Q: i really want to major in political science, but i can't find very many scholarships out there. i'm worried about having to take out lots of loans! any tips or ideas??..?
- Anonymous

You should contact an academic adviser at your college. Tell them you’re interested in applying for scholarships. Include your major, your GPA, and any extra curriculars you’ve been involved in or plan to do in college.

There are a lot of national scholarships online. You should track them down and apply for as many of them as you can. Here’s our advice:

There are thousands of national scholarships running basically all the time.

General Tips: Once you have applied for a few scholarships it will get easier. You will be able to apply for them like a machine.

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. Every essay you submit doesn’t have to be completely different.
  • Apply for every possible scholarship.
  • Watch out for scams. (You should never have to pay to apply for a scholarship. You should never release private bank or social security info.)

Q: If you are unsure of what you want to major in take classes pertaining to what you're interested in and see what you really like. Keep in mind you can always change your major, change it more than once if you need to. And remember, major in something you're passionate about and when you find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life. #CollegeSmarts..?

p0p-rocks gets it.

Q: Can I start my freshman year of college in the spring? I was going to start this fall at a community college but honestly I am not and don't feel ready at all (mentally and emotionally)...?

Yes, you can wait. 

It will be a little difficult at a small school because sometimes they only offer classes in the fall OR spring and you will have to deal with prerequisite issues, but as long as you stay in contact with your academic adviser, you should be ok. 

Should you wait?

I know it’s scary and overwhelming, but you should know that every other freshman on campus is just as anxious and afraid as you are. No one feels like they’re ready. I’m not pressuring you to go, but trust me, the scariness subsides quickly. You settle into classes and college pretty quickly, and it seems like no big deal after just a couple of weeks.

Trust your instincts, but don’t be afraid of the future.

Q: I'm starting school this fall as a freshman. My major is business admin but I was thinking of a minor in french. I've always loved the language and I took it for 4 years in highschool. My school is working on a 5th year program so I could get my mba. What types of jobs are even out there and do they pay good in business/ french/ admin. More in the management side. Not too hot with numbers..?

There are/will be tons of opportunities for a bilingual business manager.

I think the best way to see details about what kinds of jobs are out there is to search job sites like indeed and simplyhired.

This way you can see real jobs in your area. You can even see details about the jobs and sometimes what the salaries are like.

There’s such a wide variety of job possibilities that it makes telling you a salary range difficult, but you can click here to see the Bureau of Labor Statistics info for “Administrative Service Managers,” which is sort of like a catch all for managers. 

Q: I'm getting ready to start college in a little less than a month and I'm starting to freak out about paying for it. Any tips, either for stress or money management? I could use them both right now. :/..?

If you haven’t filled out the FAFSA, you need to do it ASAP. You may be eligible for grants and loans.

You should also contact an academic adviser at your school and ask about scholarships for incoming freshmen. Let them know your GPA, what you plan to major in and if you’re involved in any extracurricular activities. You can find national scholarships online too from sites like Fastweb, BigFuture, and the DoL site.

We have a ton of blogs about stress and money management.

Here are my favorites:

  1. How to deal with stress and anxiety in college
  2. Cutting out common college stress
  3. Money saving tips for students
  4. 5 easy (and realistic) ways to save money in college
  5. 5 Tips to avoid crushing student debt

Q: Okay so I am freaking out right now. I wanted to be a doctor because it pays amazingly but it takes 12 years and a lot of money. My mother does not have that type of money. I want to buy my mom a house in the next 8 years. I'm about to be a senior soon in high school. So I'm very worried because I have no idea what I want to major in but like I said I want to get a nice career after 4 years in college after I get my bachelors degree. but I have no idea what to major that in the long run will..?

The first thing you should do is relax. Worrying and being stressed out isn’t going to help. Just try to stay calm and take it one step at a time. If you try to take on the weight of the next decade of your life, it’s going to be too much. Instead focus on immediate goals.

You’re about to be a senior in high school so you need to start filling out college applications.

If you’re worried about money, you should choose an in-state school. Out-of-state tuition can be extremely expensive. You should also consider going to a junior college to take your freshman and sophomore core classes. It will be significantly cheaper to start at a junior college and transfer to a university for junior and senior year.

Once you have some schools narrowed down, you should fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). You may be able to get grants to cover schools, but if not, you can most likely get subsidized loans. That way there’s no burden on your mom for you to go to school.

Next, you shouldn’t pick a major simply because it pays well. You could hate it or realize you suck at it. And even if you can make it through 4 years of undergrad with a major you hate, you won’t be able to handle doing a job you don’t like every day for the rest of your life. Do something you like.

