The College Years [NYC Edition]: Why Go to College?
You’ve scribble scrabbled your way through kindergarten. You’ve dodgeballed your way through middle school. You scratched and clawed your way through high school (whether you’ve gotten your high school diploma or your GED, you didn’t totally get swallowed by high school and that matters). And now you’re here at what supposed to be the pinnacle of your entire school career. What the fuck do you do now? College of course! This goes double for all you broke NYC fresh-out-of-high school students.
Why college? With how the job market is going, a high school diploma or GED won’t suffice after a while. And while working at fast food restaurants and retail may be fine, it’s much better to have a career. And it’s not to say that you can’t make a career out of the retail world, but, most often than not, you’d need some form of college degree to rise through the ranks. Also, ALL colleges have Job Centers which you SHOULD utilize. Trust me. I’ll talk more about this another time because there’s A LOT about this subject. Hell, I’ve been in college somewhat consistently since I was 19 and I’m NOW taking advantage of the Job Center in my college. (Sort of… Either way, shame on me.)
What are the benefits of going to college? Well, if you live in NYC you have CUNY (City University of New York) schools. And with that, you have Financial Aid and TAP (Tuition Assistance Program). Why are those things important? FREE COLLEGE IF YOUR FAMILY IS BROKE OR MAKING VERY LITTLE MONEY! Doesn’t that seem like a great idea?!
For the most part, you’ll have to pay the application fee. Some CUNY schools allow fee waivers for low income families, so make sure to always ask about that if things are that bad. But, I can assure you, being from a low income family in college isn’t totally bad. One of the biggest benefits is the financial aid checks you get every semester a few weeks after the semester starts. (If you need an extra incentive to go to college, there you go!) They also give you a $650 check for books. If you don’t know already, books for college are expensive as fuck! So any money that’ll help you buy all the books you need for class is a saving grace. I’ll get more into financial aid checks in another post. It’ll be helpful mostly to the people who spend faster than they earn.
CUNY schools have a WIDE variety of choices in majors. Rule of thumb: Go for something that genuinely interests you. And if you have to change majors, make sure the changes are minimal. This will also be another larger topic. There’s so much to say about this.
Another thing to note: CUNY schools offer MANY different opportunities to its students. Sure CUNY schools are costly in one way or another, but you can get SO much from going to CUNY that will help you later on in life or even give you an experience that you’d never normally consider. For example: study abroad programs, opportunities to travel abroad, honor societies (which can get you into certain events that many other schools don’t have the privilege to go to), fellowships, etc. It’s not to say that other schools don’t offer these, but these are generally free of charge to those who qualify for full financial aid and TAP assistance.
This is just a very basic “Intro to CUNY” thing. Every post hereafter will give you more insight into CUNY and how it’s helpful, as well as the life of a college student (via my experiences), as well as tips on how to survive college, make friends, and have fun.
Photo Credit: www.spencesmith.com