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1 College: Your Future Starts Now Middle School Students College: Your Future Starts Now Middle School Students

2 You re in middle school now. What you do over the next few years will have an impact on the rest of your life. Now is the time to start thinking about life beyond high school. START PLANNING FOR COLLEGE TODAY Your future starts now What do you want to do when you grow up? It s fine if you don t know yet. In fact, most people your age don t. However, middle school is a great time to explore possible jobs and careers. To get started, ask yourself, What interests me and what am I good at? Education The key to your success Most interesting and rewarding jobs require you to complete a college education. After high school, you may decide to attend a trade or technical school, community college, or university. In this brochure, we refer to all of these as college. Depending on your interests and the amount of time you want to spend on a college education, there are several types of degrees you can earn. Below is a list of the different types of degrees you can pursue after you graduate from high school. Certificates or diplomas are obtained at career schools and community colleges. If you want to be a hair stylist, auto mechanic, electronic technician, or administrative assistant, you will need to earn a certificate or diploma. These can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more to complete. Associate degrees are obtained at community colleges and some career schools. If you want to be a dental hygienist or registered nurse, you will need to earn an associate degree. After receiving an associate degree, which takes about two years, many students transfer to a four-year school to receive their bachelor s degree. Bachelor s degrees are obtained at four-year colleges and universities. The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) are the most common. If you want to be a teacher, social worker, graphic designer, or accountant, you will need a bachelor s degree. Advanced or professional degrees are obtained at four-year institutions after you have received a bachelor s degree. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or professor, you will need to earn an advanced degree. These types of degrees usually take between two to four years to obtain beyond completion of the bachelor s degree.

3 What can I do now? { Read about possible careers in different fields. You can use the Internet, your school library, and the public library as helpful resources for your search. Read as much as you can to explore topics that interest you. You may discover that a job exists which involves doing something that you really enjoy. On the other hand, you may also find that a job you thought was right for you may not be the best fit. { Speak with people who work in careers that interest you. Ask them about what they do, why they chose their career, and what they did to prepare for it. { Participate in clubs and organizations in your school or community. Be active and pursue volunteer opportunities that interest you. Seek leadership roles in extracurricular activities like student council, band, civic organizations, and theatre. { Challenge yourself to take classes in advanced subjects. If you do, you may be able to take college level classes while in high school. Why go to college? { Expand your opportunities and prepare for a career in a field that interests you. { Make more money. On average a person with a bachelor s degree will earn over $1 million more than a person with a high school diploma throughout their professional career. { Gain self-confidence and be in a position to help others. Read about possible careers in different fields. Speak with people who work in careers that interest you. Participate in clubs and organizations in your school or community. Challenge yourself to take classes in advanced subjects.

4 Adventures In Education Getting help Your middle school counselor and teachers can explain how to get into college and answer some of your questions. Tell them you plan to attend college, and ask them to share their experiences. The toll-free Texas Financial Aid Information Center can answer questions about financial aid and general college admissions. Bilingual representatives are available for students and parents who are more comfortable speaking in Spanish. Several websites offer helpful information about financial aid, college admissions, college and major selection, careers, and many other questions you may have as you start your college exploration and decision making process

5 Reasons to go to college { Prepare for an exciting career in a field that you ve chosen. { Make more money. On average, a person with a bachelor s degree will earn more than a person with a high school diploma. Over a lifetime, it could be over a million dollars more. 1 { Have more options in the job market, lifestyle, and where you live. { Set an example for siblings, relatives, children, and members of your community. { Be in a position to help those you love. The more you learn, the more you earn. Doctoral Degree ($1,532/wk) $79,664/yr Professional Degree ($1,529/wk) $79,508/yr Master s Degree ($1,257/wk) $65,364/yr Bachelor s Degree ($1,025/wk) $53,300/yr Associate Degree ($761/wk) $39,572/yr High School Diploma ($626/wk) $32,552/yr No High School Diploma ($454/wk) $23,608/yr 2009 Median U.S. Earnings by Educational Attainment Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey Kantrowitz, Mark. The Financial Value of Higher Education, NASFAA Journal of Student Financial Aid, Vol. 37, No. 1 (2007); U.S. Census Bureau. The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings. July 2002.

6 About TG TG promotes educational access and success so that students can realize their college and career dreams. As a public, nonprofit corporation, TG offers resources to help students and families plan and prepare for college, learn the basics of money management, and repay their federal student loans. For more information about TG, visit To learn more about college and career planning, visit TG s Adventures In Education (AIE ) at To request permission to reproduce any of the information provided, please call TG Communications at (800) , ext Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation

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