Student loans have seen a lot of discussion in the media over the last decade, and they remain a controversial topic in the eyes of many. It’s not hard to see why, either – a large number of students have found themselves paying off loans for a degree that doesn’t even do them any good. It’s not a rare occurrence at all these days, and even though the dust has settled to some extent, many people are still wary of the idea of taking out a student loan.
And it’s true, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. A student loan can have serious implications on your life in the long run, sometimes even for more than a decade. It’s not a bad idea in some cases, but it’s also something that you should only do after researching every aspect of it sufficiently.
Are You Confident in Your Degree Choice?
The most important question you need to ask yourself – and answer honestly as well – is whether you’re confident in your choice of degree (and subsequently, your career). Many people believe that they’re going down the right path simply because they’ve chosen something that seems attractive to them. But in a surprisingly large number of those cases, it turns out that they’ve put very little thought into the long-term implications of that career path.
You might think you have a knack for the fine arts for example, but is it worth taking out a five-figure loan for a degree in that field? What if you end up unable to secure a job afterwards?
Understanding the Job Market
This brings us to our next important point. You have to pay attention to the job market and watch how it evolves over time. You’re going to notice some patterns, and it’s important to pay attention to them. Certain trends come and go, while some careers end up evolving into important pillars of society not long after their arrival to the scene.
In general, fields related to technology tend to see the fastest growth. This is not always a positive factor though. It means that the skills you’re learning today might become obsolete tomorrow. Pay attention to how things are moving, and know what you can expect from your respective job market five, ten, and more years from now.
Do you actually need a student loan in the first place? Not every university is going to cost you that much to attend, and sometimes you might be able to get a great deal on your education while spending very little on it. Consider studying in another country as well. Germany is a common destination for many students for this reason – you can pay as little as around $400 per semester for a full degree!
Of course, these alternatives come with a price of their own. Moving to another country is a stressful experience that not everyone can handle properly, and it can also complicate your life financially in other aspects. But the point is, taking out a student loan and following a degree path in your local area is far from the only option you have.
Know how you’re going to go about repaying that loan before you’ve even taken it out. It can be difficult to plan for every last cent in this regard, but you can still do a lot to ensure that you’re prepared for each installment as it comes up. It’s a good idea to know when you’re going to start searching for a job, too. Some degrees might allow you to start with that before you’ve even graduated, which can be a nice way to boost the repayment of your student loan.
How to Maximize the Potential of Your Loan
Another point to remember is that you might be able to put some of that money towards other things, not just your tuition fees. This depends on the exact deal you’ve gotten, and it won’t be valid for every type of student loan out there. But if you can put some of that money towards starting a side business, or another investment, this can certainly work in your favor in the long run.
Don’t go overboard with this though – you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you have a student loan on your shoulders, and you can’t even pay your next semester at the same time. This is one of the main reasons so many people have found themselves facing significant problems as a result of their student loans.