1). Consider going to a two-year university first and completing your degree at a four-year university. Two year community colleges have the least expensive tuition.
2). Apply to both public and private universities. Even though private universities typically have much higher tuition, some offer great financial aid packages with grants and scholarships. When comparing financial aid packages for different schools, consider the average time students complete their degree at each school. In California for instance, many students at the public universities take more than four years to complete their degree. While at private universities most students finish in 4 years. If you are most likely to pay for an additional year of tuition at a public school, a private school could be cheaper.
3). Apply to as many scholarships as possible in your high school senior year and throughout your undergraduate years. Many students think scholarships are only available for incoming freshmen, but that is not true. There are several scholarships available for undergraduates. Also keep in mind that all scholarships are not merit based. Many scholarships are awarded solely on your choice of major, gender, ethnicity, where you live, etc. The more scholarships you apply for the better your chances of winning!
4). Set a goal to attain a paid student internship during the summer months and put the money you earn towards your tuition. In your junior and senior year look for paid part-time internships that are available throughout the year while you are in school. Many times these lead to job offers once you graduate. Internships are very powerful for your future career. I’ll blog more about the power of internships in the future.
5). Take as many college courses as you can while in high school. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) courses at your high school and take the AP exams. AP courses are college-level courses. An AP exam is offered at the end of the year in theses subjects. Often universities will grant college credit for a score of 3 and above on an AP exam. It’s possible to enter college with sophomore status if you’ve taken several AP courses and obtained high scores on your AP exams. Another option is to take college courses offered at your local community college or through a university’s extension program, such as UCLA Extension. Make sure these courses are transferable for university credit. Many courses are available in the evenings and during the summer months.
Do not consider it a failure if you are unable to avoid taking out a student loan. Instead measure your success in being able to borrow as little money as possible. As we saw in yesterday’s post, education pays. A bachelor’s degree will pay for itself over time.
Any other ideas on how to reduce the cost of college? Let me know in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you! – Naiyma