Grad is approaching way quicker than you think. Don’t leave those critical adult things until the very last minute.  I want to help you get ready for college and university in the easiest ways possible.  

1. Budgeting   

Start by tracking all your expenses for a month or two. This will help you see where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut back. Once you have a good idea of your expenses, create a budget. List all your income sources and allocate funds to your expenses, prioritizing necessities like housing, food, and transportation. Be realistic about your expenses and income. Don’t overestimate how much money you have coming in or underestimate your spending. Set aside some money each month for unexpected expenses and emergencies. You can also save for future expenses like tuition or a study abroad program. Finally, look for ways to cut back on expenses. This could mean cooking at home instead of eating out, using public transportation instead of owning a car, or finding free or low-cost entertainment options. CIBC has a super useful budget calculator that will make your life 10x easier, check it out here.  

2. Invest in a Good Computer  

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to get a laptop, that time has come. I think a good laptop is essential for succeeding in class. A good laptop will have a fast processor, high-quality graphics card, and sufficient RAM to ensure quick and smooth performance. This means you can run multiple programs without slowing down your computer, a key aspect for university and college when you have 100 tabs open simultaneously. In addition, a high-quality computer will come with better security features like firewalls, anti-virus software, and malware protection. The good news is you have many options, but you should do individual research to determine which is perfect for you.  

As an SPC member, you can save on these brands!  

3. Credit Card  

If you don’t already have a credit card, it’s time to get one. Not only is having a credit card necessary for online shopping, but it’s also essential to build credit. What is credit? When you buy something on a credit card, you’re borrowing that money from the bank until you pay your credit bill at the end of that payment term. We recommend a CIBC Dividend Visa for these reasons; Earn $60 cash back after you make your first purchase† with a CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students! Plus, earn 2% cash back on eligible groceries and up to 1% on purchases like books, movies, food and more. It’s the perfect card for students new to credit, it’s easy to use, and you are eligible for a FREE SPC+ membership with this card. It’s a win-win.   

4. Scholarships / Bursaries   

To maximize your chances of qualifying for scholarships and bursaries, research them as far in advance as possible. Here are a few resources to get you started:  

  • Scholarship Canada – This website allows you to search for scholarships and bursaries by province, field of study, and level of study. You can also create a profile to receive personalized scholarship matches.  
  • Yconic – Yconic offers a comprehensive database of scholarships and bursaries available to Canadian students. You can search for scholarships by keyword, level of study, and location.  
  • Student Awards – This website offers a searchable database of scholarships and bursaries available to Canadian students. You can also create a profile to receive personalized scholarship matches.  
  • Government of Canada – The Government of Canada offers a variety of scholarships and bursary programs for Canadian students. You can search for programs on their website or contact the financial aid office at your institution for more information.  
  • Universities and Colleges – Many universities and colleges in Canada offer their own scholarship and bursary programs. Check the financial aid section of the institution’s website for more information on available programs and how to apply.  

5. Jobs  

Consider potential part-time job options before getting to post-secondary. If you stay home for university or college, your options will be much broader. If you’re staying on campus, finding a job at your school might make the most sense, especially if it’s walkable and they can work around your school requirements. Most schools will have some sort of job posting section on their website that you can use to find work, especially if you’re interested in more of a work/study opportunity like research. If you’re most interested in a casual part-time job on campus, consider working at the bookstore, library, coffee shop, restaurant (tips got me through school), or any little shop you have around. I advise getting those resumés out as soon as possible. It could be pretty competitive, depending on how many students and positions there are.   

2 thoughts on “Get Grad Ready”
  1. My favourite back to school essentials would have to be pens of course. I just need that extra spark in my study notes with different colours to choose from, to make studying just a little more enjoyable 🙂

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