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How to Learn to Cook When Moving Off Campus

February 12, 2021

Moving off-campus is an exciting time for a college student. It is a step closer to adulthood that can be very liberating but also challenging at times. For many off-campus students, this change means they are saying goodbye to eating at their school’s dining hall. It can be tempting to start a diet of fast food, ramen, and PB&Js but there is a much healthier option that will leave you much more satisfied. Learning to cook!

Here are 5 tips on how to teach yourself to cook when moving off-campus!

Stock Your kitchen

It is important to stock your kitchen full of essentials such as rice, pasta, beans, and spices that you can have on hand when putting together a meal. It can also be helpful to invest in some basic kitchen equipment such as quality pans, pots, spatulas, and a blender. Here is a list of some kitchen supplies that can be purchased on a budget.

Conquer the Basics

When first approaching learning to cook, it can be helpful to focus on some basic meals that you can have in your arsenal on busy school nights. Learning to master some basic recipes can provide a good foundation for when you want to get a bit more sophisticated with your cooking.

Getting Started:

  • Eggs: Scrambled, fried, over easy, omelet
  • Meat: Chicken or turkey breast/thighs/drumsticks, ground beef or patties
  • Whole Grains: Pasta, rice, potatoes

Try New Recipes to Keep it Interesting

It can be easy to fall into a routine of making the same types of meals every week. It is important not only for your health but also for your well-being to diversify the foods you eat. Food blogs are a great resource to find new and exciting recipes. Blogs such as Minimalist Baker, ScheckEats, and Budget Bytes provide fun recipes for a variety of dietary needs.

Meal Prep to Save Time and Money

As a college student, life can become very hectic and it can be hard to find time to cook. Meal prepping is a great way to enjoy home-cooked meals throughout the week without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. If you take a couple of hours on the weekend to prepare your food, you can have days of healthy meals to enjoy!

Meal Prep Necessities:

  • Food storage containers – Opt for glass, it’ll last longer than plastic.
  • Baking sheets – Great for roasting large amounts of vegetables.
  • Crockpot, Instant Pot or Air Fryer – These appliances cut down on meal prep and clean up time.

Remember Balance is Key

Nutrition is all about balance. Falling into patterns of restricting your food too heavily or not eating any nutrient-dense foods can be harmful to your mental and physical health. It is important to prioritize foods that leave you feeling nourished while also enjoying the foods that bring you joy. You can enjoy just about anything (yes, even chocolate) when it’s in moderation.

Hopefully these tips will help you kickstart your cooking journey! Check out more of our posts for more information on how to manage your wellbeing in college.

Adulting Student Life

Making Green Decisions in Your College Apartment

February 8, 2021

College can be a stressful period of life that leaves you little extra time to work with. Things like living sustainably and making eco-friendly choices can often be pushed to the backburner as you attempt to keep up with your assignments and attend classes on time.

On top of that, renting a dorm or apartment can make it feel like you have little-to-no say on how your living situation impacts the environment.

Nevertheless, there are still many small, yet powerful ways that you can make green decisions while you’re living in a college apartment.

Consider the Temperature

The easiest way that you can do your part in the fight for a cleaner planet is by adjusting your thermostat. If it’s hot outside, turn up the temp by a few degrees. If you’re experiencing wintry weather, bring the thermostat down a few degrees. If the weather is nice, open the windows up and turn the HVAC system off entirely.

This won’t just reduce the amount of pollution you’re putting into the air, it can also lower your utility bill. This can be a great first step in helping you save money, address debt, and increase your financial independence.

Embrace Thriftiness

Thriftiness is another way to better the Earth and bolster your finances at the same time. By shopping for second-hand clothing, you avoid much of the dramatic wastefulness that comes with fast fashion. You can also get gently-used furniture, sports equipment, and even electronics.

By trying to reuse rather than buy new, you will naturally reduce the quantity of garbage that you’re creating. It is also a great way to save some cash as you tighten your belt and try to get to graduation day.

Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Even if you’re renting, it’s still up to you to clean your space. Fortunately, you can even turn the act of mopping a floor or scrubbing a toilet into an eco-friendly activity by using green cleaning products.

