Educational planning is the process of preparing for your post-secondary education. Effective educational planning enables you to make a smooth transition from high school to college, further technical education or military service. A good educational plan will provide you and your family with a map of your future education and career goals.

When to Begin Educational Planning

What is educational planning? That is a question that parents and students answer within their planning for college and technical training. With accelerated programs starting in middle school now, educational planning can begin as early as middle school. Parents, administrators and teachers can help middle school students take advanced courses with educational goals in mind. Carefully planning middle and high school coursework can help prepare yourself for college. Many students miss important educational opportunities because they delay in making important educational decisions.

Choosing The Right School

The definition of educational planning varies by each student's needs but one of the most important decisions you will make in this process is deciding which college or technical school to attend in preparation for a career. You must decide which school will provide the best training for the profession you have chosen. Other important issues are whether the school you are interested in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency and if the school will be a good fit for your personal interests and talents.

Financial Considerations

A college education requires significant financial expenditures each year you are in school. If you wait until registration day to think about how you are going to pay for your education, you will find yourself facing a serious financial problem. The high cost of a college education makes effective educational planning imperative. Prospective students must consider the cost of tuition, books, housing, lab fees and vehicle expenses over the entire period they plan to be in school.

Application for School

Successful application to college requires thorough advance planning. Interested students must consider admission requirements, financial aid possibilities and any dual enrollment courses taken during high school. Most colleges also have application and financial aid deadlines that must be met for your application to be considered for your first term. An additional major concern when applying for acceptance to college are any undergraduate admission tests you must complete before your application can be considered to be complete.

College Application Essay

Colleges require that you submit an original essay that provides the admission review staff with information about yourself. Part of the definition of educational planning looks at the college application essay. The essay allows colleges to become better acquainted with you as a prospective student separate from the objective information you provided on your college application forms. Your essay may discuss significant experiences that have shaped your life or serious personal challenges you have faced. Other acceptable topics include diversity, significant accomplishments or important people who have affected your life.

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