Sunday, February 19, 2012

Are You Thinking About Going Back To School?

Are you thinking about going back to school? Or are you currently in school and have no idea how you are going to pay for it?

There are many ways to get the money for College or University without going into debt. When I was 18 years old I decided I wanted to go to College. I was working at the Bank of Montreal at the time. They had a tuition refund program that I took advantage of. Whatever percentage you worked, they would pay for your tuition. I worked part-time at the time, which worked out to be 50%. All I had to do was pass the course and they would refund my tuition and books. It was great to have the company I worked for, pay half of my tuition. In my last year in College I decided to work full time and go to College part time. That meant that I would be working 100%, so my full tuition would be paid. Although it took a bit longer to graduate, it was much better to have my full tuition paid versus half of it paid.

What's great about working for a company that pays your tuition is that you are more likely to get a promotion because you are current with your knowledge. Plus the company is investing in you, so why wouldn't they want to promote you.

After I graduated from College I got a promotion at BMO. I had less competition because I had three years of job experience at BMO and an education. Most people out of College only have an education and minimal or no job experience at all. I definitely think it's worth getting a job in your field of study prior to starting College or University. For this to happen, you will need some job experience prior to applying for a job in your field of study.

I began working really early in life. My mom was all about being independent and not depending on anyone to take care of you. So I started working at twelve years old delivering newspapers and selling chocolates with my brother. Selling chocolates helped me develop my social skills. I took that experience and started doing telemarketing jobs at the age of sixteen. My telemarketing experience was what I needed to get into the bank. My first job at BMO was in customer service.

After College I knew I needed more education, so I decided to go to University to obtain my bachelors degree. I was still working full time at BMO at the time, so they paid 100% of my tuition in University as well. I left BMO while obtaining my degree to pursue an opportunity with the Government. I negotiated with the Government that they would pay my tuition until I completed my bachelors degree. This deal was better than BMO because they paid my tuition upfront versus reimbursing me after I pass the course.

There are several companies out there that will pay for you to go to school if it's job related, and if you commit to staying with the company for a number of years.

Scholarships and Grants are also another way to pay for school. There are thousands of scholarships out there that go unclaimed each year. If you are interested in applying for scholarships, I would start by finding out which scholarships and grants are offered at the College or University you would like to attend. You can also check out the scholarship positions website for a variety of different scholarships.

Applying for scholarships is a lot of work. But it is so worth not going into debt. I have a friend and a cousin who paid for their MBA's all on scholarship money. They applied for hundreds of scholarships each, but they both graduated and don't have any school debt.

No comments: