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Solid Planning and Scholarship Dreams

Our Essay Questions

  • As a college/university student, what are your main money obstacles and what do you plan on doing to address these issues?
  • Looking back, how should schools have taught money management to children under 18

Response from V.W.

Going into the University of British Columbia, one of the top post-secondary institutions in Canada, the academic and accommodation costs combined is high, peaking at $22,000 for just one year. Besides the basic living and academic expenses, there is also the textbook fees as well as other research programs offered at UBC that has not been added to the amount stated above. Within high school, the only fees that my parents paid were usually student fees, fees pertaining to the IB program, as well as any athletic fees from the sports I joined each year. None of the fees combined through the four years in high school exceed the amount required for one year of tuition and accommodation at UBC.

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First-year fees would have been less of a burden under the exclusion of the accommodation. However, given that I reside in New Westminster, transit requires more than three hours for a round-way trip. With consideration of traffic during peak hours, increased in-class instruction, as well as the possibility of transit failures during the winter, living on campus would cut back those uncertainties. However, it does add to the list of money obstacles since it is more than the tuition cost alone.

As I begin to learn more about money and ways to save money for university, I have been eagerly looking into scholarships, jobs, and student loans to hopefully help alleviate some of the financial stress. First of all, with scholarships, I hope that through my hard work appealing to judge panels, I can earn money to pay for a portion of my overall first-year expenses. In the process of writing and editing countless essays and application forms, I have also sent out many resumes, continuously searching for a job that will provide me with money as well as experience in the work field. I have been applying to local jobs as well as those outside of my city, in hopes of having a higher chance of being hired. In addition, with any chance I have, I try to ask friends and peers who are already working to introduce any job openings or opportunities to boost my chance of landing a job. In the upcoming days, I plan to delve deeper into bursaries and student loans to learn more and determine the impact each have in the future, financially. To avoid carrying a large debt coming out of university, I believe making a few plans for my post-secondary education will be helpful to estimate the amount of money needed instead of blindly guessing. Since the middle of May, I have been putting together a rough, four-year plan of the courses I would be taking and the possible specializations I want to major in. As a result, I know which courses I should take.

I remember during the summer between school years in elementary school, I would do math workbooks to prepare for the upcoming year. In those workbooks, they had questions asking, “Which is the cheaper option” or “What can be bought with x amount of money”. Since the education system is starting to incorporate more comprehensive techniques into the curriculum of various subjects, they should include more financial scenarios to integrate money management for younger children. This allows students to be aware of money and how it is used in real-life. Then when they get older, in courses such as Career Life Education, teachers should emphasize on creating budgeting plans, learning about investments, as well as introducing costs of living for an average human to extend their knowledge as they transition into adulthood. When I took this Career Life Education in grade ten as a requirement, I barely had the chance to learn about money and finances. There was one rare occasion when the teacher told the class to search up a job they potentially wanted to work in and make a budget spreadsheet. However, at that time, I did not know the living expenses that an adult would manage. As I learned about how other people manage their money, they always have a tracking platform because it gives a representation of the money going in and out. It can also help people make necessary adjustments to their lifestyle depending on the amount of money for that month. By making budgeting plans, people can start to realize the amount that should be allotted to various expenses and hence, they will also begin to understand the necessary expenses that they must meet to pay for their living. Lastly, about investments, I believe these are also important and should be taught in high school because it allows people to understand the value of money and making the right decisions as to where their money should go. Together with the budgeting, it provides them with a richer understanding of money management and lets them control their money.

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