This can reduce the number of chemicals that you’re using, protecting both the Earth and your own health in the process.

Cook for Yourself

This one can require a little more time, but if you plan things out it really doesn’t have to impact your schedule much. By purchasing food in bulk and then cooking it yourself, you can dramatically reduce the amount of packaging that you’re throwing away.

You can even take things one step further by using reusable shopping bags each time you head to the grocery store.

Bike to Class

Finally, if you live on or near campus, consider ditching your car. Instead, get a bike or walk. By opting for a fuel-free mode of transportation you can avoid putting unnecessary carbon emissions into the air.

The extra exercise is also a great way to stay fit, especially when you’re spending so much of your time sitting behind a desk.

Going Green in College

You don’t have to be the king of your own castle to make a difference. On the contrary, there are countless smaller steps you can take to do your part in the battle to protect our planet, even when you’re renting on a college campus.

So put down your textbooks for a minute and take a moment to consider where and how you can put some extra effort into creating a brighter future.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Adulting Student Life

Do College Students Need Renters Insurance or Does a Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover Them?

December 28, 2020

There are 17 million students enrolled in American undergraduate degree programs. While a small portion of these students continue to live at home, the majority live in campus housing or in off-site housing near their institutions during the academic year. 

Planning for college housing can be an intensive process. Schools, students, and their families worry about roommates, transportation, and dozens of other factors in hopes of creating the best possible living and learning environments. Too often, though, one critical concern falls through the cracks: insurance coverage.

But aren’t college students covered by their families’ homeowners policies? Do separate renters insurance policies offer enough extra protections to be worthwhile? Here are the facts.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover College Students? 

“Will my parents’ homeowners insurance cover me in college?” is not a question that many students think to ask. Most understandably assume that the answer is “of course,” particularly if they intend to live in dorms or other on-campus housing. But how accurate is this assumption?

A survey of the top 20 insurance providers shows that only 13 include coverage for college students in their homeowners’ policies. Among these:

  • Some policies provide only liability coverage with no protections for personal property
  • Some policies provide coverage for students in dorms but not for students living in apartments or off-campus housing 
  • Some policies offer reduced protections or coverage for students living away from home
  • Deductibles are often higher for situations where the affected family member is a college student living away from home
  • Factors such as where the college is located and campus crime rates can affect coverage, leading to unexpected coverage gaps

College student coverage can vary widely between insurers and between policies from the same insurer. In almost every case, coverage for students at school is different than for the rest of the family or for the student while they are at home.

Families must review their policies carefully to determine what protections they offer. 

The Pros and Cons of Relying on Homeowners Insurance  

Do you have a homeowners’ policy that offers protections for college students? If so, there are many benefits of taking advantage of that coverage rather than buying a separate renters policy for your student. 

  • You don’t have to pay extra for a second policy 
  • There will be no confusion over which policy applies in the event that you need to make a claim
  • You continue to enjoy coverage with a provider and policy you are familiar with and trust 
  • If you have already made payments toward your deductible, they will reduce your out-of-pocket costs in future claims

Relying on your homeowners’ policy can have disadvantages as well, however. 

  • Your policy may not offer the extent of coverage that you need in the event of theft or other losses
  • You may face a separate and higher deductible for incidents involving your student 
  • You may run into unexpected and expensive coverage gaps depending on the circumstances
  • Filing and documenting claims may be challenging if your student is going to college far away but the policy is in your name

How much coverage you need and whether or not your existing policy is enough depends largely on your personal circumstances. 

Is Renters Insurance for College Kids Worth It?

Purchasing renters insurance for college students has its own pros and cons. It can be beneficial in that:

  • It tends to fully cover personal property, liability, and living expenses, giving you peace of mind 
  • Your coverage limits will be clearly spelled out, preventing gaps and unwelcome surprises
  • You may be able to secure a low-cost policy if your students’ roommates and their families chip in as well
  • Students can file claims and documentation themselves in the event of an incident 
  • Co-purchasing a policy with your student can teach them key life skills
  • Dual coverage under renters and homeowners policies ensures you are fully covered no matter what

But separate renters policies for students are not without their drawbacks.

