Things You Should Know Before Signing up for College

Proof of Residency for College

Colleges have this thing about residency, living within their stumping ground. The tuition is up to 100 percent more for non-natives of the municipality. Out-of-state students are flipped upside down then rattled until lint falls from both pockets. But why stop there? Even supposing you move to the new state, you have to show proof of residency for at least one year.

So make sure your driver’s license matches your (in-state) address and keep those old telephone bills, a sweet reminder of how cheap talking to Aunt Beatrice used to be. If you want to pay in-state tuition, most likely you will have to wait one year before you sign up for school. If you just can’t stomach the waiting time, pay the fee and get on with your college education.

Up to date with your Immunizations for College?

Most colleges or universities require proof of vaccinations before you can register, so have your medical records ready. College kids are contagious! Well, people gathered in such small quarters are suspect, apparently, according to the Department of Education.

In all likelihood, you’ve had the pleasure of needle pricks before you started kindergarten in the United States. If you haven’t, it’s time to get over your needle phobia and head down to the Department of Public Health and roll up your sleeves. They’ll give you “school shots” free.

If you’ve lost your immunization records, you’d have to get your Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) shots repeated. The lady at the Health Department assured me that I wasn’t going to die of Toxic Shock Syndrome when I had a do-over. My childhood vaccination records were six states over and 20 years in the past. It wasn’t worth it to me to start that kind of adventure.

Persons with pre-existing health conditions should consult a doctor before getting vaccinated, especially a second time around. Also, some schools may want you to get an optional meningitis vaccine. If you plan to live in a dorm room, the school may make you get the shot. That is, if you want to live in the dorms. Read about the possible side effects of the meningitis vaccine.

Privacy Concerns in College

You’ll have to give up your social security number if you decide to go back to college. All those years your parents taught you to guard that “serial number” with your life. Identity theft hasn’t made you sleep easier either. Crooks are on the loose with credit card scams. They’re even becoming dead people (at their own peril!). But the college wants this number so they can keep track of you. They’ll call it your “student I.D. number.”

However, in most cases, you can opt out and use a different identification number. But if you’re receiving federal student aid or attending a college or university that does receive federal funds, you might have to give it up for tax purposes and identification. Find out more about identity theft or see the video below.

Some College Degrees Cost More Than Others

Some college degrees cost more than others at public universities. A business degree, for example, cost $500 more each semester at the University of Wisconsin. And at the University of Nebraska, engineering students pay $40 more per credit hour, roughly $120 more per class. Journalism students? Get ready to pay $250 more per semester at Arizona State University–even though a journalist’s salary isn’t stellar. The reasons stated behind this effort are that public universities need to hire quality professors, like their private cohorts*.

Private universities haven’t caught on to this college trend. Then again, their tuition is higher overall. I don’t doubt for a second that they’d turn down this lucrative opportunity to put more money into their pocketbooks when they get a chance.


* Glater, Jonathan D. “Certain Degrees Now Cost More at Public Universities.” The New York Times 29 July 2007: Education.


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    Deter. Detect. Defend. Avoid ID Theft - Play VideoVideo
    A 10-minute educational video that provides an overview of identity theft and outlines the steps consumers can take