How to pay for college
Not sure how you’re going to pay for college? Here are 5 useful tips for preparing for the cost of college and minimizing your student loan debt.
Tip #1: Be self-reliant.
It’s a great idea to get a job during high school and start saving early to have backup funds in preparation for college expenses. Remember, college can be costly before you even start–application fees can really add up.
Tip #2: Prepare academically.
By taking challenging classes in high school and being a diligent student, you’ll be better prepared for college level classes and have a greater chance at receiving scholarships. Also, starting college with AP or IB credits could allow you to graduate in less time, resulting in lower college costs.
Tip #3: Apply for scholarships.
When applying for scholarships, it’s vital to research as thoroughly as you can for funding opportunities. Besides searching online, don’t forget to also reach out to your parents’ employers, your high school counseling office, and local community or state groups to check if they offer scholarships.
Tip #4: Apply for federal aid – fill out the FAFSA early.
You must fill out the FAFSA to be eligible for federal financial aid. Fill out your FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st to maximize your chances of receiving aid. Many schools have priority deadlines in February or March, and submitting the form too late could mean missing out on limited funds.
Tip #5: Minimize your debt.
Be resourceful and selective about taking out loans. See if you can afford to take out fewer loans by getting an on-campus job or consider attending a community college to save money before transferring to a more expensive school. If you need to borrow money, maximize your Federal student loans and explore private loan options as a last resort.