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Navigating Your Early Years In College

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After high school, a person can really thrive if they choose to embrace education and move toward the pathway of going to college. However, because the early college years, in particular, are often full of new and unexpected events, activities, and situations, there is the potential for trouble to happen if you aren’t prepared. Because of this, there are all sorts of preparatory conferences and initiatives that adults put forward to teenagers moving into a more responsible realm, but lots of these youngsters don’t heed the warnings very well.

Because of this, it’s essential to put as much information out there as possible so that new college students understand what they’re getting into. A few examples will indicate just how important it is to pay attention during this period of your life. You should listen to your advisors when it comes to choosing classes. You should pay attention to traffic patterns at your campus. You should establish your food and exercise routines early. And you should do everything possible to stay out of debt. Following those four simple pieces of advice will take you a long way.

Listen To Advisors

Going to school is expensive. If you don’t want to waste that money, you should listen to your academic advisors. They have talked to hundreds if not thousands of students to get them successfully on their way. They know the mistakes that you’re going to make an advance. Because of this, even if you think you know better, you should at least take into account what these advisors are telling you, specifically when it comes to course loads and academic pathways.

Pay Attention To Traffic

Part of the college experience is being on campus, whether you are just going to class there or whether you live in the dorms. It is incredible how many people struggle with issues concerning traffic their first years on campus. If you choose to drive on campus, how likely do you think it is that you will get a traffic ticket? People are always trying to impress their friends, or they are trying to rush around because they are late. Those two things, in particular, mean there are lots of chances for younger and newer college students to get in trouble with the law.

Establish Your Food and Exercise Routines

As soon as you are away from home, you are on your own when it comes to eating right and exercising. You will hear horror stories of new college students gaining a lot of weight or otherwise becoming very unhealthy very quickly without their parents and their regular routines around. Avoid the freshman 15 by paying attention to your food and exercise habits earlier rather than later.

Stay Out of Debt

Especially if you have just acquired a credit card, it may seem simple just to buy whatever you want knowing that you don’t have to pay for it until later. This is a tragic mistake that a lot of college students make, and they can end up paying for it for years.

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Lifestyle

Tips For Purchasing A Home As A College Student

peacefulhome

Some people choose to wait until after college to get into a home of their own, but there’s no shame in shooting for the stars.  Stay ahead of the curve, and purchase your first home while you’re still in college. It may seem like a lofty goal, but it can be done.  

If you have the drive but not the direction, all you need is a little knowledge.  Take the time to read through this brief overview, featuring some useful tips for purchasing a home as a college student.  Start planning your future today.

Establish and build some credit

One of the highest hurdles to clear as a young person purchasing a home is the credit requirements.  You’re young, so you may not have an extensive credit history. The good news is that college will give you at least four years to get your credit up to par.  

You will have to actively build your credit.  Get one of your parents to name you as an authorized user on their credit card.  Invest in your own secured credit card, and always pay your bills on time.  These steps will help you move closer to a high credit score.  

Learn everything you can about the process

The process of obtaining a home is one of the most complicated things you’ll do in your life.  It will take a bit of studying to pass this test. Take the time to really dig into the steps you’ll take to purchase a home, so nothing hits you as a surprise. 

Go into the process with your eyes wide opened, and make sure you get the best deal for your individual situation.  You may even want to consider hiring a lawyer to shadow you throughout the process.

Start saving money now

It’s true that a mortgage loan will pay for the majority of your home, but you still need money to buy a house.  Depending on your personal financial history, you could pay anywhere from 3.5 to 20 percent down on a home.

Take the time to consider all of the various ways that owning your own home will cost you money, before you decide that you can handle a mortgage payment.  Your monthly mortgage payment is only the foundational monthly cost of home ownership.  

The trouble you may encounter

One issue you should be ready to conquer is making sure your front-end ratio is up to par.  Front-end ratio refers to the method lenders use to calculate whether or not you are suited for a loan.  

Your front-end ratio is calculated by dividing your projected payment by your monthly income.  The number needs to be 28 or less, if you hope to get a decent deal on a mortgage loan.  

