Alternatives to Dorm Living That Save Money

April 21st, 2017

BY ROBERT PARMER

 

My freshman year of college was a strange experience. Boise State University, famous for its blue astroturf, had a severe student housing shortage the first year I attended. Despite planning well in advance, I received news only a few months prior to my first term that I wouldn’t be able to live in student housing. There simply weren’t enough dorm rooms up for grabs.

And I’m not alone in this; this isn’t a new phenomenon.

Student housing shortages are an ongoing issue that schools have been struggling to balance for decades. This results in students having no choice but to bunk up in overpriced hotel rooms or scramble to find a place to live.

My options were limited and more expensive than a standard dorm room. I had the choice to live in an upscale hotel, located miles away from campus, or figure something else out in a short amount of time.

Luckily, I had some friends who let me couch surf for my first semester. But I realize not everyone is this fortunate.

If you find yourself in a dorm shortage situation, these options will help you get through it without breaking the bank or tacking on extra student debt.

Let Family Help

This may not be the most glorious option, but ask yourself, “What’s worse? A few more years with your parents or a boat load of extra student debt from living expenses?”

There’s no shame in living at home. In fact, Millennials are doing it now than ever. More than half (about 54%) of current college students are making the choice to save money and live at home.

While it’s common for students in the U.S. to ‘leave the nest’ as quickly as possible, other countries around the world don’t necessarily share this mindset.

In the Netherlands, college students usually live with family while getting a degree. They even have special community living programs that span generational gaps. Grandparents, parents, their kids, and other family members all live in harmony. And they save a ton of money while doing so!

Related: 7 Off-Campus Housing Tips for College Students

Consider Buying a Home

While this is not a realistic option for all students, buying a house can pave the way to future financial success.

The first step usually involves weighing the pros and cons of renting vs owning a home. If you qualify to buy a house, will paying for it actually be realistic? Will you be able to get something as huge as a home loan?

An article by HomeBridge points out what is perhaps the biggest speed bump in the home buying process:

“73% of people surveyed said they thought the difficult part of the process was going to be the mortgage application and approval process. In other words, they thought that getting the actual loan to buy the house was going to be the most difficult part of the process.”

But for many people, even college students, getting a home loan isn’t actually that difficult. And if you have a clever approach, buying a home can save you money over time.

Student homebuyers are achieving this by renting out rooms of their homes to their friends and using the rent money to cover their mortgage costs. This is a mutually beneficial way for many people to come to a housing solution. Friends have a place to live, the homebuyer gets part or all of their home loan payments covered; everyone wins!

Group Living Situations

If you don’t mind living with people, there are numerous ways to save money through group living.

Apartments and home rentals are obviously cheaper when the cost is divided. So something as simple as finding a roommate or two can save you a substantial amount of money.

Co-op living situations are also an emerging trend in group housing solutions for students. They have become widely popular and are somewhat similar to the feel of dorm floors. It may also be possible to save money by living in a sorority or fraternity house, although this isn’t a typical option for college freshmen.

Related: 5 Strategies for Better Roommate Relationships

Unusual, Yet Frugal Approaches

Some students are taking slightly less practical approaches to save money on the costs of housing. These solutions may not be ideal for everyone, but they are eco-friendly and save copious amounts of money.

Tiny houses, which are micro-sized homes focusing on utilizing all possible space, have become commonplace. People are realizing that they can build a custom, smaller home for a fraction of the price. Furthermore, some people are even choosing a more mobile life and living in an RV.

For those more in touch with their inner ‘mother nature,’ earthships are literally a dirt cheap option. These homes are usually totally off the power grid and are constructed with natural building supplies and recycled materials such as tires, bottles, and plastic bags.

Some colleges even go as far as offering courses that teach the design principles of alternative green homes. How cool would it be to learn how to build your own environmentally sustainable home?

I challenge you, the more-than-likely-broke college student, to weigh all possible scenarios. How will you save money through cost-effective or alternative living situations? Just remain open-minded, who knows what unique living situations may present themselves to you!

