What I Wish I’d Known Before College: Money, Loans, and Networking

Going away to college was one of those butterflies-in-your-stomach-but-it’s-reached-capacity feelings. I had an idea of what to expect because I had heard stories from friends and family members, but not really. Even with the stories, I still learned some things I didn’t sign up for. So, I’m sharing my knowledge with you. Here are three things to know before college.

How Money Really Works

Money makes the world go round and college is expensive. This is also where you slowly begin to build everything. This includes how you spend, save and manage your money. Financial literacy is something that is not really taught in schools, but it should be. Learning things like how to build credit, the importance of paying your bills on time, what your credit score is and how it works is crucial. I had no idea how money really worked until probably the end of my second year of school. However, the earlier you learn the better. Take advantage of all your resources. Read books, ask your parents, family members who’ve been to college, guidance counselors, mentors–educate yourself. The more informed you are, the better decisions about money you can make that saves you some time and dollars later.

The Truth about Student Loans

Oh, the taboo topic of student loans. In high school, the only thing I heard about student loans was to beware of them because you have to pay them back later. I never heard about varying interest rates or the consequences of late payments.  I never discussed with anyone realistically how much time it takes to pay them off, or the importance of promissory notes and their meaning. These are things we all should know before we sign on those dotted lines. Student loans have the potential to impact our lives for many years to come.

It’s Important to Network!

You’ll hear this word, throughout your college career, but what does it mean? I didn’t learn until I was my junior year of college and a part of a student organization. Networking is simply the art of building relationships. Relationships are the network for life. When you get out into the world, it really is about your talent and who you know. While you’re in college, have conversations with your professors, your classmates, your coworkers, your bosses, your teammates, or student org leaders. Focus on building quality relationships, Particularly if they are in the career field you want to be in someday. They can be great resources both in and outside the classroom. You never know when they might have a connection for you.

If you’re entering college, keeps these key things in mind to help you navigate through your time there. College is a lot more manageable if you seek help, listen to advice, and apply it to your daily life. We’re happy to give a few of those tips to you in this very article.

Good luck!