Pay Your Way Through School
Thousands of college kids per year prove that paying for school is possible, regardless of their financial situation. For example, some parents can help pay for school, some cannot, and others won’t. For freshmen who don’t get help from mom and dad, the thought of student loans is overwhelming. But working in school, will reduce the need to take out loans, and build your resume. Working or interning in school will build your strengths, and develop your weaknesses to make you a better candidate for the workforce.
If you are looking for more ways to avoid debit along with working through school consider these options:
College Choice: Consider the cost of tuition. Unless you have a full-ride, starting at your local community college is the cheapest option. Private colleges cost up to $800 per credit hour, and community college costs as little as $60 per credit hour. Therefore, if money is your main concern, community college is the best option. College is what you make of it. Students who go to community college for 2 years then transfer to a 4-year college/university are just as successful as students who go to private colleges/universities.
Living at Home: If you are serious about avoiding debt, live at home. Living at home is the most economical way to get an education. If you want to go out-of-state, prioritize your goals. Which is most important – saving money or going to your dream school? Think about the life you want post-graduation to help make that decision. Remember, if you take school seriously, it does not matter where you go. Therefore, if you can tolerate living at home, you will save the most money of your peers.
If you plan on working in school consider scheduling alternatives:
Online classes: These are a great alternative because you can organize your classes around your work schedule. Online courses are better for some subjects than others. If you struggle in a particular subject, do not take that class online. Language classes are the most difficult online classes. Look for classes where you already have background in the subject area.
Night classes: Night classes meet once or twice per week and are a good option for students who work during the day. Taking a full load of night classes frees up 5 days per week to work. Most students prefer night classes to day classes anyway.
Once-a-week classes: Classes that meet once-a-week for 3-4 hours are a great alternative for students who plan their schedule around work. Classes that only meet once-a-week leave 4 days free for work. However, it is more difficult to keep up with these classes than classes that meet 2-3 times per week. Like night classes, pick once-a-week classes where you already have a background in the subject.
Maximizing the benefits of working during school: Not only does working in school give you an extra source of income, it also gives you an opportunity to build your resume. If you want a degree in marketing, or client-facing sales position after school, a part-time job in retail is a good idea. College jobs build important skills such as customer service, communication abilities, and leadership. These skills will make you stand out to employers after graduation.
"As a college student, it can be tough to make ends meet and succeed in classes. But you make it through, and once you graduate and get a job, life is much much less complicated. Organization was the key for me and outlining my priorities was equally important. I worked while earning a double major and was able to pay my bills in addition to gaining experience that helped me obtain the job that I am currently in."
-- Sarah B. University of Iowa, Iowa Business/ Finance Major
Last Reviewed: May 2017
Latest College & Financial Aid News
May 16, 2017
by Susan Dutca
The chances of getting into a private college at a significantly discounted price are fairly high these days, according to a new report by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. But have students always paid those crazy expensive college tuition costs? [...]
May 8, 2017
by Susan Dutca
Roughly half of foster youth graduate high school or receive a high school equivalency diploma by age 19, and less than four percent of foster children earn a bachelor's degree. Getting into college and paying for it is already difficult, so how do foster youth in higher education overcome seemingly impossible obstacles? [...]
May 1, 2017
by Susan Dutca
May 1st is National College Decision Day! There are so many colleges from which to choose and a lot of students are applying to several schools, some even more than a dozen. Naturally, the cost of college will be a major deciding factor for many of you and continuing to find outside scholarships could be very helpful to most. Students are wary of taking out too many student loans and possibly even forego a more prestigious school in favor for a less expensive college if they fear they won't able to afford the tuition without taking on enormous student debt. One way to avoid doing this and help make college affordable is by applying to free college scholarships. There's no reason you shouldn’t be able to attend your dream college - you still have time to pocket some free college scholarship money before heading off to college! [...]