October 19, 2010 | Suzanne Shaffer | Leave a comment Should you delay or skip going to college? According to a recent study conducted by T.D. Ameritrade, more than a third of U.S. teenagers would consider delaying or skipping college, an increase from last year. The study attributed the high response to an increase in college costs and fears about the inability to secure employment after graduation. While college costs can be high, consider that the majority who delay college regret not going and a high percentage continue within the workforce without a college degree. In this competitive job market, a college degree is necessary to compete with other degreed applicants and increase your lifetime earning potential. Instead of delaying or skipping college, consider these five options: Take AP or dual-credit courses during high school If you take AP classes during high school, you can take AP tests and many colleges will give you college credit based on your test score. Dual credit classes allow you to attend college while attending high school, giving you college credit when you graduate. Securing credit before starting to college can reduce your costs dramatically and many times allow you to complete your degree in three years. Begin your college career at a community college According to the study, c. Start your college career at the local community college and save some big bucks. Just make sure that those credits will transfer to a 4-year college after completion. Pay as you go The most effective way to offset high college costs is to adopt the “pay-as-you-go” method. Many colleges allow you to break the tuition payments up into affordable monthly installments. If you choose this method, you can work during college and pay the tuition while you attend. Of course, you will need to choose an affordable college option, such as a state university. Live at home and work during college While living at home and working might not be your optimum choice, it’s a viable option. It’s possible to arrange your classes around your work schedule. Your income from your job can offset tuition costs. Living at home will save you money on room and board, reducing your college costs significantly and allowing you to apply that money toward tuition. Take some classes online Taking classes online can be less expensive and also cost effective. But before you drop some of your hard earned money check with your college and verify that they will accept those courses as credit. Many students take some courses over the summer and/or winter breaks, saving higher credit costs for those classes that are only offered at their respective colleges. Delaying college might seem like the best choice when faced with the high cost; but if you think creatively and work hard, you should be able to attend college and pursue the degree of your choosing. Have you been thinking about continuing your education? If you are taking classes, what format works for you? Tell us in the comments below!