College is supposed to be the best time of your life. Whether you are going into college straight out of high school or have been in the workforce for quite some time, starting college for the first time is a culture shock for everyone. You are introduced to new ideas, subjects, and philosophies that you have never experienced in your life. You are introduced to new people from all over the world. You are also presented with a unique set of responsibilities you must manage if you are to be successful at the college level. While you would hope that life after college would be all about using your degree and skills you have learned to better yourself, there are quite a few regrets that former college students have from their time in college.
One of the obvious regrets would be poor social decisions, such as neglecting homework or class to go to social functions. You do not have to live on a college campus for this to happen, as your friends and family at home can be your biggest challenge to overcome. Another possible regret? Maybe you chose a major that is not suited for your skillsets. A lot of young college students decide to pursue a business degree in hopes of earning lots of money in the future. Instead of worrying about what degree will make you the most money, you should follow a degree that generally interests you. While business degrees are great (I have one), if your passion is elsewhere, you should follow it. If your passion is marketing or financial management, then a business degree would be right for you.
The biggest regret of college students, however, is one that you may not be quick to guess. In a recent Time article by Martha C. White it was reported that, “according to Citizens Financial Group, a survey they conducted showed that 77% of former college students age 40 and younger regret not doing a better job of planning how to manage their student loan debt.” A large majority of college students will need to use student loans to successfully complete their education. Planning ahead to manage future student loan debt is obviously a great idea. Considering so many people regret not doing so, it is essential that you have a plan in place while you are still in college.
How can you do this? There are many different resources you can use. Talk to your school’s financial aid advisors, they will be happy to assist you with financial management plans. You can also take a course or two in financial planning so that you may obtain tools that will assist you for the rest of your life. A trusted parent, guardian, or friend is also a great resource to use. Also, make sure to have an open dialogue with your loan servicer. They want students to pay back their loan debt, so they will be more than willing to help you plan ahead. There are so many resources out there, so take advantage of them. After you leave school, do not fall into that 77% of students who regret not planning how to manage their student loan debt after leaving college!
By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS