Your college tuition covers the cost of on-campus amenities, so you might as well use them whether you’re a first-year student or finishing your last year of study. Here are four ideas to get you started.

Athletic Center

Most college campuses have a fitness center where students can run on the treadmill, lift free weights, and use exercise machines. Other common amenities include swimming pools, football and soccer fields, and tennis courts. Some schools even have rock-climbing walls.

If you’re looking for something more structured, you may want to look into fitness classes such as yoga, dance, or kickboxing. Looking for a group sport? Check to see if your school offers intramural leagues. Information is usually listed on the college’s website, but you can also call or visit the recreation center to learn about events or programs that didn’t make it online.

Academic Resources

If you’re struggling with a particular class or just want to boost your grades, make sure to check out the on-campus academic resources. Need help with a paper? The writing center can teach you writing strategies, give you feedback on structure and content, or help you with developing the draft. For subject-specific help, check out the individual or group tutoring services. The tutors are usually students who successfully passed the class already.

Some schools offer workshops on general study techniques such as time management. Also keep in mind that colleges should provide reasonable accommodations for students with learning disabilities or hearing or visual disabilities. Contact the learning center to find out if it provides more learning aids such as recorded notes. In certain circumstances, the school may allow extended time for taking tests.

Health and Counseling Services

With a health center right on campus, there’s no excuse for neglecting your well-being. It’s useful whether you’re ill, need to book your yearly physical exam, or just need to ask for a prescription renewal. Depending on the college, you may also be able to get any needed blood tests in the same building. Free counseling services are also available if you ever need to talk to someone.

Career Services

Because you’re going to college to train for a career, it goes without saying that your school is one of the best places to find career-related resources. Haven’t chosen a major yet? A career counselor can help you go over your options. Searching for a job or internship? The adviser can give you interview tips, discuss job-search strategies, or help you with your résumé.

It’s also a good idea to conduct research on your own. Most colleges post resources through their websites so students can take self-assessment quizzes, explore career paths, research different industries, and more. You should also keep an eye open for on-campus events like career fairs or networking workshops.

Make the most of your college experience, and check out at least one of these amenities. To learn more, you can search your school’s website or call the main campus line to be patched through to the correct department.

College is great, but every new experience carries unfamiliar risks with it. Whether you’re living away from home for the first time, juggling a part-time job with full-time studies, partying every chance you get, or all the above, you could run into unexpected problems. Here are a few common risks to look out for.


It’s common for students to fall ill, especially when living in a dorm with many other people. In small quarters, one student’s sickness can travel quickly from one person to the next. You may also find your good health habits slipping; many students don’t get enough sleep or eat healthy meals. Combine this with general stress, and you become a living petri dish for hungry bacteria.

To avoid getting sick, take care of yourself and wash your hands often. Keeping your immune system strong helps your body fend off common viruses like the flu. However, you may still end up in an accident or contract a more serious illness. Prepare for the worst and find out what your school’s policy is for parental notification; some colleges won’t notify your family of a serious illness without your consent. If that’s the case for you, have a parent or other trusted person listed with the school as an emergency contact.


Attending college is a wonderful experience, but there are many stressors that can lead to depression, such as homesickness, financial issues, and relationship problems. There are many types of depression, and people can experience different symptoms; you may not even feel sad, but rather irritable or even apathetic about things you used to care about.

Most colleges provide free counseling for students. If you think you might have depression, contact your school’s health center. A trained professional can teach you coping strategies, discuss possible solutions, or just be there to lend an ear.

Alcohol and Drug Interactions

Partying is a great way to blow off steam, and alcohol won’t hurt you so long as you drink smart. Unfortunately, your prescription or over-the-counter medication might be deadly when combined with alcohol. It’s also possible for someone to slip a date-rape drug into your drink. 

Protect your drink from being spiked. Depending on the type of drug used and the attacker’s intentions, you could be robbed or sexually assaulted. Worst case scenario, you could end up in a coma or dead. Stick with your friends, never leave your drink unattended, and know what warning signs to watch for.

Another problem that’s less talked about but equally dangerous is that certain medications interact with alcohol. The medication may increase the alcohol’s effect, or the alcohol may increase the risk of drug side effects such as dizziness, difficulty breathing, or internal bleeding. For example, mixing alcohol with acetaminophen, an OTC pain reliever, may cause liver damage. When taking medication, check the label to make sure you can safely take it while drinking.

The college lifestyle carries certain risks, but with a bit of foreknowledge and strategy, you can avoid at least some of them.

Living with a roommate is part of the college experience. Whether you choose to room with someone you know or let the school set you up with a stranger, you’ll likely face at least one or two challenging situations. Prepare yourself for the year ahead with these tips for sharing your space with a roommate.

Talk Before Meeting Each Other

If possible, talk to your roommate on the phone or in person before your move-in date. Doing so will help you feel less nervous about meeting each other. You can also decide who is going to bring what, such as a mini-fridge, microwave, or furniture.

Talk about personal habits. Is one of you a neat freak while the other is a slob? Are you both early birds, or does your new roommate normally stay up until 3 a.m.? You should have this discussion even if you’re moving in with someone you already know.

Respect Each Other’s Schedules

No matter how considerate you are, you may still unknowingly annoy your roommate. Talk about your class schedules and study habits early on, and set ground rules. For example, if your roommate is a light sleeper, don’t let your alarm clock beep too long in the morning. If you have an exam the next day, ask your roommate to give you quiet time so you can study. Do you both wake up early each day? Figure out how to share the bathroom without making each other late.

Dealing with Hook-ups and Relationships

You don’t have much privacy when you share a room with someone, and this is even more apparent when one or both of you has a boyfriend or girlfriend or starts hooking up with people. Neither one of you wants to feel as if a third person has moved in, but you probably want to able to bring someone home.

