By Ambassadors Ajla and Gabby
The expectations of saving for college can seem scary as students going into our senior and junior year of high school. But with careful planning, it is possible to achieve financial independence.
In this blog post, we’ll be discussing strategies and tips to help you save for college while still managing a day-to-day life. By embracing these habits early on, you can prepare for a brighter future without being troubled with excessive student loans.
Have a Savings & Checking Account
Make sure to open a savings and checking account so that you are able to have a place to safely store your hard-earned money. Canopy’s Young Adult Accounts are a great place to start for students with perks such as a free rewards checking account and access to a uChoose Rewards Visa card.
While most people know that having a savings account is very important, it is important to know that a checking account is also essential. Using a checking account for easy access to money for essentials and a savings account for setting aside for your goals is a great way for teenagers to begin to manage their money.
Get a Part-Time or Summer Job
A great way to save up for college is to work, either during the summer or during the school year. Even minimum wage jobs provide you with a steady source of income that you can budget and save.
Jobs also provide great opportunities to practice the type of time management and responsibility that will be crucial in college. Look for opportunities that line up with your schedule and interests, such as tutoring or part-time customer service roles. Not only will this help you save money, but it will also provide valuable work experience that can improve your resume for later on.
Set Monthly Goals for your Savings
Setting realistic goals is a crucial step in preparing for college. Determine the total amount you need to save and break it down into manageable monthly or even yearly targets. Dealing with smaller numbers is much easier than having to deal with a big number. This will help you stay focused and motivated throughout your college savings journey.
Create a Budget
Creating a budget is crucial for any student looking to save for college. Start by tracking your income/expenses to find any areas where you can cut back. Prioritize your needs over wants and assign a specific amount of your income towards a college savings. By sticking to a budget, you can ensure that your savings grow steadily.
Take College-Level Classes
AP (or advanced placement) classes allow high school students to earn college credits while still in high school. This can save you time and money by reducing the amount of classes and credits you’ll need in college. AP classes are also an amazing opportunity to take hard, college level classes with a smaller class size and more one on one teaching that most college classes don’t typically include.
Also, running start is an option for some high school students. By taking classes at local community college, students can work toward an AA degree while still in high school, shortening their time needed at a four-year school.
Apply for Scholarships
Many scholarships are created specifically for high school students and can help you pay for some, or all of your college education. Research and apply for scholarships and grants that align with your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, or personal background. Be driven in seeking out these opportunities and ensure that you meet all the application requirements and deadlines. Work on improving your GPA and talk to your school counselor to find out what options are available to you.
If the cost of attending a four-year college seems overwhelming, consider starting your education journey at a community college or even online. These alternatives often offer more affordable fees, allowing you to save money while still receiving a quality education.
Saving for college as a student requires control, planning, and a willingness to make sacrifices. By setting clear goals, creating a budget, exploring employment, seeking scholarships and grants, and considering alternative education options, you can pave the way for a financially independent future. Start today, and watch your savings grow as you embark on your educational journey.