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Archive | May, 2014

How to Pay for College Without Going Crazy or Broke

How to Pay for College Without Going Crazy or Broke

CollegeJarYou worked hard in high school and earned good grades, and the acceptance letters are starting to come in. Great! – now you just have to find a way to pay for it all. The average cost of tuition and fees for a state resident attending public college is about $8,900, according to the College Board. That number jumps to $22,200 for out-of-state students. Add in housing and meals (around $9,500 a year or so), and it’s easy to see why even the most calm and collected student wants to run for the hills when someone asks, “So, how are you going to pay for college?”

Student Loans

The average student who takes out one or more student loans to pay for college ends up with about $26,000 in debt upon graduation, CNN reports. That’s a significant chunk of change for anyone, much less new grads who are just starting out in the world. In an effort to help students get the funding they need, Inside Higher Ed reports that President Obama is working to keep student aid programs level-funded, including boosting the amount that college students can get through the Pell Grant program. To learn more about the federal student aid programs available to you, click here!

Look for Bargains

Some public colleges have placed a freeze on tuition. Iowa State schools and the University of California college systems have suggested keeping tuition amounts steady. In 2012, Antioch College in Yellow Spring, Ohio, offered students a full four-year scholarship if they enrolled in the next three years. To learn more about tuition freezes at U.S. schools, inquire at the financial aid office of the individual schools you are interested in.

Go Beyond Student Loans

Research other ways you can bring in money to help pay for tuition:

  • If you receive regular annuity or structured settlement payments, you may be able to sell these future payments for a lump sum of cash now. To find out more about selling your future payments, visit J.G. Wentworth.
  • Look into crowdfunding to help raise money. For tips from students who have done so successfully, read this U.S News & World Report article.

Look Into Income-Dependent Loans

Instead of being locked into repaying a student loan at a certain amount for a specified length of time, college students may want to research an income-driven repayment loan. This type of loan lets graduates limit the amount they pay back each month to a certain percentage of their income. As a bonus, graduates who go on to work in certain public service careers may be able to have their loans dismissed, after they’ve paid on it for 10 years. Click here for more information on student loan forgiveness programs.

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Planning Ahead to Eat Right & Inexpensively in College

Planning Ahead to Eat Right & Inexpensively in College

College may take a great deal of planning, but this next plan ahead idea is something that you can really enjoy. Plus, these plan ahead tips are going to help college students eat healthier and still stick to that challenging college student budget. We are going to show you how to plan ahead to be prepared to eat right and inexpensively while at college.

Slow Cooker

slowcookerSlow cookers are available in small, one serving sizes and can be bought very inexpensively at most discount stores like Target, Walmart, or Kohl’s. Slow cookers are also known by the popular brand name Crock Pot. You can prepare one pot meals in them, so it does not take up much space in your dorm room or apartment. The part that requires some planning ahead is learning a few simple recipes to prepare in the slow cooker. The types of soups and stews that can easily and inexpensively be prepared in the slow cooker make for comforting and healthy meals. Thousands of recipes can be found online. Even though the cooking time is long, you can put the ingredients in the pot before leaving for classes in the morning. You can add your choice of meat, vegetables, seasonings, and soup stock to create meals that are hot and ready when you come home from classes. Slow cookers are not just for preparing dinners, or even savory meals. You can get the recipe for a breakfast casserole and prepare that overnight in the slow cooker so that you can wake up to a delicious ready-made breakfast. Desserts can also be made in the slow cooker and are very inexpensive including rice pudding and cakes.

Food Steamer

FoodSteamerFood steamers are also small cooking devices that can easily be found at discount stores. You might think that only vegetables can be prepared in steamers, but just about anything can be cooked in a steamer. Since no oil or butter is added, it makes for very healthy meals; in addition, the foods that you steam do not lose as much vitamins and nutrients as they do through other cooking processes. In addition to steaming vegetables, you can steam fish, seafood, and Chinese dishes like dumplings, buns, and pot stickers.

