Holy Crap!

JamesR

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Okay, I'm in need of some advice from someone wiser and older than me, because there are some big things happening in my life right now. First, after talking to my teacher and school counselor today, I found out that I am ahead of my peers and need less credits than them to graduate. My teacher said that I am going to graduate early next year; probably at the end of the first quarter, or, at the latest, at the end of the first semester.

That being said, I have even less time than I anticipated to decide on what I want to do in my life and what direction to go in after I graduate. I also found out that my family qualifies for an economic-aid program that would give me a $20,000 student loan at an interest rate which my father says is "pretty reasonable." My mom says that we are going to take it, and she wants me to think about what I want to do with the money. She's recommending that I purchase my fantasized-about Macbook Pro Laptop when we get the loan next year, and thus keeping the money I've been saving up for one for myself. I kind of want to use half the loan to purchase myself the most fuel efficient car I could find brand new, that way I could attain a job more easily and thus make more money, and save the other half of the loan for a rainy day, but my mother doesn't entirely agree with me.

What should I do? And how should I use this time to decide upon what I want to do after I graduate?
 

Nephi

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By student loan, do you mean as a university student?
 

Nephi

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JamesR said:
Nephi said:
By student loan, do you mean as a university student?
I don't know; my parents haven't explained it to me entirely yet.
If it is a university-related student loan, then I'd imagine you would need to start looking at universities. And thinking about what degree you'd want to aim for.
 

Achronos

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OK.

Using a student loan to buy a new car? Don't recommend that. Actually if you were to get a car at all, get it used and pay in cash. Don't use a loan.

I'd use the loan for all school expenses. Do you need a car to travel to school?

Let's say you got a job, I don't think you'd be making much money anyway.
 

Asteriktos

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My thoughts on what to do? I'd recommend skipping the loan and going to community college for 2 years. I got a loan in 2000-2001 so as to attend a private Christian college. Worst mistake I ever made. Tens of thousands a year in tuition to "learn" English and Algebra? Whatever. Go to community college for your general ed courses. Between grants and possible scholarships it shouldn't cost you a thing, and you might even get some money back, depending on your situation.
 

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My advice:  Don't buy either the mac or the car with the loan.  To qualify for student loans you need to be a student.  Borrow only as much as you need for schooling. Don't overlook community colleges for basic and intro courses.  Some of the best advice I have ever received in terms of what to do with one's life was, "Find something that needs to be done and do it."

Yeah, what Asteriktos said.
 

Achronos

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Asteriktos said:
My thoughts on what to do? I'd recommend skipping the loan and going to community college for 2 years. I got a loan in 2000-2001 so as to attend a private Christian college. Worst mistake I ever made. Tens of thousands a year in tuition to "learn" English and Algebra? Whatever. Go to community college for your general ed courses. Between grants and possible scholarships it shouldn't cost you a thing, and you might even get some money back, depending on your situation.
Agree with this.

In fact I think he could probably pay 2 years of CC with the 20k, maybe even less. Then just transfer after 2 years to a University.

But dang bro, tens of thousands a year in tuition for a private Christian college? You got scammed.
 

JamesR

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Community college sounds good, how does that work? If it's cheap and works, then I'll take anything. Screw prestige!
 

Achronos

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JamesR said:
Community college sounds good, how does that work? If it's cheap and works, then I'll take anything. Screw prestige!
You basically get your general credits out of the way in community college, and then focus on your major in a university.

Why spend double, triple, in some cases quadrople money for gen ed classes at a university?

Any way you can save money on your college education, the better.

You'll be fine though man, I think you will do very well in college.
 

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JamesR said:
Community college sounds good, how does that work? If it's cheap and works, then I'll take anything. Screw prestige!
Are there community or vocational schools near you?  Contact the admissions departments and speak with an admissions counselor.  They will walk you through the process.  The financial aid office will be able to help you apply for grants and scholarships.
 

Asteriktos

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Achronos said:
But dang bro, tens of thousands a year in tuition for a private Christian college? You got scammed.
Just to give an example, I just checked the website of the local private Catholic college here: $28,542 a year in tuition, $9,594 in room/board if you need/want it. Sheesh.

