Students

An education is what you get while completing the process of earning a college diploma.  The most valuable lessons of that education may be what you learn outside of the classroom; for example, learning how to interact meaningfully and effectively with other adults several years or even decades older than you.
 
"Why," you may be thinking, "would I want to do that?" 
 
Because, upon graduation, it is the world in which you will be working.  Your career will be among a cadre of people anywhere from a few years to 30 or 40 years older than you.  The older they are, the more likely they are to hold a supervisory position in authority over you.  My advice is to not wait until that time to learn how to have a conversation with such people.
 
Financial Aid Officers (FAO) at the colleges you are considering are great people with whom to begin your education.  They work at a college; therefore, they probably enjoy helping teenagers.  FAOs talk with teens everyday.  They are used to it. 
 
FAOs are also there to help you.  That is probably in their job description.  They want you to attend their college.  They will do their best to interact with you in helpful ways that advance your goals.
 
Talk with FAOs at each college where you have been accepted.  Develop a set of questions to ask them.  Ask each one the same questions.  You may uncover facts about a particular school that are revealed only by comparison to other schools.  For example:
  • what are the specifics of their financial award processes
  • what are the factors they consider most important in determining the amount of a financial award
  • how do they rank those factors
  • how might they view any special circumstances about your family, such as recent unemployment by the primary bread-winner, or a recent, extended illness of a family member.
Those types of things we can help you develop your set of questions.
 
Here's the point:
  • You, high school student, call the financial aid office at the colleges where you have received notification of acceptance
  • Ask the same set of questions in order to gather information to compare and contrast
  • Get used to talking with adults, now that you are one yourself 
  • Challenge yourself.  Make it fun.  Learn as you go. 
This is one task at which you cannot possibly fail.  Just picking up the phone and making the call is success.  With each successive conversation you will improve and learn and grow.
 
 
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