The first thing I did when I decided to go to cosmetology school was RESEARCH! I started by looking up the local schools in my area that offered cosmetology programs…lucky me, there were four to choose from.
Now, I’m not knocking any of the other schools in my area, but one school had been around for quite sometime and after seeking out and speaking to some of their students – they were still teaching methods of hair and makeup from the 70s and 80s – no thanks – I’m a forward moving girl and I need a school that’s going to do the same. Although, even though their website was “new” and “not really set up to be seen yet”, the owner/admissions guy called and answered a lot of my questions which really put me in the right direction. This school was about $12,000.00 for the program, classes were from 8:30a-5:00p and they accepted Financial Aide. well, another reason they were out is that I work a full time job…so no going there anyway.
The next school i checked with focused mainly on massage – they were a massage school who happened to also offer cosmetology. I’ve got friends in their program, as we speak, and they like it ok – but their class sizes were too big for me – i need to know i can depend on the teacher to have enough time to answer questions and not just expect us to figure it out on our own. I tried contacting the school via the web, and by phone, and to this day have not heard ANYTHING from them, so obviously they ARE too busy for me anyway and I definitely don’t want to go to a school that is too busy to talk to new students – someone has to take the place of the graduates, right? Also, their classes were full time only – tuition ran about $13,000.00 – a little higher, but its a newer school too.
The third school was out of the running from the get go because I’m currently working at a law firm and after handling a few cases wherein i had run ins with the owners – let’s just say i didn’t want them to a) get my money or b) be responsible for my future… and their classes are also behind the times, and their school property was less than par on looks and modernization…so I can only imagine the classrooms and instructors….tuition here runs right around $12,000.00.
wondered to myself if the older schools were lower in price because they were only teaching older methods and styles and not moving towards new technology – then said “eh, who cares, i’m not going to either of them anyway”.
So then, I found THE ONE – Regency Beauty Institute. Not only are they accredited, but they are also NEW to MY AREA which meant the class sizes were going to be small. I looked at their webpage and fell in love – but I didn’t want to jump the gun, so, i filled out their website “get info” card and waited for more info to come my way.
While I was waiting, I started researching the Financial Aide / Student Loan aspect of going to school – its THE ONLY way i was going to get to go, heaven knows we don’t have a lot of “extra” cash floating around – who does? so, the first step I took was to fill out the FAFSA to see if I even QUALIFIED for a government grant. Oh wait, you’re probably either saying “smart move girl” or “what the heck is a FAFSA?” –
the FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aide – is a GOVERNMENT program that is FREE – it says so right in the NAME – to help you find out if you are eligible for a government education grant – which is an amount to be determined by your eligibility and that does NOT have to be paid back… kinda like free money for school. You need to check your dependency status first, to see whether or not you need to claim your parent’s income. I’m old and married – ok, i’m not old, but i am married which means i can’t beg off mom & dad anymore – well, not legally anyways. You can check your eligibility here and you may want to have these documents handy to make the process move a little smoother. Also, you should take into account the deadlines for filing. Oh, and be sure you get the school codes (you can do a search through FAFSA) for ALL of the schools you are even thinking about applying to – this way you won’t have to edit your FAFSA and it won’t delay the process. It doesn’t mean you HAVE to apply to those schools, just that you might.
I went ahead and filled out my FAFSA and then waited for it to come back as to whether or not the government would be so kind as to bestow upon me some kind of assistance so I could go to school – they kind of give you a heads up at the end of the process by telling you whether or not you qualify, but they don’t tell you for how much – unfortunately, I don’t qualify because my husband and I just barely made over the limit – I was super sad. but I started looking at loans – Sally Mae & Staford & this loan and that loan and I was at ends with my options – but I knew, somehow, it would all work out.
Then Kathy called me. Kathy, my Awesome Admissions Chick with Regency. She called me one Tuesday evening, sometime after 7ish – which was THE BEST TIME to call since i’m always so super busy, and at the time Tuesday was actually the ONLY day I didn’t have SOMETHING going on – and she answered a TON of questions for me. Now, this was the week of Halloween and I was working with the Gas Light Players for their Gentleman Death’s Shocktale Terror Show at the Louisiana State Fair, and I was working, and I share a car with my husband, and my daughter had ballet class, and umm… yeah it was intense. but luckily, Kathy was able to laugh at life with me and go through the motions on what to expect and set me up for a tour of the campus. She wanted me to go that week – but there was NO way i was going to make it that week – i still had shows to do, not to mention the day job. Speaking of which, what were the class hours anyway?
Kathy explained that they had TWO programs at Regency – a full time (8:30-5 M-F) and a part time/evening class (5:15p-9p M-Thurs and 8:30-5p on Saturday) = YAY! finally, a part-time class that would almost perfectly fit into my schedule. And I knew that they accepted financial aide, but did they accept student loans? Yes, and Kathy was going to get Elizabeth, the Financial Aide Goddess to work with me on that. WHOO HOO! What more did I need to hear? The campus is where? less than 5 miles from my house? How did I not know it was there? Oh, it’s BRAND NEW – just opened a few months ago! WOW!
So I set up my campus tour for the next week – I was going to meet Christina, the campus manager for a quick tour. I showed up a little after 6 and waited for my turn. All I could do was stare at the awesome front counter – so much so that I had to take a few pictures with my phone in order to tease my friends who had no idea what I was doing.
So pretty! and then it was my turn – well, mine & another girl’s turn, we looked together. The other student-prospect was trying to get out of another one of the schools from above and transfer over – which they could also do. We got to see THE KIT – photos will come later I promise – and then we looked at the mani/pedi room, the waxing station, the styling stations, the washers, the receptionist desk, the retail area, the class rooms, the practice rooms and the break room. sweet deal I say. I went ahead and filled out my application and paid the enrollment fee which was discounted to $75 for a limited time – whoo hoo – and then i got to take a test.
that wigged me out – a test to get in to beauty school? who ever heard of such? lol. Just kidding – it was super simple, i think mainly to make sure you can read and write and arithmetic well and can comprehend instructions. Fortunately, there was no test for common sense or else I surely would have failed. Christine started to explain to me about filling out FAFSA – i beat her to the punch and told her it was done and that I was waiting on Elizabeth the Financial Aide Goddess to give me a call. She was happy that I already had the ball rolling – then I had to pick the day that I wanted to start. December 7 or February something – ummm might as well go for December – OH MY this has been the longest 4 weeks.
well, I finally talked to my Financial Aide Goddess / Guru Elizabeth about a student loan and Elizabeth was able to help me secure one for almost the entire amount – only leaving about $4k for me to come up with. OH GEEZ! I’ll never make it! but then she let me now that the school would help finance that portion… whooo hooo! so now, i’ll make a monthly payment to the school to cover my tuition portion that wasn’t paid by the loan, and that will get me in the habit of paying that every month so that when I get out of school i’ll be used to making payments and can start paying my student loan off! Sounds like a plan to me!
WHEW – so that’s how it all started. Christine sent me home with an awesome little packet full of info on the school, the student catalog and handbook, and a bit more information on filing for a student loan…and I was a happy camper. Over the last few weeks Kathy has kept in touch with me about how excited she is for me, and I’ve shared with her how excited I am too. She’s pretty awesome to take time out of her day just to send me a letter of encouragement…
Now, there’s only 6 more days til I get to go to school – YAY – and though i’m sure my head will explode, i’ll document it as best I can.
The next post will go into some details about what the dress code is, some more facts about the school, and my general excitement