27 June 2011

The Costs of Being a College Student

The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts from across the US answering questions submitted by students and parents about college admissions and succeeding after high school.

“What are some of the most unexpected costs for incoming freshman?”—Peter T., Covington, KY.

A: The costs of living more independently

Many incoming freshman may have trouble anticipating and estimating the costs associated with living more independently than they were used to while in high school.  The costs associated with keeping clothes clean (detergent, the use of washing machines and dryers, and dry cleaning for those so inclined) may be newly their responsibility.  While the costs of printing may have been absorbed by mom or dad at home, they may now be the responsibility of the student.  And while freshman may have previously been under a parent’s cell phone plan, those expenses may be a new responsibility.   

Jane Hoffman— Founder - College Advice 101
A: Costs beyond textbooks: printing, study guides, software, and more!

According to the College Board, the average cost for college course materials per year is $1,137. Depending on your major and your chosen courses, you may find this to be rather conservative estimate. Therefore, budget wisely and shop around for the best prices on your textbooks. Also, keep in mind that you may need to invest in supplemental items such as software, study guides, and printed materials. Consequently, your budget should include room for these items as well as. Accessing the syllabi for your courses in advance should provide you with some of the additional insight needed to more accurately project costs for course materials beyond required textbooks.

Sarah Hernandez—Director of the Office of Diversity Programs in Engineering - Cornell University

A: One tip for students and two for parents

If you are headed north to college, remember to take a winter coat.  It gets cold earlier up north, and you don’t want to be forced to buy a new coat that you don’t need.  Moms and dads who plan to attend Parents’ Weekend and who will need a hotel near the college should make reservations now.  Rooms fill quickly for events such as athletic competitions, Homecoming, and Parents’ Weekend.  Families with small cars who need extra room for move-in weekend sometimes consider renting a trailer.  Trailers are in high demand in August, so reservations need to be made immediately.

Bill Yarwood– Director of Guidance - Moorestown High School

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