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2014-2015 CheapScholar Presentations: Year In Review

2014-2015 CheapScholar Presentations: Year In Review

It has been a very busy and exciting year for CheapScholar.org. For those that don’t know, CheapScholar.org was “born” in January of 2010 as I took my passion for educating families and students about the financial aspect of the college experience to an entirely different level – the web. Since that time, CheapScholar has reached hundreds of thousands of visitors, provided support in the form of scholarships, delivered up 822 informative articles, and traveled the countryside providing Paying For College and Professional Development presentations for high schools, foundations, corporations, and organizations. I truly enjoy volunteering my time and expertise on this endeavor!

The following list of presentations (and pictures) represent just how busy the 2014 -2015 academic year has been. I appreciate the loyalty of our readers, the invitations from various groups to provide informative, engaging presentations, and all of our followers that stay connected via social media. I look forward to another great year!

Paying For College/Financial Literacy Events

October 3rdOIC of Clark County – Paying For College Presentation

October 29thCollege 101 at Springfield High School – Paying For College Presentation

November 6thGreenon High School – Paying For College Presentation

November 10thCollege Apps Course at Springfield High School – Paying For College Presentation

November 13th – Paying For College Presentation for area guidance counselors – Springfield Foundation

November 18thCatholic Central High School – Paying For College Presentation

December 11thNorthwestern High School – Paying For College Presentation

January 7thCedar Cliff High School – Paying For College Presentation

January 21stLondon High School – Paying For College Presentation

February 4thSpringfield CTC – FAFSA Filing Workshop & Paying For College Presentation

February 8thTolles CTC – College Goal Sunday FAFSA Filing Event

February 11thTecumseh High School – Paying For College Presentation

March 10thOhio Attorney General’s Office – Teen Advisory Board – Paying For College Presentation

March 11thOhio Attorney General’s Office – Teen Advisory Board – Paying For College Presentation

March 18thHilliard High Schools – Paying For College Presentation

April 8thWittenberg University (Witt Commit Series) – Student Financial Literacy Presentation

April 9thTemple University (Financial Literacy Month) – Student Financial Literacy Presentation

May 21stCollege Apps Course at Springfield High School – Paying For College Presentation

 

Professional Development Presentations

May 29th – Keys To Successful Financial Literacy – Webinar hosted by Account Control Technologies

September 28th-30thWilliams and Fudge National Receivables Conference, Charlotte N.C. Understanding Financial Aid (for Non-Financial Aid People) & Social Media & Student Financial Services – Reaching Your Audience

March 21st -24thNational Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) Student Financial Services Conference, Atlanta GA. – Understanding Financial Aid (for Non-Financial Aid People)

April 9thTemple University – Student Financial Literacy – Making An Impact On Your Campus

May 17th – 19thMichigan Association of Student Financial Services Administrators (MASFSA) Spring Conference, Traverse City MI. – Understanding Financial Aid (for Non-Financial Aid People); Student Financial Literacy & Social Media – Making An Impact On Your Campus; Moderator, Social Media Roundtable Presentation

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How Gaming Can Change the College Experience

How Gaming Can Change the College Experience

chemblasterYou may have heard someone talk about the power of play, but chances are you didn’t associate that phrase with higher ed. New research is showing that when people treat life more like a game – and incorporate games into their daily lives, too – they can accomplish more for less. For the college student, that might mean more credits accruing with less time studying and (more importantly) less tuition paid because you’re earning your degree on time or even early. It’s called gamification, and it’s the newest strategy universities are employing to boost student interest, engagement and grades.

Researchers have known for some time that games can have a positive impact on learning in K-12 classrooms with higher ed students largely left out of educational studies. But today’ college kids are the original digital natives so it only makes sense that more schools are looking for ways to use games to motivate students and even teach them.

This is happening now largely because mobile and technology advancements have finally made gamification in education possible. Most students will have access to some form of device with mobile processing capabilities advanced enough to handle today’s games. And these are the same students for whom hitting the books frequently means firing up a tablet. Whether bringing games into the higher ed experience is about creating titles or tracking student habits to gamify learning, more and more colleges are getting on board.

