The fall semester is well underway, but you’ve still got plenty of time to make stress management a priority. By planning ahead, managing your bank account, and following a few other best practices, you’ll reduce your school-related anxiety and have a much easier time focusing on your studies.

Stay Organized and Stay Ahead

Falling behind on deadlines has a snowball effect in terms of stress. Catching up on late work gives you less time to get ahead on your next assignment. If you’re behind on deadlines, you may not have any time to polish your assignments and deliver the best work possible.
This is a hard cycle to break, so try to stay on top of your schedule this semester. Treat your time like your money: Budget it carefully, and aim to strike a healthy balance between treating yourself, taking breaks and socializing, and committing to your work as a student.

Manage Your College Expenses

College is expensive, and financial woes on top of a loaded semester can make it even harder to stay focused on class work and to stay positive. Follow these tips to get a handle on your school expenses and keep your academic goals a priority:

Rent or buy discounted textbooks: Textbooks will leave a major dent in your semester budget. You can cut these costs by up to 90 percent if you shop around for new and used options outside of the campus bookstore. Renting is another option. You can also sell your books when you’re finished with them to get some of your money back.

Revisit your meal plan: Use your meal plan if you have one. If you prefer to cook on your own, consider dropping the meal plan to minimize your expenses.

Tap into all sources for financial aid:
The FAFSA will connect you with free grants and other types of federal financial aid to cover your academic costs. Check with your school’s financial aid department to see if any institutional grants, loans, or work-study programs are available to help you balance your checkbook this semester.

Look at all your housing options: Moving back home for the semester or moving off campus with a few roommates can greatly reduce your monthly expenses.

Break Things Down and Keep a Positive Outlook

Be deliberate and make stress management a goal this semester. No matter how tough the semester gets, remember to keep things in perspective. These few months are just a slice of your life as a student, and if you take things day by day or even hour by hour, you absolutely will succeed.

If you’re struggling with classwork or feeling negative, reach out to other students who have prioritized their courses and their personal well-being. Forming a study group can help you get through tough subjects, and surrounding yourself with positive people will melt away your stress.

If you find yourself feeling anxious this semester, take a breath and remember that you can do it! Create a schedule and stick to it, keep on top of your personal finances, and keep a positive outlook. Before you know it, you’ll have another successful semester behind you.

Creating the perfect class schedule is a real balancing act. We all learn differently and have our own strengths and weaknesses, so a one-size-fits-all approach never works. So how do you do it? Consider our tips when creating your perfect class schedule.

Take the Right Classes
While your schedule’s timing matters, your course content is crucial. Identify any prerequisite classes for earning your degree and consider where you’ll place them first. You should also note any prerequisite classes for courses you’ll take in future. Prioritize these classes, too. Completing prerequisite courses within your first year or two of college works best, as it opens more opportunities for upper division classes as you approach graduation. It also reduces the chances you will overlook a course required for your degree.

Most prerequisite classes run at different times, so consider which work best for you. Then, build around them. While taking some courses simply because they interest you is fine, make sure you’re also scheduling the courses most relevant to your intended career.

Don’t Overburden Yourself

It’s easy to overburden yourself, especially when you’re a new student excited about the semester ahead. However, taking on too many classes is a recipe for burnout. College blogger Jessica Slaughter suggests taking no more than 16 hours per week. You might take even less if your courses are especially challenging. Use your judgment to avoid overtaxing yourself.

Take Advantage of Times You Work Best

Some of us love early mornings while others are night owls who prefer sleeping until noon. Think about when you’re most alert and schedule your most important or challenging classes for these times. If you don’t have a natural math brain and loathe mornings, an early statistics class will seem like torture. But take it in the evenings and you might just ace those tricky tests.

Schedule Breaks If You Need Them
Some students thrive on a busy schedule, while others feel burned out by back-to-back classes. What kind of personality do you have? Consider what feels more comfortable for you and craft your schedule accordingly, with as many breaks as you need to do your best.

Arrange a Consistent Routine
While our individual behaviors differ, we’re all creatures of habit. Studies show the world’s happiest and most successful people stick to a regular, fairly rigid routine. Remembering this, you should aim to give each day of your week a similar structure.

Starting classes and leaving campus at roughly the same time each day will let you establish a regular sleep schedule. Waking up and going to bed at the same time each night is proven to improve your concentration, memory, and energy levels. While those benefits will help you in the classroom, you’ll also appreciate the impact your consistent sleep schedule has on your health.

