Advice: Straight to the Point

establish credit
Students may be smart to establish credit while at college. (photo illustration by Colleen Magyar)

By Karlesha V Hewitt & Dana LeMarbre
Question: Should I establish credit while I am a student or not?
Answer: To have credit or not to have credit, that is the question. If you are over 17, it seems like an absolutely great idea to begin establishing credit. After all, a good credit history follows you just as easily as a bad credit history. Of course, having no credit history at all is just as unfavorable because it can’t benefit you in any way.
As a student, it is sometimes difficult to attain, and then maintain, a credit card. We have all heard the best way to get credit is to get a credit card, but we shouldn’t forget that in order to do this, we must also have income to pay on the card. However, there are some other options to building credit. You can take out a loan of some sort: a car loan, a bank loan, or a personal loan. I have heard of some students getting personal loans and paying off the loan with the loan money. The purpose of this is so you can increase your credit score without actually incurring any debt.
Another good idea would be to get a credit card, and give it to your parents to hold on to. When you are ready to make a purchase, or handle an emergency, ask your parents for the card. Of course prior to using the card, you’d need to have a plan in place to pay off the card, especially if you are bad with money.
Whichever method you choose, I say establish your credit as a student only if you truly believe you are responsible enough to manage the task. If you are not so responsible and do not think the other options I have offered will do, wait it out and work on establishing credit when you feel ready.
Question: I’m a senior with no idea what I want to do with my life, any advice?
Answer: It is understandable that you feel this way. Graduation anxiety consumes many seniors prior to the big day. At this point, it is helpful to come to terms with whether or not you are as passionate about your major as when you were a freshman. If you are not, then maybe it’s time to assess what makes you happy and what you are good at.
The first step is to graduate; a degree goes a long way. Be loyal to yourself and complete the commitment to extend your education. Hopefully your GPA is in good shape – it is estimated that 82 percent of all companies look at your transcripts before they hire you. Remember, you do have to earn a living while you’re trying to find yourself – unless you’re moving back in with your parents with no intentions of working.
It’s okay that you are unsure. At least you are honest enough to admit it to yourself. Continue to work hard at moving forward. Not too many people are successful in life drinking beer on mom’s couch, and most importantly, we are all in charge with our own happiness.