Penn State, for instance, created the Education Gaming Commons to both research the power of games to positively impact the student experience and to build educational games from scratch. One such game, ChemBlaster, teaches some of the basics of chemistry by turning tedious memorization into a more engaging and exhilarating experience that has the potential to keep students coming back for more study time.

This kind of play with a purpose may actually be doing double duty when it comes to helping students conquer college. Science is finding that gaming itself, whether educational or not, can have a positive impact on learning. A German study found that participants who played video games for just a half hour per day had more gray matter in the regions of the brain associated with the formation of memories and strategic planning. Fast-paced, action-packed games were in some cases even better than educational titles at boosting brain power because these types of games promoted faster learning and better data retention in some people.

Outside of the brain case, gamification in education can work wonders for a few very obvious reasons. First, if something is fun people will do it again and again. Staring at the periodic table will put you to sleep. Harnessing your growing knowledge of the period table to kick butt at a bubble shooter is anything but boring. Second, gamification can get a student’s competitive juices flowing, whether that means competing against oneself to rack up points or competing socially against fellow students. In either case the motivation is there to study a little longer and work a little harder.

Don’t expect that tomorrow’s students will be playing their way to degrees, however. Games are still very much seen as an add-on to a more traditional college experience – albeit an add-on that can speed your progress from the freshman 15 to Pomp and Circumstance. That said, the lecture, exercise and test progression that has defined coursework for hundreds of years may finally be evolving. And that in turn may make college easier, faster and cheaper for some as well as just plain more accessible for others.

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Graduates – 5 Tips on How to Write an Effective Resume

Graduates – 5 Tips on How to Write an Effective Resume

interviewWe all want that job. It’s great if you get to the interview stage for one job opportunity, but do you find that you’re not getting there as often as you should be? Perhaps it’s your resume that’s holding you back. You have the experience, yes, but are you conveying this effectively? Research indicates that it takes an average of six seconds for recruiters to decide if you’re right for the job or not, just based on your resume! You’ll need one that will make you stand out. Here’s five tips on effective resume writing.

1. Seek Professional Advice

If you’re really struggling to determine your career objective and find the exact job you’re after, this is often conveyed in your resume. Approach a career counselor for help at your college or university. Most tertiary institutions will guide you on the right path to finding your ideal career, meaning you can expertly tailor your resume towards the specific position you’re aiming for.

2. Make Your Name Stand Out

A lot of people make the mistake of heading their resume with ‘Resume’. Don’t! Your name should go at the top in a bolded print along with your contact details, in a standard print. Include one address, one phone number and one email address. You can also choose to put your qualification next to your name, for example, ‘Ann Smith B.Sc.’

3. Decide if You Will Include an Objective

Recruiters are divided on this – some like to see an objective, others don’t. While it may show you have a real purpose, it can also mean you are narrowing your chances by limiting yourself to that one goal. You can decide for yourself if you’d like to include one, but experts say you should only do it if the objective is not a generic one.

4. Have the Right Number of Pages

Your experience should be reflected by the length and formatting of your resume. If you’ve had several years’ experience, keep it to two pages if possible, three maximum. Some recruiters feel that if you’re in your twenties, your resume should only be one page long as you surely don’t have enough experience to justify adding a valuable second page. However, if you’ve interned and worked hard all through college, embrace that second page!

5. Layout is Important!

Don’t add so much information to the point of overcrowding the page – it’s exhausting to read. Use white space to draw the reader’s eye to specific information that you feel is important. Make it a pleasure to read – add bullets, italics and bold fonts to highlight certain accomplishments. Include keywords from the job posting as some recruiters use software to sift through resumes – you don’t want yours to be missed.

The bottom line? You’re selling yourself in just two pages. You must mould your resume into what the recruiters want to see. Something in your resume needs to make you stand out against other candidates – whether it be an achievement, or simply in the way the resume is formatted. Small things can sometimes make a big impact.

