Preparing for a College Degree…
What preparations do you make for your education?
I often get asked what students should do to prepare themselves for study in high school, then in college towards getting a degree. Well, that does sound like a nice tidy little package, right? WRONG! If you go in with rose-colored glasses on, prepare to have them ripped off and stomped upon.
Build a Budget for College
A note for those that have gone before you: Times have changed, and the amount of dollars you will spend now is about six times what you would have spent in the mid 1980s for the same level of education. In many cases, once you create your budget, the remark of, “We will send you to college just like my parents sent me.” may seem a bit passé.
Please keep in mind, many of the examples I am using are more towards the private, not public levels of schooling. It is sometimes wise to look into the worst case scenario – to snap you back to reality – to see where you can begin saving your money.
Starting with the basics, why participate with higher levels of education at all? What is the benefit? The first thing that most people consider is the higher pay. It also makes you more desirable to the workforce, as this table shows; you are less likely to be unemployed.
Employment vs. Education Level
Education Data and Statistics
I have accumulated a bit of data for you to peruse through. The statistics presented here are from the USA, but do reflect similar statistics in other countries with similar facilitation of education.
The cost of good education has skyrocketed!
Average Yearly Wages:
No High School Diploma – ~$23.500
High School Graduate – ~$41.500
Bachelor Degree – ~$55,000
Further Degrees – >$65,000
More than 55% of people in the prison system do not have a high school diploma.
Forbes also points out:
If, you spent $10,000 for college in 1986, today, that same amount of education will cost you $59.800. That is an increase of 500%.
The cost of education has exceeded the cost of living by 2.5 times. What your parents did when they went to school may not be the right decision for you if your finances do not support it. You must weigh the issues carefully.
Many college’s tuitions are ~$35,000/year – not including any other expenditures.
That is ~$140,000 for 4 years, plus expenses.
College room and board averages $9300/school year (~9 months), and some colleges charge over $14,000/year
Some students could easily see bills add up to $200,000 – $300,000 within 4 years.
If you racked up $300,000 on credit, how long would it take you to pay off your loan; 30 years or more?
In relative terms, the average house in the USA would cost you $152,000. If you put the same amount of money into a home, you would have at least 1 house, maybe 2 or more. (Location matters).
Spend 4 years “finding yourself” at college while accruing a huge debt
College is NOT like High School. You will be expected to consume 4 times the amount of information in one-forth the time. Using CONVENTIONAL study methods, you will be expected to study 4 hours each week for every hour you spend in class. If you have a 16 hour class-load, your extra study time will be 64 hours each week. Thus ~80 hours devoted to your studies per week. Have you come prepared? (A full time job is only 40 hours per week.)
Oops, we forgot to budget in all that extra coffee and caffeine you will be living on. (Trips to the coffee pot do not count against those 80 hours.) You better be prepared and have a budget and a game plan. If you do not, you will feel swindled by the higher educational system, and you are left with a potentially huge debt to remind you of the lesson.
Prepare for the inevitable. You know the amount of study you must do is ludicrous. Do you intend to have any sort of social life while you are in college? Just to fulfil your college dream, you may need to work at the same time. What are you willing to do to make this all possible? You are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars every year on your education, which mandates all that time on study. Will you be ‘time poor’?
Most students would be happy to decrease study time by 50%. What if you could cut it down to 10% or less? Are you willing to spend the tiniest amount on a training that will make your life so much easier? If so, then you should look into ZOX Pro Training.
Alternatives for your budget:
Internet Based College Courses – Live at home, travel to your class in your slippers. The restaurant is only as far as the kitchen. Room and board will be a minimum. The down side is, you will not be networking with others around you. The Internet based meetings are not the same as in person. Likewise, your lines of influence will not be as soundly grounded.
Commuting – This can take a big chunk out of the living expenses in one way, but will be adding some expenses in another. You may need to pay for parking, gas, maintenance, etc., if you are not using public transportation. Scheduling yourself around public transportation can be problematic.
Lesser Valued College – Using lower grade colleges, like community colleges, than where you want to graduate from for the first few years can have its’ own pitfalls. Better check ahead. Your scholastic credits may not be fully transferable.
Don’t worry. The “Big Boys” look out for themselves and make sure they shave off a few extra dollars with this strategy. It is likely if you want to graduate from one of the “big name” colleges, you will be paying much more than you expected, and in many cases taking the same classes over again, just to gain your credits. Therefore, additionally, you are wasting your precious time, as well as your money, for the sake of their bureaucracy.
If you want to see their eyes go wild, ask the college for a money back guarantee. Colleges only support a single direction of cash flow; from your pocket to theirs. We have never heard of one yet, that will return your money if they teach you something you will never use the rest of your life. There is no guarantee their information will be useful. If anyone knows of an accredited college offering even a 60-day money back guarantee for their services, let us know. We will give them some run time here. (Please limit this to major Universities in Countries such as USA, Canada, UK, Australia, etc., and provide the specific information for easy verification.)
CLEP – “Clepping”, or challenging, your courses is a way to put your graduation path to high speed. Many basic 4-year degrees can be achieved this way, with the least amount of expense accrued. Again, there plusses and minuses to getting your degree in this fashion.
You do have many options which you must weigh. It is quite a burden you will carry in your decision making process. You really need a way of pulling together all the information as quickly as possible. To make the best decisions, you need the best information. You know what your needs are, and what you are looking for. Go for it!
[For this article, we have referenced data from various US Government Departments, Forbes, and US News. If you disagree with the numbers and scenarios presented here, then you should do your own study on these issues and make your own judgement.]