myUsearch blog

Honest college information — choose, apply, get into and pay for college.

How to Afford Your College Choice

April 04, 2012 By: Julie Manhan Category: Aid for College

After that college acceptance letter arrives, you are likely to hear, How am I going to pay for this? from students and parents alike.  With the rising cost of college, more and more prospective freshmen are faced with the very real quandary of how to finance their college choice.  It can take determination, sacrifice and a good amount of creativity, but below are five creative ways to help cover the cost of your college choice.

  1. Make the most of your graduation gifts.  Even though you may have had other plans for that graduation money, using it to help pay for your college choice is one of the wisest things to do.   Also, you might want to consider preparing a list of things you will need to buy for your dorm room, as well as a list of helpful gift cards, so you can pass that info on when friends or relatives ask what you would like for graduation.
  2. Include having a job in your college plan.  There are often campus jobs that will allow you the freedom to set your own hours or study while you’re at work.  Though some of these  jobs may be reserved for work study students, there are usually a wide variety of campus jobs available.  If you can’t find a job that will allow you to study, look for a job that includes perks that will save you money (i.e. free meals or good employee discounts on things you need for your dorm room or apartment.).  Also, although they are harder to come by, paid internships are a great way to make money while improving your skills.
  3. Explore creative ways to get general ed credits.    There may be a way to pick up those credits while spending less money.  Find out if your college choice will accept credits from your local community college, online classes, or through the CLEP® tests for any of those classes.  A little research now could save you a lot of money later.
  4. Rent or buy used textbooks.  It may be more convenient, but buying books at the college bookstore is going to cost you.  Instead, consider buying or renting textbooks online.  One caution:  make sure you are buying or renting the correct edition of the book!
  5. Keep applying for scholarships.  Scholarships aren’t just for freshmen.  In fact, you may find that you are eligible for more scholarships at the college you are attending once you have proven that yourself as a college student.  The financial aid office at your college choice should have a list of scholarships for current students.  If you happened to receive a scholarship from a local organization while you were still in high school, be sure to check with them to see if it is renewable.

Paying for college is definitely a challenge, but with a little creativity, there are ways to reduce your costs! Good luck!!!