College can be a stressful time for many students. The final bridge between childhood and adulthood isn’t always the easiest one to cross. Below, we’ll look at some of the most common problems college students face and some possible solutions.
It’s no secret that college isn’t cheap. If you aren’t able to go to school on an athletic or academic scholarship and don’t have super-wealthy parents, you might be wondering if you’ll be able to afford to get your degree at all. Before giving up or resigning yourself to a lifetime of student loan debt, make sure you explore all of your options for tuition assistance. In addition to need-based programs offered by many schools, states, and even the federal government, you might find help from local organizations dedicated to helping struggling students. If you’re committed to a particular major, search out related professional groups, as they sometimes have tuition-assistance programs available, too. If a traditional four-year college still seems too pricey, consider starting at a community college. This can be a major cost saver that doesn’t change your graduation timeline.
Textbooks can also be a huge expense. Before buying them new, be sure to look for used books for sale or rent. Some books are even available as ebooks, which cost quite a bit less than hard copies or paperbacks.
It can be aggravating when the classes you want always seem to be full. Sometimes, you can talk your way into a full class by approaching the professor directly. It won’t always work, but if you can convince the professor that you really need to take this course at this time or risk pushing back your graduation, you might have a shot. Generally, though, you’ll have to look at taking some courses outside your favorite time slots.
Some students complain about professors that are so boring that making it through class can be difficult. In some cases, you can drop that course in favor of the same course taught by a different professor. Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll just have to find a way to fight through the urge to nap through the class.
If you’re not comfortable in crowded classes, do some research before enrolling in a school. If your major is especially popular, you might find yourself in really large classes. This can also be true of the prerequisite classes nearly all students have to take. Sometimes, less popular class times mean smaller classes. If class size is a major concern for you, you might want to look at enrolling in a smaller school.
Dorm living can be great if you have a great dorm room and/or a great roommate. If your room is less than you expected, check out other dorms available to you on campus. A lot of universities have dorms built and renovated at different times, so just because the one you’re in looks ancient doesn’t mean they’re all bad.
If your roommate is your biggest problem, talk to your dorm counselor. While it may not be easy to get a new roommate, it is possible, especially if both of you want out.
College meal plans can be expensive, and if you don’t like the food offered on your plan, that’s even worse. Do your best to find out about the quality and type of food you’ll have access to via your meal plan before enrolling. If you just know that the school’s standard fare won’t work for you, see if it’s possible to get housing with your own kitchen or compare the cost of a meal plan to eating out most of the time.
In the end, college is bound to be a bit less than the glamorous party-life experience that a lot of your favorite movies or TV shows portray, but it’s definitely worth the investment you’re making in your future if you “tough out” the things you can’t change.