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I have a few memories of going on several tours once I picked my university. There was the initial tour - the one that sealed the deal and made me think that particular institute was the one to go to. And then, after I was accepted, there were several other tour weekends, in which I learned more about the program I was interested in and attended seminars about subjects I would need to know about before classes started in the fall.

I really only remember one seminar: The one on financial aid. It stands out because it was standing room only, the woman who ran it was extremely frank when talking to parents, and she repeated the main advice several times: I don't care what else you remember from my talk as long as you fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid.)

It turns out that a lot of new students still need to hear that advice. One recent study found that incoming college freshman don't have enough information about finan.... That's a scary thought when you consider how expensive higher education can be.

The year before I started college, my Mom bought me one of those directories of grants and scholarships, and I spent hours reading over the requirements, filling out applications and mailing them in (nothing was online then). It was a lot of work, but it was worth it when some of those efforts paid off and I got more money than we initially thought I would.

I am sure that by the time my son goes to school the process will be completely different from my time, or even compared to students going through it now. However, I feel like there is something to be said about arming yourself with as much information as possible as a student, especially since the price tag has only increased over the years.

Do you have a teen currently navigating the college entrance process? What tips do you have for other families to survive it? Share with me in the comments.

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