We Owe HOW MUCH This Semester!?!

As a senior at a private university, I know just how nerve-wrecking the financial aid process can be.

There are a few things I’ve learned over the last four years’ worth of trips to and from the Financial Aid office.

If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask.

  • Not sure exactly how much you owe for this semester?
  • Clueless about how to fill out a form that doesn’t look like it’s in English?
  • Have a question that you’re embarrassed to ask because it’s been explained to you four times and you STILL don’t understand?

Walk into your Financial Aid office and just ask someone! Chances are that the person at the front desk will be able to give you a quick and easy answer.

They aren’t there to intimidate you or make your life miserable. It’s their job to help students, so let them!

Don’t let things wait until the last minute.

DO NOT PROCRASTINATE ON YOUR FINANCIAL AID FORMS!

This is one of the biggest mistakes students and parents can make, but one of the easiest to nip in the bud.

If you get your paperwork in early, there will be more time for the Financial Aid office to let you know about any missing documents they need from you or any additional aid you might be able to get.

Don’t rely on the people in Financial Aid to take care of everything.

Nobody should be that student that literally never sets foot in the Financial Aid office until their senior year. It’s just irresponsible.

This is especially true if you have financial troubles and know you need help paying for school.

Paying regular visits to the Financial Aid office to make sure your paperwork and account is on the right track is the only sure-fire way to make sure you’ll be able to graduate on time.

Not only that, but it shows you care about your education. This can go a long way. The people in financial are just that: people. A lot of them were in your shoes at one point.

If they see you’re putting forth a good effort to keep your ducks in a row, there’s a good chance they’ll be sympathetic and make your Financial Aid experience much more bearable.

Apply for local scholarships.

Local scholarships (i.e.: from your high school, hometown, the area you grew up in, or where you’re going to school) are great sources to check out.

When you apply for a local scholarship, there’s likely to be a smaller group of people applying for it, making your chances of getting it that much higher.

Relax.

It may not seem like it sometimes, but there are other things in life besides paying for school.

Every once in a while you just need to set the paperwork aside and do something you actually enjoy.

No matter how stressed you and your parents get, there’s one crucial thing you need to remember:

It’ll be OK.

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Ana Koulouris

Ana Koulouris

Ana Koulouris is a senior at Benedictine University in Illinois pursuing a degree in writing and publishing. When she is not at work in the Office of Admissions or on the university's newspaper, she can be found writing short stories, reading anything and everything, and spending time with family and friends.

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