Golden Carpet by Inside_man on Flickr.

tea and happiness

Best lattes. Photo was taken by my partner

A wolf takes a look at a Halloween pumpkin at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle
Picture by Ted S. Warren

I can’t believe September crept up so quickly. Keeping cozy on this rainy day with Stumptown coffee and Mighty O’s from around the corner.

Autumn on Capitol Hill by sea turtle on Flickr.

Hippie believes that studying happens via osmosis.  Therefore he sleeps on my open textbook.

nerdy-marie said: I'm a senior and I've been applying to colleges. My biggest worry is the fact that I have like $0 saved away for college. I'm pretty independent because my family doesn't have much sooo I feel like I'm on my own in that department. What do I do? How does the whole "paying for college" process go?


You should fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). (You will need your parents’ help the first time you do this. It’s kind of difficult if you’ve never dealt with tax information.)

You might want to wait to fill it out until you’ve narrowed down your school options some, because you will have to submit your FAFSA to the schools you’re considering as well.

The FAFSA is how the government determines if you should get federal aid like grants and loans. They will determine what you should be awarded. They award money for the year but separated by semester. 

Here’s some info on average amounts awarded:

Average Grant Amount
Of all undergraduate students enrolled full-time or part-time during the 2007 to 2008 student year, 27.6 percent received federal grants. The average amount of the grant was $2,800 across all students, and the average amount for full-time students was $3,700.

Average Loan Amount
Undergraduate students receiving the Perkins and Stafford loans during 2007 to 2008 borrowed an average of $5,100 each in federal loans. Independent students borrowed an average of $2,200 per year more than dependent students. About 10 percent of parents of dependent students enrolled full-time took out federal PLUS loans, borrowing on average $11,400 for the school year.

You should also apply for as many scholarships as possible. Once you’ve narrowed down school options, talk to an academic adviser (you can email them) and ask about scholarships.

Here’s our scholarship advice:

There are thousands of national scholarships running basically all the time.

General Tips: Once you have applied for a few scholarships it will get easier. You will be able to apply for them like a machine.

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. Every essay you submit doesn’t have to be completely different.
  • Apply for every possible scholarship.
  • Watch out for scams. (You should never have to pay to apply for a scholarship. You should never release private bank or social security info.)

Calling all seniors in high school! Are you wondering what kinds of scholarships are available to you? This post may answer some of your questions about how much college really costs, and how to pay for it. 

Anonymous said: So this is my 2nd year in uni and I was in a school I didn't want to be in last yr, but I was in my program, and I put in a transfer request. I got into the school I want, but only as an undeclared major. Now that I have the opportunity to switch schools though, I don't know if I want to. I was dead set on it and now I'm unsure. Idk what to do. I don't want to make the wrong decision and everyone I talk to is giving me different answers. Help me? Lol.


You should really read this blog about transferring.

You could also write out a list of pros and cons for both schools to help organize your thoughts/feelings on the whole situation. Important things to consider when transferring are:

  1. The college you attend should have courses that are relevant to your interests and structured in a way that is accommodating to your learning style. For example: if you are a hands on learner, don’t go to a school that doesn’t incorporate hands on learning in any of it’s programs.
  2. How do you fit it? If you are on a campus where you don’t relate to the other students, professors, etc. you will have a hard time reaching your academic goals.  College definitely puts you outside of your comfort zone, and it is supposed to. But adapting socially, making friends, and having a support team is vital to your mental and academic well being.
  3. Money. Paying for college is a big burden, and while cost might not be the most important thing, you should take it into consideration. Having the option to transfer to a school that will provide you with some financial relief and help you make ends meet is always plus. Choosing the less expensive school (assuming it is a right fit for you on all other accounts) can lift a huge weight off your shoulders. On the other hand, if the school that’s a better fit it more expensive, finding the perfect fit can be worth the extra cash and there are always ways  to find scholarships/financial, earn extra cash, and save money.

Anyone thinking about transferring? Check out this helpful response from collegesmarts. 

saturdaystudying said: I really want to go abroad for my first year of college next year, but I am the type of person to worry so much about everything. Like what if the finances don't work out, or if I regret it, or get homesick. Do you have any advice for not chickening out of following my dream?


This is probably not what you want to hear, but it’s very uncommon to study abroad as a freshman. I would not recommend it if you’re really nervous about it already.

Most people recommend studying abroad junior year. There are a lot more grants and scholarships for juniors to study abroad. You’re also in a much better place academically, mentally, and socially.

You should check out this blog with pros and cons for studying abroad each year and the pros and cons of the length of the trip. And you should read this very thorough blog with more info.

Some great advice on studying abroad.

dorm room inspiration! 

Harvard Avenue, Capitol Hill, Seattle on Flickr.

Cafe Solstice opening a location on the hill is probably the best thing that has ever happened.