Sandwich Press

SandwichPressA sandwich press is also known as a Panini press. They are also an inexpensive cooking device that can be very versatile. Many different sandwiches can be made and they make it easy to stick within a budget. However, you can use the sandwich press to make more than just sandwiches. Eggs and omelets can be made in the press, so can meats and other proteins. When you cook meats in the press, the fat runs out of the meat leaving a lean cut of grilled meat. Learning different recipes and practicing ahead of time will help you be ready to stick to a budget and still eat healthy, home cooked meals.

 

Breakfast Sandwich Maker

BreakfastSandwichThis is relatively new kitchen gadgets that helps you easily and quickly prepare a sandwich for breakfast, or any time, of course. The sandwich maker is made from non-stick material, so clean up is a breeze. You can put in any variety of sandwich components in it and create your own healthy and inexpensive breakfast that you can even eat on the go if you have to.

 

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Tegan Connor, a blogger and Brand Manager for Neverlandstore.com.au. She enjoys writing about young lifestyle topics, including college and dorm life.

 

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Financial Aid For College (video)

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What to Do if You’ve Been Waitlisted

What to Do if You’ve Been Waitlisted

standinginlineGetting waitlisted can add confusion to an already stressful applications process. After receiving the news that you have been waitlisted, you may be feeling stressed, nervous, angry, scared, or even confused.

There are a few things you should understand about your admission prospects. Firstly, remember that all is not lost; in some cases, there are even some steps you can take to improve your chances of admission. If you want to ease your admission anxiety, below you’ll find everything you need to know about your options after being waitlisted.

Chances of Admission: What Does Being Waitlisted Mean for Me?

Waiting lists are used as a means for accommodating students who meet requirements for admission, but are surplus for the college’s capacity to facilitate students. Your chance of being admitted off of the wait list varies drastically from school to school. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, about one third of students who decide to stay on a waiting list are later admitted. For more competitive programs or for ivy league schools, these margins of acceptance can be razor thin. Recently, Yale waitlisted 996 students, and only went on to accept 103 of them. Schools like Duke will often place thousands on a waitlist, anticipating the admission of only a few dozen.

The reason the acceptance rate for waitlisted students at selective schools is so low is because waiting lists act as safety nets for universities—allowing them to have a pool of applicants to choose from in case accepted students decide not to attend. Students selected for competitive, ivy-league programs are more likely to accept an offer of admission, so waitlisted students are more likely to be rejected from these institutions.

However, despite those statistics, being waitlisted doesn’t have to signify the end of your college dream; in fact, you have a couple different options at your disposal.

Staying Listed

The very first thing you should do is figure out the specific deadline for decision at the college in question. Although the date will vary drastically from school to school and program to program, May 1st is a common time for many institutions.

The next step is to decide whether you want to remain on the waiting list or not. If you’re seriously considering accepting the offer for admission, remaining on the waiting list is a good idea. There is often a form or response that waitlisted students are required to fill out if they wish to remain on the waiting list; US News urges students who want to remain on the list to fill this out as soon as possible. However, if you’ve decided to accept a different offer, it’s a good idea to get off the waiting list for the benefit of the other applicants.

Terms and Conditions Apply
Before you make any big decisions one way or the other, you should call the school and determine if there are any conditions that waitlisted candidates should be aware of. Most commonly, these conditions happen because waitlisted candidates are informed about their admission much later than other applicants, which can reduce the amount of financial aid and housing options available to them.

Looking Forward

If you decide to remain on the waiting list, you should also prepare to attend a different school, as a precaution. If different institutions have accepted you, select the one that suits your needs best to ensure that you’ll have a place. You may be forced to make a small non-refundable deposit in order to do this, but it’s an important insurance to have if your waiting list program doesn’t turn out.

If you were not accepted to other institutions, or did not apply to other institutions, consider looking into colleges with rolling applications, community colleges, or online schools.

Be Proactive

Determining a sense of your chances of admission involves contacting the admissions office and inquiring about the wait list. How is the wait list organized? Are students placed in a priority list of some kind? Where are you on the list? Is there a long waitlist and a short waitlist? Most schools will gladly inform you of your status if you contact admissions.

