College, regardless the program and or program length, must be planned. A student should begin exploring career and post secondary options as soon as middle school, as they begin to develop their interest and talents into a career. When reviewing career options students should think about the following:
- Where do I want to live once I become independent (state and city)?
- What type of lifestyle do I want to live? (think about the hourly pay or salary that will match your chosen lifestyle).
- What are my interest, gifts and or talents that lead me to this career?
- What are my values? How do those values help me to create my personal and professional goals?
- What do I hope to become in life?
- Who can I contact to job shadow and or ask questions about this career?
Answering questions that are centered around students interest allow them to be exposed to unfamiliar careers. Below are career interest surveys that can help students begin to pave their road to success.
Student Interest Survey 1 & Student Interest Survey 2
Once, students begin to narrow their career options, they must ponder questions such as:
- What level of education must I complete? Do I need to attend a two year or four year college or university?
- What universities and or colleges offer this major and or career field of study?
- What classes should I take while in high school?
The link below is an example of how to properly plan for post secondary education.
The link provides important documents such as:
Countdown to Graduation
Key words and definitions that will be used frequently as the student prepares to graduate from high school
Career and Extra Curricular Planning
College Selection and Planning
When an academic plan is developed, the biggest questions still lingers, HOW WILL YOU PAY FOR IT?
With preparation comes success. Once a student (with help from their counselor and or parent) creates a educational plan, they should focus on how to finance their educational dream.
The goal of planning and preparation is to achieve academic excellence. Scholarships should be the goal when creating a educational plan and setting educational goals. If you are not able to fund your educational dream 100% with an academic scholarship, there are other options to fund your post secondary education.
There are two type of student loans: private student loans and federal students loans.
Private student loans are loans that are funded by the bank, credit union or the school. These loans have higher interest rates and payments must be paid to the school, while you are attending school.
Federal student loans are loans that are the most common. They allow students a “grace period”, which is a period of time when a student is not required to make payments on the loan. Grace periods are usually six to nine months, once a student withdraws from the school or when the student graduates from the school. Payments for this loan do not start until after the grace period ends.
There are different types of federal loans, which include direct subsidized loans and direct unsubsidized loans.
Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students who have a financial need. Direct Subsidized Loans do not accrue interest while you are in school or the six to nine month grace period. The interest on these loans do not begin until the student goes into repayment.
Types of subsidized loans are: Stafford Loans and Perkins Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Loan are available to undergrad and grad students and do not require a financial need. Your school will determine the amount of money you can borrow. The interest on these loans will be added to the loans, while you are in school and during the grace period.
Types of unsubsidized loans are: Stafford loans and PLUS loans (parent plus and grad plus)
Another form of fin aid is work study. Work study is a federal funded program that allows students to work on campus to help pay for their educational cost. It is a part time job that is on campus and usually in the college and or field of study chosen by the student. Once students balances are paid, the student will have the opportunity to continue working to earn money that will paid directly to them.
Due to the rising cost of postsecondary education,it is important that a plan is created on how to fund the four to ten year cost (time varies depending on career choice). Here are tips to avoid financial debt when graduating from college:
- Know the difference between types of student loans and fin aid.
- STAY AWAY FROM CREDIT CARDS!
- Have an educational and financial plan that includes goals.
- Create an educational plan and goals that will be used to determine major, career, and financial need.
- Select a career based on your interest after completing a career interest survey. Once you select a career, find a person and or company that will allow you to job shadow.