The Ugly Truth About Attending College?

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Attending a public university has always been a childhood dream of mine. Like every other child, I believe that attending college would be my best opportunity to further my education and become successful in the career field I chose to pursue. My parents instilled in me that getting an education should be my main priority and that I should work hard and diligently to make good grades, so that college admission advisors would see that I am the type of student who is determined and willing to do whatever I can to achieve my goals. During my sophomore year of high school, I started to do extensive amount of research on potential colleges and universities that I would consider myself applying to. I was interested in pursuing a career in law and was looking at schools who had a good law program. Of course my first set of college/university considerations consisted of ivy league schools such as Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Berkeley, and etc. But I had to come off my fantasy and come back down to reality because I knew my parents did not have the financial means to send me off to any of these schools, but I was still motivated to find the right school for me and that my parents could afford. I knew that I needed to be in someone’s school by the time I reached the tender age of 18 because there was no way I was going to continue to stay under the same roof as my parents. I am originally a native of the state of Alabama and moved to Tennessee when I was 14 years old. I really did not enjoy attending high school in Tennessee because I felt as though I did not belong there and just tried to cope the best way I could with moving to a new state. In high school, I made sure my grades were above average, which means I basically maintained a G.P.A of a 3.5 or higher. By the time I was 13 years old, I already had my mind set of becoming a lawyer. Being that I already had a set plan of what kind of career I wanted to have. I had no issues at all while I was in high school what I wanted to major in college. The problem I had with researching colleges was that instead of focusing on the tuition rate, I paid more attention on if the school had an exceptional law department. I know what you must be thinking, did your parents not have several conversations with you about college. The answer is yes, they did talk to me about college, but did I listen to anything they told me, ummm no. I felt like my parents were nagging me for no reason about making sure to apply to college early.

The college I got accepted and attended during my freshman year of college, I exactly waited until late February of my senior year of high school to apply. I was not serious as I should have been about applying to college and or trying to even fill out the FAFSA correctly. I procrastinated my way through my college admission process, which was a bad decision on my part because I did not get enough financial aid or any scholarships to help cover my college expenses. I started my college career off on the wrong foot and was stressed out my entire freshman year because I did not know whether or not I was going to come back for my sophomore year. By the time spring semester of my freshman year came around the corner, I was a nervous wreck and to make it even worst I changed my major in the middle of the semester from Political Science to Criminal Justice. Changing my major in the middle of spring semester was one of the worst mistakes I made while being in college because I practically had already took classes in another major for nothing. I had just wasted thousands of dollars and could not even take classes for the major I changed it to. Basically my entire freshman year of college was full of trial and error because being stressed out all the time about money made me distracted and I should have been focusing on passing my classes. I was so ashamed because I had never been a C student and now I had become one because I was not even taking the initiative to get help in any of my classes. After completing my freshman year of college and realizing that I may not be able to come back, I instantly became depressed and spent a couple months doing a lot of soul-searching of what I really wanted to do with my life. In November 2015, I made the decision to enroll myself in an online university and further my education. I decided to major in Criminal Justice because I wanted to get in the law enforcement field. I can honestly say that enrolling in online school was the best decision I could ever make because I became more disciplined in completing my assignments on time and passing my tests.

I’ve always thought online school was for people who are in the military, parents, or people who were in school years ago and want to get a college degree. I have a new perspective on attending online school and it has helped me realize that it does not matter what school I attend I can be successful. Being in online school has made me become humble and patient because I know after I get my degree from my online school I will be going back to the public university I attended for my freshman year of college. Many high school students do not realize how expensive college really is until they actually become college students. When I think back on how I was in high school, I really did not know what I was doing and did not even try to educate myself on the FASFA, student loans, grants, scholarships, and etc. If I could change one thing about my college experience it would be choosing to go to a community college for two years and then go to a public university. I’m just going to be honest during most college students’s freshman and sophomore years of college, they will be taking general classes such as English 101, Math, Spanish, and even an elective class. Now there are some individuals who decide to take a few of their major courses during their freshman and  sophomore year of college to get ahead. The cost of tuition at a public and private universities is very ridiculous. The amount of money you will spend on one semester at a pubic and private university usually sums to above $10,0000. Are you serious $10,0000 is a lot of money, being that if you choose to stay on campus in a dorm, get a meal plan, and pay for your books your tuition will round out to be higher than $10,000. Now let’s compare the rate of a community college, if you take 4 to 5 classes at a community college it will round out to being $1000-$5000 depending on what state you live in. The cost of attending a community college is a lot cheaper and affordable than most universities. College recruiters of public universities are not going to sit down and tell you the negatives of their school, which means the cost of attendance is not going to be brought up unless you ask.

Being that I was a out-of state student, my tuition was very expensive. Out-of state college students sometimes are not given the same advantages as in-state students. In-state students get the chance to apply to multiple scholarships in their state depending on the criteria. Out-of state students have to have a high ACT or SAT score to even consider getting a scholarship. I’m not going to lie and say I made a high ACT score because I didn’t, but I had a high G.P.A which made up for it. Universities and college are companies at the end of the day, and just with any company with employees if you are not doing what they feel is best, then you will get fired. In college, if a student can’t afford to pay tuition on time then you probably will eventually get kick out of school. I know millions of kids have aspirations of being in college and getting a degree, but if you do not research on the schools you are thinking about applying to, which by the way means can you afford it. If you do not look up the cost of attendance for in-state and out-of state students, what type of scholarships they offer, and how much you will get from financial aid then you are setting yourself up to fail. I’m sharing my college experience with you all to make sure that individuals get as much education on the negative side of being in college because being a college student may be fun, but it can be stressful as well. Everyone who attends college will not face the same circumstances I did, but for those who will I hope you are ready to face these obstacles in a better way than I did.

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