Browsing Tag

college tips

Adulting Other Student Life

Subletting and the Importance of Renters Insurance

June 9, 2022

Summer is here, and students all over the country are moving off campus, starting summer jobs, and getting ready for another school year. It’s also a time when students may need places to stay temporarily for summer jobs, and many leave their student apartments empty when moving home for the summer. Finding a temporary place to live out of town to stay for the summer can be difficult when you’re concerned about safety and reliability.

Many people consider subletting their apartments over the summer to take advantage of all the traveling young adults and offset the costs of an empty apartment. No matter if you are on the lessee’ or lessor, you might want to consider renters insurance to ensure the safety of your valuable items.

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Health Student Life

Strategies for Prioritizing Mental Health in College

May 16, 2022
five young students sitting together outside

College is a wonderful time in your life. You meet new people, grow beyond your existing ideas, and are constantly working towards the goal of self-improvement. 

But, there’s no doubt that college is stressful, too. Socializing, learning, and developing a career is hard, and accumulating debt can feel overwhelming. 

Combine these stressors with the past few years’ events, and you are sure to feel a little frazzled. 

But, in the long run, college is undoubtedly worth it. You make friendships that last a lifetime and add serious value to your career potential. You’ll also learn to appreciate life in new and novel ways, as that elective in literature might just spark a love of reading and critical thinking. 

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Other Student Life

Why College Students Need Renters Insurance

April 4, 2022

In back-to-school mode, you and your parents may be caught up in the whirlwind of college life you have found yourselves in. With so much new information and experiences happening all at once, you or your family members may not think about some things when you head off to college. One of the most important things to consider when settling into your new residence hall, apartment, or condo is renters insurance.

Why you may ask? As a student, you are potentially bringing thousands of dollars worth of possessions to school, from electronics to books to laptops and even furniture. If your laptop gets damaged or stolen, how would you replace it? What about your clothes if your dorm room floods? These items may not break the bank to replace individually, but the costs can definitely add up! Have you ever thought about what ALL of your stuff costs, together, all at once? It may surprise you! That is why it’s so important to take an inventory of what you bring with you to school. The data collected over the last few years estimates that the total estimated cost of living per year for students, including food, housing, clothing, phone plan, and other things, is around $14,435, with an additional $2,316 on personal items.

The Break Down

Before you head off to school, it isn’t out of the ordinary to purchase many new things to go into your dorm room or apartment.

These dorm room items can include:

  • Bedding: Sheets, Pillows, blankets, duvets
  • Bath Items: Towels, robe, caddy, shower shoes
  • Decorations and other personal Items
  • Appliances: Microwave, TV, mini-fridge
  • Study Supplies: Calendars, planners, desk accessories
  • Storage: Drawers, baskets, bins, containers
  • Electronics: Gaming devices, iPads, speakers, streaming devices, cameras, computers, hard drives, headphones

These are just a few examples of what you can bring to campus, and when all added up, it can cost thousands of dollars. This doesn’t include your personal items such as clothes, bags, shoes, and other things you have collected over the years that are important to you. With such a wide range of prices on these items, leaving them unprotected should something unexpected happen isn’t worth the risk.

GradGuard: The Smart Choice

Colleges, universities, and off-campus property management companies don’t replace stolen bicycles or backpacks, but GradGuard College Renters Insurance can. Our coverage provides unique student-focused coverage through an exclusive student endorsement. That means you’ll have access to features that you can’t find in a standard homeowners insurance policy or other companies.

Here are a few examples of GradGuard’s student-focused features:

  • Low Deductible – Our standard deductible offer is only $100 when you file a claim, no matter the item.
  • No Credit Scoring – We took into account that you may not have a great credit score or even one at all as a student. No matter your credit history, everyone on-campus receives the same price.
  • Worldwide Property Coverage – Your belongings, including rented property, can be protected from covered perils anywhere in the world! If you are traveling home from school or studying abroad, GradGuard has got you covered.
  • Personal Liability Coverage – If you are hurt or unintentionally damage your place of residence, we may be able to help.

GradGuard College Renters Insurance was made with students in mind, unlike other renters insurance providers. If you file a claim, your rates won’t go up, and there are no sneaky sub-limits on electronics coverage. Our coverage protects physical items you bring to college (up to the policy limits) from things like theft, fire, smoke, vandalism, wind, sprinkler system discharges, and more.

