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Archive | December, 2013

Easy Money Saving Tips For First Year Students

Easy Money Saving Tips For First Year Students

emptywalletThe first year in college is the most challenging for a variety of reasons. For many it’s the first time living away from home and with independence comes adult responsibilities. One of the biggest lessons learnt by all first year students is how to manage money and live within their means.  To help you through the first year here are some simple money saving tips for freshman:

Take advantage of the library

Most campuses have extensive libraries that offer access to thousands of books and the internet. Rather than buying text books, see if the library has a copy or if they can source one for you. If an eBook alternative is available this is also a great way to cut back on costs and you can save plenty of cash by taking advantage of the facilities on offer.

Share resources with other students

Finding a roommate, joining a supper club or carpooling are all excellent ways of reducing costs and saving money. You can also club together with other students and buy in bulk to reduce food and other essential items’ prices. There are many ways you can save money if you use your imagination and team up with other students to cut back on costs.

Be creative with free time

A night out can easily cost you $50 but if you are creative there are many other fun activities at a fraction of the price. Check out which music venues, coffee shops and bars offer student discounts or invite friends round for a dinner where everyone brings an item to share. Instead of going to the cinema or buying expensive console games try out online and mobile iPad Casinos as possible lucrative entertainment options.

Alternative transport options

You may be one of the lucky students who have a car, but gas can be expensive. Wherever possible walk or cycle to classes and save your car for long distance journey’s.  Walking and cycling are also great ways to stay fit and can save you money on a gym membership! If you have to drive try and share with someone who will split gas costs or will lift you in return at a later stage.

These are just a few ways to save money in your first year of college and there are of course many more. Good luck!

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Inexpensive DIY Holiday Gift Ideas for Students on a Budget

Inexpensive DIY Holiday Gift Ideas for Students on a Budget

During the holidays it is tough being on a tight budget and having so many gifts to give. However, the good thing about that is just about everyone, and especially teachers, love receiving homemade DIY gifts. Luckily there are many homemade DIY gifts that can easily be made on a budget and are still very clever and make wonderful holiday gifts. Here are some budget friendly DIY gift ideas that you can make for teachers.

RulerVase

 1.       Ruler Vase

This vase made of rulers makes a great gift. When you gift it, you can put fresh or silk flowers in it, but it can also be used as a pencil holder or desk organizer. The ribbon and sign “Teachers Rule!” Is a must to drive home the cuteness of the idea, but they also add a nice finish.

AppleCoasters

 2.       Apple Coasters

Teachers may always be getting apples, but this is a unique twist on the theme. These coasters are easy to make with some felt and glue and will definitely come in handy for teachers at home or at school.

SnowmanContainer

3.        Kool-Aid Container Snowman

When giving holiday gifts, the need to keep things non-denominational can always easily be solved by giving your gift a winter theme. Enter the snowman. He is cute and adorable and teachers can get more use out of it since it can be out on display all winter long. You can make your own gift of cookies or other yummy treats and put them inside this container which is a Kool-Aid or lemonade powdered drink mix container repurposed. So you are reusing and up-cycling in addition to saving money with this gift. After you clean out the container, draw on the snowman’s face and buttons and add a scarf.

ReindeerGoodyBag

4.        Reindeer Goody Bag

Depending on your budget, this gift idea is very easy on the wallet. It also works great if you have a lot of different teacher gifts to give.  All teachers love homemade treats. After making your treats, then put them in these cute homemade reindeer brown bags. Sure to put a smile on any teacher’s face.

HandDrawnBag

5.        Hand Drawn Bag

Plain canvas bags are not expensive at all and can usually be purchased in a bulk pack if you have multiple teachers to make gifts for. Teachers always love something that their students have made, and this bag is reusable and has a number of uses. Have the kids draw a picture or write a message to their teacher.

HandMadeOrganizer

6.       Hand Made Organizer

This is an adorable organizer and makes a great gift for teachers who always need to keep everything neat and organized to keep track of all their student’s things. This is easy to make if you are handy with some wood, rulers, and a hammer and nails.

