L.N. Thomas, MA
It's good to see that you are thinking ahead about financing your college education. There are many ways that you can pay for college. Depending on whether you attend part-time or full-time, and whether you attend a community college first (less expensive) or a university, you can pay for college by working part-time or full-time, apply for grants, apply for scholarships, or apply for financial aid.
If you choose to work while you attend college, try your best to choose a job that is related to your major so that you can get experience, as well as get a visual of the occupation to see if this is the career major for you. If you work part-time/full-time, be sure to seek an academic advisor or attempt to view sample syllabi of the classes that you are going to take to ensure you try and balance more difficult classes with not as difficult classes to structure your courseload.
You can apply for scholarships to help with college tuition expenses as well. Your career or college advisor can also provide referrals and references regarding the scholarship aid amounts, scholarship types, legitimate scholarship granting organizations (to avoid scams), scholarship requirements, and deadlines so that you will have the funds ready for your college prior to tuition payment due dates.
Financial aid is another option and this involves loans through the Department of Education that must be paid back either during or after graduating college. Financial aid applications are also available through the FAFSA website. The financial aid department at your chosen college can assist you with the application process so that you meet the deadlines for the chosen academic year. Financial aid grants are another option and this is a type of college expense assistance that does not involve loans. Grants are given and not repaid by the student. Oftentimes, undergraduate students can also look into applying for grants and eligibility based upon financial needs relative to the tuition expense of the college tuition. Both of these options can be discussed with the Financial Aid Office for extensive details and steps involved in the application process. Even while applying for financial aid, you can choose to participate in work-study, which allows for you to work part-time either on or off campus if you choose.
As you can see, there are many options available for paying for college and there are many people ready to assist you with questions about financing your education. Don't be afraid to research the Department of Education's website and the FAFSA website in addition to speaking with guidance counselors, academic advisors, career advisors, and the Financial Aid office at the college or university of your choice. They are all ready and willing to assist you!
L.N. recommends the following next steps:
Best of luck!
Yasemin recommends the following next steps:
Colleges provide financial aid to students they are interested in. So, a good GPA, good SAT scores can be the ticket to aid. Also, being a PSAT scholar or semi-finalist also helps with college aid with some colleges.
Riley recommends the following next steps:
Hi! Congratulations on thinking ahead. It's so important to plan for college. I came from a working class family so it was important that I found the money to go to school. My parents couldn't afford to pay for it. There are so many sources of funding for college, many of which have already been listed in other answers. When I went to college, I received funding from the government (Pell and other grants) as well as private scholarships. I received a scholarship to pay for my books, another scholarship that paid for my housing. I was really fortunate. I also had good grades and good SAT scores so make sure you study hard (and get help when you need it). Don't be discouraged if you don't have good grades though - there are scholarships specifically designed for students who have had to overcome many obstacles so their grades aren't the best.
Tracy recommends the following next steps:
There are formal programs of work/study that both provide relevant experience to build your resume and help defray the cost of college. Engineering colleges like Georgia Tech have a cooperative education office that helps place students with all size companies. The Georgia Tech program typically extends the standard college timeline from 4 year to 5 years; but the benefits of experience and pay is well worth it in my opinion.