How to approach the college talk with your family: A guide for success

Get ready to talk college

College Prep Kitchen by Sallie was created to team up students and their families for the college talk—and there’s no better place to do that than in the kitchen. Now, it’s your turn! Haven’t talked about scholarships or the FAFSA® just yet? Where to go to school or what things to keep in mind when you decide? We’re giving you the ingredients to dish out the college convo from your own kitchen. Chat through your plan where you feel most comfortable—right in your own home. Cooking isn’t required, but when is food ever a bad idea?

How to start your college conversation 

This is your first round! Here are some basic college questions to help ease you into the conversation.

  1. What do you want to do after high school?
  2. What steps have you taken to help pay for school? Did your family start saving money for you when you were younger? Applied for scholarships? Looked into the FAFSA®?
  3. Has college always been the plan for you? Is there anything else you would rather do instead?

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Get on the same page about college

Now, we’re getting into the meat (or tofu) of the conversation. Talk through these questions to help solidify your college plan. 

  1.  Have you had the college conversation yet? If so, how did it go?
  2. What are you MOST and LEAST excited about when it comes to college planning?
  3. Where are you at in your college planning process?
  4. What are you hoping to achieve by going to college?
  5. Who’s paying for college?
  6. What do you feel MOST and LEAST confident about when it comes to college?
  7. Have you thought about scholarships?
  8. Do you feel like college is worth it?
Once [we get] our degree, a lot of good things are coming from it and our careers are really taking a stride for the better.

Wrap up this college talk

Let’s debrief. Finish off this conversation with these questions (and a dessert of your choosing if your sweet tooth is kicking in).

  1. How do you feel your conversation went?
  2. What will your next steps be?
  3. If you’re not the student, answer this question: What’s the best advice you can give your student as they go through this process?

Do you feel ready for college now? 

This doesn’t have to be the only college convo you have. In fact, you should keep talking! Planning for college isn’t usually something that happens in a day, but this conversation is a great start for your future.

Resources to help you prep for college

Scholarship Search by Sallie: Find scholarships (that’s free money you won’t have to pay back) based on your background, major, state you live in, and more. Plus, it’s free to use!

College Prep Kitchen by Sallie: Watch how other families answered these exact questions for inspo—you just might learn something new.

FAFSA® Guide: Learn all the ins and outs of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and fill yours out with ease. 

footnote Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey financial, tax, or legal advice. We make no claims about the accuracy or adequacy of this information. These materials may not reflect our view or endorsement. Consult your own financial advisor, tax advisor, or attorney about your specific circumstances. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited.

footnote External links and third-party references are provided for informational purposes only. Sallie Mae cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided by any third parties and assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions contained therein. Any copyrights, trademarks, and/or service marks used in these materials are the property of their respective owners.

footnote Sallie Mae, the Sallie Mae logo, and other Sallie Mae names and logos are service marks or registered service marks of Sallie Mae Bank. All other names and logos used are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners. 

footnote FAFSA® is a registered service mark of U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid.

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