How To Financially Prepare for College

financially prepare for college

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  • With tuition, housing, books, and more, there’s no denying it—college is expensive, and you’ll have to find a way to pay for it.

    If you’re preparing to transition from high school to a new, exciting college career, these tips on how to financially prepare for college will help you offset the costs.

    Start Budgeting

    Before anything else, you’ll need to budget. The cost of your respective college, the type of housing you choose, and your lifestyle choices can all affect the amount you’ll be spending.

    If you plan to live at home, you’re unlikely to encounter any additional housing costs—but what if you choose to live in a dorm or a shared apartment? And we all know that private school is more expensive.

    If you attend a public school, you might walk away with a few thousand in loans, but if you enroll at a higher-end, specialized school, you could wind up with more.

    Then there’s the question of day-to-day expenses—do you live a modest lifestyle, or do you love to travel, party, and shop? Factor in the price of your favorite activities, hobbies, and foods.

    It can be easy to underestimate your budget, so plan accordingly. It’s wise to have some additional savings in the case of an emergency.

    Get a Summer Job

    It’s your last, fleeting summer before you head off to college, so shouldn’t it be fun? There’s nothing wrong with focusing on your hobbies and relaxing, but if you have some extra time, consider getting a part-time job.

    As a student, you can earn up to $6,600 without it affecting your financial aid. You can use this extra money as an emergency fund or to pay off a semester or two of expenses.

    Apply for Scholarships

    There are thousands—if not millions—of scholarships available for future and current college students. Put together a list of scholarship resources, and start applying. You can find scholarships that are general or more specific. Some apply to students with disabilities or those going into a certain field.

    Some colleges give out automatic scholarships to their students based on their academic success in high school. Once you’ve received your acceptance letter, ask if these programs exist and, more importantly, if you qualify.

    Writing essay after essay can get tiring, so don’t be afraid to take breaks. You should apply to as many scholarships as you can, but don’t wear yourself out in the process!

    Borrow Student Loans

    Another tip on how to financially prepare for college is to apply for loans when necessary. You can take out federal student loans, but remember that there’s a limit. If you can’t cover all your college expenses with them, you can turn to private loans instead.

    other valuable tips:

    It’s good to familiarize yourself with the different types of student loan programs, too. You don’t need to make payments while you’re in school, but when the time comes, it’s good to be aware of your options.

    If you have extra income, it’s a good idea to start paying back your loans early. When the official payment period begins, you’ll have less to pay and, in the end, accrue less interest.

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