JamesR said:
Community college sounds good, how does that work? If it's cheap and works, then I'll take anything. Screw prestige!
Fill out info on the FAFSA site early in the spring before the year you plan on attending, then just walk in to the local community college before the semester starts (just do a search on google for one in your county), and say you'd like to sign up for classes. They'll do a placement test and you can go from there.  The local one here charges about $1,500 a semester for full time tuition and fees, and maybe another $200-600 for books (depending on how you buy them).
 

Alveus Lacuna

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Don't get a liberal arts degree. Please. Religion, History and all of that is great. Do it on your own time. Make sure your education points toward a career. Know what your profession is before you start.

And I agree with community college.
 

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Don't get a liberal arts degree. Please. Religion, History and all of that is great. Do it on your own time. Make sure your education points toward a career. Know what your profession is before you start.
Liberal arts degrees can provide careers, so long as one plans to go to grad school first.

A stand-alone BA in any of them is indeed useless, however.
 

yeshuaisiam

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Asteriktos said:
My thoughts on what to do? I'd recommend skipping the loan and going to community college for 2 years. I got a loan in 2000-2001 so as to attend a private Christian college. Worst mistake I ever made. Tens of thousands a year in tuition to "learn" English and Algebra? Whatever. Go to community college for your general ed courses. Between grants and possible scholarships it shouldn't cost you a thing, and you might even get some money back, depending on your situation.
Excellent advice.

SKIP THE LOAN.

Figure something else out.   Community college = cheap (well in the terms of college).  Local, get used books.

 

yeshuaisiam

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Asteriktos said:
Achronos said:
But dang bro, tens of thousands a year in tuition for a private Christian college? You got scammed.
Just to give an example, I just checked the website of the local private Catholic college here: $28,542 a year in tuition, $9,594 in room/board if you need/want it. Sheesh.

JamesR said:
Community college sounds good, how does that work? If it's cheap and works, then I'll take anything. Screw prestige!
Fill out info on the FAFSA site early in the spring before the year you plan on attending, then just walk in to the local community college before the semester starts (just do a search on google for one in your county), and say you'd like to sign up for classes. They'll do a placement test and you can go from there.  The local one here charges about $1,500 a semester for full time tuition and fees, and maybe another $200-600 for books (depending on how you buy them).
Yes also that money can be made for community college at simple jobs in your home town.  When you graduate, you won't have $$$ to pay back with interest.  Most community colleges go towards associate degrees, some go to bachelors.  Debt free all the way.... In those early college years and high school graduation years, the loan sharks are after you BIG time.
 

Achronos

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Don't get a liberal arts degree. Please. Religion, History and all of that is great. Do it on your own time. Make sure your education points toward a career. Know what your profession is before you start.

And I agree with community college.
I really wish liberal arts degrees had more value.
 

dzheremi

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I did the community college thing for a few years before transferring out of state to a 4 year university, and it enabled me to get what would've been a 4-year degree in a year and 9 months (since I had almost no general ed left to do except for one science course, so I was able to focus almost exclusively on my major). Granted, I'm more than making up the difference with a full year of classes paying out of state tuition here in NM as a graduate student (this is my first term at an in-state rate, and it's so much better), but still...I got my BA very quickly, with very little debt to account for in its wake.
 

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Debt is servitude. Don't do it. And definitely don't get a student loan and use it to buy crap. That is not what it is for and it will mess up your options for paying for education.
 

Aristocles

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I fail to see how the title of this topic relates to the subject.

As to the question, you're getting good answers already here. Heed them.
 

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If I was going to use a student loan I'd do it differently;for starters I wouldn't do it.

Don't start off you adulthood burdened by debt.

I have nothing to add to what the others have posted before me other then to agrre with them regarding finding less costly ways to go to school (such as Community colleges).

Student loans are not dischargeable by bankruptcy.

They come after you for them literally until the day you die. In some states they can even garnish unemployment checks and even social security checks to recoup them.

