Paying for college is a beast of a different kind that none of us seem to want to confront. You know what? You’re not alone, friend. Seeing the total cost of attending college on paper makes me sick to my stomach. With college debt on the rise, you simply cannot afford to not utilize all your resources when it comes to funding your education.
Being the oldest child, I was kind of the “guinea pig” for figuring out how to save and pay for college, so needless to say I was clueless when I first started trying to figure everything out my senior year of high school. Now that I am rounding out my fourth year of college, I feel I am able to give you the best insider advice on how to save and pay for college the right way, without stressing yourself out!
1. Start saving early
While I was still in high school, I was well aware that I would be the one funding my college education. Because of this, as soon as I turned 16 and could get a job I became employed. Yeah, I spent some of that money on going out with friends and doing things I wanted, but I made sure I was saving most of it so I would be able to pay for college when the time came.
When you know you have to pay for college, I would highly recommend setting a given amount of your paycheck aside to put away for your college fund. It might not sound like fun saving money now, but trust me, you will thank yourself when it comes time to pay up.
2. Apply for any and all scholarships that apply to you
I used to dread applying for scholarships because there’s no easy way to apply for every one that you are eligible for. However, that little bit of effort to apply for them will prove to be beneficial! Although I didn’t get every scholarship I applied for, I did receive enough to pay for my entire semester, which was so awesome!
Start researching or asking faculty advisors at your school if they know of any scholarships that you are eligible for. You could find these scholarships anywhere from your major’s department, your city’s website (I usually just Google “scholarships for residents of ________ county”), and the financial aid section of your university. I also recommend that you check back often because even if a lot of your scholarships are due in January, I have had a lot due in June too. There are so many random scholarships out there…you just have to keep looking!
A lot of scholarships also are only interested in giving money to upperclassmen because they know they have put in the time and are less likely to switch majors. So even if you are a 3rd or 4th year student who hasn’t received many scholarships, still apply because you could take priority over the underclassmen applications!
3. Cover the rest of the costs with the best Student Loan options
So now what do you do when you have received some scholarships and have some money to pay for school, but it doesn’t cover everything?? This is where the handy dandy student loans come in. My first three years of school, before I started co-oping (you can read about why you need to co-op here, and how to be the best intern here), were definitely funded by a decent amount of student loans.
Where do you even start looking for student loan options? It’s so easy to get sucked to the plans that the Federal Government offers you because you don’t have to look anywhere else, but you should avoid them at all costs. The College Ave Student and Undergraduate Loans offer a great alternative for students to get the best deal when it comes to student loan options. What’s awesome about the College Ave website is that there is a loan calculator that helps you find the best student loan for the money you need! I also found it really cool that you can check your credit score right away to see if you qualify!
College Ave Student Loans offers more flexibility to fit your specific financial situation than many other private loan options. College Ave offers three different loan options: Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parent loans in order to best fit with your needs. Students also have the option to start paying in full right away, or to limit monthly payments while they is in school, and to pick their own repayment terms from 5 to 12 years. You can check to see if you qualify here. Overall, I am really impressed with the website and how intuitive it was to utilize.
How are you paying for college? I would definitely recommend looking into College Ave Student loans to help you finance your college career.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.