If you’re reading this then you must be interested in comparing Study in the USA vs. Study in Canada as an international student.
Well, you’re in the right place – because in this article we’ll cover some of the major benefits of studying in these countries.
So let’s dive right in with
Why you should consider studying in the US
Flexibility in deciding your major field of study
48 of the top 100 universities around the world are reported to be in the USA. One of the biggest factors that differentiates US colleges from other universities around the world is the flexibility in academic fields.
You are not usually required to decide your major until after your second year of study. Most students will use these two years to pursue different academic interests before they settle on a major. In most other nations, students are required to decide their field of study before they even apply.
A varied, general education
Most colleges in the U.S. require you to take general education or core courses.
These give you the opportunity to learn about a wide range of academic subjects – not just your major or concentrated research area. These “liberal arts” courses cover topics from writing to science.
Opportunities for internships & career prospects
You can get a head start on your career with an internship – which most US colleges offer. You can get hands-on experience and gain real-world exposure to your field, plus the chance of better-paid work after graduation because you already have some in-work experience.
Read more about working in the US
U.S. colleges and universities are renowned for offering a huge variety of sports, clubs, societies and activities outside of the classroom. Whatever you’re interested in – you’ll find it on campus!
Students from all over the world study in the US. When you’re one of them, you’ll have the ability to meet new people from different cultures every day, learn new languages, make friends and learn about other cultures.
Specialist International Student Assistance
Many schools have a dedicated office entirely devoted to helping their foreign students with any needs. They might assist you with improving your English, or dealing with visa problems , financial aid and even adapting to cultural differences in your new home.
One important thing to note with studying in the US is that it can be very expensive – significantly more expensive than many other countries around the world. you can learn more about how to fund your education in the US in this article:
Financial Aid for International Students in the USA
And you can find out if you are eligible for a loan:
You can also find International Scholarships.
Why you should consider studying in Canada
High Quality Education
A Canadian degree is just as valuable as a degree from the United States , Australia, or the United Kingdom.
Canadian universities perform well in international rankings, and Canadian Universities rank in the top 50 universities worldwide.
Whether you’re attending a university, college, or technical school, there’s no doubt that a Canadian education is a world-class education.
For most students looking to study abroad, expense is the most significant barrier.
And while international students at Canadian universities do pay higher tuition fees than domestic students , the average annual tuition for a Canadian undergraduate degree for a foreign student is significantly lower than the United States, Australia, or the United Kingdom.
Foreign students also need to find housing and fund their daily life. Relative to many other top destinations for foreign students the cost of living in Canada is quite affordable. And when you add the average annual cost of living being lower than other countries with average annual tuition fees which are also lower, Canada seems like a very good opportunity, indeed.
Remember that loans for international students in Canada are also available if you need additional funding:
You can also find International Scholarships.
Work And Study
While Canada is a fairly affordable option in global terms, studying abroad is unquestionably costly.
Thankfully, foreign students in Canada are entitled to work up to 20 hours per week during school term time and full time (30 hours per week) during scheduled breaks such as vacations. Most students don’t need a work permit to work while they are studying.
Personal safety is another big reason many students choose to come to Canada. It can be scary to study abroad, because you leave your family and friends – your safety net – in your home country. Canada was ranked 8th most peaceful nation in the world by the Institute for Economics & Peace. Canada’s location and relative isolation offers a bit of a buffer against most international disputes.
Canada has a freely-elected government, and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the basic rights and freedoms of people living in Canada. Canada’s reputation around the world is that of an inclusive and non-discriminatory country. Immigrants make up 20% of the entire population of Canada and Canadian laws ensure that all people are shielded from discrimination regardless of their circumstances.
Opportunities for Immigration
As an international student you usually get temporary status in the country where you study. When you graduate, you usually need to return home.
Unlike many countries, though, Canada has a number of programmes that enable the transfer of international students to permanent residence status after their studies. Options such as the Post-Graduation Work Permit allow students to stay and work after graduation on an unrestricted work permit, and give them the opportunity to gain some Canadian work experience. Most Canadian provinces have Provincial Nominee programs for applicants with experience studying or working in the province, and the points-based immigration system rewards Canadian work and study experience. About half of all international students consider applying for permanent residence in Canada after their studies end.
