August 30, 2010 | Suzanne Shaffer | Leave a comment Many times, students and parents just “let the college decision happen”. They automatically assume that once they make the decision to attend, they will be able to get in somewhere, even if it’s a local community college. You should take charge of your college search and make it your “job” to find a place where you can get a college education that is worth the money. 1. Establish relationships Start early establishing those relationships that will help you in the college admissions process. You will need recommendations from teachers, counselors and even business professionals. You should also make contact with admissions personnel at the colleges you are considering. These relationships will cement your desire to attend their college and keep your name at the forefront of their minds when they receive your application. 2. Choose to choose Don’t let the college decision happen. Make a decision to choose the colleges. Take control of the process from researching, to visiting, to applying, to final acceptance. It’s up to you to evaluate your financial aid awards and determine the best value. You don’t want your college education to be an “impulse” buy. 3. Be wise about funding Part of taking charge of the process, is taking charge of the funding. Know what your budget is and what you are willing to spend. Don’t bury yourself in debt. Look at the repayment calculators and evaluate your earning potential upon graduation. Don’t take the “I’ll-think-about-that-when-I-graduate” approach. Most importantly, fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) because this qualifies you for government grants, loans and college merit aid scholarships. If you follow these simple suggestions, you will be the one in charge of your college search. Don’t leave the process to fate, luck or someone you don’t even know. It’s your future. It’s your decision. It’s your education.