You’ve tried to forget about your student loans over the last four years, but now that you’re ready to graduate, you have to face facts. A student loan exit interview prepares you for your first payment and ensures that you understand the rules and regulations you must follow going forward. Below are some tips to help you make the most of the interview and prepare yourself for repaying your student loans.
Resist the Urge to Skip It
While exit counseling might not seem like the most enjoyable way to spend your time as you prepare to leave college, don’t assume you can blow it off like a group study session. You’re required to participate in exit counseling if your loan came from the federal government, so resign yourself to this necessity.
Fortunately, it’s not a long or involved experience. You’ll meet a loan counselor on campus or take part in the interview online. Either way, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes of your time. Afterward, you can meet your pals for coffee in the quad.
Make a List of Questions
Just like a job interview, a student loan exit interview goes both ways. Your interviewer will likely ask you questions and provide you with essential information, but you’re allowed to ask a few questions of your own. To ensure you don’t forget anything, make a list of questions to ask, such as:
- When must I make my first payment?
- How much will each payment cost?
- How long will it take to pay off the debt?
- Do you have multiple options for payment plans?
Take a pad of paper and a pen to the interview. That way, you can write down the answers to your questions. Alternatively, ask the interviewer for any literature he or she has, such as brochures or fact sheets. The more information you have, the better prepared you become.
Take Stock of Your Future
If you’ve already found a post-graduation job, you know how much you’ll earn each month. Federal loans often involve repayment plans that represent a percentage of your income. If you know this information now, you can start making plans.
However, even if you haven’t yet snagged a job, you can research the types of careers you might want to pursue. How much do entry-level jobs in your chosen industry pay? That will give you an idea of how to structure your finances in the future.
Provide Useful Contact Information
After you graduate, will you return to your parents’ home or move into a new apartment? It’s often best to provide a relative’s address until you find permanent housing. It’s also a good idea to set up a new email address. You’ll stop using your university email after graduation, and you’ll want your loan officer to have a convenient way to contact you.
Whether you took out federal or private student loans, the exit interview is an essential part of starting your new life after graduation. You’ll know exactly what to expect, which means the first bill won’t come as a nasty shock.