6 Great College Resolutions for the New Year

Last Updated Jan 6, 2011 11:58 AM EST

If you've got teenagers at home, start 2011 off right with these six great college resolutions. Taking these Two champagne glassesresolutions seriously can save you time, heartache and money.

1. Do your research.

If money is an issue, students should apply to schools where they enjoy a good chance of receiving need-based aid or merit scholarships. Here are easy ways to research colleges:

Researching Colleges in 10 Minutes
Reading the Mind of a College Admission Officer

2. Don't depend on your child's high school counselor.

You will have to do most of the college research yourself since high school counselors aren't trained in college planning. Strange but true! Here's why:

High School Counselors: The Weakest Link

3. Start seriously saving for college.

I've find it surprising that even many affluent parents that I've met have saved very little for college. Start the year by setting up an automatic savings account for college -it's never too late. If your teen has a job, I'd recommend that he or she sets aside 50% of every paycheck for college expenses.

4. Don't worry about college accounts jeopardizing financial aid.

I've talked to many parents, mostly dads, who are angry that their college savings will jeopardize financial aid. But that's hardly ever true. Here's why:

Why Saving For College Won't Hurt Financial Aid Chances

5. Apply for financial aid.

Many parents worry that applying for financial aid will hurt their admission chances. Just the act of applying won't hurt. Here's why:

Should You Apply for Financial Aid?

6. Make sure your teen is ready for college.

Many parents focus on getting their teens into college rather than making sure that their children are well prepared to succeed in college.The latter is far more important.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog.
College resolutions image by nlmAdestiny. CC 2.0.