Low Cost College Credits – Get Yours Here

Low Cost CollegeMany high school students have the opportunity to participate in advanced placement classes. These can provide a nice cost savings when you get to college if you take full advantage of the program, its features and receive a satisfactory grade on the exam. Unfortunately, not all students are selected to participate in the AP program because of time constraints, grades or lack of availability from their school.

But there are other options available that anyone can utilize, such as the CLEP program offered through the College Board. By using this program properly, you could receive college credit for up to four semesters worth of college courses without ever stepping into a college classroom.

In order to make the most of your college education, as well as save the most money on tuition, room and board and graduate on time or early, the following steps will help you get ahead of the college game, before you even start.

Step 1: Make sure that you apply for and receive college credit, for all high school advance placement classes that you took and passed with a grade of 3.0 or higher. These will allow you to eliminate one college class for each qualifying AP exam that you passed. These alone will help, but with most students changing their major at least once, it may cause you to fall behind schedule and have to take additional classes later to catch up.

Step 2: CLEP exams offer another source of potential savings in this area. These credit by exam programs allow you to study online and take an exam that if passed will give you full college credit for the class without ever stepping in the classroom. There are over 30 classes you can take by exam and receive credit.

The CLEP program will allow you to get credit for several classes at the introductory level and the cost of studying and the exam itself is just over $100 per exam. This can be a great savings tools for students that want to ensure they graduate on time or those that want to graduate early and save an entire semester or even a year of college costs.

Step 3: Many successful students also use the CLEP program to get ahead so they can pursue a dual major or a minor in some other field of study. Whichever way you choose to use them, they will help you save money. Be sure to check with your college before you enroll in the CLEP program to make sure that they honor these credit by exam classes. Over 3,000 schools presently do. You can also check the College Board website for additional information on CLEP credits.

Step 4: Another strategy that many students use to get ahead is to take 18 credit hours each semester. Most schools do not charge extra for taking six classes instead of five, so use the opportunity to get the most out of your education. If you take one extra course each semester, you could also graduate early and save thousands.

Summary: While college is a great time to mature and grow socially, it is getting more expensive every year. By utilizing some or all of these strategies, any student can qualify for more college credit at substantially lower costs. Make sure that you take advantage of these opportunities and cut your student loans and other college costs to a minimum.

College Planning – Finding the Right College – The First Time

Which Way To CollegeFinding the right college can be a daunting task, but it can be very expensive if you do NOT find the right college the first time around. Most students that transfer out after one or two semesters at a college find that they take an extra one to three semesters to finish their college education. At the cost of $5,000 to $30,000 per semester, it makes great sense to perform a methodical and cost-effective search before deciding on a college.

Here are a few suggestion to make your search go smoother. First start with a broad search on the internet and at your high school guidance department. Select your criteria for distance from home, state or private school, field of study and any extracurricular or athletic programs that you want available. This should provide a list of 20 to 75 schools.

Next you will want to visit these college web sites and take their virtual tour if available. While on their site, be sure to take note of their estimated cost of attendance, usually in the admission or financial aid section. Start a handwritten or computer spreadsheet to keep track of these items and start comparing the colleges. Make sure to compare each college for the same categories, so you get a fair comparison.

Once you have the list narrowed to your top 10 “best fit” colleges that meet your needs and financial situation, it is time to start the formal search process. This will include visiting the college campus for an open house or a campus tour to further narrow the field. Be sure to rate and rank each school that you visit on the same scale so that a fair comparison can be made.

Next, take your top three or four schools and develop your contacts list at the school. Then arrange for overnight visits and ultimately make your final selection. During these overnight visits you will get an accurate look at the campus life, classroom and dormitory atmospheres. Make a specific point of visiting the library, dining halls and intramural activities that interest you.

Take notes about the things that you like and dislike the most at each college campus. There will almost always be one college that stands out as the best fit. Congratulations, you just methodically saved time and money. If you follow these steps, you will have a rewarding college experience and enjoy your life on campus.

Summary:

We all know how important a college education can be. For most families, other than buying a house, it can be the biggest investment they will make. Do your research, compare your choices, narrow them down and then take them for a test drive. You are guaranteed to save time, money and reduce the stress about making a wrong choice.

To learn more about College Planning, Financial Aid and other relevant topics, check out my Amazon Author Page.

To Maximize Financial Aid – High School Preparation Is a Must

College AidFor most families, the cost of their child’s college education will be one of the biggest expenses that they will incur during their working years. With the price tag of a four-year education ranging between $20,000 up to $240,000 or more per child, the impact on your financial well-being can be significant.