Your class schedule has a significant effect on how much you get out of your semester, so it’s crucial you get it right. Consider your own individual goals, habits, strengths, and weaknesses to create the perfect class schedule for you.

Moving into your college apartment is an exciting milestone, a sign you’re stretching your wings and exploring independence away from your family. If you’re like most college students, you probably don’t have the budget for fancy furniture or décor. However, there are a few items you shouldn’t overlook when setting up your college pad.

A Bookshelf
A bookshelf promises to be one of the most versatile pieces of furniture in your college apartment. It’ll hold your textbooks and favorite novels, obviously, but it’s also useful for stashing other items such as keys, phone, wallet, purse, ornaments, framed photographs, and random swag. Look for bookshelves with chests at the base for storing sheets, blankets, and towels.

A Work Desk and Chair
Yes the keggers and other social events are exciting, but (que violin) you’re at college to work. While campus libraries have space for studying, all those other students can be distracting. You’ll find studying for exams and completing assignments much easier with a desk at your disposal. Make sure it’s large enough for a computer, even if it’s just a laptop, and for spreading out notes and textbooks. Add a lamp and an ergonomic chair that supports your body during marathon study sessions to create a productive work zone.

A Comfortable Bed
Never underestimate the importance of a comfortable bed. Most college students get between six and 6.9 hours of sleep, less than the eight hours most health experts recommend. Therefore, it’s important to make sure every moment you’re in bed counts. A comfortable bed will help you sleep soundly, so you can retain information, think more clearly, and perform better. Add a statement duvet to keep you warm on winter’s nights and make your space feel more like home.

A Multicooker
It’s so easy to slip into bad eating habits while you’re in college. However, skipping meals and binging on takeout does your brain and your body no favors. You’ll find eating in easier with a multicooker. You needn’t spend a lot of money on this handy appliance that browns meat, slow-cooks casseroles and stews, makes hearty soups, cooks rice, and much more. Best of all, many multicooker functions are made for turning some of the cheapest ingredients into tasty dishes.


Some Wall Art

Wall art turns the apartment your college budget can afford into your own personalized space. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it should speak to you and your personal style. You can find cheap canvases at home improvement and budget department stores. Local markets are also great places to find unique art for less. Alternatively, why not print and frame some of your favorite photographs?

These items don’t need to be the most modern or feature-packed. They don’t even need to be brand new. Thrift stores, garage sales, and online marketplaces can help you secure them for a fraction of their original retail prices. However, just make sure you don’t overlook them. All these items are essential for any college apartment.

Sometimes, that first semester of college doesn’t go quite as planned. Maybe you want to change your major, and a different school seems more suitable. You may need to move closer to home because of family obligations. Or, maybe your current college just doesn’t feel like a good fit. Whatever your reasons for transferring schools, there are steps you can take to make the transition less stressful. These four tips are a good place to start.


Know What’s Expected
You’ve likely already researched other colleges and found a couple that appeal to you. The next step is finding out exactly what they expect from you as a transfer student. The prerequisites for a program can differ from school to school. What sort of grades do you need? Do you need letters of recommendations from your professors? What are the application deadlines for each school?

The answers to these questions will determine your goals for the remaining year or semester. For example, you may need to spend more time studying to improve your grades, or you may want to get more involved on campus to improve your chances of acceptance.

Consider Prior Acceptances

If you received other acceptance letters when you first applied to college, take a look at those schools first. Do you still want to go to any of them? If so, you can contact them to see if you can transfer without reapplying. Depending on the school, you may not have to repeat the application process. Score! Just make sure it really is what’s best for you academically. Otherwise, you could find yourself in the same situation next year — unhappy and looking to change schools.

Talk to an Advisor
No matter how thoroughly you’ve researched your new school, it’s always a good idea to contact an academic advisor both at your current school and at your prospective school. The advisors can confirm which credits are transferable and which ones aren’t. Ask about articulation agreements: Having this type of arrangement helps the process go more smoothly.

It’s also a good idea to keep copies of your transcripts, syllabi, and course materials. In the event that one or more of your transfer credits are denied, you’ll need this paperwork to file an appeal. The more credits you can successfully transfer, the more time and money you’ll save.

Live on Campus
Even if you’ve lived on campus already and didn’t exactly love it, consider trying it again at your new school. Most of the people in your year have their groups of friends already. You’re starting from scratch, and making new friends will be easier if you stay in a dorm. You may find that you get along with your roommate quite well. If the idea of a roommate makes you shudder and you have a flexible budget, most colleges offer single-room options.

Starting over at a different college has its challenges. You can make the transfer less stressful, though, by planning ahead of time and getting involved in campus life.