You can also view a sample policy to learn about some more of the specifics of our coverage.

Other Considerations

Homeowners Insurance

If you are not the first person in your family to head off to college, you and your parents may think that you have everything under control. Your parents’ first instinct may often be to look into their current homeowner’s insurance. This is important to look at, but the coverage it can offer you as a student away at school may not be enough. Most of the time, a homeowner’s insurance policy will only extend to cover some of your possessions and may have a really high deductible.

A big downside of using this coverage is that making a claim on the homeowner’s policy may raise premiums. Homeowners’ policies often have limits, exclusions, and certain conditions that you can’t rely on to automatically cover you and your belongings while you’re at school. You may be better off just replacing that couple thousand dollar laptop out of pocket. Or even better, opting for GradGuard!

Landlord Protection

Many parents believe the landlord will cover damages when it comes to liability. More often than not, a landlord’s insurance only applies to the building itself, not the resident’s possessions within. Double-check with the landlord and ask what their insurance policy would cover should a theft or other disasters occur. Having your own insurance policy is a great way to ensure that the things you bring along with you to school are protected.

Another common myth is that renters insurance is too expensive and unnecessary. Even though it is an added expense, the benefits outweigh the costs should any disaster occur and your belongings suffer damages that could put you out thousands of dollars to replace on your own. Renters insurance is a great way to prevent significant financial loss and encourage students to start thinking responsibly about their belonging and move towards adulthood.

Career Student Life

3 Things Every Student Should Do Before Graduating 

March 29, 2022
Things to do before graduation

The months following graduation can feel a little odd. Maybe you didn’t have a job lined up after college like some of your friends did. It’s difficult to keep in touch when you’re not bumping into each other on campus or in the residence halls anymore. As a result, many recent grads struggle to adapt to life outside of college.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can make your transition from college into post-grad life a little easier by planning ahead and preparing for all that life has to offer. Here are 3 things every student should do before graduating and heading into the workforce.

Polish Your Social Media Accounts

Your social media accounts will serve a very different purpose once you graduate. Social media was a great way to connect with new friends and learn about events or parties in college. But when you graduate, your social media account can be a risk to your personal and professional growth.  

Nowadays, most organizations will look you up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram before hiring you. Anything that was considered cool in college, such as underage drinking, or posting photos by the pool every Saturday may come back to haunt you if your future employer saw it. Just because your profile settings are set to private, doesn’t mean it’s completely blocked off.

This doesn’t mean you have to delete every social picture from your profiles. You just have to be savvy about what you leave up and what you take down. Try to untag yourself from anything that might be misinterpreted. What happens online, stays online!

Update Your Resume

When was the last time you updated your resume? For most college students, it was probably either in high school or when you applied for a recent part-time position. These versions of your resume simply won’t cut it in the professional world, where you need to put forward a solid resume to make it to the interview stage. 

Fortunately, most colleges have a career services department to help you create the best version of your resume. Usually, the folks who work in these offices have plenty of experience, so it’s worth checking them out and listening to their suggestions. 

You can start writing a killer resume by researching successful resumes online. This will give you an idea of the industry standard and help you choose between design templates and layouts. Regardless of the template you choose, you must first share the most essential information. This depends on the job you are applying to and your experience, but it should always display your strongest achievements and accomplishments first.  Make sure to mention your anticipated graduation month and year, and if you’re open to relocating after graduating.

Write a Will and Advanced Directive

Many people mistakenly believe that will writing is only for the elderly or those with life-threatening conditions. The reality is that all adults need to have a will to make things easier for loved ones if tragedy does occur. 

However, if it’s your first time writing a will, it can be hard to know what to include. Typically, your will should tell your loved ones what you want to happen regarding your health care, property, and assets. Your parents will likely be able to help you out with writing your first will. You can always update it down the line after big life events, such as getting married or having a child.

Takeaways

Transitioning from college to the workforce is always going to be tricky. But you can make the process a little smoother by planning ahead and setting a clear direction for your life after graduation. Start by assessing your social media presence and resume materials, as these will play a significant role in your job hunt. Then, consider writing a will and advanced directive, so you can move into life beyond college with peace of mind. 

