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SuperFly
11-14-2011, 04:36 PM
WARNING: rant incoming.

I have a dream, ladies and gentlemen. I have a dream of being a journalist, of writing about events and telling others what happened. I love it so, and I work my butt off at my high school's paper because it's what makes me happy. But now I'm a senior and something terrible has happened to me: I have to go to college.

The problem isn't with leaving home or being mature enough. I want to go to a nice college somewhere and study hard, but the problem is the money. My parents lost all of my savings in the financial crisis, so I start out with zero. My situation with the FAFSA leaves me with about $7,000 a year. Surely it's a start, but it's not enough. I just can't look at colleges that have gigantic price tags no matter how good the education. I don't want to take a loan because it seems doing so would be signing away my financial future for the rest of my life.

Heard of those Occupy Wall Street protests happening in almost every major city in the world? Those people are arguing against corporate greed, but they're also fighting against high college prices. My generation has been told that they need to go to college or they'll end up working an awful dead-end job for the rest of their life. But in the day and age where you need a degree in something just to be competitive for a ***** job, it seems like going to college is a one-way ticket to debt slavery.

So what's a broke high schooler to do? I'm not planning on going to a 2-year (the ones close to me are known to have notoriously bad journalism programs. One of them has a paper so poorly created that the actual journalism students don't bother writing for it.) So how the hell am I supposed to achieve college without chaining myself to the heavy, cast-iron ball that is student debt? Please, give me your advice and try to not make me kill myself.

:(

Bhagi Katbamna
11-14-2011, 04:49 PM
Join the military. Give them a few years and they will pay for your college.

flyinghippos101
11-14-2011, 04:57 PM
Spray resumes for bursaries and scholarships. Chances are you'll get at least one of them; $500, $1000 bursaries, they go a long way. And do you have a part-time job? If not, get one and start saving. I seriously started saving for uni when i got my fist job in my freshman year at high school.

Kiss your summer goodbye, because if you don't want to be buried under mountains of debt, then you'll work full-time during the summer. And try further exhausting what the local schools have to offer, even if at first glace it doesn't look too good. Remember, you're trying to save money.

PS. Kudos to you for paying for your own university

tennisguyak
11-14-2011, 05:26 PM
I'm in a similar situation. My family is a middle class family that makes too much to qualify for substantial fin. aid, and too little to be able to completely pay for college.

What I've heard from others is that grades and ACT and SAT scores go a long way when looking to pay for college. Many colleges that I've looked at have a scale of GPA and ACT scores according to which they award merit scholarships. For example, a 4.0 GPA and 32 ACT will get you something like $7,500 / year at Tennessee Tech (not sure which state you're in, but I'm in TN). Many people I know have gotten almost a full ride at the University of Tennessee Knoxville for high ACT scores and a solid GPA.

I still have a 4.0 GPA (one of 16 in my senior class), and I'm constantly working to improve my SAT / ACT scores. I've applied to three major state universities so far, one in-state, two out-of-state, and will be applying to a couple private universities but doubt I'll end up at either.

And like one of the other posters said, apply to all the dinky little scholarships you can find (but not too many so I don't have too much competition).

So what I've learned thus far from my college / financial search: Standardized test scores go a long way, apply to the state universities - they're cheaper and often offer better scholarships than private universities, apply to all the scholarships you possibly can.

Best of luck to you!

rdis10093
11-14-2011, 05:37 PM
day trading

BigForehand
11-14-2011, 06:00 PM
Go to a cheap school. Go to community college for the first two years. I went to all 4 years at a "high rank" state university and I can tell you it's the same BS. A part time job during school should be able to pay for it.

I worked freshman and senior year part time (and a third of junior year) and I didn't notice anything detrimental of doing so. This plus FAFSA plus going to a cheap school plus the little scholarships you'll probably get = more than enough for tuition.

My question now is how to pay for grad school -> it is a b!tch to pay for, costs $500 per credit per quarter. WTF.

Fearsome Forehand
11-14-2011, 06:08 PM
^ Agreed. Go to your local CC for two years. Get all A's and then transfer into your local State U or another school (on scholarship perhaps) for your four year degree. Major in journalism if that is your passion, work part-time, write for the school paper, start your own blog, etc. Build a portfolio, get internships in media, graduate, get a real job and then the world is your oyster. :)

A college education is a privilege not an entitlement.

To a degree, no one will care what school you went to as long as you can write well.

