7 Things Every College Student Should Know

Mar 8, 2019 by

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Entering college is a monumental moment in any young adults life. The decision to live on campus, what subject to major in, and even filling out the countless applications beforehand can be stressful and overwhelming. But keeping a few pieces of helpful advice in mind can help students navigate the college waters more easily. While advice will be thrown at them from every direction, and they may or may not listen to all of it (or any), here are 7 useful tips that every college student should know before packing their bags and hitting the dorm.

1. Your GPA Really Is Important

When colleges tell you that you’ll lose your scholarship or be kicked out if your GPA drops below a certain number, they’re not joking. All too often students think maintaining a certain GPA is an option or that colleges aren’t really going to kick them out or take away their tuition funds. Think again. Your GPA can range anywhere from 0 to 4.0. A good or even high GPA is anything over 3.5. Anything below a 2.0 is on the low side of things. The requirements to keep your scholarship (both academic and sports) vary from school to school, but don’t mess around with it. Don’t let this be the first situation where you push the envelope and learn that there really are consequences for your actions.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things

Don’t be afraid to branch out of your comfort zone and try new things. College is the time for safe experimentation. This doesn’t (and shouldn’t) involve illegal activity, but instead trying new sports, activities, joining clubs, and making new friends. It can also involve taking elective classes in a new subject area. Colleges offer all types of coursework that enhances life skills, teaches a new craft, or are just plain fun!

3. Living Off Campus Has Its Perks

Dorm life is something unique that every college student should experience. The need to downsize your belongings into a manageable amount. Coordinate what items you and our roommates will bring. Doing your own laundry. Sharing a shower and bathroom with several dozen other girls/boys. It’s quite an experience. But living off campus has its perks as well. In some cases, it may actually be cheaper. If you gather a group of friends who each pays a portion of the rent, you can potentially find a nicer, bigger place to stay nearby. This useful website shows some options. Just remember, you’re responsible for getting to and from your off campus apartment or house so be sure you have transportation or strong walking legs!

4. It’s Never too Early to Budget

It’s never too early and you’re never too young to practice budgeting. Many high school students enter college having had their parents foot the bill for most everything. While school work and good grades should take president during your time in college, getting a job and learning to support yourself comes in at a close second. Campuses offer countless job opportunities on campus. And most college towns are filled with small coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants, and stores that hire students. Get a job and save some money the summer before you leave and the breaks you take in between. Plenty of places hire seasonal help. Save your money! If the college offers an affordable meal plan, take advantage of it. Go grocery shopping with roommates an split the bill on cheap snacks and meals you all enjoy. Avoid eating out too often, splurging on non necessities, and spending your savings too quickly.

5. Time Management is Key

Budgeting your money isn’t your only responsibility as a college student. You also need to budget your time. Creating a schedule and sticking to it is one of the hardest things for college students to master but it’s also most important. Your now responsible for getting up in the morning, getting to class on time, handing in assignments, and juggling your social life and other responsibilities. There are countless apps that can help you create a schedule and set reminders. Avoid putting things off until the last minute or being swayed by friends making poor choices. At the end of the day, they’re not paying your tuition and they’re certainly not employing you after graduation. You can still have fun and relax, but make sure your priorities are in order.

6. Visit Your Family (But Not Too Often)

Some students opt for a college close to home and while this is great, it can also be a crutch. Your family will likely miss you very much and while you may miss them too, it’s important to fully enjoy the college experience. Avoid running home every chance you get. Visit for the holidays, major events, and if you have a long extended break. But in the meantime, utilize your weekends on campus. This is the perfect time to get a job nearby, bond with your roomates, study, or get involved with other local activities. Leaving campus too often to return home can cause conflicting feelings in terms of whether or not you want to go back. Use your home and family as a nice, familiar break but not as a crutch.

7. Working for Free Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

It’s hard enough for some college students to grasp the concept of getting a paying job in college, why the heck would you work for free? One word. Opportunity! Internships and mentorship with local businesses or companies in your field of study are one of the greatest untapped resources by most college students. In many cases, an internship turns into a job opportunity. It’s one foot in the door in terms of your career and it gives you a leg up on the competition. You’ll quickly learn that any edge you can get over another candidate, you need to grab with both hands. Don’t view an internship as working for nothing. Look at it as an investment in job security.

Going to college isn’t just about choosing a major and partying hard. It’s a valuable life experience that has a lot to offer, as long as you know what you’re looking for and how to utilize your time.

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