Career Student Life

Starting College Undeclared and Thriving

March 15, 2022

You have high hopes and big dreams when you head off to college, but things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes when you start college, you may start to change and find that what you thought you wanted is no longer the case. Maybe you don’t even know what you want to do in the first place. Either way, it is alright if you don’t have a major picked out right away, or start college undeclared.

With many majors and specializations offered, choosing which major to pursue your bachelor’s degree can be challenging. It is okay to feel uncertain at first, and many students are open to the chance to explore different fields to discover what interests them most. There are often many negative feelings surrounding being undeclared at the beginning of your college career; however, it can actually be a good thing to not have a major picked right away.

Benefits of Being Undeclared

Enrolling with an undeclared major allows you to explore your options and give you the chance to take a variety of courses on different topics to see what you would like to pursue further. You will need to check your universities requirements or with your academic advisor to see how long you can be undeclared. Most universities will allow you to remain undeclared for up to one year or two semesters.

Starting your college career undeclared can also save you some hassle later on down the road. According to Frank.org, at least 80% of college students change their major during their college career. If you start out undecided and take the time to look through the different options by taking courses and speaking with an academic advisor, you can make a well-informed choice. The later in school you change your major, the more significant the implications could be.

Although taking this route may be helpful to you, it’s important to note that not picking a major may push your expected graduation date back. That could affect any scholarships or other financial aid you might have, so it would be good to talk it over with someone before making any significant changes.

Picking a Major

For an incoming freshman, our best piece of advice is not to stress about picking a major right away. Now that you have taken some time to look over the different options offered at your university, you can begin narrowing your options.

Make a list

We make lists for all sorts of reasons; why would picking a major be any different? Writing things down can help you visually and logically think through them.

When deciding your major, there are many factors that you should think about:

  • What courses are involved?
  • What are the graduation requirements?
  • What job could I get after I graduate?

Now that you have your list of options you’ve explored, which ones would you like to seriously consider?

What Did You Like?

On this list of possible majors, which ones do you like? Do any of them have the chance to help you get a job that you would enjoy? Let yourself be a little more creative to explore all the things you’re passionate about to see if you can visualize yourself in a particular role or field using the major. While some of the classes you take might not lead up to being aligned with your major, they can help you navigate your way to something involving different things you are passionate about.

What Were You Good At?

To narrow down the list, even more, think about all the classes from your major list that you were good at. And if you’re up for it, include the ones you think you weren’t so fond of.

How will this be helpful? When you compare the two, it can help you make an informed, logical choice. It may seem weird, but just because you are good at something doesn’t mean that you would end up enjoying that major or a job in that related field.

For example, if you are good at math and performed well in your first accounting class but did not enjoy the coursework involved, you might not want to consider accounting as a major moving forward.

Talk to a Professional

Although we have mentioned it before, a great way to get a sense of what major you might want to pursue further is speaking with an advisor. They will better understand what the coursework will look like moving forward and can help with any questions or hesitations you have.

You can also try speaking with someone who got a degree in a field you’re considering. It could be a parent, family member, friend, or acquaintance, but getting advice from someone with experience in the field can give you valuable insight into if you would enjoy this major or career path.

You could ask about what it’s like getting into the industry, the work-to-life balance, pay range, and possible career growth. Knowing this information can give you a sense of whether or not careers within this degree path are suitable for you.

Picking a major and a career path can be scary, but know that you are not alone! There are many different options out there to help you make this decision. Although it may feel overwhelming, it is okay to start school not exactly sure where you are headed or change your direction halfway through.

Adulting Transition

Ultimate Guide to Getting Your First Car

March 4, 2022

Your first car could be one of your first major investments, and an important one at that. Having a personal car is a necessity nowadays because it is more convenient than commuting, especially if you are the type of person who has a lot of errands to do. But what should you consider when purchasing your first car? 

Type and model of the car

The type and model of the car are the first things you should weigh on because this one is a personal choice apart from being a practical one.

  • What type of car do you prefer?
  • Do you want a sedan or an SUV?
  • Do you need to use it for yourself only or do you have a family to consider?
  • Is it going to be for personal use or are you going to use it for a business?

These questions could lead to the type and/or model of the car you are going to get. If you still don’t have an idea of what you should buy, there are news articles that suggest the best practical cars in this season. For instance, here’s a US News article that suggests the most practical car options for the year 2021. But apart from practicality, this could also be just a personal preference. Would it be a dream car? It’s your decision to make. And after considering these, you can proceed to the next one—the price.

