There was a time when going to college was seen as a rite of passage not necessarily meant for everyone. However, in today’s global economy overflowing with technologies, a new emphasis is being put on post-secondary education. Going to college takes planning both financially and intellectually. Intended for the high school Junior planning for college, the discussion that follows are some thoughts and ideas about how one can prepare to enter this new world and make their own place in it.
The Financial Plan of Thought
"How do I pay for it," or "Can I afford it," are usually at the forefront of every decision as it relates to higher education. There are a number of considerations here and steps one needs to take. As a high school junior the following should be at the forefront.
First, in some states, there are special programs that allow students to earn scholarships to attend the respective states universities and colleges. Most of these programs will pay from 80 to 100 per cent of the student’s tuition and books. In Florida there is one such scholarship called the Bright Futures Scholarship. These are available to all students, but only apply to that state's universities and colleges. You cannot use these to go to Harvard or Yale. There are specific criteria to achieve these scholarships, including volunteer community service, GPA etc. Your high school counselor will have this information or you can go to your state's Board of Education website.
Secondly, you will want to go to the FAFSA web site to set up an account. This must be done in order for you to have access to any financial aid at the University of your choice. You will not actually enter any information here until the last semester of your senior year but getting your PIN number etc. will speed up the process when you are finally ready. By setting up the account now you avoid delays in the application processes.
Finally, you should start preparing your list of choices and then looking at their web sites to see what types of financial aid and scholarships are available. If you are considering a performing arts degree ask for audition dates and times so you can prepare in advance to go as early as possible. The later you send in for or audition the less likely there will be any money left.
Continue reading on page two for more hints for high school Juniors preparing for college.