One of the most important financial steps that students must make is one of the hardest —establishing a credit history. "One of the factors in a credit score is the length of credit history," argues Ruby. "You want to get things started as soon as you can so that when you graduate, you already have some established credit."
It can be particularly difficult for students to get a credit card because they often have no previous financial record. Ruby says, "Unless students have really significant part-time job income, it can be difficult to get an actual credit card on their own."
Parents have the option of adding a student to an existing credit card as an authorized user. Not all banks will report authorized users as borrowers to the credit bureau, but if yours does, this can be a simple way to start building a credit history.
Another way for students to build their credit history is to open a secured credit card. With a secured credit card, "you might have to take $1,000 of your savings and put it in a [cash deposit] and the bank will use that as security," says Ruby.
Once you have a credit card, it is important to stay on top of all payments. Being responsible and consistent with your account is the only way to make sure that a credit card pays off. It is also a crucial lesson for all students as they begin the next stage of their adult lives.
Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook
10 schools where students study the least