Robert Parmer is a freelance web writer and student of Boise State University. Outside of writing whenever he has spare time, Robert enjoys creating and recording music, caring for his pet cat, and commuting by bicycle whenever possible. Follow him on Twitter @robparmer

5 Reasons To Join A Club or Student Organization

April 20th, 2017

BY JANE HURST

We all know that the main reason to go to college is to get a great education so we can have great careers. But, there is a lot more to college than just the classes. You really do need to take part in other things in order to get the full college experience. One thing that all students should do is get involved with clubs and student organizations. There are several benefits to doing this, besides the fact that you will be getting away from the books and out of your dorm room once in a while to socialize. Here are five great reasons why you should consider joining one of the many clubs or student organizations.

  1. Develop People Skills – Obviously you already have some people skills, or you wouldn’t have made it this far in life. But, there is nothing stopping you from getting even better people skills. When you are involved with clubs and organizations, you are involved with other people from all walks of life. This is a terrific way to hone your people skills and make new friends. It is also going to help you in the future, especially if you choose a career path that involves working with the public in any capacity.
  2. Become a Team Player – With the exception of being put with a group for certain projects, most of your school career has involved you working on your own. But, you also need to learn how to be a great team player. This is definitely something that you are going to learn when you join clubs and student organizations. You will have to work with other people, so you are going to gain a lot of team experience. This is also a great networking opportunity, so take full advantage of it while you can. Some of the people you meet and work with now could be the people who are going to give you a job in the future.
  3. Food and Friends – When you are involved in clubs around the campus, you get to make a lot of great friends. Activities often center around food, and you could end up running catered events. If this happens, offer everyone something different and give them a great meal from Chipotle. They cater to various events, and there is something for everyone. You can go online to check out the Chipotle catering prices and menu, and come up with a meal that is going to impress everyone, from students to professors.
  4. Practice Your Skills – Try to find clubs or groups that are related to your course of study. That way, you can put your studies to practical use while you are still learning. This is going to give you a lot of on the job experience that is going to look terrific on your resume. You can take what you are learning and apply it to the real world. You will see what actually works and what doesn’t. You will really be making the most out of your college education, because you will be learning, practicing, and learning more while you are practicing.
  5. Pad Your Resume – Many people don’t realize just how good it looks to show on a resume that they have belonged to various groups. For one thing, it shows that you are willing to get out there and meet people and take on new challenges. It also gives you experience that could be directly related to the types of jobs you are applying for. It shows that you are able to work with a team, and that you can take on a lot of different responsibilities.

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.

 

 

When Midterms Or Finals Approach – A Roller Coaster

April 19th, 2017

BY JENNIFER LOCKMAN

So it is that time of the year again where you get to show off what you have learned (or at least what you should have learned). It is not a reason for celebrating but we all have gone through it and survived. At least it’s what you keep telling yourself.

There is no doubt, though, that midterms are a time of much turmoil. Not only in the cognitive part but emotionally as well.

Academic paper writing takes the lion’s share of your routine. Deadlines make even the most cool-headed student distressed. Fortunately, you can get help from the experts like essayservice.com.  That allows you to breathe a sigh of relief. You save time to focus on the discipline you’re not well-versed in.

Now, let’s get into the cart of the roller coaster! Recognise your emotions during all the phases of midterms – and learn to get over them victoriously!

  1.  Determination and Optimism

All right, so you know you got this.  You are pumped and you even got yourself a notepad to make your crispy notes.  Your laptop is charged, your pencils are sharpened, and your highlighters are loaded.  What could go wrong?  This phase is the peak of your emotions.

Psychologists call it “the joy of anticipation“.  It’s similar to the anticipation of a holiday, important event, or getting to the end of an exciting book.  Naturally, you don’t necessarily anticipate midterms with joy. But I bet you are daydreaming of the day they are over.  Plus, midterms are a rite of passage. Moving on to a next phase should bring some joy.

  1.  Wake-up call

Isn’t getting started the hardest stage? Once you realize how much work you have to do, you feel something like a hit right in the face.  The excitement from the beginning fades away as you note the dark and looming pages of your books, staring at white and huge blank space under the first sentence of your essay.

  1. You reconcile reality

You know you got this.  You already went through the tough phase of realising that it’s not all fireworks and cheers. There’s work to do!  Now you get to the most productive time.  You’ve got a feeling of self-satisfaction from having accomplished things.

Take advantage of this phase! Get as much done as possible.  Quick, before you get into the rabbit’s hole!

