Today was the big day. I eagerly woke up at 8am to get ready for my scheduled tours of both beauty schools. First showering, and then trying hard to find something to wear that I felt was comfortable but respectable enough. I satisfied myself with a black pair of slacks and a black polo. I looked nice I have to say.

First stop was RAC at 10:30am. I entered and let the front desk know I was there. The lady at front desk said that she thought the appointment was for 11 but I have the post-it (still attached to the pamphlet btw) saying 10:30…but she said she’d let the coordinator lady (not the president but like the vice) know I was here…filling in a form while I was there.

She comes out and brings me back to her office and she proceeds to tell me more about the school while finally giving me an envelope of materials about the school. She was very upfront about alot of things. What I gathered is they get a lot of immature students and like to concentrate and structure around those who really want to apply themselves.

The Positives:

1. The staff seem really friendly and tight-knit. I was introduced to every staff member and was always greeted with smiles and salutations.
2. Classes are usually small and so there’s more attention paid to each student.
3. Exceptional students get a graduated reduction in their tuition.

The Minuses:

1. I wasn’t impressed by the facilities at all. Everything was bland and very minimal. It seemed just enough to get things done. Charging roughly $500 more than TSB I expected alot more out of the school. Maybe I expect more out of a tuition-run establishment. It felt like the building they were using was unfinished, no paint, out-of-date sinks…heck, the massage room shared the same small room as the water heater which was trying to hide behind a changing screen.
2. The success score sheet in the folder didn’t impress me either. 55 students last year and 20 dropped out, leaving 35. 34 graduated with 33 reportedly working in salons at the moment.
3. She admitted that the open salon for the advanced students is really slow. Slow equals lack of experience for me and that bothers me. Only so much I can get out of a mannikin head.

Overall: Great on personality and comradity, low on what seems to be facilities and execution. This is only coming from observation though and I could be off one hundred percent.

Next stop was TSB at 2:30pm. I’ve been hanging out at my local Barnes and Noble’s for the time being and head out an hour pre-engagement. It’s located on western off of I275 and I am rarely ever down that way.

I found it alot easier than I thought I would and checked in about a half hour early. From the outside it looked very much like RAC in that it seemed very warehouse-like, but located in a strip-mall type location. As I’m walking up I see the windows emblazoned with extravagantly fashioned hair shots, I open the door and see a whole different world than what I saw at RAC.

The waiting area looked like a waiting area. The open-salon area looked like a salon and was booming with customers (and advanced students I might add). I met with the president and he showed me around the school. A very drastic change from RAC. The premises were lovely, equipment was nice and very modern/up-to-date, various rooms geared to the level of student.

Positives:
1. The school premises itself were awesome. Equipment was up to date and very modern and salon-like. The shampoo area itself consisted of two rows of five free-standing sinks (to freely move around the client) with convenient spray hoses. The practice room (that’s what I’m calling it, I forget the term he used, it’s for practicing areas of the craft you’re weak in) has built-in fixtures to the tables that allow you to lift and maneuver your mannikin’s head in various directions to aid in the cut and style. It far outmatched RAC.
2. The salon area for the advanced students was very busy and he admitted that there is a consistent clientele.
3. There are a total of 3 large tack boards in the school with at least 30 listings apiece containing schools who are wanting TSB students upon graduation. A very good prospect if I must say so myself.
4. The final exam for the school itself requires a higher grade than that of the state board certification (which if you can pass it, you have a VERY good chance at passing the certification).

Negatives:
1. It seemed alot stiffer here. So I can imagine that there may be a bit of animosity or detachment in the school. Professionalism tends to take personalization away, but I hope this isn’t the case. Hopefully personalities won’t be clashing (although, I rarely ever clash with anyone).
2. He gave the bad news that since I’m single, have no kids and make more than 10k a year that I will probably not qualify for a pell grant. He said if I was a single mother with two kids that I could get all the money I needed, but being the responsible “single” (i still giggle at that considering I am partnered) adult doing the right thing I probably won’t get a break.

And thus he provided me with some loan options which are based on credit. Considering my credit is in the crapper because of stupid decisions I made early on there’s no way I’ll get it without a co-signer. Since payment became an issue the experience quickly stopped there and I kinda got ushered out. But the thing is I’m looking to be trained by the best…and so…

The winner is…

TSB. Now that I have a finish line I need to figure out how I’m going to get there. That will be the hard part. I’m still gonna try for a Pell and see where it goes from there. If that doesn’t work, maybe try for a student loan from my credit union.

If all else fails, I may use my car as collateral for a loan of some sort. But I really don’t want to do that.

If worse comes to worse I’ll just save what I can and try again in a couple of years. I’ve waited this long, but history has proven five years with the beau hasn’t merited alot of money being saved. So I hate to think about that outcome.

I’m gonna try my hardest to make it work, but things look rough. My heart and ambition are so much there.

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