College, Finance Friday

Teens Off to College? 3 Financial Lessons to Remember

Are you ready to send your teen off to college? What are some financial lessons you want him or her to learn? If you have a college bound student, here are 3 financial lessons that he or she should keep in mind. 

This topic is close to my heart because I’m a proud Auntie. My niece is off to college this year and I can’t wait for her to learn and grow as a successful student and one day as a professional. I’d love to sit down and chat with her for a few hours and share with her memories and lessons I learned during my college years. College is a big deal. Getting an education helps will help her develop discipline and set up or refine her skill set. More than anything else I want my niece to know that this year when she goes off to college remember education is not free so make the most of it, going to a party school is popular but it can cost a lot later on if she’s not ready for the responsibility, and the habits she develops while in college could stay with her for the rest of her life.

Financial Lesson #1 education is not free

Even if you’re blessed to have scholarships, education costs. The money is only a fraction of the cost, and your level of commitment to get the most out of your education is the real price you are paying. The amount of education you want is up to you, not your professors and not your parents. For many college students, entering college is the first-time they are held responsible for their academics. In fact, I’m sure you’ve heard someone say “College is what you make it,” well that’s only partly true. In order to gain the most benefits from your college experience you must be willing to make a few sacrifices. If you choose a college that is not a good fit for you or one where you aren’t comfortable, that can hinder your future and damper your experience. Thus, it’s important to choose a college that will allow you to grow, be active, and engage well with others. Also remember, your sacrifices should include a willingness to work so you will not be a traditionally “broke college student.” If money isn’t an issue for you, working can also be a great way to establish a work history to help build your resume pregraduation. Although, working may take up some of the few amounts of leisure time you have, it can also force you to learn how to prioritize better.

Began preparing before you arrive on campus

I recommend that you file out your Federal Student Aid (FASFA) form at the beginning of the year, and then begin applying for a job on campus to pay for books, clothes, classes, and other necessities as needed.

I also believe when students have to pay and work for their education, it gives them an opportunity to value the experience more.

Financial Lesson #2 going to a party school can cost you

I get it, you’re young and are away from your parents so college is the prime time for you to have fun with your friends. Enjoy college, but don’t party so much that it affects your judgement. I advise you to leave drinking until after you are at least 21 and can make an informed decision. Find constructive ways to have fun without compromising your future.

One of the largest financial decisions that you’ll make during your youth is deciding which college is right for you and your future.  You attend college to create stepping-stones for your career, don’t squander the money or devalue the experience. Make friends with students who take their education seriously. It is while in college that you begin networking with other peers who may one day help open doors for you in the future.

Remember, going to a party school and only thinking about appearing cool in front of others can cost you in the following ways:

* Health

Going to classes, buzzed or with a hangover can cause you to lack focus. It could also compromise your overall health and later cause lots of co-pays and expensive doctor bills.

Also remember that parties with underage drinking and illegal substances are illegal and you don’t ever want to be arrested or have to beg your parents to bail you out, so just avoid that scene.

* Academics

A lack of focus could cause your grades to suffer.

* Finances

If your grades suffer, you could be placed on academic probation, lose scholarships, or worse be forced to drop out of school. If you are no longer in school and received students loans the grace period is short, so the time frame for repayment would come much sooner.

Financial Lesson #3 establish good habits

College students are young adults. It is in college that you begin making decisions and developing habits that can stay with you for life.

Many college students begin establishing a credit history while in school; especially if you receive student loans or receive a credit card. If you receive a credit card, it’s not time to panic or go on  a shopping spree. Instead it is a great time to learn how to be responsible. Read my post the “Pros and Cons of Credit Cards” to learn how to way your options. Your credit history is extremely important if you want to get certain jobs, a home, or an apartment in the future. 

Talk to your parents about ways that you can set up credit responsibly. If they think it’s best that you not have a credit card, avoid them. But when you’re ready to use a credit card, only use it when you have the money and can pay off the balance in full each month. DON’T LEAVE BALANCES that can add interest.

Eat healthy foods, try to eat breakfast or a piece of fruit to feed your brain so you’ll be ready for the days before you. You will not have your parents reminding you to eat your vegetables or get the proper amount of water, the responsibility is up to you only, when you enter college. So, eat right and exercise while you are young, so it will be a habit as you get older.

Overall, I want you to know that it’s up to you to use your time in school to become the best person that you can be, learn all you can, and keep your finances in check as much as possible because your future depends on it.

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  • Are “party schools” really a thing? I can totally believe that they are though by the end of my freshman year I was so tired of partying I’m pretty sure I didn’t party at all the whole next year. Great tips!

  • Carissa

    Great Tips!! Working at a college these are tips I wish they would pass out to some of the high school seniors!!

  • This was a good read. We’ve got college covered for the kids so they don’t have to worry about that. I want them to be debt free when they graduate.

    I hope my kids figure out who they are without falling into a lot of pit holes. I hope they are open yet aware.

  • These are excellent tips! Having two kids that graduated college this year, I can really attest to them!

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