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Most graduates claim that their college years were the best times of their lives and would do it all over again. While exciting, it is normal to be nervous about the transition from high school to college. Being an adult comes with adult responsibilities such as budgeting and balancing your academics, possible job, and social life. We are here to help you prepare for your first year with the tips listed below.

Managing Time and Money

Sticking to a budget while in college requires willpower. Those who do not learn how to manage funds in college risk severe credit card debt. Take advantage of student offers that won't damage your credit rating, like free checking and student discounts. If you do use your credit card, develop good spending habits so those habits will follow you to your first job.

Whether you have work study, a full/part-time job, or find more creative ways to make money to help pay for college expenses, time management is crucial. It is challenging to balance a social life while maintaining a strong GPA and earning a living, however the advantages of balancing work and school outweigh stressing over debt.

New People, New Lifestyle

Most college-bound high school seniors are aware of the “Freshman 15”, and vow to exercise, eat right, and avoid junk food over the course of their freshman year. Luckily you do not have to be a top chef to eat well in college. Buying healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables is less expensive than ordering a pizza. Most colleges have meal plans that include healthy options for those who choose not to cook. Joining a club or intramural sports team is also a great way to stay fit.

Another lifestyle change is living with roommates, even if your first roommate is a close friend. You will need to learn how to be respectful, live in cramped quarters and discuss your preferences about things such as guests, loud music, and study time. This is especially important for females. Set the stage for a lasting friendship with your new roommate by being honest about your expectations, and respectful towards their space. Avoid the most common roommate problems by coming up with ways to make each other’s preferences known for the rest of the year. Realize that you will also have to get along with professors, classmates, advisors, and your parents when you return home.

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It’s Not Too Late: Guide to Appealing Financial Aid

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The FAFSA: Why You Should File (And How!)

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The FAFSA is a critical tool for both applying to colleges and applying to scholarships – in fact, need-based scholarships often require that you submit the FAFSA as part of your application. So, in a time of economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s surprising to learn that many low-income and minority students did not submit the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year even though they would’ve been eligible for federal aid. At Scholarships.com, we don’t want students to miss out on any form of college financial aid. Applications for the next academic year will open soon, so get prepared by reviewing these FAFSA facts. [...]

Last Reviewed: August 2020