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On your way to college? Are you prepared? The road ahead is exciting, here are a few tips in this two-part series.
- Dream bigger than your parents, Most of our parents worked in the first job or sector that fell into their laps. They didnâ€™t have too many options. As you go into college, you can achieve your dreams by working hard and believing your opportunities are not limited. Your parents did great considering the opportunities and challenges especially if they came into this country in their adult years. Dream Bigger, you certainly can make it.
- Student loan? Not so fast! So many loan offers will come your way. Select student loans carefully and if you must, select the federal loans over private loans. Student loans have to be paid back and donâ€™t use them to fund partying or playing smart at the stock exchange.
- Apply for every scholarship you can find, take time to search and apply, apply and apply some more. Remember as a minority who is going to be successful in school, there is a scholarship lurking somewhere waiting to be uncovered. Keep applying and get as many as you can. Search online for scholarships available for women, minorities, STEM programs etc. Apps like Scholly can also provide some crucial leads.
- Work part time. This not only prepares you for the work environment but gives you much needed cash to fund your college dreams. Remember your utmost priority is to graduate. Reduce work hours if school grades suffer, take night/summer jobs, but please graduate, You donâ€™t want to take a break and lose sight of this important achievement. Unless of course you have no choice, life sometimes happens.
- Plan wisely. As you select your major, donâ€™t waste a lot of time, ensure each course you take contributes to your degree in some way. Understand required courses, electives, and align your coursework wisely. Remember college is not cheap, the faster you finish the better. So use your time wisely. Donâ€™t be caught up in your second semester with no idea what major you want to graduate. To keep you at ease, most first years have no clue what they want to major in, we were all in that boat. However, unless you have a well-funded trust fund, time and cost is not on your side.
- Seek out mentors and love the art of asking questions. School counselors are not always available to answer questions at all times, but friends, former schoolmates, your parents and their set of business and personal networks can be great resources.
- Find a balance between passion and careers that pay. College is a great place for continued self-discovery, as you take certain courses, you may have a paradigm shift. However, if you find that what you love will not pay the bills, consider graduating in two majors, you are better off adding a semester or two to your time than making a mad rush only to realize that your passion area is over saturated without good returns. Take time to search online, websites like payscale.com can be great eye-openers. Donâ€™t be caught unawares, be informed about job opportunities in your field and expected pay.
- Seek to develop an entrepreneur mindset. Take time to explore and answer the questions:-what if you would start a business? what would you sell? who would be your customer? how would you increase sales? Seek out courses and opportunities that would help you answer this questions.
Be a good steward of the resources, time, and opportunities God has entrusted you with. Remember, God holds success for the upright Proverbs 2: 7a
By Irene "Two Mile Street" | firstname.lastname@example.org
Great additions, and completely agree with you.checking market trends is important in making infomed decisions versus emotional ones.
many people have taken degrees in areas there were passionate about and have to go back to school or change course. So the earlier one makes an informed decision that bills and life will still happen after school the better.
And those students loans...if one can avoid them..the better. However, for those that have limited options use wisely and no need to maximize each figure available.
In the words of Dave Ramsey, Sallie Mae will check in to your extra bedroom. Too expensive to pay after your start working.
Addition; Work as many hours as possible over the summer. You can make enought to pay for your next semester.
Higher Ed is not a level playing field and it is quite dynamic, relate to your professors and identify with professionals in your aspired field. Go for top grades( a weak transcript is a sure way to a dead end or off-terrain detour in future career and professional development). Do groundwork for future internships by engaging in including volunteer work, conferences, professional bodies, workshops, undergraduate research and projects etc. Above all be competent, competitive and keep your character. As an adult now, associate with the right characters both on and off campus-in case of a problem they do not call the parent; they call cops.
And please let me add my few learned lessons. I had been schooling in this country from AA degree to masters.
Plan wisely: my take to this is controversial. Don’t take major just because that what you love doing. What you love and like doing in live may not pay your bills and provide you with lifestyle that you desire. Try picking the major/degree/certificate based on current trend in world economy and markets. When I was young and in Kenya, I wanted so bad to be a teacher. I am not saying teaching is less or not best career but to me does not pay the kind of salary to provide the kind of lifestyle I wanted. So half way toward my bachelors I realize that a certificate in computer industry paid more than teaching and I changed the major. I never regret that decision and I will teach sometime as a hobby.
Ask questions. I had about $10,000 dollars on my student loan for classes that I never needed and I did not know. When I asked counselors, they stated that that was the only classes available at that time and other classes are full .
what I come to realize was schools/college are here to make money and is business as usual. One counselor confessed to me that they are under pressure to sign student and they have a quota to meet. Just because the class is full this semester does not mean counselor will ask you to wait, they will put you to another class claiming that you need it.
Conclusion: try and educate yourself without or less student loan. Student loan can be a nightmare in your life if not handled well.
You will finish school/collage with $40,000 student loan and your starting job salary is less than $60,000. Do the math, after tax, you take home less than $41,000/yr. bills plus $700 loan a month??? Good luck with that.
Good luck students and don’t ask me to cosign your student loan either because the answer is NO NO NO NO NOOO!!!!!