As that time of the year rolls around, high school seniors can be seen scrambling through the hallways to attend information sessions and hunching over their laptops to add some finesse to their personal statements.
These final moments may be the culmination of years of preparation, endless hard work, and an unwavering dream to get into your ideal college. Whether you’re interested in a prestigious sports scholarship, want to major in a unique field, or hope to move to a college away from home, getting into your dream college is all that’s on your mind.
A lot of students every year face disappointment when they open the letter and realize they didn’t get into their dream school. If you’re one of the lucky ones that do receive a thick acceptance letter, the college dream continues to live on.
The only thing that changes is: you need to start working toward making your dream a practical reality.
As colleges get more expensive and evolving financial policies diminish many scholarships or financial aid opportunities, college becomes a distant, unattainable reality for many. When over 90% of U.S. colleges are rapidly becoming unaffordable, you can’t help but wonder: is my dream college worth it?
Choosing Between Public Vs. Private Institutions
For anyone applying to college, this is an important point to consider when it comes to getting the most out of your college investment. While private colleges may have a higher sticker price, they often have more to offer in terms of financial aid, grants, and scholarships.
With the increase in college prices surpassing wage increases by over 8 times, private colleges may still be too expensive for you to finance on your own. Add in the cost of room and board, as well as tuition fees, and you end up with a hefty amount that’ll set you back considerably.
Sure, a college degree will ideally help you secure a more financially lucrative job when you step out of its esteemed hallways, but how will that help you finance your education now? For many people, expecting their parents to fund their undergraduate education is nearly impossible.
While institutional grants and scholarships may pave the way for you in the first year or so, the amount may still be too much for you to cover without any additional assistance. After all, the average annual price tag of a private four-year college is $49,870 with an additional $10,869 for room and board.
Public colleges, on the other hand, have an annual average cost of about $22,011. These federal, state-funded colleges offer discounted tuition and boarding costs that make them much more affordable than their privately-owned counterparts.
Explore Your Financing Options
For students heading into college, the looming question continues to be: is it worthwhile to bypass my dream college?
This dream has been a long time in the making and the last thing you’d want is to forego the opportunity to attend a college you’ve always seen yourself graduating from. The good news is, there are other avenues you can explore if you’re looking to make your dream a reality—and they don’t involve securing a scholarship or getting a blank check from your parents!
Take out a loan
Empowering a brighter future for yourself involves taking control of the situation at hand. Student loans are a popular option for prospective college students who are looking to take control of their education’s finances.
Even if you’re not awarded a scholarship, you shouldn’t have to settle for a more affordable back-up that doesn’t quite live up to your college dreams. The Princeton Review noted that financial aid—in the form of loans—was considered “extremely necessary” for 87% of prospective students when considering college.
This is a popular choice for students everywhere when it comes to financing their education. Research found that 47% of public, 72% of private for-profit, and 59% of private non-profit college students had student loans to cover the cost of their education.
Supplementing your existing resources with funding from a loan will provide you with the necessary education and skills to hit the ground running and repay them in due time. A degree from a prestigious college should be able to set you off on the right foot when it comes to the job market and career prospects.
Refinance your student loans
This long-term strategy will help you finance your education while boosting your saving opportunities. Since student debt repayment becomes a point of contention for many once they leave college, especially if they attend a more expensive, dream college. While a lot of college graduates believe they’ll pay off loans in about 6 years, it can take many up to 20 years, according to a survey!
Student loan refinancing with Education Loan Finance is a viable option that offers greater flexibility, a more suitable repayment schedule, and favorable interest rates. Many private and federal borrowers avail the benefit of having the freedom to select a repayment plan that suits their needs—as well as their post-graduation career and good credit history. With interest rates dropping significantly, it makes send to refinance your student loans.
Go To Your Dream Graduate School
If you can’t seem to find a way to finance your undergraduate education or reconcile piling up four years’ worth of debt, postpone attending your dream school for a few years. There are countless high-paying careers that require a master’s degree, making graduate school a viable option for you.
The shorter span—the duration of the degree is two years—gives you a perfect opportunity to attend your dream school without breaking the bank or incurring debt. Since you’ll have a bachelor’s degree already, you can also save up to bolster your student loan or grants.
Financing your master’s degree with the help of federal or private borrowing gives you the chance to enroll in your dream college while having the freedom to repay them when you begin your professional career.
After a 4-year undergraduate degree, you’ll have a clearer idea of your career outlook and job prospects. This way, you’re better equipped to make the decision to enroll in the college of your choice.
The entire college admissions process can be grueling—especially when you have to choose between the college of your dreams and an affordable alternative. Just because you don’t have a blank check from your parents or a scholarship doesn’t mean you can’t make your college dreams a reality.