What is some advice for preparing to pay and go to collage?
I am applying to scholarships with a few websites and and doing community server and I would like to do anything I can to pay and go to collage! I specifically would like to go to school to study in psychology and become a therapist!
Part of the response will depend on what grade you are in high school. If you’re a senior, the first thing you need to do is complete the FAFSA. (fafsa.gov) That will determine what federal and state aid you may be eligible for. If not a senior, there is a federal student aid estimator you can use that basically gives you the end result.
For the sake of example, let’s assume you are a senior. When you complete the FAFSA your results for this year would be an EFC (Expected family contribution). This number represents what the government “feels you and your family should be able to pay out-of-pocket/after grants, etc. are applied” toward your education. This number is somewhat arbitrary, though, as your costs will vary depending on if you go to a public/community/private college. But that number will decide what grants you may get from the fed, the state and possibly even your college of choice.
Outside scholarships – number one, never pay to apply for one. Number two, many scholarships are not granted just for incoming freshman. So once you get into school, don’t stop applying. And if there is anything that distinguishes you from other students…Phi Theta Kappa membership or something…make sure your school is aware. Make sure your school has any transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, etc. on file if they can use it. Not all schools do…but many do.
If you’ve completed the FAFSA and have your EFC handy…visit the websites of colleges you are interested in and search for “Net Price Calculator”. There are government rules that dictate what info must be provided but there is some latitude as to how schools provide info. Some schools will base it on a median of what similar students may get and other schools will tailor it based on test scores, your specific EFC and what institutional aid they offer.
The last part, which I only bring up based on my personal experience, is to figure out what your “support-system” is. Completing the FAFSA, for most high school kids, involves tax data from your parents. There is an IRS Data Retrieval tool that can actually import info and save steps. (By the way…never pay for someone to do your FAFSA. The acronym stands for “FREE Application for federal student aid”. (Though my state uses the info too…most do.) To help cover costs in the form of loans there are federal student loans…but there is also a Parent (PLUS) loan that parents can apply for to help cover costs. This involves a credit check by a parent and them indicating a specific school they want the loan for. While you can apply with multiple schools, it is wise to not go down this avenue until you’re pretty sure of where you want to attend. It is a loan in their name to pay for your education. If they do apply for one at another school, it won’t re-rerun their credit…but still…every school has different procedures. If you do go down that path they should request a specific amount. If they pick MAX, many schools will give it to them. But loans have interest…so…borrow as little as you can or need to. )And you need to wait until you can apply for the 23-24 year…assuming you’re a senior.
Last bits…the FAFSA is based on the tax info from two years ago. A LOT has happened for a lot of folks since then. While you still need to use that tax info to complete the FAFSA, if something has changed in the household since then you can ask your potential school for a “professional judgement”. These are instances where a parent may have lost a job or made a significantly-lesser amount recently. Again, every school is different…but if that applies, it could affect your EFC and what you may be eligible for.
Finally…it is GREAT to see students enthusiastic about college. I sometimes think that kids asking questions here is just an assignment for class. And if it is, so be it. But some nugget might get through. WHATEVER you do…again going to personal experience…if you decide to start college…finish college. I went three semesters then “dropped out” because I didn’t know “what I wanted to do”. It wasn’t until after that a counselor told me, “you don’t go to college to learn a specific job (unless it’s something akin to trade school)…you go to college to learn how to learn”. I come from a long line of English majors who never did anything in that field. But those letters after your name mean the world. Especially now. Changing majors can delay graduation, blah-blah…but you will leave with a degree that no one can take away from you. When I stopped, I took a semester off…it lasted nine years…got a retail job, was making good money…then the market went “poof”. And I had nothing to show for it other than work experience. Unfortunately, jobs I applied for wanted degrees. So…and apologies for bluntness…and no personal judgment is being made…but you only have to suck it up for a few years more. PLEASE…if you start…promise to finish. Your life will be so much better for it in the long run. I’ve been lecturing my daughter for years already. If you start…and something happens…just talk t o someone at the school or your family. That was my mistake…I internalized. I have two Master’s Degrees now…but I paid the price because I didn’t have guidance earlier. (I blame myself, btw, not others…it was my choice…but hindsight is 20/20.)
Apologies for…writing like Dickens…but…I’m being sincere and just want to help. I’m sure you’ll be brilliant.
YOU GOT THIS!
A few suggestions would be to talk to a high school counselor to see if there are any scholarship possibilities you might not be aware of either within your community or nationally. Let your family and relatives know that you have a fund set up for this purpose (if you haven't already, just open a savings account at your local bank) and that you plan to deposit funds you receive for holidays like birthdays or Christmas into it.
Once you have a specific plan on where you will be going for college, consider a "go fund me" request online with a specific dollar goal of what you will need and how it will be used. Share your goals online. You might mention that you intend to "pay it back" by supporting another prospective student as soon as you get your first career position.
With every good wish!