process, do not worry. Every month we will cover different areas that are crucial during this process.
For elementary students, parents need to speak with a financial officer, accountant, banker, or tax expert who is knowledgeable about their family needs and the necessities for college. The sooner you create a banking account for your child, the more financially advantaged he/she will be when it comes to choosing a college.
For middle school students and parents, the focus should be selecting a career that sparks an interest in the child. The student should start visiting occupations that may interest them or attend career fairs like the one we have at Tucson International Academy. Even though the student may not choose a career path at this point, a general idea would guide him/her towards the right college.
Freshman and sophomore students need to plan their high school classes with the right college in mind. All colleges will require the basic general courses such as four years in Mathematics and English Language Arts, two years of Social Studies and Science, and two years of Foreign Language, etc. Certain colleges however, may require specialty classes such as Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, etc. Freshman and sophomore students should keep college requirement in mind when choosing their High School courses.
Junior students should be well prepared for the several tests (PSAT, SAT, & ACT) throughout the year related to college. Certain fees will apply for these tests yet students can talk to their high school councilors to find out whether they qualify for fee waivers or not. There are various websites that offer free online practice tests. We will cover these in the near future.
As for senior students, this will be the most important year of your high school. By now, you should have already narrowed down your college choices. Keep in mind that if you have not applied to a college yet, you must do so now! At this point, you should be working out a plan with your parents/guardians as to how to pay for college rather than which college you are applying.
Preparing for college can be a monstrous task if taken lightly. But with the right plan, we can all demystify the process.

Miguel Montemayor
Tucson International Academy