The latest on searching for colleges, taking a gap year, paying for college and navigating academic probation. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinding and applying to colleges On her My Kid’s College Choice blog, Wendy Nelson shares the lessons she learned about the college admissions process going through it the second time. Like most of us, she found it less scary, but as different as the two children she experienced it with.

A big issue for parents of college applicants concerns whether their teenager will find a job with a living wage after graduation. Lynn O’Shaughnessy discusses how to measure college grad salaries in her post on her College Solution blog.

The National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) provides a free college prep checklist for juniors and seniors that parents and teens can review together.

Considering a gap year With Malia Obama announcing she’ll take a gap year (a year off between high school and college) before heading to Harvard in the fall of 2018, families with high school students across the country have begun discussing this option. A couple of recent articles provide helpful info:

For the New York Times Well column, KJ Dell’Antonia writes about the long-term benefits of a gap year.

On the U.S. News & World Report Education blog, Brian Witte of Varsity Tutors offers application strategies for students who plan to apply to colleges during their gap year.

FAFSAPaying for college The magic number is eight. For those of you just starting the college planning process, check out Michelle Kretzschmar’s list of eight things parents must know about paying for college on her DIY College Rankings blog.

Debbie Schwartz explains the eight financial aid mistakes to avoid when figuring out the real cost of college and how to pay the bill on Road2College.

Also on Road2College, review this chart that illustrates the FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on family income.

deskManaging academic probation Vicki Nelson of College Parent Central explains what it means when a college places your student on academic probation and how parents can help their child get back on track.

Share your thoughts on these articles, and others you’ve found helpful, in the comments section below.