Congratulations to the most recent College Raptor $2500 scholarship winner, Kaylee Aber! I had the chance to chat with Kaylee about her college selection process, her financial plan, and what she plans to study. Check out what she has to say!
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Kaylee Aber, and I’m 18 years old. I plan to go to Oklahoma State University for Veterinary Medicine, where I want to focus on Zoology and Wildlife Rehabilitation. For my future, I want to establish a clinic that aids in animal care for low-income families and provide low-cost spaying and neutering services in order to reduce the dog and cat overpopulation epidemic.
I am the captain of my Speech and Debate team, where I compete in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking. I currently have two jobs, one of which is at a local small animal veterinary clinic.
What drew you to Oklahoma State University?
I’ve always had an interest in being a veterinarian. Being from Oklahoma, OSU was always very close to me. OSU has an amazing veterinary medicine program that is one of the top programs in the United States. When meeting with admittance counselors and attending meetings with staff, I felt like I fit right in. Everyone I met had passion for their subjects and seemed to genuinely care about each student and their interests.
Costs played a major role in your college decision, but what were other important factors?
I think the most obvious factor was how a college’s programs fit into my career pathway.
For me personally, I wanted a campus that had tons of diversity. College is a time for you to grow your knowledge, not just with books and labs, but with other perspectives that you get from meeting people from all different backgrounds.
What was your biggest challenge in the college selection process?
I consider myself lucky, because I knew what I wanted my career to look like and what college I wanted to aspire for since I was still in the single-digits of age. If you ask anyone that knows me, they will all tell you I lock myself in my head and worry too much, and this started happening to me during my junior year. I started to question whether or not going to OSU for undergraduate school was worth it or if I would even be able to survive through college.
You mentioned in your essay that College Raptor brought you some relief. How so?
College Raptor helped me through the stage of doubt I had. Being able to see the different areas that I matched well with OSU.
My favorite features of the College Match page are the financial comparison features, like estimated cost and total debt. These features brought me relief in the sense of my financial worries. These features do really well with explaining how they got the measurements and it really helped me calm down and worry less.
What strategies are you using to pay for college on your own?
I’m relying on getting a bunch of scholarship applications in (and hopefully getting accepted for them) and saving the money from my two jobs, as well as any ‘celebratory’ money. I’ve recently learned about the theory of minimalism, which helps me to curb any buying interests I have and selling things that I don’t need. My main focus is keeping a good financial standing and restraining my spending.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to students who are independently paying for college?
If you have a job, don’t spend all of your paycheck on stuff that you don’t really need. Instead, save as much as you can and leave the unnecessary purchases as a treat for yourself every once in a while. Keep applying for scholarships, even through the senioritis. I trailed off towards second semester, and I already regret it. Don’t get discouraged by the lack of responses, just keep pushing and find time to apply for as many as you can.
Congratulations again, Kaylee! Everyone at College Raptor wishes you the best at OSU!