Is it That Time Already?

Ahhh the anticipation of college…students will experience a range of emotions, both good and bad. There is the anticipation and excitement, the hope, and dreams of the future. And on the other hand, there can be anxiety, worry, and fear. The reasons for these emotions vary. Here, we will discuss one of the reasons that students experience anxiety and worry: the financial burden of college.

That being said, now is the time to prepare for college, if you are planning to go next year. Here are some of the ways to prepare, if you haven’t done so already:

Apply for scholarships. Scholarships are a good way to pay for at least a portion of your college, because they are gifts and unlike loans, you never have to repay them. There are scholarships for women, for academic excellence, scholarships offered by religious groups, and so on. Some of the scholarships have deadlines that may have passed or in some cases, the later you apply, the further down on the list you’ll go. We’re all familiar with athletic scholarships in which tuition can be entirely paid for in many instances. A student may choose to apply for several scholarships if he or she qualifies.

One of the ways  you can find out about the scholarships available, after you have made a list of the colleges that you are considering applying to, is to call or contact the Financial Aid Office of the schools to which you are going to apply (or have applied). They can supply you with information as to which scholarships are available and which you qualify for. You can never do this too early – senior year will be filled with many activities and college planning, so it is best to start looking for scholarships before or at the beginning of the senior year.

If you choose to search online for scholarships, remember that you never have to pay to apply. If someone is asking for money with the application, it is a scam. Filling out the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is also free. Find out what is available to you in terms of scholarships early – the more scholarships you have, the less you will have to worry about in terms of a financial burden. And even if you have to apply for student loans, scholarships would certainly reduce the loan amount. There are a lot of scholarships out there. If the deadline for certain scholarships has passed, apply for another.

Some scholarships will require essays, and this is something you can prepare beforehand as well. If you save the essays, in some cases you can use them more than once while applying for different scholarships, but only if the guidelines for each individual scholarship allow for this.

Once you have completed this process, there is no harm in continuing to find other ways to pay for college. There are several other ways to generate income. A great number of people choose to work for an hourly wage. This is actually what the majority of people do.

If, after applying for scholarships and trying to find other means to pay for college, you find yourself needing to take out student loans, that is nothing to feel embarrassed about, especially if you have tried your best. Sometimes, students just don’t realize that they qualify for scholarships or that they have missed deadlines. Or, they have not saved enough money, haven’t ever worked part-time and thus have no funds, or maybe they have parents who simply can’t pay for college. In such cases, student loans may be the only answer. Just keep in mind that Federal Student Loans have deadlines whereas private loans do not. Your college may also have deadlines. You need to find out Federal, State, and College deadlines (for the college(s) to which you will apply). This information can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.

Please feel free to leave any comments. Questions are always welcome.

 

 

 

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