If you're a high school student you've probably heard over and over from counselors, teachers and parents that getting a college education is one of the best things you could do in life. They say that for a good reason and there are a few things you can start doing in high school that will help you benefit in the long-term when it comes to paying for your pricey education.
But first I want to give you a a few statistics that will give you clarity as to why you should go to college. According to the Board of Labor Statistics, a government agency, from the year 1992 till 2009, a person with a Bachelor's degree is less likely to be unemployed than someone who just graduates from high school. In the year 2009, the unemployment rate for someone holding a Bachelor's degree was at about 5.2% while someone with just a high school diploma is very close to 10%.
Of course, these are national averages but it gives a good indication of how valuable a college degree can be to your future. But the question of how to pay for this still remains and whether you know it or not, there are steps you can do to better assure your future and to stay out of huge loads of student loan debt.
First, you need to focus in on the classes you are currently taking. Don't fall for the lie that high school is all about taking it easy. It's not. Start taking AP courses and dual credit courses. The AP classes will help you prepare for the AP tests which if you do well on can earn you college credit. The dual credit is an actual course you will have to take at a community college that counts as a high school and college credit as long as you making a passing grade.
Second, you need to think about getting familiar with the process of finding scholarships and filling them out. Most of the time it's better to sort out the scholarships you find in order from most winnable to least winnable. Typically, it's easier to win a local or state scholarship than to win a national scholarship. And even if the amount is small, pretty soon the small amounts start to add up. It's free money for college so there's really nothing to complain about.
Third, you need to do well on your college entrance exams also known as the ACT test or the SAT test. This is perhaps the most important thing to prepare for because it will determine where you can get in and how much extra money the college is willing to give you. In some cases if you have a score as high as a 32 on your ACT all of your school is paid for. That's basically like a full ride although you may see titled as a merit scholarship or a tuition discount.
Once you've implemented these critical steps, you will be well on your way to paying for you college education.
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