Can making good grades really save you money in college? Yes— but it’s important to plan your education as much as you can, and be on the lookout for “bargains”.
The first way to save is obvious: don’t fail classes. A failed class is a waste of time, a waste of energy, and a waste of your own money. And having to repeat a required course means that you’re falling behind in your college career.
But saving in subtler ways requires a long-range plan for your education. Most of us couldn’t predict our exact careers entering high school, but we’ve all had a general idea of where we wanted to go.
So, take AP courses in your strongest subject areas. Once you pass the AP exam, you’ll receive college credit for a fraction of what that course would cost at a university.
Depending on the subject and prerequisites, you can also enroll in community college courses. Most community colleges offer university level classes that prepare students for college, usually with college credit. These classes are also significantly cheaper, and may even let high-performing high school students enroll.
When you research potential colleges, there’s a chance to save money— public schools can offer comparable programs to private ones at lower costs.
After you’ve been accepted to a school, you should examine the credit hours you’ve accumulated and the major you’re interested in, and ask if you can graduate in less than three years. Your advisor will help you here— it may not always be possible, but it’s a guaranteed money saver.
One way to cut graduation time is to take summer courses. Sometimes they cost less than during regular semesters, but they’re always more focused and intense. Many students think this intensity makes taking boring requisites easier.
You can take online courses anytime during the year. They too can be cheaper, and are perfect if you need flexible class time.
And if regardless if you’re yearning for Master’s school (and beyond) or you want to join the workforce, choose a degree that suits your destination. Do your homework and know what employers or grad schools are looking for… and then set out for it.
Note: Cutting the cost of a higher education can also reduce the amounts you may have to repay with student loans.
Anyway: my name is Alexander Carl. I am a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I spent four blissful years earning a degree in Communication Studies. Now I face the real world of economic downturns, student loans, and the absence of “academic” camaraderie.
Yet I refuse to be bummed. My economic philosophy is to live simply, save, and maximize whatever I can. Consumer culture is undeniably pervasive, but you don’t have to sell your soul to co-exist with it— there is great power from using your economic resources wisely.
I started writing when I figured out how to hold a pencil. Since then I’ve written short stories, poetry, screenplays, and have blogged. In fact, three of my screenplays have been produced into short films, two of which I directed. I’m no stranger to the media, having served as a DJ at a freeform radio station and worked as a crew member for live TV.
Pastimes include traveling (I’ll visit virtually anywhere), swimming, jogging, hiking, and hunkering down with a good movie.
Overall I’m a peaceful person, though not in a creepy New Agey way. I get my energy from music, good conversation, and the outdoors (I was an active Boy Scout, earning my Eagle). I consider myself “inquisitive” and “wry”, and for the sake of autobiography I’ll assume that I am.