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GREady: Get Ready for Graduate School

Do you want to attend graduate school? If the answer is yes, shift the gear in drive. This blog will help you 1) stay informed about graduate programs, 2) decide on graduate schools, 3) apply for graduate schools (including the GRE and personal statements), 4) prepare for interviews, 5) find funding and lots more. Although this site cannot guarantee a masters or doctoral position, it does promise that you will be a very competitive candidate for your desired program!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Financial Planning for Recent College Grads

In “A Survival Guide for College Grads”, M.P. Dunleavey stresses the point that all college grads need a plan for financial security. Dunleavey states that on average, a recent college grad has student loans amounting to $20,000, which means monthly payments of $200. In addition to this, college graduates have credit card debt of roughly $3,000 due to living expenses and books. In order to start making payments while avoiding destitution, Dunleavey suggests that all students need to find a job and fast. Another option is going to graduate school or professional school, which will extend the payment date on loans at least until graduation.

Collegegrad.com advises students to form a strict budget plan needed to obtain a job.

1) Cell phone plan so that potential employers can reach you easily

a. Graduate Buddy’s suggestion: Get a prepaid cell phone so that you are not forced into a year long contract that might have hidden costs (minute overages, roaming charges, disconnection fee, etc.) Prepaid cell phones are just as reliable as cell phone contracts.

2) $200 for interview suit

a. Graduate Buddy’s suggestion: $200 for a suit that you only wear for interviews and to your sister’s wedding seems a little exorbitant. Instead shop at Target, Fashion Bug, or eBay and look like you are wearing a $200 suit instead of forking out the big bucks.

3) $10 for a professional pen so that you look like a serious job seeker

a. Graduate Buddy’s suggestion: Again spending huge amounts of money that you do not have, is not necessary. Buy a professional looking pen on clearance at Target for $3-$6.

In addition to the above Dunleavey states that college grads should keep in mind other expenses like rent, security, deposit, utilities, and invisibles. Dunleavey writes invisibles are all those hidden costs that you never had to worry over before. Invisible costs are items like food, kitchen tools, and other household planning expenditures. All rooms in your apartment have hidden costs:
1) Living room
2) Bedroom
3) Bathroom
4) Kitchen
5) Dining room
(Graduate Buddy thinks you can wait on purchasing furniture and other accessories for this room as it is not essential at the start)
6) Miscellaneous (cleaning supplies, iron, iron board, pet supplies)

Dunleavey lists a couple of ways you can check off the above rooms:

1) Price everything you need before going to the store. This way you will not spend over your budget.

2) Peruse the dormitories. College students will leave furniture and other goods in the hallway for the garbage. Instead think of the leftover rule and use them for your own place. Can we say environmental friendly?

3) Go to the dollar stores.

4) Graduate Buddy’s suggestion: Check out second-hand stores such as Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army.

To read M.P. Dunleavey’s article go to “A Survival Guide for College Grads.”

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