Housing – Depending on which school you go to, on campus housing could be a way to reduce rent or be a dip on your wallet. For example, some schools in expensive metros such as Columbia or NYU have subsidized student housing that can help you stay away from insanely high rent prices in New York City. However, there are some schools like Stanford University where sharing an apartment and a house with some friends could help you reduce your rent.
Either way, I would carefully weigh the tradeoffs between the experience of on campus life and the rent you could save. Perhaps you could find a compromise by spending your first year on campus and then moving off later.
Food – This one is simple. Try to buy groceries, cook, and stay away from the campus meal plan. The campus meal plan buys you a certain number of meals per week that is buffet style in the dining halls. If you don’t end up getting sick of the food and not eating it, you’ll end up gaining a lot of weight (the famed freshman 15). So stay away from the meal plan, save your money, and your waistline.
Books – Second hand books on Amazon and international editions from foreign book sellers are your friend. Check with your professor if the difference between old or international editions are significant or if there is a way to get around it. Usually they’re sensitive to the student budget and will help you out!
Entertainment – When you go to college or come to the United States, you will be amazed at the amount of free entertainment available. These free events put on by the college are also a great way to get involved in campus life and meet new friends. Another tip is to volunteer at college or city events for free admission. You’ll get a good reference out of it on top of getting backstage access to the best events!
So here are the few quick tips for surviving your college experience financially. Just remember to get creative on both the revenue and the cost side and stick to your budget!
For a lot of you, the wave of applications and application decisions are coming to a close. The most common thing I have heard in the recent weeks is, “Oh my god I am so excited I got in!” The second most common thing is, “Oh my god I am so broke how will I pay for things?”
Well, there is no doubt that an education is expensive. However, there are ways to make the experience a little easier on your wallet.
Part 1: Maximize the revenue
There are multiple ways you can pay for school. Explore every option!
Grants/scholarships – Besides the ones from your school, there are a myriad of scholarships available for all sorts of reasons. From being an immigrant to being a fan of the Simpsons, there’s a scholarship out there that fits you. Use Google and find the money.
Internships – They’re not only a great way to fund your education, they also increase your chances of getting a job out of school. Don’t just settle for the part time job at the school library. Go for the well paid internship that can pay for a large chunk of your living expenses.
Loans – Exercise your ability to take on debt carefully. There are definitely times when it makes sense. Do a calculation to see if being able to afford a more expensive school results in higher salaries and more opportunity. The payoff may be worth it but don’t go in to it without running the numbers.
To be continued- Part 2: Minimize your cost
In my very first conversations with families and clients, one of the questions almost always is, “Agnes, why do you do this?” Well, there are a ton of reasons, but one of my most selfish reasons is that I love seeing the essays evolve. For many high school students that are in their senior year working on their college applications, this is the first time writing has no impact on their grade, but great of impact on where their life will lead. For many students, their writing for the first time has a different kind of drive.
Many of our Lucent Ed students opt for the unlimited revisions (great if you’re starting from scratch), and because of this new drive, there are significant improvements on student writing through the numerous revisions. From the very first outline or draft to the final product where each letter and comma has been agonized over – there’s a huge transformation – in not just the essay, but in the skills of the writer. Going through each revision, their questions become more thoughtful about everything from sentence structure to really articulating their aspirations, experiences, and emotions. As a coach in this process, I love seeing the student grow in their writing and personally as they tackle how they’d like to convey themselves to the world (well, really admissions), sometimes for the first time. It’s quite inspiring what they come up with, and it’s one of the primary reasons I love to be with Lucent Education.