Whether you’re in the middle of high school or freshly graduated, it’s useful to know some small but helpful steps you can take to save up during college. Below are some tips on how to save the bank and spend less, before you leave the nest.
Besides tuition and housing, one of your principal costs will likely stem from textbooks and school materials.
This brings us to our first tip: before the end of summer, look up your classes’ old syllabi. For example, if you are taking a Fall 2012 Intro to Biology course, try searching up the Fall 2011 syllabus so you can see what textbooks will most likely be in use. These syllabi (usually in PDF format) are written directly by the professor, so they provide more extensive class details than the short description offered by administration. Syllabi will also have the professor’s contact information, so you can email clarifying questions ahead of time. As the school year draws near, professors will be checking their email and getting back to you if you have questions on the course material.
You may wonder: why bother getting in touch ahead of time? If anything, your incentive is financial. By knowing and affirming the materials (which could include lab manuals and online grading software) ahead of time, you can go online and buy them instead of directly from your college. Many of the used books will be snagged around the first week of classes. Thus, it’s important to act quickly, as the new price of a textbook can easily be over $200, while a used version could end up lower than $50.
In addition to buying textbooks online, also look for dorm furniture deals for discounted prices. Leveraging technology, by asking around on social media outlets, can help you buy items off of upperclassmen. At the end and beginning of every school year, upperclassmen who are moving will dispose of an environmentally-unfriendly-amount of “stuff”. They have fridges, fans, clothes, books, and other appliances that they don’t want anymore. And usually, because they are so desperate to free themselves from this burden, they will openly offer them for little or no charge.
A final way to save up (while in high school) is to take AP tests. Get as many 4s and 5s are you can! You’d be surprised how many introductory classes you can place out of, by scoring highly on an AP science, math, or language. Many private colleges with a core liberal arts curriculum will allow you to place out of the prerequisites with an SAT subject score as well – thus, although the College Board has deemed the test optional, it’s still a viable option to pay less and make sure you’re not being taught something you already know. Moreover, the gripe of spending around $100 for an AP test pales in comparison to thousands of dollars of college credit. Ultimately, you could graduate early, saving you a quarter, semester, or (in extreme cases) a year’s worth of tuition.
Iris Yuan is an Education Consultant at Tutorspree. We’re a nationwide base of math tutors, English tutors, and more that matches you with someone great in your area. Give us a call at 1-888-886-2508 with any questions — we’d love to hear from you!