How to afford to go to college in the midst of tuition rates and college housing costs increasing is the million-dollar question every student wants answered. There are many different approaches that have been taken, but all too often you hear stories about college graduates who have to move back in with their parents for a while until they get a great paying job and start making headway tackling student loan debt. But that doesn’t have to be you if you take the right approach to college enrollment. Consider a few of these tips.
Big Name Universities Aren’t As Important as You Might Think
When you make a decision on which university you’ll attend, you shouldn’t assume that simply attending a school like Harvard or Stanford is going to automatically pad your resume. Yes, if you earn a scholarship or have connections to people who can cut down the high costs of attending these universities, then certainly you should take advantage. But future employers care more about your professional and people skills than where you attended school. Consider that there are plenty of quality schools both public and private that have much lower costs than the big Ivy League schools, and you can earn the same degree from them.
Attend Community College for a Year or Two
Maybe your local community college doesn’t have the exact program of study you want to go into, but chances are you can knock out a number of courses and get credits that can be transferred when you do get to the larger university. You will want to check with that university to see what kinds of courses will transfer, and what kind of grades you’ll need to make that happen. But you could save tens of thousands of dollars by going this route.
Apply For Scholarships And Grants To Help With Expenses
You’ll can usually find out about certain scholarships by looking at a university’s admissions web page, but this isn’t the only place to find scholarships available to you. There are many scholarships that don’t require an essay or specific majors. Student loan companies often offer scholarships, one example is the Ascent Student Loans scholarship, which gives away $1,000 to a student at least every month just by engaging on their Instagram post and submitting your entry info. There are plenty others that a quick Google search could reveal to you. Some scholarships have lengthy application processes, but some can be received by answering just a few questions. And don’t forget to look at federal Pell grants which can help purchase school supplies and sometimes bring money back into your bank account.
Consider Working for a Year After Graduating High School
While it’s important to get college studies out of the way while you’re still young, it’s not going to hurt if you hold off going into them for just one year. If you’re 17 or 18 when you finish up high school, is it going to make that much difference if you wait until you’re 19 to begin college? Taking a job, even if it’s simply working for your local grocery store can still help you save money that could come in handy later. Plus, future employers will want to know about your previous work experience and the kinds of lessons you learned from them.
Ultimately, getting a high quality education with a major degree will never be free despite what some politicians believe. But using scholarships and building up personal savings can make the financial burdens of it easier to deal with and keep exit plans attainable. You can also cut costs in some areas like buying used textbooks or finding ways to share them. But the best way to get a return on your college education investment is to make sure your field of study has a high demand job market you’ll be entering into.