3. Don’t forget the FAFSA.
AKA the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is a big one. Depending on your family’s financial situation, you may qualify for government grants and student loans that can help you pay for college. The FAFSA application opens on October 1 for seniors. Some financial aid is first-come, first-served, so you’ll want to apply as close to that date as possible. (Editor’s note: Grab a family member to help with the FAFSA because you’ll need their financial information to complete the application.)
4. Open a bank account.
You can go to a national bank chain or local bank—either works. Your bank account will do two things. One, you’ll learn how to manage your money. Two, you’ll have somewhere to put the money you’re earning at that part-time gig. Consider opening a checking and savings account, so your savings can earn interest and keep growing.
5. Consider a side hustle.
Love coding? Filmmaking? Put your entrepreneurial spirit to work. Freelance wages are a great way to supplement your savings from the comfort of your home—or anywhere you go. Gabe brought his filmmaking skills everywhere, including “local businesses, Kickstarter campaigns, and even a job opportunity at Buzzfeed Studios.”
6. Earn college credit now.
If your high school offers AP classes or classes at a local community college, consider signing up. Both give you the opportunity to earn college credit. If your college accepts those credits, you’ll have fewer classes to pay for.
A word of advice about Gabe’s tips: You don’t need to add all these tips into your plan to pay for college if they don’t work for you. “There are a plethora of ways to minimize the cost of college. Choose the ones of your choice,” Gabe says of his tips. After you’ve explored all other options, then you might consider private student loans.
Even if you just try a few of Gabe’s tips, you’ll be on your way to feeling more confident about how to pay for college.
Who’s scared about paying for college? Not you.