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What majors are popular? What departments or programs have the best reputations? What textbooks are required for the course?

Is it hard to make it to college or is just easy if you want it to be easy? I'm currently a middle-schooler I don't think I'm gonna make it to college because of financial problems.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Yanna’s Answer

Gaining admission into a college is achievable with determination and effort. Don't let financial constraints hinder your educational pursuit. There exist numerous strategies to finance your college education, such as securing scholarships, applying for financial aid, taking up a part-time job, or working at the college bookstore to avail book discounts. Consider opting for a degree program where future employers cover your tuition. For instance, if you major in education and subsequently work as a teacher, the school may likely reimburse your tuition fees. Lastly, joining the military can also be beneficial as the government will fund your education. Always have faith in your abilities. Best of luck!
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Patricia’s Answer

Congratulations on having educational goals at your age. My belief is that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to and set your intentions on. I came from a poor family and have a doctorate degree I did not receive any financial help from my family. To get my education I applied for grant money, some scholarships and student loans. I got my basic degree when I was straight out of high school and then earned my higher degrees while I was working. However, now there are more scholarships and grants available depending on your situation in life. Ask your guidance counselor, what scholarships and grants you may be eligible for based on background, ethnicity, your parents etc For example, there may be scholarships for children of single parents or Latino American farmworkers. I’m just throwing out different ideas I’m not sure that those actually exist, but there are scholarships for different segments of society. You just have to know where to look. My suggestion would be to seek a guidance counselor and see how they can help you with your financial planning and scholarship and grant money endeavors. Good luck and much success.
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Malar’s Answer

Hello Osmin, remember that when you're passionate about something and set a goal to reach it, nothing can stop you, not even financial obstacles. It's important to focus on working diligently and intelligently, excelling in your studies and pursuing your interests during your middle school years. Opportunities are abundant and will reveal themselves as you begin to explore. For instance, Stanford University offers excellent summer courses for financially constrained kids - https://eso.stanford.edu/programs/middle-school-students. There are countless more opportunities available for gifted children facing financial hardships. Keep your eyes open and continue to work with unwavering determination towards your dreams! Best of luck!!
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Paul’s Answer

Hi Osmin,

Embarking on your college journey can initially seem overwhelming, but rest assured, it will gradually become more manageable. The key is to discover how to harmoniously blend your social and academic lives. Uncovering the study techniques that work best for you will also be a game-changer.

Take the time to research colleges that spark your interest and identify what specific departments they're renowned for. This will help you align your passions with your academic pursuits.

Consider attending local college events. They can offer valuable insights and firsthand experiences of what college life is like.

Remember, you're not on a countdown. You have ample time to make your college decision. This journey is all about you and your future. I trust this advice will serve you well.
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Esther’s Answer

Hello Osmin,

Thank you so much for sharing your concerns with all of us, especially as a middle schooler. It's something that causes a lot of anxiety and raises many concerns about whether one can make it. YIt also shows you are located in Fresno, California, a community within the Central Valley. Compared to many other communities, the Central Valley often lacks various resources and institutional options compared to areas like San Diego in Southern California. Please know that my advice should be taken with a grain of salt, and some of these resources may not necessarily be available to you. Please see my responses below to each of your questions:

1) Which majors are popular? → This answer is primarily determined by the university you are attending or planning to attend. For some universities, computer science could be the primary major, while for others, it might be environmental sciences. It really depends on what the school is best known for and what the general student body tends to strive for based on their community. However, there are also generally popular majors across the board, regardless of the university. Many universities report that psychology and nursing are often popular majors that can become impacted. The term "impacted majors" basically means that the program has more students interested in applying than the university actually has room for. As a result, some students have to compete with others to stay within their major. This is not always the case, but it's something you should consider.

2) What departments or programs have the best reputations? → I believe almost every university has a department or program with an extensive reputation for producing experts within the field, having high rates of job placement, and many other accomplishments. While it's essential to consider attending a university with a high and extensive reputation, it should not be the only reason for choosing a university. You should select a university that feels like the best fit for you. This means that they not only have your major but also have a culture with values that resonate with you, are located in an area where you can see yourself living for the next several years, has financial resources and more support available, and is a setting where you feel like you belong, etc. If a small community college is the perfect fit for you, then go for it. If a large Ivy League institution is the right fit, then go for it as well. Just remember to consider what is the best fit for you and your current circumstances when you become a college applicant.

3) What textbooks are required for the course? → This is very dependent on your university, major, course, and professor. Some courses may not require you to read the book throughout your entire undergraduate education, while others may be complex and necessitate reading the textbook for success. Typically, professors will let you know at the beginning of the course whether the textbook is required. However, some may still recommend it, primarily because the school encourages them to do so or because the professor believes that a student may not succeed in their course without it. It's up to your own discernment to figure out which professors' advice to follow based on your own work ethic and understanding of the course material.

4) Is it hard to make it to college, or is it just easy if you want it to be easy? → This is an incredibly nuanced question. For some individuals who have access to resources, are familiar with the college process, and have parental figures or mentors who have gone through the college experience, almost every stage from the application to graduating from university can be easier for them. For those who have never been to college and are first-generation college students or perhaps even first-generation Americans, it could be rather difficult for them to understand the process. It is heavily encouraged to speak with your school's career counselor regarding the resources available to you and to stay readily engaged with the expectations and deadlines set for every university you might be interested in. Your success is not just based on your own determination and effort, as some individuals do struggle with other factors in life that can limit their ability to successfully get into college. However, most individuals can benefit from having mentors and others guide them. I strongly suggest you try and talk to your teachers as well and ask them for any resources, guides, or additional support.

I hope these answers were helpful for you, and I encourage you to take them with a grain of salt in a way that best inspires you to move forward with this process. I understand that you have financial problems, and unfortunately, this is a reality for many individuals going into college due to the high costs of education and institutional fees. As I recommended previously, I highly encourage you to go to your school counselor and ask about the financial resources available. Many school counselors have vouchers that can help you take college standardized tests at a lower rate or for free. They also have access to many scholarships within the local area and nationally, as well as familiarity with the college application process and step-by-step processes to help you make it happen. Some colleges and universities even have application waivers if you meet a certain income limit. I highly encourage you to follow up with those that you can so you can plan the best route for you in this process.

I believe in you and wish you the very best! :)

Esther recommends the following next steps:

Reach out to your school counselor
Ask a teacher about the college experience and ask for tips
Find a mentor that can help guide you through the process
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