Canada is one of the world’s biggest economies, and there are plenty of incentives for graduates to work. You have the ability to meet and network with leaders in your chosen field. And you can gain valuable experience working for industry-leading companies in Canada while you study, or after graduation.
If you want to return to your home country, your Canadian education and enhanced language skills in either English or French might provide global opportunities.
If you choose to live in Canada, Canadian employers appear to favour Canadian work experience over international work experience , so your student and work experience could make you stand out above other applicants!
So there you have it! Some great reasons why you might want to choose to study in the US or Canada! Let us know in the comments where you want to study!
Repayment of Loans in 2020
What Coronavirus Means for Student Loans
Until recently loans for international students in Canada were not widely available – but things have changed. Read on for more!
The Canadian Bureau for International Education reports that over half a million international students studied in Canada in 2018. That’s more than a 150% increase since 2010. As a result, Canada has overtaken France and Australia to become the 4th most popular destination for international students behind the USA, the UK, and China.
Once students have exhausted all other available sources of funding such as family support, personal savings, and financial aid from their school, they often need to turn to a student loan to cover any remaining costs of their studies.
This was very difficult to do until recently because of the lack of availability of loans to international students in Canada.
Now, International Student Loan allows these students to connect with loan providers where they can access loans without requiring any credit history, without needing any collateral, and even without a cosigner. These loans are available to students enrolled in Bachelor’s and Graduate degrees in any academic field from countries around the world at 300+ colleges and universities across the USA and Canada.
Students who will be graduating within two years – whether they are undergraduate or graduate students – may apply.
The Benefits Loans for International Students in Canada – without Cosigners
- For this type of loan, you don’t need any credit history in the US or Canada, a cosigner, or any collateral
- You can borrow from $2,001 to $50,000 with a fixed interest rate
- Students from over 190 countries are eligible to apply for these loans
- There is a 10-year repayment period and no prepayment penalties
- During school and for 6-months after graduation there is a lower, interest-only payment period, making it more affordable at the time
- These loans are available at over 300 schools across the USA and Canada
- Undergraduate and graduate students who will be graduating within two years are eligible
- You can use the funds to pay for expenses including tuition fees, accommodation costs, food, student insurance, and books
- They can be used for past, current, and future semesters.
How does the process work?
- Check to see if your chosen school is on our list
- Complete your application online in just a few minutes
- Receive a conditional offer from the lender
- Upload documents the lender requires to complete your application.
- The lender checks to make sure everything you have provided is in order, then sends you final approval of your loan
- The lender contacts your school to confirm your enrollment status. Once this is done, your funding is disbursed directly to your school
How much will the loan cost?
Every case is different. This example is for informative use only. This is not a guarantee of costs as they will depend on your individual circumstances and the lender you work with.
An international (non-US, non-Canadian) student, studying a graduate-level program who borrows $10,000 US dollars can expect to repay $100.54 a month while they are studying and for the first 6 months after graduation. After this time the repayment would be $141.62 per month.
Why is Canada such a popular destination for international students?
- The Canadian education system is internationally regarded as being of very high quality
- Canada is considered a safe country with a tolerant and non-discriminatory society
- 96% of international students recommend Canada as a study destination, and 60% of international students say that they plan to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
Who are the international students in Canada?
The nationalities with the largest populations of students in Canada are:
- Chinese ( around 28% of all international students)
- Indian (approximately 25%)
US students represent only around 3% of all international students in Canada.
Where are the international students in Canada studying?
The Canadian province with the largest number of international students is Ontario (with almost half of all international students). The next most populous provinces are British Columbia (a quarter) and Quebec (about one tenth).
Find out more and apply for your International Student Loan in Canada today:
More on Loans without a cosigner in the USA and Canada
How can an international student finance their education in the USA?
International Student Loans for Students from the UK
Of course InternationalStudentLoan.com is best known for helping international students discover and compare loans to fund their education abroad.
