Need Money for College? Work for it!
I believe in putting in work for what you want. Always have and probably always will. Not many things in this life are given to you. At least that's the case for most people. When it comes to a college education many parents feel like they have to take the entire burden of the cost unto their own shoulders. Some students also feel like they shouldn't have to worry about how college will be paid for. The fact of the matter is a college education is a choice. Unlike primary and secondary school it is not required for a student to complete this level of education. Within our American society, however it is still a much desired choice. My belief in working for what you want sees no difference when trying to fund a college education. If a student wants a college education they should put forth some effort toward securing the finances for it. Of course the way to do that can vary depending on family circumstances, so here are a few ways for students to take a front seat in finding money for college:
1. Develop a Scholarship Plan
It's not just about applying for scholarships; you need to do more. In some circles it seems as if the words 'college' and 'scholarships' are synonymous because the two are spoken so frequently together. People throw the word scholarship around without thinking about the level of work it takes to actually secure this type of funding.
Where do scholarships come from?
Where do you get applications?
How do I apply? Am I eligible?
How much is the scholarship worth?
How many years will I received this scholarship if I win it?
Will this scholarship be enough?
These questions (and many more) surround the scholarship phenomena. It's not as simple as putting in a few applications. A student must do research and develop a plan for applying to scholarships. A sound plan should include:
Differentiating between local and national scholarships.
Crafting a well-written essay that that can be used for multiple scholarship applications.
Applying to enough scholarships to cover 3 times your needed gap
It is just not enough to say that you are going to apply to scholarships without putting in the legwork. Researching eligibility requirements and all pertinent information needed to apply is a big part of the process.
2. Develop a Realistic Savings Plan
A common misconception among many teens is their ability to save money. Getting a part-time job during the school year and/or a job over the summer is a great accomplishment that can show strong time management skills and the ability to juggle scholastics while employed. A mistake many students make however is thinking they can save a substantial amount of money to put towards their college bill. Yes it is possible. Many things are possible, but unless someone has a plan and financial wherewithal then it can be rather difficult for an untrained individual to save a large sum of money. My suggestion would be to develop a clear savings plan.
- Set a small goal and attach it to a college themed item. Example "I would like to save $500 by August 15th to buy my books for first semester. I will deposit $50 every two weeks from my paycheck from my job into my bank account beginning March 2017." By setting a clear, specific, measurable goal a student can clearly see exactly what is needed to reach their goal.
These small tips can lay the groundwork for the student to put forth a meaningful effort to contribute to their college costs. It's not always a large sum of money, but a strong effort that can help to reach the ultimate goal of paying for college. Am I saying that parents should not help with paying for college? No I am not. I am saying that all parties should recognize that a college education is an investment into a student's future. The student should be willing to do whatever is within their power to ensure that they are financially able to get that education. Work for what you want.
For more unconventional ways to find money for college check out my book Creatively Closing the Gap available online now at danamartincollege.com!