I understand that maybe you’re not sure what that is right now. Most people don’t know at your age, which means you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. If you think medical school is right for you, try majoring in biology or another related science. This will give you some insight.

Remember, take it one day a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself.

Q: What the heck is a thesis and should I(a sophomore undergrad) worry about it now?..?
- Anonymous

A thesis is literally “a long essay or dissertation involving personal research, written by a candidate for a college degree.”

Some departments at some schools require a thesis your senior year. You can ask your academic adviser if your major requires one. If you’ve had any major-specific classes, the professors in those classes should know also.

Q: Should I major in teaching or psychology?..?
- Anonymous

Only you can decide your major. I can give you some general information, but it depends so much on your personality and interests. 

Here are the median salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • High school teacher: $55,050
  • College professor: $68,970
  • Psychologist: $69,280

The pay is pretty similar. The projected job growth is higher for college professors and psychologists. 

You could try classes for both and then minor in whichever one you like less.

Q: In sept. And I have my classes picked out, but I have a doubtful feeling of wether I'll be happy doing this or not. I know many people who hate their jobs now and I've always wanted to do something I was happy doing. I always like the idea of being just a history teacher in high school (or an art or music teacher) or maybe head back to being a meteorologist, but I have all this pressure from my family of getting a good job and getting paid well. Should I stick with my major or go elsewhere?..?

Well first of all, meteorologists make more money than history teachers and librarians.

Here’s the median salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • High school teacher: $55,050
  • Librarians: $55,370 (This includes research librarians)
  • College professor: $68,970
  • Meteorologists: $89,260

It’s ok to not be sure about what you want to do. The best way to find out is simply to try them. 

You can go ahead and declare your major as something simple like history and try history classes, meteorological classes (you will probably have to find a closely related science class. They probably won’t have underclassmen meteorologist classes) and maybe even an education class. 

If you decide you like history most, stick with the history major and then decide if you want your minor to science or education. If you decide you love the science, change your major and then minor in history or education. You will be able to experience the first four semester. Make sure you stay in contact with your academic adviser though. They will help you stay on track to graduate on time.

My last piece of advice is that you should definitely listen to your parents, but when it comes right down to it, it’s your life and you’re the one who’s going to have to live with your degree. 

Q: I may have to take out a loan for college but I really don't want to. My parents never had a college fund saved up for me. 😞 do u know of any ways to receive a grant for college?..?
- Anonymous

If you can get grants you might not need the loans. The first thing you need to do is fill out a FAFSA application. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

It’s going to be kind of difficult to fill out, and you will probably need your parents help, but it’s worth it. The FAFSA is the way the government decides if students qualify for federal aid (and how much). If you’re not sure what school you want to go to yet, I think you can have them send the results to a few different schools.

The second thing is that you should consider a going to a community college. I did, and it was the right decision for me. Here’s some info about community colleges:

The biggest pro of community college is the cost. You can finish all of your core and get an associate degree for the fraction of the cost of a university. The average tuition and fees for one year at a community college is about $2,500. At private schools, the average tuition and fees for one year is $30K. For in-state public schools, it’s almost $9K a year, and for out-of-state public schools, it’s $22K a year, according to College Board.

The cost will take some of the pressure off while you experiment with different classes and industries. This will prevent you from sticking with a major you don’t like just because you already paid for the classes or because you can’t afford another semester.

A lot of people think professors aren’t as good at community college, but this Washington Post article discredits that idea. They found some classes are even more challenging because professors are motivated by their students, who often display more drive than those at four-year universities.

Community college also often have smaller student to faculty ratios, which gives you more time with your professor.

Also, here’s a list of super successful people who went to community college: Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood, Walt Disney, Calvin Klein, Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, astronauts James McDivitt, Eileen Collins and Fred Haise, and MasterCard founder Melvin Salveson.

Q: I have dreamed of a career in geology/paleontology since I was young, but all of a sudden fears about pay/job availability have come up. Would it be better for me to major in a different science?..?
- Anonymous

You should major in something you like.

A lot of people pick a major based on possible salary and job opportunities. More often than not, that blows up in their faces.

For example, if you’re a very hands-on, artsy, creative person, but you decide to major in something you hate (and are bad at) because it pays well, it just wont work. 

If you can even make it through four years with a major you don’t like, you will still hate it when you get a job. When you have to get up every single day and do something you aren’t interested in or passionate about, the money won’t see worth it.

That being said, most paleontologists actually get their undergraduate degree in geology, and there are tons of jobs available if you study geology that you can use as a fall back in case the paleontology specialization doesn’t pan out.