What are options for me to pay for College? How can I help myself?
One of the most daunting aspects of a college education facing students and parents in today’s economic climate is the cost. College is expensive any way you slice it, and with unemployment being what it is, it feels like a large waste of money. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unemployment rates for people with college degrees are half what they are for students who did not complete high school. A college education is still an essential key to success and opportunity.
Your ability to pay for college starts in high school. If you commit to studying hard and getting grades you will drastically improve you chances of paying for college. Many financial aid offices award scholarships and aid to students in need based on their merit and achievement in high school. A stellar transcript makes you an attractive candidate to any college and they will do what they can to allow you to attend. Getting the grades you need in high school may mean sacrificing a few Friday nights out with friends to stay in and study, but in the long term you will be richly rewarded.
Another option you have to pay for college is student loans. While many people balk at he predicament of taking on debt at a young age, this shouldn’t deter you from taking out a student loan. Your college education is an investment in your future. Congress also just voted on keeping the interest rates on college loans at their present lower rates. This is a huge victory for education and statement about the value of a college education.
The U.S. education system is also specifically attuned to keep our country competitive in specialized fields in the years ahead. Specifically, colleges and universities want to ensure that the U.S. is still training many of its students for careers in Math and Science and so if these are fields that especially interest you, an even stronger chance of finding financial aid could be possible.
However, whatever course of study interests you and ends up directing your college search, one of the most vital things you can do to help yourself is start early. Start looking around for the colleges that offer you the best of what you are looking to study, and then begin to understand the ways you can find help to subsidize that education. Often time, the issue of paying for college can feel so large because it seems so abstract. Make the problem smaller – find the school you want to attend and then figure out how people have paid to go their in the past.
Lastly, one of the great strengths of the system of higher education in the U.S. is the sheer number of quality universities that exist in this country. There are many colleges, with many different financial aid options, that will provide you with a top-flight education. Don’t get locked into any single idea, as there are wonderful options. In addition to the incredible network of local and state schools, there are many small colleges that you may of never heard of, that will be perfect for you and able to give you the financial help you need to attend.