Navigating the college admissions and degree-earning journey can be incredibly puzzling, which is why this advice for students interested in pursuing a college degree is so valuable. Here’s what you should know before embarking on the path to higher education.
It’s critical to arm yourself with the proper information on financial aid while working on admissions applications. For starters, you should make it a priority to fill out and submit the FAFSA, a document that plays a major role in determining your financial aid package. You should also begin researching local scholarships as early as possible, and consider applying to multiple schools. The more choices you have, the more likely you will be to ensure yourself an admissions slot and a manageable financing plan.
Familiarize yourself with grant and application deadlines. Deadlines need to be followed, as many federal and state aid programs, such as those informed by the FAFSA, have a limited award allowance. Apply as early as possible to maximize your reward.
Financial aid and scholarships may have specific academic requirements, so be sure to read the fine print on all of your monetary awards. You may be expected to maintain a certain GPA, complete a specific number of credit hours, or reapply for aid each semester. Knowing this in advance can save you from headaches later.
Consider alternative funding sources, such as AmeriCorps and similar programs, which can help finance your education. Beginning your education at a community college and then transferring can save you big money, and international and certain Ivy League schools can be a better deal than you local college, so look at all of your options.
Sometimes it is possible to readjust your financial aid package. If your second choice school offers you a better scholarship deal than your first choice school, use that as a bargaining chip. Call up the financial aid office and explain your situation and the competing offer to them. You may be able to score a more attractive package with your first choice school.
Before committing yourself to a degree program, learn about the earning and hiring potential for different majors. It’s a tough world for new college graduates. Employment rates are still at record lows, and a college degree no longer guarantees a career. Engineering disciplines, especially those related to petroleum, aerospace, and chemical niches, are some of the highest-earning jobs today, along with pharmaceutical and mathematics assignments. On the other hand, positions in the visual and performing arts, social work, theology, early-childhood education, and human services fields are low-paying and less in-demand. Still, money isn’t everything. To give yourself the most complete look at potential careers, make sure to operate with a well-rounded philosophy in college. Opening yourself up to different classes may introduce you to a career you’ve never considered.
By imagining where you want to be in the future, you can ready yourself with the skills, activities and classes that will help you achieve success.