  • They add extra costs to already-expensive undergraduate educations
  • They may need to be replaced or adjusted each time your students’ living situation or roommates change
  • Claims made by your students’ roommates show up in your insurance claim history which can be detrimental if there are large or numerous claims
  • You may need to juggle claims between the renters and homeowners policies if something happens 
  • Buying a policy that covers your student can be pricey depending on where your student lives while in school

While it can be a relief to have your coverage spelled out in a separate policy and know that you will be covered, it is important to weigh the costs and benefits to determine how valuable such a policy will actually be for you. 

How to Make the Most of Your Coverage

There are several steps that students and their families can take to help them decide what coverage they need. These steps will also enable them to make the most of their coverage, whether they rely on their homeowners’ policy or purchase renters insurance. 

Make an Inventory

Making an inventory of everything your student will take to college with them serves several purposes. First, it helps you assess the types of items you need coverage for and the total value of coverage that you need. This makes it easier to review your existing policy and evaluate how adequate its coverage is. 

If you choose to buy a new policy, it will also help you choose the right level of coverage there.  

Take Basic Safety Precautions 

Take a few minutes to review safety tips and practices with your student when they move into their student housing each semester. Make sure that:

  • Window and door locks are in proper working order
  • Lighting and other safety features are in proper working order
  • Secondary locks such as padlocks or bike locks are available to safeguard high-cost items 

These small steps can significantly reduce the likelihood of theft and loss no matter what type of coverage you have. 

Choosing With Confidence

Once you know what level of coverage you need and how much your homeowners’ policy covers, you’ll be able to confidently decide if renters insurance is right for you. If it is, let us help you find the policy and coverage you need today. 

Adulting Student Life

Budgeting 101 For College Students

December 10, 2020

If you’re like many other college students, the idea of budgeting may seem a little difficult to think about. Some students are easily able to get the things they need throughout their time in college, while others may be restricted to tight budgets or wonder how they will ever make it through.

Here are a few suggestions for those who are looking for budget-friendly ways to navigate through college that may even save a few dollars along the way.

Determine your needs versus wants 

Part of being financially responsible and developing money-conscious habits is knowing the difference between your wants and your needs. It’s human nature to want to have the best of the best — whether it’s clothes, shoes, or the newest tech gadgets. Although it is nice to have finer things, as a college student you will soon realize that these may be things you really want but don’t need. You might also find that eating out and socializing with friends can add up quickly. If you have an income through a part-time job or paid internship, you could probably afford to set aside some “fun money” so you can treat yourself within reason!

Plan and write out your expenses

Growing up, you may have seen your parents making a list of bills or other things they need to prioritize in the near future. This is an excellent habit to start on your own as a college student and use once you have started your career as well. As often as you need to, take a look at your most common expenses and bills and write them down. Have a description of what they are and how much you will need to pay for them. By doing this, you’ll be able to see what needs to be taken care of before you can put money away for savings or splurge. A budgeting app like Mint or You Need a Budget may also be helpful. 

Use discounts and free services as often as you can 

We can all appreciate discounts and free stuff! As a college student, you should always be on the lookout for good deals! This video shares some student benefits you might not know about. You might be surprised how far your student ID could take you — from free tickets to sporting events, to discounts on memberships and subscriptions, and even exclusive deals on laptops and electronics. Sign up for sites like Student Beans and UNiDAYS to start saving.

Creating good money habits in college will benefit you long after graduation day. Happy budgeting!

Adulting Student Life Transition

7 Tips For Living in Your First Off Campus Apartment

November 4, 2020

Making the transition from living on-campus to a nearby apartment brings many responsibilities. While it comes with more independence, it’s worth knowing if your complex is catered to students like yourself, or not. You can have friends over without worrying about dorm hours, or have the freedom to stay in your college town during the holidays or summer when the dorms are closed. However, you need to make sure you take proper responsibilities like paying your bills on time and sticking to your budget so you can enjoy your new apartment lifestyle.

Here are some tips for living in your first off campus apartment:

Have Everything in a Written Contract

When you live in your first off-campus apartment, it’ll most likely be your first opportunity to understand the importance of having everything in a written contract, and before signing it, you should read it through entirely. It also doesn’t hurt to have a parent or another adult read it through too since they most likely have more experience with renting. If you were promised something when you toured the facility or saw something in an advertisement, like a rent adjustment, you need to be certain that it is well-documented in the rent contract. And of course, don’t forget renters insurance.

