Financial Tips for Future College Students
College can be a financially difficult time for many students. At the same time students are establishing their independence, they’re dealing with many new and challenging financial issues. It can often be overwhelming to stay organized and ahead of the game.
To help you in your research, this article will provide useful financial tips for future college students by diving into three common financial aspects of college – personal finances, scholarships, and student loans – and point you to resources to make your financial planning easier.
1. Be on top of personal finances
When planning for college, it’s easy to focus on tuition and fees rather than on personal finances. However, keeping your personal finances organized can help prevent problems from arising and unnecessary stress. Here are some great resources to help you learn more about financial responsibility, costs to consider, and what to know about credit cards.
- College is a time for personal growth and establishing independence. With an increased level of independence comes significant financial responsibility, and there are many aspects of financial responsibility to consider, including knowing where your money will come from and how to live within your means.
- There are many every day and monthly costs aside from tuition to consider when planning your budget, such as rent, utilities, cable, transportation, groceries, laundry, and personal care items. Having a realistic overview of your total monthly expenses will likely be ahead of time will help you plan and know what to expect once you leave for college.
- Establishing credit history while you are young can certainly help you later on down the road when it comes to applying for home or car loans, and credit cards can help with this when used responsibly. Before you open a credit card, however, it would help you to familiarize yourself with some of the credit card-related jargon you’re likely to come across and research what kind of credit card would best fit your needs.
2. Get funded through scholarships
A little bit of research can go a long way when it comes to subsidizing your college tuition costs with scholarships. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort in to secure a scholarship, it can definitely pay off in the long run. Here are some articles to help you understand what scholarships are, where to look, and how to increase your chances of being awarded one.
- There are many types of scholarships out there, including academic, talent, and contributive, just to name a few. Familiarizing yourself ahead of time of what types of scholarships exist will help when it comes time to actually search for scholarships for which you are eligible. The financial aid office of your prospective university is a good place to start in terms of knowing what scholarships are offered to students. Obtaining funding from outside sources is typically just a matter of online searching, and luckily there are great search engines to help you do this.
- Signing up to volunteer through an organization that offers its volunteers college scholarships at the end of service is beneficial in many ways – they give you work experience you can add to your resume, help your community, make friends, and offset expensive college tuition costs.
- Increasing your chances of getting a scholarship can simply be a matter of applying early and staying on top of application requirements. Other proactive steps you can take include getting involved in extracurricular activities, making an appointment with your guidance counselor, and calling local organizations to learn more about scholarship opportunities.
3. Understand how student loans work
Student loans can certainly come in handy to cover remaining portions of tuition costs not covered by scholarships or personal funding. The following article is a great resource for learning more about student loans and covers topics such as eligibility, types of loans available, and some of their advantages and disadvantages.
- Like any other financial topic, you should be educated and knowledgeable about student loans before you accept them – you will thank yourself in the future!
If you’re just starting to get your finances in order for college, this can seem like a lot of information to process. Take your research one step at a time, and if you have any questions or need advice, feel free to leave a comment below.