Save A Little Money In College

After attending a university for a number of years, I’ve found ways to save my cash.  I’ve also been just plain dumbfounded at how much students waste their money (or their parent’s in most cases).  College is expensive enough.  Even with financial aid and scholarships in place, paying for tuition, books, food, travel etc. is a fortune!  Here’s just some random tips that might help you save a bit of money…

  • I’m going into my junior year and have not bought school supplies since I first arrived freshmen year.  Reuse your notebooks and binders.  I find so many in the garbage at the end of the year.  I’ve never had a class that use up an entire notebook on notes.  At the end of the year I rip out the notes from that class and I have plenty of fresh paper for the next semester.  The same goes for the binders.
  • You should also keep EVERY book you buy for classes.  Students tend to throw those out.  You can resell them! Even if your school doesn’t buy them back you can sell them to other students or on amazon.com.  Some schools even make Facebook groups where students can bargain amongst themselves.  Someone always needs a book…sell it!
  • Another thing I see in the dorms (mostly freshmen dorms) is perfectly good furnishings, appliances, and other household/dorm items going in the garbage.  I’ve kept everything in my dorm and intend to bring it all home with me once I graduate.  The stuff you use in your dorm you can use every semester and even  in your first apartment.  Think long-term.
  • My next point (that I struggle to follow) is don’t eat out constantly.  Most schools have a meal plan.  If you have a fixed amount of meals per day that you already paid for then use them.  Why pay for takeout when you’ve already prepaid for dinner in the cafeteria?
  • I also try not to buy the candy bars in the vending machines.  Does anyone else notice those prices seem to get more ridiculous every year!? In my school they’re mostly 85 cents and at others I’ve heard a dollar or even two!  Save yourself the trouble and go to a corner store or even Wal-Mart.
  • Last but not least is Carpool! Carpool! Carpool! For those students that can’t bring a car their first year, try not to take a cab everywhere.  If you’re at the airport and see someone sporting your school sweatshirt, ask them how they’re getting back on campus.  You may get a free ride or at least be able to split cab fare.

That’s all I can think of at the moment.  I’ll add more to this post if it comes to me!

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Preparing for College vs. Preparing for Graduate School

Taken from culpeperschools.org via Google images

Preparing for college was a rigorous process when I was in high school.  From the moment I entered the classroom for my junior year my instructors and advisors were talking about college.  They stressed how important it was to start looking at colleges and universities well in advance.  I remember having to join collegeboard.com where I could take an in-depth look at any university I wanted and fine tune my search to find the school for me.  However, now that I’m in college, I’ve been told that soon even a Bachelor’s degree isn’t going to be very much because anyone and everyone can go to college these days.  So, graduate school should be considered.

Soon after entering a university, I made the decision that I wanted to continue my education and attend graduate school.  I am now at the end of my junior year and I have come to find out that although there is a “college process” in most high schools, there is no “graduate school” process in college.  None of my advisors or teachers have spoken to me about graduate school.  It wasn’t until midway through my junior year that I realized I had to start looking into schools and the GRE before it was too late.  It’s not just my school either.  I have friends at schools in other states who have experienced the same issue.  In high school we were encouraged to go to college.  Now in college, we are not encouraged or influenced to go above and beyond in furthering our education.

I know that college is different from high school.  We’re adults now, not teenagers.  We don’t need anyone to hold our hands and push us to do something that we should take the initiative to do on our own (especially if it’s something we really want).  At the same time, I feel graduate school should still be mentioned and the major steps discussed so that students aren’t left in the dark.  Even after looking online I found no website that was the graduate equivalent of collegeboard.com.  After extensive research I did find my top two schools as well as a date to take the GRE.  However, it still would have been nice to receive some guidance in the process and be pointed in the right direction.