Back to College: A Legal Checklist for Students

By Brett Snider, Esq. on August 11, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

So you're headed back to college for another year or several of sleeping in, dorm parties, and possibly even attending class. But as you pack up your flip flops and wrap up your summer internships, you may want to take a moment to solidify your legal situation.

Didn't think you had any legal problems? Well peruse over this "back to college" legal checklist and see if there's anything you may have missed:

1. Take Care of Your In-State Tuition Applications.

If you haven't already, you need to square away any affidavits or documents that your college may have requested for in-state tuition eligibility. Remember to only use addresses that you have truthfully resided at (as defined by your college), and not some relative's address.

2. Don't Ignore That Jury Summons.

Chances are that if you've only voted or registered to vote in your hometown, a jury summons could arrive at your family home, only to be left in a large stack of spam and credit card applications. Your home county won't automatically know you're a full-time college student, and you shouldn't expect your parents to respond to your jury summons.

Failure to respond to a jury summons could mean potential fines and jail time, so you should take care of it before you leave for college. Many jury summons forms will allow you to claim a hardship as a full-time student.

3. Consider a Cohabitation Agreement (Even If It May Seem Uncool).

If you're in a roommate situation -- whether you're living with friends, a significant other, or complete strangers -- it wouldn't hurt to clear up any living ambiguities. One way to do that is to have your roommates draft and sign a cohabitation agreement. Even if you're living on campus, this agreement may lay out who is responsible for damage that may occur during parties and how food costs are going to be divvied up.

4. Leave Your Summer Drinking Habits Behind.

You may have become a bit less prudent in your alcohol consumption since school ended, but if you're at a college or university with strict alcohol regulations, it's time to sober up. Even if your school doesn't punish you for drinking on campus, local law enforcement might.

5. Know How to Find a Lawyer When You Need One.

Do yourself a favor and remember that FindLaw's Lawyer Directory can locate a lawyer close to your college without you having to make an embarrassing phone call to your parents.

Once you've got these legal chores squared away, you might just have time to focus on classes as you head back to college.

  • Legal problems eating away at your daily life? Browse's Lawyer Directory for an attorney who's right for you.

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