DIYSanitizers

7.       DIY Hand Sanitizers

A great theme for gifts is to give your teachers things that they need and use throughout the year, but add a special crafting touch to them to make them more like a gift. These hand sanitizer bottles have added ribbon and stickers added to the outside of the bottle. This idea can be applied to pretty much any supplies that your teachers regularly need throughout the year.

PlantersSeeds

8.      Planter With Seeds and Kit

“Thanks for Helping me Grow” is a great sentiment from kids of any age. Teachers surely appreciate knowing that they have helped nurture students along their path. The chalk board section on this planter adds a great touch and allows for you to put your own message now and the teacher can have their own message on it later. Chalk board paint can turn just about any object into a neat gift for a teacher. Try it on coasters, picture frames, bottles, and more.

 

Today’s guest article comes from Josh Ferrell. He is a blogger and Brand Manager for Carepackages.com. He enjoys sharing gift ideas for college students.

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“It’s Too Late to Go Now”—and 4 Other Excuses You’re Making to Keep from Applying to College

“It’s Too Late to Go Now”—and 4 Other Excuses You’re Making to Keep from Applying to College

CollegeStudentsFor many people, going from high school to college is a simple transition: these students effortlessly convert from senior to freshman, with a summer break in between. But for those of you who didn’t pursue higher education directly out of high school, the decision to return to school can seem a bit bumpier; it can also involve a lot more excuses.

Unfortunately, these excuses can come back to bite you. Not going to college—no matter the reason—can hit you in one of the places where it hurts the most: your pocketbook.

The Dollar Value of a College Education

Perhaps one of the most common excuses for not going to college is the financial aspect. You may say you flat out can’t afford it. However, in truth, many people can’t afford not to go. This is because bachelor’s degree holders earn significantly more, on average, than those with just a high school diploma.

Per the Huffington Post, a 2011 study found that people with a bachelor’s degree made 84 percent more over their lifetime than high school graduates. This is a trend that seems to be moving upward: in 1999, people with a bachelor’s degree made only 75 percent more than high school graduates. Other sources confirm this. According to Forbes, a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center found that college graduates earn an average of $650,000 more in their lifetime than their peers who only graduated high school. Certain degrees—such as engineering or computer science—earn much, much more.

Scholarships, employee reimbursement programs, and loans are always available (especially if the loans are federal loans) for those who believe they can’t afford college tuition. While it’s very reasonable to take financial considerations into account when deciding whether or not to go back to college, it would be unwise to not consider the vast array of financial aid options at your disposal.

Other Excuses for Not Going to College

In addition to the money aspect, there are a handful of other college-avoiding excuses quite commonly used. These include:

“I’m too old”

You might be too old to live in a dorm room or attend nightly keg parties, but when it comes to learning you are never too old. Colleges are filled with people who are all ages, sometimes even those of retirement age: as reported by the Huffington Post, a Connecticut university recently awarded a bachelor’s degree to a 63 year old woman. After being laid off at the age of 59, she decided to go back to school and reinvent her life: she obtained a degree in 2011.

While you may worry your age will make you an outsider, recent studies show that the majority of students enrolled in universities can be classified as “non-traditional” students. According to a study published in the Association of American Colleges and Universities, over 38 percent of new enrolling students for the class of 2007 were over the age of 25 (a number that is expected to remain stable or increase by 2018). Meanwhile, over 4 million people enrolled in a degree program are over the age of 35. In addition, Education Department data published in the Wall Street Journal shows that nearly two-thirds of students enrolled in college in 2013 can be classified as “non-traditional” (based on categories like age, employment, dependent status, etc.).

“It’s too late”

The term “better late than never” is perhaps most fitting when it comes to education. No matter how long it has been since high school, the benefits—salary hikes, career advancement, job opportunities—will still exist. Deciding to go back to school can also have a positive influence on your image: employers look favorably upon people who show such great levels of dedication.

