College can become a little difficult when it takes longer than 4 years to get your degree, takes up much of your free-time for social activities or work opportunities, and leaves you stressed out (see A College Mess: The Double Standards) when you take into account how many bills you're looking at when you come out of school.
To make it easy, I have compiled some small tips that I've tried that have greatly lessened the load.
- Take college classes before you reach College. When I was in my junior year of high-school, I decided to take college classes after school or during free periods. I went through what was called the Excel program, specific to the Georgia area (although there are others by different names specific to other areas), which allowed me to finish up general requirement classes (a.k.a useless pre-requisites or introductory classes) in an actual college and college classroom. I knocked out Math, English, etc., and got to get a feel for a real college classroom and all the expectations of one. In my senior year, I went to college mostly during my free periods at the end of the day as well and knocked out some more classes that would have took up most of my coursewaork in my first two years at a University. *Not the same thing as AP classes in high-school since high-school AP doesn't always tranfer into college credits.
- Go to a community/technical college first. If you don't want to take college classes before college, try going to a community/technical college straight out of high-school, at least for the first two years. When you take you're two years of general requirement classes at a community college, you pay less for what it would be at a University. Also, some community/technical colleges have quarter hours vs. the semester hour system you mostly see at 4-year universities, so the classes will be a few months shorter than what it would be at a University.
- Get an inexpensive Associate's degree and/or a short specialized certificate at the community/tech school while there and it will be easier to get a job later. When you choose to do this option first, that's more on your resume and better hands-on experience with the coursework in usually smaller classroom sizes. This will enable you to find a better job while studying for your Bachelor's degree at a University you migt transfer over to.
- Take summer classes every summer in college, at least 2 (online or on-campus to make it bearable). College classes during the summer can help you fill required classes up faster, and with 1 or 2 classes, you can still find summer employment without having trouble juggling both if you are otherwise full-time during regular semesters.
- Clep out of subjects you know all too well. If you're really good at Math, take a clep test to clep out of general req. math classes in College. You don't want to take introductory level classes you thoroughly know already and spend more money on being re-taught it, forced to stay in school longer. The same goes for English, Spanish, and other subjects that are covered by Clep.