From Editor’s Desk: This guest article contributed by Katei Cranford
College can be one of the most rewarding parts of a lifetime. But it can also be stressful, expensive, and all-consuming. Plus finances are rarely on the academic roster for those not pursuing a business-oriented degree. In order to get the most out of education, it’s essential students seek out the opportunities available to only them. Below are a few things students should “get” before they graduate.
Get a job – or at least an internship.
Classes and homework eat up most hours of the day, but a small part-time position can supplement income in big ways. Working while in school helps to overcome the hurdle of lacking actual “experience” after graduation. It’s much easier to gather that experience early than scramble around in the job market. Try to scope the job around your field of study. Typically, internships can be taken for class credit which allows you to ease your wallet and course load. Campus companies always need student help – which helps with the commute – and major brands seek “on-campus ambassadors” to push their product to your friends and classmates.
Holding an on-campus job is a great way to earn income, but it’s also important to beef your resume with other collegiate involvements. Campus radio stations and newspapers for instance add valuable experience in several realms of study and some pay their more active student members. Involvement in off-campus non-profits also look great to future employers and universities often offer work-study arrangements which provide stipends for working with select non-profit agencies like museums, galleries, and other culturally enriching programs.
Get your taxes right
Doing their own taxes is often one of the first fiscal steps toward adulthood most students take. Fortunately, several companies offer free tax prep for those in need. Student taxes can be complicated, but the IRS looks favorably upon them. Be sure to explore options that could include taking advantage of the American Opportunity Credit or the Tuition & Fees Deduction. With the deduction, your tuition and any money spent directly on supplies can be written off. This includes books, stationary, electronics, and any other purchases incurred for a course of study.
Get good credit
As explored in a previous Money Hacker post, credit is thought of as your “financial trustworthiness”. Establishing your trustworthiness as a student and worker are key components of a well-rounded education. Fiscal trustworthiness is incredibly important as students embark on the world at large. Your credit score impacts your ability to obtain a car, home, or even chance at employment. Establishing and maintaining a good score early-on will make life down the road much easier. Credit companies target students because of their assumed irresponsibility when it comes to finances and spending. A student who defies that stereotype can take advantage of a world of fiscal opportunity.
Higher education provides a wealth of opportunity as well as hardship. However, if you can get in the swing of things, it becomes rather easy to get the most out of your education.
Reference Guide: Thinking Ahead for College Success: A First Year Student’s Guide
About the author:Katei Cranford is a recent UNCG graduate and freelance journalist who’s making her mark beyond academia and advising others not so far behind.
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