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What is the best way to graduate college debt free?

How can I graduate college debt free without overworking myself? #debtfree #college #career

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Zohra’s Answer

Hi Rhealyn,

Not knowing your age, I'd say if you're in High School get a scholarship (merit/ athletic) to school within your academic range to higher and a few lower, to be safe (community schools, SUNY, Private).

Go to the admissions office of the college/ university you accepted and talk to them about your financial situation. They will try to find more aid for you or keep you in the loop for conditional scholarship. That is when you have a 3.5 or higher and the school pays for part of or all of your tuition. There's also work study, paid internship, working in the college (being an RA, work in library etc), and outside scholarship you can apply for.

I worked really hard to get a full scholarship to college, so I ended up being paid to get my Bachelors, but coming form humble beginnings, I know how scary and difficult that is. My brother was not so fortunate, but the advice I provided above helped him reduce his debt at a private University from 50K a year to 6k a year

Hope this helps and good luck!
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Ken’s Answer

One of the first most important things to keep in mind is that everyone does not have to go to college to succeed in life. Here is an interesting sites to visit:

Should You Go To College

https://medium.com/the-mission/high-school-is-over-should-you-go-to-college-b5b6db6f6712

<span style="color: black;">Value of College</span>

https://medium.com/the-mission/the-value-of-the-college-degree-is-crashing-heres-how-to-fix-it-cd7a1e116396

<span style="color: black;">My Biggest Regret: Going to College</span>

https://medium.com/the-mission/my-biggest-regret-in-life-going-to-college-ef2068f179cf

Ken recommends the following next steps:

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .
The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
If you do plan on attending college, here are some tips that will help you to do it more economically: Reduce Costs: http://www.educationplanner.org/students/paying-for-school/ways-to-pay/reduce-college-costs.shtml Balance College: https://www.unigo.com/in-college/college-experience/creating-a-workschool-balance-a-college-student-perspective http://www.mycollegesuccessstory.com/academic-success-tools/college-life-balance.html http://www.collegeconfidential.com/dean/000241/
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Emily’s Answer

Hi Rhealyn,
As someone who was able to graduate debt free by working throughout college (starting with little to no savings) let me start by saying- it's possible but it was a lot of work. I know not everyone is financially able to do this but I was blessed in that my parents let me live at home for free while I completed my education.
The best way to set yourself up for success is learning to be disciplined and setting up habits and a money mindset that will allow you to move forward. Start at a community college, go to a school you can afford, apply for scholarships (even if you don't think you will receive any money- do it. you never know), and work at a job that pays you for your time. It doesn't need to glamorous, it just needs to pay for your education.

I went the community college route and completed my Associates degree for transfer in 2 years. This meant I was able to complete the general education classes and several in my major at a lower cost. While I worked through school and paid for these community college classes I worked and saved in mind for transferring. Once I transferred I was able to graduate in 2 years with my BA.

This is the time to mention scholarships: apply for fafsa, and look into any scholarships you might qualify for. While I didn't receive any during my time in school, personally I got money back on taxes after I graduated because I kept up with paperwork.

Look at the cost of tuition at the school you wish to attend, and to make a list for yourself. Figure out what you want your degree in, how many classes you will need for that, and account for tuition, books, and gas or transportation to classes if on campus. (Note: my university was quarter based at the time which meant my full tuition was due every 10 weeks instead of the semesters 16 week intervals).

From there take a look at your budget, set aside how much you need for daily living, and push as much as you can towards saving for your education goals. I did set aside a small amount of "fun" money each month. Typically about $25-35 for the month to go to a movie, or out to dinner, or to pay for a theme park pass at the time) if I spent that money for the month I wouldn't be able to do more "fun" things. That meant my splurge would sometimes be a new nail polish color (for manicures I did myself) If I wanted my hair cut & colored that came out of my budget for my fun money over the course of a few months.

Finally: be prepared to be really "boring" for a while. I was either working, doing homework, or in classes for several years of my life. Sometimes I worked three jobs for short periods of time because I knew I would need to have more in savings to pay for classes. I've been an overachiever in everything so I was working, had internships, had 18+units every semester/quarter I was in school, and still got to do a few fun trips and things.
I wish you the best, and I'm cheering you on! You can do this!!
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Gloria’s Answer

An option to lower your education cost is to start at a local community college. Most majors require core basic classes. These classes are transferable to most colleges.
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