Tag Archives: College Prep

Setting Up Your Schedule for Next Semester

20 Jun

Welcome Class of 2021!

STAR is a huge step in getting your college career started off. You meet your advisor, and enjoy a few informational sessions, but most importantly you’ll sign up for your first semester of Purdue classes! 1st semester clocktower 22.jpg

Your semester can take shape a lot of different ways depending on how you set your classes up. Things like course difficulty, the times, and how the courses are presented (online, in-person) can all make a huge difference in how your semester goes. So here’s a few things to think about as you’re setting up your first semester of classes:

Coming to college, I never knew that you’re usually only in class for about three or so hours per day depending on your credit load. Even if you spend another three hours a day doing homework or studying like your professors wish, you still probably have more free time than you did in high school. Joining clubs and orgs might eat up your free time quicker than you realize, but you have more choices in how you spend your time than at pretty much any other point in your life.

You may have had classes starting at 7:30 in high school, but if you’re not a morning person definitely look into having your earliest class start a little later in the day. Without having any family members to badger you into waking up, it becomes way too easy to figure you can just catch the lecture online or get the notes from a friend.

If you’re living off campus, you’ll want to try to schedule your classes closely together. On days when the weather doesn’t cooperate (and even days when it does), having to choose between killing two hours on campus versus walking a mile back to your place isn’t a choice you’ll want to make.

Be sure to find time for lunch! Those afternoon classes become a grind if your stomach is rumbling the whole time. Plus, plenty of labs don’t allow food or drink so bringing your own snacks won’t solve the problem. Whether you leave a hole in your schedule or just plan ahead and pack your backpack with some lunch food that you can eat on the go (and doesn’t mind being squished), just having a lunch plan in your routine helps.

Online classes are sometimes thought of as an easy way to get some classes in without having the same time commitment. Unfortunately, if you’re thinking that way you’ll probably get a surprise you don’t like. Online classes often have a lot of busy work and online discussion so the professor knows you’re engaged with the class and comprehending. While they are much more flexible time-wise, they usually take up more free time than an in-person course.

Finally, what to do the rest of the day when you’re not in class? Even if you’re sleeping a mythical 12 hours a night, with three hours of class a day you’ll still have 9 hours remaining that you have your own choice how to spend.

Some students fall into the trap of getting really into Netflix and not a whole lot else. Even the best shows get boring after some time and even for an introvert, just hanging by yourself all the time can become a pretty isolating experience.

This is where clubs and student orgs can fit in. Whether it’s playing a sports club and getting that team bond that you enjoyed from high school sports, joining a professional organization that’s related to your major, something that aligns with your beliefs, or Greek life, there’s tons of great choices. They all want you to join and once you do, you’ll never remember why you had any skepticism about it!

Is Having a Car in College Worth It?

1 Jun

car in college.jpg

Having a car in college can lead to some really fun times. Cross country road trips in the summer, getaway weekends and nights out on the town are all easier for students who bring a car to campus. However, maintaining a car as a student probably costs more than you think. So, when is it worth it?

The Privilege of Car Ownership

There are many advantages to owning a vehicle as a college student. First and foremost is the flexibility and freedom a car affords. You’ll no longer be dependent on other drivers when you’re making plans – simply by having a car you have more say in what it you can do and what you want to do.  And, of course, your commute to campus is likely to be a bit shorter; so hitting the snooze button a few times won’t ruin your morning.

Owning a car in college can help you make and save money, too. Since you can commute a little further, you’ll be able to consider a wider selection of off-campus jobs. And with all that carrying capacity, you can tackle a week’s worth of grocery shopping in a single day. If your kitchen is stocked, you’ll cook more and eat out less (and all without hauling groceries on foot or by bus).

Car ownership in college also has benefits beyond daily usage. When you really want to get out of town, having a car will make it happen. This is especially true given how difficult it can be for college students to rent cars at affordable rates.

Important Auto Considerations

gas prices are expensive

Despite all the benefits, however, there are some important financial factors you should consider before you decide to own a car while in college.

Gas is expensive, and it’s going to stay that way. The average car in the U.S. consumes around $1,000 worth of gas each year. If you drive your car regularly, you can probably expect to fill your tank once a week. Before you commit to bringing a car to college you need to determine how much it costs on average to fill the tank and how often you expect you’ll fill it up. If possible, you’ll of course want to bring a car with good gas mileage.

