Early Childhood

  • Start saving

    Start saving early to maximize your possible returns. Learn more about how to start saving.

    Learn how to start saving
  • Open a 529 savings plan

    A 529 savings plan is a tax-free way to save for education expenses. Learn more about the advantages of a 529 plan.

    Learn about 529 Savings Plans
  • Explore alternate savings options

    529 plans are popular, but they’re not the only way to save for school. Affinity programs, savings bonds, and Coverdell savings accounts are just a few options. Find out about other ways to save for college.

    Learn more about alternative savings options
  • Encourage interests

    What’s your kiddo into? Sports, animals, dancing, building things…whatever it is, try to nurture their passions. Check out books from the library, take classes, and spend time together on their interests. This shows your child how to pursue and learn about something they love. Early childhood interests can turn into activities, clubs, and pursuits that may one day help their college applications or career directions.

Elementary & Middle School

  • Make education a priority

    Help your child set academic goals, and support them along the way. Achieving goals helps kids develop confidence in their abilities and builds their work ethic. Encourage your child to take on challenges and stretch themselves. Be sure to show interest in your child’s schoolwork and celebrate achievements.

    Check out our Early College & Career Planning Guide
  • Encourage involvement

    Encourage your child to join school clubs, sports, and community service programs. Getting involved at a young age helps kids explore interests, identify hidden talents, and build social skills. Parents and guardians, get involved with your child’s school, and pursue your own interests, too. Your kids are watching and learning from you!

  • Visit a local college

    Walk around a college campus, or look for child-friendly events to attend. Many colleges offer classes or camps to local children and families. Simply being on campus can help spark your child’s interest in college.

Early High School

  • Think about careers

    Take some time to focus on your interests and passions. How could you use them to choose a career path? Check out Uncover Your Interests for more on career exploration. Consider Your Options can help you decide what kind of education or training you might need to reach your goals.

  • Start researching colleges

    Think about what you want in a college. Location, size, campus culture, and academic programs are just a few things to consider. Make a list of schools that interest you.

    Read more at Decide Where to Apply
  • Take advanced classes

    Challenge yourself with the most rigorous classes you can manage. Colleges like to see challenging coursework on your transcript. Good grades in advanced, honors, or AP classes tend to count more toward your GPA. And you might earn college credit for some AP classes.

    Learn about building skills
  • Create a college resume

    Keep track of your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, honors and awards, and other experiences. You’ll have a handy reference when it’s time to start filling out applications.

  • Athletes can express interest

    You can register with the NCAA Eligibility Center before you even start high school. College coaches have rules around how and when they can contact you before your junior year. But you can reach out to them. You can make unofficial visits to schools you’re interested in, and you can call and email coaches.

    Learn more in Be a Student Athlete
  • Explore extracurriculars

    The time you spend outside of school is important, too. Check out after-school clubs, volunteer opportunities, classes, and hobbies. A part-time or summer job can be a great way to build your resume, get work experience, and earn money!

Junior Year

  • Explore advanced classes & early college credit

    Advanced and AP classes give you the chance to challenge yourself, and may earn you college credit. You can also explore early college credit programs, which let you take college-level courses (and earn college credit) while you’re still in high school.

    Get more information
  • Take standardized tests

    Some colleges are limiting use of standardized tests in admissions. But taking the SAT/ACT won’t hurt you and may really help you. These tests are still used in many scholarship decisions, too.

    Get the scoop
  • Attend Destination College

    Destination College is one of the many ways we help New Hampshire families plan for college. Destination College is a free, in-person event that happens each spring. The event is for high school juniors and their families. You’ll attend college planning workshops, get tips about the application process, and attend a college fair.

    Learn more about Destination College
  • Build your college list

    There’s an almost endless number of schools out there. Your job is to narrow it down to the schools that might be right for you.

    Make your list of schools
  • Talk about financial aid

    Now is a good time to talk to your family about what you can afford to pay for college. And you’ll want to get up to speed on financial aid. Don’t stress – we’re here to help.

    Learn more about financial aid
  • Explore different paths

    Thinking about college alternatives, like a job, apprenticeship, or military service? You’ve got choices, and now’s the time to make a plan. Take a look at Explore Other Pathways to find out more.

    Find out more
  • Athletes can be recruited

    Coaches can start contacting and recruiting athletes starting in junior year.

    Become a college athlete

Senior Year

  • Attend college and career fairs

    College and career fairs are a perfect way to learn about lots of schools in one place. You can get answers to your questions. And you’ll have the chance to meet (and impress!) admissions representatives. Find out when the next local college fair is and register.

    Learn more
  • Write your essay

    Your college essay is an important part of your application, and it’s a great opportunity to let your personality shine through. Don’t leave it till the last minute. You’ll want time to write, re-write, and ask other people to edit it.

    Start writing
  • Explore different paths

    Maybe you’re considering something other than college – a job, an apprenticeship, or joining the military are just a few options. Now’s the time to build a solid plan. Take a look at Explore Other Pathways to find out more.

    Take a look
  • Athletes can make official visits

    Senior year is when athletes can make official college visits. Coaches can send you written letters offering athletic aid, and you can sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI).

  • Submit applications

    Get ready to apply! Learn all you need to know about the Common App, types of applications and admissions, and more at Get to Know the Application.

    Get to know the application
  • Apply for financial aid

    It’s FAFSA time! Senior year is when you’ll need to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Different schools have different FAFSA deadlines, so make sure to keep track. For more information and tips, check out File Your FAFSA.

    File your FAFSA

After you're accepted

  • Understand your financial aid offers

    Financial aid may play a big part in deciding where to go to school. But offer letters can be tricky to understand and compare. We can help you figure it out. Check out Understand Financial Aid for more information. If you need more help, get in touch with us. We’re happy to help!

    Understand financial aid
  • Apply for loans

    Is there a gap between what you and your family can afford and what college will cost? That’s where loans come in. Federal and private loans have different benefits, and both types of loan can help you finance college costs. Granite Edvance can help you get the right loan.

    Learn funding options
  • Apply for scholarships

    Now is the time to apply for as many scholarships as possible. Search for scholarships through your school, in your hometown, across New Hampshire, and all over the country. More than 1.7 million scholarships are awarded in the U.S. each year – grab your piece of the pie!

    Search for scholarships
  • Complete your enrollment forms

    Once you’ve been accepted, you can breathe a sigh of relief – but your work isn’t done! You’ll need to fill out forms, send in deposits, sign up for orientation, and register for classes, among other tasks. Make sure you check your email and/or college portal regularly so you don’t miss next steps and deadlines.

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