Keep a Consistent Cleaning Schedule

Living in your first off-campus apartment means that you’re in charge of cleaning it. Whether you live alone or have roommates, you need to make a cleaning schedule and be consistent about making it happen. You don’t have to vacuum every day, but you should make a habit of wiping the kitchen and bathroom counters, taking out the trash, cleaning out the fridge regularly.

Pay All of Your Bills On Time

It might not seem like much, but paying your bills late will affect your credit score and result in late fees. To avoid having late bills, you can set auto-draft payments or simply write bill due dates on a calendar. If you’re collecting money from your roommates to pay the bills, you should start collecting at least a week before the money is due to make sure you have it on time.

Always Lock Your Doors

It’s easy to think that nothing will ever happen especially in your college town, but you should always lock your apartment door even if you’ll just be gone a few minutes. This includes running to your car really quickly or taking out the trash. If you’re uncomfortable with someone in your apartment, such as roommates or guests, you should lock your bedroom door when you aren’t home.

Think Carefully About Your Roommates

If you have roommates, you need to think long and hard about who you choose to live with. Will they be respectful of the complex’s rules? Will they be quiet if you need to study? Will they help clean up in the kitchen? Will they pay their part on time? These are all just a few of the questions you need to think about before agreeing to be roommates with someone. Just because they’re your close friend doesn’t mean they would make an ideal roommate. If you’re going the random roommate route, make sure to vet them thoroughly. Your complex may also have a roommate matching program to find you someone with similar qualities. Make sure you and your roommates each have your own renters insurance policy.

Create a Budget

Now that you’re living off-campus, you’ll be responsible for more expenses, and they can add up quickly. On top of rent and utilities, you need to create a budget for items such as groceries, entertainment, transportation (gas, bus card, subway pass, etc.), and clothing, and stick to it! You need to budget for the entire semester so you aren’t stuck eating sandwiches for the last 3 months of the semester because you spent all of your money the first month. Look into using a budgeting app to simplify the process.

Feel Free to Decorate

The apartment won’t feel like yours without a few personal decorations. Simple decorations like a team banner, throw pillows, picture frames, or movie posters will go a long way in making the place feel like your very own. Since this is your first off-campus apartment, you probably want make sure it feels like your own place, and bringing in decor items that show your personality will help.

Living in your first off-campus apartment is an exciting time full of new adventures! But don’t let the new found freedom get in the way of staying on top of the responsibilities that come along with it. Stick to these tips and you’ll be sure to be successful.

Adulting

6 Smart Packing Tips if You’re Going to Study Abroad

September 10, 2020

Were you given the opportunity to study abroad? If so, you are probably counting down the days until you leave.

Which now brings us to the question: What will you bring? 

Trying to stuff all the things that you need into your suitcase or carry-on can probably be daunting, especially if you are unsure what is waiting for you the moment you step off the plane. 

Fortunately, we have come up with six smart packing tips to make everything a lot easier:

Pack for the Weather

Make sure that you research first the usual climate in the new city or country you are moving to, then plan accordingly. We suggest that you bring a light raincoat, a warm jacket, and items that can be easily layered. Remember that the climate of your study abroad country will make or break what you pack. 

Check Cultural Norms

If you are traveling to a country that is more conservative with how they dress, checking the cultural norms first will save you from packing items that will deem inappropriate in that country. This especially applies to clothes like shorts, dresses, and swimwear. 

The last thing that you want to do is to wear culturally insensitive clothes. For instance, you will not be allowed inside spiritual areas like churches or temples if you are not all covered up properly. 

Use the 12-Day Trick

We suggest that you pack outfits that are good for 12 days. That’s about two weeks worth of clothes. No matter how long you will be staying or studying abroad, chances are, packing outfits that are good for 12 days will be enough for you to attend class and explore the new place. 

If you feel tempted to pack beyond 12 days, then you might consider that shopping abroad is also part of the experience. 

