On your way to college? Here’s everything you need to start your college adventure on the right foot and save money.

College Bound

If you received more than one acceptance offer into college, you need to respond to each one appropriately. But first, you have to decide which college gets your “Yes” and which are getting your “No, thank you.”

Say yes to the college that seems to be the best choice for you. You can figure out which is best for you by considering factors such as:

  • Distance
  • Affordability of tuition and housing
  • If they offer the major you want
  • Scholarship opportunities
  • Quality of education and what percentage of students graduate
  • Extracurricular activities on offer

What sort of students make up most of the college’s population?

You can get the information you need via the college’s website or by talking to current or past students of the college. You can also visit the university in person for a more hands-on feel. Don’t rush to make your decision, but also don’t miss the reply deadline.

Based on the information at your disposal, make a list of pros and cons, and make your decision based on which school offers the most pros.

Once you’ve decided, respond to the colleges. To the college you intend on attending, send your acceptance letter, deposit, acceptance letter for financial aid, and any other necessary items before the deadline date.

Once that’s done, you are officially college-bound.

Steps to take for a painless semester

Now that you know for sure the college you’ll be attending, take these steps to prepare:

  1. Get the clothes, appliances and other items you intend on taking with you.
  2. Figure what you’d like to major in. You still have four semesters after resuming college to figure this out, but it helps to have at least an idea of the general discipline you’d like to major in (arts, sciences, or something else)
  3. Where are you going to stay? You have the option of staying in the college dorm or renting an apartment. If you are renting, consider getting a roommate so you can split the cost of rent and utilities
  4. Search for utility providers. For instance, find the best electric providers and compare electricity rates. The best electric supplier will offer the lowest prices and most convenient terms. If dissatisfied with your choice of an electricity supplier, you can always make a power switch.
  5. Make friends. With the right friends, you’ll have a support system, study buddies, and everything else needed to make your college experience enjoyable and memorable
  6. Consider getting a part-time job. Being broke in college is no joke. Consider getting a job to fund your necessities and other expenses

Dorm Life on a Budget

Use the following tips to keep your spending to a minimum and survive college on a tight budget.

Have a budget that prioritizes your most essential needs (food, rent, utilities, and savings). The budget should make reasonable provisions for your essential, semi-essential and non-essential needs based on how much money you have for the month.

The idea of roommates may not seem ideal, but having someone to split rent and other bills with is an effective way to save money. Just make sure you get roommates that can afford to pay their share on time.

Buy your books, clothes, and appliances second-hand. If possible, borrow what you need to avoid the expense completely. Just remember to return all borrowed items when promised. If not, the owner might not be receptive to your next request.

Make some extra money. Get a job, monetize your skills, or explore your entrepreneurial talents to raise extra cash. It’s the most effective way to enjoy the type of life you want in a college.

One last bit of advice: avoid credit cards at all costs. With credit cards, you’ll only be packing on debt that only gets bigger. Stick to spending what you have to avoid graduating with a crippling debt burden and ruined credit score.