Consider finding a qualified co-signer

If you find that you are encountering several stifling issues along your journey to purchase a home, try finding a qualified cosigner.  When you have another adult that has really great credit sign on the mortgage loan, you’ll have more options. The trick is finding someone who trusts you enough to put their name on the line.

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Lifestyle

3 Things To Do This Summer To Prepare For Going To College In The Fall

preparingforcollege

Whether it’s your first year going to college or your last few semester before you graduate, it’s a smart idea to take your summer break from school to ensure that you’re prepared for the next year you’ll be spending on campus. Not only do you need to prepare for the rigors of your education, but you also need to make sure that you’re able to keep yourself alive and well during this time. So to help you get everything in order by the time your new school year rolls around, here are three things to do this summer to prepare for going to college in the fall.

Visit Your Family Doctor

Depending on your health insurance situation, it’s likely a good idea for you to visit your family doctor while you’re still at home before you head off for your next semester of college. While your college campus likely gives you access to some medical assistance, it’s often easier to just get everything taken care of while you’re close to your family doctor and can get everything covered by your insurance. While at your appointment, Jeremy S. Hyman and Lynn F. Jacobs, contributors to U.S. News and World Report, recommend that you get any prescriptions that you might need. Additionally, it’s a good idea to get your eyes checked so you can get prescription glasses or blue light glasses to help protect your eyes while at school.

Brush Up On Some Life Skills

For many people, going off to college is going to be the first time that they’re living on their own or without immediate parental supervision. Because of this, it can be a very steep learning curve as you have to take care of all of your needs completely on your own. To ensure that you’re ready for all this new responsibility, Walter Glenn, a contributor to LifeHacker.com, advises that you spend some of your time at home brushing up on some life skills you’ll need while at school. This should include things like learning how to do your own laundry, managing your finances, basic car maintenance and more.

Prepare For Your Upcoming Classes

As soon as you can, Kelsey Mulvey, a contributor to the Huffington Post, recommends that you get yourself registered for your classes. By doing this, you’ll ensure that you get the classes you want at the times that work best for you. Additionally, by knowing what classes you’ll be taking as soon as possible, you’ll be able to take your time finding your required books at the best prices and catching up on any summer reading or homework that you need to have done before the first day of classes.

If you’re heading off to college in the fall, consider doing some of the things mentioned above to help you prepare for this next chapter in your life.

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Lifestyle

3 Tips For Transitioning Your Relationship With Your Parents As You Become An Adult

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When you were younger, you needed your parent’s help for almost everything. But as you got older and learned from them, your grew in both size and independence. For many people, by the time they reach 18-years-old, they’re ready to spread their wings and try living life on their own. But although you might feel ready for this, your parents might still see you as their little baby who needs them for every little thing. Because this way of thinking is so common, on both the parts of the young adults and their parents, many young adults struggle with knowing how to get their parents to start treating them like an adult rather than as their child anymore. So to help you in this area, here are three tips for transitioning your relationship with your parents as you become an adult.

Act Like A Fellow Adult

To get your parents to see you as an adult, you have to start acting like one. According to the editors of Reader’s Digest, it can be helpful to start viewing your relationship with your parents in the same way you’d view any relationship with another adult of their age. Then, when you interact with them, do so as if you were interacting with one of their friends. While this might seem strange at first, it can be very helpful in getting both parties to think about their relationship in a new light.

Create Clear Boundaries When You Need Them

One of the biggest complaints that many young adults have about their relationship with their parents is that they still try to be too involved in their life. To combat this, Susan Newman, a contributor to U.S. News and World Report, recommends that you set clear boundaries with your parents when you need them. For example, if you don’t want your parents to comment on your academic life or your romantic relationships, let them know that these topics are off-limits and that you won’t talk about them. While you can change these boundaries in the future, they can be very important to help your parents to know what’s not okay anymore when interacting with you.

