Studying is a very expensive business and if you are not smart about it, you can end up paying back loans for a very long time. When going to study the goal is to set yourself on a career path, to get a qualification that will make you employable and which will help you to earn a solid living for the rest of your life. But if you don’t do it right, you can either end up with the wrong qualification or with the right qualification but a mountain of debt. So, you need to be smart to ensure that you emerge on the front foot, with the right letters behind your name and the right numbers in your bank account.
Loans are not bad
Student loans are not bad things, but you must make sure that you can service them and that you know what you are doing with the money that is made available to you. The best student loans should cover your studies and nothing more. You might be tempted to use the loan to pay for other things as well – like accommodation and travel and even living expenses, thinking that you will pay it all back once the course is done and the qualification achieved. Those expenses add up very quickly though and can take forever to pay off. Especially if you consider that once qualified you might also want to take out a car loan or a home loan. And of course, there is always the potential of not graduating at all and then ending up with big debt and no degree. So be smart.
Work part time
If you are a student and you are not working in a part time job, then you are not being very smart. Not only will a part time job help pay for some of your expenses, it is also a learning experience. Once you graduate you will hopefully enter fulltime employment, with its regular hours, bosses and demands on your time and personal life. Getting into the habit of working and earning is something that can only stand you in good stead for when you enter the real world of post-study life.
No matter what your circumstances, look to apply for bursaries. There are lots of options out there and there will almost certainly be one where you meet the criteria. Bursaries are given by churches, by companies, by foundations and by countries and they are for gender groups, minorities, specific courses of study, for sportsmen and women and for almost any criteria that you can think of. So, apply to the ones that best describe you. You might not end up with your full studies funded, but every little goes a long way and you need to be in it to win it.
Stay at home
If possible, look to stay at home for as long as possible. If you have a workable relationship with your parents and you are studying at an institution that is close to home, stay put. Your parents will almost certainly not charge you more rental than you would pay away from home, and while you are studying there is nothing better than not having to pay for things like breakfast and rent!