“I don’t have the time”

In the 1990’s and prior, a person’s path to a degree involved attending classes that met at specific times in specific places. However, with the advent of the internet, online classes have turned college into something everyone has time to do. These classes allow you flexibility, convenience, and the ability to learn from the comfort of your own home: a college degree is literally available at a computer screen near you.

“It’ll be a waste”

People who begin college when they are eighteen are just that: eighteen. In other words, they are kids often unsure of what they want to do. According to NBC News, eighty percent of college bound eighteen year olds have a major that is undecided. And, even once a major is declared, it doesn’t always stick: fifty percent of students change their majors with many changing them two or three times. This can lead to a waste of resources, money, and time. As an older adult, on the other hand, you have work experience, life experience, and perspective under your belt. This gives you the unique ability to cater your education to your desires.

Going back to school is an important decision, and one that is not meant to be taken lightly. However, you shouldn’t let yourself miss out on your chance to advance your career and change your life by falling back on any of these excuses.

About the Author:

Chad Fisher knows how important a college degree can be when it comes to landing your dream career. In light of developing technology, today there are a number of new and exciting majors and careers for older and returning students to choose from. CyberSecurityU.org offers plenty of information about new jobs in fields like cyber security, software development, and more.

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What’s Your Passion? Get a Degree in Making a Difference

What’s Your Passion? Get a Degree in Making a Difference

collegedegree1People are joining careers that parallel their passions today more than ever.  Maybe, it’s the influence of quotable leaders, the movie industry creating movies that encourage people to “live their dreams”, or education making it easier to obtain a degree that encourages and focuses on the dreams of the student.  Whatever the case may be there are more and more degrees and influences out there that are allowing us to follow our dreams.

If you were to ask a teenager what they want to be when they grow up you may get some broad answers.  It seems that our culture is steering more towards the entertainment or athletic fields, however you may get others that simply say “I want to make a difference”.

Although following your passion may not always be the most lucrative decision, here are a few degrees that allow us to make an impact in our lives and the lives of others after a few years of commitment.  Whether online or in person you can find a degree that supports your career in making a change.

Degrees in Health

A degree in any health field makes a difference.  Whether you want to be more hands on with a degree as a Clinical Nurse or as RNA you will be making a difference every time you clock in.  The best part about this degree is that once a bachelor degree is obtained you have the chance to advance your qualifications and education with online classes in a number of different concentrations.

Degrees in Education

A degree in any education field allows you to “mold the future”, not only of this country, but the world.  The down fall about a degree in education has always been how much money you will make, however there are programs overseas that allow you to work in international schools were teaching is respected and contracts are more stable.  Whether you obtain a degree in Elementary Education or Secondary Education, you can advance your education online while you are working and are often able to use your own work as projects for your master degree.  TEFL certifications are also available if this is a career that you know you want and allows you to leap frog the college path.

Degree in Public Administration

There are very few of us that know from a young age that what we want to do is make a difference locally.  We often think of making a difference as influence a state, country, or the world.  However, a degree in public administration allows us to make a difference in our own community.  If you are just figuring out that you want to make a difference locally, but currently have a career you can obtain an online masters in public administration and take those ideas that you’ve developed and put them to action.

Most of us reading this now may not have had the luxury of online classes to advance our education or to be able to affording going to school while working.  However, with the number of scholarships and programs that are available there are plenty of options out there that can assist us in getting our degree whenever.

What difference do you want to make?  Are there any degrees that you think encourage people to make a difference?

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Avoid These Holiday Spending Traps: A Shopping Guide for College Students

Avoid These Holiday Spending Traps: A Shopping Guide for College Students

holidaygiftsWhile the holidays are stressful financial times for all of us, they can be especially hectic for college students living on a budget. As a student, you are busy prepping for finals, managing a part-time job, and squeezing in festive holiday parties where you can. Your limited income, coupled with the fact that you just don’t have the spare time you’d like, makes it even harder to do some smart shopping before the holiday hits. There are ways to live on a tight budget and fit in some gifts, but many students forget to keep their eyes on the prize and often spend more than they have. Luckily, you can follow these helpful tips to avoid falling into any spending traps this holiday season.

