By Annalies Corbin
We are coming up on High School graduation season once again and students around the world are grappling with the “What’s next?” question. For many, this means making some major decisions about their futures, futures that are complicated by our still being in the grips of a global pandemic. So finding ways to be both strategic and thrifty when thinking about the cost of college is paramount. Below are five key ways to save money when considering college or technical training options.
The best way to reduce the cost of tuition for post-secondary education is to have a solid idea of what you want to achieve and accomplish via a post-secondary degree or career and technical training. Many students waste tuition dollars because they do not know what degree or training program makes the most sense, given their life and career goals.
1. Attend Workshops Or Summer Programs First and foremost, if you are still in high school (or middle school), explore potential career options through actual experience. Attend workshops or summer programs in a diverse set of potential careers to see what really gets you jazzed. For example you think you want to be a nurse but quickly discover you do not like the sight of blood, so maybe healthcare is not really for you. By exploring different career options, you will save thousands of tuition dollars by eliminating majors before you have to pay tuition.
2. Take A General Education Online or College Course If you have the option to take real college credit (not AP but actual college credit) while still in high school then do so. Take a general education course online or at your local college. This will help you to determine if “college” is even the right path for you. Maybe try a course at a local career tech as well. Invest in what feels right.
3. Earn A Few Industry Recognized Stackable Credentials Earn a few industry recognized stackable credentials before college. The rate and pace of change of the college experience, especially in the wake of all the online learning advances in post-secondary, means it is a buyer’s market when it comes to earning degrees. College will never look the same again and colleges and universities are competing for your tuition. So demand more for less.
4. Affordable Alternatives To College Be on the lookout for bargain basement alternatives to college. Community colleges that have articulation agreements with local four-year institutions will save you a bundle. From there you will then still be able to earn the full degree at the college or university of your choice.
5. Online Degrees Online degrees are real degrees. Do not let your peers or parents tell you otherwise. Again, you can save a bundle, often finish your degree or credential program in a fraction of the time, and come out with more change in your pockets by choosing to pursue an online degree through a college or university.
Finally, always remember that your future is yours. You can have a wonderful and fulfilling career that both inspires your spirit and provides a paycheck.
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