Whether you’re thinking about going back to school or you’ve got a child looking at colleges, a lot of the process can be outsourced. From saving for school to getting school supplies, you can make sure that you start every school year off right.
Of course, there are some parts of an educations you shouldn’t outsource, like writing those all-important term papers, but handling the little details like college applications can make it easier to focus on actually learning.
- Saving for College: Each state offers at least one 529 College Savings Plan which allows you to automate the college savings process, including automatic withdrawals and investments.
- Test Preparation: For each of the major tests that go along with both undergraduate and graduate admissions processes, you can get help with studying. Companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review offer on-going classes at all levels, as well as personalized instruction.
- College Consulting: Trying to decide how to choose a college and best put together an admissions application? A college consultant can walk you through each step of the process and even take a lot of the work off your plate.
- Finding a School: If you aren’t sure which schools best meet your needs, there are many college matching tools available that can help you narrow it down by a variety of different criteria.
- Admissions Packages: In order to turn in the best possible admissions package, you may choose to outsource most of the project to a consultant. While you’ll still need to write certain application materials, like essays, a consultant can edit your work and adapt it to multiple applications.
- Choosing a Major: While an aptitude test isn’t a guarantee that you’ll wind up in the best major for your interests, it can definitely help. It can simplify the process of choosing a major.
- Applying for Scholarships: Websites like Fastweb bring together hundreds of thousands of scholarships, allowing you to find those you qualify for with just a simple questionnaire.
- Admissions Requirements: Need to make sure that you meet the admissions requirements for the schools you’re interested in? College Board offers an academic tracker that allows you to check up on hundreds of schools in one place.
- Applying for Financial Aid: Beyond scholarships, the main source of financial aid is the government. By completing your FAFSA, you can apply for all the grants, loans and other financial aid offered by the federal government at one time.
- School Supplies: Many errands services offer you the option of picking up your son or daughter’s school supply list and purchasing the supplies necessary for the upcoming school year.
- Books: While it’s more expensive than shopping around and buying online, most colleges or universities make it possible to list your courses for the semester online and then pick up all the books necessary at the campus bookstore without having to go looking for anything.
- Campus Visits: Setting up a campus visit can be a time consuming process, but most schools will offer to have an admissions counselor make all of the arrangements. They can even suggest hotels and travel arrangements if you’re coming in from out of town.
- Dorm Room Furnishings: Many department stores now offer what amounts to a dorm room kit — it has all the furnishings and decorations that a college student could want.
- Continuing Education: If you’re looking to go back to school, take a look at any programs your employer may offer. Some companies may already have a program in place that will let you go to a local school with a minimal paperwork.
- Finding a Job: If you’re looking for a job that will accommodate your studies, you’ve got two options — if you’re eligible for work study, your campus’ work study job will find you a position. Otherwise, check in with the campus career center to find a job.
- Study Abroad: Interested in going abroad for a semester? Most colleges already have programs in place that will handle everything from finding room and board to arranging for side trips. All you have to do is talk to the study abroad office on campus.
- Certification Programs: If you don’t need a full degree, but rather a certification, many certification programs offer the proper accreditations without your needing to hunt down individual classes.
- Getting a Tutor: Working with a tutor on the specific courses you’ll be taking can help, even if you’re already doing well in the class. Most campuses have a system already in place to connect you to the best tutors.
- Health Care: Depending on the school you’re attending, you may be eligible for insurance and health care simply by filling out an additional form and paying a small fee.
- Paper Editing: In addition to the help on campus, you can find editors who specialize in academic papers from the undergraduate level through graduate dissertations. Some will even coach you through the full process.
- Find the Best Professors: Choosing the right classes is easier if you can find out about the professors from students who have already been through the class. Rather than asking all your friends if they’ve taken the class, check Rate My Professors.
- Get Notes: Missed a class? Use sites like NoteMesh to share notes between classmates so you’re always up to speed.
- Organizing Research: There are many online tools, such as Evernote, that can make organizing research for your classes easy.
- Homeschooling: If you’re considering homeschooling, there are both programs you can follow without creating your own, as well as coops that will handle part of the educational process.
- Care Packages: Is your child away at school? Do you want to send a care package to cheer him or her up? Your child’s school likely offers care packages through the housing and dining department.
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