This fall there will be over 20 million students heading to college, either returning from summer break or arriving for the first time. If you’re one of those first-timers, you’re probably pretty excited and thinking a lot about making new friends, living in a dorm, going to parties, and what your classes will be like. You’re likely not, however, doing a whole lot of thinking about how much college will cost you.
Four years from now, when you’re going through the door in the opposite direction, your perspective will probably have changed. Two-thirds of all graduates will accumulate some kind of debt during school — whether that be student loans or credit card debt. And for some reason, male students will accrue more debt than their female peers; men average around $30k in student loans (compared to $23k for women) and nearly twice the non-loan debt (like credit cards) of their female counterparts ($18k to $9k). When you’re staring down that debt in your cap and gown, you may look back and wish you had done some things differently.
- They wish they had more actively pursued scholarships and financial aid.
- They wish they had pursued a different major that had more realistic job prospects and a higher starting salary.
- They wish they had gotten a job while in college and had started saving money earlier.
If you’re just beginning college, or even in the middle of it, you have the advantage of taking steps to address these potential future regrets now, instead of lamenting what you wish you had known as a frosh as you pull away from campus for the last time. Here’s how.
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