Pack the Essential Documents

When studying abroad, you might need an extensive list of documentation. This list will often include:

  • Passport: This is your first key to studying abroad. Without this, you cannot travel outside of the country.
  • Visa: Depending on your country of origin, some countries won’t require you to have a visa. However, you might need to apply for a student visa since you’ll be studying abroad.
  • Medical Certificate: This is proof that you took flu shots and that you are healthy enough to travel.
  • Return Flight Details: Although not all, there are countries that require return flight details. This is to ensure that you won’t be overstaying.
  • Student Finance Documentation: You might also be required to prove that you can financially support yourself while studying abroad. This includes a letter to prove the capability for financial support from your parents or guardians.
  • University Letter of Acceptance: This is another proof that you are to stay in a country to study. 

Don’t Pack Things You can Buy

So you might want to pack a certain brand of shampoo or lotion you are using. But the thing is, these can also weigh down your suitcase. To avoid excess baggage fees, leave some of these items behind. Instead, opt to buy local products at grocery stores or drugstores once you arrive.

But you should also consider bringing travel sizes of these essentials. That way, you will have plenty of time to settle in once you arrive where you are studying. You will not have to run to the nearest grocery or drugstore to buy these essentials. 

Bring Your Gadgets

For most gadgets and appliances (curling irons, razors, and hair dryers), you might need a voltage converter. Usually, plugs from different countries are different, so is the amperage. 

Make sure to check with the manufacturer; more than likely you will find information on their sites about travel. That way, you will know whether or not a certain device can work with a converter. If it is not, it could potentially become a fire hazard, and might even destroy your appliance. 

Packing your stuff when you leave to study abroad can be challenging, but you can breathe in a sigh of relief once you are done. So, better get your suitcase ready, and prepare yourself as your educational adventure begins!

Adulting

4 Money Management Tips That Will Make Your Paychecks Stretch Further

September 3, 2020

Getting a paycheck is always exciting, it’s money you have worked towards all week. However, if you’re not careful with managing that hard-earned money, you can accumulate interest and debt faster than you can pay it off, which can hinder long term financial goals. But fear not, there are different ways of making your paycheck work as hard as you.

Build a Budget

The first way to stretch out your paycheck is to know where your money is going and taking control of how much you spend. Living paycheck to paycheck is not a good plan and can lead to unnecessary stress. Tracking your expenses each month and setting a limit for how much you spend each week are great ways to start understanding what to budget for. 

Writing a list of monthly and weekly expenses helps you know where your money is going and assists with identifying areas where you can be saving instead of spending. Some people map out their expenses and categorize them in order to help with what is a necessary bill while locating unaffordable items. Although it can be difficult to stick to your budget, having one can help you reach a financial goal or pay off debt faster.

Take Care of Business

As an adult, you need to be responsible with your money. That being said, you should be using money from each paycheck to build up your financial stability. Some of the things that you should be budgeting for are:

  • Emergency Fund: Having an emergency fund is useful for unexpected expenses when they happen out of the blue. You can’t predict when your car is going to break down or if you lose your job suddenly. This safety net will help you avoid a free fall into more debt.
  • Savings: Aside from an emergency fund, you should also set aside money for a savings account. View saving money as a stepping stone towards a larger goal such as buying a home. Once it comes time to start searching for a home, check out online listings to help determine what a typical sales price is. This will help you learn more about what you should be saving.
  • Paying off Debt: Finally, you should be paying off student debt with a portion of your paycheck. All loans accumulate interest in addition to your current principal balance. Paying off loans sooner means spending less money over time on unnecessary debt. You can repay debt faster by picking up a side job, funneling extra money towards repayment, and refinancing loans.

Think About Unnecessary Expenses

One black hole for paycheck money is spending money on inessential items. A spending limit is part of a good budget, and that’s why it deserves to be called out. Impulse purchases like coffee and new clothes add up quickly, and it’s something you don’t want to suck up your money. 

However, you can treat yourself on occasion— no one is perfect! Paying in cash or prepaid cards are a great way to set limits for “want” items or rewards. Couponing and buying off-brand products are other methods to still get things that you want while staying in the green.

Manage Credit Cards Wisely

Credit cards are another area where interest can accumulate quickly and pull more money from your paycheck towards another institution. If you do need a credit card, make sure to shop around. Look at the pros and cons of each company and check out their cash back and reward programs.

