Now that you have finished your high school studies, you are ready to start a new chapter in your life – college. There are so many things to look forward to as a college student, along with brand new opportunities that will shape your future. This is why it is best to start it right and prepare fully for your years in college to make the most out of it. At the same time, you have an option to study in a polytechnic school or enroll in a university in Singapore. The choice is ultimately up to you, depending on the career that you are planning to pursue. But at the same time, whatever you decide to do, you will have to consider various factors that may impact your decision including the fees involved since attending either type of school in college comes with a higher cost than what you had during your secondary education. Some individuals even choose to move to other countries and face themselves with this important decision as to whether they should take up studies in a university or enter a polytechnic school. Indeed, the choice can be overwhelming, which is why you should carefully look at different factors that could impact your decision.

Below are some questions that you may want to ask yourself to help you decide where to study in college. By presenting yourself with these questions, you may also be able to assess your financial situation to give you a better idea on what really works for you best.

1. Will I be responsible for my expenses, or will my parents pay for it?

There are various means for university and polytechnic students to obtain the money they need to pursue their college education. Some are able to get the funds for their schooling through scholarships and grants, while others opt to take out a loan to cover the expenses involved with pursuing tertiary education. Meanwhile, there are students who seek financial support from their parents. This is usually the case with parents who have started saving for their children’s college education when their kids were still a baby. If this is the case, then there is nothing to worry about the first year in college, and all you are left to think about is for the remaining years.

This is an important issue to address before you start your university years. You need to prepare yourself mentally, psychologically, and physically if you are supposed to take a part-time job to pay for your education, or if you can rely on your parents for the money needed to cover your tuition and fees in college. Keep in mind that in addition to the tuition, there are other items to think about that require a certain amount of money including books, food, and dorm or living expenses, if ever you plan on studying in a school that is far from home.

Talk to your parents about it, and if ever they decide to shoulder the expenses for the first year, you may want to offer help to make the load lighter for them. But if you are left without any option but to get a part-time job, then you may begin scouting for a potential company that accepts students for work. This way, you can condition yourself well before the day comes that you need to begin your college education.

2. What is the ideal budget?

How much exactly does it cost to study in a university or a polytechnic college? The figures depend on the course or degree you are planning to take since there are varied tuition rates per field of study. This is why it helps to do some research on the school of your choice and the course offerings with their corresponding fees.

At the same time, if you have other expenses to think about such as your food, transportation, books, and miscellaneous items to shoulder, then you need to come up with a realistic budget. Sure, your life may seem a little lighter than the average adult who needs to pay for their mortgages or send their children to school. You obviously do not have to worry about these responsibilities and financial obligations as these do not apply to your situation. This is why some college students lose track of their budget and spend beyond their means, which puts them in financial constraints.

While in college, it is best that you train yourself to follow a budget. You may want to use an envelope with categories for each, then put some cash that correspond for each expenditure. For instance, have an envelope for your weekly food bill, transportation expenses, utility bills, and other things that apply to your situation. Most importantly, stick to your budget to avoid serious money problems in the future.

3. What can I do if I need extra money?

There may be instances when what you have at the moment may not suffice for your needs. We are talking about unexpected expenses that may come along such as hospitalization or other bills you were not expecting to come up. In this case, it will help to devise a plan to get you out of a tough financial dilemma. Sometimes taking up a loan from licensed money lender could be a lifebuoy as well due to the strict credit score and application with the local banks. Even though the interests rate may be slightly more competitive, the loan duration is definitely shorter and almost instant. It’ll be a great source of alternative measures when you are in need of money.

But then again, as much as possible, aim to live a life that is debt-free. So, you may consider getting another part-time job, sell products online, or babysit if you have to. The money you make from doing these jobs may be enough to support all your needs while growing your savings fund at the same time. By starting your savings early, you can secure your future.

4. Who can provide me with financial guidance and advice?

A big mistake that some people make is being too lax about their college years and not putting much importance on the value of being financially independent. They get into the habit of overspending, splurging on unnecessary items, and not saving any of the money they ear.n So, what happens is they end up being buried in debt by the time they reach adulthood, and they have an even harder time getting back to their feet because of one loan on top of another.

But you see, you can spare yourself from this kind of situation. This is why it is a good idea to educate yourself on the different techniques to help you reach financial freedom at an early age. You do not need to put yourself in a situation where you are stuck with debts and loans, and that your salary is merely allotted for your debt payment. You may consider consulting a financial advisor or talk to someone you know who is financially independent and thriving in all his or her endeavors. These are ways to obtain financial guidance that will prepare you for your future. If you see your parents as people whom you can look up to and receive valuable pieces of advice on how to manage your finances, then do not hesitate to ask them for tips and information on how to set a budget, invest, and grow your assets over time.

Now that you are ready to enter the real world, you are probably experiencing a mixture of excitement and anxiety since there are more expectations from you. Your college years are indeed more challenging than how your high school days have been, yet there are always important lessons to be learned in every situation you get yourself into. By preparing for your university years, you can come up with a solid plan on how to manage your finances to avoid stressing out. At the end of the day, the choices you make impact your overall experiences, so be sure to equip yourself with the right attitude and financial knowledge to handle all sorts of situations you may encounter in life.

Published On: October 2nd, 2017

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