Car insurance is another major cost you’ll need to factor into your budget if you drive during college. Premiums are higher for anyone under the age of 25, whether or not they are enrolled in college. The good news is that, on average, Indiana auto insurance premiums are among the lowest in the country.

You’ll also want to consider the cost of campus parking before bringing your car to school. Here are the Purdue rates for parking permits. You should also make certain you are eligible; this is determined by the distance between your home and the campus.

Finally, when deciding whether or not it’s worthwhile to bring a car to college, you have to budget for damages and repairs. The average car needs just over $400 a year in repairs, not including oil changes. You can save some money changing your own oil and rotating your own tires, assuming you know how to do so safely.

Cost-Effective Alternatives

So what are the alternatives to keeping a car at college? There are a number of great ways to get around in West Lafayette:

  • Public transportation: The bus system in West Lafayette is very interconnected with Purdue and free for students to use. The university is central to the area, meaning the bus system can get you to the campus Lafayette CitBusfrom almost anywhere.
  • Bicycles, skateboards and so on: Bicycling is a great alternative in West Lafayette, and many people make it their main mode of transportation. Skateboarding, rollerblading and walking are also options, especially if you live on or close to campus.
  • Zipcar: The local branch of this car sharing service is available to anyone over 18 and caters to Purdue students, faculty and staff.

The Bottom Line

Because car ownership is such a complex financial commitment, you’ll need to do extensive research before you know whether or not it’s a sensible investment. In a nine-month academic year, AAA reports that the average small car costs more than $3,000, including gas, insurance and maintenance; this doesn’t factor in parking costs and non-standard repairs. As a college student, you can’t afford to gloss over such a pricey and important decision.

Karla Lant is a life insurance writer for The Simple Dollar. She helps everyday people understand and master life insurance issues and questions. Lant has dealt with related regulatory issues in her work as an attorney and has researched and published on life insurance and estate planning. She has also taught subjects related to life insurance as an adjunct professor. Here is her Facebook page

How to Have a Successful Move-in Day at Purdue

23 May

By Bryttani Watson, Residence Education Coordinator for the Honors College & Residences

MainJourney

move in day gateway-arch.jpgSummer goes by faster than you might imagine, so it’s important to start thinking about move-in before August rolls around. You’ve elected to be a Boilermaker, and to live on campus, which is a wise choice. It’s been proven that those who live on campus adjust to college life and persist to graduation at a higher rate than those who live off campus. All that’s left is to pack your bags, move in, and embark on a wonderful year at Purdue University.

Whether this is your first year living on campus or your fifth, move-in can be busy, and stressful if you’re not prepared. Here are some helpful hints to make your move-in a success:

1. Label Everything. From the box of books to the bags (and bags, and bags) of clothes, label everything with your first initial, last name, and room number. Having your items properly labeled will provide Boiler Gold Rush team leaders (if you’re a first-year student) with the information they need to deliver your belongings to your room, thereby avoiding any doubt or forgetfulness.

2. Pack Light. More than likely, you won’t be able to fit EVERYTHING from home in your new residence hall room, so don’t overdo it. You shouldn’t need a 26-foot U-Haul. You can stock up on toiletries, snacks, and other necessities after you’ve moved in, so we suggest only bringing the essentials.

3. Review A Campus Map/Download the Purdue App. It’s important to know where you’re going as best as you can. You can check out University Residences’ Facebook page for updates on traffic and construction around town, especially the State Street Project. There will be several signs, police officers, and staff members who can help point you in the right direction if you get turned around.

You can also download the Purdue app on your smartphone. It’s complete with a campus map, access to your myPurdue account and email, and other useful functions, as well.

4. Be Early. Be Patient. With nearly 40,000 students attending Purdue and 13,000 living on campus, West Lafayette and surrounding areas will be busy, so getting in ahead of schedule can’t hurt! Traffic can be horrendous, so try your best to be patient and allow yourself plenty of time to arrive on campus. At the end of the day, you can kick back knowing that you’re all moved in.

5. Eat Breakfast/Lunch Before You Arrive. With the time spent waiting in lines and moving everything into the residence hall, you will be tired and hungry, maybe even hangry. Eat a good meal before embarking on move-in and bring snacks, because before you know it, you’ll have missed second breakfast, lunch, and maybe even diner.

