Do you currently know of someone that will soon graduate high school and will head off to college? I think every single one of us could quickly name 10+ people that will be extending their education to the college level within the next few years.
What if you had the secret to getting through college debt free? Would you be willing to share it with them? I sure hope so. When you are in your twenties, you have a great opportunity to learn about money and follow some great advice. Get out your notepad and pencil, because here’s a plan that anyone can follow in order to get through college without any debt.
If you’re currently in high school, the ACT and SAT are the single most important tests of your life. If you score well on these tests, you will not only get accepted into college, you’ll most likely get a free ride! This sounds exciting and all, but you’re probably thinking that only the gifted students can score well on this test. While it is true that intelligent students do well on these tests, for the most part, the questions are fairly standard from year to year, which means that if you spend the proper time studying, anyone could score well! This SAT prep blog can give you some insights about both tests, though I suggest that all students take a study course in order to get adequately prepared.
If you fall short of a free ride to your desired university, don’t sweat it. You can still graduate from there, but it might be wise for you to start at the local community college. First of all, classes are much cheaper at a community college, which will make it easier for you to pay for it. Second, if you get good grades in your classes, you’ll have another chance to qualify for scholarships at the university. Third, if you stick with community college for two years and get your associate’s degree, there may be programs that allow you to get credit for more classes than you actually took when transferring to the university. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true! All in all, community college is a wise choice!
Get a Job!
Some students wait until after they graduate before they get their first job. This is absolutely ridiculous. If you want to graduate without any debt, you’ve got to work both during school, and during the summer.
Live With Your Parents
I understand that it’s not super cool to live at home with your parents, but this move will likely save you $5,000 a year. If you choose to live outside of your parents’ house, you’ll just have to work all that much harder to avoid loads of debt at graduation.
Apply For Scholarships
If you decide to take your first two years of classes at the community college, keep an eye on the scholarships that are available to the university that you plan to attend. If you just navigate through their website, you should be able to find hundreds of scholarships – many of which you’ll be eligible for. If I were you, I wouldn’t spend as much time on the massive scholarship sites. There are way too many people that are eyeballing the same scholarships as you and your chances are slim. It’s best to devote your time to the local scholarships.
You should also fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. Your university will provide the form and it is used to determine your need for financial aid as you attend university. You could receive federal student loans or grants just by filling out this form and, in some cases, you might find that you are eligible for a federal work-study. Meet with an academic advisor at your university to look at your financial aid options, as they will ensure that receive the maximum assistance for which you qualify.
You can earn your degree without debt. What are you doing to get through college without student loans?