However we are also part of a larger network including IEFA.org, InternationalScholarships.com and InternationalStudent.com
And that’s why today we’re sharing a great opportunity for Central American Students interested in or already studying at an approved school in the USA or Canada – the Central American Scholarship Program by InternationalStudent.com and MPOWER.
Learn more about the opportunity over at IEFA.org
The InternationalStudent.com annual Travel Video Contest is open for entries for 2019!
International Student are giving you a chance to win 1 of 5 unique awards, including the $4,000 grand prize! To enter, you will need to submit a video that you made specifically for the 2019 InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest. Your 4-minute video should be about one of two things:
- That your dream is to be an international student, and that you have a school in mind to attend that you want to tell us about.
- That you are currently an international student with a dream trip that you’ve always wanted to take that you want to tell us about.
If your video is selected, you could win one of the following prizes:
- First Place Winner: $4,000
- Second Place Winner: $500
- Third Place Winner: $250
- GoAbroad Choice Winner: $500
- Viewers’ Choice Award Winner: $1,000
The judging panel is made up of an esteemed group of professionals in the international education sector, and you can meet the judges here, and all the details and deadlines for the contest can be found here.
If you’d like some inspiration, check out some past winners – you could be next!
Submit your video for the InternationalStudent.com annual Travel Video Contest before October 15th, 2019.
While you’re with us, read about loans for international students in Canada.
US institutions are attracting students from around the globe and applications from Europe are on the rise. The number of UK students looking to study a graduate program in the US continues to increase, and undergraduate programs are only just behind. This article will tell you all the basics about international student loans for students from the UK who hope to study in the US.
A Whole New World
While the UK has several world-renowned institutions, the scope of courses available to study in the US in unequaled. As such, the number of British students studying a program in the US has risen by around a third since 2010 and continues to rise (according to studies by the Institute of International Education). Read another post about International Education facts and Figures.
There are over 4000 US institutions, many of which offer programs in specialisms many of us have never heard of. This allows students to find the degree that’s right for them, adding something unique to their CV.
One of the main deterrents for studying in the US continues to be funding. While university fees are subsidized in the UK, tuition fees and living costs in the US are on the rise. Many students now seek a student loan to support their education expenses.
FindingInternational Student Loans for Students from the UK
The easiest way to be considered eligible for a US student loan is to find a co-signer who is also an American citizen. A citizen with a good credit rating is the perfect candidate to cosign your loan, making the application process much easier. Many lenders offer loans to students with co-signers who have proof of income, as they can act as a guarantor for the funds.
A cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident who has lived in the US for the past two years and has good credit.
Your cosigner should have a stable job with a steady income and an established credit history. Lenders may look at how long your cosigner has lived at their current address and how long they’ve been employed at their current job.
Your cosigner is taking on the obligation to pay back your loans in the event that you cannot, so it’s important that the cosigner can afford to cover these expenses. International student loans and study abroad loans lenders will take into account the total income of your cosigner and their total debts (mortgage, car payments, credit card debt, and any student loans they may have on their own) when reviewing a loan application.
In the United States, the cosigner’s credit history is evaluated by a credit score that is based on outstanding debts and their payment history. Lenders will evaluate your cosigner’s existing and past loans and whether they were paid on time.
Cosigner Not Required?
However, this is not an option for everyone. If you do not have a cosigner and you’re looking for international student loans for students from the UK there are specialist lenders who offer this service. Lenders such as MPower Financing understand how difficult it can be to secure funding. They support students in the visa and college application process as well as providing funding, to reduce the stress over expenses. There’s information about finding a loan without a cosigner here.
To compare the best student loans for British students looking to study in the US, then look no further than our comparison tool.
It’s always interesting to look back at the previous year to get a feel for what’s going on in international education. Of course, we’re particularly interested in finding the perfect student loan for international students. So here are some key facts about international students in the US and US study abroad students.
Whether you’re a foreign student studying in the US, or a US citizen dreaming of studying abroad, we hope you enjoy learning a little more about the state of international education right now.
And when you’re ready you can learn about applying for your international student loan.
