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Scholarships, and planning for the future

Seian Verian

Too lazy to sleep
Basically, I've been thinking hard on my future recently. I need to start thinking about my options for different things, try to look into scholarships, grants, different universities. I need to work hard to qualify for as many good options as I can, especially given that I hope for some pretty ambitious stuff. To change the world through science... Regardless of whether I'll actually succeed or not, I still need to make damn sure I do everything I can to do my best.

So what it comes down to- How should I best search for universities, as well as scholarships and grants to go to them? How should I best attempt to qualify for those scholarships and such? How can I look into different countries and their laws and culture, economic and academic environment and different things to see if studying abroad there and possibly staying there is a good option? How do I plan for my future and determine my options?

What I want to study largely involves aging and how to deal with it. Most importantly, I want to preserve the mind, and its capability to learn, think, observe, and interact with the world. I want to find infinite time to learn, and apply the knowledge gained for further improvements. What specific fields of study are involved in this, and what should I keep in mind?
 

Onnes

Member
I can't help you on field specific things outside of the physical sciences. However I know a bit about academic planning and funding and the like. The short answer is that everything depends on your preexisting sources of funding and academic performance wrt. current institution, grades, and standardized testing.

You're currently at a community college, correct? Typical transfers, after attainment of an AA or AS degree, are to state universities. Advantages: cheap as hell, credits mostly transfer. Going anywhere out of state or private will cost more and run into significant transfer issues.
If you're like most transfer students then your realistic scholarship opportunities will be at the university level. They list them all somewhere and you may even be entered automatically depending on the system.

Most of this, though, depends on your existing funding and performance. How much you are getting from parents and funds and how much you might get on loan from FAFSA (and how much debt you are willing to take on.) You also need to figure out what level of institution you can hope to be accepted to. Professors in the relevant field should be helpful there. Once you have all that information gathered, then you make serious predictions about an academic trajectory.
 

Seian Verian

Too lazy to sleep
Yeah, I'm currently in a community college. My grades are good, around a 3.7 GPA even after one REALLY bad semester which was mostly caused by my dad developing brain cancer. If I focus myself I should be able to get myself up to like a 3.9 by the time I get my associate's degree finished. For funding... My time in this college is being paid for by voc rehab, which also currently prevents me from even trying for a job, but I won't be getting of that once I'm done here. I don't have any source of income besides government funding just now, though once my father dies I'll have a trust that'll help me out with a few hundred dollars per month- Possibly for the rest of my life, if I don't leave the US.

As for where I plan to go... Hrm. To be honest, I have a specific university in mind for where I'd like to go to get my Bachelor's, if things go well, but that actually is out of state, over in Mississippi. I'll need to keep those difficulties in mind....

I'd really prefer to avoid debt as much as I possibly can. Realistically, I suppose it may not be possible to avoid, but I'm very much trying to avoid getting mired in that stuff. I have no idea how FAFSA works though... I suppose I should look into that.
 

Onnes

Member
FAFSA is a fickle thing. Your parents are expected to pay a certain amount of your expenses, even if you file taxes as an independent. This is completely regardless of whether they are willing to pay. You need to get yourself to a FAFSA calculator and figure out what your funds looks like.

Going out of state can largely depend on the requirements for residency. For example, in Florida it takes almost no time to become a resident, so out of state tuition largely doesn't matter. Not all states are Florida though. This would go into your cost calculations.

Don't assume you'll win any spectacular scholarships. This puts you in a terrible position if you don't. Think of them more as a potential bonus.
 

Seian Verian

Too lazy to sleep
How does the FAFSA work when my parents aren't, uh, actually even capable of paying? My father is sort of incapacitated by his cancer and will likely be dead by the time these all become relevant, and my mother is barely capable of even taking care of herself. She lives off of disability retirement.

Hm... Residency? I don't actually know much about how that works. Know anything about what it's like for Mississippi? Honestly I have difficulty even sorting through Google and finding out quite what's relevant.

