Tips on Hunting and Paying for College

Adam Darling, Reporter

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It’s that of year again: The holidays are over and midterms are imminent.

For the seniors, who have sent in their applications, now is when they start hearing back from the colleges and universities where they seek enrollment.

However, there are a lot of questions to be asked, the why and the how these schools were chosen. For many students, the learning environment makes the difference.

“Worcester Polytechnic Institute is my top choice because of its small size and project based learning,” said senior Ryan Vitko.

Senior Acacia McDowell, who is already accepted into Southern New Hampshire University, finds a combination of location, academics, and student interaction as vital components, and finds that visiting the campus helps lock in that “I belong here” feeling.

“Everything people say about how you have to visit first because it is all about the feeling you get is totally true. When I got there, I just knew,” said McDowell.

McDowell continued: “Plus, they have an amazing psychology program and amazing students. They get you into your field of choice in your freshman year. Also, it is exactly in the middle of my mom’s house and my dad’s.”

While the why varies from student to student, the how to pay for the next few years is constant – scholarships and financial aid.  For help with the latter,  Financial Aid Night is January 14 at 6:30 p.m.  in the Lancer Media Center.

To make life easier in your future, here are some helpful hints to limit those pesky debts (not that they are for everyone):

Go to community college for general education credits

With college costing up to $60,000 a year, why spend so much money to have to take a class like Biology 101? Attending a community college like Three Rivers or a satellite campus of a major university such as UCONN – Avery Point allow incoming students to gain college experience by taking general education classes necessary for graduation, but at a much lower cost, limiting your debt.

Currently at Three Rivers, a student will pay roughly $2200 for 12 credits including books. Therefore, a student could get 24 credits for roughly $5000, not including money for commuting, compared to paying tens of thousands of dollars for the same classes at larger universities.

Work during your college years

Granted, if you are a full-time student, you should focus on your studies. However, working part-time not only allows you to earn money while gaining an education, but it also looks really good on future job applications. Students can also look into work study programs on campus

Take a year off

It may sound kind of weird, but here is the breakdown on this situation:  All of the stress about grade point averages and SAT/ACT scores is really unnecessary.

By taking a year off and moving to the state where you want to go to college and establishing residency – getting a job and paying that state’s income taxes, for example – you would get to pay in-state tuition, and you could still learn something about life at that college and its surrounding community.

By doing this, you could save anywhere near $20,000-$30,000 every year. This strategy works even better if you were to go to a southern college, where tuition is generally lower than northern schools.

 

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Tips on Hunting and Paying for College