By Deidre Carrillo
Pulse Staff Reporter
With Palo Alto College’s graduation ceremony right around the corner, some students may be having trouble figuring out the next step in their academic career.
Students are often unsure of what life after PAC will be like and what the first step should be to succeed in this world.
Whatever the first step may be for students, a good idea is to consider your finances.
Paying for tuition and bills can be extremely stressful for working students. Whether students decide to take a gap year or to continue their education, it is important to save money. Saving money helps prevent students from taking out loans that could take years to pay off. Money management apps like “Mint” are great tools to help students manage their spending habits. Mint helps students understand where their money goes and where they should cut back. Applying for scholarships also helps students pay for school supplies and textbooks.
“I would recommend both. Learn to buy books at a reasonable price and save money as well as applying for scholarships. Scholarships keep me in school for the most part. Without them, I may have dropped out,” said James Sifuentes, a senior Education major at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
If students have completed their associate’s degree, it’s a great idea to look into transferring to a university to continue their education.
Looking for the perfect school to transfer to is difficult when you have two main things to consider: Will the curriculum offered further your education, and is it in your price range?
Luckily, Palo Alto College has several transfer universities, such as Texas A&M University-San Antonio and Texas State University in San Marcos, nearby. PAC also offers transfer advising in the Student Center, Room 101, to answer any questions or concerns students may have.
Sifuentes recommends that students take advantage of these services as he was unaware they were available during his transferring process.
After completing their academic program, students should consider internships to help them receive real world work experience.
Internships are a great way for graduates to put the skills they have learned in the classroom to work. It is also a great opportunity to learn on the job and gain skills students may not have learned from a textbook. Internships can also open up a door to a permanent job with businesses and non-profit organizations.
For those walking the stage this spring, caps and gowns will be available for pick up at the Admissions & Records kiosk in the Palomino Center, Room 117, until May 19, the day before graduation.
“We are now hitting about 500 participants…We allow the December graduates, the ones that graduated last fall, the current spring and those that are in a pending status for summer,” said Rose Davis, coordinator of Student Success at Palo Alto College.
Davis recommends students meet with their advisor if they are unsure of whether or not they are eligible for graduation.
The graduation ceremony will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, at the Freeman Coliseum. Parking is $10.