Today’s guest article is provided by Francis Benjamin. He is a recent graduate of Evocca College where he studied website development. When Benjamin is not helping his friends succeed in finding jobs after college, you can find him diligently glued to the twitter tips provided by his alma mater (Evocca).

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March (Hunger) Madness: GrubHub Ranks Hungriest Colleges in the U.S.

March (Hunger) Madness: GrubHub Ranks Hungriest Colleges in the U.S.

food, leisure and happiness concept - five smiling teenagers eatNo two things go together better than game day and takeout from your favorite spot. Whether it’s pizza and wings, burgers and fries or foot-long subs and chips, the official start of March Madness means an inevitable spike in restaurant business that only the NCAA Basketball Championships can generate.

In honor of March Madness, food takeout and delivery app GrubHub provided Huffington Post with a ranking of the hungriest colleges in the U.S., determined by comparing the average number of orders per day over the three weeks leading up to last year’s March Madness to the number of food orders on game days. It’s pretty clear that students need more sustenance for picking brackets than they do for studying.

So which colleges were the hungriest? Here’s a look at the top five.

5. American University, Washington, D.C.

GrubHub reported a 16 percent increase in AU orders during last year’s March Madness game days. Niche.com picked Wingo’s in Georgetown as a top 24-hour AU spot and also one of the best places to get wings.

Although the AU Eagles did not qualify for the tournament this year, the team did participate last year, earning a bid from their win at the 2014 Patriot League Tournament. Ultimately, the Eagles lost to Wisconsin in the second round of the championships, 75-35. But that loss didn’t stop the students from coming in fifth for hunger.

4. Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

March Madness game days in 2014 meant a 17 percent jump in food orders from OSU students. Unexpectedly, Niche.com’s pick for best wings in the area went to franchise Buffalo Wild Wings, which was also listed as a student favorite alongside fellow chains Chipotle and Raising Cane’s.

The OSU Buckeyes will fight for the title again during this year’s March Madness, which marks their seventh running season at the tournament. Last year, the Buckeyes barely lost their first game in the tournament to University of Dayton, 60-59. Perhaps the hungry students at OSU were stress eating.

3. George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

In third place is G-Dubya with a 20 percent game-day order increase. Although the Colonials have never made it to the NCAA Championship, last year the team got the closest they’d ever been (they lost their bid to Michigan State). So why so much food? Just because GW wasn’t playing, the students stayed true and supported their neighbors from American and Georgetown, two of the other universities in D.C.

2. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

A whopping 30 percent increase in game day orders? Hungry Howie’s and Buffalo Wild Wings are listed as the best pizza and best wings (respectively) in the area, but, true to the diverse midwest fare, there are also several Asian and sushi places on the Niche list for MSU best off-campus dining.

The students at MSU are no strangers to March Madness, as this year is the Spartans’ 29th trip to the NCAA Championship.

1. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

The number one hungriest college in America boasts a 31 percent boost in game day food ordering. Antonio’s Pizza, Wings & Pasta is the area’s highest rated pizza place on GrubHub, but with 14 restaurants just within a quarter mile of campus, Syracuse students are eating more than pizza and wings during games.

Unfortunately, SU’s self-ban on participation in this year’s tournament will likely push their hungry ranking down, but that doesn’t mean students won’t still be setting up brackets and strategizing outside their home team. No matter if Orange is on the court, basketball fans in New York will be watching.

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How to Plan a Budget-Friendly Post-College Road Trip

How to Plan a Budget-Friendly Post-College Road Trip

RoadTripCollege may be coming to a close, but there’s still time to bond with your friends after you’ve all turned your tassels on graduation day. Many memories can be made on a cross-country road trip before you each set out on your individual journeys. So, pack your bags and your friends, and plan a road trip with the following tips:

Save Your Money

The first step in planning your road trip should be to save money. Think about saving well in advance to the date of your anticipated road trip, whether you’re using a bank account or a change jar. For multi-week or month-long trips, start saving six months before.

