The first year of college offers a variety of challenges. From a financial perspective, many of the challenges can be averted with proper planning. So let’s look for just a moment at the first year college expenses and offer some planning thoughts that may alleviate some stress from college’s first year.
The first expense that must be mentioned is the overall cost of college paid to the institution. When you received your college award letter you may have had to sit down. But by now the sticker shock has probably worn off. The school typically has an orientation that you can sign up for prior to stepping onto campus. These orientations are a great way to ask any last minute financial questions. You can even set up an appointment with the financial aid office to review the award letter, and ask if there are any additional first year college expenses that you may have not considered.
The second expense concerns the change in location. Moving into a college dorm or apartment is an exciting time, but it can also be expensive. Most colleges offer some advise on what a typical student may need for on-campus living. A quick search on the internet can yield a plethora of additional lists, ideas, expenses, etc. You can start addressing this expense now. Go ahead and find a list, and start making small purchases each week. This may save you some time and money. You may even be able to eliminate some of the items that were once thought needed.
Other first year college expenses are academic is nature. I am referring to text books and academic supplies. Again, many of these supplies can be gathered in small increments over the summer months, but others, like college textbooks and a computer, many need greater planning. Do some research on what may be the best computer for the student’s major. What equipment do you need to protect that investment? (Example: backpack, back-up drive, covers, etc.) Your class text books may be a bit more tricky, because you may not know what tests are needed until later when you have a class schedule. But as soon as you know what books you need, check out multiple stores/sites to compare prices. Don’t forget to check the schools classified listings for used books.
Finally, let’s talk briefly about how much spending cash one needs for the first year of college. There are so many variables to this area such as: location of the college, social involvement, major, etc. However, most people can live on about $100.00 per month. There may be occasions where more is needed. However, most students know that the occasional “shot in the arm” is just a phone call away.
These are the most common first year college expenses. You have a few more months to plan. So use your time wisely to reduce the stress of the first year of college.