Author Topic: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?  (Read 9026 times)

amc

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How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« on: August 28, 2015, 08:44:39 PM »
I'm a 17 year old who's scheduled to start applying for colleges in a couple months. While I expect college will be fun, student loans definitely won't be. How should I go about it? Is it worth it to take a year off school to save up? Is it better to skip college and loans altogether, and go straight for a full-time job for a while? If I do go to college, and I'd like to, what kind of majors will justify the price tag? My test scores, grades, etc. are all pretty darn good, so I can expect some decent financial aid packages from most sub-ivy schools, but I know nothing and would like to get things figured out before I make any serious financial mistakes. Thanks!

MDM

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2015, 08:59:42 PM »
amc, welcome to the forum.

One list of high-paying degrees: http://www.joshuakennon.com/the-best-paying-college-degrees/.  Internet searching, and discussions with your high school guidance office, should give you other sources.

Completely off the top of my head (so others may have better numbers and rationale), consider keeping your total student loan debt below your expected first year salary in your chosen degree.

Taran Wanderer

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2015, 09:18:24 PM »
If your interests gear this way, get an engineering or hard science degree with a minor in business/econ/accounting.  You will have great job prospects.  If science and math aren't your thing, I would recommend including some sort of business education in whatever field you choose.  It can be invaluable for your future employment options, and even if you don't use it to move up and become a manager of people, it can better help you speak the lingo of the organization.

Also, if your interests lie in a specific industry, like healthcare, or in public sector work like education or public administration, substitute courses with application to or focus on those fields for straight up business courses.

Finally, look for opportunities to connect with professors through research projects or other opportunities like experiential learning. It will help you build skills and make your more marketable, you will learn to work on teams and should have some fun, and connections with professors are always good things to have.

College is about exploration, intellectual curiosity, and personal growth, but it is also a substantial investment in your future.  Keep the investment part in mind along intellectual curiosity part as your find your path.  The fact that you are asking these questions indicates you are thinking carefully about this. I'm sure you'll do fine.  Good luck!

asiljoy

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2015, 09:58:24 PM »
Does your high school have counselors? If so, they probably will be a great help. Even if they don't give you a lot of good advice, they generally have resources at their disposal that will help you research your next step. I'd also start touring colleges/working through applications. The process itself, even if you decide not to go immediately, will answer a lot of questions for you and help put your mind at ease about your decisions. For example, private Fancy Pants U may offer you a full ride; take that, free education is awesome. Or you may find you need more time to decide; lots of colleges let you take a year after accepting to actually enroll.

As far as money is concerned with college, it's about keeping your costs as low as possible while obtaining a degree that will help you get a job that makes you feel fulfilled/at least not hate life. This is done through careful planning and a eye towards balance. Private schools are more expensive, but tend to have better aid packages and alumni networking. Community colleges are cheaper, great for getting technical degrees or burning through core classes (you still get to say you graduated from Fancy Pants U even if you took half your credits at Cheap'N Stuff). Public can be a great choice, especially if in-state, and some can give the private schools a run for their money on the prestige thing, just depends. Take your time and do your research.

My particular path served me well:
1) 2 years of community college; I took classes that looked interesting and met the requirements for transfer degree, meaning that any school within that system had to accept the credits. These classes are cheaper, so lower risk if you try something and figure out it's not for you. --> I took these my jr/sr year of high school through a state program, so they were free. Is this an option for you?

2) 2.5 years to finish up my 4 year at a public college; by the time I had finished my transfer degree, I had pretty well figured out what I wanted to pursue and was able to make it a double major without too much of a detour. I also worked 30 hours a week to help defray costs, and interned wherever I could to test out jobs/build a resume. The interning part was key to finding jobs post graduation/being more confident in career paths. --> Liberals arts degree and I make 6 figures now. Don't be afraid to take what interests you, but always have an eye towards your next step. $200,000 for a 4 year is pretty much never a good idea.

3) 3 years to MBA; not gonna lie, I'm not sure if this was the right path yet. It led to higher paying jobs, but was stressful to work full time while pursuing it and I think I may have gotten it too young. I was already making good money, but was insecure about 'only' having a liberal arts degree.

