General Question

zarnold's avatar

What is the best way to use my savings towards college this fall?

Asked by zarnold (685 points ) June 29th, 2007

I'm going to be a freshman, and I have a few thousand dollars in scholarships and from working.

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7 Answers

evander's avatar

If you don't have one, research and get a good laptop. Also, I would highly suggest getting a bike, depending on where you go to school. Don't go to flashy in terms of bikes; schools are magnets for thieves.

Perchik's avatar

First semester books will set you back a lot...mine cost 700$ the first semester of school. After that I'd say try to spend as little as possible, it's really easy to burn through it fast if you're not careful.
And buying a lot of stuff for your dorm can set you back. There's a good list at www.collegeboard.com somewhere about what you should take. A lot of it was stuff you don't need but might be nice. Best advice though be thrifty. Don't buy what you don't need.

@evander- only get a bike if you actually think you'll use it. I know a couple of people who bought a bike only to leave it chained up in front of the dorm all semester.

occ's avatar

I guess my advice would be: don't spend it if you can avoid spending it ...you might want that money to help pay your bills if you find a really awesome unpaid summer internship next summer...my suggestion is that once you've bought your books for the semester try not to spend much else --there is usually so much free stuff on campus, it's easy to get by as a freshman without spending too much money. And the main word of advice about financial stuff at college: don't fall prey to the credit card companies that will camp out in the student center and convince you to get a credit card--they are EVIL and will get you stuck in debt for years.

evander's avatar

Upon further reflection, having a laptop is great for school but there will be plenty of labs so it is a luxury. Perchik and occ hit it right on the nose with the recommendation to save as much as possible as there are always costs that will surprise you, especially books.

If you think you would use it, pick up a cheap bike off craigslist; if you are not sure wait until you are at school and decide.

Perchik's avatar

Well a laptop is a great thing to have, especially if your labs are anything like the ones here. There's signs everywhere "NO talking, do not answer your cellphone" but when you go in a lab you feel like the signs say "Everyone talk as loud as you can, and use your cellphone constantly"

As far as laptops though, you could get a desktop, usually cheaper than laptops.

marabu's avatar

I don't know about your college, but we do get a lot of material and powerpoint-files in pdf.-format instead of printed books, so sometimes I print up to 200 pages for a course.
Having a laptop is nice to have if you want to take notes to a special pp-sheet during a course without having to pay a LOT for printing things out.
But that depends if you can study from screen.
Also: If you do group works, like presentations or have to write some "thesis" for a course in a group a laptop comes in handy.

That said, I didn't have one for my first semesters, and I came through :) (though it IS easier now I have one..)

wildpotato's avatar

I’d absolutely go for a laptop. It allows you to audio-record lectures and save all your notes. I find it much easier to write papers if I have typed, saved notes. Also, many younger professors now use email and online Blackboard systems to send out class announcements and even conduct group projects. In one class when I lacked a home computer, I had to get on campus an hour before class every day just because the prof required that we email in our assignment from the night before by then.

It’s not as though you’d need to blow your savings for a laptop these days…if you are a Mac person you can get good deals on macmall.com, and if you like Windows or Linux check out the Asus Eee PC (these start at $250). Keep in mind that it is possible to boot Mac on Windows and Windows on Mac – though I hear that you can’t get sound to play on Mac for the Eee PC.

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