Establishing a presence for yourself after you’ve been waitlisted is generally a good idea, as long as you don’t become a pest (in other words: do not contact the admissions office to ask why you weren’t accepted). Communicate with admissions, by letter or email, that you still have an active interest in attending the school. Updates and changes to your application are also a good idea to include (this also consists of achievements and shifts in your grades since your application). According to the Princeton Review, you should ask that a letter declaring your interest in the school—and pledging attendance if you are, in fact, accepted—be added to your file.

Remember that if a school has placed you on a waitlist, that means they’ve already determined you have all the academic skills necessary to be admitted. You’ll only benefit from adding nonacademic information that could help your case, achievements you didn’t mention in your application, or supplemental data that can help improve your case.

Remember: You’re Already Successful!

Above all else, remember that your application was waitlisted—not declined. If you’re ultimately turned away because the school can only accommodate a limited number of students, know that you’ve already achieved something because most students didn’t get as far as you! Remind yourself that many students are waitlisted every year, and that being waitlisted does not invalidate your many accomplishments or your hard work.

Rather than see your being waitlisted as a setback, take this time to refocus on your goals and take pride in the fact that—wherever you’re going to school—you’ll be starting on an exciting new chapter in your life. There is no one path to success, and while your dream school may feel out of reach following a waitlisted status or even a rejection, your dreams certainly aren’t.

This article was contributed on behalf of Bay Area Recovery. If you’re stressing out about being waitlisted, remember that drugs and alcohol are not the answer. If you’re battling problems with seeking these whenever you’re stressed, it would be a good idea to consider finding a compassionate drug and alcohol rehabilitation program such as that with Bay Area Recovery. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!

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5 Myths About Going to College Part Time – DEBUNKED!

5 Myths About Going to College Part Time – DEBUNKED!

CollegeStudentBlindly believing the often-negative publicity about attending college part-time isn’t wise. Let’s bust some myths and look at how being a part-time college student may be a better fit for you, both financially and academically, than attending university full-time.

Myth 1. Finishing college in four years makes you more employable.

Companies prefer, almost to the point of exclusion, applicants age 25 and younger who will spend their entire career at a single firm. Your major is not particularly important. Instead, you need to earn your degree quickly, after which your employer will find the right place for you within the company.

Whoops, wait. That’s Japan.

Here in the U.S., companies seek applicants who have the right combination of education and experience. If you’re looking to attend graduate school, in fact, real-world experience may be more important than your academic background.

Working full-time while you attend school part-time can be the best way to build your network, hone your organization and time management skills, and learn how to be productive as part of a team.

Yes, it will take you longer to finish your degree. When you do, however, you’ll have a competitive edge over those who rushed through school without gaining relevant experience. Once you’re hired and using your degree, no one will ever ask you how quickly you graduated. It doesn’t matter.

Myth 2. Going to college part-time costs more.

When you look at the most basic numbers from one perspective, the statement above may be correct… technically. In reality, though, factoring in student loan interest with an even remotely competitive job market (where securing employment can take time) tilts the equation the other way.

Pursuing your education part-time can be a great way to minimize debt and build your career step-by-step, paying as you go in some respects. This can help you avoid the sobering scenario many students face at the end of their degree program: no income and facing imminent payments on a student loan portfolio the size of a mortgage.

Myth 3. It’s going to take forever. You’ll give up and drop out.

Not if you have a plan. If you choose to go to college part-time, recognize that you need a solid long-term education path as much, if not more, than as full-time students.

Write everything out. What classes will you take each semester to achieve your goal of earning your degree? How will you order prerequisites to ensure you progress at the right pace? Since you won’t be burned out from taking a full course load each semester, consider going to school in the summer to help move things along.

Also, you can often test out of lower-level courses, which is particularly helpful to fulfill graduation requirements that aren’t part of your major. For example, say you plan to major in biology and you aced English in high school. Many schools will let you test out (or use AP scores to skip) freshman-level English. You get the credit you need without having to waste time rehashing what you already know.

