When you start college there is so much to think about, so it is understandable that you may have forgotten a few things, but at least somewhere on your list should be the question of whether or not you should get a meal plan. Meal plans are a strange phenomenon that you probably won’t experience anywhere but college, so here is a quick guide to what you should think about when considering whether you should get one.
You may be reading this and your first thought is, what on earth is a meal plan? Don’t worry, you are not alone in wondering this, so here it is: a meal plan is a program, usually run by the university that you are attending, through which you can pay a certain amount, and get it back gradually through use at designated food places. Each university offers different meal plans, and often different options for which kind of meal plan you can choose. Because of this, you would be very wise to look into the different options available to you specifically, as this will help you to better make your decision.
Now you know what a meal plan is, is it worth buying one? First you will want to consider what other options are available to you. Do you have the opportunity to cook your own food? Are you living in a dorm room without any cooking facilities? If you have to the option to cook your own food, you may want to, but you might still want a meal plan, as you might want one less thing to deal with your freshman year. You might want one for your first year and not after that. Meal plans are not for life – you can have one your first year and decide against the next, or vice versa. If you do not have the opportunity to cook your own food, then it probably is a good idea to get a meal plan, as you will find it expensive to buy food every day. Some colleges also have meal plans that allow you to buy ingredients rather than just meals, which could also be a good idea as it could cut costs for you.
A meal plan can be a good idea, but it can also be a way to get yourself into bad habits early. Often first year college students will have their parents pay for their meal plan, which ends up supplying them with a seemingly endless allowance for food. This can go both ways. It can be a bad thing as it can get you into bad spending and eating habits, or it can help you to relax about food matters in what is already quite a stressful time. The choice to get a meal plan is ultimately an individual one, so it is always a good idea to research it thoroughly.
About the Author
Rachel is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. It is a great site for you when you have made the choice to enroll in an online college because you want to get the top jobs.