The kids that are coming out of school with 100K in debt with degrees of questionable worth are idiots. Most will default on their loans and end up in a tent yelling socialist rants that make them look silly.

And if someday you get to be an actual hard news journalist, try to be objective because most of them don't even make an effort to do so any longer.

And if you can hack it, the military pays for college once you fulfill your commitment. Join the Coast Guard. They don't see much combat. :)

rdis10093
11-14-2011, 06:09 PM
sell your plasma

Topaz
11-14-2011, 06:29 PM
Haha! I seriously considered selling plasma while in grad school!

My thoughts:

*some loans are not need based. apply for them

*CC. Don't pay a few extra thousand just for a name. I'm in nursing school at my CC, and our hospitals LOVE our grads because we know our hands on skills better than some other students...

*military

*look into work study programs

*apply for every scholarship you can...even if you *think* you don't qualify. They have money to give! I did that after HS graduation and got some $ from some unexpected sources.

*Work.

Good luck!

b.termite
11-14-2011, 06:31 PM
Join the military. Give them a few years and they will pay for your college.

Exactly what I was going to say, National Guard is also a great option. In my state (Nebraska) they will pay for all of your college tuition for you to go to one of the state colleges in the state, and also pay you as well. For this, all you have to do is work one weekend a month, and you make for what you are doing, extremely good money. If you aren't worried about this kind of long term commitment (which in reality is minimal for what you are getting) then I would say this is definitely the way you want to go.
If the military or national guard is simply not for you, I would recommend trying to find out what kinds of scholarships you could apply for. Ex: People who are left-handed, Germans from Russia etc. Lots of them out there, just so colleges can be able to say they're "diverse".
Good luck.

rdis10093
11-14-2011, 06:34 PM
day trade
sell plasma
strip

currently a college student, and I know people that do the above to pay for their colege. the girl that does the last one makes me blush.

Fearsome Forehand
11-14-2011, 06:38 PM
^ Sperm banks pay cash for donations? Sounds like more fun than getting bled to death. :)

Agent Orynge
11-14-2011, 06:42 PM
Join the military. Give them a few years and they will pay for your college.

This. It's what I did, and things are working out great for me. Full tuition, plus $1,000 a year for books, plus a monthly stipend depending on cost of living where your school is. I get $1,600 a month just for going to school full time.

I'm a 6 year veteran, but that's not a requirement for the G.I. bill. If anyone has any questions regarding school, or the service in general, drop me a line at mwpicone@yahoo.com. I'll give you the straight skinny.

Netzroller
11-14-2011, 06:49 PM
College isn't that expensive everywhere in the world. Actually, there is no place I know where it is as expensive as in the US.
Have you ever considered going to another country for your degree? I really don't know what options there are for an US citizen and I know nothing about you - but in case everything else fails and and this being your big dream, you might want to look for some information.

tennisguyak
11-14-2011, 06:55 PM
College isn't that expensive everywhere in the world. Actually, there is no place I know where it is as expensive as in the US.
Have you ever considered going to another country for your degree? I really don't know what options there are for an US citizen and I know nothing about you - but in case everything else fails and and this being your big dream, you might want to look for some information.

University in Germany (probably in the rest of the EU as well) costs anywhere between 600 - 800 euros / semester. Incomparably cheaper compared to US universities. Only problem is that many employers will probably say "huh? where's that?" when you tell them you studied at a university overseas.

rdis10093
11-14-2011, 07:11 PM
^ Sperm banks pay cash for donations? Sounds like more fun than getting bled to death. :)

no, plasma is in your blood. you are getting bled to death.

flyinghippos101
11-14-2011, 07:51 PM
I dunno, I've read somewhere that selling sperm isn't all that's cracked up to be.

Edit: Found it

http://www.cracked.com/article_19497_6-terrifying-things-nobody-tells-you-about-donating-sperm.html

r2473
11-14-2011, 08:04 PM
Tennis scholarship

Magic of tennis
11-14-2011, 08:15 PM
Military is one of the best and one of the hardest choice. You need to follow strict orders and rules. If you are ready for it that is the best option. I was in Air Force so I know how it is. I was in small news paper company as well as a jounalist. It was fun and gives a lot of perks such as free tennis tournament tickets :mrgreen: but it was not for me. If you are not ready for millitary trainning and strict rules, choose community college for 2 years and then move to good university. And of course part time job during school days and full time job during summer. You will be debt free. You will sacrifice a little but big reward.

ttbrowne
11-14-2011, 08:50 PM
Join the military. Give them a few years and they will pay for your college.

