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community college

Transition

Undecided on a College Major? How to Not Waste Your Money

March 12, 2021

So you’re almost ready for college – right? Are you still trying to decide on a major? If you don’t know what to major in yet, how can you be certain the money you invest in your education is well spent?

Find Yourself With a Gap Year

A gap year is a semester or a year of experiential learning, typically taken after high school and before starting college or a career. This idea is growing in popularity as more students take this intentional time to learn independent living skills, develop their interests, or experience a new culture.

Why take a gap year? Instead of spending time and money in college while you’re still undecided, you can find out what you’re good at and what work you’d like to pursue while spending a whole lot less (or even earning money.) Gap year students gain skills and experiences that look good on a college application and can help them get more out of their education.

Be OK With Not Knowing What Comes Next

College is a big investment that should not be decided impulsively. The belief that you need to have this all figured out by the time you leave high school can be a source of great stress, which can lead to poorly thought out decisions.

It’s not necessary to know your major when you enter college. However, it isn’t wise to pay expensive tuition or to acquire debt for a path you don’t feel certain about. If you want to explore a particular area of study while you decide on a major, there are lower-cost options such as auditing classes online for free, or taking prerequisite courses in your field at a community college or a state college where tuition is generally lower.

Consider Your Options

While considering a college major, take a realistic look at the time and money you can expect to spend in college before graduating and starting a career. What level of degree will you need to get the type of job you desire? Will you need to complete internships, a residency, or board exams? Is it expected, if not required, for you to get your masters degree? How much can you anticipate being paid, at entry level? These are important considerations that can help you develop a solid plan to avoid leaving college with unpayable debt.

When you understand the investment you will need to pursue your chosen path, you are better positioned to find support, such as scholarships and grants. If you do choose to take on a college loan, you will do so with a realistic plan for how and when you will pay it back.

Be Aware of Your Priorities

Not everyone leaving high school has a clear vision for where they will be in five years. Are you more interested in meeting people and exploring life as a young adult than you are in your studies? If you’re honest about that, you can avoid spending all your money on one priority and all your time on another.

Finally, be aware that your priorities may change by the time you leave college. If you imagine a home, a family, travel, or hobbies in your future, consider how these priorities may affect your financial and career choices. Above all, college is an investment in who you are and who you’d like to become. Invest wisely, and enjoy this time.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Student Life

The Best Options After Your High School Graduation

February 26, 2021

If you are graduating high school, you might feel as though you are finally an adult, and you can take charge of your life and make the best choices for what you want to do. But perhaps you feel uncertain about what you can do after high school, or what the best path is to take. Take a look at some of these common choices young people make when they are at a crossroads in life, and see which one feels right for you and your goals.

Working To Save Up

If you don’t know what you want to pursue in college or you have other goals you are trying to meet, it’s not uncommon to choose to work full-time rather than go to school. Maybe you want to save for school so you aren’t paying out of pocket with a bunch of loans, or maybe you are trying to get an apartment, a car, or something else that would enable you to live easily as a young adult on your own. Some individuals try out different career paths during this time while others volunteer or earn certifications that can help them work in an industry they are interested in. Whatever the case may be, working to save money is a common choice during this time of transition.

Traveling To See The World

Traveling to see the world can have so many different meanings, depending on what your goals are. Maybe you’d like to visit the country your family originally came from, or perhaps you simply want to venture out and see more of the United States. If you’ve been asking yourself the question “why take a gap year?” there’s no better reason than to travel and see more of the world around you before deciding to take root somewhere.

Trying Out Community College

Going to community college is an option if you want to get started taking general college courses but still aren’t sure what you’d like to do in the long-term. This allows you to focus on core subjects that you would be familiar with from high school, while everything is still fresh in your head. Then, depending on what you’d like to focus on, you can narrow down your studies later on. You can choose to earn an associate degree or simply focus on subjects you know will transfer over no matter where you want to attend.

While graduating high school can be an exciting time, there are different paths you can take if you’re not sure what is best for you. Working to save up money is common among many young adults, while some opt to travel and see the world. This could be within your own country or far away depending on finances and a desire to travel. Finally, going to community college can be a useful way of earning credits and taking necessary classes while you decide on what you would like to major in eventually. Just remember, there is no right or wrong path, just what is best for you.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.