College is a marathon, not a sprint. Financing your education is no different. You will be inundated with information about loans, scholarships and grants. It can all get very confusing and overwhelming in no time.
The important thing to remember is not to rush. Take your time to make sure you understand your options and the process. The earlier you get your financial aid situation settled, the better off you will be. However, getting your situation settled means getting it right. Being done before everyone else won't help you if you make mistakes or miss things that could have helped.
So slow down. Ask questions if you have them. Don't think you have to take the first option that presents itself. One of the most common causes of students struggling to make it from year to year in college is that they rushed through the financial aid process and didn't find what was in their best interests.
Hurrying through all this information because it gives you a headache will only give you an even bigger one later on. Take the time to understand the private and federal student loans out there. You want to be the tortoise, not the hare.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|