You may think you don’t have enough money – that’s a big one. Or you’ve slacked off in high school and your grades aren’t good enough. It may be you have a learning disability that makes schoolwork extra challenging. Perhaps you need to stay close to home and going away to college just isn’t an option. Or maybe you just don’t have a clue as to what you want to do with your life yet.
You might be surprised to know that, first, you’re not the only one who feels that way, and, second, none of those reasons are enough to keep you from doing something amazing with your life.
That’s what education is all about – doing something more rewarding both emotionally and financially.
Even if school hasn’t been your favorite thing for the last 10 years or so, remember that when it comes to life after high school, it’s all about going for something that really interests you!
If you love to cook, think about culinary school. If art is your passion, find a program to develop your talent. Even if you want to continue the family tradition in agriculture, there are all kinds of new approaches and technology that can take agriculture to a whole new level.
What’s more, if you’re doing something you love, chances are you’ll be very good at it.
On the next few pages, we’ll give you the information you need to take the next step and begin creating a life you love!
Myth #1: I don’t have enough money to go to college.When you first start looking at college costs, that sticker price can be pretty overwhelming. But it’s important to realize that very few people actually pay those prices. That’s because tuition costs are greatly reduced through grants, work/study programs, scholarships and loans.
As a high school student, you’re already earning money for college through Kentucky’s Educational Excellence Scholarship plan. With the KEES plan, the better your high school grades, the more money you earn for college.
Beyond that, there are thousands of scholarships, grants and loans to offset college costs. Scholarships and grants are free money – they never have to be paid back. Loans have to be paid back, but most don’t require any payment until after you graduate from college.
Private schools often have millions of dollars in scholarships and grants available that public schools don’t have. If you find a private school that is a good fit for you, don’t rule it out because you think it’s too expensive. Ask questions and find out what the final costs will be after financial aid has been factored in.
When it comes to money and college, continuing your education will be the best investment you’ll ever make. People who have a four-year college degree make, on average, twice as much per year as those with only a high school diploma. And that’s too good a deal to pass up.
Myth #2: I can’t go to college because my grades aren’t good enough.Colleges everywhere are filled with students who had less-than-terrific grades in high school. In fact, Kentucky’s college system really emphasizes helping students continue their education past high school – no matter what their high school grades were like.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) admits any high school student who has graduated from high school or earned a high school general equivalency diploma (GED).
Don’t rule out the possibility of a four-year college. Many four-year colleges admit students with lower GPAs – with the stipulation that they take certain remediation classes to get up to speed in specific subject areas. Most colleges also offer classes and seminars that teach study skills, how to take good notes and test-taking tips.
You DO have options. And with today’s job market, continuing your education past high school will make a big difference between creating a comfortable lifestyle for yourself or just barely scraping by.
Myth #3: I can’t go to college because I want to stay close to home.Between online options and the number of colleges in Kentucky, location is no longer an issue when it comes to continuing your education.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College (KCTCS) has 65 college campuses located throughout the state that offer 600 program options! And KCTCS is set up to make it easy to transfer to another KCTCS campus or one of Kentucky’s public four-year colleges.
A number of four-year Kentucky colleges also have more than one campus location, giving you even more options.
Online classes are another way to make college fit your location and schedule. A huge selection of courses is available through the Kentucky Virtual Campus (kyvc.org). The KYVC site even includes help with financial aid and career planning. With a computer and an Internet connection, you’re on your way to college!
Myth #4: I can’t go to college because I don’t know what I want to do.Relax! Most people your age aren’t sure about what career path they want to take. But there’s no reason to let that indecision keep you from moving forward.
Whether you choose to go to a two-year community college or a four-year college or university, you’ll spend the first year or two on what they call core subjects – English, math, science – things that everyone has to take. Mixed in, you’ll have some electives that will give you the chance to explore some of the areas you find interesting. By the time you’ve finished taking those courses, you’ll have a much better idea of where you’re headed.
Plus, most all colleges have career-planning offices with staff who are trained to help you discover your inner genius and put you on the road to success.
Looking for direction?
Check out one of these online career assessment/interest inventory tests. (Or do them all – they’re free!) The tests guide you through a series of questions and then, based on your answers, identify careers that best match your personality.
Myth #5: I can’t go to college because I have a learning disability.Did you know that most people with learning disabilities have average or above-average IQs? A learning disability doesn’t mean you’re stupid – it simply means that you learn in a different way.
By law, colleges and universities around the country are required to provide equal access to ALL students. In the case of students with learning disabilities, that may mean providing “accommodations” such as extended time to take tests or complete some assignments, help with note-taking or tutoring. If you have a reading disability, you might be able to use books on tapes or special text-to-speech computer software. Accommodations are made depending on your specific needs.
BUT – and this is big – in order to receive accommodations, you must let the college know that you have a learning disability. To do that, get in touch with the school’s office that handles student disability services. The staff is there to help you be as successful as possible. However, some schools have more extensive programs than others. Check to see which school will be the best fit for you.
Most importantly, don’t be ashamed about accepting accommodations to help with your schoolwork. Everyone – with or without a learning disability – needs help sometimes. Accept the fact that you learn differently, find ways of dealing with it and then get ready to take on the world!
Think about this: If you have a learning disability, consider beginning school during the summer session rather than in the fall. The classes are smaller and instructors are less busy, so they have more time to help individual students.