Education and Financial Aid
So it is time for you to think about attending college for the first time, or time to start thinking about next school year. You can feel the pressure. What is your biggest concern? If you are like I was, it probably is your financial aid. Are you going to have enough to pay this year? Will you need to get a loan? Do you need to consider not going?
God forbid you consider the last option… that could be your single biggest mistake in life, so focus on the first one, and the second as a resort once you’ve exhausted all your options.
I always like to remember my college years. It was all so new, so challenging, so stimulating. Going to college allowed me to see a dimension of the world that I didn’t know existed. I started considering my future as an independent adult and before me opened a world of opportunities, one that I would not have discovered had I taken the easy route of not going to school.
I was the first in my family to go to college… if you are the first one too, you would agree it is feels great but it also gives you a great, and awesome, responsibility. Like many other first generation students, I was lost. I didn’t know the process and all my siblings and parents could do was support me, by being there.
But luckily I had great teachers who I knew and respected, whom in turn helped me apply for college, and more importantly, get the financial aid I needed to graduate. I was fortunate enough to have finished my college career entirely on scholarships. It was still a lot of work to get the scholarships and to keep them, but it was well worth all the effort.
So where are you in your college process? Are you ready? Have you been accepted? Have you applied for scholarships and financial aid? If you have not, it is not the end of the world, but you should hurry. Remember “Al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda”, and the earlier you apply the better the chances to get aid
If you are already enrolled or will be enrolled soon, you need to think about how to pay for the school year. These are just some suggestions that you can check into, and if you need additional help, we can certainly share with you more resources.
First things first, if you are a legal resident or US citizen, visit http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Here you can apply for federal financial aid. You will need to gather information about your, and your parent’s, taxes before you apply. But you should apply as soon as you have all the information, beginning the year. The earlier you apply the more chances you have to receive assistance.
Next, look for all the scholarships for which you qualify, and apply to as many as you can. You can never apply for too many scholarships. The advantage is that many requisites for most scholarships are the same so you just have to tweak them.
Here are two websites to visit that offer scholarships for Hispanic students.
The first one is http://www.hsf.net/innerContent.aspx?id=34. Here you will see some options that apply to you and how to go about applying.
There are also many options for those that may not have a social security number, so don’t get discouraged. You can visit http://www.maldef.org/leadership/scholarships/2010_Scholarship_List.pdf. Here you will find a very complete listing of scholarships that may not ask about status.
Skim through these pages and apply to as many as you qualify.
In our next blog we will talk about the nuances of filling out your FAFSA application and what you need to consider. We will also talk about some of the most common requirements when applying for scholarships and how to deal with them. And we will continue to share some additional scholarship information for you to consider.
Remember that education is a light in the darkness. Dare yourself to reach something bigger and greater.
Please share with us whether these resources are valuable or if you have any particular questions. You are not alone, so share your thoughts and help others in the process.
Good luck and don’t forget, apply, apply and apply!