If you get a chance to talk to a college bound student, what advice would you give him or her? In this article, I am going to share a few tips based on my own experience. This article assumes that the student completed the application process and got accepted to a few schools.
Photo by Srevatsan via Flickr
Here are my 10 tips for college bound students:
- Understand the value of money. If your parents are sending you to college, spend time with them to understand the impact of your education on their finances, and your future finances. Ask them about the sacrifices they’ve made to save up for your college fund. This way, you’ll appreciate your education more. If you are sending yourself to college, I am sure you already understand the financial sacrifice.
- Go to less expensive school to save money. There’s nothing wrong with going to a less expensive school for your education. If you really want a degree from a “prestigious” school, you can always transfer later on.
- Practice simple living. There’s no need for a fancy apartment and expensive furnitures. College students tend to move a lot and you want to travel light. Having less stuff means an easier move back home or to a new apartment at the end of the semester. No moving van. No storage. Save money!
- Share your dorm room or apartment. Dormitory and college town apartments are exceedingly expensive since they are virtual monopolies. Try to do your best to share a dorm room or an apartment to lower your costs of living. Sacrifice now and you’ll have more money (or less debt) down the road.
- Register for a few extra classes each semester. There were a couple of times that I wish I could drop a class, but wasn’t able to because I would lose my full-time status. By registering for one or two extra classes, you could sit in one or two lectures and drop the ones that you don’t like.
- Take an extra class (or two) a semester. If you are capable of doing it, push yourself. By taking a few extra classes each semester, you could try to graduate a semester early or graduate with two degrees. This way you can save money on a semester worth of tuition, or get an extra degree out of the deal.
- Buy your textbooks later. Don’t buy textbooks until you’re sure won’t drop the class. When you’re ready to buy, look for used books on Textbooks.com or Amazon, or do a search for “used textbooks”. Never buy new books from the campus store if you can help it. By the way, sell your textbooks as soon as you’re done with them. These books become outdated and lose value quickly.
- Pay attention and don’t miss your classes. Depending on the school, you are paying close to a dollar a minute for your classroom time. If you miss an hour of class, you just pissed $60 down the toilet. Make sure you use what you’ve paid for.
- Stay local. Go to a college closer to home to save money on transportation expense. If you stay within 4-5 hours driving distance, you can avoid airfare. If you can cut that distance in half, you save 50% on gas and tolls.
- Establish you credit history early. College is a great time to get your own credit card. This way you start your credit history early with those low spending limit student credit cards. However, be sure to learn the art of budgeting and do pay your credit cards off every month.
Here are additional college and education tips from my archive:
- 15 Tips to Avoid Overspending for First-Time College Students
- 7 Ways To Get A College Degree For Less
- 7 Mistakes I Made When I Went to College
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance and a Realtor® licensed in Virginia and Maryland. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, financial literacy author, and Realtor®.