Now that your college admissions paperwork has been completed and you’ve been accepted to the college of your dreams, you’ll find that your work has just begun. In just three short months, a lot of ground needs to be covered. You will need to start thinking about how you’re going to pay for your education. Will you need to secure a loan? Can you get any grants, scholarships, fellowships that you won’t need to pay back upon graduation. Are there any work study opportunities? You may be tempted to just forget about school for awhile and enjoy all the summer parties, but you should spend a little bit of time planning for your future and the many tasks ahead.
As soon as the college admissions process is finished, you should immediately set your sights on funding college. Be sure to have an honest discussion with your parents and see if they’re willing to throw in anything to help you out. Look at your current job situation and your prospective job situation. If you’re keeping your current job, how many hours a week can you realistically work? If you’re going away to school, you need to begin applying in the town you’re moving to immediately before the late summer rush of applicants flood every possible job opportunity. Work won’t necessarily cover everything, though. You may also need to look for student financial aid to scrape together short-term cash to cover tuition and board. The last thing you want is to be de-registered from all your classes because you were late with your payment!
The college admissions process should be mostly finished in the winter of your senior, high school year. Then you must wait for their final decision if you’ve been accepted or not. Once you finish filing your taxes for the year (April), you will be able to fill out your FAFSA student financial aid forms. It may seem a bit premature, but the earlier you fill out these forms, the better. In this case, the early bird gets the worm and you can be awarded more money if you apply early. You can apply online at www.fafsa.edu.gov. If you get approved for a college loan, you will receive a check to cover your tuition, room and board and fees. Once these expenses have been deducted at the financial aid office, you will receive the remainder of the money in cash, which you may use on books or whatever you please. Just be aware that you will need to pay this money back upon graduation and interest will begin to accrue then too.
After the madness of filling out college admissions and financial aid forms has died down, you will need to start thinking about your summer internship prospects. Half of all internships are unpaid, offering school credit and training experience only. However, a number of student intern opportunities have turned into job offers upon completion. Your school guidance counselor should be able to direct you to the college’s career center where you will find binders or databases of internship opportunities available to students in your school. You might also want to check out Business Week’s list of “Top 50 internships” to find some promising paid internship options that may appeal to you.
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