  1.  The Rabbit Hole

Alice, don’t go after the rabbit!  On the other hand, don’t we all need a break? You start mindlessly surfing the web and watch YouTube… It helps you to disconnect from all this midterm craze.

There’s no need to overstrain yourself. But don’t let yourself fall deep into the abyss or drink tea at the Mad Hatter’s table for too long!

  1.  Thinking cap back on

Having a break was fun. But it is time to get back to studies. Put on the thinking cap again! Turn on the lamp and grab a grip on that highlighter again!  Determination, remember?

If you struggle the writer’s block, there are precious online resources to brainstorm. Despite the common belief that students become lazier, researches indicate the students receive better grades over the last few decades. Surf the web smart!

  1. Test Anxiety

So you have caught up with what you think is everything.  You had success going through all the above phases alive.  Sorry telling you that, but nothing can prepare you for the test anxiety.

Have you checked what test anxiety can cause to you?  This is the steepest roller coaster so far! Let’s check.  You experience tension, overarousal, fear of failure, dread having rapid heartbeat and headache… Look on the bright side! It’s a miracle you are sane, alive and well!

  1.  Joy of Closure

Did you make it?  Nothing beats the relief of having made it out in one piece.  You got your exams passed and papers written. You are nervously proofreading  and correcting your last essay. But it’s seconds away from being over! Until the finals.

 

About the author: Jennifer Lockman is blogger and student majoring in Journalism. Her specialization includes linguistics, psychology and e-learning. Jennifer is published on regular terms at the educational resource

5 Tips to Deal with Peer Pressure in College

April 18th, 2017

BY LAURA BUCKLER

College is a great time where you get to experience plenty of new things for the first time. Moving out of home and into your own place can get daunting, and as an idealistic and young person, we often latch onto the next best safety blanket, a support group or network of peers.

While this is perfectly normal, these relationships can also become toxic, if we aren’t careful. Being in a new environment where we want to fit in can push us to do things for the approval of others that we might actually be uncomfortable doing.

What’s the best way to establish healthy connections with like-minded individuals, while maintaining our independence over our personal choices? Here’s an ultimate guide to dealing with peer pressure in college:

  1. Choose Your Friends Wisely

Being in a toxic peer network can be difficult to get out of if you’re not too confident in your own skin yet. That said, choosing a group of friends who are supportive and kind definitely boosts your morale.

Gaining new acquaintances to leverage your career or school life in the long run is never a problem – just remember that there’s a definite difference between real friends, and people who you just talk to.

  1. Don’t Depend on One Friend Group

Having just one set of friends can increase the pressure to fit in. At the same time, whenever your friends are busy doing other things, it can get lonely if you have no one else to talk to. Learn to diversify your range of friends.

Go to events, volunteer, or simply let yourself be introduced to a new person. You never know who you might meet along the way. If anything, this only shows that you’re expanding your network and meeting plenty of cool new people.

  1. Seek Advice from Others

If you feel yourself being pressured by your friends, but you aren’t sure on how to act on it, seek advice from other people. This is preferably an older adult whom you trust, like your parent, older sibling, or a guidance counselor. However, it’s understandable that someone coming out into their own, you won’t want to rely on these authority figures to make your decisions for you.

When push comes to shove, look to your other friends for help. Call them up and talk them through what you’re experiencing. The support and advice they give will definitely lift your mood.

  1. Engage in Activities that will Give You More Self-Confidence

The pressure of belonging, even at the expense of doing something we’re uncomfortable with, often stems from a lack of self-esteem that we believe being in a large group could fix. It’s just so safe. You can break free from this misleading idea by engaging in activities that will boost your confidence.

Start a new sport or hobby, study a new language, find some part-time job, for example writing for coursework service, where you can meet new people and grow your skill set to make you see that you have worth outside other people’s validations.

  1. Accept Occasional Loneliness

Sometimes, the best company is ourselves. Learning to step back from a crowd and really being in tune with your inner self helps you strengthen your self-esteem. It also builds your resolve against outside forces that put you down by pushing you to do things you don’t want to do.

Accepting loneliness isn’t always a bad thing. After all, the best way to learn to interact and love other people is by first learning to appreciate yourself for who you are, and college is the perfect time for that self-discovery.

 

BIO

Laura Buckler is freelance writer and journalist. She believes that everything in our life is simple and achievable and tries to help people recognize their own potential. Personal motivation is her main driving force.

