Around this time of year, you already know what college you will be attending in the fall, so here are some things to consider before the school year begins.
1. If you saw a dollar on the street, you’d pick it up
College applications can be so stressful and time-consuming that when it comes time to pay tuition, you might be too quick to do so. Spend some time applying for scholarships or financial aid. It won’t be a fun process, but the payoff can be gratifying, and you’ll thank yourself in the future once your student loans come calling your name.
Also, something to keep in mind: Choose your college wisely, because once you transfer schools, many scholarships (and credits) are non-transferable. So you will have to pay the full tuition.
2. Speaking of money …
Although your senior year of high school is supposed to be your most memorable, try to budget your spending and pick up a part-time job if you can. Chances are with the heavy workload in college, you may not be able to work until the summer.
Most importantly, do not open a credit card and charge everything. The genius inside you might think you can run up your credit and continue to pay off the minimum until you graduate and land a high-paying job, but chances are unlikely. If you’re lucky enough to land a job straight out of college, it’s going to be entry-level and will pay close to nothing. Even without credit card debt, most recent grads usually live paycheck to paycheck and there are very few funds left to pay off bills.
3. A great way to save hundreds
You don’t have to be an English major to save hundreds on books. You can buy used textbooks online for a fraction of the original price. To save time and get the best deal, use special websites.
4. Kill two birds with one stone
Before picking your classes for college, get a copy of all the college’s core requirements as well as the classes required to fulfill your major (if you have decided). Many times, you can take one class that will satisfy two to three requirements. For example, one of your required History courses, such as Latin American History, might also count toward your Globalism requirement. It might even fulfill a requirement for a major in say, Latin Studies. Doing this early on in college will not only help you to graduate sooner and save money, but it gives you the freedom to pursue opportunities such as studying abroad, getting an internship, or starting a job.
Unfortunately, many colleges fail to tell you until it’s almost time to graduate, that even if you’ve completed both the core and major requirements, you still may not be able to graduate. Some colleges require you to take a minimum amount of three to four credit elective courses. If graduating early is something you’re interested in doing, make sure to discuss this with your college counselor or school dean. If you are not obligated to take additional electives, make sure to get this in writing.
5. A college is a business
Many people get so wrapped up in school, that they fail to acknowledge each college or university is a business. Although an institution is selective, this does not mean you are forced to comply with unprofessionalism. If a professor, campus resource, or even a college-hired tutor does something you believe is unwarranted, say something. For example, maybe the writing center on campus is notorious for canceling appointments with students or your teacher carelessly overlooks your assignments. If this happens more than once, you should bring this to your professor’s or the college dean’s attention. Students must realize they are paying a lot of money for college and should get the education and resources they deserve.
6. Be social
Even if you are a really shy and introverted person, push yourself to be social and improve your communication skills. During your freshman year in college, nobody knows one another and they’re all adapting to the same changes you are. This is the perfect opportunity to make conversations and get to know everyone. You may feel insecure about being the “new person on campus”, but your entire class is in the same boat and no one has an edge over anyone, so chat away and make lots of friends!
7. Picking a major should not feel like you’re planning your entire life
Choosing a suitable major is one of the most stressful decisions in college. You feel like you’re forced to decide what you want to be at a tender age and will be stuck with this decision for life. This is not true. If you speak to any adult who went to college and ask them what their major was, chances are their career has nothing to do with the degree they pursued as an undergrad.
The best advice is to major in something that comes naturally to you and that you enjoy. You want to excel in your classes. So when you do finally decide what outlet to pursue, you can sit in front of an employer or graduate admissions and tell them you were able to handle the responsibilities as an undergrad. If you decide to go in another direction, internships, grad school, and work experience can steer you to your goals, so do not stress.
8. It boils down to who you know
Make schools your priority and do your best to achieve high grades, but do not become a hermit. Attend networking events, and lectures, and develop good relationships with your teacher and fellow peers. The people you meet might be able to help you get your first job or even a job five or ten years down the road. You can study to no end, but if you don’t know someone in the industry, it’s tough to get your foot in the door. The best bet is to continue to build your resume with a high GPA, extracurricular activities, internships, and other achievements so that when someone refers you for a job, you have both angles working for you.
9. Choose your seat wisely
This sound silly, but students will pick a seat within the first class or two and stick with it for the remaining semester. The best suggestion is to arrive at class early so that you don’t get stuck with a limited view and you can sit in the area of your choice, whether it is upfront or in the back. Something to also consider; if you see someone you’d like to befriend, sit next to him or her. If a particular student looks studious and you think you might need additional help in the class, sit next to that person. Wherever you decide to sit, think before you do.
10. Avoid roommate drama
Aside from the classroom and social matters, you’re most likely going to experience what it feels like to live with someone other than your family. You might be living in the dorms or maybe you found someone to share an apartment with, but either way, it’s going to be an adjustment. Most likely things will start great, but eventually, you’re bound to run into a few disputes. Maybe your roommate always invites people over, doesn’t contribute to cleaning, stays up all night, blasts music any time of day, and/or eats your food. To prevent unnecessary confrontations and added stress, it’s best to discuss any issues that might come up while you all are still on good terms. This way, it won’t seem like you’re attacking one another for the things that have already been done.
Nicholas H. Parker is a content editor at PaperHelp. He used to manage the content team at the company he worked for. Currently, Nicholas writes articles to share his knowledge with others and obtain new skills. Besides it, he is highly interested in the web design sphere.