MoneyMoments | MidFirst Bank

Getting the Most Bang for Your College Buck

Seeking a college degree is one of the most rewarding journeys in your lifetime. Figuring out which school to attend and which major to study can be overwhelming. Add paying for college to the mix and it can be terrifying. Navigating the journey without proper research and planning can lead to financial mistakes that can impact you for many years after graduating. These five tips can set you on the right path to getting the most bang for your college buck.
  • Research the worst college degrees. Some of the degrees on the list might surprise you. If you are considering one of those degrees, do some additional research and reflection. Evaluate whether or not the availability of job opportunities and potential salary line up with your valued lifestyle and the amount you may need to borrow for your education. Consider making this passion your hobby or side hustle. That way your career can pay for your degree and your hobby can fuel your passion.
  • Researching programs within a college is often overlooked as students apply for schools. Some students pick schools based on where their family attended, where their friends are going, or the school’s football record. It is your life, your money, and your future. Choosing a school that fits your academic and financial goals is more important than where your aunt attended college. If you want to become a veterinarian, attend a school that has a veterinary program. Carefully look at the mandatory courses for the program you are considering. Do your talents and skills meld with these courses? For example, if you don’t like math, stay away from degrees like meteorology or engineering.
  • You will save thousands of dollars a year by attending a school in your state. While it may be necessary to attend an out-of-state school to pursue a particular degree not offered in your state, do the research to ensure you understand the total cost involved.
  • Graduating early saves you money and time. Most degrees require 120-130 credit hours, which are supposed to be completed in four years. Taking Concurrent Enrollment classes while you are in high school, taking AP/CLEP tests, summer classes, or intersession courses can save you time and money. Each year of college increases the total cost, which can impact student loan debt, and decrease income potential by postponing the start date of your career. Get in, buckle down, and graduate as quickly as possible.
  • Consider starting your college career at a community college or junior college. Attending a community or junior college to complete basic courses can save you a significant amount of money, and may even be free! Make sure the credits will transfer, and you’re on your way to obtaining a degree from your college of choice, at half the cost.
Establish your academic and financial goals before committing to any school. Make decisions based on what you value, rather than what others value. Enjoy your journey. It will be one of the most exhausting, exhilarating, and rewarding rides of your life!

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