You don’t think you qualify for financial aid.
So many college students don’t even bother applying for financial aid because they don’t think
they can qualify, but that is a huge mistake. You are passing up the opportunity to see if you
qualify for grants, which is free money for college that you do not have to pay back. Even if you
don’t qualify for a grant, you can qualify for federal loans as opposed to private student loans
which come at a lower interest rate. You’ll also find out if you qualify for work study, which is an
opportunity to work on your college’s campus to earn money.
You forget or miss the deadline for the FAFSA.
To find out if you qualify for this financial aid, you must fill out the free FAFSA. You’ll need
information about your income and possibly your parent’s income as well as assets. There is a
deadline to filling out this information, and it needs to be done either every year or semester,
depending on your college. The sooner you fill out the FAFSA, the better because once this
financial assistance is used up, it’s gone.
You have the “borrow now, earn later” mentality.
In my opinion, a lot of the problems with student loans come from the idea that you can borrow as
much as you want because in just a few years you’ll be earning a steady, good salary and pay it
back with ease. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. A lot of recent graduates struggle to find
a job once they graduate, or even when they do, it’s not the salary they expected. Plus, even if you
do land a job, shelling out a good portion of your hard earned income stings every month. Be
conscious of the money you are borrowing, and do everything possible to reduce what you will
You take out more loans than needed.
Going along with that same borrow now, earn later thought, many college students take out extra
loans. Hey, what’s an extra few thousand each semester to be able to live in a nicer apartments,
buy some new clothes, take a vacation, or simply have more fun with friends? I get it, but it’s not a
good idea. Those extra loans add up quickly, and you’re paying interest on them. Once you’re
done with school, working, and trying to pay off those loans you’ll realize those extra loans
weren’t worth it.
You take more classes than you need.
Depending on where you’re headed to college, one single class can cost hundreds or even
thousands of dollars. Taking classes you don’t need to graduate, is a horrible financial mistake.
This is a common occurrence when people change their major. It’s tricky because you aren’t just
going to stick with something you realize isn’t a good fit for you. To avoid this, really think about
your major before you start taking classes for it. Sit in on classes, meet with advisors, talk with
professors, shadow people in your field, and do plenty of research on the job outlook, what the job
entails, and other working conditions including salary. This way, you aren’t making a rushed
decision on a major. Another reason why people take classes they don’t need, is they aren’t quite
sure and take something on accident. Requirements for colleges are constantly changing, so it’s a
good idea to meet with an advisor in your major’s department every semester to figure out what
you should be taking.
You don’t apply for scholarships.
Scholarships are free money used
to apply towards your college education. Many people don’t think they’ll qualify for any
scholarships or simply don’t want to take the time to apply. But you never know if you can qualify
for a scholarship. You can find scholarships offered through your college, city, state, private
organizations, community groups, professional organizations, and much more. Ask your college’s
student finance service department on what scholarships your school offers and advice on where to
You don’t stick to a budget.
Just because you’re in college, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be trying to stick to a budget. Know
where your money is going. You might be shocked to learn what you’re spending on coffees or
grabbing a quick bite with friends. Go back over the last three months to see what you spent on
food, gas and transportation, entertainment and going out with friends, and all of your other bills,
like cable, electric, and rent. See what the average cost was. It might be more than you anticipated.
Try to find ways to cut all of those costs down. Make an amount that you’re comfortable spending
and stick to it by keeping track of your spending and finding ways to cut costs.
You don’t really understand how the student loans work.
That saying ignorance is bliss is somewhat applicable to student loans, at least while you’re still in
school. It may sound irresponsible, but it’s pretty common for people just to blindly take out the
loans, not realizing what they’re paying in interest and what they will actually owe once they get
out of school. Even if it’s difficult to accept, really understand what you’re borrowing, the interest,
and what the payments will be when you graduate.
You drop classes.
Two weeks into the semester and you realize you don’t like your professor, you’re having issues in
your personal life, or you don’t like the class. Things happen, but once you drop a class, you’re
still paying for it if it passed the deadline to which you can drop it without a fee. Before you
register, be sure you know the specific date and time when you can drop a class without any fees