Price range and amortization

After choosing the type or model of the car that you want to purchase, it’s time to look around and check its price. You can go research different car dealerships near you and check if the vehicle you want is available there and how much they are selling it for. You may also review the car loan process beforehand to get all the details needed.

The best thing to do is to personally inquire and sort of get a customized deal that would suit your budget. Some car dealers try to adjust their rates depending on the capacity of the customer, considering other factors such as the amount of downpayment to be made, the length of the term, and the amount of amortization you could afford. It’s not bad to haggle sometimes.

Just remember that this is a major financial commitment and it could affect your credit score in the future. So you better make sure that you can commit to whatever deal you are going to get for your new car. 

Insurance and tax

Apart from monthly payments, your vehicle is also subject to tax. But there are vehicles that are exempted from tax such as old cars. There are also a few states that do not impose a tax on cars such as Delaware, Alaska, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Montana. You can purchase your car in these states, but you may still have to pay car tax if you move the vehicle into a state that imposes a tax on cars.

Car insurance is also important because accidents could always happen and it’s better to be secured rather than having to spend more later on. There are different types of car insurance and they vary depending on the state you are in. There is mandatory car insurance that covers your liability when accidents happen, and some options are for the damages your vehicle could get. There is also gap insurance where you get covered if the car gets stolen — basically, it prevents you from paying the whole amount of the car after it was stolen. 

These are just a few, basic pointers you need to remember when getting your first car, and again, just be reminded that purchasing a vehicle is a major decision and you should not be too quick when deciding what to buy and where to buy it from. Take your time and try to always look for the pros and cons before purchasing.

Career Student Life

Diversity Encouragement Strengthening STEM Disciplines

March 1, 2022

A STEM career may prove to be a great choice for you. For instance, you can earn a degree in astronomy, biology, or another STEM field. From here, you can gain the skills you need to become a key contributor in a STEM role. In addition, you can help foster diversity among STEM disciplines. 

You can simultaneously build a rewarding STEM career and promote diversity in STEM disciplines. And doing so may have far-flung effects on yourself and many others long into the future. 

Why STEM Studies Are Crucial 

Sparking interest in STEM studies drives diversity among STEM disciplines. To understand why, consider what can happen if you pursue a STEM degree. 

In this instance, you’ll use hands-on and classroom training and exercises to build your skill set in science, technology, engineering, and math. Next, you can use your STEM skills to solve problems and take your creativity to new heights. 

At this point, your STEM skills can make you an attractive candidate for top jobs from STEM companies. They can even help you earn a great salary. 

Let’s not forget about the unique contributions you’ll be able to bring to a STEM company, either. Your contributions may lead others to pursue STEM careers. As a result, you’ll foster diversity in STEM disciplines. 

How Educators Encourage Diversity in STEM Disciplines 

If you’re on the fence about a college major, meeting with educators can provide a great starting point. Teachers have your best interests at heart and can address any doubts you have about choosing a college major.  

Many teachers possess cultural awareness that is vital to the enjoyment and pursuit of learning. These teachers can help you explore career interests you previously might not have considered. And they may help you find a STEM degree program that suits you perfectly. 

Ultimately, earning a degree in a STEM discipline can provide a viable career path. There are many degrees you can pursue in STEM studies. Thus, you can find one that interests you and make a career out of it. You can help make STEM disciplines more diverse than ever before, too. 

How to Build a STEM Career and Promote Diversity

Once you’re ready to earn a degree in a STEM field, you’ll need to find the right degree program. You can look for STEM studies at colleges and universities close to home. Or, you can enroll in an online degree program.

Search for degree programs that align with what you want to accomplish in your career. Oftentimes, it helps to list out your career goals. You can then use your goals to figure out what degree programs can help you build your ideal STEM career. 

Take advantage of any opportunities to gain experience, too. Sign up for workshops on various STEM topics. You can also explore internship and apprenticeship opportunities. 

Remain on the lookout for opportunities to grow your STEM career as well. If you are open to learning about new STEM topics, you can continuously enhance your skillset. Over time, you may establish a cultural awareness that helps you get the most out of learning about STEM topics as well.  

