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Where do I go after highschool ?

How do I make the choice to either start a career or go to college, coming from a low income background?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Paul’s Answer

I might look into applying for financial aid, through the FAFSA system.

I think you will need technical or academic training from a junior or community college to help you attain your future goals.

Federal financial aid should help you do this.
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Levia !

To begin with, you need to be assured that many, many people who were in your situation have successfully completed college and have had high ranking careers ! This is good news. You have the will, so there's a way. Also, do not label yourself or put yourself in a mindset that just because your family has the background you've mentioned, that you have to have that dictate your future. Anything is possible, but you will learn this as you move forward with your personal goals.

That being said, there are 12 community colleges in San Bernardino for you to explore ! Read all of their websites and visit as many as you can in person. Do the exploring. Since you are a resident, the tuition should be low and I will suggest what to select on your financial aid application as since you and your family probably qualify for federal financial aid. Ask each community college what private scholarships they offer to their students specifically. Many community colleges have private scholarships only for students that attend there.

Read the California Student Aid Commission's website for which I have left a link below. You would apply for federal financial aid first. Check that you want Work Study, which is job placement on campus and can be in your major study. Keep your GPA high and look into Cal Grants also. Specific financial aid information is always available at the campus in the Financial Aid office by an authorized financial aid officer, so everything you need to know is accessible there on campus.

Read about scholarships for low income people at the Collegevine website. I have left a link for it below. Although the preparation for financing your studies is time consuming, it will be worth every minute because it will enable you to fulfill your career dreams as well as personal growth. I highly advise that you go for it.

To have a career without work or college experience, education and a degree can be done, but that will take a while and would require extraordinary networking and proven beneficial contacts. Any profession or career requires the knowledge and capability and experience to shine in whatever you do.

I hope that this has been helpful and I wish you all the best in your final decision !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

TEN COLLEGES IN SAN BERNARDINO CC's AND U's https://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Community+Colleges&find_loc=San+Bernardino%2C+CA
CALIFORNIA STUDENT AID COMMISSION https://www.csac.ca.gov/
SCHOLARSHPS https://blog.collegevine.com/scholarships-for-low-income-students
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Alan’s Answer

Levia, the answer to your question depends on so many things, and only you can answer them. But what I can tell you is that in the long run it is much more likely that you'll have a more satisfying career that fulfills your potential and earns considerably more money if you go to college. If you need to take a year off to earn some money first, there's nothing wrong with that. But don't give up whatever dreams you may have for your future. What ARE your dreams? What interests, hobbies, skills and values do you have that point you in a certain direction? Unless it's unavoidable, don't let your background define you. Fight for scholarships. If affordability is an issue, start at a community college. Unless there's a particular career that you have in mind that does interest you, that you'd be qualified for without college, and that you could live on, my answer for you would definitely be college.
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Hasnain’s Answer

Making decisions about your post-high school path can be challenging, especially when considering factors like financial circumstances. Here are some steps and considerations to help you make an informed choice between starting a career or going to college, particularly coming from a low-income background:
𝟭. 𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗳-𝗥𝗲𝗳𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻:
Reflect on your interests, strengths, and long-term goals. Consider what kind of work brings you fulfillment and satisfaction.

𝟮. 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗿 𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗹𝗼𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻:
Research different careers and industries. Look for opportunities to gain insights through internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering.

𝟯. 𝗦𝗸𝗶𝗹𝗹𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗘𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻:
Assess the skills required for your chosen career. Some careers may require specialized training or certification, while others may benefit from a college degree.

𝟰. 𝗙𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀:
Evaluate your financial situation. Consider the costs associated with attending college, including tuition, fees, and living expenses. Explore financial aid options, scholarships, and grants.

𝟱. 𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗹𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗩𝗼𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴:
Investigate vocational or technical training programs that provide specific skills and certifications for certain careers. These programs are often more affordable and have a shorter duration than traditional college programs.

𝟲. 𝗧𝗮𝗹𝗸 𝘁𝗼 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹𝘀:
Reach out to professionals in your desired field. Ask about their educational and career paths, and seek advice on the best way to enter the industry.

𝟳. 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗴𝗲:
Community colleges often offer more affordable options for earning college credits. You can start with an associate degree or transfer to a four-year institution later.

𝟴. 𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗲𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗢𝗻-𝘁𝗵𝗲-𝗝𝗼𝗯 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴:
Explore apprenticeship programs or jobs that provide on-the-job training. Many industries offer apprenticeships that combine work experience with classroom instruction.

