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By Eric Moreno, Research Area Specialist Salud America!
The U.S. Department of Education has compiled a checklist of 7 things every high school graduate needs to do before leaving for their first semester of college.
- Make sure your school has your financial aid ready. Many students fill out an application for financial aid. Early and/or mid-summer is an opportune time to check with the financial aid office to make sure all your paperwork is complete. It is also important to make sure that you have enough money to cover any gaps between the cost for school and your financial aid award.
- Find a part-time job. If this is something you’d be interested in, it would be a good idea to start checking out opportunities in the area of campus before classes start. Working during school can not only provide extra income, but I can also teach responsibility and time management. Work-study is also a good source of funds, but it does not guarantee a job.
- Craft a good resume and learn to network. Work experience can be just as important as good grades when it comes to looking for work. Don’t wait until graduation to write a cover letter and resume. Internships provide much-needed work experience and the opportunity to network in the field of your choice.
- Create a budget and learn to manage money. Many students are away from home for the first time when they go to college. One of the critical lessons to learn is how to manage their (often limited) money. It’s important for students to know how much money they have coming in (from financial aid refunds or from part-time work) and how much they are spending (on meals, school supplies, transportation, entertainment, etc.). Making a budget is important.
- Register for classes and learn to manage your time. It’s important when registering for classes that you understand your schedule. Students who are attending college for the first time and are living on their own need to understand they are responsible for their time. No one will wake them up for class in the morning and no one will make meals for them. Time management is a critical skill to develop for college students.
- Embrace coupons and deals. Coupons are for everyone. Students on a fixed budget can get more bang for their buck by using traditional paper coupons found in newspapers and magazines or through online sites. Coupons are great for food, clothing, and entertainment. Also, students should ask wherever they go about student discounts.
- Learn to keep safe. It’s important for students to remember to lock their dorm/apartment doors and lock up laptops, phones, tablets, bikes, etc. Safety also applies to Social Security numbers and passwords. Never leave important information out in the open. It’s also important to be aware of surroundings at all times. It is a good idea to program campus security numbers into your cell phone.
Read more about these tips here.