College. What does this have to do with divorce? Plenty! As you are beginning a brand new journey as possibly a single parent, your children may be approaching high school and college, or are already in college, where they are embarking on their own brand new journey.
As you know, with separation and divorce comes plenty of change for both the parents as well as their children. And while we try to maintain a sense of normalcy for our children, not everything can remain the same. Our emotions may become more erratic, our finances may become tighter and our social supports may change. Another change that often occurs is that now, we, as parents, have much guilt stemming from how our divorce affects all areas of our children’s lives, including planning for and paying for college.
While College Financial Prep specializes in helping divorced parents navigate tough topics such as financial aid, scholarships and student loans, we also understand the many complex emotions and stressors surrounding this rite of passage. Sometimes, divorced parents will work together with College Financial Prep to minimize college costs and sometimes only one parent reaches out and this parent alone is helping the child to continue their education. Regardless, in terms of the finances, there are many strategies that College Financial Prep employs to help maximize savings, minimize costs and reduce the need for student loan debt. We help you select the right colleges to apply to based on merit scholarships and need based aid, and we know how best to complete those financial aid forms.
But, there are also some things, beyond the financial concerns of college, that you should know as your children grow up and prepare for college. These include:
One: Children can be successful in both their college career and in life no matter what college they ultimately attend. It is more the student’s attitude, rather than the college name that will help him or her succeed.
Two: Once at college, it will be up to the child to seek out opportunities. The opportunities will not come to them. That said, divorce helps our children develop resilience. They will be better prepared to seek out those opportunities.
Three: Do not feel guilty if due to your separation or divorce that you are not able to afford to send your child to their “premier” college or university. See #1 and #2 above.
Four: It is not always all about money when it comes to college and divorce. There are a lot of emotions to consider too as our children prepare for college, both for the parents as well as the student. It is important to stop, take a breath and reflect sometimes.
Five: Lastly, know that we, as parents, do our best and will continue to do our best for our children as they grow up and leave the nest. While divorce is always hard on families, it creates lots of learning opportunities for our kids, financially and otherwise. And for that, as a divorced mom myself, I am thankful.