International students in the US
According to research carried out by The Institute of International Education (IIE), 271,738 international students enrolled at a US institution at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year. This is down almost 7% compared to the 2016-2017 figures (290,836 international students) and a further decline from the peak of 300,743 international students recorded in 2015-2016.
The total number of international students in the US was 1,094,792. This is up 1.5% on the previous year, but the rate of growth is at its lowest for over 10 years and a significant change from the 10% growth in total international student numbers in the US in the 2014-2015 academic year.
One encouraging trend is that international students represent a growing percentage of total student numbers. International students now represent more than 1 in every 20 students in the US (5.5% of all students). This has grown year on year.
In terms of the distribution of international students in the USA, we looked at the 10 most popular states.
The highest concentration of international students is in California. In 2016-2017 there were 156,879 international students in California. This rose 3.2% to 161,942 in 2017-2018.
The state with the biggest increase in international student numbers was Massachusetts. Massachusetts saw a staggering 8.4% increase in international student numbers to 68,192 compared to 62,926 in the previous academic year.
The following were notable in their decreases but remain amongst the top 10 most popular states for international students:
Ohio (down 2.8% to 37,583)
Indiana (down 2.0% to 29,994)
Texas (down 0.9% to 84,348)
Popular US schools for international students
The most popular schools, colleges, and universities for international students in the US may or may not surprise you. Amongst the top 5, we are proud to say that no-cosigner loans are available at all of them.
Coming out on top with a total of 17,552 international students was New York University, New York, NY. No-cosigner loans are available at New York University.
The rest of the top 5 are as follows:
#2 – University of Southern California – Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) – 16,075 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at University of Southern California – Los Angeles.
#3 – Northeastern University – Boston (Boston, MA) – 14,905 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Northeastern University – Boston.
#4 – Columbia University (New York, NY) – 14,615 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Columbia University.
#5 – Arizona State University – Tempe (Tempe, AZ) – 13,459 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Arizona State University – Tempe.
Courses for international students in the US
The largest number of international students in the US are on Undergraduate programs (442,748), with 308,953 Graduate students enrolled. There were 203,462 international students in the US on Optional Practical Training courses. There were also 65,631 international students on other, non-degree courses.
The three most popular fields of study for international students studying in the USA were Engineering (with 21.3% of all international students), Business and Management (17.9%) and Math and Computer Science (17.0%).
For more information about the options available to international students attending US schools visit our International Student pages.
US Study Abroad Students
If we turn our attention now to US students studying abroad, the latest statistics available are for the 2016-2017 academic year. This year saw the number of US students studying abroad rise a modest 2.3% over the previous year to a total of 332,727 students.
More than 25% of these students (85,786) enrolled in STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Business was the next most popular field of study, with Social Sciences coming in third.
The 292,467 US undergraduate students studying abroad in 2016-2017 represented 1.8% of the 16,298,944 total US undergraduate enrolment.
64.6% of US students studying abroad in 2016-2017 did so for a short period (e.g. a summer or a study period of 8 weeks or less). 33.1% spent a semester (or one or two quarters depending on the institution) abroad. Only 2.4% studied abroad for the long-term – an academic or calendar year (or more).
Where do US students abroad study?
Europe hosted the vast majority of US students studying abroad. Latin America & the Caribbean came in second and Asia took third place.
#1 – Europe, 181,145 total US students (54%)
#2 – Latin America & Caribbean, 51,513 US students (15.5%)
#3 – Asia, 38,621 US students (11.6%)
24,790 US students (7.5%) studied in more than one region in the 2016-2017 academic year.
On a country level, 39,851 US students were studying in the United Kingdom in 2016-2017. This represents 12% of the total number of US students studying abroad. The UK is the largest single concentration of US study abroad students.
Italy, Spain, France, and Germany represent the second to fifth places respectively.
China appears at sixth in the list, with 11,910 US students studying there (3.6% of the total).
There are some other surprise appearances in the list of the top 25 most popular destinations for US students studying abroad:
#9 – Costa Rica hosted over 8,000 US students
#11 – over 6,000 US students made South Africa their home for part of their studies
#13 – almost 5,000 students experienced student life in the Czech Republic
Besides the 332,727 students who enrolled in courses leading to academic credit, 36,975 US students attended over 400 other institutions and took part in non-credit work, research, volunteering, and internships abroad.