Good news though. You've got plenty of time to plan. Take a breath and enjoy your senior year.

« Last Edit: August 28, 2015, 10:03:18 PM by asiljoy »

mxt0133

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2015, 10:10:01 PM »
First of you are ahead of the game if you are asking these questions at such a young age.  Like what has already been said, if there something you are deeply passionate about I would do everything I can to make it a career without putting yourself in financial hardship.  The better your finances the more options you will have to take advantage of opportunities that might come up.

If you were like me in high school, which I think most people were, I did not have any great calling or passion to pursue, I like sports, video games, and was good at math.  I went to my college counselor and told him what my interests were and some how ended up with accounting or computer science.  I took a programming course and it was easy so I continued it though out college.  I was interesting enough that I was able to get through the classes fairly easily in college.  I was also good enough to get some internships and a good job straight out of college. 

College gave me enough time to grow as I was not prepared to enter the professional workforce.  I have had jobs since I was thirteen so I had a solid work ethic, was reasonable responsible and accountable.  What I was lacking was throughout college was learning the non-academic aspects of life, like learning how to take care of myself on the domestic front, cooking, finances, ect.

I would not let the cost of college deter you from going as there are many ways to pay for college and if it is a degree that is in demand, like accounting, nursing, engineering, and not underwater basket weaving.  It will more than pay for itself if you are conscious about the costs and keep your expenses throughout at a minimum.

Have you talked to your parents about college?  What do they say about it?  Are they willing to help you out even if it is just letting you live at home rent and board free while you are in college?  I think you need to know what all your available options are before you can even begin to make a decision.

Kaikou

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2015, 11:03:33 PM »
scholarships and work for the university.

seattlecyclone

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2015, 12:11:57 AM »
A lot of teens make the mistake of going to college simply because that's what's expected of them after high school. They don't know what they want to study, they take some classes, do all right, but rack up lots of debt during this exploratory phase of their lives. You're doing the right thing thinking before you take that next step. Take this time now to explore some interests and see what you might like to major in, if and when you decide to go to college. If you don't have a plan for what you want to study by the time you're done with high school, maybe take a year off from school to work and think about what you want to do next. If you go to college, go with a plan in mind, both for a field of study and career goals. It's okay to change your plans as you go. Most people do! Just make a plan before you start to spend your time and money on a degree. You'll thank yourself later.

Melody

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2015, 01:21:14 AM »
Is living with your parents an option. It's been a long time since I was in the USA but I think at the time the degree was $7k a year at a decent public school. $28k in loans for something marketable (I did accounting) isn't the end of the world... Its the extra amount that students borrow for living expenses that is killer. Live with the folks and pay any extras (e.g. student union fees, text books) with cash from a part time job. Now at 26 the loans (I did most of mine in Australia so my total debt was a little lower, $23k) are gone and I have a six figure job and a net worth of nearly $200k. Guess what? I don't love being an accountant. But that's ok, I know know what I am interested in (urban planning) and can qualify via a master's degree which can be done in 3 years part time, paid for in cash. By the time I have this qualification I will be 30 years old and likely have a net worth of $350k. A great position to launch a new career from and I am sure the business accumen and contacts I have made as an accountant will help me race through the early stages of my next career. Take a marketable qualification, if you are smart and get good grades you probably won't hate it and qualifications like accounting and engineering are useful spring boards into other careers as they teach you such sound problem solving skills.

Goldielocks

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2015, 10:30:28 AM »
In state unless you get enough aid to equal in state costs.

Comm college, and part time for a year while working part time will give you time to explore what you really would want to learn more about without big debt.  Many people switch majors in first two years anyway, so plan flexibility to do so for yourself.

There is nothing wrong, and a lot of good things with a general arts degree, if you don't go into debt.  Obvious in demand careers are always a good choice, but you need to be at least semi-interested in what you study.  What you do when you start to work may be different from you degree.  I have an engineering degree and job, but most of my time is working with people in management and sales, even marketing.


