Should I Take Out A Student Loan?

· 8 min read
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Maybe you are about to graduate from high school. Maybe you graduated years ago and you are considering seeking a career you can only pursue with a college degree after years of working entry-level positions. Maybe your job or the industry you currently work in offers growth for college graduates. Maybe you simply want to change the field you currently work in.

Whatever the reason, you are considering seeking higher education and that costs time, dedication and especially money. Those of us who have been in the position have been faced with the same common questions.

How will I pay for college? Should I take out a student loan? Though it might seem like a simple decision to some, it might be difficult to commit to a long term debt even if it is to improve your future. It is definitely something that requires contemplating different factors and making an educated decision. Let me explain.

Should I Go to College?

Aside from following social norms or your school counselor’s advice, having a college degree really can have a major impact in anyone’s life. According to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute, on average, college graduates earned 56% more than high school grads in 2015.

This means more than simply improving your earning potential or achieving financial stability through increased job security. College can be a great resource in establishing important connections with other individuals who share the same vision and goals that you have. Think potential business partners, key contributors to your professional growth or just lifelong friends who actually add value to your life.

Your degree alone can help expand your career opportunities, however sometimes knowing the right people can help you land much better jobs or fruitful business ventures.

Long Term Commitment

College is a long term commitment, to say the least. If you are going to commit for at least 4 years, if not more, then you need to make sure you make the right choice when it comes to what you are going to study. Sure, we’ve all done our basic research on the careers that interest us such as the average salary, most in-demand jobs, and the best colleges to go to however there’s much more that you need to consider before you commit to a career. Is this something that you are naturally good at? For example, should you pursue a career in law if you have a really bad memory or are not very persuasive? This does not mean you don’t have the potential to be a great lawyer if you do, but chances are it will not be easy and the difficulties you face might make you reconsider your career halfway through college.

You should also never choose a career because of pressure from your family or peers. Worse than studying something you don’t want to study for years, is not finishing the career you started and having to either start from square one again, having to settle for a similar career so you can use some of the credits for certain classes towards it or worse, abandoning college altogether. Make sure the field you choose is something you have a genuine interest in, something which you feel passionate about and that you feel truly motivated to pursue in the long term.

Consider The Amount and Terms of The Loan

So you’re sure as to what you want to study. That’s awesome, now how are you going to go about paying for it? Sure, there are different ways of financing your college education. For those of us who are not fortunate enough to have our family’s financial support or have not had any luck when it comes to scholarships, the only option left is to pay for it ourselves.

This is something which most of us cannot do without skipping meals. This is where a student loan which you pay smaller payments on for a longer period of time can seem like the most logical idea. And though they can be very useful, you have to consider the amount and terms of the loan you get with a lot of caution. It can be a very satisfying thought to consider making the higher end of the salary range your future can help you earn, but be realistic about your salary expectations after graduate.

Budget Student Loan Accordingly

Make sure you budget according to your current earnings, if any, and what you can realistically expect to make upon graduating based on the types of jobs you’ll be able to apply for and realistically land with the little to no experience you may possess at that time. A very helpful tip is that you should also not overspend on your undergrad degree if you plan on pursuing a postgraduate degree as what most potential employers will consider is the last degree you obtained and not where you first studied.

Lastly, make sure you do not overpay to go to a specific college unless the career or field you are going into actually pays more if you graduate from that specific college. Sure, we all want to graduate from the most prestigious college but sometimes that name will not make much more of a difference in the real world nor result in a higher pay grade for us because of it. I would advise against getting a higher loan unless you have guaranteed financial reciprocity upon graduating.

Choose a Lender Wisely

Though there are many factors to consider before you make such a crucial decision, it is without question how beneficial pursuing a college education can be for most people. The life experience that a college education can give you will without question help you shape the future you want. Most consider this pursuit worth the substantial costs it conveys, even if it means acquiring debt which can take years to pay off.

Though lifesaving, it is important to consider what a private student loan entails and how to best use them to your advantage. Consider your financial options when budgeting for college tuition, books, and other academic-related expenses. Managing your costs wisely, student loans can be excellent resources to help you cover the cost of your education and help you achieve your academic goals. Godspeed.

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