By Katana Liebelt
Almost all students can agree that college is expensive. In fact, it sometimes seems impossible to pay for. Fortunately, current students (based on their experiences) and Student Financial Services (SFS) have offered tips that make paying for a college education feasible.
If students apply to outside scholarships, they should also look at SFS’s tips.
“[Students should] stay organized, create a special email address for scholarships, schedule time to apply for them, be thankful by sending a card to the donor and apply during scholarship ‘season’ [which] is usually from January to April,” SFS says.
Washington State residents also qualify for these scholarships: the Washington College Grant, the College Bound Scholarship and the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship.
Evan Rhoades, an English major, provided additional advice regarding scholarships. He has received scholarships from NU and ones exclusively for Native Americans. He identifies as one-eigth Native American and belongs to Quinault tribe. He says he has had the most luck with the latter scholarships because not as many people apply for them.
Based on his experience, Rhoades suggests that students apply for scholarships specific to their major or field of study.
“As long as [students] can narrow [their scholarship search] down, that’s going to drastically increase the chances of [students] getting the scholarship, even if [they] aren’t that good at writing an essay.”
He recommends that students reach out to the Writing Center and professors within their majors for assistance with polishing scholarship essays.
Another way to pay for college is to get a job and plan your college and career path. Ellista Smith, an elementary education major with an endorsement in humanities, relies heavily on her savings from her jobs. She always takes jobs that prepare her for teaching.
Smith had always planned on going to college. She knew her career path since she was 15. Throughout high school, she took several college classes. Consequently, she transferred to NU as a junior, saving herself time and money.
Based on her experience, Smith suggests, “Always have a goal in mind. Consider the pros and cons [of your potential career path].”
Smith has continued working while attending NU. She explained, “When you have a job, I notice you do way better in school and you’re way more productive…about your time.”
If students cannot work during the school year, they could work during the summer. Elizabeth Williams, a secondary education major with an endorsement in biology, suggests that students work full-time in the summer to earn money and gain skills. Gaining job skills could provide students with higher-paying jobs, which could help pay off college debt.
Although every student has different circumstances, hopefully students can find advice that applies to them. Paying for college may require hard work, but it still possible.