Some people ask why go to college when you could do A, B or C? The debate on whether you should go to college or not has intensified recently for several reasons. This is particularly close to home for those in the United States. No matter where you stand, a college education is still important today even though the cost of earning a degree keeps increasing at an alarming rate. So, what should you do?
There are several alternatives to a university education if you cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars for four years and then a life-time of crippling debt.
Why Go To College – Alternative Routes
1) Community Colleges Cost a Fraction
I know, you are probably thinking; “community college? Hell No!” I want to go to a big school and experience all the things my friends are going through. You want to look cool when you come back home for a break? Don’t fool yourself. That coolness will only last until you receive your first bill from the student loan service company only to realize that you cannot afford it.
Here are just a few reasons why going to a community college is the smarter and cheaper way for many people:
- If you enroll in the AP classes while still in high school, you might have your first two years of college paid for you if you qualify. Do you know how awesome it is to not have to worry about paying tuition fees?
- Many community colleges are cheaper especially if you live within a given area or city. That means you can commute easily from your home to school. You won’t need to spend a dime for the dormitory. Find a job close to home and pay your own tuition if your parents cannot afford.
- Transfer your credits to a four year institution once you have completed your first two years. Before enrolling in classes at the community, check with your future university to make sure that they accept credits from that particular community college. That means you won’t have to repeat classes once you arrive there. You will only need two more years at the university to graduate with a degree but only after spending half the cost of what your other ‘cool’ friends did.
- Graduate with an associates degree and get a job before transferring to the four year institution. You might have seen why this makes total sense; many companies hire employees with associates degrees. You just have to look around. If you think about it, your parents will see that you are working hard towards independence and financial freedom. They don’t want you back in their basement. Once you have graduated from a community college, you can pay part of your tuition from your income and even further reduce the amount of debt in your name.
Those are just a few reasons why you should consider attending a community college every time you ask yourself “why go to college at all?”
2) Online Courses and Certifications
The second alternative to earning a degree and that will cost you little to no money at all is free online courses. Obviously you cannot be a doctor or nurse by teaching yourself everything. You get the idea. Many big name schools offer free top-notch courses online and some of them charge a small fee to earn credit. That means you can enroll in those particular courses, earn credits and transfer them to your college. That will save you a lot of money!
Certifications are sometimes used in place of a degree by companies who want to hire experienced employees for industries like software. If you can prove that you have what it takes, you will get the job. Certifications cost way less than a degree and most importantly, you evade the debt monster.
3) Teach Yourself by Doing
Some people prefer hands-on experience when it comes to learning things in life. Instead of spending four of your precious years sitting in a classroom learning how to start a business, just start one and learn how it works. You will be taking risks no doubt but you will be able to understand what it takes to deal with customers, make mistakes and finally succeed.
Another example is teaching yourself programming which many people can do. All you need is a cheap computer to start off and with an internet connection to access thousands of resources online. You can create mobile apps, web applications and even work on large scale projects once you get experience needed. You can also attend classes that you need and avoid all the useless courses that you will never need in your life ( well, this is debatable because some courses are there for a reason while some, I don’t quite get the point).
Student loans are expensive to repay. You don’t need a degree to know this fact. Just ask your neighbor or your teachers. You don’t have to bury yourself in debt just because of the hype. Sure, going to Stanford or Caltech is awesome, only if you can afford it. My advice is simple: Four years of student loans will set you back years and years and you don’t need it. Why go to college only to spend the best part of your life paying someone? It doesn’t make much sense to me either!
The Student Loan companies are not your friends and will never be. They want to make money and that is their mission. If you want to read something that will open your eyes even wider, click here.
Finally, I am not saying going to college is a bad thing. It is sometimes worth it unless of course you have to mortgage your future for it. These are my opinions and mine alone!
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