Center for Learning Effectiveness
As a college student, it's important to advocate for yourself and take charge of your educational journey. One way to do this is by engaging in important conversations with various departments, such as the financial aid office, academic advisor, or career services. By initiating these discussions, you can gain valuable insights, clarify any uncertainties, and better understand the resources available to you. Whether it's discussing financial aid options, mapping out your academic path, or exploring career opportunities, these conversations will empower you to make informed decisions and take ownership of your college experience.
Here is an example of a conversation between a student and the Financial Aid Department. If needed, use this conversation to role play with your parent or a friend before contacting the Financial Aid Department.
Student: Hi, I'm calling because I have some questions about my financial aid package.
Financial Aid Department: Of course, I'm here to help. What questions do you have?
Student: I'm a bit unclear about the breakdown of the different types of aid I've been offered. Can you explain the difference between grants, scholarships, and loans?
Financial Aid Department: Certainly. Grants and scholarships are forms of financial aid that you don't have to repay, which is great news. Grants are usually need-based, while scholarships can be merit-based or awarded for specific achievements or skills. On the other hand, loans are funds that you borrow and are expected to pay back with interest over time.
Student: Thanks for clearing that up. I also wanted to ask about work-study programs. How do those work, and how can I apply for one?
Financial Aid Department: Work-study programs provide part-time jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay for educational expenses. To apply for work-study, you typically need to indicate your interest on the FAFSA and then seek out work-study positions available on campus.
Student: That sounds like a good opportunity. I also wanted to confirm if there are any additional forms I need to submit to finalize my financial aid for the upcoming semester.
Financial Aid Department: Typically, there might be some additional forms required, such as verification documents or institutional forms from your college.
Student: Will your department contact me to let know if I have more forms available?
Financial Aid Department: It's important to keep an eye on your student portal or email for any communications from our office regarding these requirements.
Student: Got it. Thanks for answering my questions.
Financial Aid Department: You're welcome. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us at any time. Good luck with your upcoming semester!
I encourage you to view these type of conversations as opportunities to become more self-sufficient and informed about your college experience. By taking the initiative to engage with various departments, you're building the skills necessary to advocate for yourself in academic and professional settings. Remember, the more proactive and engaged you are, the better equipped you'll be to make the most of your college years and beyond.
I wish you the best as you continue to navigate your educational journey and advocate for your own success.