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 or military service to college or further technical education. A good educational plan will provide you and your family with a map of your future education and career goals.

When to Begin

Parents and students may begin planning for college and technical training as early as they would like to, but starting as early as middle school is not too soon. As soon as you have a good idea of what you hope to accomplish with your college education, you should begin to plan which courses in middle school and high school you will need to take to prepare yourself for college. Many students miss important educational opportunities because they delay making important educational decisions.

The Right School

One of the most important decisions you will make in this process is deciding which college or technical school you will attend to prepare yourself 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 expenditure each year you are in school. If you wait until registration day to think about how your 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. Potential students must consider the cost of tuition, books, housing, lab fees and vehicle expenses and fees over the entire period they plan to be in school.

Application for School

Successful application to college requires thorough advance planning. Potential students must consider admission requirements, financial aid possibilities and restrictions on the transfer of previously earned college credit. Most colleges also have application deadlines that must be met for your application to be considered for the term you are seeking to begin classes. An additional major concern when apply for entrance to college are any undergraduate admission tests you must complete before your application can be considered complete.

Application Essay

Colleges require that you submit an original essay that provides the admission review staff with information about yourself. The essay allows colleges to become better acquainted with you as a prospective student separately 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.