Yes, get an education in a field you have aptitude for and can earn a living at, but don't start out with the idea that being in debt is good. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+22%3A7&version=NIV

 

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Why would you want to graduate so quickly? Calm down, enjoy high school while it lasts.
 

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Cyrillic said:
Why would you want to graduate so quickly? Calm down, enjoy high school while it lasts.
I think, guessing from the answers in this thread, that university in the states is very different from here in Europe, so I'm not sure you or I saying enjoy high school while it lasts would mean the same thing over there. I mean, general ed in university? What's that even mean? Over here (and I had enough colleagues from other European countries to see that this seems broadly usual) it would be really strange to go to university and do anything other than concentrate on your major. Here you'd usually go to university after school, do an honours degree that takes 3 (sometimes 4) years, do no more than 1 third of your first year in a minor subject and the remaining two all in your major (obviously it's half and half all the way if you do a double major). I used to think it was really odd that the American speech therapists I worked with used to tell me that I learnt things whilst studying for my BSc in Psychology that they only learned in graduate school. Admittedly when I was given the choice I opted to concentrate on psycholinguistics so I did more than average, but even so... I get the impression that we seem to specialise much earlier, even in countries like Germany or Romania where school leaving qualifications are decidedly broader than English A Levels are.

James
 

Asteriktos

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Just to give you an example of how liberal arts degrees work over here (at least in my own case), for the college that I'm transferring to, the general education requirements  involve humanities, math, foreign languages, english, social sciences, and natural sciences, and for my degree the school requires nearly 2 years of course work to complete. Some schools are more like a year and a half. Once I transfer, I could complete my major in a little over a year; some people (with different majors) could complete their major requirements in one year worth of work. For me to go to a regular 4 year school to take all the general ed stuff would cost a lot more than going to a 2 year community college, even though they both teach the same classes (Intro to Psychology, Intro to Art History, Intro to Sociology, Computer Technology, etc.). If I took those general education courses at the school I'm transferring to it would be over $27,000 for those two years. At the community college I'm finishing up at those two years cost probably about $9,000.
 

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Borrow as little money as humanly possible.  This is not just college advice, its life advice.

Many state schools have a transfer program from community colleges.  This way, your degree shows you attended the state school the entire four years.

Lots of great advice on this thread.  The only thing I would add is if you live close enough, ride a bike.  It's cheap and good exercise.
 

vamrat

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Find a trade.  Definitely know your career first. 

Taking a loan is the earthly equivalent of suckling at the devil's teat. 

The ONLY reason to get a liberal arts degree ever is for personal gratification.  It will rarely pan out into a decent job in your preferred field.  I truly enjoyed college and the learning I got there.  But I have no debt and no illusions on using my degree to get a job.
 

katherineofdixie

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Don't go into debt (for anything) if you can avoid it, and you almost always can.

Save up the money to buy a used car. It may sound petty, but I really enjoyed telling the finance manager when I bought my latest car (used) that I was paying cash!!!! ;D

I went to a community college first - it was cheap, and I lived at home. I got all of the core subjects out of the way. I also CLEPped as much as a possibly could, to save money.

It's not necessary to decide right now what you want to be when you grow up, unless you have a burning desire to do something in particular (doctor, pilot, fireman, ballet dancer etc.). I've had three totally different careers (healthcare, human resource management, and now working for a church organization writing and editing) and guess what? I have an English/liberal arts degree.
 

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jmbejdl said:
I mean, general ed in university?
General ed means college level courses like General Chemistry, College Algebra, Calculus I, college level composition, etc. Then there are a few things that really make no sense but serve to 'round out' your education such as almost everywhere requires a class or two in humanities, social sciences, etc. I literally learned nothing in Intro to Humanities, World Religion or Anthropology that I didn't already know and it would have been a lot better if I could have spent those 10 credits on learning something new.
 

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The thread is depressing for many reasons aside from some of the terrible advice.
 

