Paying off your student loans can be one of the biggest financial issues in your 20s. College graduates often struggle with paying down student loans as they try to find the perfect job after college. As we try to plan our Friday nights, struggle with relationships, and try to save some money, these darn student loans just keep on lingering.
Can you blame student loans for bad credit? Unfortunately in many cases you can. The money that you owe will affect your credit score and your credit worthiness when you apply for a home mortgage. The good news is that you’re not alone at this. You don’t have to hate your student loans.
Today we’re going to be proactive and look at how-to avoid student loans:
Attend a community college.
If you want to know how to avoid student loans then look no further and consider attending community college. This is what I did personally. When I was 17 I had no idea how I would pay for college or how in the world I would compete academically. This was when I made the most mature decision of my life and decided to attend community college. I was able to work full-time hours, perform well academically, and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I decided half way through that I would transfer to a major university once my tenure was complete.
One of the hidden benefits of attending community college is that you meet lots of adults. Community college courses tend to be filled with an older crowd. This allowed me to learn from older people while I tried to figure out how to avoid student loans when I went to university.
Take time off before college.
I was in a hurry to continue with my education because I knew that if I took time off I would never get back into it. I’m always skeptical about giving out this advice when it comes to learning how to avoid student loans because the person may never return to college. If you truly believe that you’re focused and determined, then taking some time off before college to work and save up money will do great things for your financial situation.
Hold a part-time job.
This is the most difficult to do, yet it’s the best advice that I can give to any college student out there. If you can figure out how to manage your time effectively, have fun (drink!), and still hold down a job, then you’ll be able to move on to amazing things in life. Think of all of the people out there that study while taking care of a family, why can’t you hold a part-time job? If you’re a dedicated 20-something a part-time job can really help you avoid student loans.
Apply for every form of free money.
I wish I knew about this earlier. Thankfully I was able to get some “free money” as I worked my butt off to ensure that I graduated from college debt free. A few common sources of free money include:
- Bursaries. Each school usually has a bursary fund that it uses to distribute a little bit of money to cash-strapped college students. One semester my friend convinced me to apply for a bursary. I didn’t really take it seriously and I still received a check for $200.
- Grants. Another popular way to avoid student loans.
- Scholarships. We will get into this in the future. Scholarships are all around us. Usually all you have to do is fill out a form and write a 1,000 word essay.
Take a program with paid internships.
This will do wonders for your financial future. My cousin earned his degree in Engineering from a very academically competitive school. The real accomplishment is that he was able to graduate from college debt free. He was able to avoid student loans because his program REQUIRED all students to work every other semester. The more disciplined students were able to figure out how to save enough money for the next semester while still having some fun.
Most programs come with paid internships that you have to find on your own. If you want to think about college programs that force you to take internships then consider one of the following options:
- Technical programs.
Through a paid internship you will likely be able to avoid student loans and be able to move on with the rest of your life.
I’m confident that by this point you know how to avoid student loans and won’t have to blame student loans for bad credit.
How were you able to avoid student loans?
(photo credit: Adam Tinworth)