College is a serious step in your child's life, and whether you believe it or not, it's pretty complicated -- much more so than it was just 20 years ago. I wish I had been more familiar with the ins and outs of the college process when my children went to college. Things were different then, and certainly not as complex as they are today.
While you will be happy to have your college student home for the holiday break, remember that this can be a stressful time for them, especially if they are a first-year student still adjusting to a new, more independent lifestyle. And even though no one, especially students, likes feeling financial pressure at the holidays, it's important to have a discussion about your child's finances during your short time together.
First things first: In the form's acronym lies the secret to avoiding the money pitfalls--FAFSA is short for "FREE Application for Federal Student Aid." Yeah, I know, filling it out is time-consuming, but it's doable. It's also complex and requires information that you're going to have to bird-dog, but it is free.