This is a post for those without access to the bank of mum and dad. If you’re already wealthy feel free to ignore and click away. If however those fee increases have you sweating, then this might be for you. I wouldn’t say this is a one size fits all; some of you may be in situations where my suggestions are futile. But if you fall into that small percentage of people this could apply to, I hope this helps.
This will mostly put you into two camps. Camp A – ‘isn’t this just common sense’ and camp B (which I suspect will be the majority) ‘this takes away from the experience of university’. If you’re in former, I’d have to disagree with your assertion, common sense isn’t that common. For the rest, fair enough, we just have a fundamental disagreement about what to prioritize in this current economy.
1. Don’t Live Out.
I can hear the groan’s already. But I recommend that if live within a reasonable distance (let’s say an hour + commute), don’t bother. The difference in the debt you accumulate living out is considerable.
2. Work Part Time
Again, rather obvious, but it has to be said. Earning some money on the weekends will help considerably, and ties in too what I’m about to say next.
3. Save Like Crazy
If you’ve been able to follow the first two steps, and then you might have been able to stash away what you can. Avoid temptation, don’t splash your student loan/grants on a new wardrobe (or insert whatever your vice is). Save it. Put it into ISA. The interest rates available right now are crap. But it’s a whole lot better than seeing zero after your 4 years.
4. Do The Work Experience Year/Get Practical Skills.
If you didn’t know by now your actual degree isn’t worth anything to your future employer. They couldn’t care less how much you know about 19th century French poetry. Practical skill’s is what counts. (If your degree teaches you something practical and in demand then this need not apply)
The work experience year also neatly ties into point 3.
Make yourself valuable to whatever industry you want to get into. It’s basic supply and demand.
We have an abundance of free information around us online. There are now practically no barriers to learning something new.
5. Get a 2.1 or above
Self-explanatory. A lot of employers won’t even look at with less unfortunately. If you think there’s a chance you won’t make it, a small hack is to apply for jobs early that way your grades will be less of a factor. Also look at smaller companies that are less inclined to be over concerned with academic credentials. If you followed the previous steps in terms of work experience you should be okay.
Follow any or all of the above and you’ll be a thoroughly tired and miserable graduate with minimal debt and good job prospects.