College classes are becoming quite project oriented. Instead of a couple of exams and a paper, you might be enacting a scene from Hamlet (i.e., costumes and scenery) or creating a trivia game (i.e., prizes and materials) to illustrate principles of psychology. If your class dealing with issues around American poverty partners with a children's shelter, you might be tempted to bring toys or articles of clothing to underprivileged children there. You may be creating your own book of urban myths or a puppet show to illustrate the life of Michelangelo. The bottom line is this: You may need to have some cash on hand for these out-of-pocket class expenses.
Even without projects, you will probably be asked to pay for blue books (test booklets), scantrons (answer sheets), and the miscellaneous mid-term reference book that is checked out of the library until 2015.
You will also likely need money for transportation. Whether it is the subway or bus, your car or a buddy's car, you will need to pay to get somewhere. If your roommate always drives, you should plan to chip in for gas money. If you are the auto owner, you will have maintenance expenses, insurance, and gas costs in addition to your car payments (if you have those). You also need to factor in transportation costs to and from home. (Believe it or not, you will want to go home to visit your folks and that pesky little sister and dorky little brother!) Consider the cost of plane, train, or bus tickets or the cost of helping pay for gas for that hometown friend who is driving home with you riding "shotgun."
College provides numerous opportunities, many of which require participating students to pay some money. Studies abroad, service trips, activity fees, or costs associated with Greek life can add up. These can be worthwhile experiences, though, so don't write them off just because of the dollar figure. Save up some cash so you will be prepared to take advantage of a rafting trip in Costa Rica or a study of Renaissance art in Italy or spring break at the beach. If the Winter Formal is your idea of fun, remember that it costs money to clothe yourself appropriately, and then plan accordingly.
Planning is really the name of the game here. To avoid those off to college blues...plan ahead for spending the "green" each semester.