Five Easy Ways to Manage Your College Expenses

For those of you heading off to college this fall, I have a few suggestions for you (and/or your parents) that may save you a little money along the ways.  Remember, you have 4 years ahead of you. Starting off on the right foot could mean saving a big chunk of change in the end.

Here are 5 easy ways to manage college expenses.

1) Leave the car at home. You don’t need it. Suspend the car insurance until the summer when you return.

2) Understand your meal plan options on campus. Sometimes colleges tier the plans. Find one that works for you. I see many families over spend on meal plans that don’t carry over remaining balances to the next semester. Be sure to ask.

3) Always buy your school supplies off campus. Much cheaper.

4) Get a part-time work-study job on campus. It’s convenient and if it’s an office job, they will probably allow you to use their computers, printers, supplies, etc. for your school work.

5) Take babysitting jobs off-campus. These positions are posted on job boards in the campus center or in the student employment office by local families.  They pay well and the work is mainly done at night when the kids are usually sleeping, so you can get your homework done. Ask if you can do your laundry at their house in exchange for 1 free hour of babysitting. Trust me…it’s well worth it! You get paid and have clean clothes.

For more advice or tips, just ask!

Top 5 “DONT’S” For Any College Interview

Since it’s college interview season, I thought I’d share my top 5 “dont’s” for teens to be aware of before they interview. Unfortunately, I’ve seen all of these occur enough that they made the list.  Beware.

  1. Don’t go in unprepared. Know about the school, your major, the student body and why you want to go to that particular college.
  2. Don’t chew gum. It’s rude, loud and distracting.
  3. Don’t look at your phone or hold your phone during the interview. Shut the phone off and put it away.  No text, call or email is so important that you would need to take it during this 20/30 min interview.  In addition, the interviewer doesn’t want to hear it  buzz, chirp or vibrate from your pocket or purse.
  4. Don’t dress like you are going to the gym. Leave the sneakers, hats, sweatpants and leggings at home. Dress like you would to go to a nice dinner with your parents or a high school graduation.  Dress pants, khakis, or skirt paired with nice blouse or shirt with a collar are a few good options.
  5. Don’t say IDK or rather “Hum… I don’t know.” to the interviewer.  I understand that this statement is sometimes just a space filler or a nervous response for teens, but train yourself not to say it in the interview. Please!

Good luck everyone.

When is the Best Time to Visit a College Campus?

I’ve noticed that families tend to visit campuses during the summer and winter breaks. The problem with visiting campuses during both these times of year, is that typically students aren’t around, classes are not in session and therefore faculty are gone as well. If you visit during this time of year, you will probably only have the opportunity to meet with the admissions staff and possibly a few students that work for the admissions staff. When you visit during this time of year you only see the shell of the institution. I suggest visiting during your high school breaks or long weekends, which tend not to coincide with college vacations. That way you get to see the colleges in full force and not just the shell…..but the heart, mind and soul. This will give you a better sense of facilities, dining hall options, dorms, parking, community life, academics and student activities. I also suggest breaking up the visits over an extended period of time.  So rather than visiting 3 or 4 schools in one week, why not visit 6 to 10 schools over a period of  6 months. That way you won’t feel rushed, you can make the most of the visit and can more easily take in the information and the experience.

Must sees while on a campus:


Campus tour

Admissons interview

Dining Hall

Meet a student in your major


Meet faculty in your major or attend one of their lectures