The following post is by TaNiqua.
I graduated with my undergraduate degree in spring 2013. I took the summer off and began graduate school in fall 2013. I debated on whether or not to further my education. I decided I didn’t have anything better to do and might as well pursue it.
I looked into applying at schools. I only had two schools in mind and only ended up applying to one which was the one I really wanted to go to. I began applying for scholarships and received a full tuition scholarship to a graduate program. Applying for scholarships is fundamental if you want to go to school without accumulating debt. It may seem tedious but any scholarship is better than no scholarship.
The next thing that is important is finding a full time job. Yes, you can work full time and go to school full time if you are motivated and use your time wisely. Even though I had my tuition covered I still had to pay additional fees for school. Those additional fees had to come out of pocket. I had about $2,000 additional fees each semester. Fortunately, I was in a position living with someone so I did not have to pay rent and even though I had a full time job I was not making that much money. I got paid biweekly and would put at least $150 if not more towards my additional school fees with each paycheck. I was on a tight budget but I made it work. I just had to prioritize my expenses. Luckily, school came first for me. I went into debt for my undergraduate degree and was determined not to for my graduate degree.
I also paid for all my books cash or got them as gifts. I would shop around and find the best deal for books. I would either rent books or buy the ones I knew I would need to keep. My parents would always ask me what I wanted for either Christmas or my birthday which is in May. I would always ask for at least one book. Christmas helped me at least get a book for the spring semester and my birthday would help me get a book for my fall semester.
Any extra money I had went straight to my additional fees and I made it a personal goal to always have my additional fees paid off the month before school ended. It is possible to work full time, go to school full time, and graduate within 2 years with a graduate degree…I did it!