When it comes to expensive life moments, a few instantly spring to mind, like buying your first car, getting a mortgage on your first home or, the one that’s troubling you right now, going to university.
Instead of spending every free minute rifling through prospectuses and figuring out which society throws the best parties, you’re up all night worrying about how you’re going to afford it all.
Because the more you look, the more you discover hidden costs you’d never even considered before – and it’s all adding up to one huge mountain of debt.
But don’t give up on your dreams of earning a degree quite yet – there are a few alternatives that’ll help you make it through university without breaking the bank. Here are our top three…
#1: choose an online university
Today’s virtual learning environments have transformed online universities, giving distance learning a reputation for quality it’s never had before.
Now you can earn a degree from the comfort of home (yup, in your PJs chilling on the sofa) that’s just as valuable as one from a traditional bricks-and-mortar academic institution.
Tuition tends to run cheaper, you can cut down rent or travel costs and, even better, is that instead of blowing your weekly budget on rubbish supermarket ready meals, you get to continue enjoying your parent’s home-cooking for free.
#2: apply for scholarships
Unless you’re the real-life Rory from Gilmore Girls, complete with wealthy grandparents who don’t bat an eyelid forking out for a Yale education, you’re going to need some serious help raising the cash to fund your university adventure.
Ignore your first instinct of turning to the bank – there are other options that’ll build up way less debt.
Scholarships are available from a variety of different sources –businesses, the government, charities – and are designed to cover the many costs of being a student. So, put in a little research to find the ones suitable for you and then brush up on your application skills.
#3: earn money as you go
Boost your bank account and balance all the many outgoings by getting yourself a part-time job – just make sure you don’t sacrifice study time to do so.
Go for a zero-hour contract so that, come exams and essay deadlines, you can turn down shifts and work in the library instead.
You’ll not only enjoy having a little extra pocket money, you’ll also get some valuable work experience to enhance your CV – it could help you win your dream graduate position in a few years’ time.
University is expensive – there’s no getting away from the fact – but so long as you plan properly and manage your budget effectively, you can make it to graduation without acquiring a pile of student debt.