When I graduated in 2010 with my business and management undergraduate degrees (I also met some accounting degree requirements), I had a lot of student loan debt. I never thought I was going to get out of it. And then I graduated it 2012, again with more student loan debt. Even though I had a lot of student loan debt, I did a lot of things to lessen my student loan debt burden.
Here is what I did:
I took college classes in high school.
Many high schools now offer college classes when you are in high school.
These can be for straight college credit (my classes were taken at my high school, but the credits were technically from a private university in the St. Louis area which has a great reputation) or you may have to take a test at the end of the semester to see if you qualify for college credit (such as with AP classes).
These saved me a ton of money. I can't remember the exact number of college credits that I earned in high school, but I think it was somewhere around 15 credits. This shaved off one full semester off of my college degree, which also meant that it allowed me to graduate earlier.
I spent a summer semester at a community college.
One summer, I realized I still had a lot of general education classes that I needed to take, so I went to my advisor at my private university and asked what classes I could take at the community college that would transfer. She/he (I can't remember the person) gave me a list of classes that would 100% transfer.
I then went up to the community college and signed up for 12 credits (4 classes). Since it was the summer, I actually had to beg the Dean at the college because he said not many people ever take 12 credits in a summer semester.
It was okay though, I actually received a 100% in every single class. Sadly though, the credits transferred but the awesome grades did not. The grades weren't reflected in my overall GPA at all. But that's okay, I really just wanted the credits.
Only take out student loans that you need.
With student loans, you can usually take out more than you actually need, which is a bad thing! This can lead to students taking out more and racking up more student loan debt. I know this because I did it. UGH!
How much student loan debt did you have when you graduated?
Join the free Master Your Money course!
Join the free email course and finally learn how to manage your money better, pay off debt, save more money, and reach financial freedom.