If you’re a parent, here’s something we’re both passionate about: making sure your kids have a great future. I want to help you and your kids get ready for life after high school so they can continue to college (and beyond) with a plan and a purpose! And a huge part of that is paying for school without student loans.

Yep, I said it. Your kids do not need to take out student loans for college. People might’ve told you that student loans are just a “normal” part of the college experience, and that going to school debt-free isn’t even possible. Forget normal! If having massive amounts of student loan debt is normal, then I want your kids to be weird!

Acing their academics now will only help them prepare for—and pay for—college.

Here are the top three things they should do when it comes to their schoolwork:

Get great grades. Honestly, GPA is one of the top things colleges look at when it comes to awarding merit-based scholarships. Encourage them to view their grades as a way to make money for school—kind of like a job.

Learn how to study. Good study habits are a huge plus in high school and college. Help them find their ideal study environment by asking them what helps them stay focused.

Do they need total quiet? Does music or white noise help? Do they need food or coffee? Do they get more done alone instead of with friends?

Prep for the tests. ACT and SAT scores are two other important factors in getting college scholarships.

Resources like test prep books or tutors can really make a big difference, too. But don’t worry if that’s not in your budget.

You can help your kids by quizzing them, or working through math problems with them.

Or you can even consider borrowing a prep book or splitting the cost of one with a friend.

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