If you’re interested in finding out more about your options as a US student studying abroad please visit our Study Abroad pages.
Are you planning to study abroad? There are International Student Loans available for students in your position who need funding. This might be for a semester or a full degree program.
Here at International Student Loan, we’re here to help. Find the information you’ll need to make an informed choice and apply for funding.
What a student loan can cover:
Tuition fees, books, accommodation, transportation, health insurance, and anything else an international student might need.
We’ve prepared this post as a one-stop overview of the information you’ll need whether you’re a student, parent, student- or financial-aid-advisor!
We hope you’ll find the student loan that works for you!
Financial Aid for Non-US citizens studying in the US:
International Student Loan
There are International Student Loans available for non-US citizens studying at a college or university in the United States. It’s very common for foreign students to apply for loans to help pay for college.
Studying abroad can be very expensive once all the costs have been added up.
We have a student loan comparison tool will match you with eligible loan options which you can review and choose the loan that works best for your circumstances.
Most international students inside the US will need a cosigner when applying for a loan. They must be a US citizen or permanent resident who has lived in the US for the past 2 years and has good credit history.
Find out more here.
Financial Aid for Non-US citizens studying in the US at select schools (No Cosigner Loans):
No Cosigner Loan
As mentioned above, most international students inside the US will need a cosigner when applying for a loan. Although a cosigner is required in most cases, international students attending a small number of colleges and universities in the US are able to apply for a no cosigner loan. If you aren’t able to find a cosigner then a no cosigner loan could be a good option for you.
Most international students in the US do not have credit history. With no cosigner loans the loan approval is based on the cosigner’s credit history, along with your academic success and career path.
Find out more here.
Financial Aid for US citizens studying abroad through a US school:
Study Abroad Loan
If you are a US citizen or permanent resident you may be eligible for a study abroad loan if you are participating in a study abroad program at an approved school in the United States. You must receive credit at your home college or university. If you are not sure if your school is eligible, see our complete list of eligible schools.
Our loan comparison tool lets you compare loans and find the loan that’s most suitable to meet your needs – and you can apply right online.
Find out more here.
Financial Aid for US citizens enrolled directly at a foreign school:
Foreign Enrolled Loan
If you’re a US citizen or permanent resident planning to enrol directly with an approved foreign school to complete an entire degree program overseas, you may be eligible for a Foreign Enrolled Loan.
There are hundreds of medical, dental, law and business schools, colleges and universities around the world that are approved.
Find out more here.
US citizens applying for federal loans:
Federal Student Stafford Loan
US students that need a student loan should complete the FAFSA and apply for Stafford Loans as well as applying for a Study Abroad Loan or Foreign Enrolled Loan.
Stafford loans are fixed-rate loans for undergraduate and graduate students attending college at least half time. They are provided under a federal government program, so interest rates can be very competitive.
Find out more here.
More About Student Loans for Foreign Students:
International Student Loan provides student loan information so that you are better informed and equipped to make the right decision on funding your studies. Whether you are looking for international student loans, foreign enrolled loans, or study abroad loans, we aim to always provide you with the very best of foreign student loan opportunities.
Finding a student loan for your international education can be difficult – but it doesn’t have to be with the help of internationalstudentloan.com
Most students hear the myths about student loans before even attending college. Others simply don’t understand whether a student loan is right for them. This article will debunk some of the major myths surrounding student loans and help students choose the path that’s right for them.
If you don’t have the family finances, you can’t attend college.
Although universities in the US can be very expensive, they are not only for the rich. There are several scholarships you can apply for at every college and university. You can also apply for a student loan to support your study finances. The most important thing to focus on is grades and personal development. Think about getting excellent test scores and building your extra-curricular or voluntary experience to make your application stand out.
Student loans negatively affect your credit score.
Okay, if you don’t make your loan repayments then this is true. But managing a student loan well can be a great way to boost your credit score. By making regular repayments, you’re positively impacting your credit. This means it can make it easier to take out a credit card or another loan in the future.
You will forever be in debt.