Cyrillic

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orthonorm said:
The thread is depressing for many reasons aside from some of the terrible advice.
Enlighten us with your sagacious advice, master.
 

orthonorm

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Cyrillic said:
orthonorm said:
The thread is depressing for many reasons aside from some of the terrible advice.
Enlighten us with your sagacious advice, master.
It is particular to James and will be given as such, if it is asked for. But people have skewed ideas about leveraging debt, what education is (hence all the "teachers"), etc, and I am going to post the best advice so far . . .
 

orthonorm

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Cyrillic said:
Why would you want to graduate so quickly? Calm down, enjoy high school while it lasts.
From someone who has no idea what high school in the US even means comes the best immediate advice.
 

orthonorm

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katherineofdixie said:
Don't go into debt (for anything) if you can avoid it, and you almost always can.
This makes ZERO sense.

Let's say I offer you a loan right now for $100,000 dollars at an interest rate of 0%.

Would you take it? Especially, if I offer you repayment options which scale to your future ability to pay it back and even to be able to pause repayment under certain (very liberal) circumstances?
 

orthonorm

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vamrat said:
Find a trade.  Definitely know your career first. 

Taking a loan is the earthly equivalent of suckling at the devil's teat.
The former is nearly impossible to do within the American education system. And education ought not have anything to do with a career.

The latter is simply a near impossibility in most people's lives in America if they would like what amounts to the basic middle class life.

Now I won't get into why you are right for all the wrong reasons and why capitalism is evil, but while it is here, loans are not necessarily bad decisions.
 

orthonorm

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James, remember when you ask advice from people who don't know you and don't have much experience dealing with what you are asking about, you are basically going to get more insight into their own past mistakes and regrets than any possible decent advice for yourself.

^-------This is now the best advice in this thread.
 

Achronos

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orthonorm said:
James, remember when you ask advice from people who don't know you and don't have much experience dealing with what you are asking about, you are basically going to get more insight into their own past mistakes and regrets than any possible decent advice for yourself.

^-------This is now the best advice in this thread.
Well this is true...

So NBD on getting school loans then and take your time?
 

katherineofdixie

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orthonorm said:
katherineofdixie said:
Don't go into debt (for anything) if you can avoid it, and you almost always can.
This makes ZERO sense.

Let's say I offer you a loan right now for $100,000 dollars at an interest rate of 0%.

Would you take it? Especially, if I offer you repayment options which scale to your future ability to pay it back and even to be able to pause repayment under certain (very liberal) circumstances?
No. What would be the purpose? I'd still have to pay you back, on your terms.
And this example makes zero sense as well. Unless you are in the habit of loaning money at 0%, or know a bank that will do so?
 

Nephi

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orthonorm said:
The latter is simply a near impossibility in most people's lives in America if they would like what amounts to the basic middle class life.

Now I won't get into why you are right for all the wrong reasons and why capitalism is evil, but while it is here, loans are not necessarily bad decisions.
Agreed.
 

orthonorm

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katherineofdixie said:
orthonorm said:
katherineofdixie said:
Don't go into debt (for anything) if you can avoid it, and you almost always can.
This makes ZERO sense.

Let's say I offer you a loan right now for $100,000 dollars at an interest rate of 0%.

Would you take it? Especially, if I offer you repayment options which scale to your future ability to pay it back and even to be able to pause repayment under certain (very liberal) circumstances?
No. What would be the purpose? I'd still have to pay you back, on your terms.
And this example makes zero sense as well. Unless you are in the habit of loaning money at 0%, or know a bank that will do so?
Effectively, absolutely. But, the point is that taking a loan in itself is not necessarily a bad idea. I know someone right now whose student loan interest is 0.8% on dollars borrowed over a decade ago (which means he is paying a charge now for dollars which are worth more than surcharge added to the dollars he is paying them now which makes his loan a windfall) and includes seven years in which he paid no interests or had to make any payments on the loan.

At what point and under which terms a loan makes differs incredibly for everyone. So just saying, never go into debt makes no sense. And unfortunately such shrill notion spill over into things like national budget where people worry about increasing debt without knowing this is often a wonderful and effective tool for economic growth.
 
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