Some universities have wonderful study exchanges abroad, or work co ops.  I recommend prioritizing around an in-state program with one of those.  Yep, there are even fine arts coops too.  My engineering coop to Norway was one of the best things I ever did, even though all my earnings just paid for the travel and living costs that year.


takeahike

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2015, 10:36:45 AM »
Community college! My two stepsons did this. One is now a medical doctor and the other has a master in bio-chem and works as a bio-research sumpthin-sumpthin. I also did 2 years CC and have a bachelor's in nursing. My daughter is your age and is doing the CC for two years route... she plans on eventually majoring in Dentistry.

Migrator Soul

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2015, 10:42:29 AM »
Have you looked into any ROTC programs? Often times they have a multitude of scholarships to assist with school, are commitment free the first two years, and if you do commission into the Military, the service has Student Loan repayment.

Alternatively, enlist for a job that interests you, and do that for four years in the Military, while utilizing tuition assistance to get all your core classes out of the way. After your contract is up, you can enter college as a junior, assuming you utilized TA to the fullest extent, and not have any debt whatsoever. The GI bill will pay your way, and help you with housing. You will also have more time to find your true interests, save a boatload of cash, get a jump on education, and have more life experiences to draw from than your peers.

Full disclosure; I am currently enlisted Army, and rather enjoy it. It is a route I recommend to every younger individual that isn't sure of the path to take and is hesitant (and rightly so) of taking out student loans.

Bearded Man

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2015, 10:43:21 AM »
I did not go to college until out of high school for a long time. It was only when I realized the value of a degree that I decided to go. I am glad I did, even though I got a high paying job about a year before I graduated.

Even with a salary of 150K, and investment income that puts my annual income well over 240K, I am still going to grad school now and I love it! I missed doing this, though I will say, I miss the social interaction of being in a classroom the most, as me entire degree is online through a state school half way across the country. Go to college, have fun, date a bunch of girls and enjoy yourself while getting good grades and focusing on future career prospects. Trust me, you will look back at those times fondly as you get older.

wordnerd

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2015, 10:56:12 AM »
Lots of good advice here. I went to a top-ranked public university and used AP credits to graduate in three years. That helped keed costs down. I then immediately got my Master's with a half-scholarship at the same public university. Overall, I ended up with $50K in student loans, which was around what I made my first year of working (though my salary has grown substantially in the last 5 years). I didn't work in college, though, in retrospect, it probably would've been a better choice.

College is almost necessary these days for getting a well-paid career (there are other paths, but they are harder and becoming very rare). Focus on how to do it as cheaply as possible.

GetItRight

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2015, 02:59:43 PM »
Going to college has been the worst mistake of my life. It has had zero positive effect on my income and wasted a tremendous amount of time. The decision to go to college will have cost me several hundred thousand dollars when all said and done and also cost me an unknown amount of lost income from not taking better offers or actively seeking better offers as it's either too much risk with obscene amounts of debt not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Recently I turned down what was pretty much a sure thing to take a position at another company for approximately double my current pay. It's a smaller company and would require relocating across the country. Too much risk and too many expenses, particularly given a smaller company. My current position is fairly stable, though it's no longer a good company to work for or a job that I enjoy. It's only tolerable as a means to an end, paying off student loans in a few more years. My decision to go back to school has held me back from many experiences and opportunities and has delayed FI to the point RE will be at 55 if I'm lucky and things go smoothly.

The school I went to stole tens of thousands of dollars from me outright (from the bank I had loans with, fraud) and did everything they could to delay completion of required courses and milk me for as much money as possible. College is a scam, don't get suckered.

I will acknowledge some merit in a cheap local two year college if you're working while attending. You likely won't learn much if you're smart (sounds like you are, and you're already on financial forums at a young age) but you can make some connections and professors or other students may open a few doors to get a head start on a good job in your field.

mozar

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2015, 05:07:39 PM »
Stay away from for-profit schools.

Migrator Soul

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2015, 05:15:17 PM »
Stay away from for-profit schools.

This, so much this.

