Smooth Move

by Hannah
(Hill)


When you plan for college you must look at a few different factors like: Would I want to live there? Is it too close or far to home or family and friends? Does the Campus look inviting? Is it a College or University, private or public? How am I going to pay for it? Believe it or not you must pay all of your college expenses every semester or they will not let you enroll or graduate the following semester and I didn’t know that when I started.


My mother was the one who pushed me to do community service projects, volunteer, and even get my CPR certification. She said that all of it would look good on scholarships and college applications. At first, I did not quite understand how spending my precious Saturdays and time off from school or work to go volunteer would pay off. However, that is just what volunteering did; it helped me pay for college. Almost all of the scholarship applications you fill out will ask about volunteering or special certifications you received. Also, there is an excessive amount of scholarships just for volunteering. If I had not got involved in service projects then I would end up like most of my friends and owe my college money.

Receiving financial aid from the government and the state you live in will help you pay for higher education but, it most likely will not be enough to pay for all of your expenses. If you get grants from the government, your state, your college, and other outside scholarships that pay for all or more of the cost of your schooling, then you can receive the left over money and put it to your own use.

I suggest you start volunteering early in high school and get your friends involved. Our communities strive on even the smallest help that they can get. So what if you can only help out a few times during the year, everybody appreciates the help. Service projects are easy to find and are a lot of fun: there are even volunteering abroad services and you can travel. If you want to attend college but cannot afford any out of pocket cost then I suggest volunteering at a couple of organizations, it will look better than none. The more time you spend doing extracurricular activities; even sports look good on any applications from scholarships to jobs. Have a leg up on the competition, do more than just go to class or keep up your grades, get involved and you could get all of your college paid for.

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

Thank you Hannah for sharing your tips about financial aid. Volunteering returns many rewards, including increasing your chance at getting scholarships for college. Best of luck to you.


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High School Graduating Senior

by Emelly Almontaser
(Brooklyn, NY, USA)

There are several key factors to receive maximum financial aid as a high school graduating senior. These helpful tidbits of information will undoubtedly make any student an outstanding applicant. This advice can be categorized into Family, School, and Outside Services, respectively.

Every financial aid application requires information about the applicant’s family members, and household income which can only be proven with sufficient documentation. Be sure to collect those items prior to applying to ensure success. With just this information, anyone, regardless of their academic achievements, can receive benefit from the Federal government. Examples of this are FAFSA, and TAP which is aid supplemented by the government.

To attain even more financial aid, there are a multitude of Merit Based Scholarships which reflect a student's academic achievements. By maintaining a high GPA, upholding a high class rank, and excelling on exams such as the SAT and ACT, this guarantees a student aid from merit based programs. Said programs can be found online easily as they are endorsed by large, and popular businesses.

Lastly, extra curricular activities and volunteer services is icing on the cake for many applications, specifically community based grants. I personally recommend volunteering as early as possible in order to have a lot of hours under your belt. Be sure to document this information and possible photos for validity of your service.

While some applications are very appealing, they can be fraud or a scam. Do not apply for aid by any organization that requires some sort of down payment. Be wary of sites that ask for personal information such as credit card information and/or passwords to secure accounts. To ensure maximum security, research the program and review its certifications. Finally, start early! It does not hurt to review applications months in advance as you are ahead of your competitors. Do some research on prospective schools as they too may have scholarships based upon categories aforementioned. By following this advice it is very likely that you will receive financial aid. Best of luck.

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



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Emelly for sharing some key factors to receive maximum financial aid. Be sure to see our lists of Scholarships for High School Seniors. Good luck to you in college.



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Planning Ahead in High School

by Belem Escamilla
(Tucson, Arizona, USA)

Planning ahead in high school - When I was a high school senior I never really knew how easy it was to sign up for college, and I thought my counselors would make it easier for me but that’s not what happened.

My counselors helped their favorite students who were constantly in counselor’s offices missing class time. These students who were in counselor’s office are now attending a University rather than me attending a community college, when my whole life I wanted to go to the University of Arizona. A community college is a good start, but I wanted the University for me.

Maybe I was waiting to look up to someone but I never had my older sister to put a good example for me, instead I wanted to be a good example to my younger sister.

In the counselors office during high school, I would have liked for her to help me find scholarships but all she did was tell me to write an essay, and I did right away. I felt like it took a very long time for my counselor to have a scholarship essay for me to write. My essay writing felt like it was strong at the moment and I could have written essays for scholarships my whole senior year. Frustration hit me many times during my senior year because I looked for scholarships on all the websites given to me at my high school, and it felt like no one was helping me get something I wanted badly.

As a senior I counted on my counselor to help me find a way to pay for college. I had my family to push me but my parents went to college in Mexico, and their advice was not equal to the advice I needed. The advice that my counselor gave to me was not pushy or motivated; I motivated myself more because I felt no one in my high school cared were I would be the following year. Here I was truly lost, full of confusion whether if I had to work harder to pay to attend college.

Within a month I had won a scholarship for college. Right before graduation that meant my time looking for more scholarships was over because I would be focusing on graduating and feeling what it was like. The scholarship that I was blessed with paid for my first semester at Pima Community College, I was very proud of myself and I even accomplished my mom’s desire of me getting a scholarship in high school. It fulfilled a moment in my life, like that last minute hope that I could only appreciate.

Many other students did an excellent job during their senior year, by always talking to their counselor, my counselor was not the same as theirs, she did not care for me. I feel like students should take advantage in high school because all the work done their pays off when you get awarded. In high school it is easier to find advice because staff who went to college will find you information. Many students played sports and got scholarships, others had good GPA standing, I was just lost.

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

I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience with your high school counselor. You are right that planning ahead in high school is the way to success, and there are so many great counselors who can help you. If you aren’t assigned a good one, seek out another adult who can help be that coach that you need. Hang in there and keep fighting for yourself. Be sure to check out some of our scholarship lists. Good luck to you Belem in college.


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