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Helpful Things to Know When Preparing for College

It's that time. You've been working hard your whole "school career" for this moment. Your parents, teachers, and mentors have prepped you for it and may have even had some seemly "endless" discussions about it…College.

For many, it's that pivotal moment when you can finally start to feel more like an independent than a dependent! As you get ready to start this next chapter, you’ll be planning what courses to take that will help you obtain a degree and your future career. You may have the choice to live on or off-campus, or maybe stay in the comfort of your current home and travel to and from campus. The choices are yours to choose, and while, at times, this may feel liberating, if not adequately prepared, it can become a bit daunting. Whether it's your first or your fifth year, the months leading into weeks, and the weeks leading into the days approaching your next semester of college, will become ones that can set you up for a future of success if prepared.

Below, we have provided some helpful guidelines to help you triumphantly jump on your journey to success and prepare for what's to come!

Get organized

Undoubtedly, a syllabus is one of the first things you'll get from your professor. This will usually give you dates with a layout for the current semester's assignments, rules, regulations, required texts, and so on. Make sure you read this thoroughly and record all dates and upcoming assignments. With more than one class to keep track of, we know this can quickly become overwhelming, so we recommend you take advantage of the time we live in and get wired in!

Downloading one of the many helpful student planner apps will significantly assist you with this deed. One to check out is todoist. This nifty, cross-platform app reminds you of upcoming assignments, has custom filters, a spot to record notes, and allows you to see what's next up on your list of to-dos. And that's just some of what this app can help you with! Interested? Check it out here!

Set a Budget

Be in control of your finances, or your finances will control you! Set yourself up for financial success by taking control of your finances! "What's the best way to do this?" you ask? By creating and maintaining a budget! Doing this before heading off to college can remove any financial-related stressors and avoid confusion regarding your "Fixed" and "Variable" expenses and having enough to provide for each.

Your "Fixed expenses" would be your non-negotiable cost, including room and board, tuition, etc. According to the U.S. Department of Education, "When creating a monthly budget, divide the amount due by the number of months the bill covers. For example, take your yearly $1,200 insurance bill that's paid in two $600 installments six months apart, and divide it by 12 to know you need to set aside $100 per month."

Your "Variable expenses" consist of wants or needs that can vary in cost, such as textbooks, groceries, clothing, entertainment, etc. By determining the total cost of your fixed expenses, you will discover the amount of money you have left to cover and distribute to each variable expense.

Click here to learn more about how to start creating your budget correctly.

While discussing your expenses and planning your budget for the upcoming school year, it is pertinent to include where the money will come from. Whether you are going to get a job, have the aid of your parents to support you, or both! In addition, parents might want to consider setting up their college-bound son or daughter with a Shared Secured loan. With this comes the responsibility of keeping to a budget that has set limits! All the while, this is helping them build credit.

To apply for a Shared Secured Loan, click here.

Create connections

Ahhh, the excitement of starting anew! After years of going to elementary, middle, and high school, you'd think we would be ripe and ready to approach college without the "first day of school jitters." However, be assured that there are school forums and social media groups to help! Get prepared by looking into any social media or online forums your school may have created for incoming students! Maybe some of the people you meet might even live nearby, and you can plan a meetup and get together before the start of the semester! Also, plug in and get involved in any on-campus extracurriculars or study groups once on campus! This will help significantly when it comes to finding others with similar interests. And remember, "iron sharpens iron!" Having a buddy to help you keep up on your studies could help you significantly in the classroom!

Bottom line, getting organized, creating a budget, and making connections the summer before moving into your new college semester will help set you up for success and make those "back to school jitters" a thing of the past!


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