Choose a major. You can always change it but it is prudent to have a goal. Your major helps determine what classes you need to take. Many schools offer services such as Career Cruise, to help you figure this out. Ask your counselor to help you figure this out if you feel lost. That’s what they are there for!!
Figure out what schools offer your major. Not all schools offer what you are looking for. Ensuring you choose the right school will help save you time. Compare school costs per credit hour, compare the number of credits each school requires for your major and understand the admission requirements for the schools. PLEASE make sure the school you choose is accredited. Nothing is worse than attending school and finding out afterward that they were not accredited so no one will accept your degree. YES this happens! Please visit http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/ to ensure your school is accredited.
Once you have narrowed down your top 3 or 4 schools, know their application deadlines and admission requirements, (ACT or SAT scores, GPA, etc.). You can apply to the school of your choice at any time, even if you have not taken the SAT or ACT test yet. Just make sure you are applying to the school for the proper semester (fall vs spring). They will receive your SAT or ACT scores electronically when you complete the test.
Register for the ACT or SAT test. Many states offer discounted rates for these test based on your household income, so make sure you talk to your counselor about this assistance. Which test is best for you? Many prefer the ACT. All schools accept both. No matter what test you choose, be sure to prep your self for the test. DO NOT WALK INTO THIS TEST BLIND! Like any other test, this test requires preparation, so rent or purchase a prep guide to help you prepare for either test you choose to take. Both of these tests are a significant determining factor regarding your admission to college. Also pay attention to test dates. Ensure the test date you choose coincides with the admission deadline of the school of your choice.
Fill out a FAFSA. This helps the government determine how much money they will give you to attend college. This is a FREE form and FREE service. Please beware of many sites claiming to assist you in the FAFSA process and attempting to charge a fee. The best website to use is https://fafsa.ed.gov/ . Please be prepared with your parent’s financial info when submitting this form. If you are like me, and do not have parents due to whatever circumstances, you can submit a waiver and be assessed based on your own financial info. It is a much lengthier process and may require some assistance. The school you finally choose can help you with this if needed. Please note this is only an option if you DO NOT have parents! This is the federal government we are talking about here. Please no games! Send the FAFSA to all the schools you apply to or even think you may apply to.
Now its time to start the scholarship search. There is so much money out there that you should be able to get through school with minimal financial obligation. You just have to be willing to put in the work to get them! I personally obtained my Associates, Bachelors and Masters with only $5,000 debt, meanwhile many others have $40,000- $100,000 debt after a Bachelors. Check with you place of employment or your parent’s place of employment. Many companies offer scholarships to their employees and their employee’s dependents. Also check with the school you finally choose to attend. Many schools offer their own personal scholarships for their students. Check with you financial institution. Many banks give back to their customers through scholarship programs. Then there is the good old fashion internet web search: Please see our website for a list of those sites under the resources tab at nbccisnumber1.org .
Finally, get to school, give it your all and be great!! An education is priceless at the end of the day. Knowledge is something no one can ever take from you. Knowledge will help you to help others, secure your financial future, provide for yourself and your family and prevent you from working for $7.50 for the rest of your life at a job that you despise daily! Please share with us your educational success stories and let us know what other topics you would like more info on. Email me at Victoria@nbccisnumber1.org