Don’t Ask For Advice Unless You’re Ready To Receive It

It can be very hard to adjust the parent-child dynamic, even when you become an adult yourself. For many children, they still feel the need to counsel with their parents or get their advice about things. If this is something you’re still wanting, Maud Purcell, a contributor to PsychCentral.com, recommends that you only ask for their advice if you actually want it and will use it. So if you don’t actually want your parents to know why you got in that car accident last week, don’t call them asking about how to handle your issues with your insurance carrier.

If you’re ready for your parents to start seeing you as the adult you are, consider using the tips mentioned above to help your relationship move into this next phase of life.

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Lifestyle

3 Tips For Maximizing Your Time in College Classes

As part of being a college student, you’ll wind up taking a bunch of classes. At times, these classes will be supremely interesting and enlightening. At other times, you might really struggle to stay awake throughout the entire hour. But regardless of how you feel about your class, your ultimate academic success will largely depend on how you handle these classes and learn the materials presented. So to help ensure you’re able to do this effectively, here are three tips for making the most of the time you spend in your college classes:

Sit Near The Front Of The Classroom

To give yourself the best chance of success in the classroom, you have to set yourself up to listen well and pay attention. As part of this, GetSchooled.com recommends that you sit in the front of the classroom or lecture hall. Not only will this allow you to see the board or screen more clearly, but it will also put you sitting closer to your professor. And while this might not be something you’re particularly excited about, being right up from will encourage you to keep quiet, stay awake and alert, and limit your distractions. So rather than sitting in the back row with your phone in your hand for the entire class, move yourself forward and actually pay attention to what the professor is trying to teach you.

Get To Know Your Professor

Speaking of your professor, it can be insanely helpful and beneficial to you as a student if you get to know the professors that you’re taking classes from. Getting to know your professors, either through your class participation or from scheduling meetings during their office hours, will help you stand apart from the rest of their students. The benefits to this include feeling more invested in their class and their subject matter as well as building connections that you can use well into the future of your academic or professional career. But when trying to get to know your professors better, Carolyn Cutrone and Melissa Stanger, contributors to Business Insider, recommend you start from the very beginning of your class time with them, as the stresses of the semester can quickly build and make relationship building with staff members much harder.

Be Smart About How You Take Notes

To actually do well in your classes, meaning that you learn and understand the material and can perform well on tests, it’s often vital that you can take good notes during class. To help you with this, Elizabeth Lundin, a contributor to College Info Geek, advises that you take notes by hand rather than on a laptop or tablet. By doing this, your brain will more easily absorb the information and convert it into your memory. Additionally, you’ll need to find an effective way for you to take notes, as this can vary drastically from person to person.

If you’re wanting to do well in your college classes, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you get the most out of the time you spend in classes or lectures.

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Lifestyle

3 Ways In Which Pop Culture Influences The Everyday Lives of Young People

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For most people, we become a product of the things and people that we surround ourselves with. In previous decades, this included your family, your circle of friends, and what some clever marketing executives could convince you to think when you saw their ads. But today, there’s so much more sponsorship and branding and celebrity anywhere we look that it’s almost impossible to not have this pop culture seep into every aspect of your life, especially for teens or young adults. To show you just how pervasive this can be, here are three ways in which pop culture influences the everyday lives of young people.

Their Own Self Image and Self Worth

While modern technology has made many things easier in life, it’s also created bigger problems where they didn’t exist in the past. For example, it’s natural to spend some time comparing yourself to those around. However, with pop culture influences, young people now find that they’re comparing themselves to people who aren’t even all that real. It takes teams of people hours and hours to create the looks that we see on the red carpet or on our phone screens. But despite this, Bethany of ParentingInProgress.net reminds us that so many young adult—and adults alike—find their own self image or self-worth wrapped up in how they compare to these people they see on tv. While this can be helpful if you look up to someone who’s real and honest, it can be harmful if the person is manipulating their own image that the public sees.

Make Choices In Order To Replicate Celebrities

So much of people’s fashion choices or personal style can be attributed to what they’ve seen done in recent pop culture. According to Audrey Tramel, a contributor to LiveStrong.com, many young adults will see a celebrity they admire wearing a certain brand of clothes, dress in a particular style, or change their appearance in some way and will then want to replicate what that celebrity is doing in their own life. Sometimes, this mimicking is so subtle that people don’t even realize they’re doing it. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can stunt young adults from discovering who they really are without these influences.

