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3 Common College Planning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Photo of 3 Common College Planning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Attending the technical college of your choice requires more effort than filling out a form and submitting it. Failing to understand the requirements of each technical college may result in delayed acceptance, potentially delaying your career goals. Take the time to understand some common mistakes other students make when planning for college so that you can avoid the same mistakes.

1. Not Preparing Financially

Planning your finances ahead of your scheduled college attendance is an essential part of avoiding debt or choosing between food and textbooks. Although financial aid is an option for many students of technical colleges, there are other steps you can take to help your financial health. Before you apply for college, try to limit your spending. Setting a budget and consistently sticking to it can help you save money. Earning extra money through an additional job or other means will help your wallet even more.

To get even more help with the cost of technical college, it's a good idea to look at the schools nearest to you. Many technical colleges offer in-state tuition to residents. The cost of in-state tuition is sometimes dramatically less than out-of-state tuition. If you want to attend a college in another state, you may want to learn about establishing residency before you apply for school.

Scholarships and grants are sometimes limited to university students, but many scholarships can be used to pay for any type of college. Search around for as many different programs and scholarships as possible, even if the scholarship is relatively small. Picking up a few small scholarships can help defray the costs of your education, so there's no excuse to not find at least a few scholarships to make your schooling more affordable.

You may be able to find programs that offer flexible scheduling, night classes or online study. Taking advantage of these options can allow you to work while attending school, increasing your income and reducing the amount of debt it will take you to graduate. If you're already working, don't assume that you'll have to quit your day job to attend school before you see if flexible schedules are an option for your school.

2. Missing Deadlines

Technical colleges don't cater to your schedule; if you miss important deadlines, you'll need to delay applying until the next session of your program begins. Spend time carefully going over the deadlines listed for the technical colleges you're thinking of attending. Use a spreadsheet or calendar app so that you can easily track each deadline. Set reminders on your phone to alert you of upcoming deadlines. If you struggle with procrastination, make an effort to fulfill the application requirements early so that you don't have to worry about missing anything important.

If you're confused about any step of the application process, you can always reach out to the college staff for help. Meeting each deadline is entirely up to you, but asking for help is a good way to avoid missing important cut-off dates. Be sure to reach out well in advance of upcoming deadlines in case it takes time for the staff to work out a solution with you.

3. Not Researching Requirements Thoroughly

Receiving a rejection from the school of your choice is a tough break, especially if it happens because you didn't fully understand the requirements of the school. When you start looking at schools to attend, researching each school's requirements should be your starting point. Many schools share similar requirements, such as requiring citizenship or obtaining a high school diploma. However, it's critical to look at each list for each school yourself before you apply. Studying the lists early will give you extra time to do what you need to meet each requirement.

If you plan to apply for financial aid, you'll also need to carefully look at the requirements for obtaining aid. In many cases, you'll need to get accepted into a program before you can apply for financial assistance. Requirements for financial aid vary by school, but you'll at least need to demonstrate that you need financial aid.

A few easy mistakes can affect your chances of getting into the technical college program that you want. Keeping track of important information, including deadlines and requirements, can help you avoid common problems when applying for school.