Fewer kids are going to college these days. While this is bad news for the economy, it’s understandable that college isn’t for everyone, AND that’s okay. College can cost between $10,000 – $40,000 approximately.
That’s more than most high school graduates make in a year. If kids (and parents) need to start thinking about how to avoid debt, do some research on the pros and cons of college before jumping into it blindly. Don’t get me wrong – having a degree is super helpful when looking for jobs. But, what you study matters too.
Here are six questions to ask yourself before going to college.
#1 What are your career goals, and how do you think college will help you achieve them?
What career path do you see yourself taking? You can plan your future career while you are still in school. Most degrees lead to professions, so the question of what degree to get is equally important as deciding on a major. If you don’t know what career path you want, that’s okay too. Try joining some clubs or activities related to areas that interest you and see if you like them.
Also, keep in mind not all career paths immediately require a 4-year degree. Real estate agents and massage therapists can complete training and start working in the field the same year. Some careers, such as engineering or law, may require a graduate degree. But again, these are things you can research while still in school.
#2 Why do you want to go to college – is it because of the social life or for a specific degree?
This question is important because not everyone needs to go to college. Some people prefer to start working and making money while they are young. If you decide not to get a degree, there’s no shame in that (you still deserve respect and admiration).
It may be one of the best decisions for your future. However, if you want a social life, you should reconsider. College isn’t always the best choice for socialization. But if you are super excited about meeting new people and going to parties, you might make some great friends in college.
#3 Do you have any scholarships available that can reduce the cost of tuition?
If money is a factor for your family, this is a good question to ask yourself. If you want to cut down on the cost of tuition, look into scholarships, such as Nancy Etz, and grants first. They could reduce your tuition down to 0. And if they don’t completely cover it, at least they can bring it down a little bit.
#4 How much debt are you willing to take on to get a degree?
Debt is one of the main reasons students decide not to attend college. While it’s okay to have some debt, remember that you will have to pay this money back with interest. If you’re unsure how much debt you’re willing to take on, try to stick to a number you can payback. If you’re willing to take on $40,000 in debt, it would probably be smarter to live at home and attend community college for two years first.
#5 Would going to a community college be an option for saving money and gaining credits before transferring over?
If you don’t know exactly what degree you want, this question is important, but you know the career path. A community college can help you save money by cutting down on tuition and grant credits that may transfer over to 4-year colleges if something doesn’t work out.
It’s a great way to test the waters before deciding on your future. But remember, community colleges typically don’t have the same resources as 4-year colleges, so it might be harder to find what you’re looking for.
#6 Is there anything else that would make attending college worth it for you – such as being close to home, having access to certain clubs?
This question is important for people who want to go away for college. If you’re not the type of person that wants to leave your family and friends behind, going to a college close to home may be a good option. Some colleges have more resources than others. If there’s a specific club or activity that you’re interested in, make sure the college you choose has it. Otherwise, you’ll be out of luck.
So, these are some questions to ask yourself before going to college. They aren’t definitive and won’t cover everything, but they are a great place to start. While going to college is a wonderful experience, it can be difficult to prepare for life after graduation. It’s okay if you don’t have the answers right now! You’ll figure them out in time.