Edmit logo

How I’m Paying for College: Hampshire College Student Charlotte Somerville

Featured Stories

Filter By Categories

Hampshire College junior Charlotte Somerville’s non-traditional schooling path meant she was considering the cost of college years before applications were on the horizon.

 

“We had a conversation way at the beginning of high school about that because the public school system didn't work very well for me, and we thought about sending me to private school,” Charlotte recalled. Her parents told her: “Either we can help you out a lot with college, or we can send you to private [high] school.”

Charlotte chose the former and was homeschooled, taking classes online, with local groups, and at Harvard Extension School, which at the time offered a tuition deal for about 50 percent off to homeschooled students.

 

“Originally I applied to a number of art schools when I was [high school] senior age and had finished my associate’s degree at Harvard Extension. I ended up getting into Parsons on a 50 percent scholarship, which was really fantastic—but I discovered within three weeks that I absolutely hated art school,” said Charlotte, who is 19. So she left, intending to take a gap year, but soon got a case of cabin fever and applied to Hampshire College, where a combination of financial aid and merit scholarships partially fund her schooling.

 

She vaguely remembered the FAFSA process, and while she’s grateful her parents (who both have advanced degrees) handled it at the time, Charlotte said in hindsight she wishes she had been more involved.

“There were a lot of calls and emails back and forth “that I definitely didn't understand as much as I really wish I did... I definitely feel like I was not as conceptually involved in that effort as I could have been,” she said. Had she been more involved, she thinks she could pass on that knowledge to younger students. “I wish I was able to help other people out with that,” she said.

 

Charlotte worked various retail jobs starting in high school to save for college and finance her own room. On a day-to-day basis, she doesn’t feel the threat of college payments looming, but she is already thinking ahead to graduate school, which she knows will be largely self-financed. As a result, she hopes to study in the E.U. (where her Netherlands citizenship would make it far cheaper than in the U.S., and potentially free) and plans to work for a few years before beginning the next stage of her education.

 

“I definitely come to college with a fair amount of financial privilege. I will be leaving college with next to no debt, which I am incredibly grateful for, that my parents have been able to do that,” said Charlotte, adding that her younger sister’s full ride to Simmons lifted a lot of financial stress off the family’s shoulders.

While Charlotte said there is some discussion of paying for college among her classmates, “it's obviously still a taboo subject.”

 

“There's less conversation about that then maybe there should be,” she said.

 

Find out which college is your best financial fit by comparing college financial aid offers with Edmit!

 

 

Sign up for updates

Popular Tags

Financial Aid and Scholarships* paying for college financial aid Cost of College* grants and scholarships FAFSA Student Loans* Saving for College* federal student loans college tuition cost of attendance 529 plan college financial planning financial aid award expected family contribution private student loans taxes room and board college savings plan on-campus housing college applications application fees merit-based financial aid private universities public universities student loan assistance college expenses federal financial aid merit scholarships Salary and Career* budgeting for college edmit hidden gems tuition discount financial need parent PLUS loan southern colleges CSS profile college costs edmit team education expenses living expenses western colleges financial aid appeal income midwestern colleges off-campus housing affordable college college majors loan forgiveness northeast colleges application fee waivers degree programs edmit scholarship institutional aid loan repayment new england colleges choosing a major net price prepaid tuition plans work-study SAT career choosing a college in-state tuition international students need-based financial aid need-blind colleges private scholarships qualified higher education expenses repayment plans tuition guarantee 401k ACT UGMA UTMA budget college ranking systems discretionary income education savings accounts fees free tuition full ride scholarship grants great lakes region colleges health insurance options investment ivy league schools meal plans mid-east region colleges need-aware colleges plains region colleges rocky mountain schools southeastern colleges southwestern colleges student loan debt tuition payment plans 568 presidents group Inversant MEFA applying to college asset protection allowance best price campus life college advisor college deposit college search college spending concurrent enrollment cost by region cost by state crowdfunding educational expenses esports fee waivers financial literacy fraternities and sororities full tuition gap year home equity loan income share agreements internships liberal arts degree line of credit medical expenses military benefits out-of-state students out-of-state tuition percent need met private college consultant retirement savings saving school-based scholarships small business standardized testing state aid state schools student bank accounts student organizations title IV schools travel expenses tuition decreases tuition increases tuition reciprocity undocumented students