Early summer is a great time to check with the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend to make sure your financial aid is and all paperwork is complete. This will help you avoid any unnecessary surprises or financial aid delays when you arrive on campus.
If you’re using student loans to help you pay for college, make sure you’re borrowing only what you need and keeping track of what you’re borrowing.
2. Find a part-time job
If you’re interested in working part-time while in school, it’s best to start checking out those opportunities early, even before you get to campus or start classes. Working during school can teach you great money management skills and also help limit borrowing if you’re able to put that money toward your tuition.
If you were awarded federal work-study, here are eight things you need to know. For starters, being awarded work-study does not guarantee you a job. Some schools match students to jobs, but most schools require students to find, apply and interview for positions on their own, just like any other job. Contact your school’s financial aid office to find out what positions are available and how to apply. The most sought after work-study jobs are often filled quickly, so get started now!
3. Craft a good resume and learn how to network
Work experience can be just as important as good grades when looking for jobs after college graduation. Don’t wait until you’re approaching college graduation to write a cover letter and resume, you need one now. Having a compelling and professional resume and cover letter is vital to applying for part-time jobs, internships. Internships not only provide you with knowledgeable experiences in your field, but they also provide great networking opportunities. Don’t settle in and nest; put yourself out there and go to as many networking events as possible.
TIP: Make sure you have an appropriate email address. Employers probably won’t be impressed with an email address such as "email@example.com".
4. Create a budget and learn how to manage your money
Now that you’re heading off to college, you’ll need to learn how to manage your money.
Will you get a financial aid refund? How much can you expect to make weekly at your part-time job? What expenses are already covered (i.e. meal plan)? What do you still need to pay for (i.e. books)?
It’s important to know how much you have coming in and what you can afford to spend. Sit down and make a budget for the semester or year. It will help you avoid unnecessary splurges. Here are some tips.
5. Register for classes and prepare for a whole new world of time management
Make sure you are registered for classes and understand your class schedule. One of the biggest challenges for a lot of you will be time management. When you head off to college, you won’t have somebody there to wake you up, make you breakfast and send you out the door in clean clothes with completed homework in hand. Set yourself up early with a class schedule (make a course syllabus your new best friend) and a system that works for you. You need to know deadlines for registration, papers, financial aid, coursework and everything in between. Your chance of succeeding academically will rapidly evaporate if you don’t manage your time well. You’re worth the investment–manage it well.
6. Embrace coupons and master the art of a good deal
Yes, I know it’s all about YOLO but you need to embrace BOGO. Coupons aren’t just for stay at home moms anymore. Scoring deals whether in newspapers, magazines or with online sites like Groupon and Living Social is easier than ever. But don’t get so caught up in the deals that you buy vouchers for things you end up not using. That can cost rather than save you money.
Always ask about student discounts and if available, consider getting a student discount card.
Another great way to save money is by buying used textbooks or renting them. Search sites like bigwords.com, Amazon, Chegg, and TextbookRush to name a few. If you sell textbooks back to the college bookstore at the end of the semester, check online sites first for what they’re worth. College bookstore buy back rates are sometimes as low as 10% of what you paid for it new, so you may be better off selling them online.
7. Learn how to keep you and your things safe
Yes, you need to remember to lock your dorm room and place that lock on your laptop. Losing your laptop can wreak havoc on your studies and a theft due to an unlocked door can also ruin your relationship with your roommate. Start practicing being more aware of your surroundings and keeping yourself safe.
Program your school’s campus security number into your phone. You never know when you might need it.
Safety also applies to protecting your Social Security number, usernames and passwords. Your Social Security number is one of the main identifiers when checking on things like financial aid, grades, and registering for classes. Make sure all your passwords and important numbers are not on a post-it-note on your desk. Store them in a secure place. Not protecting your identity and important information can have lasting long-term effects on your ability to get a job and apply for credit.
8. Get ready to fill out the FAFSA again in October
Congratulations on a job well done and making the decision to advance your education!
Tips for Students* Heading to College *A Good Reference Guide for Parents, Too!
The link below is a great resource for students and parents to read as you think through the various options for choosing a college. Do you want a big or small school? Do you want a city or country school? Do you want to go north (brrrr) or south (hot!)? Can you only afford a state school? LOTS of things to think about. Take the time to explore this website. Individual pages can be printed if desired. You can also print out a copy of the entire book at the 2nd link below.
A list of many of the basic items students need as they head to college.
Have respect for yourself and there are some places you just can't go, some choices you just won't make.
Excellence is not a singular act; it's a habit. You are what you repeatedly do. (Shaquille O'Neal)
To succeed you must first improve; to improve you must first pratice; to practice you must first learn; to learn you must first fail.
No one will believe in you unless you believe in yourself.
Talent is never enough. With few exceptions, the best players are the hardest workers. (Magic Johnson)
I don't think of myself as a poor, deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who, from an early age, knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good. (Oprah Winfrey)
Things may come to those who wait, but they're only the things left by those who hustle. (Abraham Lincoln)
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