Launch Your STEM Career

Pursue STEM studies in areas that interest you. In doing so, you can build a rewarding STEM career and foster diversity in STEM disciplines. 

Student Life

Best Student Discounts for 2022

February 25, 2022

We all know that college is expensive and this is the first time that many students are responsible for their finances. It can be difficult or even overwhelming to get your money in order, but there are some deals and discounts that make it easier on your wallet!

Some students aren’t aware of the many exclusive discounts that are available to students while enrolled in college. Some subscriptions are made available just by registering using a .edu email address. Not only will students be able to save a few dollars (or maybe more than a few) by registering as a student, but will they receive exclusive benefits most of the time. Being aware of these discounts can be beneficial for college students that are learning to be more financially independent. 

Here are some of the best student discounts available in 2022:

Amazon Prime

As a student, Amazon Prime offers a free six-month subscription. After that free six-month trial is over, it costs only $6.49 per month for as long as you are a student. With this subscription, you’ll receive a catalog of their TV shows and movies, free unlimited photo storage with Prime Photo, and the usual perks of two-day shipping. This discount extends beyond Amazon as well, like offering exclusive deals to GrubHub, the Calm App, discounts on flights from StudentUniverse, and help from Course Hero. As if that isn’t enough for the perks of Amazon Prime, there are add-ons to this plan, including access to premium video channels Like Showtime, Epix, Sundance Now, and more for just $0.99 a month each for up to 12 months. What a deal!

Spotify Premium

As for Spotify, students are able to buy access to both TV and music streaming options. For as low as $4.99 a month, students have access to ad-free listening to Spotify Premium, Hulu, and Showtime all in one. That’s half the price of regular memberships and without the extra perks of Hulu and Showtime. For the first month of access, all listening and watching is completely free! It should be noted that this plan has to be renewed annually and you can only use it for up to four years.

YouTube Premium 

Students have access to watch ad-free videos on the go with YouTube Premium. The option to download and watch offline viewing is only $6.99 a month. You’ll have complete access to Youtube music if your other streaming platforms are not cutting it for you. You have the option to try out Youtube Premium for a one-month free trial.

Apple Music and Apple TV+

When students sign up for Apple Music, they also get access to AppleTV+, all for only $4.99 a month! This subscription will not only allow students access to over fifty million songs but will also allow students to watch original movie pictures. This discounted rate is available for up to 4 years. 

Audible

Students have the option to purchase audiobooks, for either school or for entertainment through a discounted rate using Audible. New members are able to join for as low as $9.95 a month. Students are able to save over 30% and receive a $10 Amazon.com credit.

Notion

Are you having trouble organizing all your notes for all your different classes, projects, and assignments? Organize your personal tasks and notes with Notion’s free Personal Pro plan. Unlimited pages & blocks, file uploads, and version history. Just sign up with a school email address. The best part is there is no credit card required to sign up!

UNiDAYS

UNiDAYS is a discount website founded in 2011 that is available for free to students worldwide. Current students in higher education can sign up with UNiDAYS to get discounted deals on products and services.

Skillshare

College can be a really busy time and can be hard to find a way to decompress or learn a new skill. Skillshare is an online learning community of educational videos for a variety of different topics. Normally, Skillshare offers free one-month trials of their premium service. After that, it’s $15/month ($8.25/month if you pay annually).

Adobe Creative Cloud

Students can get the full suite of Adobe products such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects for just $19.99/month. That’s a 60% savings over the usual price of $52.99/month!

If you just want access to Photoshop, you can get the Photography Plan for just $9.99/month (whether or not you’re a student). This gives you access to Photoshop and Lightroom, plus 20GB of cloud storage.

Office 365

Although you might already get access to the Microsoft Office Suite for free through your college, if your school doesn’t offer it for some reason, you can still get free access to Office 365 Education if you’re a student. This includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Microsoft Teams. Just like most of the offers above, all you need is a valid student (.edu) email address to sign up!

Merchandise and Food Discounts

When you’re a student, often times local businesses in your town or city will offer a discount, anywhere from 10 to even 25% off. Many restaurants and store chains offer a deal for students such as Chipotle and Chick-Fil-A and even movies theaters. The twist to getting these discounts compared to most of the digital resources, is you need to do is show them your student ID.

College can be stressful for many different resources, but subscriptions and tools shouldn’t be on that list. We hope that this helps you save some money while you are in school and make some of your resources more affordable!

