You shouldn’t go to an international college because your parents aren’t paying tuition, especially if you only speak English and you’re looking at non-English speaking countries.
You should study abroad because you’re interested in other cultures, languages, travelling, alternative experiences, etc. The culture shock is going to be intense if you haven’t spent a lot of time out of the country, and if you’re not dedicated to that experience, it will be a nightmare.
If the only reason you’re looking at studying internationally is money, you should follow these steps:
1. Go to a community college to finish your core classes. Here’s some info about community colleges:
The biggest pro of community college is the cost. 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.
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.
2. Get scholarships. Try to get as many scholarships as you can. If you’re not sure how to do that, talk to an academic adviser at a community college close to you to see what scholarships the school offers. Also, search for scholarships online. Here’s some scholarship info:
There are thousands of national scholarships running basically all the time.
- Fastweb is a good place to look. For example, here are the summer scholarships they’ve rounded up.
- BigFuture by College Board is another good place to look.
- This website is the U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship search tool.
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.)
3. Apply for federal aid. You need to fill out the FAFSA every year to see if you qualify for grants and to get student loans. If you go to an in-state community college and an in-state university, and you’re able to get a couple of scholarships, your student loans should be manageable.