- Personal Finance
Getting prepared for higher education
From high school to higher education
Coming to College
As a chaplain, I have talked to so many people. Some with Masters and Phd's and some that have GED's or no paperwork whatsoever. I do not fault anyone, because you can onlly do better when you know better. Some people do not have any general idea how to apply for college. College for them is like an unattainable and unreachable obstacle.
MAKING THE DECISION/FINANCIAL NEEDS
First things first, you must decide on a college, you can do so, by going on-line and deciding which school best fits the major you are going to concentrate it. Also, you want to scope out the town in which the college is located to see if you need transportation or not. If you are a parent nearby daycares, schools, etc. If you are going to do work see what workstudy they have available and examine the job market and cost of school. Once you decide on a college, then you must fill out an application that usually has a non-refundable fee anywhere from 25 to 100 dollars. Then, you also need to fill out out your financial aid. Financial aid applications are no cost and can be found on fafsa.edu.gov. When filling out your financial aid application you will need a copy of your tax papers from the latest tax season. Also, there are other options for finances besides loans, there are scholarships, and grants. With scholarships some schools have standard and general scholarships, but it is also a good idea to google other scholarships. You can apply for scholarships for many different reasons, batter woman, single mother, young men, people from certain states, old men, high gpa's/grade point averages, being baptist, majoring in accounting, being African American, Native American, Latino, etc. There are so many people willing to sponsor students for college. You can also check with your local churches and small businesses to see if they have funds available for college. Also certain companies have scholarships for their employees and the children of their employees such as At&t and Coke. There are endless possibilities you just have to know where to look.
WHOSE GOING TO HOUSE ME?
As you were filling out your application you will see a slot that says housing. It will ask if you are doing on campus or off campus housing. On-campus housing can be a dorm room, marriage housing (usually reserved for students that are married or have families), this is technically considered to be on campus, but is not structurally set up like the dormitories. Most dorms are male, female, but also some colleges have co-ed dorms (meaning men and women live there.) You can also do off-campus housing, there are certain off-campus apartments or condos that are strictly for students. Also, some schools make suggestions for other low cost apartment complexes that will take your rent out of your financial aid, but you must ask or request. Another suggestion is if you have any relatives in the area see if you can work something out. Some schools may require a housing deposit, which can vary in its pricing. Good news is some will take it out of your financial aid.
MEALS ON WHEELS
Another important thing is food, most schools have meal plans that can be taken out of your funds. There is usually an food spot located on the campus, they will give you a certain amount of funds on a card, then after it runs out as part of your meal plan you pay out of pocket for the food. If you find yourself leaving off campus and no meal plan, then there is the option that you should visit the food bank and some churches have pantries where you can buy groceries at discounted prices.
You must also have letters of recommendations from a professional person (could be a teacher, principal, guidance counselor, or pastor that would makes you look good. Also you must have a copy of your transcript.
Once you are accepted into college you have completed half the battle. Now you get to shop, shop, shop!!! Fun, but can be costly. For tips on saving I suggest you watch extreme couponing some of them have great tips and can shop for a dorm room and walk away with everything they need for only 100 dollars. Extreme couponing comes on T.L.C.
Now the final expense comes when you are actually enrolled, which is parking decals if you decide to drive and books!!!
Hope this helps get you started, remember you can go on most college's website and take virtual tours and see what classes they offer and when to get a jump start on what your schedule would look like. Some let you look at the classes by logging in as a guest user.