One Step Closer

18 Steps to Your Child's College Success

Bullet PointEstablish a 529 plan for your child prior to birth and encourage friends and family to celebrate your new arrival by investing in their college savings fund.

Bullet PointEncourage your baby to communicate emotions and needs through baby sign language. For many children it reduces frustration and strengthens bonding with adults. Find the basics online.

Bullet PointPlay recordings and make music with your toddler. Music develops beginning math skills such as counting, sequences, order, and tempo. The inevitable dancing, hopping, and twirling builds motor skills, as does home based rhythm instruments such as pots and pans.

Bullet PointPlanting and tending carrots, sunflowers or tomatoes with your child is a great way to teach environmental awareness and explore the workings of nature.

Bullet PointEncourage a sense of self by chalk outlining your child on pavement or butcher paper having them add the special features as they see themselves. Surprise Grandma and Grandpa with a newspaper stuffed, life-sized surrogate grandchild to keep them company.

Bullet PointTeach financial responsibility to your child by establishing an allowance. Make sure there is enough to share with the piggy bank. 50 cents to one dollar per year of age is a general rule of thumb.

Bullet PointBegin a permanent library with your child’s favorite book and add a new book for each celebration throughout the year. Be sure to go back to the early books with your child.

Bullet PointTeach your child to set financial goals by matching their saved fund toward something they want. Make deposit day at the bank a special outing. Encourage relatives to gift to the child’s college savings account for birthday gift giving.

Bullet PointDevelop leadership and organizational skills by having your child plan a Saturday afternoon family outing including the budget for the excursion.

Bullet PointIntroduce the concept of investment with your child. Show them how their college savings account or other investment grows over time. Explain that their future is your greatest investment.

Bullet PointIntroduce community involvement by helping you child find ways to serve community such as neighborhood clean-up, passing out water at charitable walks, volunteering to write get well cards, or reading at a nursing home. Show them by example, the joy of service.

Bullet PointHave the family read a new book of interest to the child monthly. Discuss the book during “family meal time”. Biographies of successful individuals in areas of the child’s interests work well.

Bullet PointCheck with your child’s school to ensure that your child is ready to take algebra or another higher level mathematics course by 8th grade. Mathematics skills and appropriately sequenced courses are critical for college admission and early graduation.

Bullet PointHelp your teenager explore career paths by setting up experiences at friend’s or relative’s workplaces. Explore online with the teen the education and income from these careers and talk about the lifestyle each provides.

Bullet PointWork with the school counselor to ensure that child is on track for 4 credits Math, 4 credits science, 3 credits language and consider the possibility of your teen graduating and entering college early.

Bullet PointEncourage your teenager to take the PSAT as a Sophomore. Explore International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement (AP) and community college dual enrollment possibilities. The savings from compressing the time in college are surprising, when additional income earnings are considered.

Bullet PointResearching colleges and scholarship programs with your teenager (resources: Fastweb.com, Collegeboard.com, and FinAid.org). Make college visits, spend time on campuses in your area, encourage your teenager to shadow a student at the college.

Bullet PointSupport your teen in applying to colleges in fall, completing the FAFSA in October, and applying for scholarships throughout the year. Complete the FAFSA early, by Halloween, to ensure your teen meets all priority funding deadlines and has access to early financial aid award offers.

Bullet PointCongratulations! Your child is on their way to College. Have you saved enough?

The Arizona Family College Savings Plan is not insured by the State of Arizona or any of the program providers. Neither the principal deposited nor the investment return is guaranteed by the State of Arizona or the program providers.