Argyle

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2015, 05:41:01 PM »
Do not rule out a good sub-Ivy private school in a different region of the country.  Many of them value geographical diversity, and may give you a generous financial aid package which can take your costs below state schools.  Quite a number of them have a good deal of money and lavish it on good students.  I'd advise you to apply to three or four of those that are a good fit, as well as to your own state schools and the like.  Then see who offers you the best package.

StetsTerhune

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2015, 05:48:26 PM »
Just to correct a common fallacy in the OP. It's likely that a sub-ivy league school will not give you as much financial aid as an ivy league (caliber) school.  If you think there's a chance you'd get in to a top tier school, I'd recommend applying and not being scared off by the "price tag" (that only the wealthy actually pay). Feel free to  PM me if its something you're actually considering.

Argyle

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2015, 06:01:51 PM »
There are, however, a number of sub-Ivies that are eager to attract top talent Hamilton College comes to mind.  Harvard may be richer, but I'd think you'd have a better chance of getting a good financial aid package from Hamilton unless you are absolutely stellar.  Emory, Bucknell, Wofford, Dickinson, Lewis & Clark, DePauw, Franklin & Marshall, Skidmore, Gustavus Adolphus there are a lot of possibilities.

Kaikou

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2015, 06:58:26 PM »
Going to college has been the worst mistake of my life. It has had zero positive effect on my income and wasted a tremendous amount of time. The decision to go to college will have cost me several hundred thousand dollars when all said and done and also cost me an unknown amount of lost income from not taking better offers or actively seeking better offers as it's either too much risk with obscene amounts of debt not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Recently I turned down what was pretty much a sure thing to take a position at another company for approximately double my current pay. It's a smaller company and would require relocating across the country. Too much risk and too many expenses, particularly given a smaller company. My current position is fairly stable, though it's no longer a good company to work for or a job that I enjoy. It's only tolerable as a means to an end, paying off student loans in a few more years. My decision to go back to school has held me back from many experiences and opportunities and has delayed FI to the point RE will be at 55 if I'm lucky and things go smoothly.

The school I went to stole tens of thousands of dollars from me outright (from the bank I had loans with, fraud) and did everything they could to delay completion of required courses and milk me for as much money as possible. College is a scam, don't get suckered.

I will acknowledge some merit in a cheap local two year college if you're working while attending. You likely won't learn much if you're smart (sounds like you are, and you're already on financial forums at a young age) but you can make some connections and professors or other students may open a few doors to get a head start on a good job in your field.

an one-off experience, but good to know. Cash flowing college or scholarships would eliminate this possibility.

asiljoy

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2015, 07:21:12 PM »
Stay away from for-profit schools.

This, so much this.

Agreed to infinity and beyond.

TomTX

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2015, 09:33:37 PM »
I'm a 17 year old who's scheduled to start applying for colleges in a couple months. While I expect college will be fun, student loans definitely won't be. How should I go about it? Is it worth it to take a year off school to save up? Is it better to skip college and loans altogether, and go straight for a full-time job for a while? If I do go to college, and I'd like to, what kind of majors will justify the price tag? My test scores, grades, etc. are all pretty darn good, so I can expect some decent financial aid packages from most sub-ivy schools, but I know nothing and would like to get things figured out before I make any serious financial mistakes. Thanks!

You should be already racking up AP credits and dual credit with the local community college...

stashing_it

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2015, 10:43:51 PM »
Lots of good advice here. I went to a top-ranked public university and used AP credits to graduate in three years. That helped keed costs down. I then immediately got my Master's with a half-scholarship at the same public university. Overall, I ended up with $50K in student loans, which was around what I made my first year of working (though my salary has grown substantially in the last 5 years). I didn't work in college, though, in retrospect, it probably would've been a better choice.

College is almost necessary these days for getting a well-paid career (there are other paths, but they are harder and becoming very rare). Focus on how to do it as cheaply as possible.

