Leaving home for college is a turning point for any high school senior. Your whole life was focused on competing in activities, going to school, and trying to get good grades. But once you leave home, you’ll be responsible for everything. Luckily, if you have a plan before you go to college, you can prepare yourself for success.
Preparing for School
You might spend several months getting information together about colleges in the area where you want to spend the next four years. Then you’ll need to write admissions essays and apply. As soon as you can, decide if you want to live on-campus or in an area close to school. It can be more cost-effective to live off-campus because of the cost of housing and food, but it is a big decision. Consider the pros and cons carefully. If you’re on-campus, you might find it easier to access campus activities, the library, and laundry. But if you stay off-campus, you might get more privacy, along with a quieter living situation.
Paying for School
High education prepares you for your career and the rest of your life, but it doesn’t come cheap. you might be qualified to get tuition assistance, but you should also apply for other financial aid, such as scholarships. Many students don’t receive full scholarships, so you might have to cover the remaining balance. That’s why it might be a good idea to take out private student loans. As soon as you get accepted to the school of your choice, apply for loans so the money will be at the administration office when it’s needed.
Managing Your Money
Whether you choose to live on or off-campus, you’ll always need money for something. Your parents might initially give you something, but you’ll have to figure out how to pay for your wants and needs. Some parents might give their child a credit card to use for emergencies. But many families can’t send money every month. While that might limit your options, you can choose to get a part-time job to cover your needs and try to set some funds from each paycheck aside for emergencies.
Living on your own might show you just how high living expenses can be. For example, maybe you go out for the evening and decide to treat your buddies to dinner. You might find that the resulting bill consumes most of your available money. Luckily, it usually takes only one such experience to learn this. But if you make a budget from the beginning, you’re much less likely to spend too much in one place.
Time Management Skills
Your parents might have reminded you at home when you had a big assignment due. But once you’re on your own, it’s up to you to remember when your midterms are. Consider getting a calendar whiteboard for your wall so you can track due dates and assignments. If you’re an athlete, you’ll have to be particularly good at tracking your time since you’ll also have games and practices. If you have a job in school, put your shifts on the calendar.