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

  • Compile all your electronic files in one place- When your computer was acting cranky two months ago, you may have saved your amazing midterm paper on your roommate’s computer. Gather together all of your important documents (that you might need for job applications, writing samples or graduate school) in one place, ideally stored in the cloud so you can access it wherever and whenever you need to.
  • Grab a few copies of your transcript- You may think you won’t need them, but you might also be surprised: new jobs, volunteer programs, and all kinds of folks may want to see your transcript after you graduate. Having a few with you will save you a lot of time, money and trouble.
  • Update your address with anyone who sends you a bill—- This can include your bank, your cell phone provider, your loan companies and your credit card companies. You may be so busy moving and looking for a job that you won’t realize you haven’t received a phone bill for three months after you graduate – at least until your service gets cut off.
  • Get contact information for your references- Knowing where your references will be over the next few months, as well as how to reach them, may make or break you in certain situations. Who wants to miss out on a great job simply because a reference was unreachable while doing research in France? A quick email, phone call or office visit to ensure you have everyone’s contact information is a smart idea.
  • Get contact information for your friends- People will be so busy on graduation day, and there will be so many people around, that getting contact information from your friends will be Mission: Impossible. While social networking sites are a great place to start, having an actual email and phone number is best.
  • Write thank-you notes- Sure, it may seem old-fashioned, but writing thankyou notes to those who helped you the most during your time on campus, to those who gave you graduation gifts and to anyone else who helped you along the way is a kind gesture and a great way to make sure you leave college on a high note.


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