I started college in the US in the summer for one reason: it was 3 times cheaper than starting in the fall or winter semester. At Utah Valley University (UVU) and other universities, international students can pay in-state tuition only during the summer, so I took advantage of that. However, it was June 2008 and I did not have the $6,000 USD to pay for my fall semester. I started talking with international and career advisors at my university, but no one could really help me and I could not get any scholarships since it was only my first year. These tough situations are what make the difference between a hustler and a quitter, and I decided to become a hustler.
I kept looking for advice until I met Kyle Reyes, a leader in the multicultural office at UVU. He really motivated me and told me how other immigrants were able to raise money for their tuition: by knocking on doors and asking for donations in rich neighborhoods. It may sound crazy, but it was my best option. So I took it. I prepared a letter with my story and dreams, attached a UVU envelope so people could send me donations (I will discuss more about the letter in another article) and started going to neighborhoods by the Utah Valley mountains.
I did not have a car and I was very shy, so my friend Rene from Peru gave me rides and helped me knock on doors. Many people did not open, others closed the door immediately or said they did not have money (they were living in mansions). But a hustler does not give up, so I continued going every weekend, and when my friend could not give me a ride, I went jogging and delivered my letter to many houses during the summer.
I still remember the moment when I was walking by the dining hall at UVU when Kyle told me “congrats, you received some donations!” I could not believe it. People were sending checks for $30, $50, and $80 dollars to help with my tuition. This motivated me much more to keep going. Some people also gave me donations when I was telling them my story by their door.
I raised around $700 USD and since then, the universe has gravitated towards my goal and everything has worked out. I was able to enroll on a tuition payment plan, saved some money from my part time job cleaning floors and toilets, and received some money from my family. That’s how I was able to pay my first semester as an out of state student. Most importantly, that’s how I learned to be a hustler. To be resourceful and to not give up on my goals.
Now you can use crowdfunding sites to raise money for your education and since you can reach more people, you may be able to raise a larger fund. You will not have to go knocking on doors, but you will have to prepare and promote your campaign very well. I think a combination of both will give you the best experience and results.