1. Not completing your FAFSA first.
Filling out your FAFSA is one of the first steps you should make when you consider going to cosmetology school. You never know what you are going to qualify for and the school is going to ask you to fill one out anyways. It will also help to have that done before you come in for a tour, so that time is utilized efficiently or else you will have to schedule another time to come in.
Also make sure to fill out any forms you are given completely. You will be given a lot of forms and applications! If a form asks a question don't skip it, it’s there for a reason. Make sure to read through all of the questions in your applications and complete them to the best of your ability. If you don't know the answer just ask!
2. Not scheduling a tour with your favorite schools.
You should never base your decision off of a phone call. You should always go in and tour at least a couple schools that you are interested in before making your final decision. Once you are able to come in and see the place and understand the school culture and observe their walk in business you will be able to make a more educated decision.
Make sure to schedule a tour with all schools not just the cheapest. While it may be true that we live in a time where we cannot afford to throw money around, you should never skimp on a proper education. The saying "You get what you pay for" is very true in this circumstance and while all schools must teach the bare minimum, that is definitely not all you want or need to be successful in this industry.
3. Not showing up prepared.
a. Showing up late to your tour/ interview, yes. This still happens. And I don’t think it’s because people assume it’s OK to be running behind. More often than not, it happens because candidates don’t take the time to plan how long everything will take—from sneaking out of their office to taking the elevator to the 35th floor in a large building. And unfortunately, “traffic was bad” isn’t a good enough excuse for a hiring manager who planned her day around you arriving on time.
A good rule of thumb is to get to an interview five to 10 minutes early so you have time to relax, use the restroom if needed, and review your strategy before the meeting. You can easily make this happen by looking up the directions the night before and then factoring in extra time for traffic, crowded parking lots, or your boss stopping you on the way out and asking if you had time to look at the reports he sent over last night.
If you must miss your tour make sure to call in advance to let the admissions team know. Not calling at all will most likely result in not getting another tour or interview.
b. Make sure to do your research before showing up for any interview or tour. You want to show enthusiasm for the school you are touring and also let the admissions team know you are serious. Showing up ill prepared will get your application pushed to the bottom of the list and that's definitely not what you want.
c. And always come prepared with at least 3-5 questions! Write them down in advance and have them ready. You are going to have a lot thrown at you at once and you want to make sure you get all of your questions answered. I would also bring a pen and paper to take notes so that you can go back later and look at what you wrote down.
d. Lastly double check your social media accounts before your tours. Most employers and colleges are looking at social media since they have become such a huge part of our lives, bosses and admission teams look at them as a direct reflection of you and your personality. This industry requires a lot of online promotion for your business throughout school and the rest of your career. So just make sure to double check and make sure it shows what you want the world and your future bosses to see.
4. Not Choosing an Accredited school.
Perhaps one of the first things you will notice about an unaccredited school is that they do not offer federal financial aid. A school must be regionally accredited before their students are eligible for federal grants or other government-administered financial aid. If you attend an accredited school, you may qualify for a number of need-based grants such as the Pell grant. Some of these schools also offer their own scholarship programs and have financial aid offices that can help you find private scholarships. At unaccredited schools, you may be able to find limited financial aid from the school itself, but you will not be eligible for other assistance.
Most states require a student to graduate from an accredited cosmetology school before they can sit for the licensing exam. Because you cannot practice your trade without this license, beauty school accreditation becomes paramount at this point. If you didn’t attend an accredited school, you will have to take additional coursework from another school before you can test for your license. This means you have wasted both time and money. Instead, you should make sure that your school is accredited from the beginning. By doing this, you can ensure that you will qualify for board testing after graduation.
See our blog post about why Accreditation matters by clicking on the link below!
5. Choosing a beauty school because you think it’s the "easy route".
As mentioned above, do your research! Not only do you want to be prepared for questions but you also need to prepare yourself for what cosmetology school entails. This is not an easy feat, there will be exams, and lots of book work not just hands on. You will have deadlines to meet and be put through lots of training while on your feet 90% of the time. This career is not for everyone but can be very rewarding for those that put in the time and effort.