BAD IDEA! The military has a habit of using people to fight wars. War kills. That means no college for you.

Cindysphinx
11-15-2011, 03:40 AM
Many of the top schools have need-blind admissions and guarantee that they will meet your need.

If I were you, I would apply to the top journalism schools. See what they say, see what they offer. If it isn't enough, don't take it.

Please don't be discouraged. You can find a way.

Darko
11-15-2011, 03:56 AM
South Africa has some great Universities.

The weather is awesome all year, so you can play tennis all you like. The mighty US Dollar goes a long, long way here too. That way, your $7k gets you about R50k. Which should cover most degrees I think.

If you don't find Africa too appealing, you can always study via correspondence online and just submit your assignments online etc.

zapvor
11-15-2011, 04:07 AM
you gotta look at the other side too. college is an investment. student debt is probably one of the best kind of debt you can get

ollinger
11-15-2011, 04:42 AM
I have limited sympathy for someone who "don't want to take a loan." If you truly want to pursue a career path, you should be thrilled if loans are available. My father was completely disabled, loans put me through college and med school. The terms of said loans are usually relatively good and relatively long term, certainly not a thrill to have to pay them back but not so onerous that your life is ruined.

Bartelby
11-15-2011, 04:47 AM
A loan for a journalism career is a long shot. Loans only work for sure things.

ollinger
11-15-2011, 04:53 AM
^^ Nobody ever asked me what my career goals were when applying for college loans. Undergraduate loans in the US are not generally contingent on major, though some are contingent on GPA.

Nuke
11-15-2011, 05:15 AM
^ Of course you can GET a loan to study journalism. I think Bartleby's post questioned whether you can get a job to pay off the loan after graduation. Newspapers and magazines are in retreat, so that's the longshot.

albino smurf
11-15-2011, 05:19 AM
I paid my way through Journalism school. I moved to a state with a decent program at the state college, gained residency, took out loans and made it happen. It is really hard and if you mess around you will end up losing a lot of money entering a field in decline. If money is a concern maybe consider PR writing as you can make money in this area.

Angle Queen
11-15-2011, 05:39 AM
Here's some atypical advice (although much of what has been posted here is applicable too...CC, Military, loans).

Don't go to a "top" journalism school. Instead, pick an otherwise well-rounded/rated but inexpensive school and do a generic (but potential useful) major like Business or "Management." But then ingratiate yourself to their school newspaper staff. Volunteer to take the assignments no one wants. I started out with the "minor" sports and quickly worked my way up to basketball (at an ACC school). What you're looking for are opportunities -- not necessarily a piece of paper that says BA Journalism. A non-journalism school won't have as many students competing for slots and, if you're any good, you'll rise to the top quickly and have a nice portfolio of real, published work. You'll also get to mingle with other "real" reporters and they can be a tight clique...with a friendly word to an editor when it comes time for internships or freelance work. Also make friends with the other media people (photo, internet and radio). They can be good resources too. You'd be surprised how many "scoops" they can provide or confirm.

Don't expect any money from writing at school. Get another part-time job (one on campus or tutoring through the Athletic Dept if you can swing it). Do expect it to take a lot of time (read: plan on doing the 5-year degree program).

Good Luck! I loved my stint on The Techinician and got to write for and with some guys who went on to have nice professional, journalistic careers.

r2473
11-15-2011, 07:48 AM
"I lent you, what, $2.50 yesterday? I can't foot the bill for everything around here"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvZ9LPzTURg

sureshs
11-15-2011, 08:25 AM
Community college for 2 years, then regular one for the next two

Netzroller
11-15-2011, 09:44 AM
University in Germany (probably in the rest of the EU as well) costs anywhere between 600 - 800 euros / semester. Incomparably cheaper compared to US universities. Only problem is that many employers will probably say "huh? where's that?" when you tell them you studied at a university overseas.
Depends on the federal state, in some of them it's actually free.

I don't know how US employers react to foreign degrees, this might also depend on what field your in and especially how big the company is you want to work for. I thought that someone like a journalist might benefit from having seen more of the world.

I think they should have at least heard of Germany as it is the 4th largest economy in the world. But I am pretty sure that the eduaction you get there is not worse than at some unknown CC in the States. The UK has some universities that are considered to be among the best in the world, however, they are usually very expensive which would render it useless for the OP.
I think other European countires have great colleges too, but I mainly know about the situation in Germany and Austria. Don't know anything about Asia or Africa.

