Whether you are a college student yourself or have children that are attending school, its important to be prepared for returning back to school. Here are some tips I put together, which I hope help make the transition process from fire to school a lot easier.
There is no getting around the obvious, returning back to school after a fire or disaster will be difficult. Fortunately, having resources and being prepared for what lies ahead could help you in your endeavors. Here is what you should know.
1) Be aware of what scholarships are available.
There are many scholarships out there today to help people in school after they have been in a disaster. Many of them include aid for students that were impacted by September 11, 2001. The government also offers some scholarships to students that underwent a “declared disaster.” Other foundations and funds have been established in various areas to help people in situations following a disaster. You can find more information in my post Scholarships for Students In Disasters.
2) Discuss possible sources of aid with school administration
Most administration in schools will have helpful information on finding additional funding after you have been through a disaster. Some might refer you to scholarship opportunities or provide resources where you can turn. There is also nothing wrong with asking what financial aid is available, even if classes have already started. Usually there is aid available if you need it, sometimes this can come in the form of a gift certificate or small scholarships that are only for concentrated areas of study.
3) Verify income and circumstantial changes
As part of the financial aid process, the majority of colleges have students/parents fill out verification worksheets. This is your chance to also submit evidence and to make a statement that effects your financial aid at school. People can also write letters explaining their circumstances.
4) Advocate for your rights
The most important thing that you can do when you/or your student return back to school is to advocate for your rights. Teachers, Administration, and other fellow students need to be aware that you just underwent a tragedy so that they can try to accommodate your needs if an issue surfaces. Sometimes this means that you will have to continually reinforce your circumstances because others just won’t get it. Fellow students may become jealous when they don’t understand why the teachers are accommodating you. Stay strong and remember that you have a right to fair education.
5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask for help. This doesn’t mean that you are weak. Schools always have counseling available when in need or at least can provide you with a referral for somewhere else. Also, its important to note that while there may be administrative rules, there is also times when “extenuating circumstances” can override situations. Make sure you keep the lines of communication with administration and teachers open so that they can understand where you are at.
6) Realize that most people will not understand
The sad unfortunate truth is that most people won’t understand what you just went through unless they have personally been through it themselves. This can make you feel different at times, but continuing on despite hardship will make you a stronger person in the end.
- Scholarships For Students in Disasters (firesurvivors.com)
- How To Get Financial Aid For College (answers.com)
- Pay for College – The Basics on Scholarships and Grants (bigfuture.collegeboard.org)
- Disability Awareness Scholarship (militaryvaloan.com)