If you do use a credit card, set a limit for yourself. Make sure you budget for purchases on your card and have a plan to pay your card in full each month. Remember late fees and interest are the enemies.

Paychecks are great and you should make them work as hard as you do. By following the tips above, you can work towards personal finance goals and great management practices! 

Adulting

5 Tips To Pass Your Cleaning Check This Semester

July 20, 2020

College is fantastic, isn’t it? Well, most of the experience is. There are things we could all do without, like the endless stacks of homework, the all-nighters that you need to pull to get ready for exams, and of course, the regular room inspections. Who wants to deal with that headache?

Fortunately, those who have gone before you have come up with some helpful tips for passing dorm room inspection, even when time is not on your side. Follow these helpful tips to pass your inspection with even the most discriminating resident advisor.

Don’t Panic! It Can Be Done!

Inspection of your dorm room can be stressful, but it is not a time for freaking out and stuffing things under your bed randomly. Believe it or not, they do check that as well. Take a deep breath, make some plans ahead of time to deep clean the bathroom and make your bed, and all will be well. 

Talk And Plan With Your Roommates

You are in this together, so why not plan to clean together? Divide and conquer; split up the workload and get everything ready for inspection at the same time so you don’t have to stress out when your advisor is knocking at your door. If for some reason your roommates are unwilling to work with you, let your advisor know ahead of time and get their support so that consequences don’t fall on your shoulders.

Get Supplies; Prepare For The Big Event

Don’t worry; the Center for Disease Control isn’t going to be at your doorstep anytime soon. You do have to pass certain sanitation requirements to keep your advisory staff happy though. Get the proper cleaning supplies for each area of your living space. For large carpet stains, using a device similar to commercial carpet cleaning machines might be the best way to take care of business. See what your advisor has available for use so that you don’t have to spend too much out of your own pocket to get the job done. Scrub, polish, and be proud of a job well done!

If You Have Contraband, Get Rid Of It!

If you have anything that is against your contract, you should probably have never gotten it or never signed the contract. However, it’s too late to go back in time, so you must get rid of it as soon as possible. Depending on what the contraband is, you may need to deep clean even more to get rid of the evidence of your violation of contract. For example, if you aren’t allowed to have pets but have had a dog for the past few months, it’s going to take some time and effort to get rid of all the dog hair and the dog smell. For future contracts, make sure you follow them exactly.

Once It’s Clean, Keep It That Way

Why do a marathon cleaning session once per semester if you can keep it tidy by picking up after yourself on a regular basis? Make cleaning a regular occurrence, and you’ll save yourself valuable time and energy when periodic inspections come around again. From time to time, advisors are asked to do spontaneous dorm room checks to ensure that students are living in compliance with campus and school law. Keep your affairs in order, and you’ll never be caught in a situation where you have to explain your personal habits or cleanliness to other school staff members.

Your dorm is your home for the length of your tenure at school, and like it or not, it does reflect on you and the kind of person that you are. You are setting up valuable habits for the future care of a home and possessions; maintaining a tidy space now will ensure your success with bigger responsibilities later on. 

Grab your gloves, get your brush, and start scrubbing! Celebrate your unique space, and know that you are learning a lot in the process of being accountable to others and keeping a clean environment for everyone.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Adulting Other

Pets on Campus: 3 Rules for Keeping Pets at College

July 1, 2020

For young adults living alone for the first time, college can feel like the perfect time to finally adopt that lizard they weren’t allowed to have growing up; for those who grew up with animals, missing the family dog might feel like a black hole that desperately needs filling. Keeping a pet at college can be wonderful for both the owner, who’s gained a cute friend guaranteed not to copy their physics homework and the pet, who can enjoy companionship and a loving home. In any instance, before getting a pet you need to check with your residence and understand their pet policies. Assuming they do, college living also presents unique logistical challenges that students should take into account before adopting a furry, scaly, or feathery friend.  