The biggest question is whether you are willing to do that or not. For instance, does the OP have foreign language skills or is he willing to work on that? I would much rather go to another country than join the military but this is only my personal and subjective opinion.

Kevin T
11-15-2011, 09:53 AM
Community college for 2 years, then regular one for the next two

This. Many states provide for automatic admission to Big State U if you have a certain GPA. The problem here in California is that even junior colleges have made major cuts and class sizes/options are very limited. It took my wife's cousin 6 years to graduate from the UC system due to lack of class availability.

jhick
11-15-2011, 10:28 AM
you gotta look at the other side too. college is an investment. student debt is probably one of the best kind of debt you can get

I think this used to be true. But I fear today college costs are out of control, and if you don't land a high paying job or quickly advance in your career, you may be stuck in debt for a long time to come. Especially if you decide to go to a private institution.

jhick
11-15-2011, 10:29 AM
Community college for 2 years, then regular one for the next two

This is good advice.

hollywood9826
11-15-2011, 11:23 AM
Dont forget the miltary branches have journalism departments and TV networks.

4 years active duty would you give you previously mentioned GI Bill bennys. Not to mention 100% tuition assistance while you are in. Plus free medical care and housing and a decent paycheck. Plus they train you on your job and that training will count towards credits.

Its not an option for everybody, but it is an option and can set you up nice for the future.

Elisa
11-15-2011, 11:58 AM
*apply for every scholarship you can...even if you *think* you don't qualify. They have money to give! I did that after HS graduation and got some $ from some unexpected sources.



Another good option- given that you should be a good writer- is to look for essay contests to enter. Organizations like the Knights of Columbus and Rotary Clubs often have local or statewide essay contests for prizes ranging from $200 to $1000. Sometimes they don't get very many entries.

I think it's healthy to have a certain amount of fear of student loans but not to let that paralyze you.

zapvor
11-15-2011, 12:00 PM
I think this used to be true. But I fear today college costs are out of control, and if you don't land a high paying job or quickly advance in your career, you may be stuck in debt for a long time to come. Especially if you decide to go to a private institution.

please note i said best kind of debt. sure you may be stuck in debt but its better than oh say a 1million dollar mortgage debt. or a mercedes car payment debt. or a gambling debt. or etc etc

Agent Orynge
11-15-2011, 01:17 PM
Dont forget the miltary branches have journalism departments and TV networks.

4 years active duty would you give you previously mentioned GI Bill bennys. Not to mention 100% tuition assistance while you are in. Plus free medical care and housing and a decent paycheck. Plus they train you on your job and that training will count towards credits.

Its not an option for everybody, but it is an option and can set you up nice for the future.

Let's not gloss over the quality of medical care and housing that the military provides. Routine care is provided at sick call, which is frowned upon at best, and simply denied altogether if your 1SG doesn't feel like letting you go. On the upside, you'll get decent treatment at the on-post hospitals if you're genuinly messed up. I got free shoulder surgery due to a torn labrum, for what that's worth.

Housing can be a gamble. If you're not married and you enlist, odds are high that you'll be living in the barracks until you make E5, sometimes E6. Not all posts have the newer barracks, either. I've lived in a handful that were built during the Korean war, and some that were built during WWII. Calling them shabby would be an understatement. You can probably still find videos of similar accomodations on YouTube. There was some hubbub going around about the living standards just a few years ago...

All that having been said, it is a unique experience, and just about everything is provided for you. Not a bad way to go if you're struggling to be self sufficient, especially if free college is what you're aiming for.

Andres
11-15-2011, 02:32 PM
University in Germany (probably in the rest of the EU as well) costs anywhere between 600 - 800 euros / semester. Incomparably cheaper compared to US universities. Only problem is that many employers will probably say "huh? where's that?" when you tell them you studied at a university overseas.
University in Argentina is free, except really specific careers where you have to attend a private college, but journalism isn't one of them, and you can study it for free in any major city.

They give you a Licentiate degree, which is generally equivalent to an M.Sc. or M.A. in North American universities, or Master in any country of Europe given by the Bologna Process. Occasionally, the achievement of the "Licentiate" degree does not require the formal writing of a thesis, although almost always, some amount of research is required. The successful defense of the "Tesis de Licenciatura" automatically habilitates the candidate to apply to a Masters or Doctorate degree in a related field of science.

