When your child is accepted into college, your first thoughts are probably tuition. Once that shock wears off, you’ll need to consider the necessary supplies for your student’s success. Save yourself a headache and use a college dorm room checklist to get started.
Then, you’ll have to start paying for college basics. You’ll need to budget for additional, but necessary, expenses. You want to make sure you are ready for these and you don’t forget to include everything on your list.
- What To Know BEFORE You Pay for College
- Fun Gift Idea for Your College Freshman
- How You Can Save on Expensive College Text Books
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO BUY FOR COLLEGE
Essentials your student needs for college
There are the essentials such as an alarm clock, a desk lamp and maybe even a mini-fridge. You can also help prepare your student with a care package or going away present filled with these often overlooked but ultimately highly appreciated items:
- First aid kit
- Filtered water bottles
- Cleaning supplies
- Basic tool kit or multi-tool
Another smart consideration for your student is signing up for Amazon Student. With two-day shipping, subscribe-and-save options, streaming of music and movies and the first six months free of charge, it’s worth looking into.
Also, suggest that your child call their future roommate ahead of time to coordinate some of the bigger items. When I headed to college, I purchased a microwave and futon and my roommate got a printer and mini-fridge that we could both use.
Depending on the course load and how many credit hours a student takes, college textbooks can cost well over $1,000 dollars a year. Due to copyrights, specialized materials, and even sheer volume, the cost of textbooks has only increased in recent years.
Some classes use books that contain removable pages, which double as worksheets. For the courses that don’t require customized books, there are many money saving options.
Around 70% of students believe that older editions of their required texts are usable. If there are multiple editions of the book, it doesn’t hurt to send an email to the professor or to their TA inquiring if an older edition will suffice. If this isn’t an option, skip the lines at the bookstore and use the web to broaden your search.
Websites like Big Words is a trusted online option for buying (and selling) college textbooks. Big Words does the searching for you while BookRenter provides the service its name implies. Encourage your student to sell their books back at the end of the semester. Many parents mistakenly believe that their student ought to hold on to their textbooks, which quickly depreciate. And, of course, there’s also the growing trend of e-textbooks.
Check out all of the ways you can get cheap (or even free) college textbooks.
With technology so highly integrated into today’s college experience, a student with reliable equipment at their disposal has an edge in the classroom. Granted, there are computer labs and printings stations on every campus, but let’s face it, laptops and tablets have replaced the college-ruled notebook. Professors record podcasts of lectures, provide PDFs of study guides and some even require discussion through online forums.
Spend the money on a dependable laptop or tablet, but take advantage of back-to-school sales. Big Box stores like Sam’s Club and Costco are also worth looking into as well. If you don’t find what you want there, contact your school’s IT department.
They can typically provide university sanctioned promotion codes to stores or websites for equipment and for necessary programs, such as Microsoft Office Suite. For peace of mind, don’t overlook purchasing an external hard drive and a USB stick, just in case.
If your student is taking chemistry, art or biology there may be additional course lab fees. These can add another $50 – $100 per course. The good news is that if you buy a lab coat once you can use it again and again. The bad news is that lab fees will need to be paid each time the new class begins.
Room and Board
Chances your student needs a place to live. The options are in the dorms or off campus. You will have to check with the rules for your school as sometimes, lower classmen must live on campus so you don’t want to look for a house or apartment just to find out they can’t live there.
The costs vary greatly depending on the needs of your student, but when adding up the college costs, don’t forget to budget in housing. It will cost more than you may realize.
If your student pledge a sorority or fraternity, get ready for annual dues and event expenses. Is he or she planning to join clubs and other groups? There will also be entertainment, games and other activities your student will partake in outside of class. All of these different events can quickly cost a lot of money. Make sure you are prepared for them.
Click here for friendly advice from the CommunityAmerica Credit Union Savin’ Mavens. This post was written by Maven Kat Hnatyshyn, a branch manager at CommunityAmerica.