Should I start saving money for college now that I am 14?


Anne Richard, Former dean of admissions at three top-tier law schools (UVA, GW, GMU); Yale Law and BC grad

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I think it is a very good idea to start saving money for college at an early age, for a number of reasons. College is expensive and you want to do whatever you can to help minimize amounts you and/or your family will have to borrow to cover the costs of tuition and living expenses during your college years. And you should do what you can to neutralize the impact of financial considerations on your college choice. You want to be in a position to accept an offer of admission from the more expensive School X, your first choice school, rather than having to go to School Y, your second or third choice school, because School Y is offering a large scholarship. Even if your family has resources and will help pay for college, it is good for you to invest in yourself. Being focused on saving money you earn in your young teenage years and establishing your own college savings plan will help give you a sense of ownership in and responsibility for your future.

Joan Spitrey, Clinical Nursing Instructor

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If you are even considering it at such a young age, the answer is a a resounding YES! Plus, any money saved starting now will grow exponentially over the years. You might want to consider looking into a pre-paid college plan, especially if your state offers one.

Matthew Clemens, Physics and Math Teacher, Parent, and Tutor

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Yes! The more money you save, the better. Thinking about tuition can be daunting, but imagine if you had enough saved for even one year of school, or had the money saved for all of your books! Any money you save will help you and maybe give you some freedom to not have to work during your undergrad years.

Amy Yvette Garrou, College admissions expert (US and international colleges)

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Certainly, you can start saving for college now. I'm assuming you'll save money that you make from working? How will you earn money at age 14--are there places you are allowed to work? Some employers won't hire you until you're 16.

In case certainly, save what you can from an allowance, or work, or whatever source of income you have.

I agree, though with one of the other commenters who said that doing well in school, taking the tougher courses in each subject when you can, and finding something that you enjoy doing are important things to do right now. She's right: being a top student who also has depth in an activity or two that you enjoy could possibly bring you more money than you can earn.

That said (having been on a couple of admission committees), I know that colleges appreciate seeing students who work to earn money and pay for school trips or other things themselves. They like this kind of initiative from young people.

So by all means, get a job when you can, or save from money you make in other ways (are you an investor?) but don't get so concerned about making/saving money that it takes time away from making As in 5 solid academic courses every year, and from adequately preparing for standardized tests, and from interacting with fellow students and teachers.

You're going to do well!

Anonymous, Good Question

Yes i actually think you should .

Carrie Hagen, Nonfiction Writer and Researcher, Teacher

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The best thing that you can do at 14 is to study hard, read what you can, and get the best grades possible. It's always a good idea to save, but with higher grades, you may be eligible for scholarships and grants that will award you more money than you could save on your own.

Lisa Friedman, Inclusive Educator, Religious School Director, writer & speaker

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That would be so smart! Too many teens take this for granted, assuming that college is their right and therefore that their family will make it a reality for them. Few are thinking about the ways that they can help their family afford a college education. You are on your way to becoming a mature and responsible adult as you are already thinking about others over yourself. Good for you!

Colleen Clemens, College Professor, Writer, Editor, Tutor & Parent

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Wow, good for you! I cannot imagine having that much foresight as a 14-year-old!

Yes, if you can save money, start now. Consider putting it somewhere where you will get some interest and where you cannot touch it. Even if you save enough for just your books in college, your 18-year-old self will thank you. Good luck to you!

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