Myth 4. You’ll miss out on college life.

The extent to which you are involved in campus life is up to you, whether you’re a full-time or part-time student. For full-time enrollees, balancing a packed course load, part-time work and the extracurricular/campus activities of your choice can stretch you so thin that you barely have time to run from class to job to gym and so on. For many students, “college life” is simply “being busy all the time.”

If you’re a part-time college student, simply swap the time commitments of classes and work. You’ll have to manage full-time work, part-time classes and then make time to participate in the campus organizations or opportunities that interest you most.

Myth 5. Your employer won’t give you the flexibility you need for your studies.

While some employers may be sticklers when it comes to scheduling around studies, others are more than accommodating. Allowing employees to further their educations often benefits companies, as hiring and retaining individuals with strong education backgrounds contributes to corporate success.

Certain positions in certain types of firms are most definitely more conducive to pairing with part-time education. These include employers such as large corporations, the government, or school districts and positions in sales, customer support, or flexible shift work.

Speak with your supervisor and Human Resources to see what may be available to you. Ask if your company has policies in place covering employee education; with proper planning, you will be surprised how realistic it can be to blend school and professional responsibilities. Some employers will even help you pay for school with employees-only scholarships or debt-forgiveness programs!

Ultimately, there are many benefits to part-time college. Don’t simply believe the myths or hype; instead, examine facts and choose the path that is best for you!

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Ryan Hickey. He is the Managing Editor of Peterson’s & EssayEdge and is an expert in many aspects of college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in various admissions capacities for nearly a decade, including writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants.

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Working as a Tutor: The Perfect College Job

Working as a Tutor: The Perfect College Job

CollegeTutoringMuch of what you can do to make paying for college happens before you even arrive on campus; applying for scholarships, getting grants, choosing an in-state school, etc. But once you’re on campus, you may find that you want an on-campus job to give you some spending cash and help you pay for random expenses.

The bad news is that many on-campus jobs not only don’t pay super well, but also don’t really require the skills you’ve developed as a student/scholar. If you’re at a large research-based university, there may be opportunities to contribute to a research project in your field of study. But if not, working as a tutor is a great way to earn money, use your knowledge, and help other students — all at the same time. Three different approaching — online tutoring, on-campus tutoring, and private tutoring — can all be pretty lucrative, especially when compared with working at a coffee shop or in the library.

Work as an online tutor

Working as an online tutor allows you to help students out regardless of location. You can try to find students yourself, but one service that specifically recruits college students to work at tutors is InstaEDU.com. They run the largest marketplace for online tutoring, connecting students who need help with online tutors, either for on-demand lessons or for scheduled lessons. Tutors all make $20/hour, pro-rated by the minute, and there’s no minimum time commitment, so it’s simple to hop online and work with students when your schedule is a little more open, or cut back when your schedule is more busy. If you’d like to work as a tutor, just fill out the online tutoring job application with your school information, academic backgrounds, and interests.

Go through your school

Many colleges and universities offer tutoring for students… from other students. Perhaps you took (and aced!) organic chemistry as a sophomore; as a junior, you’re now in a perfect position to help out a student who’s struggling with his or her own organic chemistry coursework. Great places to look for these types of positions are department list-serves as well as on-campus tutoring centers. A quick piece of advice: these types of tutoring jobs can get claimed quickly, so it’s best to look at the beginning of the school year.

Work with local students

Potentially the most lucrative of the three approaches, working with local elementary and high school student is a great way to make money on the side. Unlike working through university or online service, you can set your own rates, so you have the option to make a pretty nice hourly rate. Your challenge with this approach is that it can be difficult to find an initial group of students to work with. A few good places to look include your local Craigslist, asking professors if they have any ideas, or simply putting up fliers around local schools.

Finding a great job that pays you well, gives you time to study and pursue extracurriculars, and allows you to use some of the knowledge you’ve amassed in the last 18+ years is possible — if you take the time to find a tutoring job that works for you.

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