 

5 Career Choices to Keep Pace with the Future

April 17th, 2017

by Melissa Burns

We live in awesome times when traditional occupations that took shape the industrial age are giving way to utterly new professions of the information age. New vistas open in both familiar and recently established fields, and often at their interjection, demanding cross-disciplinary skills, qualifications, and knowledge. This offers exciting challenges and fantastic learning and career opportunities to today’s students. If you feel like riding the tide of progress and change, you may consider professional domains of the new era.

Let’s have a look at a few examples of professions that a fast-changing labor market can offer you in the future.

1.      Environmental Health & Safety

Probably the most pressing issue that modern world faces is environmental health. With the booming increase of the population, governments all over the globe focus more and more attention on disease prevention, waste management, and natural and industrial disaster preparedness. Corporations and government agencies alike are in need of environmental health professionals, and though the job is not exactly a walk in the park (it often entails physical and mental strain, as well as irregular working hours), it pays off handsomely. Your first step in this field should be a Bachelor’s degree in environmental health, biology or chemistry. Completing an internship is highly beneficial as you earn precious experience; pursuing safety specialist certification is a valuable asset in most cases, and obtaining a Master’s degree, later on, opens up yet more advanced job prospects.

2.      Quality control engineer

This specialist is controlling and planning procedures and activities that will ensure the highest quality of material, articles, and services. The vocation is using the best techniques for a particular process or method. It’s also determining the level of required quality, and therefore taking measures for maintaining or improving the quality. Technicians are helping engineers in creating procedures for controlling the methods and quality, as well as applying techniques and testing the products in different stages. This job is most suited for perfectionists, who aim for high-performance standards and flawlessness in all spheres of their life. If they are helping a child to draw a picture for school, they will seek for featuring Mona Lisa; if they are choosing accessories, they will pay attention to PearlsOnly.

3.      Software Engineering

Another professional sphere that’s been going through a golden age for quite a while and will continue to do so is software architecture. It is an ever-evolving, challenging and hugely rewarding walk of life for any tech-minded person. Its goal is the creation of software applications and entire systems, from computer games to operating systems and business networks. Mastery of computer science, mathematics, excellent grasp of programming languages and engineering skills are a must if you wish to pursue this career. Since this job is client-oriented as well, communication skills and business acumen will surely come in handy. As for degree requirements, you can start out in many a job in this sphere having completed an undergraduate degree and certification.

4.      Personal Healthcare

The venerable sphere of healthcare is by no means losing ground nowadays. If you are considering a medical career with spectacular job outlook yet shun tedious years of graduate education, the job of licensed practical nurse or a home health aide is your choice. Baby Boomers, for one, are their loyal clients, as well as those who opt out of long and costly hospital stay for recuperation at home. This job requires that you watch over the patient’s well-being, as well as assist them in various ways in case of illness, disability or mental disorder. Starting out as a home health aide doesn’t even require a college degree (yet you’d benefit from having one as it makes you more competitive) – training from a licensed practical nurse will suffice. However, be sure to check which additional certification you might need according to your state’s requirements.

5.      Bioinformatician

In other words, this is the expert on synthetic biology. It virtually uses advanced computer software for collecting, analyzing, and monitoring data in real biological functions or characteristics to get a better understanding of complex biological activities. Bioinformatician is connecting genetic information with a development of new medicines and clinical treatments. That particular knowledge is based on preventing and curing diseases of live specimens including humans, animals, and plants.

Naturally, these are just some of the professional fields that are seeing rapid development. Whichever you choose, remember that lifelong education is the fundamental rule of success today – constantly improve your skills and knowledge, and you’ll be in the catbird seat.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she  is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented.

 

10 Tips for Improving Teacher-Student Relationships

April 14th, 2017

BY LAURA McKINNEY

 

You can get a lot out of your classes by attending, listening, and paying attention. But, you can really get a lot out of your classes if you establish good relationships with your teachers. Not only can they help you with the classes they are teaching, there are many other ways they can help you with your academic life. They have a lot of information that can help you to get ahead of the game. They can also be there if you need an understanding ear or help finding various resources for school, as well as mental and physical health. Here are some tips that will help you improve the teacher-student relationship.

