The Cost of College & How to Cover It
Let’s talk about the most exciting part of college… paying for it!! Really though, I find the reality of the many complicated college expenses absolutely terrifying. My parents both went to college and then graduate school, so student loans are no stranger to my family. The last thing I want to do as an 18 year old girl barely out of the house is sign onto loans, but it’s a reality that the vast majority of students face, so let’s talk about how to make it less terrifying.
A few weeks after you get your acceptance letter from a university you might get another letter. In this one you will find out how much money that school is going to give you to attend. These scholarships tend to be based off of your academic record the college gets from your school guidance counselor, but they are just the beginning. Some schools, like SCAD where I will be going, have achievement based scholarships.
Achievement scholarships are another opportunity for you to show the University what you can do beyond the classroom. If you are looking into an art school, start thinking about getting a portfolio together. This portfolio can include any type of work, but start thinking about it now so that you don’t have to spend a few days rushing around finding and creating projects (like I did). Additionally, everyone should start thinking about making a resume. I was so intimidated when it came to making my first resume, but once you start working it’s much easier than you would think. Think of a school resume as more of brag sheet than anything else. List all the activities you can think of, and talk yourself up! You’re trying to get these people to give you money, so make yourself sound like someone who deserves it! Now is not the time for modesty.
Another type of scholarship you can get are competitive scholarships. These tend to be more specific and give the student a job to do, usually writing an essay or completing a project. These types of scholarships can even have an interview requirement. Then you hear back later whether or not you won the scholarship.
Aside from university scholarships, you can find outside scholarships all over the place. There are a ton of different websites that you can look through for potential scholarships, and you can find them with a quick google search. But a word of warning, make sure the website you use looks legit, and know that many online scholarships have lots of different criteria for students to meet. That can be great if you fit the criteria, but a bit frustrating when you have to comb through pages of scholarships you just don’t qualify for. But keep looking! You never know what you will find, and any additional scholarship, even if it is small, is better to have than not.
Lastly, in your quest for money for college, talk to your admissions counselor and school financial aid offices. Your Admissions Counselor is that person who emails you after you get into a University. They are basically your go-to person for any questions you have about school before it starts. They are there to help you, so don’t be afraid of them, and if they can’t help you with something then they can tell you who can.
In addition to you admissions counselor, the schools financial aid office may be a useful place for you to reach out to with questions and/or concerns about money. My mom and I met with a financial aid person during a visit to SCAD and they were very nice and understanding. Everyone gets that college is crazy expensive, and they don’t want you to have to sell your soul to the loan agencies to educate yourself. People who deal with financial aid as a job have a really good understanding of all the different expenses, scholarships, and loans you are working with, so see how they can help you out.
Bye for now,