Agreed.    Use AP tests or CLEP to graduate in 3 years.    That is what I did  for Aerospace engineering ( and then did a masters degree in year 4)

here's a blog post I had on it  http://www.insourceeverything.com/the-4-year-college-degree-is-obsolete/      ( I also wrote a kindle book $ 3  on it, it's linked in the blog post if interested)

key points -
-  you don't need to actually take the AP class to take the test.    i.e. if you think you can study up for the class, you can take the test and get the credit
-   AP credits cost  approximately twenty dollars per credit hour,   i.e. get 4 credits from an eighty dollar test.     Actual college ranges from mid hundreds to low thousands per credit hour
-  if you know where you are going to college when spring comes around, look at what they need for college credit.  A 5 on some AP courses is tough, but many schools only need a 3.   and 60% of all AP tests taken score at least a 3
-  Most schools will grant up to ~30 credits (out of 120 needed to graduate)  from AP or similar sources  (CLEP)   However some schools will grant up to 45 or 60 credits from it.   You could conceivably enter college with only 5 semesters to do

-  when you are in college, max those credits.    My school let you take up to 18 credit hours each semester for the same cost.   To finish in 8 semesters you needed to take 15, but many people only took 12-13.    Taking 18, especially for lower, easier courses can easily cut a semester off

-  Try to become an RA.  You may need to wait until second year to do this.  At least at my school they got free room and board  ( worth approx 8,000 ) for practically zero work.


2ndTimer

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2015, 09:59:38 AM »
Regarding waiting a year and saving up.  I didn't start college until I was in my early 20s and benefited greatly by waiting.  If I had gone straight from high school I would have wound up in some ditzy major like Psychology or History.  Waiting until I was old enough to have some sense of myself allowed me to tackle a technical field and ride it all the way to the PhD.  Gave me a whole different and much better life trajectory. 

My spouse didn't wait and wound up with a ditzy degree in Economics.  Had to go back and start from scratch once he was old enough to know better.

AllieVaulter

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2015, 10:52:00 AM »
A lot of teens make the mistake of going to college simply because that's what's expected of them after high school. They don't know what they want to study, they take some classes, do all right, but rack up lots of debt during this exploratory phase of their lives. You're doing the right thing thinking before you take that next step. Take this time now to explore some interests and see what you might like to major in, if and when you decide to go to college. If you don't have a plan for what you want to study by the time you're done with high school, maybe take a year off from school to work and think about what you want to do next. If you go to college, go with a plan in mind, both for a field of study and career goals. It's okay to change your plans as you go. Most people do! Just make a plan before you start to spend your time and money on a degree. You'll thank yourself later.

+1

If you don't know what you want to do/major in, I would suggest community college or a break before college.  Either way, when you're in school, get a part time job.  Studies show that students who work 10-15 hrs a week actually have better grades than students who don't work at all.  And definitely try to get a full time job over the summer.  It's a great time to try internships in areas you might be interested in working. 

beltim

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2015, 11:14:06 AM »
I'm not sure if the OP is going to come back, but I would encourage you to read "The Case for College" by the president of Harvard University: http://www.harvard.edu/president/speech/2014/case-for-college

There are many, many more reasons to go to college other than getting a job or making more money, and that essay does a pretty good job of describing some of them.

amc

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2015, 02:29:26 PM »
My best and favorite subjects right now are calculus and chemistry, and I like physics well enough so I've been thinking about majoring in chemical engineering. Sounds like that's a solid choice from what people are saying, so I'll steer clear of neuroscience and econ for now, which were my other considerations.

Haven't figured out all the financial aid details from out of state colleges, but ASU's in-state tuition and engineering program are tempting, plus the free housing with family. Obviously if somewhere decent turns out to be cheaper all things considered, then that will be a factor, but in-state's looking pretty good, maybe with a couple years of community college first.

I've been working full time during the past three summers, and that's definitely been good, but it sounds like I'd best be looking at a part-time job for the year, and take some AP tests. I'll get on that.

Thanks for the tips, guys. Got a much stronger idea of what's up than before.

wordnerd

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2015, 02:45:50 PM »
My best and favorite subjects right now are calculus and chemistry, and I like physics well enough so I've been thinking about majoring in chemical engineering. Sounds like that's a solid choice from what people are saying, so I'll steer clear of neuroscience and econ for now, which were my other considerations.

