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6 tips for international post-graduate success

Prodigy Finance - May 14, 2019

Practical financial tips for international master’s grads

You’ve made it through the trials of school applications, all the long hours, heavy workloads and intense studying sessions.

Your well-earned degree is in hand, and your future spreads wide across the horizon.

Now what?

Whether you’re pursuing further education or want to relocate for work experience, here are 6 real-world success tips for your credit, career and finances. 

1. How to relocate after graduation

  • Get help with your move: As a new international graduate, it can be difficult to secure a new place to live without credit history or a credit score. Leap offers foreign students and grads rental assistance for those who need a co-signer to be approved for a lease.
  • Update your address right away: In the US, updating your address is super easy – all you need to do is head to the post office. (Or, you can submit your change of address online for a $1 fee). This simple step ensures your mail will be forwarded to where you live now, giving you time to change your mailing address with each of your creditors. Remember, you are still on the hook for your bills even if you move.
  • Report rent to credit bureaus: Check whether your landlords are reporting your rental payments to a credit reporting agency. If not, sit down with them and explain how it helps. (Currently, only Experian accepts rent reports, but other bureaus may soon follow. It’s a creative and easy way to grow your credit history and improve your credit score in the US.

2. How to build credit in the US

  • Learn how credit works in the US: If you plan to stay in the US after graduation, building a positive credit history (and high credit scores to match) is one of the best things you can do for your future. Check out our complete guide to building credit; it may just save you from making a silly mistake.
  • Pay on time, every time: Credit mistakes can follow you around for an awfully long time. In the US, any payment made over 30 days late remains on your credit report for a full seven years. Any student budgeting tips you learned in school will still serve you as an international graduate and soon-to-be employee.
  • Keep in touch with your creditors: Make sure to communicate with creditors if you’re having trouble making a payment, and never ignore phone calls.If your payment history is otherwise perfect you might be able to get them to remove a blemish, or hold off from reporting it in the first place.
  • Fix credit mistakes quickly: If you’ve already made a few credit mistakes in the US, you may find it difficult to secure a place to live, get approved for a car loan, or obtain short-term credit lines. In all of these cases, a reliable credit repair company like Lexington Law may be able to help. Some employers check credit records before hiring, so check your credit and handle such items quickly. 

3. How to search for the perfect job

  • Use your existing networks: Jumping into a new career is both exciting and a little scary. But, you’re not alone. Reach out to your school instructors, friends, and social network connections for leads on potential career opportunities. Check out this job search advice from a Prodigy Finance borrower who was once in your shoes.
  • Create new networks: Continue developing contacts through alumni associations and other professional platforms that could lead to authentic business relationships. Offer your expertise or pro bono favors. Once you find a job, even if you’re happy, continue to accept recruiter calls to maintain your network.

4. How to create a financial plan after you graduate

  • Pay yourself first: After obtaining a US bank account, you can automate saving a minimum amount from your paycheck each month. Live on the remainder and you’ll build a nest egg you can thank yourself for later.
  • Know your student loan grace period: Many loan providers like Prodigy Finance offer a grace period after your studies to allow you time to settle into your new career until you begin receiving pay.
  • Start repaying as soon as you can: Make sure you understand all the ways your lender can help you with repayment of your international student loan debt.
  • Refinance your loan, if possible: With a job and stable income, you are automatically in a better credit position than just a few months ago. Consider taking advantage of lower rates, savings on the total cost of multiple student loans, and choosing loan terms that suit you best when Prodigy Finance launches no collateral, no co-signer refinancing.

5. How to invest in yourself

  • Keep a brief daily journal: Each day, ask yourself “What have I learned today? What have I accomplished? What am I proud of?” At the end of the working year, this self-evaluation tool will contribute to a much richer annual review conversation with your employer.
  • Continue training and education: Take career-enriching classes, learn new skills, and stay up on current literature for your field. You’ll add value to your organisation with new skill sets and, more importantly, contribute to yourself and your own growth in meaningful ways. 

6. How to keep your visa current after you graduate

  • Stay up to date: If you’re in the US on the OPT-extension of your F-1 visa or an H-1B working visa, make sure you thoroughly understand the benefits and timings of your visa class. Plan for your next step, whatever that looks like for you — well in advance. While studying, the international student office at your school helped you secure your student visa and remain on the right side of immigration. Now it’s up to you.

Ready to start your future off on the right foot?

Want to know when Prodigy Finance launches refinance so you too can take advantage of the benefits?

Prodigy Finance Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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