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Paying for College for Dummies Checklist

When it comes to paying for college only a handful of students could actually tell you how they plan to do it. In the previous post I talked about the importance of having a plan to acquire financial aid for college and today I want to give you a list of things you can do to start off right and have an action plan to follow.

1. Take AP Classes and Dual Credit

In order for you to pay for college you have to start as early as possible and taking AP classes and dual credit courses will diminish the costs of college by thousands of dollars.

For example, if you acquired a total amount of 30 hours (which is the typical limit of transfer credit to a university) and tuition costs are at $435 per hour you would save a total of $13,050. That's a huge amount and it's a great way you can start paying for college.

But keep in mind that you have to take advanced placement tests in order to get the AP credit while dual credit just requires that you take an actual course at a university. Check with your counselor for additional information.

2. Find Scholarships Early

The first thing I would focus on as far as scholarships is making sure you get a great score on your ACT test or SAT test because it not only affects what university accepts you, but how much money for college you get in your academic scholarship.

For example, I will have received over $12,000 in four years of attending college because I had a high enough ACT test score to get 1/3 tuition off of my total tuition for up to 15 hours every semester. When you look at the savings of my examples alone, there is already a total of $25,050. That's a huge cut already.

Of course you can get a lot more money than that with a high ACT score but you get the idea. Also, make sure you check the money for college you could receive at each of your prospective colleges to get the most money for your score.

The next step in finding scholarships for college is to look at the local level. I wrote a free e-book that outlines exactly where you can find these types of scholarships simply sign up for my newsletter at the top of this page.

Once you find local scholarships you need to conduct a search for scholarships on websites like and so that you can start applying for those you are eligible for. Many times, you can find scholarships for all grades in high school so get going soon so you can start paying for college.

3. Pick the Right College

Whether you know it or not, looking into the college costs of your prospective colleges is perhaps one of the most overlooked details. Once you get your financial aid package from each university make sure you sit down and compare. Keep in mind that just because you attend a popular college doesn't mean you will be successful. Here is a post by Chris an AP history teacher on affordable colleges .

It's more important to be financially stable than to load yourself down with unsustainable debt. It's important for you and for your future family. Here's more information on how you can start paying for college .

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