Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Psychology of Paying for College

You’ve probably been told that college is an investment worth paying for.  According to the Pew Research Center, college graduates between the ages of 25-32, who are working full-time, make on average $17,400 more annually than students with only a high school degree.   In other words, the price of college is an investment in your future that should pay off in the end.  Paying for college as a new student, however, can seem daunting.  It is not only enough to arm yourself with the right resources and tools to pay for college, but to have the right mindset that says “yes, I can do this.”  

According to the book “1001 Ways to Pay for College”, there are four ways of thinking that can help you in the pursuit of college money.  First, you need to be persistent.   Most students who receive money apply to multiple scholarships many of which have small awards.  However, even small amounts of money can result in a bigger amount if you put them all together.  Even though you might receive more rejections, don’t let that stop you from applying to multiple scholarships.   

Second, you need to get creative.  Did you know that scholarships are available from service clubs, religious organizations, you or your parent’s employers, businesses, professional sports organizations, and others?  You need to expose yourself to as many different scholarships as possible to find the right ones.  From there it is just a matter of finding scholarships that fit your background, talents, and achievements.   Think about what makes you unique and find scholarships that fit these things. 

Third, you need to have a long-term vision.  Paying for college is a marathon, not a sprint.  Break up your goal of paying for college into smaller steps.  Maybe one step is looking for scholarships and grants offered by your college.  Another is researching outside sources for money, and another, filling out your FAFSA.   Remember, every little bit of money you put towards college will help in reaching your end goal. 

Finally, remember to have faith.  Paying for college is a lot of work but it is work well spent.  Have confidence that what you are doing now will pay off in the end.  Don’t forget what you are doing this all for.  This motivation will drive you in your path to paying for college.    

For more ideas about how to pay for college check out:

1001 Ways to Pay for College by Gen and Kelly Tanabe 

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