If you have ever wondered if you can get a degree without being suffocated with loans, the answer is yes, you absolutely can. Here are a few tips that helped me and that could be of good use for you to get that degree that you have always wanted to, without having to go into debt.
1. Avoid big name schools, they do not define your success
Your college doesn’t define you (but you can define your college) — Chelsea Diehl
We all know about millionaires who went to ordinary universities (or did not go to college at all) and yet went way up on their careers. They have taught us a simple lesson that great results come from trying and working hard.
Going to well-known universities does not mean that you will have greater success than someone who went to a less known one.
Success depends on drive and efforts. It is more about discipline and not giving up. Save that money for other things, such as rent, equipment and other necessary things.
2. Don’t rush into finishing school fast
You don’t go to university so you can punch a clock. You go to university so you can be in a position to make a difference — Janet Napolitano
No one will care if you finished university in two years, four or five. What matters is how well you do during school years. Remember that you still need to have a healthy lifestyle, eat well, sleep enough, and enjoy life too.
College is only a short phase, and it is there for you to learn not only about your classes but also about life, self-reliance, and other interpersonal skills that will shape you into a different person.
Investing in learning new skills is essential, especially during school. You never know what the companies you will be working at are attracted most in you, therefore enrich your talents as much as you can.
When you take university at your own pace, you tend to perform better without burning out, you have more time to work and to build more soft skills that you might use later on in your career. You can potentially cover most of your expenses through work instead of loans which will take you many years ahead financially.
3. Monetize your talents
Every talent can be monetized, you just don’t know how yet.
Having multiple streams of income will make school much easier, and in the best-case scenario, you will be able to save for later too. You can pay little expenses such as food, clothes, equipment or even rent.
Keep in mind that the struggle does not end on graduation day. You need to think about it after graduating too. Having some income coming in before you start working full time is relieving and reduces a lot of stress. It will also give you the luxury of choosing the perfect job for you instead of rushing into any unsatisfying job just for the sake of the money.
I monetized some of my skills, and I was able to save a ton of money after graduation. I paid off my car loan early and was able to pick the perfect career for myself. Even now, as I am writing this article, it is my passion but also another source of income.
4. Work towards scholarships
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest — Benjamin Franklin
I agree that it is not easy to maintain good grades, especially when you are working too, but scholarships really play a big part in finances at school.
Keep in mind that there are also scholarships that do not depend on your grades, and they are offered by different institutions and groups of people. Usually, these scholarships are less known for other reasons, but they are massively available. You only need to do some research and apply.
5. Prioritize paying debt
Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today — Malcolm X
Little loans here and there take some portions of monthly income that might seem small on the surface but do make a difference in the longer term. Work towards paying them off, especially the ones that involve interest.
Never finance entertainment goods and services, it is so not worth it. If you are ever taking a loan, it should be about important things such as a car, house, etc. Additionally, too many loans could hurt your credit score, which you must be building at this time.
6. Avoid unnecessarily expensive gadgets/tools
You’ve got to tell your money what to do or it will leave — Dave Ramsey
Why buy the latest laptop at a very expensive price when you don’t even need its latest features? Buy something that will help you excel and do great in your projects and schoolwork. You will have time for fancy gadgets after graduation.
7. Work a few months before starting university
We may live in an age of instant messaging, instant gratification and Instagram, but there is no way to short circuit the path to success — Tory Burch
Gathering some good amount of money before starting school could help you get ahead with your expenses until you settle down and learn your way around university life.
This will allow you to focus entirely on school and your performance instead of having to worry constantly about finances.
Being loan-free is more about being wise with your choices than having actual money.
When you decide to go to college, work for some time prior to starting school.
Choose universities that you can actually learn at, don’t chase their name. The university you go to does not define you.
While at school, avoid buying unnecessary expensive tools and gadgets and prioritize paying a debt.
Do not rush into finishing your education but work on improving your skills instead.
Work towards getting a scholarship which will take away the expense of tuition.
Last but not least, monetize your talents. There is nothing better than earning money doing what you love most!
The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you — B.B. King
Keep dreaming, keep learning.
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