I wrote the post Paying & Preparing for College when my daughter Andi had just started her junior year of high school. Last month she started her junior year of college at Northern Kentucky University so I thought I would do an update. At the time of my last post, Andi had no idea what she wanted to do with her life, where she was going to go to school or how to pay for it. I was worried. I don’t think I’ll ever stop worrying about my kids but Andi’s college isn’t at the top of the worry list any more.
She is majoring in Social Work with minors in Spanish and social justice and a focus in women gender studies. She has a high GPA, a part-time job, belongs to a few clubs and tutors high school students in Spanish. She has a full plate for sure.
So you might be wondering how she made her decision on where to go and what to major in. She worked at a nursing home in high school and knew she loved the interaction with the seniors and their families. One night while going through a book I highly recommend, College Board Book of Majors, she started down the path of social work. At this point we had been on a few college tours and she was leaning toward Northern Kentucky University. Andi reached out to the social work department at NKU and scheduled a day to shadow a social work student. She was able to meet with people in the department and attend a couple social work classes. This helped her make a final decision and commit to NKU.
A big part of choosing NKU was affordability. In-state tuition is around $4,500 per semester and she is able to commute since we live less than 10 minutes from the University. We know people paying any where from $10,000 to $20,000 a semester, plus room and board. Andi decided she wanted to graduate with as little debt as possible, which I commend her for. Between small loans, KEES money and scholarships, NKU is manageable. Just know that this amount does not include parking or books. Parking costs vary at each school. Andi’s books have cost between $200 and $400 per semester.
Figuring out how to pay, what loans and scholarships are available and how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be difficult. The Library can help though. The Durr Branch is offering a FAFSA Completion Workshop on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This workshop provides assistance in completion of the FAFSA. Participants will receive direct help in completing each section of the application.
Andi is very happy with her choice. She said choosing the most affordable school that offers your major is the best advice she can give to someone choosing a school. Have you started the college search yet? What tips would you give?