Rachel G. – Oxford Academy

NuVision Credit Union: Think Tank Challenge Scholarship Essay

Explain how the lessons of Think.Tank.Challenge will influence your choices with money and your goals in high school, college, and beyond.

It is often said that a college education is priceless. While the opportunities, experiences, and life lessons that come from this can be described as priceless, the dollar value attached to a 4-year university is far from it. Growing up with two college-educated parents and an innate passion for learning, I never questioned whether or not I would eventually attend college myself. From the time I was in elementary school my parents began saving money for my college education, which has allowed me to pursue this goal of mine without financial reservations. Think.Tank.Challenge has demonstrated the importance of saving and planning ahead and has made me more appreciative that I am able to attend college. The lessons of this program applied directly to this monumental event in my life, as it should for all high school students. Almost all college-bound students struggle with affording their educations, but these lessons will help to guide me as I continue to save and prepare to live on my own while at school.

Most high school students are unaware of the importance of saving money until they leave for college, but this information is applicable even after outgrowing the title of “dependent”. Affording college tuition is separate from paying off housing bills, purchasing food every week, and staying up to date with school supplies and books. Though many colleges offer generous financial aid packages, much of the money received may be lumped into the looming pile of student debt that most college graduates inevitably face. The average student owes over $30,000 in debt, and some of this may be prevented by making educated financial decisions. Think.Tank.Challenge has reaffirmed my decision to find work now in order to save for the future, as this program has taught me about the opportunities I’ll have to work-study or take up internships while in school in order to prevent debt from growing. We often take our education for granted, but the price attached to this skill can be a huge burden at first. Even as students, saving and encouraging others to save their money can make a huge difference in the affordability of college.

Once the implicit and explicit costs of college are revealed, one might ask if a college education really is priceless. This remains a controversial question, but from listening to the speakers at NuVision, I affirm this statement. Though the costs of learning, dorming, eating, and living are high, and affordability comes down to making educated financial decisions and planning far into the future. I am fortunate enough to go to college because of smart financial choices, and I believe that almost every student can be granted the same opportunity with hard work and financial literacy. I can walk away from these lessons with a gentle nudge in the right direction; though I was already fairly well-versed in the world of saving, budgeting, and balancing the amount of money I earn and spend, NuVision emphasized the impact that today’s spending can have on the future. It reminded me to think about the repercussions of every financial decision I make before I act in more areas than just college education.