6. You Check-In. Don’t Send Your Parents or Guardian. University Residences needs you to be present. We have a lot of information to give you and it’s not your mom or grandma who will be living with us all year, it’s you! Plus, someone needs to stay with the car.

7. Bring Your ID. Ideally, we ask that you bring your Purdue ID with you, but if you have yet to receive your ID card, a driver’s license or passport will be sufficient. Be sure not to leave your purse or wallet in the car, or worse, pack your ID in a box somewhere.

8. Communicate. If you separate from your parents, make sure you have a game plan for meeting up later. Nothing is more frustrating than a full cart and nobody to tell you what room to go to (although, this shouldn’t be a problem because you labeled all of your items, right? See tip No. 1).

9. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions. Staff could not be more excited that you are moving in and all they really want to do is help. From resident assistants to hall administrators, we want to make the move-in experience as stress-free and wonderful as possible, so if you need anything, please let us know.

We’ll see you in August!

Preparing for Your First Indiana Winter (Pt. 2)

10 Nov

Casey Doten, Financial Aid Counselor & Native Minnesotan

While autumn may be far and away my favorite season, it also marks the approach of easily my least favorite time of the year: winter. If you’re from one of the many places in the world that Hoosiers dream about for 5 months of the year, your first Indiana winter can be a rough ride if you’re not prepared. However, with a little bit of preparation and proper clothing you won’t just survive, but thrive!preparing-for-indiana-winter-portrait

First things first, how you dress is going to determine how you feel for much of the day. So be sure that you have all the proper gear you need for any weather. Some days it will be in the 40’s, some days you might be hovering around 0 (Fahrenheit of course)! The key here is checking the weather in the morning, and there are several phone apps you can use for this. Don’t just look outside and see it’s sunny and assume you’re fine; some of the coldest days come when the sun is out since there are no clouds to help insulate.

A weather change you might not have ever thought of is the change in moisture in the air. Winter is extremely dry. Chapped lips, dry skin and nosebleeds can all be caused from the cold, dry air. Stock up on lotion and lip balm, because at some point you will need some. Just like the lack of sunlight (less than 9 ½ hours per day at times), you can’t change much about the humidity except how you deal with it.

Something you might have already put thought into is driving. After a month you might come to the reasonable conclusion that cars were not invented for winter driving. However, making sure that you have tires with reasonable tread will go a long way toward your ability to drive safely in the snow. Tires make even more of a difference than four wheel drive in snow and ice. A few things you might not have realized are important for driving safety in the winter are your wiper fluid and windshield wipers. Getting dirty snow tossed up on your windshield from the road can make visibility terrible without good wipers and fluid.

prep-for-indiana-winter-leader2

In regards to warming your car up, it is actually a common myth  that you should do it for the benefit of your car. Unless you’re driving a vehicle with a carburetor, you don’t need to worry about it. The only reason why I let my car warm up is to give the heat time to get warm. The longer you let your car idle, the more gas you waste, not to mention opportunities for it to be stolen since the keys are in the ignition. Also remember to have a window scraper! If your windshield is iced over and you don’t have one, it’s not going to be fun to get it off.

Even though the weather can be a hassle, don’t use it as an excuse to skip class. You pay for your courses whether you are there or not, so not going wastes some of that money. Snow days are rare and few between, however instructors cancelling courses isn’t that uncommon. So if you expect that might happen, keep your eyes on your email as that’s the most likely way they’ll let you know (unless they are a monster who just puts a note on the door so you don’t find out until you arrive). You can burrito yourself in a blanket and watch Netflix later.

For a little bonus, here are some other blogs that help cover information about surviving in the winter if you’re new to it:

http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2011/11/01/how-a-southerner-should-prepare-for-winter-in-new-york/

http://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/how-to-survive-your-first-winter-a-college-students-guide

http://lifeinleggings.com/winter/qa-tips-on-surviving-your-first-winter-season/

http://lifeinleggings.com/moving/what-ive-learned-living-up-north/

https://www.michigandaily.com/opinion/01jesse-klein-michigan-winters-suck20

Where to Find Cheap or Free Stuff for your Apartment in the Greater Lafayette Area

22 Jun

Lauren Walker, Purdue alumna
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

With August closing in and the new year of leases starting soon, it’s time to start prepping for your new place. Whether it’s in Purdue housing or an off-campus apartment, you most likely need to buy a few things. It’s easy to create a huge dent in your summer savings if you buy everything at full retail price. So buy used!  I’ve always been able to easily find furniture under $50 a piece every year I’ve been at Purdue. I’ve even gotten some stuff for free. Where, you ask?

clothes rack

1.      Thrift Stores    

PROS: It’s a one-stop-shop for small items like cooking utensils, dining ware and picture frames at a reasonable price.

