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How to Obtain a World-Class Education on a Limited Budget

In America, many people born into poverty are able to overcome this poverty and lead a better life. Education is perhaps the best and most practical way of achieving this. In short, the best way to get a world-class education if you have limited means is by working harder than everyone else.

America is one country where children have access to an education, even if they are born into a poor family. Those that have achieved much in their lives from humbled beginnings must often work twice as hard as their wealthier counterparts. Poor people should strive toward academic excellence. Good grades and high test scores in high school can lead to an academic scholarship to a prestigious university.

First, decide what you want out of life. You probably won’t achieve much if you don’t know where you’re going. Decide what you would like to study in school. Are you interested in math or science? If so, you may choose a career in Accounting, Biology or Engineering. Are you interested in the arts? If you are, then you may pursue an education from an art school.

Research Scholarships and Grants
Scholarships for minorities, women, and lower class families are available. The Bill and Melinda Gates Scholarship Foundation assists minorities and low income students with their education. The Gates grants and scholarships are awarded in various subject areas and students must submit a letter of interest to begin the scholarship application process. Grants seekers may visit the foundation’s website for more information at http://www.gatesfoundation.org.

Several U.S. States have adopted scholarship programs similar to Georgia’s HOPE scholarship program. These scholarships are funded with state money and are often merit based. They pay full tuition for students who maintain an acceptable GPA throughout their college studies. Most of these programs pay tuition to public schools within their prospective state. Do not discount these schools. There are many public schools that provide a good education in a comfortable setting that is less cutthroat than Ivy League schools. For example, many HOPE scholars in Georgia attend the University of Georgia. UGA was ranked among the top twenty best buy schools in 2009. HOPE scholars attend the University of Georgia free of charge.

An excellent website for more information on specific grants and scholarships is Fastweb.com. Go to the webpage and create a user profile. The website searches for scholarships based on your academic year and your area of study. Fastweb also matches you to scholarships based on your background and personal interests. Fastweb lists internships that you may qualify for. Internships allow you to gain work experience as you study. Some internships are paid and allow you to earn cash while you work toward an advanced degree or career within your area of interest.

Research Best Value Colleges and Schools
Periodicals such as Kiplinger’s and Forbes have compiled information on various colleges within The United States. Visit their websites to view their data as it relates to some of the best and most affordable colleges. Consider one of these public institutions to receive a good education at an affordable price:

–Mississippi State University
–University of Florida
–Berea College
–University of Wyoming
–University of Virginia
–University of California, Berkeley

Working Full-Time During College
Many college students work full-time. To do this, you must manage your time well. You must fit your classes into your work schedule, but you must also allow yourself several hours per week to study course materials. The best way to do this is to take courses that fall on a Tuesday/Thursday schedule. That way, you have the other five days of the week free to work a full-time job. If that schedule doesn’t work for you, decide if it’s best for you to attend school during the day or at night.

Many students who work full-time choose to study at their own pace from home. Be wary of online programs because some are interested in making money off of you. Also, many of these schools have a bad reputation. You must research online schools thoroughly. Decide if they offer the things that you want out of college.

Work From the Ground Up
If you work full-time while in school, consider attending a junior college. Many community colleges are less expensive than four-year institutions. At many two-year schools, students are able to complete a year of full-time courses for $2000 to $3000. Most students study for a career in healthcare, business, and technical occupations. If you take courses at the junior college level and transfer after receiving your associate’s degree, chances are, you will have already completed many of the courses you need to satisfy a bachelor’s degree. Make sure to study hard in junior college and earn excellent grades. From the junior college level, apply for a transfer to a larger institution.

If you don’t find a scholarship to a four year school, don’t give up. You may be able to complete your bachelor’s in two years if most of your credits are transferrable from community college. This can save you thousands of dollars in tuition. Once accepted into a prestigious college, do not rest on your laurels there. Get involved in student organizations and work twice as hard as you did in grade school. By getting involved in clubs and Greek organizations, you can made solid contacts that you can use upon graduation. These contacts can assist you in finding employment. Also, community involvement looks good on both resumes and graduate school scholarship applications.

Earn an Advanced Degree
Graduate school is always a good idea to gain more knowledge in your area of study and to improve your chances of getting a high-paying job after graduation. Graduate school is expensive, but you can earn an assistantship or fellowship if your grades are up to par and you do well on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE is the entrance test that most graduate schools require for admissions into a graduate program of study. The GRE tests a student’s analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning skills.

Students with excellent undergraduate school records may earn a fellowship or grant to continue their studies at the graduate level. Fellowships and grants are every poor graduate student’s best friend. Most are merit based, so you’ll need a good academic record in order to obtain one. Begin by making a list of a few schools you’d like to attend. Once you’ve narrowed them down, visit each school’s website and search their financial aid page for information on fellowships and grants. Follow the instructions listed in order to apply for aid. Be sure to follow all instructions carefully to ensure that your application is considered.

Strive to Be the Best at What You Do
One thing to remember is that an education is only as good as you are. If you go to a state school that isn’t as prestigious as a more expensive college or university, then study several hours per week in each subject area. This will ensure that you learn the material you need to make the grades you desire. Though you may not be able to afford an education from a prestigious school, remember that all schools have libraries and materials that provide the framework for learning anything and everything. Much of what you’ll learn in any college is through independent study, not from taking notes during lectures. You can have the most distinguished professors in the world, but if you don’t work hard to learn the material, then you won’t do well in class and you won’t learn what you need to excel in your career.

In terms of a world-class education, many students seek degrees from an Ivy League university. If you are one of those students, search the school’s website for possible scholarship opportunities. Most schools offer some merit based scholarships to students from working class families who otherwise could not afford to attend a private school. These scholarships are awarded to those with near perfect grades and excellent SAT scores. Even some of the brightest students are turned away, but don’t let that discourage you. Apply to several different schools. Re-take the SAT or the GRE if need be. Make sure that your entrance essay is polished and have it proofread by a fellow student or an academic.

Examples of How Hard Work Pays Off
In the following paragraphs, take note of famous and successful business people who achieved success through hard work and academic excellence. Strive to model your career after theirs or simply take note of how they achieved their success.

An example of a well-educated and wealthy person who came from humble beginnings is Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey was born to a poor working class family in Mississippi. After being molested and running away from home at an early age, Oprah later turned her focus to academics. She became an honors student at East Nashville High School. She won an oratory contest that awarded a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. While in school, she worked for a local radio station and gained practical experience. Even after she earned her degree in Communications, Oprah continued to work hard. She soon received her own television talk show. However, Oprah became more than just a talk show host. She branched out, became a magazine owner, and started her own production company.

Another example of a working class person who worked their way to the top is Bill Clinton. He was born to a working class family in Arkansas and attended a public high school. He attended college with the help of music scholarships, academic scholarships, and student loans. At Georgetown University, he worked as an intern in the office of an Arkansas Senator. As an intern, he learned about politicking and how the United States government works. Bill Clinton earned a Rhodes scholarship to attend England’s Oxford University. Upon his return to the United States, Clinton entered Yale Law School, one of the most prestigious law schools in the country. After law school, he taught at the University of Arkansas. Later, he was elected Attorney General of Arkansas and Governor of Arkansas, but he didn’t stop there. In 1992, Bill Clinton was elected 42nd President of the United States.

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