Check out this article on Forbes about 13 ways most college students waste money and opportunities while going to college.
I’m going to highlight the 4 that resonated with me:
1. Textbooks: Selling textbooks back to the bookstore can be a waste of money. Students today have quite a few other resources to buy discounted books (and sell them after the semester is over): Craigslist, Amazon, and sites like Slugbooks, which markets exclusively to students and tracks which editions professors currently use.
Another option is not to buy textbooks at all. If the option is available, you can rent books from the student library for the quarter or semester. If your library doesn’t do that, check them out for a 2–3 hour span when you are studying. Some colleges, such as the University of California, have an inter-library loan program where you can borrow books from other campuses.
2. Goods and services: Students who don’t maximize their benefits with corporate student discount programs waste money. Banks may have no-fee student checking accounts. Retailers like Amazon offer discounts and free shipping for students. Discounts are everywhere, since retailers want college student dollars! The key, of course, is not to overdo it. Make sure you don’t inadvertently spend more while trying to maximize your savings.
3. Not capitalizing on leadership opportunities and internships: In today’s tough job market for recent grads, many employers are considering “entry level” as having two to three years of experience. Students who put in extra effort by participating in leadership positions on campus gain valuable skills that translate into the experience many employers look for. Though many students don’t find their paths until later in their college years, and the club or organization may not quite line up with their future career paths, the skills will. Creating a budget for your campus club, public speaking and managing volunteers are all transferable skills to the business world.
Campus-sponsored student internships are also a great way for students to gain experience in the workforce and often land jobs after college. Students who don’t take advantage of these are missing opportunities.
4. Skipping recruiting fairs: According to Jobvite, 40% of new hires came from referrals, and on-campus recruiting is similar. Your school is the mutual friend your future employer knows, respects and trusts. Since employers recruit on campus to get the cream of the crop before everyone else does, this is one of the greatest benefits your school offers. Don’t miss it.