Talk about your expectations. What visiting hours are you both OK with? Are overnight guests allowed? If so, how many nights a week is too much? Do you feel uncomfortable with your flat mate bringing home complete strangers? Be upfront with each other, and set etiquette rules that you both agree with.

Discuss Problems Early

Confronting someone is never fun, but sometimes you just need to do it. If your roommate does something that bothers you, bring it up right away. Try to stay calm; he or she may not realize the actions are upsetting you. Letting it go and hoping things get better rarely solves the problem. Instead, you’ll become resentful and start acting passive-aggressively toward your roommate, making things even worse. 

If you’ve tried to fix a problem with your roommate, but nothing is working, ask your RA for help. He or she can help you find a solution, whether that’s approaching your roommate differently or moving into a different room. Remember that you don’t need to become best friends with your roommate. Your goal is to have a cordial relationship. If you happen to become friends, that’s a bonus.

The key to getting along with your new mate is communication and respect. If things become tense, try following one or more of these tips. In most situations, you can make it work with a roommate. 

Whether you’re attending an Ivy League school or a local community college, tuition is expensive. You may be tempted to use a credit card so you can pay your tuition gradually over time. Plus, some credit cards offer generous rewards in the form of cash back, airline miles, or other perks. But, is paying your tuition with a credit card really a good idea? Here are some reasons why you should think twice before breaking out the plastic.

Schools Charge a Convenience Fee

The convenience of paying your tuition with a credit card often comes with a school-imposed convenience fee. The fee varies by school, but it can be anywhere between 2-3 percent of the amount you put on the card. That percentage may not seem like a big deal, but it can amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars throughout your college career if you frequently use a credit card to cover tuition.

One survey asked a range of public, private, and community colleges about their policy regarding credit card payments. Of the 92 public institutions in the survey, 83 charge a fee.

Credit Card Interest Rates Are High

You’ve probably heard it said time and time again that credit card interest rates are often sky high, but the sentiment bears repeating. Many college students don’t have spectacular credit simply because their credit history is so short; if that is the case for you, it will be especially difficult for you to find a card with both a high spending limit and a reasonable interest rate.

Scrutinize any credit cards you get approved for. Some may offer a low initial interest rate that will spike after the first six months. You don’t want most of your payments to end up going toward interest rather than the principle. If you make minimum payments, it could take you decades to pay off the card, and you would be paying thousands more than if you had used another method to pay your tuition.

There Are Better Alternatives

Because there are so many convenient and low-cost ways to pay for college, there’s no reason for you to resort to using a credit card. Some of the best ways to pay for school include:

  • Federal student loans and grants. A grant is something you won’t have to pay back at all. You do have to make payments on federal student loans, but the interest rates are generally low. Some student loans are even eligible for loan forgiveness after a specified period of time.
  • Scholarships. You can visit the counseling office at your school to find out if you qualify to apply for any scholarships.
  • Federal Work-Study. This program provides part-time employment to help students in need pay for their tuition and related expenses.
  • Help from family and friends. If you accept a loan from any family members or friends, be sure to put it in writing and make sure each person has a copy of it so you avoid misunderstandings that might pop up later.

Affording college is tough, and resorting to a credit card to cover tuition can make it even tougher. Put the plastic away and look for better ways to pay.

College costs go well beyond the price of tuition, so covering expenses calls for creative solutions to make money. In addition to the savings, grants, scholarships, and loans used to pay for school, part-time income can also provide a vital financial boost while you are earning your degree.
Sometimes, work commitments can interfere with your first priority of getting an education. The key to lining your pockets without sacrificing good grades is finding balance and scheduling your work outside study hours. Easier said than done? Fortunately, there are lots of ways to make cash while you’re still in school, without failing in the classroom.

Conventional College Cash

Work/Study – These structured programs are part of a complete financial aid package. Students fortunate enough to land these positions may be put to work in administration offices, academic departments, food service facilities, and other convenient campus locations. To be considered, apply through regular financial aid channels.

Hospitality Jobs – Hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other food and beverage outlets require staff. And hospitality is a 24-hour business, so the hours present flexible scheduling options for college students. Not only that, but many of these service positions include tips, so the pay is above average. Front desk positions, kitchen jobs, wait staff, and bartending spots are all fair game during school. And if you play your cards right, a part-time hospitality job could grow into an internship or full-time management-level work.

Childcare and House/Pet-Sitting

Side sitting jobs can furnish a steady source of income. If you don’t know a lot of people in your college town, your professors and school advisors may be a good starting point for finding this type of work. Once established with a satisfied customer or two, word of mouth will keep clients coming in.

A Little Less Conventional

If you are a budding entrepreneur or simply march to the beat of your own drum, consider one of these ideas.

Resale Business – From textbooks to gently used electronics, second-hand sales can help you earn money during school. A flexible, self-inspired resale business can be run from home during hours you choose. And you’ll learn lessons about marketing, accounting, customer service, and business management.

Blood/Plasma – This isn’t for the squeamish, but regular plasma donations can add up to a sizable part-time income.

Driving Jobs – Driving for Uber or Lyft can generate part-time income, but your age or level of experience might get in your way. If you’re not yet eligible to drive for one of these high-profile companies, look at food delivery opportunities instead. Or start your own service hauling goods, turning your car or minivan into a money-maker.

Reviews and Feedback – Information is valuable, so your opinions and feedback can bring in cash. Secret shoppers, for instance, are paid to interact with staff and rate their performance. Audiences also earn money by providing viewer feedback about commercials, TV programming, and movies.

When your college cash flow stalls and you need a financial boost, don’t despair. There are plenty of ways to earn extra money, from traditional jobs like waiting tables to new-fashioned jobs like second-hand internet sales.