Students – Give Serious Thought to Your Credit Rating Now

iStock_000002950111XSmallFor today’s students, leaving school with good grades and a degree isn’t good enough.

In addition to your scholastic achievements, you need good credit scores if you want to land a good job and find somewhere to live.

As laid-off workers across the country have learned over the past months, employers are using credit scores as a way to thin the growing lists of applicants hoping to fill a dwindling list of job offerings.  In most cases, your credit rating isn’t relevant to the job, but if it’s poor, many potential employers will still use it to knock you out of the running for employment.

In addition, rental managers now use credit scores to evaluate tenant applicants – and turn down individuals whose credit reports don’t measure up to their standards.

If you’re in this predicament, you aren’t alone. Thousands of students share your pain.

In some cases, poor credit scores came from confident over-spending in anticipation of high future income. That confidence is probably why so many students were caught in the credit card meltdown.

You remember it – it was when credit card issuers suddenly decided to hike interest rates and slash credit lines without giving warning. It was when consumers who owed $2,000 on a $5,000 credit line suddenly learned that their credit line was now $1,500 and they were over limit.

Even if that didn’t happen, the increased interest often raised minimum monthly payments to levels that were hard to maintain – especially for students who were working part-time. And of course, using nearly 100% of a credit line lowers scores.

If you’re a student with low credit scores, begin taking action right away. Building good credit scores when you aren’t able to hold down a full-time job can take a while.

The first step is to know your credit scores. Order your free online credit report with scores and see how you stand. Your report will include the reasons why your score is less than it could be – even if it’s already good. Armed with that information, you can begin to build your credit.

Since 70% of all credit reports have errors, be sure to read the report carefully and take steps to correct any that you find.

One more thing: If you’ve gotten in over your head and can’t make minimum monthly payments, see a credit counselor for help in negotiating lower payments.

Stay away from credit repair services. They can’t do anything you can’t do, but they will  get you further in debt.

Author: Mike Clover

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Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.