I come from a low income, first-generation family. Grants, scholarships and loans (yes, loans) are how I was able to go to college. I lived on campus even though I knew that it would have been cheaper to live at home but I wanted the whole college experience and I didn’t want to let money stand in my way. Although I have received financial aid, I have also held 2 jobs while in school. It’s been hard to balance both work and school but it’s possible. Never let money stop you from going to college.
I remember one of the most stressful times of my senior year was waiting to hear back from which colleges I had been accepted to. From November to early March, I spent my days anticipating when I would get that letter or that e-mail. I started worrying about whether I would be able to get into college, whether my GPA was high enough, what I would do if I hadn’t been accepted to any colleges, and so much more. I’m sure many of you are feeling the same way right now. I am here to give you good news! Here are some ways you can get your mind off things while being productive:
- Look for scholarships online and or through your high school counselor
- Volunteer at a local organization
- Pick up a good book to read
- Join a club (either on-campus or off-campus)
Whatever you do, don’t just sit and waste your time! Go out and learn something!
Unfortunately we have come into a new generation where when we think of college we immediately think of six-figure loans. As the tuition is rising the decision of whether college is worth it gets more difficult. Of course many students already have a college savings account from their parents, but some like myself do not. Affording college was not always a breeze for me and the same goes for other students. We all struggle in our own way. The best thing to do is to apply for financial aid, even if you think you won’t qualify. They offer loans to some students or work study jobs on campus. One benefit that I received was the Educational Opportunity Program, where if you are a first generation student with a low income then you can qualify for about $1300 per year and guidance from counselors. High school students can also apply for as many scholarships to get more aid. Once you start college you can always find jobs on campus to pay for your expenses if you continue to struggle. The important thing is that you are not alone and almost all students struggle with the same issue.