Set a savings goal by writing out all of the expenses you think you may encounter, including supplies, food, hotels or campsite fees, gas and any souvenirs you may buy along the trip. Be creative when thinking of ways to save money. For example, cutting coupons instead of paying full price, ending your cable subscription or giving up your gym membership are all viable opportunities.

If you have routine bills like your rent or phone bill, be sure that you have enough to pay them while you’re gone and consider setting up auto pay so you don’t miss any payments.

Plan Your Route

Drive on the most iconic American highway, the famous Route 66, to experience the culture of eight diverse states, including Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Learn about the history of each state and make lasting memories along the way.

Consider a road trip that takes you along the Pacific Coast Highway. Discover the sandy beaches off of California’s Highway 1, explore Oregon’s national forests and witness the scenic views along the Columbia River Highway. Let Washington’s wilderness wash over you as you head north, and be sure to visit Washington’s capital, Seattle, at the end of your trip.

If nature is calling, plan a trip that winds through Glacier National Park, Montana. Take a dip in St. Mary Lake, and make a stop at Virginia Falls. Or, head to the Southwest to explore Arizona’s red rock country by following State Route 179 from Phoenix to Sedona.

Use a tool like Discover America’s trip planner to outline your route. And, of course, pack maps and a GPS device just in case you take a wrong turn.

Drive a Road Trip-Worthy Car

If your current vehicle is a gas guzzler or you’re skeptical that your aging car can’t quite make it across the country, upgrade to a new set of wheels. Use an online resource like KBB to compare vehicles, and learn which cars get the best gas mileage. Popular Mechanics recommends the Jeep Grand Cherokee Eco-Diesel, Mazda 6, Chevy Impala and the Honda Crosstour.

Document Your Experience

Document your road trip by journaling in a notebook or online. And, of course, be sure to take plenty of photographs along the way. If you’re bringing a camera, make sure to pack all of your different lenses and plenty of battery packs. Mountable cameras, such as the GoPro Hero, can be attached to the outside of your car to capture all of the sights you see along your trip as well.

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New Laws Help To Protect Students From Identity Theft

identitytheftpreventionDid you know that college students are five times more likely to be a victim of identity theft than just about anyone else? In fact, an FTC study showed that people in their twenties log the most identity theft complaints. It’s not that thieves are targeting students; think of campus identity theft as a crime of circumstance. Close quarters plus lax security across student devices means virtual pickpockets have it easy. And where once a thief took a gamble when snagging a smartphone for this kind of info pilfering, innovations like the quad core processor and mobile network advances have made every student’s phone a hot repository for sensitive information.

Data that all too often exists unprotected on student smartphones. Not downloading any security software is one thing, not even using the built-in password protection is another – but many college students are guilty of both. That’s what makes California’s new smartphone kill switch law so important. Right now, most smartphones can’t be remotely locked or wiped if they’re stolen unless the owner has downloaded third party security software. There are plenty of apps on the market and yet up until just recently very few devices came with anti-theft features enabled or even standard.

But when the new law takes effect, all smartphones sold within California’s borders as of July 2015 will have to ship with the ability to render the device unusable in the event of theft – either with a hardware or software solution. More importantly, the built-in kill switch will be opt-out instead of opt-in and the lockout will be reversible. That’s especially good news for students using phones as auxiliary data storage and their apps as study tools.

If you’re thinking that the new law won’t impact your risk of identity theft, think again! The passage of the California law is making waves across the nation. Some manufacturers have already started adding software-based switches on devices, and officials in other states and even other countries have argued for new laws mandating kill switches. That’s not all that surprising when you consider that the original law received widespread support from law enforcement agencies and prosecutors who believed it would reduce smartphone thefts.

And they’re probably right. After Apple added a kill switch to its devices in 2013, iPhone theft dropped dramatically in New York, San Francisco and London. Samsung devices can also be remotely bricked. Now Qualcomm, maker of the Snapdragon processor, is releasing a hardware-based security solution called Safeswitch that allows remote locking with full reversal if the device is recovered.