Andres
11-15-2011, 02:38 PM
University in Argentina is free, except really specific careers where you have to attend a private college, but journalism isn't one of them, and you can study it for free in any major city.

They give you a Licentiate degree, which is generally equivalent to an M.Sc. or M.A. in North American universities, or Master in any country of Europe given by the Bologna Process. Occasionally, the achievement of the "Licentiate" degree does not require the formal writing of a thesis, although almost always, some amount of research is required. The successful defense of the "Tesis de Licenciatura" automatically habilitates the candidate to apply to a Masters or Doctorate degree in a related field of science.
And from Wikipedia:

Education in Argentina is a responsibility shared by the national government, the provinces and federal district and private institutions, though basic guidelines have historically been set by the Ministry of Education. Closely associated in Argentina with President Domingo Sarmiento's assertion that "the sovereign should be educated" ("sovereign" referring to the people), education has been extended nearly universally and its maintenance remains central to political and cultural debate. Education in all levels, including universities, have always been free and not requiring to pay any kind of fee.

In spite of its many problems, Argentina's higher education managed to reach worldwide levels of excellence in the 1960s. Argentina educated three Nobel Prize winners in the sciences: Luis Federico Leloir, Bernardo Houssay and CÚsar Milstein the highest number in Latin America surpassing countries economically more developed and populated as Ireland or Spain. In addition, as of 2010, Argentines are the only Latin Americans to have ever been honoured with a Rolf Schock Prize.

One important aspect is that Public universities at Tertiary Education level and at University level are tuition-free and open to anyone.

The doctoral fields of study in Argentina are generally research-oriented doctoral studies, leading mostly to the awarding of the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Science, Doctor of Medicine, and Doctor of Law, among others. Enrollment in doctorate programs in Argentina is available to candidates having earned a Licentiate, Professorships Engineer's degree or Master's degree in a related area of study

Fuji
11-15-2011, 08:11 PM
Hey there! Not sure if Canadian studies are anywhere near your plans, but we have some top Universities that aren't overly expensive, and if you live in my province, and you are willing to do some VERY hard work over the summer, you can pay for your tuition no problem. (I live 2 hours away from the oil sands. Working on there is some pretty tough work, but darn do you get paid well for it. I know people who make enough from their time off, May-September, who work there and they pay for their next year of school no problem.)

If you're interested, here is something to look at.

http://www.registrarsoffice.ualberta.ca/Costs-Tuition-Fees/FallWinter-Tuition-for-International-Students/International-Fee-Rate--Sample-Assessments.aspx

This is where I am going next year. My fee's are a bit less because I'm local, but they are still "cheap" compared to what I have seen in the states. :)

-Fuji

hollywood9826
11-16-2011, 05:23 AM
Let's not gloss over the quality of medical care and housing that the military provides. Routine care is provided at sick call, which is frowned upon at best, and simply denied altogether if your 1SG doesn't feel like letting you go. On the upside, you'll get decent treatment at the on-post hospitals if you're genuinly messed up. I got free shoulder surgery due to a torn labrum, for what that's worth.

Housing can be a gamble. If you're not married and you enlist, odds are high that you'll be living in the barracks until you make E5, sometimes E6. Not all posts have the newer barracks, either. I've lived in a handful that were built during the Korean war, and some that were built during WWII. Calling them shabby would be an understatement. You can probably still find videos of similar accomodations on YouTube. There was some hubbub going around about the living standards just a few years ago...

All that having been said, it is a unique experience, and just about everything is provided for you. Not a bad way to go if you're struggling to be self sufficient, especially if free college is what you're aiming for.


Never had a problem with sick call or Supervisors allowing anyone to go to sick call.

My Dorm rooms were adeqaute for a 20YO single guy. But you could get shafted and have a bad neighbor. In Korea I had a room mate and that can be tough sometimes.

I have notioced the Army guys always seemed to get less from an amenities standpoint as us Air Force guys. In Hawaii they enacted a policy that if you were E-4 with 4 years of service you had to move out of the dorms.

We moved out, army and navy moved in.

Agent Orynge
11-16-2011, 05:46 AM
Never had a problem with sick call or Supervisors allowing anyone to go to sick call.

My Dorm rooms were adeqaute for a 20YO single guy. But you could get shafted and have a bad neighbor. In Korea I had a room mate and that can be tough sometimes.

I have notioced the Army guys always seemed to get less from an amenities standpoint as us Air Force guys. In Hawaii they enacted a policy that if you were E-4 with 4 years of service you had to move out of the dorms.

