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5 Financial Aid Mistakes Newly Accepted College Students Make

Have you made your final college decision yet? Well, there are several things to take into consideration after informing the college/university of your decision. One of the most significant challenges incoming freshman and transfer students make is not figuring out the cost of attendance and affordability before applying to a particular college/university.

5 Financial Aid Mistakes Newly Accepted College Students Make

Have you made your final college decision yet? Well, there are several things to take into consideration after informing the college/university of your decision. One of the most significant challenges incoming freshman and transfer students make is not figuring out the cost of attendance and affordability before applying to a particular college/university.
Determining how you or your parents will pay for college can be a bit of a headache. Many high school seniors and community college students do not realize how tedious and time-consuming applying for financial aid resources can be. Being newly admitted to a college/university, you and your parents must take the time to thoroughly go over the financial aid package awarded to you by the institution. Here are some points to consider when evaluating your financial assistance award not to make any unwise decisions.

Mistake #1: Ignoring all college student scholarships

You may believe that just filling out and submitting the FAFSA or CSS Profile forms each year is the only sensible way to obtain financial aid. However, many students do not know that they miss out on other financial resources that they may be eligible to receive. These resources include scholarships that are available through your college/university or other outside organizations. Scholarships can be very appealing to many college students. Most scholarships are known for being based on academic excellence, but scholarships are also scholarships based on race, disability, athletics, interests, hobbies, community, research, and religion.

Mistake #2: Accepting all your financial aid award

Do not assume that you need to accept everything listed in your financial aid award because that may leave you with more debt after graduation. It is essential to understand that federal grants and scholarships are affordable, and you should accept those. On the other hand, student loans need to be paid back; if you need to take out student loans, you choose the one with the lowest interest rate possible. If you are still unclear about your financial aid award, please ask your college/university’s financial assistance office to guide you through the process.

Mistake #3: Not Registering for Courses on Time

If you plan to accept private and other federal student loans, you must educate yourself about the differences between each type of loan. Student loans come in various forms: subsidized, unsubsidized, parent plus loans, grad plus loans, and private loans. We suggest that parents also take the time to obtain information and inform themselves about the interest rates and repayment options for each loan type.

Once you have a brief understanding of what each one entails, weigh out your options and narrow them down to one-to-two types of loans. Students should consider that borrowing federal student loans is the right choice because they are cheaper, more accessible, and have great repayment plans.

Mistake #4: Not Attending Orientation

Many college students believe that it is unnecessary to attend their new school orientation because they are already familiar with college life. Students should be encouraged to participate in an orientation program at their new college or university. It is an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with your new classmates, professors, staff, and campus. Although orientation programs provide an overload of information to incoming students, we encourage you to be proactive by taking notes and asking questions.

Mistake #5: Don’t get ahead of yourself!

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Lastly, college students think that they have all the answers, which is a false presumption. Transfer students believe that by attending community college for two years, they already know everything. College students need to learn that there is always room for improvement, whether improving their time management skills or studying for a class. Alternatively, study habits will change once a student transfers to a 4-year college/university. For instance, a biology student would probably spend about five-to-six hours studying for a course and its lab. Still, once they transfer to the university of their choice, they may be spending over ten hours a week for an advanced biology class. We work with our students to determine what study habits, skills, and extracurricular activities they need to reassess once they transfer to a 4-year institution.
At Pathway2Career Consulting, we acknowledge that college students need personalized guidance and a strategic plan for transferring. Our goal is to help you be successful right from the start to the end of your transfer process. The transfer process requires a lot of focus and effort on behalf of the student. Therefore, it is crucial to work closely with our consultants to ensure that you meet with the correct departments, submit the proper documents on time, and have a clear plan for a seamless transition.

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