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Now that junior year’s behind your student, you’re officially a parent of a high school senior and college applications are right around the corner.

As a parent — especially a parent going through the application process for the first time — managing the process of your child’s applications, college visits and financial aid can feel overwhelming. An easy way to beat that feeling is to maximize the summer before application season to prepare yourself and your teen for the work to come. Here’s how to best use your summer to set your kid up for success.

Create a Schedule

Your child has a lot of important dates coming up. Aside from the school application deadlines, there are also deadlines for scholarship applications, schedules for college visits and timelines to follow so teachers have time to write thorough recommendations. Jennifer Nuechterlein, a college and career counselor at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in New Jersey, says, “Help them get organized by making a chart or shared Google spreadsheet. Almost everything is electronic in this process, so keeping your organization electronic is helpful.”

Try to find a balance between staying on top of your kid’s progress and not inundating them with college talk. A schedule can help you with that too. “Choosing one time each week — Sundays at 4 p.m., for example, at the kitchen table — will force you to save your college matters for that date and allow your child more freedom in knowing that college will not overpower every conversation you have,” says Nuechterlein. 

Organize Your Finances

For many parents, one of the most intimidating parts of sending a child to college is the cost. Even without acceptance letters, award letters or a final list of where your child wants to apply, you can still begin the process of preparing yourself — and your wallet — for college costs. Take a hard look at your finances, create a budget if you’re helping your child pay for college and consider talking to a financial advisor about what’s possible for your family. Summer is too early to apply for financial aid since the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) becomes available every year on October 1. But it’s not too early to gather the information you need to get ready to apply. You can also use this time to have a frank conversation with your student about what you’re able to contribute to their college education, how to manage student loans and the impact of debt on their future. 

Instill Financial Responsibility in Your Child

Paying tuition isn’t the only cost associated with college. Your child is going to have a lot of financial freedom and responsibility when they enter their freshman year. To prepare them, high school students should get their own bank account and learn how to manage their spending. If your teen is already doing this, then you may consider the next step: a credit card. Michael Roub, parent of a college freshman, recommends getting one in your child’s name before they leave for campus. “We got our son a credit card that he began managing during his senior year. He understands basic finances and spends within his means. It is easy to guide your child when they are still at home, but once away without some comfort and experience, this could be a major problem for many 18-year-olds.” There are credit cards for students that feature lower credit limits, or you could add your child to one of your cards as an authorized buyer if they aren’t ready for their own. Learning how to responsibly use credit will help your student once they are out of college. 

Raise Your Child’s Social Media Awareness

“One of the most overlooked items on the college prep checklist is cleaning up a student’s digital identity,” says reputation strategy adviser Jonas Sickler. Check in on what your kid is doing and saying online because a college admission officer could do the same. “As a father of a nearly college-bound teen, I frequently remind my son that his online activity can resurface at any time, and it can affect his college enrollment,” Sickler says. “I ask him to spend some time each month to remove posts that could be seen as inappropriate. It’s also smart to do monthly searches for your child’s name on Google.”

By getting started this summer, you can help your child be as prepared as possible for the exciting — and exhausting — upcoming application process. 

Interviews for this article were conducted in 2018.

FAFSA® is a registered trademark of the US Department of Education and is not affiliated with Discover® Student Loans.