Congratulations on that high school diploma or equivalency. There's a lot to consider and number one on your list is probably college.
When it comes to thinking about what success means, most of us want money and security. Here's a chart that gets right to this point and shows how a degree beyond high school may boost both of these.
College Costs Money
So, we know that eventually advanced education generally leads to a more livable income and better job security... But first you gotta cough up mucho dinero to even attend, right?
And what seems more secure than just getting a job right now? Isn’t going to college just another way of stalling?
You're not wrong with these pointed questions, friend.
However, there are ways to limit your costs and time spent. Like, do you have to live on campus freshman year and beyond? Or maybe you want to think about living at home during college.
Well, actually—let's look at a few advantages to living at home instead of going away to college.
Top 6 Reasons to Be an eLearner
Let's look at 6 good reasons you might want to stay at home while you earn your degree or take classes.
1 - You Can Keep on Working While Living at Home During College
Let's say you want to get a job right out of high school, or to keep working the one you've been at. Maybe you even need to. Or you might not yet know where you want to focus your education.
If that's the case, shelling out big bucks without a clear vision just doesn’t seem prudent. Maybe it makes sense to wait and get work experience in the meantime.
In fact, there are many options for the working student these days. So, many students do both - work and go to college at the same time. This is one choice that could help you keep the momentum going on your education after high school.
Online classes are one way to integrate advanced education into a working life; either enrolled in a degree program or just dipping a toe with a class or two. There are advantages to this as a springboard for higher education.
It's less expensive than traditional college, not much of a commitment, offers flexible hours, and there aren’t many barriers to entry. One way to check out how easy it can be to get started on this particular choice is to click around here at eLearners.com. We have links galore for many online programs that just might suit your fancy, even right here on this very page.
2 - Live Outside the Bubble
College basically takes over students' lives while enrolled. In fact, many describe a college campus experience as feeling like living life in a bubble.
Onliners, meanwhile, have their regular life entirely available to them while they pick and choose how much they commit to college. Some won’t even be forced to commit to a full degree program quite yet.
And it doesn’t matter where you start… but where you finish.
This means that—even if you spent freshman and sophomore year enrolled in classes at Trailer Park Hot Dog Stand Community College (TPHDS on your resume)—once you complete the degree program at Yale, you get that Yale diploma.
If this is your plan, the College Board website recommends enrolling in a transfer program at a community college. That's a program created just for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college after completing two years at their school.
What GPA will you need? What classes do you need to have completed? With these details in mind, you are better prepared to actually end up where you want to be. Keep your focus set on a bright future and, one step at a time, you'll be more likely to get there.
3 - Save Money
Saving money is clearly one reason you might attend a commuter or online school as a first step toward your dreams.
More than half of 2014 college students (54%) commuted to school for a more affordable college experience, according to Sallie Mae’s most recent How America Pays for College Report. That’s up from 43% just four years ago.
“Families are making deliberate decisions to save on their college bills, and adopting multiple strategies to reduce the cost of college,” says Abigail Harper, a spokesperson for Sallie Mae. “One of the strategies they’re using is living at home, and another is attending school closer to home to reduce travel expenses.”
Out-of-state tuition almost always costs more money, as do private schools. So many students look into things like scholarships or other ways to cut down tuition and avoid the average debt-load.
DO THE MATH
The average student debt at graduation in 2016 ranged from $20,000 in Utah to $36,350 in New Hampshire, and new graduates’ likelihood of having debt ranged from 43 percent in Utah to 77 percent in West Virginia.
Average debt varies even more from college to college, with a low of $4,600 to a high of $59,100, and the share of students graduating with loans ranges from six to 98 percent. These 2016 numbers are according to The Institute for College Access & Success, an institute created to help ease the burden of college student debt in the United States, a growing concern for many advocacy groups including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and their PostSecondary Success programs.
Location x 3
38% of college students attend a school within 50 miles of home, according to the Higher Educational Research Institute at UCLA.
Living in a dorm may not be primo real estate in square footage but it certainly is when it comes to cash outlay. “The typical rate for a dorm room per year will run $10,000, meaning that over the course of four years, you could save upwards of $40,000--and don’t forget the money you’ll save on other expenses, like food and laundry,” Jerry Slavonia, CEO and founder at Campus Explorer says.
Of course there are other ways to cut costs while advancing your education.
A Sallie Mae report found the following 3 cost-cutting measures:
- 61% of college students went to school closer to home to save money.
- 41% got a roommate while not living at home or on campus.
- 28% accelerated their coursework to cut back costs.
The same report also found that 98% believe college is worth the investment they're making.
The chart below shows this to profound effect. If you look over the past 75 years, people age 25 to 34 went from only 13% with at least some college education to 65% in 2015—more than a fifty percent increase.
4 - You Can Stay Laser-Focused
The traditional story of college tells us about campuses abundant with study groups, libraries, and learning communities where students dwell in 24/7 study-mode. It's a lovely story and an enticing concept but does it actually happen for the average kid on campus?
Certainly the world knows that college also means frat parties, pizza deliveries, and spontaneous road trips. On the other hand, life at home with family seems to ensure some certainties.
For one, when you're surrounded by family, you know you'll be observed. Chances are that will force focus onto studying. After all, there's a rule about the "observer effect". For instance, the Hawthorne study of social psychology looked at factory workers on the job and found they were much more productive when they were being watched.
5 - Gain Your Financial Independence
There may be reasons you can't leave home or you may just prefer to stay close to your family, work, and friends. The comforts of home can be a powerful draw.
Some students might say they want to go away to college to feel more independent. All they've known has been home with the parental units all these years and it's a change of pace. College campus life certainly is different from living at home but the notion that it's more independent doesn’t really hold.
After all, that high school grad probably lives in a dorm paid for by their parents. Are they really more independent than a peer who lives at home but works and takes classes online? Is independence just space between yourself and your family?
Financial independence seems to be something quite different. After all, a working family member who pays their own way proves their financial independence. Some might pay more or less based on their choices but they do seem to have more choices that have potential to boost the family finances.
A full-time student living on campus simply doesn’t have those options. Not only are home-cooked meals out of the question, so is helping pay for them
6 - Still Have Your Social Life
Worried about being the odd man out? Not sure you'll be able to make new friends? Unsure whether you can live with a bunch of other strangers and share a common bathroom, toilet, and shower, possibly even with members of the other sex?
One thing is for sure with dorm life, you really get to know your peers. But is it necessary to live on top of each other to develop a happy social life? There's a reason people stop living dorm-style after college and stick with one or two roomies maximum.
Plus, if you stay in the comfort of your very own home, you get to hang out with your usual crowd, all while taking classes and earning your degree.
Get on Your Own Path to Student Success
Let eLearners help you find a perfect degree program for your personal path. Check out our relevant links and get matched with your ideal degree program today.