How to Survive the College Experience

At the end of August, thousands of students leave the security of their parent’s house and take that first step to independence which is College. They have received their acceptance letter to the College of their dreams and are making plans for moving into the dorms and starting the first day at school. Many are excited and worried at the same time. What if they forget something needed? What it is going to cost to provide for their extra wants and needs? How much student loan debt will they have when it’s over? There is some basic knowledge they need to know to ensure that their time in College is fun and fulfilling. Also, remember that College doesn’t last forever so a job or entrepreneurial pursuits needs to be their final goal. The following tips will help them to survive their college experience and come out on top when their degree is completed.

College for Dummies Tip #1 - Cash Only

cash for collegeCredit: photo credit: swanksalot via photo pin ccThousands of students are finding themselves bogged down with debt before they start their first job. This is because they are being offered credit cards as soon as they apply for college. Students begin using credit for eating out, buying clothes, and paying for books. This is where the trap begins. Understand the angle of the credit card companies; to get you hooked on credit before you get your first pay check. In this way, they get a lifelong plug-in to your pay check. So forget the credit cards and use cash only. Once you buy something, you own it outright. That is the best way to own anything you choose to purchase. This will not only save you from debt in college, but in life as well.

College for Dummies Tip #2 -Borrow as little Student Loan Money as Possible

Student loans can be a burden that no student should have to bear, but let’s face it sometimes that the only way to pay for college. You can however, control how much you are going to owe in the end. Borrow only what you need for school. When they give you the financial details for your education; they are including extras like traveling back and forth to school, supplies, and additional food. If you don’t need this money, don’t take it. This will only end up costing you more in the end. The scary part about student loans today is that not only will it burden you with the debt, but your parents as well. So be smart and borrow smart.

College for Dummies Tip #3 - Work before Pleasure

college for dummiesCredit: photo credit: Merrimack College via photo pin ccYou may be tempted as a student to go to all the parties and hang out with your friends every night, but not before you do your homework. Many students have failed out of college in their freshman year because they partied so much that they were not going to classes or doing homework. It makes no sense to have worked so hard in high school to get into college only to not finish. Make sure you have a balance of work and pleasure.

College for Dummies Tip #4 - Seek an Internship Now

college internshipCredit: photo credit: bagriton via photo pin ccA beginning freshman in college named Donovan decided early on he was going to major in Art History. He immediately begins looking for an internship at a Gallery in his city. He emailed several galleries and got an interview at one; where he was accepted. After three months he was offered a paid internship and for his entire college career he worked for the gallery. When he graduated, his first job was as Junior Director of the same gallery that gave his the internship. Morale of the story; seek an internship now and have a built in job tomorrow.

College for Dummies Tip #5 - Choose A Useful Degree

Time is one of our most important assets; don’t waste it. If you are going to spend two, four or get a useful degreeCredit: photo credit: CarbonNYC via photo pin ccmore years in college working towards a career; make it a career that can benefit you in the future. Many people have degrees that cost them over 100k and they can only make 30k in that field; oh and by the way, they hate their jobs. Don’t let this happen to you. Choose a degree in a field you love, that offers room for upward mobility or the opportunity for you to work for yourself. This will make college worthwhile and fulfilling.

College should be one of the happiest times in your life. Make the most out of it by getting the education and career afterwards that you deserve. You can have a good time and enjoy all that the college life has to offer, just do it in moderation. You will survive college and come out on top, then life has plenty of other challenges for you to face, but hey you can do anything; you’re a college graduate.