So you’re a high school junior or senior looking to join the college ranks in a year or so. If you are like most 17/18 year olds then you probably have little idea of what you want to do with your lives but you do know college is necessary. You want that “college experience”, you know the parties, random sex partners, freedom to do what you want when you want while juggling a full 12-15 credits course load. The aforementioned is all good and dandy but who’s going to pay for your “college experience”? A lot of parents and college students brush the costs associated with college under the rug or have a “I’ll worry about it post graduation,” attitude. This is probably the wrong attitude to have regarding college costs.
Today’s economy is full of employed and unemployed college educated graduates with mounds of student loan debt because we all assume we’ll go to college, get a good paying job and pay off our student loan debt with no hiccups. This is the “American
Scheme (I mean Dream)” uninformed college students have been sold but this is not how things in the real world function as many have come to realize. Now it’s time to be smart about college and replace assumptions with sound game plans.
1. Seek out scholarships: There are a plethora of scholarships for undergraduate students if you do your research you will find organizations, companies, programs willing to assist you with your educational expenses.
2. Go to a credible community college: Take courses that transfer to a four year state school. This will cut your college costs an half because community college is much less than your traditional four year in state or out of state institution. Besides, your first 2 years of college at a four year university are classes that are prerequisites for your major. Why pay $15 – $20K for these classes when you can pay $5-$7K for comparable classes? Then see (seek out scholarships) step one.
3. Attend an in state (public) college or university (STAY HOME!) : In state tuition in most cases is 2 times less than private/out of state tuition. Most states have good state schools so why not take advantage of being close to home (or at home) while obtaining a college degree. I know most college bound students want to get as far away from their parents but stay home and save as much money as you can now. Trust me you’ll have friends on campus where you can crash. On campus life is fun but it’s overpriced and a bit overrated. (Then see step one “Seek out scholarships”)
4. Student Loan Forgiveness Careers/Programs: There are certain professions that will forgive your student loan debt so look into those professions if they peak your interest.
Future Young Professionals please be more responsible regarding college and avoid the student loan debt trap. As J. Cole put it so eloquently put it, “Make a good salary just to pay Sallie Mae,”. No one wants to get a degree and be forced to live at home with parents b/c you have student loan debt to payoff. And I don’t care what anyone says, there is no such thing as good debt! Have a plan in place and ditch the “borrow now worry later” mentality. Be smart future YPs, educate yourself about all educational opportunities at your disposal, calculate your risks, then make a well informed decision. The four options I mentioned are not the only options potential college students have so do your research or as I do, “Google it”!
YPRuck, YoungProfessionals Writer
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