Sign up to get your free e-book “Take Back Control: Manage Your Student Loan Debt” Click here

Being Well Prepared is important?! By: Genevieve Dobson

Success shouldn’t be out of your reach

Ahhh, who knew being well prepared was so important (besides your mom, your dad, your grandparents and maybe a few aunts and uncles) but whose counting.  The important thing is that you know now and hopefully you are one of the lucky ones who didn’t get half way through one degree to realize that you hate computer science and like people instead and now want to be a psychologist.  If you did, you will surely find that the government will not continue to grant you financial aid and you may spend the last 2 or 3 years trying to pay for this degree all by yourself.

The Dept. of Education only allows you to pursue 150% of your degree which equates to 180 credits on average. 

Therefore, when you begin to make your plans to go to school you have to have some  basic ideas of what you want to do and what degree will be best to get you there.  You should spend your first year taking your prerequisite courses until you have enough time to grow into who you want to be. If you don’t take some very important steps you may end up half way through school, hating your major and not having any more money.  Plan ahead so you can get your degree in what you love and have the financial aid you need to back you.  If you don’t plan ahead you could have a handful of coursework under your belt that you paid for but will never use.  College is costly enough.  There is no need to add additional financial burden onto yourself simply from the lack of a proper plan.

80% of students change their major at least once with an average of 3 major changes throughout the course of a standard college career.

In the past this was not a big deal.  You could continue to get grants and loans to help fund your education almost perpetually but clearly this process was flawed because you could spend 20 years working on a bachelors degree to avoid paying back your student loans.  So in 2007 the College Cost and Reduction Act added to the SAP guidelines that you had to complete your undergrad degree within 150% of your degree program requirements.  This does keep students from changing their majors over and over and still taking out loans but if your an indecisive young adult like most people are at 18 this could leave you stuck at the end of 4 years with no degree and no financial aid. How do you avoid making this mistake?  Plan, plan, plan!  If you end your high school career with a firm idea of what you want to spend your life doing, what things you are good at and what just might truly make you happy you could get through your 4 years of college with degree in hand rather than a bill with one year to go.  Of course, if you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up at 18 don’t feel bad.  There are people at 50 who still haven’t figured that out.  So you can simply concentrate your first year on your prerequisite courses.  These are your Math, Writing, Science and History courses that everyone has to take regardless of their degree.  If you get that one or even two amazing Professor’s in your prereq courses like I had who brought so much passion to the subject that you woke up realizing exactly what you are good at then this could be just what you need to catapult you into a finalized major for your second year. Whatever you choose to do and however you choose to do it makes little difference as long as you have a plan.  Sure things change but then change your plan to still fit within the guidelines that are set forth by the Department of Education.  Too many students get stuck in the web of this rule and never even knew it existed.  Like a good friend of mine always says, “Plan your work and work your plan”.

“Nearly 30% of college students who took out loans dropped out of school,” according to American Student Assistance (, 2013).

Don’t be one of the many college dropouts simply because you didn’t have a clear plan.  Sit down, hash it out and then get out there and make it happen.  Don’t let success be just beyond your reach. Sign Up today to stay informed!