How to Leave College with Little Debt

More than ever, career centers in high schools across the United States are advocating a college education. We’ve all sat through those long presentations junior and senior year, where some admissions counselor is spouting about how wonderful their university is. We’ve all taken field trips to local universities, been given the tour, the speech and everything else.

For those of us who actually bought into the jive and decided to boldly pursue a four year education, it is not only an opportunity for personal and mental growth, but financial risk as well. What the admission counselors politely omits is that college costs money. For most of students who come from lower to middle income households, the expenses of college can be overwhelming, sometimes discouraging.
But if you are driven about getting a higher education, here are some ways that you can leave college with little debt:

1) Be focused. College is sometimes equivocal to partying, sex and experienting with drugs. If know that you are financially on your own, you become more appreciative of your time in college. Stay on track, if you know when you want to graduate, stick to it. Create a plan of courses that will lead you to the cap and gown on time.

2) Work! Mostly every college student holds a part time job during the school year and a full time job in summer. If you are looking to leave college with little debt, as well as leave on time, consider working a few jobs. Find work that will fit around your school schedule, leaving time to study, of course. Working two jobs may sound tiring and antisocial, but it will benefit you in the long run, leaving you with more money for tuition, spending cash and peace of mind.

3) Play! As the saying goes, all work and no play makes for a very unhappy college student. If you’re looking to leave college with little debt, it can be tough will all that working. So take a weekend to just relax. Go for a hike, read a book, or see a play with some buddies. Give your brain a chance to rest and recuperate.

4) Avoid Loans (If possible). Everyone leave college with some kind of debt. If you are working your butt off, and paying for college yourself, you may still need a little help. If you must apply for a loan, go for the minimum amount, and make sure its a subsidized loan. The interest on a subsidized loan is paid by the government while you are still in school.

5) Don’t Get Discouraged. It can be hard to not be jealous of those students who have full-ride scholarships, or rich parents paying their way. You may not have help from anybody. Don’t let it get you down. Be proud that you are doing it on your own, and are achieving a major milestone by yourself. Stick your chest out a little further.

With so much push to attend a four year university, there should be more options for paying for it. Most of us are averagely smart students, with no special talents great enough to earn us a free trip through school. Our parents may not be able to help us, and probably are struggling as much as their students are. Leaving college with little debt means work, drive and focus. The road may be tough, but in the end it will pay off, literally and figuratively.

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