𝟵. 𝗡𝗲𝘁𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴:
Build a network of contacts in your chosen field. Attend networking events, connect with professionals on LinkedIn, and seek mentorship to gain insights and guidance.

𝟭𝟬. 𝗦𝗲𝘁 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝗿𝘁-𝗧𝗲𝗿𝗺 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗟𝗼𝗻𝗴-𝗧𝗲𝗿𝗺 𝗚𝗼𝗮𝗹𝘀:
Define your short-term and long-term goals. Consider how your decisions align with your career aspirations and financial stability.

𝟭𝟭. 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗹𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝗱𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗿𝘀:
Seek guidance from high school counselors, teachers, or career advisors. They can provide information on various educational and career paths and assist with the decision-making process.

𝟭𝟮. 𝗣𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗗𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹𝗼𝗽𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁:
Focus on developing your personal and professional skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and time management. These skills are valuable in any career path.

𝟭𝟯. 𝗢𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴:
Explore online learning platforms that offer affordable courses and certifications. This can be a flexible and cost-effective way to acquire new skills.

𝟭𝟰. 𝗝𝗼𝗯 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘁 𝗧𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗱𝘀:
Research job market trends to understand the demand for specific skills and occupations. This information can help you make informed decisions about your career path.

𝟭𝟱. 𝗙𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴:
Create a financial plan that includes saving for education or training, managing expenses, and exploring available financial assistance.

𝟭𝟲. 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗮 𝗚𝗮𝗽 𝗬𝗲𝗮𝗿:
Taking a gap year to work, gain experience, and save money before making a decision about college can be a viable option.

Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all answer, and your path may evolve over time. It's okay to explore different options and make decisions based on your unique circumstances and goals. If possible, seek guidance from mentors, family members, or professionals who can provide personalized advice based on your situation.
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. Many students have similar question. Firstly, you have to find out what careers you have interest. The careers that requires professional qualification, e.g. Doctor, Accountant, Engineer, Lawyer, etc. requiring a college degree. On the other hand, there are vocation school that can train up some skills, e.g. hair dressing, cooking, cosmetics, etc.
Below are my suggestions :
1. Think about what you have interest first, e.g. our hobbies, favourite subjects, etc. and identify the related careers
E.g. If you like music, would you like to be a musician, singer, musical artist, music composer, music producer, etc.
If you have interest in maths, would you like to be an accountant, engineer, banker, financial analyst, maths teacher, etc.
2. Find out more on these careers and determine what you have interest
3. Speak to someone who are working in these careers. Seek the guidance from your parents, school career counsellor, your parents, etc.
4. Shortlist 1-2 career you would like to pursue
5. Decide whether you would like to go to college or vocational school, etc. for these careers
If you find that there is any financial challenge to enter the college, you can explore any scholarship, financial subsidy / loan, etc.
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Shane’s Answer

Dear Levia,

Growing up, I found myself in a position where I had to shoulder the responsibility of looking after my mother and younger sisters at the tender age of 14. Our financial situation was dire, which led me to dive headfirst into the workforce. From my own experience, I strongly urge you to pursue a college education.

The rationale behind my advice is simple but profound. Attaining a degree can unlock opportunities that are otherwise difficult to access. Many organizations prioritize candidates with academic qualifications, making a degree a valuable asset in the job market.

The crux of the guidance shared here aligns with this notion. Discover your passion, and then pursue it wholeheartedly. However, do so with a degree in hand. The satisfaction and security that come with having a degree are immeasurable. On the other hand, the absence of one could lead to regret.

I sincerely wish you nothing but success in your future endeavors!
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Jerome’s Answer

I grew up in West Oakland and where you start is not where you have to end up.

Take advantage of any help you can find. Apply for grants and scholarships. Most schools have an EOPS program or something similar. I used to feel slightly bad about it, but with my salary and home, I’m paying way more in taxes that I would have with a lower paying job and renting.

There is support out there and you can do this. Make a choice to let nothing stand in your way and you can get to where you want to be. Wishing you all the best.!
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Ezra’s Answer

Hello,

Going to college is beneficial, but it's not a must, particularly when you consider the type of career you're interested in. You have the option to apply for Federal student aid if you decide to pursue higher education. However, I would suggest stepping into the workforce as an alternative. Having hands-on work experience is equally essential as getting a college degree. The military is also a great avenue to explore. It offers a wide range of job opportunities where you can gain valuable experience, and it also provides tuition assistance if you decide to further your education while serving.
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