Whether you’re a student considering a change, have yet to declare a major, or are just beginning your college search, knowing which degrees are the most viable in terms of potential income can help you make a wise decision. Check out this list of the college majors that offer the highest salaries after graduation.



Economics and Mathematics

With just a bachelor’s degree, young economists and mathematicians can earn about $60,000 per year. That amount can double after roughly a decade in the career force. This undergraduate degree is also an excellent springboard for doctoral studies in areas such as economics, business, and other niche subjects.

Marine Engineering

If you’re interested in marine vessels and structures, you can put your passion to work and enjoy a fantastic salary in your first years as a professional. Marine engineers can make more than $70,000 in their first five years on the job. That amount can increase to approximately $125,000 per year by the midpoint of your career.

Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineering, which mixes the disciplines of the physical sciences, life sciences, mathematics, and economics, also offers an enticing starting salary and enticing midcareer pay projections. Chemical engineers can also earn more than $70,000 when they start their career. After a decade of experience, they can expect to make more than $125,000 annually.

Nuclear Engineering
Nuclear engineers can make up to $70,000 per year in their early career and $128,000 by the midpoint of their career. Nuclear engineers also report high career satisfaction and feel their work has a positive impact on the world. These professionals apply the principles of nuclear physics to study and to manipulate nuclear energy and radiation.

Actuarial Science

Actuarial scientists can make roughly $60,000 within their first five years after graduation. That amount can more than double by the 10-year mark. Actuarial scientists explore how risk affects insurance, finance, and other fields.

Actuarial Mathematics
Actuarial mathematics is a more specialized field that also looks at risk through the lens of mathematics and statistics. Actuarial mathematics, however, focuses on insurance concepts. With a bachelor’s degree, you can expect to make about $57,000 in your early career. With about a decade of experience under your belt, you can pull in an annual salary of approximately $130,000.

Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum engineers enjoy a high starting salary and excellent midcareer pay. You can enter the career force immediately after receiving your bachelor’s and make roughly $95,000 in your first five years. Even if you complete a master’s or a Ph.D. in another field, you’ll find a hard time topping the first-year pay that a petroleum engineer receives.

These top-paying jobs all offer high starting salaries, solid potential for career growth, and excellent job security. You can start even at an entry-level position and enjoy these great benefits. Most high-paying jobs that just require a bachelor’s degree are in the engineering field, with actuarial mathematics and science also topping the list. Though the top-paying jobs in America are in the medical field, you can enter one of the above fields with just your undergraduate degree.

Ideally, you should be able to sell your old textbooks. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t work out that way. A new edition may have just come out, rendering your textbook obsolete. Perhaps you’re in a highly specialized field, and not many buyers are biting. Whatever the case, you have other options for reusing or re-purposing your old textbooks. Take a look at these three ideas.

Donate Online

If you know where to look, you’ll find plenty of websites that accept old textbooks. This donation method lets you get rid of your textbooks from the comfort of your home. The downside, however, is that most of these organizations only accept certain types of books.

Books for Africa accepts fiction and nonfiction books, whether they are hardcover or softcover. It accepts most college textbooks that have a 2002 or newer publisher date. Certain subjects — like law and medicine — must have a 2007 or newer publisher date. As its name suggests, this organization sends books to students in need in Africa.

Books Through Bars sends books to prison libraries. It accepts mostly paperbacks, and the most highly requested subjects include African-American studies, trade skills, small business, and urban fiction. If you would rather donate your books to soldiers, make sure to check out Books for Soldiers or Operation Paperback.

Donate Locally

Donating your textbooks to a local business or organization is a great way to help your community. It does involve lugging around a bag of heavy books, but you’re also more likely to get rid of them faster.

Try contacting the library to see if it accepts donations. In most cases, the staff will be happy to take your old textbooks off your hands, either to add to their bookshelves or to sell during fundraisers. You could also donate your books to a local thrift store or to charitable organizations like The Salvation Army.

Are you feeling ambitious? Go a step further, and collect other people’s used books so you can run your own book drive. Running this type of event would look great on your resume.

Upcycle Your Textbooks

Makers, crafters, and artists have come up with some really cool ways to repurpose old books, and they were kind enough to post instructions online. Do you have a nosy roommate? Try turning a textbook into a secret safe, or make a hidden drawer out of book spines. Do you like to show off your unique style? You can turn old books into jewelry, wallets, or even a tablet cover.

Other upcycle projects include book lamps, picture frames, headboards, wall art, and iPhone charging docks. If you get good enough, some of your pieces may even be sellable to other students on campus or through Etsy.

