There are so many ways that you need to prepare yourself for college, and they are all very separate challenges. The work you do to prepare for college academically is nothing like your emotional preparations for college. But one of the hardest challenges is definitely making sure you are financially prepared. Everyone knows that college isn’t cheap, and no matter how much tuition assistance you receive, there will always be more expenses. If you’re not sure whether or not you are truly prepared, here are some different steps toward preparing financially for college.
You Need to Fill Out the FAFSA
The first thing you need to do is fill out and submit the FAFSA. Depending on your current financial situation and the colleges you apply for, you will be granted a certain level of tuition assistance at each school. You will need to fill out this application with a parent or guardian, and it takes quite a long time, so you want to make sure that you give yourself enough time and know what to expect. You will get a completely different tuition assistance package from Chicago State University than you will from NEC’s project management degree online, so keep that in mind when you are choosing your top schools.
You Should Apply for Scholarships
Once you know which schools you are applying to, you want to look into applying for scholarships at those schools. Whether you are looking for academic scholarships or athletic scholarships, this will be a major opportunity to have a great portion of your tuition and possibly even board paid for by the university. You may need to interview for this scholarship and you will need to write a very strong essay, so get prepared for a lot of work.
You Should Apply for Grants
Even if you do get a decent amount of tuition assistance and/or scholarship money, you still want to apply for grants. This is another great way to earn money for college that you don’t have to pay back. You may have to work on campus or pay back some of your tuition assistance that you receive through your FAFSA, so it helps to have as many sources of money that don’t need to be paid back as possible.
You Need a Complete Breakdown of Your Cost of Living
Before you can really understand how much college is going to cost, you’re going to have to breakdown all of your expenditures. Everything from your utilities, phone bill, transportation and food costs need to be taken into account. From there you can determine how much money you will need per month, how much you will have for food each week, and how much will be leftover for everything else. Once you add it all up, you may find that you will need a part-time job as well.
You Will Need to Do Your Research on Loans
As much as you can try to avoid it, you might just need to open some student loans in the end. Before you do, you just want to make sure that you do your research and don’t get scammed by the banks. This can easily happen, so be careful.