College Graduation & My Tips

August 22, 2013
As many of you know, I recently graduated from The Ohio State University with my Master's degree.  Looking back on my college experience, there were a few things that I was really glad I did...Here is my advice!

1) Take the maximum number of credit hours if you think you can handle it!  Sometimes I even asked for special permission to go over the number allowed like this one quarter when I took 22 credits.  Many universities just have a different tuition rate for full/part-time status.  To be considered a full time student at OSU, you had to have over 12 credit hours, but I always tried to take more than that because I was paying the full time tuition rate whether I was taking 12 credit hours or 20.  Think of it like this... If I had taken 15 credit hours for three quarters as opposed to 20 credit hours for those same three quarters, I would still have had three classes to take, and that would have been a whole other quarter of paying the full time rate when I could have gotten them for free basically!  Yeah, sometimes it was a little stressful and I had a ton of homework, but I knocked the requirements out of the way and did it in a way that saved me thousands of dollars.  Check and see how the tuition works at your university, and if it works like OSU did, it could really be so much cheaper to take more classes at once.

2)  Take advantage of study abroad opportunities if that's your thing.  So many people have told me that they really regret not studying abroad in college, so if you think you're interested, it doesn't hurt to find out about what programs your university has to offer early on.  At Ohio State, there were tons of study abroad opportunities for undergraduate students.  For me, as an International Studies/French major, I got credit for a whole year abroad, but there are plenty of options for those with any major because some general education classes have optional trips tacked on at the end.  Whether you want to go abroad for a whole year or semester or just for a few weeks, meet with an advisor and look into it ASAP so that you can figure out when to fit it in and so that you can start budgeting for it right away.  I was lucky enough to study abroad three times through OSU.  I had my year abroad that I previously mentioned, and as a graduate student, I went to Haiti to South Africa on a study tour.  It wasn't even as expensive as it sounds because I was able to get some travel grants, so make sure to ask about those, too!

3)  Find a part-time job that is willing to be flexible with your schedule.  So many of my friends were forced into quitting their part time jobs because employers were okay with their class schedule one quarter but not okay with it the next.  As a college student, I kept my high school job of working in a movie theater.  It was perfect for me because the theater worked with my availability.  The theater's busiest times just happened to be when I was available to work, which was during weekends, breaks for the holiday, and in the summer.  During my student teaching experience, almost everyone had to quit their jobs, but I was allowed to work just one day a week and then pick up more hours when student teaching was over and I'm so grateful for that!

4)  Apply for scholarships and grants!  For my undergraduate experience, I did not really do this, but during my Master's I applied for so many scholarships and grants, even ones that I didn't think I would get.  I was truly surprised at how many times I was actually awarded the scholarship or grant.  I applied for scholarships through my university, for local scholarships, and I even got one from my work! It doesn't hurt to try!

5) Find your niche.  During my freshman year of college, I didn't really join any clubs and spent most of my time hanging out with my roommates.  Almost all of them were very nice girls, but none of them were really interested in French/study abroad/travel like I was.  When I was a sophomore, I started going to French Club and hanging out a bit more with people in my French classes, and I feel that this was very beneficial for me because I had my "own thing" going on, and I made a really good friend out of it who went with me to France on my year long study abroad trip.  Looking back, I wish I would have gotten even more involved during my undergraduate years.

6)  Search for the best deals on textbooks.  Or share a textbook with a friend...or even see if you are able to buy an earlier edition instead since those sell for a fraction of the cost of the newer edition.  As a college freshman, I was a little naive and just bought my books at the campus bookstore and didn't compare prices or anything.  As a graduate student, I used DealOz.Com a lot because all you have to do is type in the book you're searching for and a list of available books will come up.  You can search by price and even find coupons and deals from various merchants.  This saved me hundreds of dollars in the long run!

Now I'll leave you with some photos from my graduation.





If you went to college, what are some things that you are glad you did?
7 comments on "College Graduation & My Tips"
  1. Congratulations again! Such good advice! Why would you take 12 credits when you can take 18? I never understood that - does anyone really want to be a 5th year Senior? And yes use those 4 years to discover everything in this world you can - because once its over things will never be quite right for those adventures again!

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    1. Thanks! I'm so glad it's done with and that I can move onto the next part of my life! :)

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  2. Congrats on your Masters! I wish I would have done Study Abroad when I was in college, but I am really glad that I worked on campus and took lots of hours :)

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    1. Thank you. Working on campus seems like it would be very convenient!

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  3. Congtatulations! You are absolutely right, especially about the credit hours. One thing I'm really glad I did was the post-secondary option Ohio offers - I took 30 credits during my senior year, for FREE, for dual credit! I highly recommend it to all college-bound seniors :-) BTW - my best friends graduated from OSU, and I graduated from Miami! We live a little south of Dayton - yay for a fellow Buckeye in bloggy world!

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    1. Yes, post-secondary seems so worth it! My parents wouldn't let me do it because they didn't want to buy me a car to get to college. Eventually they bought a third car and let all three of my younger siblings do the post-secondary option.
      That's cool that you live in Ohio, too. :D

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  4. You have a wonderful blog!! I'm your newest GFC follower from the “That Friday“ blog hop - this is my blog if you wanted to follow back: godsgrowinggarden.com
    Thanks
    Angie
    PS – I would also like to invite you to a networking blog hop that lasts 1 month long: “The Chain Linky CLIMB” currently live on my blog– Thank you! Chain Linky CLIMB

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