Your old textbooks don’t need to gather dust in a forgotten corner. You paid good money for them, so why not make the most of them? You can find an organization that wants your textbooks, or failing that, you can transform them into something fun and useful.

If you don’t have a summer job lined up yet, now is a good time to start looking. You may as well use your newly freed-up time to earn some cash, right? Or maybe you want to start gaining experience in your field of study. Whatever your goals are, you’ll find the job you want more easily if you start early. Here are a few ideas to help you with the hunt.

Stick to Your Goals

Before you even get started with a job search, you need to know what your idea of a “perfect” job is. Do you want something that’s related to your major? Is the pay rate your main concern? Do you want to continue working in the fall? The answers to these questions will give you an idea of where to start your job search.

Seasonal positions are great for students who want to stop working when school starts. If you want to keep part-time hours during the year, look for nonseasonal work that offers flexible hours. Did you move back home for the summer? The manager at a chain store might be willing to transfer you to one of the stores in your college town. If experience is your main priority, a summer internship might be just what you need.

Target the Top Industries

According to Monster.com, certain industries are more likely to hire students for the summer: construction, landscaping, tourism, recreation, hospitality, and office work.

Some of the more seasonal positions include summer camp counselor, water park attendant, construction worker, landscape worker, and tour guide. If you work at a hotel or a restaurant, you might have the chance to stay on part time in the fall. Offices aren’t as likely to take you on permanently, but you might get your foot in the door as a temp worker.

Look Beyond Online Postings

While it doesn’t hurt to search for jobs online, not all job postings end up on the internet. Start with your college’s resources. Check the job board. Attend any networking events or employment fairs taking place on campus. Consider stopping by the career center to speak with a career advisor.

You can also tell friends and family you’re looking for a job. They may know of an opportunity or be willing to recommend you to their employer. If you enjoyed your previous job, contact your old boss to see if there are any openings.

Make Your Own Job

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. However, if you think it would suit you, you should go for it. Buying items such as books or video games and reselling them for a profit is one way to earn money. You can even use the CampusBooks Buy Vs Rent tool to buy cheap books, and sell them for a profit. If you’re artistic, you can sell your wares on Etsy. You could also start a company that walks dogs, cleans houses, or provides guitar lessons — the possibilities are endless. You’ll have more responsibilities working for yourself than for someone else, but you’ll get to set your own hours and pay rate.

It’s never too late to get that perfect summer job.  Start hunting for your summer job today!

Are you thinking of signing up for a study abroad program? Spending a semester or two outside the U.S. can be the experience of a lifetime. You’ll meet new people, have the chance to learn a new language, and see a different part of the world. However, it tends to be costly, and you’ll probably feel homesick. Read about these pros and cons of studying abroad to see if it’s the right choice for you.

Con: Homesickness

Speaking of friends, you’ll be leaving them behind. You’ll likely experience culture shock, too, which can make feelings of homesickness more intense. The first few weeks in a new country will be the hardest. You’ll need to learn how to get from one place to another, the food will be different, and you’ll have to adjust to any cultural differences.

Fortunately, there are ways to decrease culture shock and feelings of loneliness. There will likely be other U.S. students in the same city as you. Reach out to them. Try to make friends with the locals. You can also keep in touch with family and friends back home using Skype or any other video-chat software.

Pro: Learning a New Language

Whether you want to improve on the language you’re already studying or you want to try something new, you’ll learn faster by immersing yourself in it. Learning a second (or third) language is useful, even if it’s not part of your degree requirement. It can open up doors for you when it’s time to look for a job. And, of course, you’ll also be able to impress your friends when you go back home.

Con: Cost

When you study abroad, you have to deal with more expenses. You’ll have to pay for the flight there and back. If you’re planning to go sightseeing, you’ll need to account for that in your budget. Depending on where you travel, the exchange rate could hurt your wallet even more.

There are ways to make your study abroad program more affordable, however. It’s possible to transfer financial aid to the cost of the program, and there are scholarships or internships you can apply for. Just make sure to apply for programs and funding early, so you don’t miss any deadlines.

Pro: Traveling

By staying in one location for one or two semesters, you’ll have more time to explore the city than you would on a regular trip. Along with visiting the usual tourist attractions, you’ll also get to see how the locals live.

Another perk of studying abroad is how close you’ll be to other countries. You can make the most of your trip by visiting other places on the weekends. For example, if you’re staying in France, you can easily take the train to Austria or Germany. Are you studying in Australia? That puts you that much closer to New Zealand.