Haven't figured out all the financial aid details from out of state colleges, but ASU's in-state tuition and engineering program are tempting, plus the free housing with family. Obviously if somewhere decent turns out to be cheaper all things considered, then that will be a factor, but in-state's looking pretty good, maybe with a couple years of community college first.

I've been working full time during the past three summers, and that's definitely been good, but it sounds like I'd best be looking at a part-time job for the year, and take some AP tests. I'll get on that.

Thanks for the tips, guys. Got a much stronger idea of what's up than before.

Sounds like a solid plan all-around. Engineering is always a practical choice, but the other majors you mention should serve you well. Best of luck to you!

Kaikou

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2ndTimer

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2015, 05:51:54 PM »
Chemical Engineering pays of better than straight Chemistry.  This is the observation of a couple both with PhDs in Chemistry.  That wasn't a terrible degree but the Chem E's do better.

Argyle

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2015, 07:01:19 PM »
I'm surprised to hear that Econ is "ditzy"!  A friend of mine who was an Econ major was recruited out of college by an investment bank, had her first million in savings by 35, and now is happily FIRE, and not with any need to be frugal either.  Sure made me wish I had majored in Economics.

Retire-Canada

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2015, 08:55:03 PM »
I'm a 17 year old who's scheduled to start applying for colleges in a couple months. While I expect college will be fun, student loans definitely won't be. How should I go about it?

It's not for everyone, but I signed up for the army and they paid my university and gave me my first few jobs.

I came out of that debt free, savings in the bank, a well respected degree, professional engineering license, a shit ton of life experiences [good and bad] and a lot of great job experience for my resume. I've never had any real challenge finding work and looking back it was a great choice for all the best practical reasons.

OTOH the army is no joke. It can be dangerous and even if you don't see any wild action it's not an easy place to work in a lot of ways.

The pay off aside from the free education and good resume is that very little phases you after that.

I was 17 when I joined. I never needed another dollar from my parents for the rest of my life. That was a good feeling.

Goldielocks

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #32 on: September 07, 2015, 09:41:07 AM »
Lots of good advice here. I went to a top-ranked public university and used AP credits to graduate in three years. That helped keed costs down. I then immediately got my Master's with a half-scholarship at the same public university. Overall, I ended up with $50K in student loans, which was around what I made my first year of working (though my salary has grown substantially in the last 5 years). I didn't work in college, though, in retrospect, it probably would've been a better choice.

College is almost necessary these days for getting a well-paid career (there are other paths, but they are harder and becoming very rare). Focus on how to do it as cheaply as possible.

Ugh,  Engineering at my school was 18-20 credits per semester.  I think i had 8 courses one term (including the 2 credit surveyors course).   They had smashed a 5 year program into 4 years to be competitive with the science programs.  Guess what, less than 20% completed in 4 years.  It is very hard to take a lot more credits (especially when labs are involved) than the stated program.   I did it in 4 years, but naively, and may have made a different decision in another scenario.

Now my DH, who took a 3 year program found out the way the some colleges make more money -- they intensify the program to 18 credits / full course load, but when you fail a course due to the insanity, it costs double the $ per credit to complete it part time.  Yep, 9 credits costs the same as 18 credits per term.

Agreed.    Use AP tests or CLEP to graduate in 3 years.    That is what I did  for Aerospace engineering ( and then did a masters degree in year 4)

here's a blog post I had on it  http://www.insourceeverything.com/the-4-year-college-degree-is-obsolete/      ( I also wrote a kindle book $ 3  on it, it's linked in the blog post if interested)

key points -
-  you don't need to actually take the AP class to take the test.    i.e. if you think you can study up for the class, you can take the test and get the credit
-   AP credits cost  approximately twenty dollars per credit hour,   i.e. get 4 credits from an eighty dollar test.     Actual college ranges from mid hundreds to low thousands per credit hour
-  if you know where you are going to college when spring comes around, look at what they need for college credit.  A 5 on some AP courses is tough, but many schools only need a 3.   and 60% of all AP tests taken score at least a 3
-  Most schools will grant up to ~30 credits (out of 120 needed to graduate)  from AP or similar sources  (CLEP)   However some schools will grant up to 45 or 60 credits from it.   You could conceivably enter college with only 5 semesters to do

