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College Basics

 Planning for Your Future

Why Should I Go To College?
  • The large majority of jobs that pay over minimum wage require more than a high school diploma. So having an advanced education, will open up more opportunities for you in the job market.
  • Going to college may be hard work, but having a college degree is something that you can be proud of for the rest of your life!
  • Statistics show that college graduates earn almost twice as much money as high school graduates. On average, that works out to be over $1 million dollars more in your lifetime!!
  • College is a fun experience! Ask almost anyone who went to college. They will tell you that it was one of the best times of their life!
 
What Should I Expect In College?

  • More freedom! College students have a lot of freedom. This can be good or bad. It means that there is not someone checking in on you all of the time, but it also means that you are responsible for your own academic progress.
  • Less time in class! College students do not have the same schedule as middle and high school students. College students spend about half as much time in class as high school students.
  • Consequences for grades. In college you can be put on academic probation or even withdrawn if you are not keeping your grades up.
  • Less homework! In college there is far more emphasis on tests and less emphasis on busywork. You will still have assignments to do outside of class, but they will most likely be papers to write or projects to complete.
What Are My Career Planning Choices?

There are many different choices that can be made to help you prepare for your future. They include:
  • Vocational School - designed to educate students with very specific trades and crafts in mind
  • Two-Year College (Community College or State-Supported Technical College) - may be more affordable than other options and also accept anyone with a high school diploma. You can transfer to a four-year college after a year or two of successful coursework.
  • Four-Year College (Public or Private) - range from very small to extremely large. Tuition also ranges drastically. Students must be academically prepared.
When Should I Start Thinking About College?
  • It is never too early!
  • Do you research early. It is better to be well informed.
  • Visit colleges campuses! Whether you are going to attend a sporting event, or actually tour the campus, don't be afraid to start visiting college campuses too early. It is important to get a feel for them. You will find the one that fits you best.
How Am I Going To Pay For College?

There are four kinds of financial aid:
  • Grants are free money that does not have to paid back.
  • Scholarships are money awarded to recipients based on different criteria.
  • Loans are money that is borrowed, but must be payed back (generally with interest).
  • Work-study is a program that helps students earn money by working for the college or university.
Do not make the mistake of automatically assuming that the schools with the highest tuition are always the most expensive. Many times private colleges and universities offer better financial aid packages than state colleges and universities.