Adulting Student Life Transition

Addressing Finances as a Student

February 4, 2022

College is one of the best times of your life: you’re always meeting new people, are regularly exposed to new and revolutionary ideas, and will make memories that last a lifetime. 

However, college can also be challenging. As a student, you’re continuously juggling responsibilities and are constantly aware of the costs like school fees, books, food, and accommodation. 

These responsibilities can lead many to put their head in the sand during their college years and ignore their finances. But this approach is unlikely to alleviate any financial anxiety you might feel and will only inflate your debts when you graduate. 

Instead, try a forward-thinking approach to budgets, expenses, and income — here are a few tips to help you along the way.  

Setting-up Your Budget

First things first – you can’t address your finances properly without a clear budget. 

You can create a realistic budget by adding up your income and looking at your expenses. This can be tricky, especially if you work hourly, which might fluctuate around seasonal shifts and finals and your income is inconsistent. You can account for these fluctuations ahead of time or should set a “minimum income” amount, so you don’t reach beyond your means. 

Next, divide your expenses into essential and non-essential expenses. Essential expenses should cover any non-negotiable fees like rent or food, and non-essential expenses should include cash for good times (we’ll get to that later!). 

Once you have a clear picture of how much you expect to earn and spend every month, you should start to think about how you can make your money work for you through investments and interest on savings — but only after you’ve established a healthy emergency fund. 

Pro-Tip: Take a look at your bill due dates to ensure you never miss a payment and that you will have enough money in your accounts when you need it!

Emergency Fund

An emergency fund protects you from unexpected medical bills or car maintenance fees. This isn’t the most fun way to handle your money, but it’s essential if you wish to have financial security and peace of mind. Emergencies can happen anytime, and being prepared for the unexpected ensures you will be okay.

Determining the size of your emergency fund depends on your current financial situation. However, an excellent point to start is budgeting to cover at least three months’ worth of expenses if you lose your source of income or are hit with an unexpected bill. 

Transportation

Without proper care and attention, cars can be money pits. You can easily spend hundreds, if not thousands, on simple repairs, and cars require consistent tax and insurance payments. As a student, you should seriously consider ditching a car until you have a reliable full-time income source that can support your vehicle without putting an extra strain on your budget. 

It’s hard to know if life without a car is right for you, and you should consider factors like your proximity to campus and access to public transport before you list your vehicle on craigslist. However, there are profound health benefits to going without a car, as you’ll likely cycle or walk far more than you ever did before. 

Good Times

A budget isn’t a spreadsheet that exists to make you feel guilty. A reasonable budget should allow for small fund to allow traveling, eating out, shopping, and activities with your friends. It’s important to set some money aside to for good times and memorable experiences, but as long as it doesn’t put you in a hard spot. You need to remember that your budget every month may not allow for fun activities if you

As a student with fewer commitments, you should seriously consider spending the money you budget for good times on summer travel plans. Summer vacation will help you see the light at the end of the spring semester tunnel and will give you a chance to make meaningful connections with the people you’ve met while studying. 

Conclusion

You can’t achieve financial independence overnight, but that shouldn’t stop you from making proactive financial choices based on a clear budget and some forward-thinking. That might mean you need to ditch the car for a few years, but it will also allow you to spend a little extra on summer vacations or road trips with your new friends. 

Student Life

7 Ways to Start a New Semester Off Right

January 14, 2022

The start of a new semester tends to come with a lot on the to-do list. Don’t let that put you off! Knowing how to kick-start a new term can really impact all aspects of your time at school. Whether it’s your first semester or your last, preparing yourself to begin the new term is important so you can be successful. 

Check out this list with the top 7 ways to help you start this semester off on the right foot.

1. Staying organized is key

Getting organized and staying organized can be hard, but it can help your course work, as well as your workflow at the start of a new semester, and will have tremendous benefits to your stress levels. There are many amazing online organization tools and apps such as Goodnotes, MyHomework, Google Workspace or even a physical calendar that can keep all of your assignments and notes in one place. You can file your work into separate folders based on the class or sections, color-coding, and highlighting the most important stuff. With so many classes being online or hybrid, many professors are using slideshows during lectures. You should get in a habit of asking them to send you a copy so you can look back while studying. It may also be posted online where you submit assignments. Also, staying on top of your calendar and updating it with due dates and important events will help you to stay ahead of schedule. Being organized with your time and schedule will keep you on task so you don’t procrastinate.

