By Agustin “Tino” Diaz on March 17, 2016 @TinoJrDiaz

Dear students: let’s talk about how you can plan to pay for college as early (or earlier) as 8th grade.

If you wait until you’re a senior year in high school to start saving for college, it might be a little more difficult.

The sooner you prepare, the better, so you won’t be asking yourself:

Here are things you can do as early as 8th grade (or earlier) to prepare to pay for college:

  • Sign up to be a Utah Scholar and learn about the Regents’ Scholarship. Ask your school counselor if your school is a Utah Scholars partner.
  • Learn how much it costs to attend the different colleges in Utah. Click here to see how much it costs to attend colleges in Utah.
  • Use the FAFSA4Caster to estimate how much money you could get for college.
  • Take college classes in high school. Did you know you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in college tuition by taking college-level classes in high school? When you get to high school, talk to your school counselor about Concurrent Enrollment (CE)Advanced Placement (AP) classes, and International Baccalaureate (IB).
  • Look for scholarships. Search on the web, in your community and check your parents’ work for scholarships or other tuition assistance programs. Use our scholarship toolkit to help you successfully apply for scholarships.
  • Become INVOLVED! Being involved in your school activities and programs such as Student Body Officers (SBO), Latinos in Action (LIA), AVID, People of the Pacific (POP), DECA, and many more, helps you gain leadership experience and makes you look good on scholarship applications (college applications too).
    • Many of these organizations have scholarships specifically for their members, and can also refer you to other scholarships.
  • DO WELL in school! When you start your academics strong, you stand a better chance of getting academic merit scholarships.
  • Have your parents or family opened a Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) yet? Saving money with UESP can help pay for qualified college expenses. Your grandparents and other relatives can even contribute money to your account.
  • Get a part-time job and start saving!
  • Browse our website for more helpful tips to save for college:

Agustin “Tino” Diaz is a Community Outreach Officer with the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA). Learn more about Tino and connect with him on Twitter,Facebook, and Instagram.