Change with your Budget

If you don’t have the same income as you did last year, don’t feel pressure to live up to the hype, thinking you have to keep pace with the previous year’s gift giving, says CNN. If you got a partner or your mom an expensive gift last year and think they’ll expect it again this year, think again. You simply can’t keep up with the rate of purchases when you have limited cash. Your loved ones will understand, so nix the guilt and spend within your means.

Make It Fun

If you are flying or driving home to see your family during the holidays and you have an extensive list of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, you may panic at the thought of buying something. Instead of freaking out, suggest a gift swap of some kind, like Secret Santa or a Yankee Swap and set a max limit, like $10 or $20. This way, you only have to buy for one person and everyone has a fun time playing the game.

Always Comparison Shop

Avoid buying into the hype surrounding discounted prices, or buying anything without first comparing prices. While some items may be priced the same at several stores, you can net major savings on other items by doing some research before you buy. While there are a number of deals and steals around the holidays, prices for items will continue to fluctuate over time. FOX News recommends using apps like Hukkster or RedLaser to compare prices and find the best deals in your area.

Best Time to Buy a Trip Home

Knowing when the best time to buy not only holiday gifts, but also airfare back home, is key to saving money this year. According to The Huffington Post, you should start searching for the cheapest airfare for the period of Thanksgiving through New Year’s by September or October. However, while rates go up just before November hits, you can save cash when you book a departure flight for Mondays and Tuesdays—this is when you’ll see flight costs about 20 percent cheaper than the average.

Use Credit for Small Purchases Only

One of the best ways to avoid overspending is to hit the mall with a limited amount of cash at your disposal, rather than a credit card. While building credit is good, charging up high amounts of debt for gifts that you can’t realistically pay off the next month is unwise. If you’d like to work on building your credit, use your card for small purchases (like boxes of candy or giftwrap).

Aside from the obvious possibility that you can easily start drowning in debt once you start swiping that card for purchases like clothes and food, there’s another danger to using credit cards for holiday purchases: applying for new cards, according to USA Today, can actually damage your credit score. And when you charge, say, $100 on a card with a $200 limit, your credit score may even take a hit.

Interest rates can be another trap. Often times stores will offer a percentage off your purchase when you open a credit card with them. While that sounds great when you’re living on a budget, but you’ll easily make that savings up in interest paid, as store credit cards with very low or even zero percent introductory interest rates have notoriously high rates after a couple months.

If you follow these tips, you can ensure that your loved ones are treated to great gifts this holiday season—just not at the expense of your savings. If you can avoid overspending and work hard to find the best deal on new items, you may even have a little left over to treat yourself!

About the Author:

This article was written by student Dee Bronwinn.  Dee knows the stress of holiday shopping on a student’s budget and hopes you find this article helpful.  If you are looking for another way to save money this holiday season, she recommends checking out Lupo Clothing for some affordable gift ideas.

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How To Find A Paid Internship While In College

How To Find A Paid Internship While In College

workstudyFor many students finding a paid internship while in college is like hitting the jackpot. Getting a paid internship means that an employer has confidence in a student’s ability to handle the responsibilities of a professional job. Internships are coveted, especially when the pay is good. In a competitive environment, it takes some effort to land a paid internship. Therefore it is never too early for a college student to develop strategies that will result in landing an opportunity to learn from the pros while getting a paycheck. Additionally, many interns are offered jobs after graduation. Consider the following five tips for how to find a paid internship while in college.

Start with Good Grades

Some students may not realize that it is important to work hard to earn the best grades early in their college careers. If you are a freshman or sophomore, you may want to enjoy what campus life has to offer, but you must also balance your studies and your social life. Companies that offer paid internships to college students have little to go by when choosing interns except for an applicant’s grade point average and recommendations. Showing interest in your course work and making good grades will earn good recommendations from your professors.