This may all seem, well, academic to students who don’t have much in the way of credit or funds. But as today’s student is using their phone to pay bills, settle up at the checkout, access bank accounts and university information, and for nearly all communication, tomorrow’s identity thief is planning their next move. Giving thieves instant access to all your personal data is as easy as leaving your phone unlocked on a café table while you walk to the counter for a refresh. And the information they take from you can damage your credit and finances not only in the short term but for years after the theft takes place.

So don’t wait for the law to take effect if you’re in California or for a similar law to be passed in your state. A little googling is all it takes to find solid security software (which may even be free) that can give you essential protection for your phone or tablet, as well as more than a little peace of mind.

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The Dollars and Sense of Library Science Degrees

The Dollars and Sense of Library Science Degrees

collegedegree1If you are like most college students, you spend every waking moment at the library when you are not in class (just kidding… but I imagine your professors are hopeful that you see the inside of a library at least once during your educational career!). A library doesn’t run itself and it is amazing how technology has been woven into the framework of our more contemporary libraries. Next time you are passing through a library (or just accessing their online electronic databases from the comfort of your dorm room), give some thought to whether you would like to be part of that information delivery highway. If you think it is for you, check out the following infographic to give you some insight on how to maximize your earning potential in that field of work!


Infographic Source: USC Library Science

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4 Winter Wardrobe Essentials For College Students

4 Winter Wardrobe Essentials For College Students

collegeclothesThe weather is getting colder and those shorts and T-shirts are not keeping you warm anymore. That means it’s time to start thinking about a winter wardrobe that will look great and go easy on the budget. Fortunately, many winter clothes can play double or even triple duty. Or, in other words, they can be worn casually for class or be dressed up a bit for job interviews and holiday dinners. Consider the following four cold weather necessities and accessories:

A Carpet Skirt

A carpet skirt is a great addition to any college winter wardrobe, claims The Refinery. Unlike more formal and often itchy wool skirts, the carpet skirt features bold prints and is usually made with a more comfortable blend of cotton and polyester. They aren’t terribly expensive either; Topshop sells a Kirada Jacquard Midi Carpet Skirt for just under $100. This skirt can be worn for many occasions from class to an intern interview, making it well worth the money.

Dark Rinse Skinny Jeans

One of the great things about skinny jeans is that they look great on all body types and sizes. They also work well with a variety of tops, allowing you to keep your own personal style with the staple piece. Furthermore, skinny jeans can be dressed up with a nice shirt and some accessories for holiday meals with grandma, or they can be paired with a long sleeved T-shirt for grabbing pizza with friends. Skinny jeans also are easy on the budget –  American Eagle Outfitters sells a variety of dark rinse skinny jeans for men and women for less than $40.

Colored Contacts

For college students who wear contact lenses, it can be fun to mix it up a bit during the winter months with color contact lenses. This can easily add some oomph to your winter fashion choices and give you the change you’re looking for. This change also can bring more attention to your eyes and face, so try changing up your makeup routine to match the new color. Vision Direct stocks colored contact lenses in hues like Brilliant Blue or Gemstone Green – the blue contacts can complement the icy winter and the green can match your holiday decorations.

Dressy Sweatshirts

Sweatshirts are not just for the gym or lounging at home. In fact, many retailers sell sweatshirts that are nice enough to layer with casual and dressy outfits. LL Bean sells attractive and budget-friendly sweatshirts for both men and women. And the best part is how comfortable you will be these crewneck ultrasoft sweats for women are made of French terry that is super smooth on the outside and soft on the inside. The sweatshirt also features a more feminine cut, which means it can easily be paired with skinny jeans and a nice scarf or necklace to complete a cute, comfortable look.

No matter what winter staples you purchase this winter, be sure they can be worn multiple ways in multiple settings. This will help you save money and vary your look with minimal effort. Happy shopping!

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