Tips for High School Students

The transition from high school to college can be a tough one, especially financially. But no worries, the SMMC, is here to help! Here are our top 5 money tips for high school students:

1. Work on Getting Scholarships

a. Study hard and get good grades

b. Be involved in extracurricular activities and try to get leadership positions in organizations

c. Apply for as many scholarships as you can

2. Complete the FAFSA

a. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after January 1st during your senior year of high school

b. Ask your parents to help you fill in their information

c. Complete the FAFSA EVERY YEAR of college to apply for grants & federal loans at If you electronically file your taxes, use the IRS data retrieval tool

3. Save Money From Your Part-Time Job

a. Save as much as you can for college expenses including books, laundry, snacks, sports tickets, entertainment, parking permits, etc.

b. Have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses. This fund could save you money that you would waste on interest charges if you were forced to borrow money for unexpected bills

c. Have a spending plan. Having a plan for your money will help you spend your money wisely, and is good practice for managing your money in college. We recommend students check out, a free tool that will help you create your own plan

4. Start Exploring Careers Now

a. Ask people who work in fields that you might be interested in if you can shadow them for a day. That will help you see what that job might actually be like

b. Take classes in high school that pertain to what you might want to study in college

c. Start researching careers or fields that you are interested in to learn more about them before you start college

5. Ask Your Parents for Help

a. Your parents have a lot of financial knowledge that you can take advantage of. If they don’t know the answer to your question, they can help you find it.

b. Ask them for advice and help on: opening bank accounts, getting a debit card, understanding credit cards, creating a budget, understanding student loans and how much you should take out in loans, deciding whether or not to bring a car to college, deciding whether or not to live on campus, figuring out if you are covered by their health, dental, vision, car, and homeowner’s insurance, and understanding credit reports and credit scores.

We hope you use these tips to better financially prepare yourself for college!