At seventeen, college seemed out of my reach. I was making minimum wage at a shoe store. How could I ever afford college? My mother did not have the means to help me with my education, and my father was out of the picture. How did I get my bachelor’s degree debt free?
- Find a mentor. My high school librarian became my mentor. She helped me find scholarships using resources available at the library.
- Go to the Scholarships & Grants website for the school you are applying to. Here is the link to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Scholarships & Grants site. Do you homework. Which scholarships/grants do you qualify for? Apply for as many as you can. Take your time on your applications. You want to win the scholarship or obtain the grant. Simple errors could cost you lots of money. I looked online for scholarships and grants for UNLV because that is where I was going to attend. I also went to the school and visited the financial aid office. I was given more information on available scholarships/grants. I believe everything is posted online, so this may not be necessary (but it sure couldn’t hurt!).
- Visit your local library. I spent many hours on the weekends at the public libraries looking for scholarships/grants opportunities. I will admit that the local school’s scholarships/grants are easier to obtain.
- Dig into your background. I am half Puerto Rican and half Korean. I didn’t get any scholarships for being part Asian. (So many of them attend college!) I applied and received plenty of scholarships for being half Hispanic. I also received the Jean Nidetch Scholarship all four years of my undergraduate studies. This scholarship was related to overcoming an adversity. I am sure if you are finding a way to pay for college, you have overcome plenty of adversities.
- Pay attention if you can reapply each year for the same scholarships. I received the Jean Nidetch, American Business Women’s Association, and several Hispanic scholarships years in a row.
These are some tips that allowed me to obtain my bachelors degree debt free. This did not come without late nights, sweat, and tears from perseverance in wanting to excel in my classes. I didn’t want to let my scholarship grantees down. I wanted them to be proud that they gave me the scholarship (s). I believe my bachelors degree was the most crucial degree for me to earn. I was making minimum wage as a young adult. Having my bachelors degree in nursing gave me my springboard to a greater earning potential. Life is stressful, but I believe it is 10 times more stressful when you are broke.
My persistence and hard work paid off, and I found a way to pay for my education with no family assistance. It is definitely possible and worth it! Obtaining a college degree didn’t only help me to be more financially stable, it also helped me to be an open minded thinker.
Image Credit: Here.