For many students, college is right around the corner for others, it’s still years away. However long you have until you start, though, you’re probably already thinking about it from where you’ll go to school to what you’ll study to the friends you’ll make to living on your own.
No matter what form your education takes, the college provides a wealth of experiences that will change you forever and prepare you for what comes next.
5. Find a Part-Time Job or Paid Internship
Before college ever starts, many students already have work experience in the form of part-time jobs. If you have one, congratulations you’re already learning important lessons about financial responsibility. It makes sense to take the experience one step further and dedicate a certain percentage of your earnings to go toward tuition or other college expenses.
4. Private Loans: The Final Option
After you’ve exhausted all of your options in terms of scholarships, federal aid, and federal loans, you can use private loans to make up the difference in school costs. Unlike federal loans, private loans are made by a lender such as a bank, credit union, state agency, or a school.
3. Federal Student Loans: Borrow Wisely
In a survey from high school Class of 2017, we compared the responses to “Did you fill out your FAFSA?” and “Will you be taking out loans?” to find out if a typical high school grad understands their financial needs:
According to the to the graph, over 90% are certain they will fill out the FAFSA to get aid for college but are still somewhat uncertain about whether they will need loans. Do those numbers look high to you? That’s because they are! It’s important to make sure you understand the terms of your loans before borrowing since this decision could greatly affect your well-being after graduation.
Getting educated about the types of loans available, as well as the terms and interest rates for each, is a great first step to making sure you borrow wisely. Interest rates vary from lender to lender, but federal loans tend to offer lower interest rates and have more flexible repayment options.
1. Scholarships: A Great Starting Place
Scholarships are available to you all four years of college and are even available for graduate students. On Niche, you can search for scholarships based on your state, intended major, level of difficulty, ethnicity, and special interest:
Niche also match you to scholarships based on your high school grad year, so you know you’re eligible without having to dig into the rules of each scholarship. Feel free to apply for as many scholarships as you are eligible for.
Hot Tip: Once you get accepted to college, contact your major department for scholarships it’s very common for schools to offer department-specific scholarships to students.