Student Status - Senior

Congratulations you’re a senior and getting ready to graduate! While your year is filled with living up your last year of college keep in mind that the “real world” is around the corner. Don’t avoid it, prepare for what’s coming up next. We promise it will make the transition a whole lot easier.

Get Into the Habit

We all have our own routines that shape our day to day life.  Developing healthy financial habits now are key in preparing for life after college.  Considering the new financial responsibilities it is important to be as savvy as possible with your money.  Take the time to practice these skills and understand how beneficial they can be for your future.

Budgeting

The holy grail of personal finance, this is a necessary skill to have in order to live a balanced, debt-free life. Write down your expected income and expected expenses for one month. Subtract your expenses from income—this is how much you have to spend for that month.  Your overarching goal is to stay “out of the red” as they say or in other words not spending more than you earn. Check out our budgeting section for more information.

Identifying Needs vs. Wants

Do you need to go out to eat every night or will once a week suffice? Write down what your fixed expenses are (rent, tuition, books, cell phone) and what your most common expenses are(dinners out, entertainment, clothes) and see what you can eliminate or reduce. Setting limits for yourself is an important skill to have and the benefits can translate into other aspects of your life.

Emergency Fund

How many times has something unexpected happened in your life and you needed a little extra cash? Exactly. With the new responsibilities post-college life brings, it’s doubly important to keep a little nest egg aside to give you some cushion for your finances.  While it may suck now to take that $25 out of each paycheck for your ER fund, you will be singing a different tune when that medical bill comes in or when you find out you need a new part for the ol’ Honda Civic.

Be Self-Sufficient

This is more than just paying your bills on time and living alone this is being able to thrive solo. Learning how to cook, being a smart shopper and navigating your way around town without relying on a car are some ways you can cut costs and attain important life skills.  For more ideas on how to be self sufficient, visit the PBS website.

Build Credit But Use it Wisely

Now is a great time to build your credit but don’t overdo it. Use your credit card once or twice a month and pay off your balance in full. If for some reason you can’t pay off the entire balance, then pay more than the monthly minimum.  Rely on your debit card or cash for all other purchases.

Understand Your Financial Contracts

Never just sign on the dotted line without carefully reading what you’re getting yourself into. Loans, credit cards, leases and even phone bills all have contracts and if you’re not careful you can screw yourself.

Prep Work

As soon-to-be college graduates you guys are entering the job market at a rather challenging time. A job right out of college is not guaranteed so it’s in your best interest to do the prep work in order to put yourself ahead of the pack. For one, you are all graduating from a highly respected academic institution. Check. However, that’s not enough. So what can you do? Check out this “to do list” for some helpful pointers.  Oh, and future graduate students this list is for you too!

Use the Career Center

an invaluable resource that can help you with your resume, cover letter, finding an internship, interview guidance and more!

Internships

considering how competitive the job market is, it’s important to have relevant experience on your resume. Although internships are oftentimes unpaid (not nice for your wallet or that festival you were planning on going to) their importance can’t be stressed enough. Even more than gaining valuable experience, it also can help you decide if you’re on the right career path. Figuring out what you don’t want to do is just as important as knowing what you want to do.

Is Grad School Right for You?

there are some professions where graduate school is inevitable (insert medical school here). The decision to go to grad school is not and shouldn’t be an easy one or a cure all solution.  Being a graduate student is a lot of work and frankly some serious blood, sweat and tears… So, it’s really important to decide if going to grad school is right for you. Maybe take a few years off and save some money before diving in? Try getting a job and see how that goes?  The main lesson to take away is: don’t go to grad school, because you don’t have plans after graduation. Go, because it will be better for your personal and financial future.

Connect with People

it’s important to reach out and network, you never know if they could be a valuable resource for you in the future. Remember, it’s not what you know but who you know.  Staying in contact with your mentors, professors and classmates is not only beneficial for some personal fulfillment but it can help when you need a recommendation or need a lead on a job.

Start the Job Hunt Sooner Rather Than Later

there is no harm in getting your ducks in a row pre-graduation. Finish your resume, set up a LinkedIn profile (a popular job/networking site), network with your contacts and begin the search. Take it upon yourself to get the ball rolling, there’s no point in waiting around. Seize the moment!

Student Loans

Student loan repayment is one of the most daunting things after graduation. If you took out Direct loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) you have a 6 months grace period before repayment whereas PLUS loans will go into repayment 60 days after graduation. Keep in mind that there are several loan repayment plans, consolidation and loan forgiveness options. Do your research and don’t be afraid to reach out to your financial aid advisor, student loan representative or student money mentor for help.

Check out our student loan repayment section for more information as well as some other neat links!

Sayonara School

It’s almost time to leave so tie up those remaining loose ends!

  1. Apply for graduation online and
  2. Make sure you have no outstanding balance on your student account.
    • Remember, an outstanding balance equals a hold on your account. A hold can prevent you from getting your transcripts released or your diploma delivered to you, important things you’ll need for the new job and grad school.
  3. Finally, complete the exit interview/exit counseling for your federal student loans. It is simple and won’t take a lot of time so get ‘er done, because failure to do this will put a hold on your account. 

Time to take care of business and good luck to all of you!