When I was applying to college, it never occurred to me that there would be a barrier to entry. I assumed if I studied hard enough, was involved in my high school, took on leadership and volunteer roles and could write a decent essay, I’d be set.
The one piece I didn’t count on was financial.
As an 18 year old, it is nearly impossible to wrap your brain around the intense costs associated with heading off to college. College is expensive (understatement of the year). And my parents had not saved anything for this stage of my life.
My lesson came hard and fast.
I applied to more than a half dozen schools…a number that I visited during a College Tour through Northern California.
In the Spring, other acceptances, plus more importantly, Financial Aid Assistance letters began to trickle in. My offers included a combination of scholarships, grants from the state of California, work study programs and a small amount of loans.
However, there was a problem.
I received Financial Aid information from EVERY school – EXCEPT Santa Clara University.
Here’s where the story takes the turn that, at the time, hurt brutally.
My dad called Santa Clara to ask when we would be receiving the necessary financial aid information. The response, “We’re sorry, Mr. Elliott, but your daughter has not yet been admitted to the school”. (Remember the early acceptance letter I mentioned?) My dad rebutted their claim with proof – the letter I had received in the Fall. After a series of phone calls, an apology.
“Mr. Elliott, we are so very sorry – it seems there was a mistake. It turns out, Danielle, as well as a handful of other Undergraduates AND a few Law School students were accepted early, but their names and information were never transferred to Financial Aid. And now, the Financial Aid money for this next year has been allocated. It is gone.”
As I NEEDED Financial Aid in order to attend college, this error made it impossible for me to attend the University I wished to attend.
I was heartbroken.
Disclosure: I am happy to have partnered with COUNTRY Financial to inspire you to consider taking the steps to save for college for your children. As always, all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.