We moved out, army and navy moved in.

Yeah, there's really no comparison. I dated an Air Force chick for a very short while. I was dumb founded at how much you guys are coddled. Then again, your jobs are a lot less intense than ours. I mean, sure you guys fly planes and all, but I jumped out of them. We sort of felt that the chip on our collective shoulders was well deserved.

Anyways, we always thought that getting the shaft might entitle us to some kind of professional courtesy somewhere. Even overseas, where we worked like dogs, infantry folk like myself got the short end of the stick when it came to living quarters, and those National Guard types - you know, the 45 year old dudes with the enormous guts - always got the fancy digs. It's a good thing that I never expected the military to be fair.

hollywood9826
11-16-2011, 05:53 AM
Yeah, there's really no comparison. I dated an Air Force chick for a very short while. I was dumb founded at how much you guys are coddled. Then again, your jobs are a lot less intense than ours. I mean, sure you guys fly planes and all, but I jumped out of them. We sort of felt that the chip on our collective shoulders was well deserved.

Anyways, we always thought that getting the shaft might entitle us to some kind of professional courtesy somewhere. Even overseas, where we worked like dogs, infantry folk like myself got the short end of the stick when it came to living quarters, and those National Guard types - you know, the 45 year old dudes with the enormous guts - always got the fancy digs.

In Korea some Ammo or Mantenance guy woudl always end up beating up some F-15 over some juicy girl. Nobody liked those F-15 pilots excpet other F-15.

Really the only reason I joined the Air Force to begin with was that they garunteed me the job I wanted before enlisting. The Navy did as well, but I decided against against the ship thing. Both of grandparents told me Air Force and I dont regret it one bit.

I was listening to a couple guys talking abou thier deployment during desert storm. This Marine was talking about sleeping in tents and being hot and all the other general issues of living in the field. Then this air force guy who got shacked up in some Hotel started complaing that his cable went out.

I guess they call it the chair force for a reason.

hollywood9826
11-16-2011, 05:54 AM
I knew a 58 year old who deployed to Saudi with a huge gut :)

Any way back on topic. The military will pay for your whole college. If you are willing to give a few concessions for 4 years.

Agent Orynge
11-16-2011, 06:08 AM
I knew a 58 year old who deployed to Saudi with a huge gut :)

Any way back on topic. The military will pay for your whole college. If you are willing to give a few concessions for 4 years.

Ramen.

10char

autumn_leaf
11-16-2011, 06:14 AM
WARNING: rant incoming.

But now I'm a senior and something terrible has happened to me: I have to go to college.



See, the thing is, you don't. I just started a job recently as a mental health assistant. I'm pretty sure I would have gotten the job without my Psychology degree and I start at the same level as every new hire. The bright side is that most of these institutions have tuition reimbursement programs.

I would look into internships with publication or newspapers that might have a reimbursement program, but I think finding it in journalism will be quite hard. My friends with English degrees have a hard time finding a job as an assistant editor while my other friends took a good part of a year to be a freelance artist/editor. Make sure you don't spend 2-4 years of your life pursuing a degree that will be next to worthless when completed.

I would get a job first instead of taking out all these loans. I would also suggest starting a blog if you like writing. The internet happens to be a good place for communication and it's much cheaper to do than going to college. You will find out if you can gain attention and learn marketing strategies for your blog while your at it and find out if that is a career that you actually want to do.

retrowagen
11-16-2011, 11:41 AM
Get.
A.
Job.

No, seriously: it is possible to work part, or even (shudder) full time, whilst taking a full load of classes and also perhaps playing on the tennis team of your Community College or University. I know because I successfully did exactly this, putting myself through university without loans or student aid.

Consider it your first major trial to pass as an adult. No more apronstrings!

Don't disqualify the wisdom of attending a community or junior college for the basic ed transfer classes. Gives one time to take care of those mandatory things on the cheap, and dial in what major is really desired, before dropping major coin.

In general, be prepared to work hard, stay flexible and clever, study with as much vigor, intensity, and professionalism as you can (so as to get to graduation as quickly as possible), and live austerely. The rewards come later!

(Oh, one other thing: I earned an English degree in the States; worked in the publishing industry for a while as GM of a small publishing house. Writing should be something done for the joy or passion of it; sorry to say it is highly unlikely you'll grow rich from doing it. I myself fell back on other engineering training under my belt after spinning my wheels in the publishing biz... there was just too little pay offsetting the huge hours put in.)