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Summer’s getting on to its last month and a lot of students have to be wondering just what it’s going to be like to head off to college and start that new experience as they try to find a place in the world by gaining an education. Do any of them ever think that they might be able to do that without incurring the kind of debt that comes from taking on the average student loan?

Probably not, the glitz and glam that’s dashed away by the hard fact that college is actually WORK tends to erase all thoughts of this from their mind unless they’re the ones footing the bill. And because of financial aid, their parents, and various other factors a lot of students are going to be looking at a pretty hefty bill when their schooling is done and they have to find a job to start paying it back. Oh yeah, those lenders will want that money back once you’ve gained an education. In fact they’ll want it back quicker if you decide college isn’t for you and drop out.

There are ways around debt if you know how to look.

For instance if you apply for scholarships and grants there’s a good chance that you won’t have to pay back a cent, but going to school on grants and scholarships can only last so long as they only pay out so much and aren’t nearly as available in some areas as you would think. When all is said and done many students will still be going on financial aid and will start to rack up a debt. The smart ones however will learn how to start paying it off a bit a time in order to lessen the load when it finally hits them full force.

Expensive schools aren’t always better.

Remember in Good Will Hunting when Matt Damon punked the uppity, ivy-league know-it-all that tried to embarrass his friend? He made a claim that the guy dropped thousands of dollars on an education that could have cost him less than a couple bucks at the local library. While that’s hard to imagine it’s pretty much true, but it also implies that a person can teach themselves better than college-educated professors. Unfortunately folks like this, while they do exist, are rare. If we could all do such a thing then colleges might start shutting down left and right.

Or not. College is at times more than just an opportunity to increase your intelligence and have a good time. It’s a prestige thing, something that a person can claim on a resume, or talk about with others as in “When I was in blah blah blah”. It’s a bit pathetic if people have to brag about where they went to school, largely because the moment they say the name many people might be seeing dollar signs hanging over the person’s head like the dreaded monkeys from the Wizard of Oz.

To be quite honest you can get a great education for less money, but of course the prestige isn’t there. And more to the point people tend to pick their colleges based on several factors, and prestige is only one of them.

Believe it or not, trade schools beat out universities for success rates sometimes.

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Trade schools tend to be looked down upon since they aren’t quite as prestigious in the minds of some, even if the success rate is much higher in some instances. Trade schools teach more practical skills that people can apply before ever getting out of school, and the likelihood of finding a job is a lot greater sometimes. Quite honestly a student debt is still incurred much of the time but trade school graduates tend to pay off their debts a lot quicker since by gaining the experience their future employer wants they’re thinking a step ahead of the game. Unfortunately for those in universities and colleges the only real way to do this is to either already be employed and gain skills that are needed to advance in a career, or find an internship that will grant you the experience you need before graduating.

Otherwise those four or more years you spend studying could be little more than a lot of wasted money that won’t yield much when it’s time for you to get a job.

Universities are great and they can be a lot of fun as well as something impressive to show on your resume, but there’s no guarantee of a job after 4 years.

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