Recently a conversation at our dinner table turned into a chat about college. My sister is in the ninth grade, but time flies. We discussed several options to reduce her college bill and I share six of them below. My main advice was to work hard and get good grades as this will eventually help her pay for her higher education.
AP Classes – Taking advanced placement classes is one way to reduce your college bill – as long as you pass the end of the year exam. These courses are college-level and you can earn college credit. If students pass the exam, it will be one less class to worry about. My sister will take a couple of AP classes when she’s in her junior year.
Community College – There still seems to be a stigma about going to a community college for two years and then transferring. But with classes being around $20 – $35 per unit, you can’t beat the price! Taking basic classes at a community college will reduce your college bill. No one will ever know you attended a community college as your diploma will only have the name of the university you last attend. Another option is to start taking college courses during the summer if available while in high school. I was able to take a couple course and received college and high school credit.
Scholarships – This may seem like an obvious recourse, but not many take advantage of the opportunities. Many scholarships don’t have many requirements. Make sure to have your high schoolers to apply for anything that they qualify even if the amount is small. Have them talk to their college advisers or head over to their high school’s Financial Aid office, as well, as high school students can start applying even if they don’t know where they’re attending.
In-state tuition – My sister has an idea of where she wants to go for college. She’s even eying some out of state colleges. Wowsa! I talked to her about the benefits of choosing in-state universities. One of those perks is that it will cost less. Going out of state will cost a couple thousand more per unit.
Stick with your major/college – The more you change schools, or change majors, the more time you lose, and the more expensive college gets. Each time students change their minds, they are losing credits that need to be made up. Therefore, it’s wise for them to start thinking of what they want to do. Internships during the summer are a great way to explore careers!
Volunteer Work – Many scholarships require volunteer work and high school is a great time to start giving back to your community. Students in high school can also start networking and this will help them land scholarships in the future. All they have to do is ask for letters of recommendations for free money and university applications.
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