These are just a few factors to consider before you apply for a study abroad program. The most important thing is to do your research and make preparations well ahead of time.

Your college campus might feel like a ghost town during the summer, especially if all your friends have left. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. There are fewer students around, sure, but there are still places to go and things to do. Here are just a few ways you can make the most of your time on campus this summer.

Focus on Your Goals

Look at it this way: Fewer social events mean fewer distractions, which in turn makes it easier for you to focus on your long-term goals. If you’re taking a class, you don’t need to deal with the stress of a full course load. Aim for a higher grade than you normally would. Are you working full time? Decide how much money you can reasonably earn this summer, and pick up extra shifts when you get the chance.

If you’re going to school as well as working, you may find it more practical simply to find the right balance. Are you not working or studying? Consider applying for an internship, a summer job, or a volunteer job that relates to your area of study.

Make a Bucket List

Working towards a goal is important and everything, but you don’t want to burn yourself out. Make a list of things you’ve wanted to do throughout the school year but didn’t have a chance to do. For example, there may be attractions or restaurants in the city you never had time to check out. Now is the time to visit them. Is your dorm room or apartment in need of a makeover? Check out decoration ideas on Pinterest, and get started on your new project.

Other bucket list items could include trying a new hobby, such as mountain biking, photography, or cooking. There are plenty of activities that are cheap or free. For example, you can learn how to build your own website just by reading (or watching) do-it-yourself guides online. Would you rather spend time outside? Geocaching keeps you active and entertained.

Focus on Your Health

With more free time than usual, you don’t need to settle for a packet or ramen noodles for dinner. There are plenty of easy, healthy recipes you can make, no matter how big (or nonexistent) your kitchen is. Taco salad, homemade microwave lasagna, and overnight oats are just a few options that will help you ignore that KD box in the back of the cupboard.

Another perk of staying on campus during the summer is that it’s easier to make use of on-campus facilities because fewer students are using them. Stop by the gym or go for a swim in the pool, and enjoy the extra space. If you haven’t had your annual physical exam this year, schedule an appointment at the health center before it gets booked up.

These are just a few ways you can make the most of your summer on campus. The key is to get out there and keep busy. Doing so will not only make the months more enjoyable, but it will also give you something fun to talk about when your friends come back in the fall.

Summer break is here, and hopefully you’re dreaming of hot, sunny beach weather and all the fun things you can do with your new college buddies. But consider the summer a time for self-improvement, not just for fun. Whether you choose a job, internship, travel, summer courses, or volunteering, you’ll come back to school next year just a little bit smarter and more ready for the professional world.

Save-Up with a Summer Job

A summer job probably doesn’t sound like the most fun thing to do with all that time off you get during the break, but the financial and professional gains are highly beneficial.

Even if you’re only working at a local shop, you’ll get experience in how the professional world works and you’ll likely get experience dealing with the public. You’ll also make money which can be spending money for your next year at college.

Embed from Getty Images

Maybe your summer job could even be to start that side-hustle you dreamed up in your entrepreneurship class. That might not make you a lot of money, but you’ll certainly gain a lot of business savvy.

Level-Up with a Summer Internship

A summer internship is a great way to get a leg-up in your future industry. There’s a lot to learn about the professional world that’s difficult to get from college classes. A summer internship could also help you decide what you want your major to be, or if you’ve chosen the right major for you.

If you’re lucky, a summer internship will even be paid. A paid internship can help offset the costs of not living at home for the summer or build-up your spending money for the following school year.   A great resource for college internships is http://www.internships.com

Refresh Yourself with Summer Travel

A summer vacation will sound very nice after your finals. And you deserve it! When making summer travel plans, consider how to also get some professional or life-experience benefits from the trip.

If you’re headed to New York, maybe schedule a meeting with the advertising firm you’d love to work for. If you’re going abroad, soak in as much culture as you can; it will change you more than you know.

Help Others with Volunteer Hours

If you’re not sure what you want to do over the summer and haven’t made any plans, consider donating your time. Giving back to your community and volunteering can have professional benefits, look good on your résumé, and be very emotionally rewarding.

A volunteer position with some organizations can also give you professional insight into how non-profits function.

Get-Ahead with Summer Classes

We know this might sound terrible: you just finished a class, so you probably don’t want to take another. But, taking summer classes can put you ahead of the game in college. Summer classes help students to graduate on time and to save a little money. Consider taking online or community college classes during the summer.

It might seem a long way away, but the school year will be over before you know it. It’s time to get your summer plans in order.