Paying for College: 2 Nontraditional Ways

By Maxine Seya

It’s college decision season and all of my students have earned multiple offers of admission (yay!).

But it’s also a rude awakening for students and parents who decided not to think about college finances until now.

A student asked me this week, “Should I pay $74,000 a year to go to [famous East Coast private college] that I really love or go to [famous Midwest public university], which I like but don’t love, for less money? What can I do to pay for college?”

I don’t purport to be a college financial expert in any way, so I typically stay away from giving financial advice.

But because I’ve seen students work very hard on popular scholarship applications with no positive outcomes, I wanted to offer non-traditional ideas on paying for college.

2 Entrepreneurial Ways to Pay for College

Here are 2 entrepreneurial tips I gave my student:

#1 Ask for sponsorships from local businesses.

A current admissions officer shared this trick with me.

  1. Approach (whether in person or online) a small local business.
  2. Ask for the owner.
  3. Introduce yourself as a local college-bound senior intending on pursuing major or career.
  4. Explain why you chose this business to approach.
    • A regular patron? A connection with the mission? An admiration for the owner’s story? A similarity to the owner’s identity?
  5. Ask if the business may be willing to sponsor you by writing you a $50, $100, or $150 (choose your own numbers) check (or equivalent – Venmo, PayPal, etc.) to support your textbooks purchase, student fees, lab fees, etc.

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Maxine Seya
Maxine Seya is a former investigative journalist, college consultant, and admissions interviewer. She studied at Peking University (Beijing, China) and Université Paul-Valéry (Montpellier, France) and investigated for CNN and Huffington Post before graduating from Northwestern University. She founded SocratesPost to share the human stories behind the admission gates and offer parents clarity as they help their teens with college.