Hey guys so I just found out that I will not be getting an assistantship for my first year of grad school. This is not unexpected, but it is unfortunate. With this in mind, I think it's a good time to run through how to budget for a school year. (Everyone will have different expenses, so don't take these numbers as a guarantee. I am just basing this off of my own numbers to attend an in-state Public University, far enough away from my parents that I can't commute. Your numbers may be much higher or much lower depending on where you live.) To figure out how much school is really going to cost you, you're going to need more than just tuition numbers. Here’s everything in my calculation: Numbers! Tuition: $11,500 per year (call it $960 per month) Rent: could vary, likely $650 per month ($5,850 for 9 months, $7,800 for a year) Food: $200 a month ($2,400 a year) Other Unexpected Expenses: $100 a month ($1,200 a year) This works out to $1910 a month, or $22,900 yearly, for the two years of my master's - a total of $45,800. If I want to graduate with my master's, that is the amount I need to come up with. There are many ways to do this, including work, loans, family gifts, and scholarships. My goal is to avoid loans and gifts and make my own way as much as possible. Job: Having discovered I will not have an assistantship, I will be applying for a job at a famous coffee chain as soon as my recital date passes, because if I am going to be working an off-campus job I want one with perks. Exercise on the job (standing and walking the whole time), flexible scheduling, and free drinks makes a barista job a job that seems ideal for me. Once I get to my school’s city and know my schedule better, I will likely apply for on-campus positions as well, such as receptionist and library work. These jobs are nice because they often allow for you to study while on the job - the receptionist position I had before I took my internship was very very nice. Furthermore! I will be focusing on my writing as much as I can in any free time I have, both freelance and for this blog. My Patreon is only $20 away from my next goal amount, I'd love to keep that moment rolling. (Patrons get cool perks and surprises, even if you don't have cash to pledge anything!) Other jobs to consider: hotel receptionist, waiter, campus security, nannying, tutoring, teaching lessons, Etsy stores, drawing for commission, etc. Numbers: Part time work at Coffee Shop/on campus: 20 hours a week × $8 an hour × 36 weeks a year = $5,760 yearly. Full time work during summers: 40 hours a week × $8 an hour × 10 weeks = $3,200 per summer Potential writing income: $100 a month ($1,200 yearly) to ??? depending on how much I get my butt in gear. Total: $11,160 a year. Scholarships: there are TONS of scholarships out there. Small ones, big ones, ones for people of very specific counties and schools — everything. Most smaller scholarships don't have anywhere NEAR enough people apply for them. I'm going to make it a part time job, now through May, to apply to at least one scholarship a day - who knows which ones I’ll get! Numbers: $500 to ??? depending again on how much I get my butt in gear. Total: $11,660 a year minimum. That covers food, rent, and unexpected expenses, leaving me just taking loans to cover tuition. And these are assuming only one job, and a single small scholarship. The amount that needs to be borrowed goes down DRAMATICALLY with every additional scholarship or hour worked or dollar per hour more paid. Math like this isn't fun, but it does show what you need to take into account when you choose a school. If you're moving to a city where rent is a thousand dollars a month, or attending a school with a $40,000 yearly tuition, then you need to have a plan for that too. A leap of faith is not the way to go when you are looking down the barrel of potentially the most expensive thing you'll ever buy. Run the numbers and plan how you're going to pay it off.