I was well on my way to being over $100,000 in college debt when I graduated college…
By all means, being in college debt isn’t what I wanted or anyone else that I know would EVER want. But when you aren’t aware, you just don’t think about things like college debt.
At 17 years old, everyone keeps asking you two main questions:
-What college are you thinking of going to?
-What do you want to be when you grow up?
And I was tired of saying “I don’t know” and not having an answer so I just picked something. Anything sounded better than “I don’t know.” At the time I was taking a graphic design class in high school that I enjoyed. I’m a creative, artsy person who loved to work with computers so I picked that field. Looking back on things, schools really don’t teach you about many career options. They make it seem like your options are being a doctor, lawyer, accountant, teacher, fire fighter, police officer, etc. (All of those options can lead to college debt.) Little did I know, the main careers, weren’t the only careers. So, at 17, I chose to be a graphic designer.
But I still didn’t know what school I wanted to attend. Of course everyone wants you to go to their Alma mater so those were the schools that I started looking into and applying to— all which would leave to me acquiring college debt. I thought I had everything figured out when the college acceptance letters started rolling in. I did… until I received the financial aid award letter. They almost all consisted of some form of college debt.
$36,000 in loans!!! That is major college debt. Yes, I had received some scholarships from the schools, but most of the money that it cost to attend the school that I had my heart set on was in the form of loans, which is just college debt…
One Thing You Should Do To Avoid College Debt
One of the things that I failed to do in order to avoid college debt was to create a realistic list of colleges that covered all of my needs. Your college list should, of course, consist of schools that you or your child wants to attend, but that shouldn’t be the only thing that you take into account. The school also needs to be a “good-fit” academically, socially spiritually, and politically. Most importantly, it has to be AFFORDABLE (not just for the first year, but for all 4 years of college). That means the student should not come out with much college debt. The amount of college debt that I would owe was the component that I didn’t even think of when I went to apply to these colleges. The amount of college debt is also the component that everyone fails to mention when they tell you that you should go to their Alma mater. Affordability is so important. If you can’t afford the school, you most likely will not be able to graduate or will struggle trying to afford the school so that you can graduate. And if you can’t afford the school now, when you graduate that college debt will come into play when it is time to repay Sallie Mae. College debt is extra stress that no one wants.
So What Did I Do to Avoid College Debt?
My mother always told me that college debt was bad so I avoided college debt like the plague.
By: Shanice Miller, founder of DebtFreeCollegeGrad.com