When Should I Start Thinking About Student Loans?

Pixabay user Alexas_Photos

Pixabay user Alexas_Photos

Every student is faced with a choice when they exit the relative financial comfort of high school to attend an institution of higher learning. Tuition rates are mounting, and it is perhaps more important than in the past to have a plan for college payments. There are several options open to assist students with the price of college, such as scholarship applications, federal aid, and grants, but student loan programs, public or private, remain the most popular road.

The second half of senior year in high school, and the summer that follows, is an emotional time. Most find themselves bidding friends goodbye and harboring secret nerves about the legendary rite of passage that awaits them in the fall. Several students do not even want to think about being at college during this time, preferring to savor their final moments at home, with the friends and family they have grown up with. However, it is always important to plan ahead, even when facing a prospect as foreign as your freshman year of college.

Financial Planning

Part of being an adult is doing things that frustrate you in the moment, but help you out in the long run. Think of your financial planning for college in this way; a trial run for the experiences of college academic life and, eventually, the work world. Depending on both your family’s financial situation and where you plan to attend school, you may not need student loans at all. A large chunk of students, though, find themselves having to confront the fact that they will be attending college at a place that, while it will give them a quality education and preparation for life, will take a tremendous toll on their wallet.

It’s going to be vital that, before leaving for school, you sit down with your parents or guardians and have a conversation about where your tuition money is going to come from. Are your parents paying all the costs? Are you splitting it? If you can’t come to an easy answer, it’s time to start thinking about student loans. A lot of students dread the prospect, picturing crushing debt coming out of college. On the other hand, remember that student loan programs don’t exist purely to suck money out of your pocket; you will be rewarded with a great degree that will hopefully help you find your dream job. Plus, keep in mind that a variety of plans exist, and you can pick the one that fits your individual situation to a T.

How to Avoid Massive Student Loan Debt

If you go about it the right way, you can avoid the nightmare that some go through upon graduation, finding themselves buried in debt. To review the different programs that the federal government offers, check out https://studentloans.gov, run by the Department of Education. If you’d prefer to get a loan from a private source, a good start is to fire up Google and take down the pros and cons of loans offered from different places. After following these steps, you’ll probably be ready to make your decision.

There are many lessons that you will learn outside the classroom when you attend college, but one of the most important is to be proactive. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Don’t procrastinate, think ahead, because if you come to a decision regarding student loans early, you will thank yourself later. Student loans may seem daunting at first, but ultimately, exploring the option sooner rather than later is a great idea. You’ll end up with peace of mind, a degree you worked hard for, and, hopefully, a wallet full of Benjamins.

Use College Raptor’s free Student Loan Finder to compare lenders and interest rates side by side!


Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Citizens logo.
6.97%-15.03%* Variable
5.99%-14.00%* Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Sallie Mae logo.
6.37% - 16.70% Variable
4.50% - 15.49% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Credibe company logo.
4.98% - 16.70% Variable
4.07% - 15.66% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Lendkey company logo.
6.07% - 11.31% Variable
4.39% - 10.39% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Ascent company logo.
6.22% - 16.08% Variable
4.09% - 15.66% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
6.54% - 11.08% Variable
3.95% - 8.01% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Earnest company logo.
5.62% - 18.26% Variable
4.11% - 15.90% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
4.98% - 12.79% Variable
8.42% - 13.01% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
College Raptor is not a loan lender and does not assume responsibility for suggesting a loan to a user who may not be eligible for it. Rates, terms, conditions, eligibility, approval, and other considerations are the decisions of the lenders and may vary depending on which lender or marketplace the user selects. We urge users to carefully consider and review all loan options and terms before committing to taking out a loan.