Just days ago, there was an Odyssey article entitled “From the College Kid Without Student Loans.” I’m just gonna quote it so you don’t have to actually read it. Don’t want her getting more views than she actually deserves.
The tldr version is; I got a full-ride to my school, why didn’t you? It’s sort of along the lines of the Business Insider article about the woman who paid off her student loans because her mom gave her a condo that she rented out while she lived rent-free with her grandparents. A bit difficult for the average Joe to replicate, no?
First of all, good for the author. I’m glad she got a full ride to her school and she won’t have any loans. That being said, her article reeks of being totally oblivious to how the world works.So let’s dissect her argument, then have cake when it’s all over, k?
Quick disclaimer: I do have a little bit of student debt. Probably because I didn’t follow the author’s rules. Probably.
Perhaps the biggest thing I take issue with her judgement of how others spent their time outside of school. Of course, scholarship committees want to see outside involvement, or in her words, “Did you get really good grades without trying, but then didn’t try with anything else either? That’s probably why you didn’t get that $500 scholarship over the quarterback who was on the honors list.” Ouch. Not only is that a poorly-worded sentence, but it seems like she forgot to consider that some students didn’t take after school jobs to build character. Some had to. Some just have no money and no options, and spend all of their free time working. So, of course their outside involvement is nil, it’s tough to do when every spare second is spent at work. Also makes it hard to do super well in school… wouldn’t it?
But let’s say you’re a super human who managed to succeed in all aspects of life senior year. Our author still doesn’t think you cut it. “But did you put in the hard work before senior year of high school?” she asks. Let’s unpack that a bit further than just not having the time. Did she consider the school may be underfunded? Perhaps there isn’t much room for involvement; no AP classes, no clubs, no honor societies and organizations. Which makes it awfully hard to stand out on scholarship applications if you don’t have the basic resources to begin with.
Now, this line just baffles me, “Just because I don’t have student loans to pay off does not mean that I don’t have to have jobs to support myself while I’m off at college.”
Girl… people without scholarships are working! People with scholarships are working! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a job while in school, we all do! You’re not an all star because you clock in between study sessions. Sheesh.
And here’s another disclaimer: I did everything this chick advises and I still have student debt! Seriously. Spent infinite time on scholarship apps, got the grades, the extracurriculars, the AP credits, and the multiple jobs while in school. And yet, I still have loans.
Not a whole lotta loans, however. Which is why I feel extremely lucky and privileged. I was fortunate enough to go to a great high school with tons of opportunity for involvement. They encouraged students to take AP classes, and my after school gig wasn’t all-consuming. Because I had the time and energy to study, I got a decent GPA, which allowed me to go to school on a scholarship. A loan covered the rest. It was total luck, based on circumstances I basically had no control over.
Her recipe is not a fix-all for anyone who happens to follow it. At least we can all smugly take satisfaction in the fact that we can at least build our credit faster than she can.
And not make an ass of ourselves in an Odyssey article.
Do you have student loans because you weren’t a high school superhero? You failure! Let’s discuss your shortcomings in the comments section over some cake.