  1. Respect your roommates. Since most college students live with other people, sharing a room, apartment, or house, they should take those other people into account when adopting a pet, and take their pet into account when searching for roommates. Dogs and cats, who roam the whole house or apartment and interact with all occupants, absolutely need the buy-in of all roommates if they’re going to enter a living space. Enclosure pets that stay in the owner’s room, like hamsters, lizards, or fish, only need enthusiastic buy-in from the folks living in said room, but everyone in the house should be aware of the animal – especially one that might sneak out of their cage and into other living areas. By making sure their roommates are ok with their pets before they move in, students will both protect their relationship with their roommates and ensure they’re living in an environment that’s good for their animal.     
  2. Respect your limits. College students are often busy, strapped for cash, and uncertain of their future, and pets, for all that they bring joy and companionship into someone’s life, can exacerbate these things. Students looking to get a pet should consider their own limits – on time, funds, travel, living space – before adopting a pet. Even seemingly low-maintenance pets, like cats or gerbils, can be expensive to provide for and have a need for attention and emotional energy from their owners. Animals are wonderful companions, but they’re also a responsibility, and college students should know how many things a pet could add to their already lengthy to-do list before adopting. 
  3. Respect your pet. This is the most important rule of pet ownership, in college or anywhere. While it’s understandable that college students experiencing independence for the first time might be desperate for an animal companion, the college lifestyle is not always good for an animal. For example, busy people living in small apartments should not adopt puppies who need attention all day and room to run – no matter how many cute girls walking said puppy attracts. Nor should people who move at least once a year invest in keeping chickens. The most important thing a prospective pet owner should consider is whether they are in a place to properly care for their pet – not just love, but care for. College students may love their dogs, but if they don’t have time to walk them every day, they’re not able to care for them. It’s a key distinction, and anyone looking to adopt a pet needs to be honest with themselves about their answer. 

Keeping a pet in college can be both incredibly rewarding and incredibly difficult. Of course, those struggling with the logistical challenges of pet ownership shouldn’t resign themselves to a life without animal companionship; some colleges bring “stress animals” to campus to help students relax during exams, and any town will need pet sitters and animal shelter volunteers. Everyone has room for animals in their life, if not their apartment. 

Adulting Other

The College-Bound Guide to Insurance: Be Sure You’re Protected as You Head Off to School

June 26, 2020

College students need a lot of supplies for college life. From bedding to electronics to school supplies, the costs can add up. In 2017, families spent as much as a mortgage payment or more on school supplies and that’s not counting tuition!

Is your college investment protected? Certain insurance products can help your family protect what you’ve invested in your student’s college experience, from personal property, to the cost of a trip to the campus health center during flu season.

In The Residence Halls

You’re probably bringing a laptop, smartphone, tablet, TV, speakers, dorm decor, clothes, and school supplies with you to college. Maybe you’ll even bring a bike or some furniture. The cost of these belongings can add up – what would you do if they all needed to be replaced due to a fire on campus? Or if your big-ticket items, like your laptop or bike were stolen – could you afford to replace them? Insurance can help you and your family protect your belongings if you face a loss or damage because of a covered reason, like theft, fire or water damage.

There are two primary types of insurance that can help you and your family protect your belongings while you’re at school: homeowners and renters insurance. If your parents have a homeowners insurance policy, you may already be covered, but be sure to check the specifics of the policy. Many homeowners policies will only cover full-time students living on campus, and often at a percentage (usually 10%) of the policy limits. Be sure to take into consideration the deductible, as well as a claim’s effect on the premium. Renters insurance can be a good alternative in these areas, as renters plans typically feature low deductibles and often low monthly rates.

To make the most of your insurance protection, you should create a home inventory of everything you’ve brought with you to school and how much it cost. Taking photos and carefully taking a record of everything you have will make it much easier to determine what has faced a loss if you need to make a claim. The total cost could surprise you, and knowing how much all of your stuff is worth can help you determine whether 10% of your homeowners limits or the limits you chose on your renters insurance policy are adequate protection.