CONS:  If you’re looking for something very specific, they can be hit or miss. Furniture and other large items are in slim choice at Goodwill.

WHERE:

Trinity Thrift Store
1224 Union Street
Lafayette, IN 47904

West Lafayette Goodwill
907 Sagamore Parkway West
West Lafayette, IN 47904
(First Saturday of every month is ½ price everything in the store)

salvage yard

Habitat for Humanity
3815 Fortune Dr.
Lafayette, IN 47905

2.      Garage Sales 

community yard sale

PROS: Extremely cheap prices. I’ve found many household items for less than $5 at garage sales. Furniture can be harder to find, but when you do, it’s very cheap. In addition, you can haggle with the owner for a lower price. I rarely have someone turn down a lower offer.

CONS: Again, if you are looking for a very specific item, you might have trouble finding it. You also might have to drive all around town hitting up different sales to get everything you need, and we all know gas isn’t cheap.

WHERE: Check out Tippecanoe CraigslistYard Sale Search, or pick up a Journal and Courier on Friday or Saturday morning for the classifieds.

3.      One Man’s Trash is Your Treasure

one man's trash is another's treasure

There’s a special kind of Senior Week here at Purdue. As graduating students move to full-time jobs in distant cities, there are countless free scores waiting by every dumpster, trash can, and curb side in West Lafayette.

PROS: Well for one, it’s free. But don’t worry; you won’t have to jump inside a dumpster. Many considerate movers will leave their perfectly useable unwanted furniture and appliances in a clean spot beside the dumpster.

CONS: Hey, if you’re willing to jump into a dumpster to dig deeper, I’m not stopping you. You just might get a little messy.

WHERE: Take a stroll or car ride around the student neighborhoods and see what you can find. Large apartment complexes will be overflowing with treasures.

4.      Craigslist

craigslist store front

PROS:  You can shop in your pajamas at home and the seller might even deliver the goods to you. Performing a quick search through the listings is the fastest and easiest way to find a very particular item for cheap. Remember to haggle down the price!

CONS: Setting up a time and place to meet someone for your purchase can be a bit of a pain, especially if they cancel at the last second. “Oh yeah, I forgot had dinner with the in-laws tonight. Can we do tomorrow?”

WHERE: The Lafayette/West Lafayette Tippecanoe Craigslist.

5.      Purdue Surplus

Ever wonder where all those abandoned bikes from campus go? They get shipped off to the Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store in Lafayette! They specialize in old furniture from Purdue buildings, bikes, computers and monitors, and student lost-and-found stuff.

PROS: The prices are extremely cheap. I’ve gotten an exercise bike for $10 and a coffee table for $5 from the warehouse in the past.

CONS: The Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store has odd operating hours – Mon-Fri  12PM-4PM. So if you’re only free on weekends, this option is out.  You also might be purchasing something you once owned.

WHERE:

Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store
700 Ahlers Dr

West Lafayette, IN 47907

6.      Auctions

world's largest car auction

PROS: Bids on small household items are typically auctioned off by the box-full. Larger items like furniture are bid on individually, usually under $50, as long as it is not an antique.

CONS: Auctions can take up an entire afternoon if the item you want is at the end of the bidding schedule. Many auctions have expensive antiques for sale, making them useless for our purposes.

WHERE: Search online for auctions in the Greater Lafayette area or check the Journal and Courier classifieds section.

7.      Freecycle

Freecycle is an online email community to which you subscribe. Members post free items they have up for grab, from couches to clothes. How it works, you email the member who posted the item to set up a time and place to pick up the item. As a member, you can ask items you need and you will be emailed free offers from other members.

PROS: It’s completely free!

CONS: Freecycle works only through Yahoo! Groups, so if you don’t like to use Yahoo!  E-mail, you can’t use Freecycle. Since everything is free, things go fast. If you don’t have time to keep a watchful eye on the Freecycle emails, you might not move fast enough to get something.

WHERE: The Freecycle Network

It may seem tedious to think through every avenue to save some money on household items. But if you were to save even $100, you’ve paid for at least one textbook.

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