It is important to prepare for this expense in a variety of ways, but one that is commonly overlooked is the pre-college phase that happens during the high school years.

Freshman year in high school is a great time to begin thinking about college and the financial aid process. It is important that your student prepares themselves in the areas that will make them appeal to college admissions and financial aid departments.

What follows in this section is a brief overview of some of the steps that your student should be taking in an effort to get off to a good start. These steps are based on past students that have achieved success in college and obtaining maximum financial aid and scholarships.

Start by finding a club to join. Look for something that interests you, but don’t worry if you have no great experience or talents to offer at first. The whole purpose of these clubs is to help interested students develop skills for the future and show them the qualities of leadership and social interaction.

Next, begin looking into your school’s music, drama or athletic programs. By now you may have already been involved in some of these areas and have grown comfortable with your specific talents that you possess. Try to extend your comfort zone and experiment with school programs that you have not been involved with before. Showing colleges a diverse array of involvement and interests can be great when it comes time for applications and financial aid.

As you enter your sophomore year in high school, start investigating how you can get involved in community service projects and other local volunteer efforts. Giving back to your school, your town and your community can be a great opportunity to build valuable skills for future success in any field that you choose to explore as a career.

As you progress through high school, your goal is to begin preparing an impressive college resume, one that will be able to help you display your accomplishments, talents and specific skills. To discover more information about the high school preparation process and how it can make your financial aid efforts more effective, visit these topics and other books by this author on his Amazon Author Page.

Cutting College Costs To Reduce Education Debt

High college costs

With today’s high cost of a college education, students and parents are accumulating higher and higher education debt loads. The average student now graduates with student loans totaling over $26,000 according to the most recent statistics. And parents are taking other loans in the form of PLUS loans, home equity and 401K loans that are also be used to pay for the college education.

Hope and Solutions.

Most families are focusing on ways to get federal, state and university financial aid programs to pay more of the bill for their education, but in reality, these sources are limited.

The other side of the dilemma is often overlooked by students and families. This is the expense reduction and cost savings side of the equation. For many students, if they take an active and aggressive approach to reducing expenses, they can get the same high quality education and college experience for less and with substantially less loans.

Lets look at the multitude of ways that you can begin reversing the direction of your cash outflow by learning the specific areas of savings that any student, on any college campus, in any state can begin using to turn the tides and save money.

College Savings Start Early.

One of the biggest ways to waste money in college is the selection of the wrong college. If a student changes colleges after one or two semesters, it almost always lengthens their college career from four years to four and a half, or even six years. This can cost thousands of dollars extra. So a thorough college search, including open houses, campus tour and visitation programs may cost a couple hundred dollars up front, but will save thousands if your student graduates on time or even early.

Also the cost of college applications is no small matter when many cost between $15 – $65 each just to apply. Following the right college search guidelines, you will find many universities willing to provide a FREE application as a reward for your efforts.

College Freshman Savings.

This area starts with proper planning and knowledge of the strategies and inner workings of the college campus. Everything from textbooks, meal plans and campus housing arrangements leave many cost saving options hidden to those that are unaware of their existence. I am always amazed at how many students eventually find this information by their third or fourth year, then realize how much they could have saved during their first two or three years, if they had only known.

Second, Third and Fourth Year Savings.

After freshman year, more options become available to the average student. Unfortunately, the guidance given to upper-class students in these areas is almost nonexistent. Once the college has hooked a freshman, they spend very little effort to keep your business.

But that can be easily corrected if you are armed with the knowledge of what needs to be done. You have to take the initiative, see the right people, call the right departments and request the right forms to see any of these available savings or increased aid added to your bottom line. Most students never even apply because it isn’t openly advertised.

The Final Area… For Many.

Many students desire, or are compelled, to attend graduate school to get a job. The college is more than happy to accept your payment for these classes by check, credit card or student loan, if you are so inclined to continue handing it over.

But for those students that learn the right strategies and set them up in advance, they can usually get the college to pay for some or all of their graduate study and save tens of thousands of dollars or more in the process. In many cases you can get money from the college and get money from local businesses or future employers that will gladly help to advance your education in return for paid employment opportunities during your studies or upon graduation.

Summary:

The key with all these savings is to know what they are and find out how to start them before your opportunity is lost. To learn more about these strategies and discover additional ways to cut the cost of your college education, click here to visit my Amazon Author Page. Congratulations… your savings begin here. http://www.amazon.com/Keith-D.-Maderer/e/B0045KGSC0/