  1. Introduce Yourself Immediately – Right after your first class, go up and introduce yourself to the teacher and let them know how excited you are about the class. Talk to them regularly, and soon enough they will remember who you are.
  2. Research Your Teachers – Go online and look up your teachers. Find out who they are, their hobbies and interests, and in particular, their research interests. This is a great way to find out which teachers are going to be able to help you get more specific information on certain subjects.
  3. Visit During Office Hours – When you visit teachers during their office hours, but outside of classes, you have more of a chance to get to know them and really establish relationships. In time, you will discuss more than academics, and you will have a good source for advice on many things in life.
  4. Participate in Class – If you are not participating in classes, the teachers aren’t going to expect much from you. They will think that you do not have an interest, and they will spend more time on the students who are active in class and show that they want to learn.
  5. Tell them Your Goals – “You have professional goals. Tell your teachers what those goals are. Not only will it show them that you do want to learn, it will also open a door for you to go to them for career advice, and even letters of recommendation,” suggests an expert from Call Wiser.
  6. Get Good Grades – This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is just as important as class participation, if not more so. When students are not getting good grades, their teachers don’t tend to take them very seriously. If you are trying and can’t get your grades up, talk to your teachers about the problem and ask for help.
  7. See them After Class – Whenever the opportunity arises, stop and talk with your teachers after classes. This is an excellent time to ask any questions you may have about lectures, thank the teacher for the class, etc.
  8. Be Confident – Don’t just participate in class. Be confident about your participation. Show your enthusiasm for what you are learning. The more you do things like this, the more you stand out, and the teachers will take notice.
  9. Stay in Contact – These days, most teachers provide students with email addresses that they can be reached at for questions. Take advantage of this. Stay in contact so they don’t forget who you are. Ask questions about lectures, assignments, or about anything that you may be confused about.
  10. Be Passionate – You are taking classes for a reason: to get you into your dream career. Obviously, you have a passion for it, so show your teachers that passion. If you are taking an archaeology class because you want to be an archaeologist, share this with your teacher. They will get to know you better, and be more apt to help you find ways to reach your career goals.

 

Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and elearning sp

Why Hobbies at College Are No Less Important Than Classes

April 13th, 2017

BY SYLVIA KOHL

To be successful at college one does have to put a lot of time and effort into one’s studies and steadfastly go ahead towards a definitely set goal. It is also important to alternate periods of hard work with periods of rest and relaxation – although you can achieve significant results by working non-stop, they tend to be rather short-lived, for burnout usually follows not far behind.

However, there is relaxation and relaxation. Although partying and bouts of hard drinking can help you unwind, they can hardly be considered very constructive. A much better use of your time would be adopting a hobby and keeping up with it in your free time. Why? Let’s see.

1.    It Helps You Develop Diverse Skills

It is often said that the best rest is a change of activity, and a hobby can easily serve you in this capacity. It allows you to drastically change the type of work you do from time to time, helping you maintain a mental edge and develop your hidden potential in process. It is better if your hobby is completely unrelated to your major – thus you will be able to avoid getting tired while acquiring new skills. For example, a computer science student can benefit from studying a foreign language, and vice versa.

2.    It Can Bring You Money

Hobbies shouldn’t necessarily be expensive and highly time-consuming activities. A hobby can just as well bring in money as it can spend it – if you make your hobby into a business or a business into your hobby. Make crafts for sale, find and resell rare stuff on the Internet, or simply make and sell cheap business cards to both train your creativity and make a quick buck.

3.    It Clears Your Mind

When you are completely preoccupied with the technical side of your hobby, whatever that is, you don’t think about anything else. You get rid of all the fears, concerns and worries about exams and grades, at least temporarily. And chances are, after you get a feel of what a wonderful feeling it is, you will try to transfer this attitude to the rest of your life. We achieve the best results when we whole-heartedly concentrate on the task at hand – and a hobby can help you achieve the necessary clarity of mind.

4.    You Meet New People and Explore New Social Circumstances

Any hobby has a community concentrated around it. When you take it up you get a legitimate reason to get in touch with its members – and thus you can meet people you won’t otherwise meet, which is always a good thing. In addition to that, a hobby circle is a completely controlled environment – you don’t owe anything to anyone, which means that you can contribute and participate exactly to the degree you want. College is a good place to meet new people to begin with, and taking up a hobby brings it to a whole new level. For example, if you take up creative writing and join your college’s writing club you are free to choose whether you are going to limit your communication with other members to your creative endeavors or allows yourself to get closer to them.