Get Experience by Volunteering

Volunteering a few hours a week can enhance your application or resume. For example, if you are public relations major, you might volunteer to help a non-profit organization with marketing and community outreach. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to get experience in a stress free environment and if you do a good job, the person who supervises your volunteer activities will likely provide you with a great letter of recommendation.

Attend College Recruiting Events

It is never too early to attend intern recruiting events sponsored by your department or your career planning and placement office. By participating in these events early in your career, you will get to know recruiters and they will get to know you. You can also get a feel for the type of internship you would like to pursue. You should exhibit a professional image when you attend recruiting events. Dress for the job you are seeking and be prepared to engage the recruiters in conversation. Ask questions about the company and what it takes to get an internship.

Talk with Students who Have Landed Internships

Students who have been successful interns are often eager to share their success stories and insider tips on how to apply for and get an internship. Sometimes companies will ask successful interns to recommend other students for internships.

Create Your Own Internship

Internships are about getting experience. If you cannot land an internship with a major company, look for a job that will give you experience and an opportunity to demonstrate your maturity and willingness to work hard. Think about all of the part time jobs that you might be able to get on or off campus. For example colleges often hire students to work part-time in positions such as office assistants and clerks in various departments. Never take these experiences for granted. A business major might consider working in a financial aid office. If you find an off campus job, you can look for creative ways to offer something unique to an employer that will show your initiative. Taking on additional tasks or organizing a storage area without being told is not rocket science, but it demonstrates self-direction and initiative, both of which will likely influence the recommendation your supervisor will provide.

Don’t give up on your dream of getting an internship. Perseverance is the key and chances are, if you are reading this you are the kind of student who is willing to do what it takes to reach your goals.

About The Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Ryan Ayers. He is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to education. In this article, he offers a few tips to students looking for internships and aims to encourage further study through GW Paralegal Degree Programs.

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Sound Scholarship Opportunities For Music Students

Sound Scholarship Opportunities For Music Students

scholarshipsPursuing a career in the musical arts is challenging to say the least. Talent, hard work and inspiration are the cornerstones of a degree in music. Of course, financing can be a bit problematic for some students. The unfortunate truth is that tertiary education is expensive, and not every student can afford all the costs associated with pursuing their musical dreams at the college level. Every highly talented individual, however, does have the opportunity to apply for a scholarship of their choice — a means of easing the financial burden.

Glenn Miller Scholarship

Every year, the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society offers scholarships of $1000, $2000 and $4000 to a few talented instrumentalists. There are also vocalist scholarships for the same values. The application process for these scholarships is fairly simple. In order for an applicant to be considered for the financial grant, an audition CD and application form need to be submitted before the cut-off date.

www.glennmiller.org/scholarships.html

Berklee Celebrity Scholarship

Berklee College of Music offers a grand total of 16 scholarships to its online students every term. This college partners with an impressive list of celebrities who have a passion for the arts so that it can provide hopeful young “musos” with the additional funding they need. Bill Cosby, Paul Simon and Patty Larkin are three of the generous celebrities in this partnership program.

The lucky 16 students will receive $1400 towards their online courses. In order to be eligible for this scholarship, students need to have earned a GPA of at least 3.7, completed their first online course, be enrolled in a certificate program and be recommended by one of their instructors.

www.online.berklee.edu/scholarships

The Davidson Fellowship

The Davidson Institute for Talent Development offers scholarships to the amounts of $10 000, $25 000 and $50 000. In order to be considered eligible, applicants must create what the college refers to as a “significant piece of work”. This can either be a musical composition or an exemplary performance, based on the student’s proposed field of study. Although there is no minimum age for eligibility, the institute does mention that novices will not be considered. All applicants must display knowledge and skill that ranks in at college level.

