HOLD IT!! It's Time for College

by Chelsea A. Williams
(Columbia, SC, USA)



Hey there, do you think you are all ready for college? Well there is more to college then just football games and parading around in your schools colors. As you all know, college is expensive, but do not let the large price scare you away. I am going to break down the basics of things you need to know before and after applying for college.


Scholarships - It is never too early to begin applying for scholarships. Most scholarships require letters of recommendations, so don’t be afraid to network and make connections. It is important to study hard to maintain at least 3.0 GPA or higher. Use your guidance department at school as much as possible to help you locate scholarships that you might qualify for.

Being active in the community - Many young students don’t realize the importance of being a leader and being active in your community. It is always a plus to have volunteer experience to put on college and scholarship applications. It is important to be scholarly but colleges look for a student who is well-rounded, and goes above and beyond. Helping others and volunteering without pay for a good cause brings a sense of joy to your heart and teaches you diligence.

Taking college courses - You cannot expect to get accepted into a national accredited school without having some college courses. Whether it’s Honors, IB, or AP, they are all important in preparation for college. It is always a plus to go to college with some credit hours. You can save money and time by passing your AP/IB exams. All you need is a passing score of a 3, 4, or 5, and most colleges exempt you from that course. This allows to you to save money on books and save time by not taking that course.

Applying to colleges - The first step to getting into the college of your choice is applying. Before applying, you should do your research on multiple schools. Grab a pen and pad and find a day to just research colleges and universities. You should jot down the price, location, does this college have you major, class size, student life, and other possible things of interest. When you are ready to apply, do not rush the application process. You will be able to take a break and log back in to finish the application if you wish. Most colleges ask about volunteer experience, it’s always helpful to make a list in advance and just continue to add to it. Do not wait until the last minute to ask teachers and other adults for a recommendation. Also, once you get your college essay topic, start a separate draft. I encourage you before submitting your college essay to print it out and let someone read over it. And lastly, watch the application deadlines and be prepared to pay the application fee. You should make yourself a calendar of each of your school of choice deadlines. Talk to your parents early about application fees or guidance counselors. If you need assistance paying, just seek help from your guidance department and they usually issue out free waivers.

After you apply - If you have to take out student loans , take out as few as possible. The loan process is easy, but read the information carefully to get a full understanding. All colleges require you complete a Master Promissory Note and Loan Counseling. All of the information is located on the student loans website. Be sure to check out the interest rates of loans, and think about the future. Will I have money to pay this back when I’m an adult? Just do research and talk with your parents before applying for loans.

Well there it is in a nutshell. Just get involved and apply for scholarships as soon as possible. Beware of deadlines and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Good luck my future leaders of America!

Sincerely,
Broke College Student

Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.


Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thanks Chelsea for sharing your best college financial aid tips. All of these are great tips that will help when applying for college and scholarships. Best of luck to you.


More Tips for Applying for College and Applying for Scholarships

Scholarship Money for College | FAFSA | Tuition Assistance Programs | Federal Student Loans | Consolidating Student Loans | College Tax Credit | Student Jobs | Scholarship Contests | Scholarships for High School Seniors | Scholarships for College Students | Merit Based Scholarships

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Paying for College: The Reality Check

by Verntasia Finley
(Kannapolis, NC, United States of America)

When students are applying to college, it is often seen in many different ways; ranging from great accomplishment to “time of our lives”. And from time of our lives, to life changing experience; but often people don’t think of how quickly the “time of our lives” bubble pops, and the depth the of the reality check labeled “life changing experience” truly is. Soon you begin to feel that painful headache that was ignored… that nagging headache that begins to ask questions aloud, such as: How am I going to pay for this? Can I afford this? What if I don’t can’t get a scholarship? What if I don’t qualify for a grant? Should I take out a student loan? Would I be willing to put myself in debt for a higher education that might not benefit me as greatly? Would it be wise to not go, and head straight into the workforce instead to save money? Etc.

Many of these are commonly asked, and anyone pursuing to be, or continuing to be a student would be wise to consider them. I know, personally, I often asked these questions because I had very little time and money to get ready for or pay for college. I was 17 years old working for a theme park, making minimum wage, paying rent, raising my 1 year old nephew, and trying to pass my senior classes after switching schools mid semester. It was tough, because I had no money to save for college, and it seemed as if I knew nothing about how to get there. I wasn’t deeply informed about taking the SAT or ACT, their fees and waivers (if a student gets free lunch (s)he may qualify for their fees to be waived), what the tests were used for, and why they were required. I didn’t realize that extracurricular activities, and volunteer work helped tremendously on college applications, or that college applications had fees, or due dates. There was a lot I knew not of, and it seemed like it was a nightmare all crashing in on me.

But then I learned quickly and last minute about the “Federal Application For Student Aid (fafsa)”, and scholarship applications; I hadn’t learned about grants and loans until I was accepted into Brevard College, and even then I didn’t truly understand their depth until I was in the financial aid office talking to a counselor. A financial aid counselor from the school you‘re considering/currently attending, or if you’re still in high school, a student counselor at your current school as well as the school you’re considering to attend, would be the best resource to use. A financial aid counselor would be most helpful because they can explain how the fafsa works, and what scholarships or grants you can qualify for; they let you know about loans, if necessary, and even explain what the fine print in loan applications mean.

The fafsa is the second biggest help to anyone who is pursuing higher education, it tells you what you’re eligible for, and even if you’re not eligible for much, gives you ways to consider to help pay for your education. Grants can be a greater help than scholarships depending on the amount that’s given, and vice-versa. Loans are complicated, its best to really weigh your options if you need to apply for one. read the fin print!!!! all of it!!!! And think about ways to pay it back before applying for them. Luckily, there are loan forgiveness programs, and other organizations to help repay them. All in all, these are the best ways to cure the anxiety of paying for college; but the best advice of all is start early!!!! Apply early, keep your grades up, and think ahead.

Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thanks Verntasia for a great college essay about paying for college: the reality check. I like your tips - Apply early, keep your grades up, and think ahead. Be sure to check out our lists of scholarship for college. Good luck to you.


More Advice for Paying for College

Scholarship Money for College | FAFSA | Tuition Assistance Programs | Federal Student Loans | Consolidating Student Loans | College Tax Credit | Student Jobs | Scholarship Contests | Scholarships for High School Seniors | Scholarships for College Students | Merit Based Scholarships

Submit your entry in our College Essay Contest:

To share your entry in our scholarship contest, just click here.

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Other College Financial Aid Advice 2.


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