Finding Others With Similar Interests

On a more positive note, pop culture can also really help to bring people together who have similar interests but might not have naturally been drawn to one another. Thanks to both the ubiquity of certain parts of pop culture and the prevalence of social media, it’s now easy to find people all over the world who appreciate the same cultural phenomenons as you. According to Sre Ratha, a contributor to Medium.com, things like Comic-Con are proof that pop culture can turn from being something enjoyed on your own to something you’re able to share with other people.

To help you have a better understanding of how pop culture might be affecting your life, consider how you can see the information presented above in the ways you think and act.

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Lifestyle

3 Things You Should Do To Stay Safe On Campus As A College Student

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While college is ideally meant to be a time where you further your education and experience things that will prove to be beneficial to you later on in life, sometimes things on a college campus can get out of hand. With so many young people in such a small area, it’s easy to see how various safety issues can arise that require students to be careful and learn how to best protect themselves. So to help ensure that you don’t run into any trouble or scary situations while you’re going to school, here are three things you should do to stay safe on campus as a college student.

Be Extra Careful At Night

Although you might enjoy spending time by yourself occasionally, you should be careful when doing this at night in your college town. While you might be perfectly safe when other students are walking the halls or strolling down the sidewalks, being on your own could make you a target for nefarious behavior. According to Melissa Darcey, a contributor to Safewise.com, you should try to walk with another person or ask to be escorted by campus security if you’re going to be moving around campus by yourself at night. There’s always safety in numbers, and traveling with another person once the sun goes down can help you stay safe.

Practice Party Safety

At many colleges, there are going to be opportunities for you to attend parties. While you should be drinking before you’re of legal age, it’s still important to know how to stay safe at a party no matter when or where you plan to go to one. According to Zia Sampson, a contributor to CollegeExpress.com, some rules you should following when going to a party include always having a designated driver so you don’t wind up behind the wheel while drunk, as well as never accepting drinks from a stranger. In fact, always opening your own drinks or watching them be made for you is going to be the best way for you to ensure that you’re not consuming something that you didn’t intend.  

Know The Safety Procedures At Your School

Sadly, emergencies can take place at college campuses regardless of what school you’re attending, so it’s important to know what procedures are in place to keep you safe and what you should do if and when an emergency event takes place. According to Jeff Rosen and Joe Enoch, contributors to Today.com, you should save the campus security phone number into your phone so you can report anything that you think looks suspicious as well as get information if there’s an emergency taking place on campus.

If you’re wanting to find ways that you can be safer when on your college campus, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you do just that.

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Lifestyle

Is a Career as a CPA Right for You?

Career as a CPA

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) sounds like a good idea on paper. It’s a reliable career path with some good earning potential and plenty of opportunities. But are you suited for this career? And, if so, how do you become a CPA?

Why Become a CPA?

When you pursue a career as an accountant, people – including friends, family members, professors, and colleagues – always ask the same question: Are you going to get your CPA license? But have you ever paused to consider why people reference the CPA route so often?

While the acronym sounds pretty slick, there’s more to becoming a CPA than being able to put those three letters next to your name at the top of a resume. Some of the benefits include:

  • The money is hard to beat. A CPA typically makes 10-15 percent more per year than standard accountants (and many make considerably higher amounts).
  • It’s hard to find a career that offers more job security and stability than a CPA. Employment of CPAs is supposed to increase rather dramatically over the next few years, and every medium-sized and large company needs one (or multiple) on staff.
  • Most people think of CPAs as pencil pushers who sit in an office all day and look at spreadsheets, but there’s actually a lot of variety in the industry. Not only can you work for companies across many different fields, but there are also plenty of niches – including really interesting jobs like those found in forensic accounting.

At the end of the day, being a CPA sets you apart. It comes with prestige and respect – as well as the knowledge that you’re in the upper echelon of your profession. And with that sort of reputation and confidence, there are very few limitations on how you can proceed.