Hopeful composers must submit three scores of their own composition with three MDI recordings. Instrumentalists need to provide a high quality audio file in audition format as well as a video recording of a recent public performance. Two essays and a video describing the applicant’s work must also be submitted along with two nomination forms from people who are familiar who are familiar with, and support, the applicant’s performances.

www.davidsongifted.org/

The Williams Chorale Bacardi Fallon Scholarship

The Williams Chorale Bacardi Fallon Scholarship offers awards to the value of $12 000 annually. $8500 goes to the top four talented high school students in the competition while all applicants chosen to compete will receive consolation prizes of $300. Any high school students who wish to pursue a career in instrumental or vocal studies are eligible to apply. Along with the application form, applicants must provide a recording of a performance that lasts for at least five minutes and includes two changes in playing or singing style.

www.thewilliamschorale.org/scholarship

Is it Worth it to Apply?

There are many opportunities for financial aid available to talented young musicians. Pursuing a career in the Arts is never easy, and the occasional rejection is a part of the process. Applying for as many scholarships as possible may be the smart way to go about it. The old adage is true: you never know what you can do until you try.

About The Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Ryan Ayers. He is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to education. In this article, he offers scholarship tips to music students and aims to encourage further study with a KSU Online Masters in Music Education.

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How To Stay One Step Ahead Of Your Landlord

How To Stay One Step Ahead Of Your Landlord

ForRentSignWhen you are a college student, it may be the first time you have an apartment of your own. This adult privilege carries adult responsibilities. When you make a point of not getting into trouble with your landlord, it can be a wonderful experience.

Read And Understand Your Lease

An apartment lease is not meant to be complicated. However, it is your responsibility to thoroughly read the lease, and understand the terms, before you sign your name. Do not make the mistake of glancing at the lease and signing it before you know its contents.

Everything you need to know about your rights and obligations should be clearly stated in the lease. If there is anything you do not understand, ask the landlord to explain.

Be Prepared To Abide By The Terms Of Your Lease

As a college student, never try to get away with violating the terms of your lease. Show your landlord college students are responsible adults by abiding by its terms. If it states you cannot have pets, do not hide a new pet in your apartment. If there is a specific time that renters and their guests are required to be quiet, do not have all-night parties.

When you follow the lease terms, you will avoid unnecessary difficulties with your landlord. You will also avoid eviction over a lease violation.

Always Pay Your Rent On Time

If there is one problem many college students experience, it is occasionally being short of cash. Paying your rent must be your priority. Landlords do not like tenants who make excuses, even if tenants feel the excuses are valid.

Whether you are working or receiving student aid, make sure to have cash in your bank account to cover your rent each month. You will avoid late fees, and not need to deal with your landlord.

Address The Subject Of Roommates

Some college students enjoy having roommates, while others prefer to live alone. Regardless of your preference, it is something you must decide before you sign a lease.

Landlords generally specify how many people can live in an apartment. If you intend to have one, your landlord must agree to this arrangement. Do not sneak a friend in, thinking the landlord will not notice.

Some roommate arrangements work better than others. If you decide you want a roommate, choose someone who is appropriate. The roommate should be as responsible as you are, and easy to get along with on a daily basis.

Do Your Part To Be A Good Tenant

When you attend college, you are ready to become a good tenant. Whether your apartment is near the college or you need to travel a short distance, the time you spend in your new apartment can be a pleasant experience.

Keep your apartment neat and clean, and avoid activities that disturb your neighbors. Do not leave your personal property in outdoor areas. Always lock your doors and windows when you leave your apartment. If you can be on friendly terms with your new neighbors, everyone will benefit. Your neighbors will like you, and so will your landlord.

College can be the best time of your life. While you are gaining an education and making new friends, it is also your first step toward independence. You can stay one step ahead of your landlord by being the kind of tenant he will appreciate.

College only happens once in a lifetime. This is also true for your first apartment. When you take your responsibilities seriously, you can avoid unnecessary problems. Attending college and renting your first apartment can be an experience you will always remember.

About The Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Joshua Turner. He is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to business. In this article, he offers real estate advice to students and aims to encourage further study with a real estate degree from Marylhurst University Online.

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