-  when you are in college, max those credits.    My school let you take up to 18 credit hours each semester for the same cost.   To finish in 8 semesters you needed to take 15, but many people only took 12-13.    Taking 18, especially for lower, easier courses can easily cut a semester off

-  Try to become an RA.  You may need to wait until second year to do this.  At least at my school they got free room and board  ( worth approx 8,000 ) for practically zero work.

ender

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2015, 04:26:20 PM »
I'm surprised to hear that Econ is "ditzy"!  A friend of mine who was an Econ major was recruited out of college by an investment bank, had her first million in savings by 35, and now is happily FIRE, and not with any need to be frugal either.  Sure made me wish I had majored in Economics.

It might be a fun game to see how many econ majors would agree that this is even remotely normal for econ majors.

Argyle

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2015, 04:40:44 PM »
I'm sure it's not "normal" for average econ majors.  This was a good econ major at an Ivy League school.  For those who say that Ivy League schools make no difference well, there's a data point on the other side.

Dee18

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2015, 05:52:07 PM »
Your college options depend on your high school record (courses taken and grades primarily) and your ACT or SAT score.  Once you have your test scores, you can look online with those and your gpa and pretty accurate estimates from schools of what you would have to pay.  I just went through this with my daughter and she applied to schools where she knew she would get a (non financial need) scholarship.  If you know your family's income, you can also find out what financial aid a school would give you.  Talk to your guidance counselor to get started.

an1m3n00b

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #36 on: September 08, 2015, 10:02:16 AM »
Do you know what job you want after college? Does it require a college degree? If you answered no to either of those questions don't bother. You'll be throwing away the equivalent of a few new cars!!! In  my experience at 3 different colleges it was pretty miserable at all of them. The teachers don't teach, and most of them have power complexes. It's like *living* at the DMV, bureaucracy everywhere! The work is hard, and you don't get paid. Your peers aren't serious about anything. And I was lucky if I had a single friend through at any given point. Oh and I was constantly broke. I'm much happier now that I'm just a working grunt. At least I'm a working grunt that gets paid. Plus the value of a college degree isn't what it used to be. With virtually everyone going to college a degree is practically worthless. I'd say find a niche that you can work in and develop professional skills on the side for a tiny fraction of the cost of college. Textbooks are a lot cheaper than tuition, and you can choose the books and "courses" you want, and not be forced to sit through "womens studies" or other propaganda classes. Remember at the end of $60,000+ and 4 years of lost income, experience and independence you get a piece of paper. That's it. You can do alot in terms of investing with $60k, and still make an income while you're doing it.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 10:11:09 AM by an1m3n00b »

monstermonster

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #37 on: September 08, 2015, 01:52:38 PM »
I went to a small sub-Ivy for economics and most of my classmates went on to jobs in the data sciences, political think tanks, or in consulting firms - one went on to get a PHD in Econ from Harvard, one works for the White House. Only one went to work for an investment bank. I work for a nonprofit so obviously my salary is an outlier, but most started in the range of $65-80K out of college. 2 years out, I don't think any are making six figures, but some are on track to in a few years.

I figured I'd chime in that you should completely ignore the price tag on private colleges until you get your aid package. Apply, and see. If you have a low income, they'll waive your application fee too (just call and ask). My college had a $50K annual price tag, ended up costing me $2000/year that I earned each summer - between an Americorps awards to cover part of the tuition, pell grants, and significant financial aid. I worked 20 hours/week when I was in college, which was a LOT with the full-time workload of my college, but I was never to take out a single dime of loans. Private colleges with large endowments have the resources to significantly help you out and will prioritize it, and my alumni network from a good, private college has been invaluable.

mozar

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Re: How do I tackle college? Worth it or no?
« Reply #38 on: September 08, 2015, 05:27:59 PM »
If you are not going to a trade school I recommend going to college. Maybe college will suck but you can graduate early. Employers want college graduates because it means they were able to stick through something.

I thought my women's study class was too simplistic, but I found the philosophy of race and gender quite enlightening.