The New York Insurance Association recommends that students ensure they have adequate insurance protection as well as taking a common-sense approach to protecting their valuables. They offer these tips to help students be mindful of their belongings:

  • Leave valuables at home if possible – While it may be necessary to take a computer or sports equipment to campus, other expensive items, such as valuable jewelry, luxury watches or costly electronics, should be left behind.
  • Mark your electronics – Label electronic items such as computers, televisions and portable devices like iPods with the student’s name or other identifying information that can help police track the stolen articles.
  • Always lock your room door and keep your keys with you at all times, even if you leave briefly. And not just at night—most residence hall thefts occur during the day. Insist your roommates do the same.
  • Do not leave belongings unattended on campus. Whether you are in class, the library, the dining hall or other public areas, keep book bags, purses and laptops with you at all times. These are the primary areas where property theft occurs.

Health

Newfound independence, the stress of classes, dining hall food, all-nighters, community living, partying – the college lifestyle, if unchecked, can take its toll on students’ health. Many schools require that students have health insurance, and for good reason: it can help protect students and their families from the high costs of medical treatments in the case of an injury or illness, like a sports injury during an intramural game or a case of mono.

Many schools offer students a health insurance plan, but often the most inexpensive option is for students to remain on their parent’s plan. Under health care law, young adults are allowed to remain on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. Check with your parents to see if their plan may be an option or speak with a licensed insurance agent to see what’s available to you.

In addition to health insurance, there are many ways students can take control of their well-being throughout the semester by setting time aside to eat well, exercise and manage stress:

  • Eat right. There’s a lot of temptation in the dining halls, but adding a side salad and ensuring that you get protein and vegetables and fruits each day will go a long way to giving your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs. It is important to maintain a varied diet and stay away from eating the same bowl of cereal for dinner everyday.
  • Stay hydrated. Swap sugary drinks for water. Getting 8 glasses a day can help fend off fatigue and keep you feeling good. It can be helpful to carry a water bottle such as a Hydro Flask with you to avoid becoming dehydrated during class.
  • Get sleep. It can be difficult to get enough sleep when there are so many deadlines, due dates, and social events, but you should do your best to get in bed at a reasonable hour and if not, take a nap during the day. Sleep helps your immune system and can help you retain information, so you’re not studying in vain!
  • Manage your stress. College comes with an inevitable amount of stress, but setting aside time to deal with it will make it much easier. Exercise, taking time to relax, reading a book for fun or setting aside an hour to catch up on your favorite show each week will help you unwind and appreciate the many opportunities college presents. If the stress of college life is too much, there are many resources on campus that you can turn too. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
  • Get moving. Exercise is an important part of a balanced lifestyle, and not only will it help you stay healthy, but it will also make you feel good too. Exercise for at least 30 minutes several times a week and try to walk as much as possible. Getting your blood pumping will relieve stress and help you study smarter. Your school may even offer fun classes such as spin or yoga which you can attend with your friends.

Tuition

Perhaps the largest expense of all, more than airfare, a laptop, gas or a flu shot, is tuition for many families. Luckily, this too can be protected by insurance. Tuition insurance can help refund lost tuition if a student should be forced to completely withdraw from school due to a covered reason. Many schools do not refund most tuition after the first couple weeks of the semester, which could leave many college families vulnerable. Be sure to check your school’s refund policy, which you should be able to find on their website, and consider whether you need more protection than it affords.

Travel

Whether it’s traveling to campus from home, traveling to study abroad, or bringing a car to campus, insurance can help protect students from costs that may arise if things don’t go according to plan, like a health issue abroad, a canceled flight or fender bender while at school. Depending on your situation, you may want to consider insurance protection.

Car insurance is required if you bring a car to school. Look for a plan that gives you adequate coverage, though you may have to spend more to get more coverage, it will minimize your exposure. Speak with an agent about what coverages are right for your vehicle. Don’t forget to ask if you qualify for a “good student” discount – you could save 5-15%!

Depending on how far away from home your school is or where you travel to during the school year, travel insurance could be beneficial to you and your family. Travel insurance has different levels of features that you can customize for your trip. Most people think of travel insurance as just covering airline ticket reimbursements in case something goes wrong, but it can also protect you financially if you lose your luggage or need to be airlifted to better healthcare, depending on the plan you select.

Insurance can help college students and their families protect their investment in education. Some of these protections may be beneficial to your family, while some may not. It depends on your situation and risk tolerance. If you have questions regarding your insurance coverage for college, speak with an insurance agent for more information. Have a wonderful and safe semester!