Practice What I Preach, Part 2: Cost of Attendance: Scholarships vs. Loans

This is a topic that is very serious to me, because in a matter of days, I will be starting my Freshman Fall semester at Georgia Regents University (Go Jags!). As with any college, you have to pay! I know you're probably like, 'Duhh, Rickey!! Of course you have to pay!' But some people don't take into account that you do have to pay! In my college application process, before I looked at majors, clubs and meal plans, I looked at Tuitions, Room and Board and other fees! I thought about it like this, before I can join SGA, I have to pay for the academics!

One thing that teens can do with the college application process, is to make a spreadsheet, comparing the cost of all the colleges that you applied to, and make a column of these facts and figures:

•Tuition
•Mandatory Fees
•Room and Board
•Meal Plan
•Books

Having this spreadsheet with cost comparisons is extremely helpful to really determine if not only you like the campus, how affordable it would be for you!

Ok, let's get down to business. You've applied to the school of your dreams, you've been accepted, and you have things lined up to attend school there! But, you missed one HUGE factor! YOUR BILL! This is what many high school grads go through, and they realize that paying for college is too overwhelming! Let's talk about some ways that you can lower your tab, but still get a GREAT education:

1. Think closer to home: Many people feel that if you don't go far away for school, you won't get the 'college' experience! I beg to differ! There is plenty of independence in going staying close to home for school. If you move out of your parents house, near or far, you still have responsibilities to take care of! Also, there is always a sense of freedom when you're away from your parents!

2. Don't set your sights too high: From Ninth to Eleventh Grade, many high school students, no matter what GPA, Involvement level or intelligence level, set they're standards for school WAY too high. I know a guy, who was on the 5-Year Graduation Plan, with less than a 2.0 GPA, who thought for sure we was going to UCLA! Understanding from an early age that what you do in high school will ultimately determine where you can even consider going to school, is another way that you can lower your tab in school, because it can either expand or limit your radar of schools!

College is supposed to be the best time of your life, so use these tips to make sure it doesn't cost you your life after!

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