College is a great cognitive adventure, where you learn about the intricate
world around you and build a giant wall of debt in the process. And that debt
can become like a scary monster, lurking in the shadows of your college
Avoiding a future of paying off college debt can seem challenging, but with the right guidance, you can turn that foreboding monster into nothing more than a stepping stone to a future of great achievement. Here are some tips for getting through college with a manageable amount of debt.
Choose Your College WiselyBrochures and websites can hypnotize you with pictures of students studying on an impossibly green lawn or kicking around a soccer ball in the quad, but beware of this distraction. There will be places to stage your brochure-worthy photo on all of the campuses.
Your college choice should be based on your future career goals and the cost of attendance, particularly the latter. Tuition and fees can make a huge difference in debt, and choosing a college with a more manageable cost of attendance can really save you in the future.
Get Funding for CollegeWhen you have a chosen a school that seems to fit the bill, do not merely glance over the portion of the application. Getting funded is the quickest way to minimize student debt. Understanding and accurately portraying your financial position can be the difference between a fellowship and a loan, the second of which you must repay after your college experience is over.
|Funding college can be a challenge. Flickr LendingMemo|
Be sure to contact a financial officer at the school for application help, and do not forget to inquire about specialized grants, scholarships, and funded positions offered by the school. These financial advisors are there to help you, so do not be afraid to use them. Minimizing your loans with funding on the forefront will help you manage your debt once college is over.
Work the Debt AwaySince debt cannot be studied or partied away (bummer), you can get ahead of your loan payments by working through college. While serving tables or working in retail may fit your schedule, these jobs should come second to those that can build your resume. Look for paid internships in your field, apply for teaching and research assistantships within your department, and consult your college career center for part-time and temporary jobs.
Maximize Your SavingsMaking the money is only one step to the process. Finding that money is the key. Open a savings account and put a percentage of your earnings into it each month. By the time you are walking across the graduation stage, you will have a nice cushion of money to begin paying off your debts. Maximizing these savings by setting a strict budget and minimizing your bills will also increase your debt fighting arsenal.
Choose a Lucrative Career in Your FieldWhile sites will tell you jobs in , accounting, and are the best career paths based on a variety of indicators, do not let your major field decision be based solely on the money. Do your homework. Find a lucrative career path within your major to maximize both earnings and post-graduation contentment. This tip will help you maximize your earnings and attack debt in a timely manner.
Give Online Classes a ChanceWhile some majors are better suited to in-classroom learning, online classes can be a viable option for more straight-forward career paths. Think back to when you were a kid, what did you want to be? A nurse? A princess? A cop? There are for these career paths (well, maybe not for being a princess) that can lead to greater savings when completing the requirements of your degree and quick job opportunities upon graduation.
Being mindful of your finances in college can pay off in the long run. If you take these tips to heart, you will be well on your way to a debt-free future, where you can warmly reminisce about your college experience, without being harshly reminded by student loan bills.
By: Bill Bilse