It’s the most stressful time of the year: finals week. You’re only two weeks away from summer vacation, and all you need to do is just study for those exams and finish up those final projects. Then, you get an email from a financial aid counselor saying that you have unpaid balance, and you have no idea why!
Financial aid is the epitome of unpleasantness for all college students. It’s frustrating to figure out all of that information on your own, and when something is wrong with our financial aid, it becomes even more frustrating. With all that frustration, we march into the financial aid office demanding answers and make a scene in front of the financial officer attempting to help us. In the end, we end up leaving the office without the problem being fixed and a massive headache.
I’ve been through my share of financial aid problems here at Mercy College, and they’ve been stressful! I even got into a car accident in the financial aid parking lot trying to figure out what was wrong with my financial aid (but that’s another story for another time).
Yet, with all of that stress, I have found a way to make the trip at the financial aid office a lot less hectic. Here are some tips to make that next trip to the financial aid office a lot less painful.
1. Dress to impress- I know this sounds a bit silly, but it works. The financial aid officers will take you a lot more seriously if you’re wearing decent clothing instead of wearing sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt when you walk into their office. So, next time you’re thinking about going into the financial aid office with an oversized t-shirt and your favorite, baggy sweatpants that you slept in the night before, don’t.
2. Come prepared- Bring all of your financial aid paperwork to the office and the letter or email sent to you stating that you’re having financial aid trouble. That way, your financial aid officer can help you to the best of their ability. Also, prepare yourself to ask questions, and don’t be afraid to ask them. The more questions you ask, the more they’ll realize that you’re serious about getting this issue resolved quickly.
3. Talk, don’t yell- Yelling is the absolute worst thing you can possibly do. It’s okay to be frustrated about the financial aid issue you might be dealing with, but taking it out on the advisor trying to assist you is the wrong way to deal with it! Making a scene can also get you kicked out of the financial aid office, which will only leave you even more frustrated and your issue unresolved. So, stay calm.
4. Talk to an advisor you trust- If you know an advisor that has helped you before with other financial aid issues, talk to them. Making an appointment with a specific advisor that has helped you in the past can ease that stressful edge of talking to an advisor about a financial problem. Don’t know a good advisor? Talk to some of your friends about which advisor to go to! There’s a good chance they know an advisor that was extremely helpful when they had an issue.
5. Don’t think the worst- Stay positive when you walk into the financial aid office. It’s scary to think there might be something wrong when it comes to financial aid, but it can always be fixed. Although it may take a few days to fix, there is a good chance that whatever is holding you back financially can be fixed in a matter of seconds.
Financial aid is one of the most frustrating aspects of going to college, but it can be a lot less frustrating if you just follow these tips. Try to keep in mind that they are trying to help you, even though it may not seem like it. I hope you’re next trip to the financial aid office is a lot less stressful. Best of luck on all of your finals, and I hope the last two weeks of the semester is smooth sailing!