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Higher Education in Maryland

Questions about College --  What's This?

Most people in high school have questions about their future.  This brochure includes common questions and some suggested resources for answering them.  If you are a relative or a mentor, we hope this information can help you guide the students you influence.  If you're a student, remember this brochure is just a start.  Although it has a lot of information about applying for college admission and financial aid, it also has information that can help people looking for technical training--and keep in mind that community colleges offer career training programs.

two students in a dorm room

What are the options after high school?

Work, college, or military?  Career training at a community college or a private career school?  College at a two-year or a private career school?  College at a two-year or a four-year or plan on both?  Work for a year and then attend college?  Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

Some education or technical training after high school is necessary to land most jobs that pay enough to support a single person living alone, let alone a family.  What type of training and education best suits each person--now and later--requires some research, thought, and discussion with school counselors, teachers, employers, faith counselors, mentors, and others who care about the person making these decisions.  See the Resources list to explore options.

What are the types of postsecondary training
Private career schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges offer varied options for people.  For more information, see both "Maryland Colleges" and "Choosing a School."  To compare programs by degree, use the listings on the Maryland Higher Education Commission Web site (www.MDgo4it.org).  You can also check The Student Guide to Higher Education & Financial Aid in Maryland, available in pdf format on the Web and in print at your local library or school counseling office.

Finding a Mentor/Being a Mentor
Mentors help shape a decision-making, and decisions shape a life.  Many successful people have had mentors at every stage of their lives.  Students can find mentors in their school, family, community, faith community, and place of employment.  For tips on finding a mentor, go www.MarylandMentors.org/mentees.html

Live to Work...
People are happier if they like the work they do.  Finding work that's a good match a person isn't always easy, though.  It can take time to learn what we like and where our skills are a good fit.  Identifying long-term goals can help keep short-term challenges in perspective.

...Work to Live
Most of us have to work to support ourselves financially.  Many students have never seen a full household budget, including rent or mortgage, groceries, clothing, laundry, health care, utilities (electricity, heat, phone, water, cable), transportation (public transit or automobile costs), entertainment, and savings for retirement, emergencies, vacation, and long-term goals like buying a car or house.  A sample budget can be found at the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education site www.BeWhatIWantToBe.com.  Try making your own budget.  You can check salaries for different careers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).


The Internet has lots of free information not all of it accurate.  Here are some trustworthy sites:

Career Information College Choice Information
www.Students.gov www.Students.gov
www.StudentAid.ed.gov www.StudentAid.ed.gov
www.bls.gov/OCO and www.bis.gov www.CollegeIsPossible.org
www.BeWhatIWantToBe.com www.MarylandMentor.org
www.CareerNet.state.md.us http://CollegeSearch.nces.ed.gov
www.CollegeIsPossible.org www.KnowHow2Go.org
www.Mapping-Your-Future.org Find academic programs & colleges in Maryland at www.MDgo4it.org
www.Maryland.CollegeAnswer.com Protect yourself--choose an ACCREDITED program:  www.ope.ed.gov/accreditation or www.NACACnet.org (search the newsletter)

Other College Information

The Maryland College Student Transfer Guide
is online at www.MDgo4it.org

For community to 4-year college transfer equivalents, go to http://ARTweb.USMD.edu

For student athletes:  www.NCAAclearinghouse.net

For international students:  www.Students.gov

If you want to train for a craft or trade career,
check community college programs, as well as private career schools.  Program lists and related information can be found at www.MDgo4it.org/career/index.html

Financial Aid Information

Look here for Student Financial Assistance pages to learn about State student financial aid programs.

Questions?  Contact the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) Office of Student Financial Assistance at (410)260-4565 or, outside 410, 1-800-974-1024 and TTY:  1-800-735-2258

The gateway to State & Federal student aid is the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (the FAFSA) at www.FAFSA.ed.gov If you have never completed a web-based FAFSA visit the FAFSA demo site.

Remember that the FAFSA is FREE!
Some sites charge you to fil it--this is unnecessary.  Help for the FAFSA is also available through College Goal Sunday.  Visit www.Go2Goal.org for a list of sites and dates.

The FAFSA4Caster can help students estimate their federal aid;  look for it at www.FederalStudentAid.gov

Many colleges and scholarship programs require the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE:
https://ProfileOnline.CollegeBoard.com  See the scholarship search at www.CollegeBoard.com

Many of the following sites have information for both students and their parents or guardians:
www.CentralSB.org (for much of Maryland)
www.ACT.org (and has a parent newsletter)
www.hsf.net (Hispanic Scholarship Fund)
www.CollegeFund.org (Native American Fund)

Fee waivers:  www.NACACnet.org counseling & testing websites

My major not offered in MD?  The Academic Common Market or Legislative Scholarships programs might help with out-of-state costs; for details, check www.MDgo4it.org

Check with the financial aid office of every college to which you apply--each has its own forms and deadlines!

Next Page Choosing a College

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