Going to College... - Baller Alert

Going to College…

Now ladies, I know our ultimate goal is to marry a rich baller and live happily ever after. Finances would be taken care of and money wouldn’t be an issue. However, for me, the idea of marrying a rich man wasn’t even a thought because my parents instilled in me the value of education. Marrying a rich baller is a brilliant idea I thought of after I completed my education. LOL. I was taught that getting an education could help lead the way to financial stability. Education opens many doors and opportunities. Therefore, I really didn’t have a choice…I was going to damn college. After receiving my education, I am grateful and appreciative that I did. It worked for me. I have a GREAT career because of it. However, it may not be best for everyone. For those who are considering furthering their education, take heed to the following tips:

1. Make a list of the careers that you can honestly see yourself doing everyday for the rest of your life, potentially. Weigh the pros and cons of each career by doing research. Ask those who work in those fields to give you insight and advice. This will allow you to focus your education specifically to these areas. Some folks have ideas but don’t think about them realistically. Personally, I am not an 8-5 person. Therefore, I can’t work in a field in which I must sit in my office for damn 8 hours. I’m a people person. I need interaction. Therefore, all of those careers were scratched off my list!

2. It may not be in your best interest to pursue a major that will ultimately get you a career with high pay. Just because the job pays a lot does not you’ll be happy doing it. Many people pursue careers for the paycheck. However, money cannot buy happiness when it comes to your job. You will be miserable. Therefore, pursue a field that will make you happy and has a pay in which you are content. I took a pay cut for my career….but I LOVE my job!!

3. Get free money..or go for a low cost! We all have heard of the military, scholarships, and financial aid helping to pay for school. ****A tip about financial aid, apply early as possible (i.e. The first week of January!) even if you do not have all the documentation. It is based on first come, first serve. Once you apply, you are placed on a list and the money is reserved for you (you can submit the remaining information at a later date). They give the most money possible because they have it to spare. If you wait, the money starts to dwindle and you receive less money.**** But there are other ways to get free money that aren’t always discussed or even known.

a. Find scholarships that have an agreement. Some scholarships state, for example, that if you agree to work in a low socioeconomic neighborhood for 2 years after graduation, they will pay for your tuition. There are even programs out there that will do this for student loans!! They will repay your loans for some “exchange”.
b. Find out if your job has tuition reimbursement or if the college/university gives tuition discounts for those employed at your job.
c. Search for new programs started at colleges/universities. Many of these programs started because of a grant. The grant money must be spent or the institution will lose it. Many times they offer scholarships or grants to those who are apart of the first cohort to enter the program. Saying that all new students in this new program are on scholarships looks good on paper.
d. Go to a community college. The tuition is substantially lower, usually about $200-300 per course. Ideally, it provides the same education as a state college or university.
e. Go to a college/university that has a low enrollment of minorities, for example, Montana. Trust me when I say they have PLENTY of money to give away to minorities. They will do almost anything and give you almost anything to get you there. Although, they are not going to go out of their way to tell you about it. This especially applies to those in graduate school. Places like North Dakota (or any Midwest institution that is in the central or mountain time zone) would give you that money without any question. TRUST ME!

4. Decide where you want to go to pursue your education. To be completely honest, for most people, it is just a piece of paper. Many argue the prestige for certain universities like Harvard and Yale. However, most jobs don’t care where you received your education. Trust me when I say most! There are exceptions like doctors and lawyers. However, if you want to be a teacher or nurse, I strongly encourage that you take yourself to a community college (and save money). These careers require certification exams. Therefore, as long as you are certified, then you are good to go. Don’t get caught up in the prestige BS!…especially for certain careers!!

5. Decide what level of education you want to pursue and why. Some people do it because it “looks good”. Well, I will say that student loan debt does not look good! So be strategic. Refer back to the tip #1: Make a list of the careers that you can honestly see yourself doing everyday for the rest of your life, potentially. If you can do what you want by just receiving a certificate, then by all means do it. If you need a bachelor’s degree then do so. If you NEED an advanced degree, then get one. But if you don’t need it, then do something else. Don’t waste time or money on an advanced degree unless you need it for your career (or if you just wanna be happy:) I understand that it can make you more marketable and it has the potential to increase your chances of getting an administrative role. But there are other ways. You can get a graduate certificate. It requires less hours and you still take the core courses that are required. If you do decide to pursue a graduate degree, please research assistantships and fellowships that are available. Almost all full-time graduate students (about 90%) have an assistantship or fellowship. So if you get accepted, it’s pretty certain that school will be paid for.

Lastly, as stated earlier, I know that education is not for everyone. But if you do decide to pursue higher education, please beware of all the resources!! Always ask questions cause like my aunt used to say…Closed mouths don’t get fed!! Therefore, be resourceful and smart!!! Get this education in case you don’t marry a rich baller! It’s not cute being broke and dumb!!

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