You will be repaying a lot of money, probably over a long time. However, graduates are earning an average of $17,500 a year more than non-graduates, making the cost of college worth-while. No one wants to think about paying back a debt, but following this system could help you become more employable and increase your income in the long-run.
Interest on student loan repayment never changes.
Despite signing a contract when you took out a student loan, the amount of interest charged can still vary throughout the repayment. Be careful when applying for a loan that you understand all the small print. This includes how and when to repay the loan, as well as the interest due. The amount of interest owed can vary year to year, so check in the initial terms what you’re agreeing to. Make sure you have an idea of how much you’ll be repaying once you graduate to prepare for this.
Forget your loan until you graduate.
Your loan shouldn’t be the first thing you’re thinking about when you wake up. However, it’s important to acknowledge how you’re getting your money and use it wisely. Interest is mounting from the minute you take out your loan. So, unfortunately, you’re building up debt the whole time you’re studying. If you have the ability, you can start repaying your loan while still studying. If you don’t have enough to do this, consider starting a savings account to put aside whatever money you do have for when you gradate. This will help alleviate the pressure of repayment.
If you’re moving abroad to study, you probably want to know the best options for money transfer for international students. Ideally, you want to avoid the high bank fees often involved with international money transfer but don’t know the best alternative. There are now several options for transferring money from your home country to your foreign bank account that won’t cost you an arm and a leg! Here the 5 best options currently available.
TransferWise, a UK-based money transfer site, has become increasingly popular in recent years because of its low fees and fast transfer options. It generally charges a 1% fee on the total transfer, which is much cheaper than many of its competitors. It’s only if you’re sending large amounts that it can get pricey. It uses real-time exchange rates, ensuring you always pay a rate that’s fair and accurate for currency conversions.
TransferWise offers a mobile app for Apple and Android so you can track your money as its being transferred. Most transfers are completed within 2 business days, depending on the bank you’re sending it to and the conversion. To check how long a payment will take TransferWise has a handy transfer calculator.
Paypal is widely trusted for online payments, such as online shopping for websites like eBay, and is even used to pay the salaries of remote and freelance workers. Now they have a new website, Paypal Xoom, which offers a money wiring service. This is about the fastest online money transfer service around, with most transfers being completed within one hour.
Xoom promotes itself as a place to send money, reload phones, and pay bills using their website and mobile app. If you have a Paypal account already, you can sign into Xoom using your existing details, making registration easy. Xoom allows you to track all transfers, offers 24/7 customer support and also has a fee calculator. Fees vary from country to country so it’s always best to check before committing to Xoom.
Australian money transfer service OFX offers real-time currency conversion and waives many of its transfer fees as part of its service. OFX has global support teams to answer any of your questions and an app to track your transfers.
OFX is good if you want to send larger amounts of money as the minimum transfer is around $200 US. Transfers typically take 1-2 working days depending on the recipient bank.
Chances are you’ve heard of MoneyGram or seen one of its offices. MoneyGram has been around for a while and is now competing with the new online options for money transfer. Keeping up with the likes of TransferWise and Xoom, you can now transfer online, on the app, or through Facebook using MoneyGram. If you prefer to wire money the traditional way, in person, there are over 30,000 MoneyGram branches across the US.
Fees can be slightly more expensive than online competitors but you have the guarantee of MoneyGram’s well-established reputation for money transfers. You can check MoneyGram fees online and can pay using your credit card or checking account online, or cash in store. Always check the exchange rates as they are often not calculated at real-time conversion prices.
MoneyGram is fast. If you transfer money to a specific location, it is typically ready to collect within 10 minutes! Online transfers are also guaranteed to be faster than many competitors.
If you need money to be transferred fast and reliably, then Western Union is considered as the ‘old faithful’ of money transfer. In branch and online, Western Union offers fast and simple transfers that can be tracked through the app. You can make transfers in cash, by debit or credit card or from your bank account.
Western Union provides money transfer options in 130 currencies to over 200 countries and territories. It also has 500,000 agent locations around the world if you want to wire the money in person. However, with the well-known and reliable name comes higher fees and, often, longer transfer times. This is a good option if you want to use an established transfer service or go to the branch. However, new online transfer services generally offer cheaper and faster services.
