By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at American Public University System
This article originally appeared on our fellow APUS blog, Online Learning Tips.
If you are a college student (or an aspiring college student), then you know that tuition is not the only cost you have to incur to get your education. While textbooks can cost an inordinate amount of money, many classes require other resources to aid you in successfully completing the class. While there are ways to combat expensive text books, sometimes you have to buy them to be successful in the class. Some of your resources, however, can almost always be found for free if you know where to look.
What are some of the resources you may use to aid you in completing your school work? If you are taking a class that involves writing (which is almost any class you could possibly take), you will need to have a guide for the writing style required in the class. English classes prefer MLA style, business and psychology classes prefer APA style, and history classes prefer Chicago style. Guides for all of these styles can be purchased in your school’s library or online. There are many great free alternatives on the Internet, however. The best resource you can use (and I would vouch for it) is the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). This website will provide you with everything the manual provides you with, free of cost.
Some other resources that you may need to complete your class include the following: calculators, literary books, study guides, and so on. If you are in a traditional classroom and need a specific calculator, you may have to purchase one. However, many of the functions a financial calculator can do can be found on free, online applications (if your professor allows it). Many classes may include additional reading resources that you can check out for free at your local library. There is a plethora of study guides online as well, but you have to make sure that you are getting them from a reputable source.
The reality of higher education is that sometimes you just have to incur the extra costs that come along with it. For example, if you need art supplies to successfully complete an art class, you are probably going to have to pay for them. If you are taking online classes, you are going to have to have access to a computer and an internet connection. While it is possible to use a public library, a laptop would probably be a good resource to purchase. You will never be able to cut all of your costs for resources, but if you can find some affordable alternatives, you will be able to at least save some money. In turn, this can aid you in taking out fewer student loans so that you do not accumulate a large amount of student loan debt.