How to Become a CPA

“The board of accountancy requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting or some specific number of units in accounting,” Accountingverse explains. “The certification also requires that you complete and pass the CPA licensure exam. Candidates are required to pass each exam part with a grade not lower than 75%. Additional rules and conditions may be set by the board.”

Sounds simple enough, right? Well…not so fast. The CPA exam is extremely tough. Each year, more people fail than pass each of the exam’s four parts. If you want to become a CPA, you have to be diligent in your preparation and strategic in your execution.

1. Carve Out Plenty of Time to Study

Nothing takes the place of study time. This isn’t a high school science test that you can cram for the night before and pass with flying colors. If you want to stand a chance of passing, you need to really put in the time.

In all, you should be spending 90-120 hours preparing for each section of the exam. That’s a total of 360-480 hours. At 18 hours per week (two hours per workday and eight hours over the weekends), that means you need to spend five to six weeks per section.

2. Choose the Right Exam Prep Course

The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. There are CPA exam prep courses available online, and they’re extremely helpful. Not only do they have lots of good content, but they also help pace your studying.

The key is to choose the right exam prep course. While any course provider can rattle off a bunch of features and benefits of using their materials, you ultimately want to listen to the people who have taken these courses in the past. Look for exam prep services that provide customer testimonials and course reviews.

3. Practice Case-Based Simulation

The multiple-choice questions on the CPA exam are fairly straightforward. The most challenging aspect is the case-based simulation, where you’re required to replicate real-world situations. This accounts for 30 percent of the exam (and is the area where most people have trouble).

As you prepare for the exam, spend a lot of time working through case-based simulations. A good exam prep service will have an abundance of these scenarios in their curriculum.

Jumpstart Your Career

Nothing jumpstarts your career as an accountant quite like getting your CPA certification. But to do so, you need to start by passing the CPA exam. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical suggestions on how you can set yourself up for success.

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Lifestyle

Choosing The Right Jewelry For Your First Job Interview

Choosing The Right Jewelry For Your First Job Interview

Preparing for your first job interview can be intimidating. What questions will they ask? Is the company a good fit for you? What should you wear? Though that last question may seem comparatively mundane, you only get one first impression. Choosing a professional outfit can give you confidence and ensure your interviewer takes you seriously. It’s how you get your foot in the door.

Though most of us have a general grasp of interview dress – suits, blazers, no wrinkles – choosing accessories can be especially hard. While the right piece of jewelry can dress up a simple outfit so that it looks more professional, the wrong accessories can be distracting and detrimental to our presentation. Before you step out the doors, here’s what accessories will help you make your mark, and which to avoid.

Keep It Simple

The most important rule to keep in mind when choosing jewelry for an interview is that you should always keep it simple. This applies to both the number of items you wear and the types of items. Skip the giant earrings, piles of bracelets, and giant statement necklaces. And always keep Coco Chanel’s basic styling rule in line: “Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.”

Rings And Things

Most of the conversations about rings for interviews focus on whether engagement rings and wedding bands are appropriate. (Hint: they’re totally fine.) But what about other rings?

Skip the big cocktail rings and instead opt for a simple band or a small birthstone ring. Birthstones like August’s peridot gem or July’s ruby are also a great way to add a pop of color to your outfit without going over the top. Maybe they’ll even bring you luck – many people think wearing or carrying your birthstone can offer special protections.

Rock A Watch

Whether you’re a man or a woman, you can never go wrong wearing a watch to a job interview – as long as it’s not covered in gems or glitter. Watches show that you’re concerned about timeliness and responsibility, and will also keep you from continuously looking at your phone. Men can also compliment a watch with a pair of simple cufflinks.

Necklaces And Necklines

If you’re going to wear a necklace, there are a few rules you should follow. First, make sure you have a high neckline so that it doesn’t seem as though your necklace is drawing attention to your cleavage. This is unprofessional and can be perceived as flirting. You should also avoid chunky necklaces or large religious pendants. Instead, opt for a thin chain and small pendant or a thin strand of pearls.

