Even though it may or may not be time for your child to pack up and head off to college, you can start planning for their experience now. One way is to set students up to earn scholarships to help pay their way through school. It can be easy to look at the cost of college and quickly decide that it’s not an option, well, that’s just not true. There are many things that can be done to earn a degree that is debt free. 

If you aren’t of age yet to go to college, you can begin to build your accomplishments resume. This is a list of all of the grades, awards, clubs, volunteer opportunities that you have accomplished. Does your list look short? Take the summer to get involved and beef up your list. You can also pick up the book Debt-Free Degree: The Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans by Anthony O’Neal. This book can give you a headstart in planning for college.  

Did you know that people are actually begging to give you money for college? That’s right, but you have to believe that you will qualify. Step one is to fill out the FAFSA application (The Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This could earn you free money that you won’t have to pay back. Just be sure to read each offer carefully to make sure that you aren’t accepting a loan by mistake. Just visit the FAFSA website. This will give you an idea of how much you will need to earn in outside scholarships. 

Ready to apply for scholarships? Luckily, the internet can help you find as many scholarships as possible. is a good place to start. Make filling out scholarship applications your full-time job. Set a goal of filling out somewhere between 100-300 applications prior to attending college. Once you are in, you can keep working to earn more scholarships as you go. 

College not for you? That’s okay. College is not the route for everyone. You can look into trade schools and training programs provided by companies that plan to hire the trainees after they complete the training program. This can save money and create a job opportunity quickly. 

It’s never too early to begin planning out your child’s future. The sky is truly the limit.

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