Yesterday FAFSA opened. (Click here to complete your application). They changed the date to October 1st so people would not have to wait on their tax return to file for eligible financial aid. When this first happened, I was ecstatic for both parents and students. Taxes can be so complicated. Creating an opportunity for students to apply for financial aid early helps reduce the stress for the student and the parent. Even if you have people in your family who have attended college, as a senior in high school this is still your first time. Extra headaches only make the process worse for making adult decisions for the first time in your life. So kudos to the people who advocated for this change! As a first generation student, I am grateful for students to get this opportunity. This article isn’t about FAFSA. It is about general tips to help graduating seniors and current college students. Next week I will speak to parents.
Graduating seniors and current students
- Take Responsibility
It is time to start taking responsibility for your role in the next stages of your life. Do you need all the answers right now? NO! It will be years before you really understand what you truly want to do with your life. Submitting the application, job or college, is your responsibility. Do not blame others for the things that you need to handle. Meet with your counselor, request the transcript, and FOLLOW THE DEADLINES. You are not the only person applying so take care of your business early.
- Not knowing is fine, not pursuing anything is not
What do I mean by that? Maybe you haven’t decided on what school you definitely want to attend. There is nothing wrong with that. However, you should know your top 3, 5, or even 10. Apply to all so you can understand all of your benefits and make a decision later. Sitting idle and saying “I don’t know” is not a smart idea. You will end up missing all of the opportunities.
- Is college what is best for you?
This may receive a lot of criticism but it is a question that needs to be answered. Do you really want to go to college? Maybe working is what you desire. No matter the intent, you should decide if college will work for you. Even if you go to a “cheap” college, that is still a lot of money to waste on something you do not desire.
- College not for you? Get a trade
Be great at something! A lot of trade programs are 1-2 years long. Invest in yourself to be an expert in a field. There is no shame in becoming a welder, electrician, plumber, nail tech, cosmetologist, mechanic, or either other trade. All or these skills are needed in our society. This is not something that you should make you ashamed.
- Current college students
You have been on this journey for a little while. My challenge to you is to evaluate where your are currently. Are you satisfied with your progress? Where do you need to improve? One of the best qualities I love about people is the ability to self evaluate. Review the tips above. I’m pretty sure there is something that you can use in your life right now.
I hope this helps you on your journey. Figure out what works best for you and pursue with intentions.
Parents you are up next….
Latrisa Pugh is the founder of Pugh Financial Coaching (PFC). Equipped with a Masters in Financial Planning, Latrisa tailors programs and delivers personalized instruction on money management to help individuals and families learn to live the best version of their lives. Since 2013 Latrisa has dedicated more than 1200 hours to teaching financial literacy throughout Alabama and internationally. If you would like to set a free 30-minute consultation, visit her website www.pughfc.com to sign-up or call 205-831-0839.