Tuesday, August 21, 2012

how to pay for college .

So for those of you entering college life (which admittedly, many of my readers are not) it is incredibly daunting to look at the amount of money you'll be spending over the next four years. Ideally you'd want to be thinking about this way before college even begins, so you can plan accordingly (ahh parenthood, it's great until you realize you'll be spending around 200 g's to put a kid through college). But if you're the upcoming student, here are some things that will help you out.

1. Study hard for your SAT's. The scores can make all the difference. I ended up receiving a scholarship that leveled me with in-state tuition, just by scoring well on my SAT's.

2. Look for scholarships. They're everywhere and it's very easy to apply for many of them. They're all over the place. Most people ignore them. The best ones to look for are the ones that can be renewed each semester or each year. It may not seem like much, but every little bit counts. Even if you just get 500 bucks once, it's still 500 bucks. And if you put in an hour to write it, then it will be worth it!

3. The most expensive school isn't necessarily the best school for you. Just because it's ranked well and has a good program doesn't mean you have to go there. Pick the school that is right for you, in all aspects. Program, size, location, extracurricular activities that are available.

4. Loans are helpful. If you need the money, take it. There are lots of payback programs that help students who are still getting off the ground after their years in school. So don't worry too much about the amount of money you're taking from the bank.

5. On a related note, don't take more in the loan than you need to. If you don't need the money, no need to take it out. This helps when you're sort of managing your finances at school. After the first year, you should have a decent idea of how much you'll be spending at school. The less loan you take out, the less you have to pay back later.

6. Be appreciative of all the money your parents are putting in. It's a huge burden.... and it's quite the selfless thing to do.

7. Don't be afraid of FAFSA or other financial aid programs. They are there to help. In my mind, getting a good education should never be limited by the money you have or don't have. If you've got the smarts, you should be able to find a way to make ends meet.

8. Don't get overwhelmed!! Yes, college is a huge expense. But don't drown yourself in numbers. Remember that you should try to give yourself enough to enjoy yourself at school too! Give yourself the opportunity to have the whole college experiences -- and include some funtivities with your work.

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