Funding higher education is hard, especially as a mature student. There isn’t as much access to funding and you’ve got many more financial responsibilities, like your car, house, and dependents. To share some inspiration we wanted to showcase Lindsay’s exciting journey and how she is making higher education a reality.
HigherEdPoints: Tell me a bit more about yourself, what’s your story?
Lindsay: I decided to go back to school after a run of bad luck while looking for employment. I was sending out applications after application, about 40 in total. All of the applications were for jobs that I was fully qualified for based on my skill set and employment history. Out of all those applications I only got 3 callbacks for interviews.
After seeing this I felt that the reason I wasn’t being identified as a qualified candidate was because I hadn’t finished my degree and certification.
HigherEdPoints: So what was your educational journey?
Lindsay: After high school, I took a science program but within the first year I realized that I didn’t feel passionate about it. I couldn’t justify spending all that money on something I wasn’t going to love so I decided to reconsider the path I wanted to take. Throughout this first year learned that what I did love was to be around people, I didn’t want to be stuck in a lab doing research projects.
Knowing this, I dedicated my next ten years to working and traveling the world. I’ve now been to 34 countries, most of them by myself. With all this travel I learned some great life skills, I taught myself Spanish, I could sing in Swahili, and I became a lot more self-aware. This travel was fun and educational, but these things aren’t helping me get employed right now. So now I’m forced back to school to make myself more employable, getting that piece of paper everyone expects.
HigherEdPoints: It’s really tough, I understand you there. I’ve done some great traveling myself and it’s really enriching, but you’re right, it doesn’t help you get employed.
So let’s hop back to your career. You said you loved people – but were there other reasons you chose this career path?
Lindsay: I started off working in the real estate field doing legal assisting for an Edmonton real estate firm. This experience played a big roll in me discovering that I absolutely need to be in contact with people. I don’t like being behind the scenes with no interaction.
From here I decided to go into HR because that’s where you get to manage people and I feel like it will be a good fit for me.
HigherEdPoints: Outside of the people management skills, were there other things you’re looking to get from higher education?
Lindsay: I’m going to be attending NAIT, which is a technical college in Alberta, and they have an amazing reputation for students getting hired right after graduation. The learning I’ll be doing there is not book learning, it’s very much hands-on. I’ll get to work with people in my future role and on projects with real clients. I’m hoping to be looked at as a great candidate because of the school and my experience. I wish I would’ve known this 12 years ago!
HigherEdPoints: So after figuring out what you wanted to do, what’s the process to determine if school was going to be financially possible?
Lindsay: I actually did a ton of research. I went through every single website you can think of to find possible grants, writing down everything I potentially qualified for. From that list, I weeded out the ones that I didn’t qualify for based on my program and age. I was left with about 20 grants that I’m starting to apply for.
I’m still saving as well – I have bills, a car, a mortgage and I don’t have a spouse to help with any of this so I need to be responsible. Luckily I don’t have dependents which helps with the bills a bit, but I can’t negate the fact that I have responsibilities before school.
HigherEdPoints: That’s amazing, having that funding assistance is vital with today’s high costs. I know you’ve been looking into HigherEdPoints.com how did you find it?
Lindsay: I actually came across it while doing my funding research. I sent a general email in to see how it all worked and I heard back right away. We had a call to talk about the program and how it could work for me.
When you try to find grants for school it can be a bit soul-crushing, so when they called me it was such a huge help and comfort. I love what HigherEdPoints is doing and wanted to share it with my network so other students can use too, I feel like it would be a disservice not to share it!
One of the reasons I’m passionate about this is that there are so many positives to people getting educated. Crime rates go down, teen pregnancy goes down, and so many other things that lead to society becoming better as a whole. It’s just so expensive now that it’s not practical for people to go to higher education. Being able to access alternative methods of paying for school is a very big deal to me.
HigherEdPoints: Where are you getting all the loyalty points to use as part of HigherEdPoints?
Lindsay: I have some of my own, but I also have girlfriends who are donating their points to help. Some didn’t have enough to donate for a full $250 voucher, so they set up a pooling account for me to use and collect these smaller amounts. They were ridiculously accommodating, I’m very grateful to have come across HigherEdPoints.
HigherEdPoints: This has been amazing, it’s such an inspiring story. Is there a parting word you’d like to share with other students out there?
Lindsay: I feel like post-secondary is very much geared towards a younger crowd, I feel like being older we have to try so much harder to get the funding set up. This means it’s really important not to get discouraged, you can push through it and make higher education a reality.
HigherEdPoints: That’s a perfect cap to this, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today!
About HigherEdPoints.com: Founded in 2013 with the aim to help students and families tap into new and innovative sources of funds for education, HigherEdPoints is the first company in the world to enable the conversion of loyalty points into funds for tuition and student loan repayments. To learn more visit HigherEdPoints.com
Have an inspiring educational story like this one? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch at: info@HigherEdPoints.com