How to pay to go to college amid rising tuition fees and college housing costs is the million-dollar question every student wants answered.
Many different approaches have been taken, but all too often you hear stories about college graduates having to move back in with their parents for a while until they get a high-paying job and start dealing with student loan debt.
But that doesn’t have to be you if you take the right approach to college enrollment. Consider some of these tips.
Renowned Universities Are Not As Important As You Might Think
When making a decision about which college to attend, you shouldn’t assume that simply attending a school like Harvard or Stanford will automatically fill out your resume.
Yes, if you get a scholarship or have connections with people who can lower the high costs of attending these colleges, then you should certainly take advantage of them.
But future employers care more about your professional and personal skills than the school you attended. Consider that there are many quality schools, both public and private, that are much lower in cost than the great Ivy League schools, and you can get the same degree from them.
Attend community college for a year or two
Your local community college may not have the exact program of study you want to enter, but you may be able to drop a number of courses and earn transferable credit when you arrive at the larger university.
You will need to check with that university to see what types of courses will transfer and what type of grades you will 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 can usually get information about certain scholarships by checking a college’s admissions webpage, but this isn’t the only place to find scholarships available to you.
There are many scholarships that do not require an essay or specific majors. Student loan companies often offer scholarships, an example is the Ascent Student Loan Scholarship, which gives away $1,000 to a student at least every month simply by participating in his Instagram post and submitting his entry information. There are many 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 that can help buy school supplies and sometimes put money back in your bank account.
Consider working for a year after high school graduation
While it’s important to shake off college while you’re still young, it won’t hurt if you hold off on it for just a year. If you’re 17 or 18 when you finish high school, will it make much of a difference if you wait until you’re 19 to start college? Taking a job, even if it’s just working for your local grocery store, can help you save money that could come in handy later. Also, future employers will want to know about your past work experience and the kinds of lessons you learned from them.
Ultimately, getting a high-quality education with a college degree will never be free despite what some politicians believe. But using scholarships and accumulating personal savings can make financial burdens easier to manage and keep exit plans achievable.
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 that you’ll be entering.