On scholarships... Yeah, I can't really assume anything. I want to give myself as many decent options as I can, and it's probably gonna be pretty hard work, but no matter what I do I might not end up getting anything remotely close to ideal...
 

Onnes

Member
Unless you can prove your parents have abused you, abandoned you, or are both dead, they are expected to contribute. Have fun with that one.

As for residency, you need to research definitions on the individual universities you are considering I think.
 

Kihari

Active Member
Adding to what Onnes said, you probably aren't elegiable to submit your FAFSA without completing the parental information portion. There are some special exceptions to these rules, but I wouldn't count on any of them.

Don't be too afraid to look into student loans; if you use the money responsibly, they can be quite helpful, and at the end of your academic career you'll undergo an online tutorial session that gives you information on what types of loans you have taken, how interest on each loan type works, when you are expected to pay them back, and so on. Obviously you'll want to borrow only what you have to.
 

Seian Verian

Too lazy to sleep
Regarding those "exceptions"... Well. I technically -did- come from an emotionally abusive household, really. Though whether or not it's something I can "prove" to FAFSA's satisfaction... I guess likely enough not.

Also, today I found out that, due to how wrapped up I am in government bureacracy, I basically will not be able to go out of state for my bachelor's degree at all. Considering I'm still taking prereqs for my associate's degree, this means I'm at least five years away from any real option of getting out of this area. Alas :<
 

Dj_whoohoo

Member
Major in either the degree you need to become an dermatologist, or pyschology.
And your minor can be whichever you didn't choose for your major.

You can always take aptitude tests and see what you get.
 

Seian Verian

Too lazy to sleep
Major in either the degree you need to become an dermatologist, or pyschology.
And your minor can be whichever you didn't choose for your major.

You can always take aptitude tests and see what you get.

...Psychology has -some- degree of overlap with what I want to do, but only very small. Dermatology is completely fucking unrelated.

Did you read anything I posted? Where did this suggestion come from?
 
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Sure, ask a bunch of highschool dropouts what you should do to plan for your future, "Is your nuclear weapon going in checked or carryon luggage?"!
 

Viridis

Avatar by Soryane
Student loans can be helpful, but you have to remember; you will have to pay them off. In all likeliness, if you depend on student loans you'll end up paying them off for the next 20+ years.

When it comes to scholarships and such, apply for as many as you can, given that you are eligible for them. Look for local scholarships, school scholarships, anything that might earn you an extra buck or two. It's getting pretty late in the season to apply for most scholarships right now, but I'm sure there's some still floating about, and there'll be more options available next year. Summer jobs are good too, given that you have good pay and you have long shifts at work.

That's really all I can recommend for now. Good luck!
 
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Schecter

SkyNet Engineer
What sucks, is that most scholarships are need based and eligibility is determined by your FAFSA. not only that, student loans are also determined by your FAFSA. Pretty much the only other route is academic scholarships, but dang the competition for those are fierce. Not only do they take your GPA into consideration, they also require an essay, an outstanding resume, and other stuff i cant think of right now. Anyways, the community college route that your doing is the best IMHO, so thats good
 

Seian Verian

Too lazy to sleep
What sucks, is that most scholarships are need based and eligibility is determined by your FAFSA. not only that, student loans are also determined by your FAFSA. Pretty much the only other route is academic scholarships, but dang the competition for those are fierce. Not only do they take your GPA into consideration, they also require an essay, an outstanding resume, and other stuff i cant think of right now. Anyways, the community college route that your doing is the best IMHO, so thats good

I fully intend to aim for academic scholarships. I'm very much capable of excelling academically, with effort, and as for essays... Well, writing is easily one of my best skills. I'd have to look at stuff about resume though.

Also, shameless bump because I'm trying to prevent this thread from falling into the abyss just yet.
 
Well, the diploma depends on which collage you are at durring the last year or two years you were at so you should have the first two years at a community collage and the last two years at a collage that is prestigious for the subject you are studying.
 
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