Lately I have been thinking about what I want to do when I get older. As a child, whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up I would always reply “happy,” but with college quickly approaching I am being forced to think about a career I would be happy doing for the rest of my life.

In 8th grade, every student in my school district took an aptitude test that was supposed to tell us what career pathways suit our interests and personality. Mine said arts. I have always been confused by this, because I am not any type of artistic in any way whatsoever.

Not knowing for sure what I want to do with my life causes great difficulty in choosing a college. I have no idea what I need to be successful, therefore, I do not know what to look for in a college.

I have been spending most of my time in high school focusing on journalism and history classes, but I am not sure if I would actually be good at either of those things in the real world. What I think I really want to do is become a lawyer, but this brings forth a whole new set of problems.

It typically takes up to eight years to get through law school. That is eight years worth of college tuition which on average comes to a grand total of $188,500. I, for one, cannot afford that. Guidance counselors have told me constantly that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will help and support me while I am in college and that my parents will help me pay for it, but there are a few things the FAFSA does not take into consideration.

My parents are not going to contribute as much as the FAFSA says they are able to. Although my family is fairly wealthy, my dad has always been a big fan of making me pay my own way through life, with college tuition being no exception. He believes this teaches me to work hard, which it has, but there is no way I will be able to pay my own tuition no matter how hard I work.

I feel like I am doing everything I can right now to work towards earning my degree with the least amount of debt possible. I am taking dual credit International Baccalaureate classes and working an average of 28 hours per week, but this still is not enough to be able to afford tuition.

My greatest fear is that I will not receive enough money from the FAFSA because of how much my parents make, and that this will make paying for college more difficult for me.

The government needs to recognize that the FAFSA does not work for every student. This should not be the only form of government assistance students can apply for. Modifications could be made to the FAFSA to make it more effective for students with special circumstances.

For students whose parents are not helping them with college tuition, they could create a whole form. For students lucky enough to have parents that are willing to help them with college costs, the FAFSA should first inquire how much their parents are willing to contribute before they determine how much government assistance the student should receive.

I believe these additions would significantly benefit students in my situation to obtain the education we need to become valuable members of society.

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