by Michelle Linzy
Do you want to improve your financial situation? Interested in higher learning? It is common knowledge that the best way to improve your financial situation is to obtain a college degree.
Single Parent Magazine has created a step by step guide to be used to help single parents who desire to obtain a college degree achieve that goal. Single Parent Magazine’s objective is to take the mystery out of the college journey. Each month, Single Parent Magazine will address the issues, concerns and challenges surrounding potential single parent college students and those who are currently attending.
“The pace at junior college
is generally slower than
at a four year which will
allow you to get settled
in as a student.”
Junior college is a great avenue to begin your college experience. Junior college is less expensive than a four year university. The first two years of college consist of taking general education courses. Since general education courses are required by all colleges and universities, why not attend junior college where fees are substantially lower than four year colleges? The pace at junior college is generally slower than at a four year which will allow you to get settled in as a student.
Go to the school’s website to find out information about the school. Read, fill out application and return to the admissions and records department. You will need official high school transcripts as some point so it is better to have them ready so that there will be no delays in processing your application. Make an appointment to see a counselor to discuss your program. Find out about any assessment that needs to be made to help put you in the correct classes. Ask about orientation and sign up. Orientation will tell you about the school, what services are available, where departments are located, where the library is and all the other things you need to know about your school. Enroll in classes. Financial Aid In order to receive aid some type of financial assistance in the form of grants, loans, and/or scholarships to help pay for the costs of attending college you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov or mail the application to the Department of Education. Talk to a financial aid counselor to find out what assistance is available. Pay close attention to requirements and deadlines. It takes time to process your financial aid paperwork so it is necessary to plan ahead so that the funds will be available before classes start.
When your financial aid paperwork has been processed you will receive an award letter. The award letter is a breakdown of what financial aid will be awarded to you per semester/quarter. It is necessary to review this letter, sign, date and return to financial aid office immediately. In order have financial aid disbursed to students, certain requirements must be met and maintained throughout the school year. These requirements usually consist of maintaining a minimum grade point average (G.P.A.) and a certain amount of units per semester/quarter. When students receive aid they will have to attend a class called the entrance exam. This class instructs students about the different forms of financial aid and the requirements for student loans.
When you have your classes, go to the campus bookstore and find the books that are required for the classes you are enrolled in. Price the books. Used books can be purchased and are less expensive than new ones. Look around campus for private parties selling their books.
These book are usually cheaper that the bookstore. There may be a bookstore outside of campus that sells the required books but less expensive than the bookstore. If your books are unavailable then you may be able to purchase them online through retailers such as Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com. Keep your receipt until the semester is over.
On the first day of classes, your professor will hand out a syllabus. A syllabus is the information about the particular class you are taking. It has the professor’s requirements, procedures, calendar of classroom readings, quizzes and exams, grading scale, contact information, along with office hours and required books. This is very important because sometimes certain books may not be used by that particular professor.
Check into school organizations that may be able to offer free support like tutoring, book assistance, time management help, learning disabled help and mental health services. Being a single parent, working, attending school, providing for your children both financially and emotionally is a lot to handle. Take advantage of the resources available to you. They can help with managing the different activities. Going to school is not an easy task and there is assistance. Use it.
Some colleges divide their school year into either semester or quarters. A semester is eighteen weeks of instruction and a much slower pace. A quarter is ten weeks of instruction and a faster pace. There are two semesters or three quarters in a school year (not counting summer session). A midterm exam is a test that evaluates all that has been covered up to the halfway point in the semester/quarter. It makes up a big percent of your final grade. Final exam is the big test at the end of the semester/quarter. This too will contribute to your final grade in the class.
- Flash cards:
- Pens–Blue or black:
- Parking permit:
You can buy 3×5 cards at the store and use this to help remember concepts and vocabulary for each chapter. You can buy white or different colors. If you use different colors, it can help you keep each chapter organized.
This is essential for keeping all of your school supplies in one place and with you at all times. Using a backpack will make those long walks to different classes around campus much easier.
“Being a single parent,
working, attending school,
providing for your children
both financially and
emotionally is a lot
Take advantage of the
resources available to you.”
A good notebook will keep your notes in one place so that you may refer to them at any time.
These help with organizing your classes. Keep all your work for each class divided so that you when you need something it will be easy to locate.
Use to highlight important information that needs to stand out and/or be remembered.
Buy a set because pens have a tendency to disappear over time and getting stuck without one can hurt you.
It is a good idea to buy a parking permit. Although you may be able to find free parking outside of campus, what are you going to do on days that you are running late? What if you have to make other trips to school outside of classes? Parking permit can be a necessary evil because it may save you time, get you closer to your classes and make you feel safer walking to your car in the evening.
You are now ready for the first step towards a college degree. Single Parent Magazine will continue our college education series in next month’s issue. Stay with us for the next eleven months and we will give you tips, tricks and information that will create a smoother college experience.