First off, YES YOU CAN go to college without financial help. I want that to be known right away before you begin to read any of these tips. It is possible to go to school and pay for it yourself. It will be hard, very hard, but extremely possible if you want to go. You have to want it and you have to be willing to work for it.
Being in high school comes with a lot of pressure. There are constant questions about your future. It feels like you have to have your entire future planned out before you’re an adult. With financial issues looming over you, the future seems impossible. This is far from the truth. The future is yours and you can make your dreams happen. If college is what you want you can do it without the help of family. Here are some tips to help get you to further your education.
- Find a scholarship. There are many scholarships available depending on what you qualify for. There is something for everyone and you might be surprised at what you find. No amount is too small, so apply to all of the ones available to you.
- Network online using social media. LinkedIn is a great resource. Set up your account and start your resume. Connect with people that work at your top choice and message them. Building a network can be helpful now and when you attend school.
- Reach out to your desired school. The financial departments at colleges have a ton of information. They are always willing to help and can explain the more complicated aspects of receiving financial aid. Don’t be afraid to ask all of your questions and continually follow up for new opportunities.
- Fill out the FAFSA form. The earlier you do this, the better. Filling it out early can help optimize the amount you receive. This is a great first step once you are accepted into college.
- Work in high school and college. Find a job, even if it’s not ideal. Working a couple of hours a week can help put money into the bank. Make goals for how much you want to save. A financial plan is a great resource to use. Free templates are available on Pinterest!
- Take advantage of free time in the summer. Without the ongoing pressure of school, summer can be a great time to look for opportunities. Set a couple days aside each week to reach out to school officials, apply to grants, and look at colleges you’re interested in. Research is key!
- Look for local help. Some communities offer scholarships for local high school seniors. Local employers may also have scholarships available. This can be a great way to find financial help and be supported by your town.
- Talk to your school guidance counselor. High schools have guidance counselors that are meant to help you with your future after you graduate. They know about opportunities and can guide you. If your counselor doesn’t seem to be helping you, then find another. Don’t be shy!
- View all of your options. Online classes may work for you while others desire to attend a school in person. Find your fit and pick a school that works for you. It’s helpful to make a list with everything you’re looking for and narrow down schools that have your wants.
- Make a decision that feels right for you! While it may seem ideal to go to school with friends it’s important to remember what’s best for you. Every person is on their own path and may receive different opportunities. Applying to schools where you know no one can actually end up being one of your best decisions!
Paying for college myself has not been easy, but it is rewarding. I understand the value of hard work. My determination has brought me responsibility and motivation. The most important thing is to not give up. If college isn’t what you want, then find an option that works for you. Follow your heart and ignore outside influence. This is your life.
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