Student loans can be a blessing and a curse. Student loans are blessing if you choose a highly marketable area of study that will either earn you gainful employment right out of the gates of undergrad or enhance your existing career. However, they can be a giant curse if you choose to pursuit a degree that’s not in a high demand area or one in which you have to have a 2yr + post graduate degree. Most people seek post-secondary education because to gain marketable skills and training to attain a good, decent-paying job with a steady monthly income. This article the words marketable and high demand will be the words for the day. They are the words for the day because at the end of the day, after you’ve walked across the stage of which type of post-secondary school you choose to receive your diploma, you will be look for employment. Ten or twenty years ago, it was just good enough to have a bachelors degree. Having a bachelors degree nearly enabled you to write your own ticket. The better your overall grade point average, the bigger the ticket you could write. Twenty-five or thirty years ago, it was good enough to only have a high school diploma or GED. Today, everything is about specialization. You need specific knowledge and experience in a specific field. Thus, it is important that you have a specific idea about which profession you’d like to pursuit, especially when you have you need to take out student loans. There are three rules of thumb that you should consider when using student loans to pursue further education:
- Borrowing Limitations
Yes, when you get students loans you can only borrow up to a certain amount depending on the level of education your pursuing and type of school that you choose to attend. You also have to maintain a minimum overall grade point average and number of credit hours to remain eligible to receive loans.This means that you really don’t have alot of time explore career options or a major. If you take a class and not the drop class before the designated day to drop in the quarter or semester, your student loan has just paid for a class that you for which you won’t receive credit. Further, if you venture into an area in which you’re not sure you’d be successful, audit a few classes in the area before you pay to take the course for a grade.
It’s a no brainer that you should try to gain as much field related work experience as possible before you graduate. When attending a 2yr to 4 yr institution, set this clearly in your mind. Really think about it. Once you’ve thought about it, you’ll know that you need to think about:
- Where you plan to live immediately after you’ve finished school?
- Is your degree in high demand in place you plan to reside?
- Is the degree universally in high demand – can you go move anywhere and find work in that area?
- Will you get a job within a year of graduating?
The sooner that you can pay off student loans the better. Thus, the sooner you get working, the better! In the state of Louisiana, one of Governor Jindal’s top priorities for education is to put an end to the Louisiana brain-drain by ensuring that students are properly prepared for the workforce as well as post-secondary education. One such school in our local area that has made preparing students for the workforce and further educational pursuits is The Career Academy. Students who complete The Career Academy can receive trade certification in addition to a high school diploma.
Layer your education. Layer it because you will increase your chance of finding work while continuing to pursue your education. Some people say why waste time in a trade school when you could get a more advanced degree in the same field if you go straight to a four year university. That logic makes sense initially. However, often in trade school, you’ll receive more hands-on and direct-to-field knowledge than you would a four year institution. Always choose the career path that can get you working directly in your field in the shortest amount of time for the lowest first when you know that you need to get working as soon as possible. For example, if you want to be a dentist, try for a dental hygenist, then pursue the necessary further education to go to dental school. Should you need to quit school while you’re in a four year institution, you’ll at least have your associate degree or certification that will allow you to hone your craft while your out of school. The hands-on work experience is always invaluable to schools and employers.
For more information about student loans, visit FAFSA.ED.GOV.