College Finance 101: How to make it to graduation without student debt

Extra Curricular Activities

Now it’s time to get ready for the real world! Here is a checklist for all of the things that you will need to do to prepare. Best of luck!

  • Return your cap and gown on time — These are expensive if you forget to return them when you’re supposed to.
  • Leave a forwarding address with the campus mail center and the alumni center — Even if it’s just your folks’ or a friend’s address as you sort things out, you don’t want to lose your mail amidst your transition.
  • Make sure you don’t have any charges in your residence hall or apartment before you check out — It’s much easier to deal with this on move-out day than two months later when you get hit with a whopper of a bill. Stay an extra 20 minutes and have someone (an RA or landlord) sign something saying you won’t be charged for anything unexpected.
  • Check in with the career center — Even if it just means getting a login and password so you can search their job databases later, utilizing their resources after graduation will be a lifesaver.
  • Complete an exit interview if you’re on financial aid — Most students receiving financial aid will need to complete an exit interview before being allowed to graduate. This can often be done on your computer and involves reading information about when your payments will begin to be due, etc. But not completing it can prevent you from getting your diploma.
  • Make sure everything is cleared on your account in the financial aid and registrar’s office — The last thing you need is to be starting a new job or graduate school, only to learn that there’s a problem with your college account that you need to fix. Make sure both offices have everything they need from you before you leave campus.
  • Check with the alumni office for deals on short-term insurance — From health insurance to car insurance, many alumni offices now offer programs to graduating seniors. Figure out what programs your school offers and what you’re eligible for so that you don’t have to spend too much time (or money!) searching for alternatives.
  • Get copies of all your loan (and other) papers — From your housing contract to your loan paperwork, get copies of everything you’ll need down the road. This will be especially handy if there are any problems after you graduate.

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