Natalia Abrams waited a few years after graduating from high school to attend college. She first attended a community college and by the time she transferred to a four-year university, the cost of attendance there had almost doubled from what it was when she got out of high school. Her advice is to think long and hard before deciding to put off going to college. “The cost of college goes up every single year, so if you wait you’re only going to pay more in years to come,” Natalia says.

Her other best advice for students considering loans—don’t take out more money in loans than you absolutely have to have. “Three’s a lot of people who will take out more because it’s quite easy to get private student loan money. We’ll see borrowers take out more than they need for extra expenses, and with interest rates between seven and 15 or 16 percent, it becomes very hard to pay [the loans] back,” Natalia says. She advises getting a part-time job to cover expenses while in college.

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