Finding the Best Student Grants for College – Simply and Easily!

Starting college is a pivotal time in your life, but having to take out a lot of student loans can one day damper your memories of college. Therefore, it is vital that you take the time to apply for federal grants and state grants because this can lessen your need for loans and in some instances entirely eliminate your need to take out student loans. Therefore, when you decide on the college that you want to attend, make out your applications and once you have received your acceptance letter, you will want to fill out the Federal Student Aid Report, which is now available online.

The Federal Student Aid Report is looking for key pieces of information to determine your eligibility for grant money. First, how much did you or your parents earn the previous year, this depends if you are still a dependent or independent. The report also wants to know your living situation, are you planning to live on campus, off-campus, or with your parents since all of these help to determine the grant amount you will receive. Once you have the report filled out with the school or schools you are interested in attending, you submit it and then based on the information you gave, the package for your aid is sent to the school’s financial aid office, which tells them what you are eligible for in the way of grants.

Typically, your financial aid department at your selected school will put together a financial aid package, which will include the maximum amount of grant money that is allotted to you based on your income and living situation. Remember, grant money does not have to be paid back, so this is what you want to get first and foremost. The Pell Grant from the federal government applied to your tuition is given by way of an award for the entire school year and split into two or more semesters depending on how the semesters run at your chosen college.

When your financial aid package is put together, the school uses all the grant money allotted to you and then if there is a deficit, lets you know how much student loans you can take out. Many times student loans are necessary, but remember if you must borrow, only borrow what you need because you will often be able to take out maximum amounts for living expenses but these have to be paid back with interest roughly six months after you graduate, payments to the loans begin.

Make sure you check into state grants that are specific to the state that you are planning to attend college. Most of these grants are in lesser amounts, but any amount of free money is less money you have to borrow for college. If you have excellent academic grades, you can also apply for the Academic competitiveness Grant, which is available if you are receiving the Pell Grant.

College Success – What Does it Take?

College success is not as difficult for most young students as learning how to take on adult responsibilities. Letting go of adolescence and becoming an adult is more challenging according to Carl Pickardt, Psychologist and adolescent specialist. If you take responsibility for showing up to class regularly, turning papers and work in on time, and sacrificing some of the time spent with friends in favor of more study time, you have won half the battle for achieving college success. Being responsible for meeting the demands of college (ability to respond and step up to the plate) is one of the keys to college achievement.

You already have been using some of the higher level thinking skills needed to succeed in college. You use these skills when you solve your life problems and overcome obstacles. Your lack of success in college will not be because you are not smart enough. There are many different types of intelligence and my experience in working with hundreds of students has shown that practically every student is smart in one way or another. For more information on different types of intelligence other than IQ, you can read the theories of Howard Gardner (Multiple Intelligences), Robert Sternberg (Successful Intelligence) and Daniel Goleman (Emotional and Social Intelligence).

In addition to self-responsibility, there are three other factors you will need to succeed in college:

1. Learning how to learn and study skills — You need to learn how to learn effectively and the ways that you learn best. Most colleges offer at least one college success course which can teach you these skills. These courses also need to be taught to high school students, but sadly few high schools provide them. A good college success course will teach you: how to study and learn, reading comprehension strategies, your best learning styles and types of intelligences, how to set and reach your goals, time management, discovery of your talents and strengths, career exploration, writing skills, note taking, problem solving, and more.

2. Work Ethic — Good study and work habits will lead you to success in college and in the work force. Good study skills will only be effective if you apply them. They will be worthless to you if you do not use them.

3. Motivation — Without motivation you will not consistently use good study skills, work habits and your intelligence and potential. There are two types of motivation, the carrot (pleasure) and the stick (pain). When you use these together you will have a powerful motivational combination. Keep your long-range goals for achieving a college education in your mind’s eye. For example, let’s say you want a degree in secondary education to become a teacher. Visualize and imagine yourself as a teacher who is making a positive difference for your students. Enjoy the positive feelings that come when you see yourself as a great teacher. This is the carrot and a reminder of one of the benefits (pleasure) you will experience by achieving your goal. Also remind yourself of the stick (pain) or the consequences if you do not achieve your goal of completing a degree in secondary education. It can deprive you of becoming a teacher. Reminding yourself of the benefits and consequences will help you to stay motivated and persistent. Also break your long-range goals into small steps. Every step accomplished provides you with positive feedback and will increase your motivation to reach your long-range goals.

You can succeed in college, in your career, and in your life. Where to begin? Start with college success by taking responsibility, learning how to learn effectively and how you learn best, using good study skills and work habits, and by fueling your motivation to succeed. Use these four keys and you will open the door to college success and the gateway to your dreams.