Dual enrollment: Getting ahead in college while still in high school

In a perfect world, college would be affordable and everyone would be able to go without issue. Reality is a lot less ideal than that; the only way that many people can afford to attend college is by picking up massive amounts of debt. One woman decided that she wanted to get away from her family for college and ended up going to Belmont, to find herself with a BA in Theater and $100,000 in student loan debt. This is not the way to go! There is a way to attend college without getting a massive pile of student loans, and it’s really not that hard. There was a man I knew that not only graduated without any debt to speak of, but he was given money by the university every semester instead of writing out huge tuition checks because he had so much financial aid, and it wasn’t that difficult either!

Here’s how to do it.

In high school, hit the books. Most high school students just don’t put the effort into trying in high school and end up hurting themselves because of it. Your performance in high school is the basis for your college admission, so you need to start off well from day one of high school. Getting a free ride requires four years of good grades and extra curricular activities.

Do well on standardized tests. Standardized tests also play a big role in the decision make processes of university enrollment organizations. Most scholarships are based on SAT & ACT scores, so you need to do as well as possible. In order to do better, take one of those SAT prep courses, and wait until later in your high school career because you should know more after more education.

Search out scholarship programs early and often. There is no good reason for you to not apply to at least 50 scholarships before the second semester of your senior year. Getting scholarships is critical; they’ll take care of pretty much everything in college from tuition, to books, to dorm fees. Apply, apply and apply! Put a great amount of effort into your scholarship essays as well, it’s not hard, just do it! They won’t all say yes, but some will.

Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form will determine your eligibility for government grants, and low interest federal loans. It also determines your qualification for work study programs, which are the easiest jobs you will ever have. These grants can be combined with scholarships which will pay for your education, if you put in the effort!

Pick the right school. The right school is not the most expensive one. In fact, usually it’s one of the least expensive. The increased educational value of an Ivy League school is not worth paying $20,000 a year more to be a part of. Choose a nice state school with very low tuition. Usually they can be had for $5000 a year, excluding dorms and a meal plan. Pick the one that will leave you with paying the least amount of money; you can easily up the difference with outside scholarships.

If you do all of these things, paying for college will be very easy. if you have good grades and apply for a lot of scholarships. Chances are you’ll get money back.