Avoid Jangling And Dangling

Finally, when choosing accessories, skip distracting items like jangling bracelets that make noise when you move against something or large, ostentatious earrings. You want your credentials to speak for themselves, and noisy and dangling jewelry can take away from your presentation. If there’s any reason to keep your accessories to a minimum, it’s this – keep the focus on your abilities, not your appearance.

The finer details of what to wear when going on your first job interview depend on the type of job you’re interviewing for, but these rules will help you make a great first impression. So take off all those extra accessories and grab your resume. You’re ready to rock your first interview.

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Lifestyle

6 Things Your Landlord Won’t Tell You

6 Things Your Landlord Won’t Tell You

Most college students rent an apartment or house while attending school, usually with a roommate or two. The housing is often less than ideal, but it makes rent more affordable while you worry about mounting student debt and living expenses.

Finding a good apartment with a fair landlord isn’t easy. Landlords tend to be pretty selective when renting to college students, and rental properties surrounding college campuses are competitive. If you don’t move quickly, you’re likely to miss out on a good deal.

Learning the secrets is one of the best ways to get a good deal on your apartment. Here are some things landlords don’t want you to find out.

1. They’re making a lot of money on your rent.

The popularity of renting is increasing everywhere, but especially in college communities. Landlords can typically raise the rent on your property without ruffling too many feathers. The market is so competitive that incremental increases won’t stop the applications from coming in.

If you’re sharing the rent cost with three other people, the profits are even higher. Instead of charging one family $1,200 for a three bedroom unit, they charge each person $500, bringing their total to $1,500. And unless your contract stipulates differently, they can raise the rent on you at any time.

The best thing you can do is sign a contract that has your rent price locked in either until you move or for a lengthy period of time, such as two years.

2. The government regulates a lot of their processes.

Landlords will tell you things like no pets and no Section 8 housing vouchers. However, your local, state, or federal government might make a different mandate. If you present a doctor’s note stating that you need an emotional support animal, your landlord is legally obligated to allow it.

Research local government regulations surrounding rentals in your community. You might be surprised what you can do according to law, even if your landlord tells you no.

3. They often don’t know what they’re doing.

Although your landlord made you fill out a lengthy application with a background check and references, you don’t get to return the favor. In many cases, your landlord will be inexperienced at best, even though you have no way of knowing ahead of time.

Whether they’re renting until they can sell their house or they’re new investors without a clue, you’re stuck with this person as your landlord, even if they’re slow with repairs and don’t always adhere to rental laws.

Unfortunately, there’s very little government control over landlord affairs, which is how so many novice landlords get the job. However, you can discuss your options with an attorney or simply threaten to sue if they aren’t keeping their half of the bargain. No landlord wants a legal battle, so a well-founded threat often does the trick.

4. You have certain inviolate rights to your privacy.

It’s true that your apartment is the property of your landlord, which gives them certain rights to walk in at a given time. However, they are required by law to notify you within a reasonable amount of time before coming in.

Additionally, they cannot rifle through your things or take what’s yours. These privacy rights are founded by law no matter where you live.

5. This rental might be illegal.

You might consider checking the zoning laws of a potential residence before signing the lease. Zoning laws may prohibit residential or rental properties in a certain part of town, and if your landlord has ignored or is unaware of those laws, you could be living somewhere illegally.

While you won’t get in trouble if your landlord is discovered, you will have to move. Moving in the middle of a stressful semester at school is hardly worth the risk.

6. You can get your full deposit back as long as you meet the terms of your lease agreement.

Most renters are used to having a portion of their deposit deducted when they move out, and many landlords will take some of your deposit, even if they have no cause. However, you’re required by law to get your full deposit back if you don’t violate the lease. Usually, all you have to do is leave it clean and undamaged, and you’ll see the full check.

Furthermore, there are laws regulating the amount, and once in hand, the deposit is protected. It must go into a special account where it can’t be touched until you move out.

Unfortunately, some landlords ignore this rule, and you don’t always get your full deposit back as a result. If you’re concerned about it, ask your landlord what he does with your deposit before handing it over.

An informed tenant is more likely to get a good deal on their housing. Keep these secrets in mind as you go house hunting next semester!

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