Tips College Students Wished They’d Heard Before They Enrolled

College is one of the most paramount events in many people’s life. It’s a time to grow; professionally, intellectually, and emotionally. It’s a time to explore, make mistakes, and learn from those. But, just because you are expected to make mistakes doesn’t mean you have to. Many people have already made those mistakes, and you can learn from them without ever having to live it. Here are some tips that you will want to know before you get into college.

Be Smart With Your Money

Many students do not plan or budget their finances accordingly and over the course of several years this adds up tremendously. The snowball effect can build up a massive debt to welcome college students after they graduate. In fact, seven out of ten college seniors (71%) graduated in 2013 with a student loan debt, averaging $29,400 per borrower.  So how do you survive college without building up this debt?

1. Pick the Perfect School: Students have a preconceived notion of what schools will ultimately lead them to a more successful career. However, there is no correlation to where you go to school and how successful you become. You can gain an equally valuable degree from a community college or online college as you could from the traditional one. Most often, at a margin of the cost.

2.Gain Experience and a Paycheck:  One of the biggest mistakes a lot of college students make is not taking the opportunity to work in their free time. Not only can you help build up experience in your desired field (which goes a long way into finding work after graduation) but you can also help put a dent into the loans or tuition payment.

3. Remember it Adds Up: Keep in mind that several little bits can add up to a significantly larger amount. Here are additional tips to consider.

  • Rent textbooks or buy older editions instead of purchasing from the bookstore.
  • Purchase bulk meal passes from the cafeteria instead of one at a time.
  • Look at off campus housing and find roommates to cut costs.

Be Smart With Your Opportunities

If you talk to many post graduate college students they will tell you that they wish they had done more while they were in school. Do not be part of the “what if” crowd. College has resources and opportunities that you will not be privy to when you are outside of that institution. What are some of these opportunities you ask?

1.Become Teacher’s Pet: College is not like high school, you are not going to be teased for taking the time to talk with your professors and develop relationships with them. These are respected and experienced individuals in the field that you want to eventually work in. They can provide recommendation letters, career advice, and even help with the proverbial homework problem.

2.Use Social Media Right: Our society is warped thanks to the technological advances surrounding social media. Most people only use these tools for publicly displaying their adolescence, insecurities, and obscenities. But you should not follow suit, use social media to help your career. LinkedIn can connect you with people in your industry, Twitter can help you stay abreast of breaking discoveries or new trends, and all of your social accounts are evidence of your professionalism. Jobs will look at these when deciding whether to hire you, so you should plan accordingly.

3.Study Abroad:  Studying abroad is one of the best opportunities that you will find while in college and most people don’t ever get to do it. The reason is not because the college does not offer it, but rather, the student dos not take the time to apply or find those trips. Talk to advisers and join organizations that offer studying abroad and you will find that a lot of these organizations also have funding to help pay for your trip. In fact, I actually was fortunate enough to travel to Brazil with my university and it was completely paid for by the school. So, travel while you are in school! It’s much easier then, than when you get out.

College is hands down the most influential time in your educational life. You will have to make decisions like never before. Luckily, you don’t have to face these decisions alone. You are now equipped with the knowledge needed to avoid the most common mistakes. So be smart with your money and opportunities while in college, and you can come out ready to take on the world.