Ok, I know this topic isn’t exciting and that is exactly why I decided it was the best topic to write about. Do you know about what our school has to offer for financial aid? Do you know what options are available? I sure didn’t and, if I could go back, I would tell my little freshman self to start researching early and plan! Being at a large accredited university means there are plenty of great resources to keep you on track with finances and academia. You may have to do a bit of research on your own, but all important information is available online or a short phone call away. I wish I had fully utilized all of the amazing resources available to students while enrolled in school.
One great way to start planning out your finances in college is by starting with the budget that your university has established for all of its students. This can help you determine how much money you will need for the academic year so that you can begin saving and researching extra opportunities for financial aid. Of course, the best opportunities for financial aid are those that do not require repayment, such as scholarships and grants. Because of this, I wish I had known that there are plenty of scholarships available through both the university and external donors. Did you know there is helpful information on both of these types of scholarships available through the university's scholarship office? Scholarships are great options because they don’t require repayment and, hopefully, won’t add to your post-graduation stress of entering the adult world.
Along with applying for scholarships, I would always recommend filing a FAFSA. Filing a FAFSA is how IU determines students’ eligibility for grants and federal direct student loans. Not everyone will receive grants, but it never hurts to see if you may qualify for this free money.
Lastly, I wish I had a part-time job during my time in college. Working a part-time job allows you to earn spending money if any unexpected expenses pop up! This option is, of course, only feasible if your workload will allow it. If you are able, I think there are tons of benefits in having a job. Other than the extra cash, working during school can help with time management skills, gaining job experience, and transitioning into the working world. The best jobs are typically through the university, since they are understanding of our student schedules. This information may seem mundane, but it is always a smart idea to take charge of your current finances to ensure future success!