When I was a high school senior, like most other students, I was completely overwhelmed by the entire college application process. Not only is there the important decision about where you will spend the next four years of your life, but also how that choice will have lasting repercussions for your entire adult life. This aspect of the process is the source of a great deal of anxiety for nearly every student. Once the hours and hours spent completing applications are finally in the past, and even if you are accepted to a school right away there is one giant overarching decision still in front of you, money.
It has been said a million times before and should be said again, college attendance shouldn’t come down to money, however the reality is that at times money has a large impact. According to the latest statistics, the average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt. As a senior in high school I think that it is impossible to grasp the magnitude of this amount of money, and the impact that it has when you graduate. I am still a firm believer that if you want to go somewhere you can figure out a way to make it work, but if you take certain steps you will be in a much better position when you finish school.
I was lucky enough to receive the Eisenhower-Evans Caddie Scholarship, which The First Tee of Denver helped me a great deal in achieving. I was also lucky enough to come out of college with $0 in debt. This isn’t realistic for everyone, but you can make college much cheaper. I encourage everyone to seek out as many scholarships (on top of the ones offered through the school) as possible, even a few smaller scholarships have a huge impact. Everyone knows that these scholarships are out there, but most people don’t realize the sheer number of opportunities that there really are. I know that after finishing college applications scholarship applications sometimes just feel like more work on top of that, but as someone who can speak from experience it is worth it! When you finish college and look back, the hours you spend applying for scholarships will be some of the most worthwhile time you ever spend. Every year The First Tee of Denver offers college scholarships that anyone who has been a part of the program can apply for. Last year we offered two scholarships worth $10,000 each, and we hope to increase the value even more moving forward. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to apply. I know that the scholarship that The First Tee of Denver helped me to achieve was one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and I’m sure that all of the other scholarship recipients would agree.
College is an extremely personal decision and I think you always need to base that choice on what is the best possible situation for you. I would never discourage someone from going to their dream school, but I would highly encourage people to do everything they can to make that school as affordable as possible. I would also say that for some people going the in-state rout and saving money for grad school or other ventures is the right decision. The best advice I got is to ask for help and do everything possible to set yourself up for success. That includes asking us at The First Tee of Denver for help, we are always happy to do anything that we possibly can for people involved in the program. If you take these steps before school hopefully you will be as lucky as me, and will be able to sit back after you graduate with a great education and will be able help others to achieve their goals.