Different services offer different perks. It’s always useful to check the fee calculators and conversion rates of a couple of services before committing. If the speed of the transfer is important, opt for one of the faster services, which might have a slightly higher fee. Look into your options before you run out of money so that you’re well prepared and don’t have to rush the decision!
We all know being a college student means studying, trying out new activities, exploring local culture, partying, basically saying yes to everything offered, right? But how is it that everyone seems to have to money to say yes to everything? These simple 5 steps will help you to stretch your student loan further without having to turn down all the amazing opportunities surrounding you.
- Join Facebook groups – what you have to understand is that you’re not the only one. If you’re feeling the pressure to get involved but don’t have the money to spend then thousands of other students are feeling the same way!
A great way to meet like-minded people, learn about local and free events, and explore some alternative options to those being offered on campus, is to join a Facebook group. There is a wide array of groups from the Harry Potter appreciation society or the birdwatching club, to class and college based groups. Each of these groups will have students sharing ideas, events, and generally seeking to socialize in a student-based environment. The great thing about Facebook is that you can see public groups and events, you can follow stories, share ideas, put ‘interested’ in an event without having to pay or attend, just to scope out your options. Additionally, you can join private groups that are full of other students in the area, many with similar student budgets.
- Shop smart – if your main restriction to getting involved in student activities is your budget, then be smart in other areas of your student life, like shopping.
Grocery shopping is a great place to stretch your money without missing out. A few simple rules could save you a fortune over your time in college:
- Never go shopping when you’re hungry! This is a sure way to give into your cravings and head straight to the Oreo section. (This will also help if you’re trying to balance being a student with maintaining a healthy lifestyle!)
- Make a list and try to shop once a week – to avoid impulse buys and make sure you have a plan for food throughout the week. It will help you to avoid ordering last minute take-out.
- Don’t eat out! Ok, maybe now and again after a long day in classes when you just don’t want to cook, but try to avoid it by buying food that you can prepare quickly and easily for those times.
- Go generic – do you really need those Lays chips and Coca Cola? Maybe you do need the occasional treat, but for the most part why not try the generic alternatives and test the water?
- Finally, check out the reduced sections, learn the times that stock is reduced each day and make use of your freezer! You can get some incredible deals on meat, fish and other expensive items if you watch these zones.
- Avoid buying all the memberships before you decide what you really want.
In a world of sports and societies it might be tempting to join them all, with the best intention of attending every soccer practice, film society showing, hiking trip etc. However, once the semester kicks into gear and you’re attending classes, studying, socializing, working out or whatever your routine happens to be, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to keep up with all those societies. Sample as many options as possible for free over the first couple of weeks of semester to see what fits best. And remember, spending time outdoors is a great way to get some free exercise!
- Student discounts – one of the best perks of being a student, and something I promise you’ll sorely miss once it’s gone, is student discount.
Just by having your student ID card you’re ahead of the game and can access a wide number of student discounts from shopping to activities. Big companies are all jumping on the promotional bandwagon including, Amazon, Sam’s Club, Greyhound, STA Travel and Verizon. Student discounts are also a fantastic way to support your education with companies such as Apple and Microsoft offering discounts on laptops and other technology. For events and shopping simply search online for student discounts in your local area or check out UNiDAYS for national offers.
- Don’t overspend on educational items. Ultimately you’re at college to learn, however, having a brand-new version of every book on the syllabus for each class simply isn’t necessary.
Firstly, many students before you have made this mistake. That means there is a whole bunch of second-hand (barely touched) books waiting for you to snap them up for half the price. Also try Amazon if you can’t find what you’re looking for on campus. For some books, you might only need to read one chapter and will then cast it aside. Approach your professors, ask what books are vital to buy and what you can find online or photocopy in the library. Finally, think about alternative options such as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program if you’re likely to need quick access to a number of resources.
If you think that college life might be for you, just take a look at the wide variety of student loans being offered to support your experience. And remember, college is not only about getting an education but about gaining life experience, so use these tips to go out and get involved!