College is expensive. Our parents get Florida prepaid; and, if we want to go out of state, we lose that luxury and Bright Futures (for most universities). Our parents tell us that if we want the necessities for high school life (a car, going out with friends, books, saving for college), we need to help pay for it. We get a summer job in hopes of paying off college tuition and a car to drive us from place to place.
Only, summer jobs pay minimum wage, most of the time. Tuitions have gone up exponentially. That figure is only going to rise in the future, and student loans are going to destroy future generations. What should be an educational experience is really a money-making one, and if you want to go IVY, you’ll need scholarships. Lots of them.
Reading an article from the New York Times on this issue (cited below), I don’t think we (teens, mostly) realize how expensive things are. It’s like being wealthy is a bad thing when applying to colleges that are still out of reach financially. While you’ll be making $8.25 minimum wage working for the local grocery store, Harvard (but also many less competitive schools out-of-state) charges $38,891 (13-14) for tuition. Let’s add room-and-board, books, and travel costs. It’s a little insane.
You already know this, but just think of the future. While the prospect of an in-state school might not be as expensive as, say, MIT, people with big dreams better bring big money – or big scholarships.
As an incoming junior, PSATs and SATs are coming. A good score means a possible shot as national merit finalist. It also means money you can bring in to support any dream you may have of going out-of-state.
Even if you’re not thinking of going out-of-state, think about travel costs and your future degrees. It all accumulates; it’s not just the tuition.
Point is: start saving (which you hopefully started a while ago), do writing contests, do anything possible right now. Debts aren’t going any time soon.