Pro Tip: Scan any important paper documents or notes to an online folder for later. This will help you avoid having to dig through mountains of notes and random sheets of paper again. 

2. Making campus your home away from home

At the start of a new semester, most students will be either returning to campus or are heading there for the very first time. Either way, this new address, new roommate, or new city will be your home away from home. At first, this can seem pretty overwhelming but you can bet everyone is as nervous as you when heading to campus. As you build friendships and get deeper into your course work, heading back to campus will feel like putting on your favorite comfy sweatshirt. It will feel natural and familiar after a while. You will probably even miss it while you are away!

Pro Tip: Bring something that reminds you of home to have if you get homesick!

3. Stay informed about what’s happening on campus

With college comes a whole lot of terms you’ve never heard of before, such as enrollment, course catalog, exam registration, and withdrawals.

It can be pretty daunting when:

a) You’re not really sure what you’re supposed to do,

b) Where you need to be,

c) And when you should be doing it.

One thing that can save you the added stress of college life is downloading any available calendars or information from your university’s or college’s website before the new semester starts. It could be mid-terms or finals schedules and the campus map, or even looking up groups or clubs on social media so you can connect with other students at your school about classes, lectures, and registration times.

Pro Tip: Note your drop, withdraw, and refund policies before classes start. Consider purchasing GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance to provide a reimbursement should you withdraw for a covered illness or injury at any time during the semester.

4. Keep Your Student ID With You at All Times

At last, a shiny new student card with your name and photo all over it! It’s proof that you’re now a member of your dream school. Not only will your student ID be your badge to get access to your dorm, campus buildings, and the library, it is also how you may pay for meals and snacks in the student union. Some classes even use your student ID card or your student number for attendance. You’ll get your card once you’ve enrolled and it’ll stay with you until your time at university is over. Just try not to lose it or get it stolen. If it is however,  you can check with your student services to get a replacement card, though it will cost you some money.

Pro Tip: Did you know your student ID can also save you money? Check out student discounts on stuff such as entertainment, event tickets, tech, clothing and more!

5. Books, Books, and, YES, more Books!

Do college classes even require textbooks anymore? Yes, they actually do and many online ones require them as well! Course books and other reading material will be your lifeline during your time in college. You can stay one step ahead of any stress by purchasing your books a few weeks before your new semester starts. Textbooks are not all created equal and some can be quite costly, so be on the lookout for what you need at a second-hand bookstore or in the used section. Some classes will require that you purchase a digital version of the book or an online access code. Unfortunately, these can not be usually be purchased secondhand and are often some of the most expensive materials needed for class.

Pro Tip: Before you buy a new or even used book, see if the bookstore allows rentals. Many times, you can rent these for a fraction of the purchase price AND you can still highlight and take notes. Win-win!

6. Managing your time

Life in college can be vastly different than anything in your life up to this point. The rigid structure of high school and bell schedules is long gone. From managing your personal time to sleep, do chores, and hangout with friends, to going to class, studying, and doing other assignments, it can be hard not to get overwhelmed!

If you’re able to master the art of managing your time for studying, work, and your personal life early on in the semester you will feel better come the end of the semester and things get even more crazy. Dedicating the right amount of time to your education, work commitments, socializing, and of course, just for yourself is critical and will ensure you get the most out of each. Sure, your student years will involve social events with your friends, but at the end of the day it’s all about balance. Tipping the scales too far to one side can have dramatic effects on the other. Try a few different things to find what works for you to make sure that you are leaving enough time for all the important things in you life, but sometimes you might just have to say “no”.

Pro Tip: Try to pick your classes on block days so other days are left open for studying, a part-time job, or fun stuff. For example, look for classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only, leaving you able to do other things on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

7. Remember to have fun!

You’ve probably heard it a million times before, but your time in college will turn out to be some of the best years of your life. Of course, there are exams, essays, and lots of homework, but studying and diving deep into a major you love will turn out to be so much better than you thought. Knowledge is power and can open so many doors for you in the future, so soak it up while you can! You’ll meet people from all walks of life so make time to network straight away, join extracurricular activities, and share your passions with the others around you.