College is no small undertaking. There is so much to consider: where to live, who to room with, meal plans, class schedules, and transportation options. Here are some tips to help eliminate some variables to make it a bit easier to focus on the important things.
1. Pick your housing wisely
If your university doesn't require you to live on-campus, look into off-campus student housing options, such as an apartment. Prices can vary greatly depending on the distance from campus and the amenities included. It may be cheaper to rent a place that is farther away from campus; you might have to bike or walk to class, but at least you'll get in some daily physical activity that way. Also, rental complexes each have their own insurance requirements and it is important to compare your options by getting several insurance quotes. To make this easier, you can go to an independent insurance agency, as they can compare prices from multiple companies at once.
2. Consider Student Personal Property insurance
The great thing about these policies is that they cover you anywhere in the world. Even if you take a trip over spring break and your phone gets dropped and damaged, this policy will reimburse you for the repairs (up to the limit of your coverage, of course). It will also cover you if your bike or longboard gets stolen, a laptop gets water damage, or any other item of personal property is damaged. These policies have small deductibles and are very affordable. It is a great way to give you some extra peace of mind. We recommend purchasing from CollegeStudentInsurance.com as they have very reasonable rates and fast online service.
3. Lock it down
Lock your doors when you go to class, even if you are in a residential housing dorm or building. It may seem like a no-brainer, but far too many students leave their doors unlocked when they are out, whether it is because they plan to come back within a few minutes, they expect their roommate to come home soon, or they just don’t feel like messing with the key when their hands are full. It happens quite often and many people have had things stolen from their room while they stepped out for only 10 or 15 minutes. Another good safety measure is to have a small safe in your room where you can put your valuables when you leave.
4. Limit eating out
It may be tempting to go out with friends all the time and grab food, but try to only eat out once or twice a week. You can get more meals for cheaper by purchasing your own groceries. Some examples of affordable and filling items include rice, eggs, veggies, leafy greens, oats, beans, tuna, and rotisserie chicken. Cooking your own meals could also be healthier, too. If you have a roommate, consider buying snacks and essential cooking items in bulk and splitting the cost.
5. Don’t buy new textbooks
Try to avoid buying books directly from the university if you can. They are often overpriced and you can usually find used copies available for rent from sites like Chegg or Amazon. Finding used hard copies can also be helpful because sometimes they will already have highlighting or notes written in them that help you study. Also, be sure to check for online textbooks as they are often cheaper and easier to search through. However, before purchasing your books, thoroughly read the course syllabus to determine whether the book is required to succeed in the class (some professors assign homework from the book). If it's unclear, you can usually tell during the first week of class if you'll need it or not. Most professors will be understanding and provide adequate time for students to purchase their books before assigning related work, so in most cases, it's fine if you don't have your books the first day of class.
We hope you found these tips useful. Comment below if you have other tips to share!