Graduate College Debt-Free!
In the current economy, one word is on everybody’s mind: Debt. To date, the current U.S. national debt is $15,243,747,957.85 and this substantial financial burden has taken its toll on every aspect of the government’s ability to effectively run this country. While you are unlikely to accrue a personal debt anywhere close to that of the national deficit, owing large amounts of money can cripple your future.
The weight of significant financial obligations brings not only stress, but can also hamper your ability to obtain your dreams. It is often said that educational debt is the best kind of debt a person can have. Even if that is true, being free from any kind of debt is always preferable. College is meant to open doors to a brighter future. Don’t let the financial strain of getting an education turn the college dream into a monetary nightmare. With the right amount of planning and hard work, you can graduate college debt-free.
The best way to graduate college without any debt is to have someone else pay for your schooling altogether. Scholarships and grants are the most effective means of accomplishing this goal. Students who work hard during high school on their academic, athletic, or artistic abilities are the most likely students to receive great scholarships for college. Doing well on standardized tests are another key to getting excellent academic scholarships.
Students who have stellar PSAT, SAT, or ACT scores are eligible for numerous intuitional scholarships offered by the various universities. To do well on these tests, students will have to study and practice for the individuals tests. There is no quick success to acing standardized tests, but with the right preparation and practice you can achieve your desired score.
Doing well on tests is not the only way to achieve scholarships; you can also research contests and scholarships on the Internet to help you find the right ones for you. Applying to different contests is a great way to get extra cash for the college endeavor. Do not only apply for the large scholarships (those that are $5,000 to $10,000) but also try for smaller ones ($500 to $1,500). Remember, every little bit of extra cash helps.
While scholarships are ideal for paying for college, you can do other things to help cut down the cost of your secondary education. Making college affordable is another great way to assist you in your debt-free endeavor. One idea is to limit the amount of time and money you actually spend on your education. You can accomplish this by graduating early from college. Students who work hard can graduate with their BA in only three years instead of four, by getting college credit through AP exams or CLEP tests.
Cutting down on the time you are in school can limit the amount of money you spend on tuition, fees, and room and board. You can also take dual-enrollment classes in high school where you get high school and college credit. It is also a good idea to research colleges with a three-year bachelor’s degree programs.
Another tip to help you graduate college without any debt is to find a college that you can actually afford. Many students think that just because a school has a big price tag means the education is better than a school with a reasonable price tag. While some schools might be worth the expensive money you pay for them, depending on what the college offers, the truth is, the majority of colleges are similar — despite the disparity in cost. Many community colleges offer quality education for a fraction of the cost of attending a four-year university. When making your plans for college, think realistically about the cost-benefit ratio of going to an Ivy League school versus going to your local community college.
Working during college is another option for helping you ease the financial burden of your education. It is possible to work part-time while in school and to pay for school on a monthly basis. Treating the cost of college like a tuition bill can help you budget accordingly and pay-off school while you are in it. It will take some personal sacrifice to use your money to pay for school and not late-night fast food runs, but the short-time sacrifice will be worth it in the long run.
If working during school is not a good option for you, you can always research the possibility of loan repayment programs. Students who join the armed forces after high school have the option of having their college paid for after serving time in the military. Other government jobs also offer loan repayment options for high-demand careers. Do your research and look for employers who will pay you to get an education.
College can be an expensive, but there are several options to help you ease the financial burden of gaining a secondary education. With the right amount of preparation, research, and diligence, the dream of getting a college education without accruing debt can be a reality.
Jean Burk is a homeschooling mother and author of College Prep Genius: The No Brainer Way to SAT Success! She has been the featured SAT expert for FOX, CBS, NBC, and The Homeschool Channel. Both her children received full-ride scholarship offers because of their SAT and PSAT scores. Her revolutionary program is taught in schools and homeschool co-ops across the country and helps thousands of students raise their SAT scores as much as 600 points.
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