5.    It Improves Your Creativity

People tend to be much more creative when they are completely focused on an activity they enjoy. And the good thing is, this creativity can overflow and seep into other activities – which means that you can sometimes suddenly get an inspiration concerning your other tasks when doing something completely unrelated but, well, inspiring and exciting. Many people claim to get excellent ideas for their creative work when participating in physical activities: sports or hiking, for example.

All in all, taking up a creative and constructive hobby is both an excellent way to relieve extra stress and improve your results as a student. When you are fresh, calm and full of creative energy you are much more likely to succeed than when you are tired, distracted and worried.

Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.

Federal And State Student Financial Aid : Problems And Opportunities

April 12th, 2017

BY BRANDON KING

Students are faced with a plethora of options ranging from good (scholarships) to exploitative (high interest private loans). This article will help you sift through the often overwhelming number of options out there when it comes to student aid and enable you to decide which, if any, is right for you.

Financial aid comes in many shapes and sizes, from grants and scholarships to low-interest loans to work-study programs. If you are a student attending a post-secondary educational institution in America, you’ll find financial aid provided by educational institutions, private companies, and federal and state agencies or foundations.

Most students will want to exhaust both federal and state options before considering loans from a private company, which charge higher rates of interest. Understanding this is important.

Financial Aid Opportunities for Students: Financial aid is designed to help a student cover costs ranging from tuition fees to housing and other important expenditures incurred while they are completing their education.

When applying for federal financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a first step. You may then qualify for some of the below opportunities:

  1. Grants: Grants come from several government departments, public and private trusts, colleges and universities in the United States. However, getting a grant is not that easy.Eligibility is determined by one’s academic merits and financial need. Some grants provided by the government are:
  • Federal Pell Grant: This grant is based on the estimated family contribution (EFC) of an individual, which is determined by the FAFSA.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: The FSEOG is for students whose FAFSA results show exceptional financial requirements, like being among the lowest EFC.
  • Institutional Grants: These grants are offered by educational institutions and are typically based on a student’s academic achievements. Other grants that are based on financial need or a combination of both academic results and financial requirements.
  • State Grants: These grants are based on a student’s financial requirements and vary by state.
  • Private and Employer Grants: These grants are given to the individuals eligible to work in a private organization.
  • TEACH: The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grant is given to students who took additional classes and performed a particular job to get the grant.
  1. Education Loans: An education loan is different from the grants or scholarships as the money has to be repaid after a certain period with (often high) added interest. Under education loans, students have several options like private loans, federal student loans, federal parent loans and loan consolidation.
  • Federal student loan programs: This loan is given directly to the student, and he/she is responsible for repaying the amount with interest after a given period. The federal student loan programs have low rates of interest, and do not require any form of collateral or credit check. To make it easy for the students to pay their loans, this program offers several extended repayment terms and deferment plans.
  • Direct Subsidized Loans: Some students try to get direct subsidized loans because of the low amounts of paperwork involved. But, the students can only borrow the amount they actually require for their school. Any additional expenditure is not covered by the loan.
  • Federal Parent Loans: As the title suggests, these are federal loans that are given to the parents of students who are still dependent on their parents. Variations of this are the PLUS Loan or Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students.
  • Private Loans: In addition to the above loans, private loans are provided by financial institutions like banks and other private lenders. You can expect much higher rates of interest on these loans and fewer deferment or repayment options. Use only as a last resort.

Getting an education loans is nothing, but investing in your future. There is a myth that education is not a sound investment, when actually education is the best investment an individual can make. However, students should be very careful while making this investment. They should be well informed of the institutions that offer such loans, their terms and conditions, etc.

  1. Scholarships: Scholarships can be from state, educational institutions, private agencies and websites. A quick search for private scholarship opportunities returns results like this, this, and this. Like grants, these do not need to be paid back, and are awarded based on several factors like merit, creativity, etc. Students can easily search for the scholarships on search engines like Google using queries like: “scholarship” “apply now”.

Problems with Federal and State Financial Aid

You know the old saying that nothing in life is free? This definitely applies to most forms of financial aid. Be careful that you aren’t selling your tomorrow just to make today a little bit easier.

An additional complication of financial aid is that many students who are enrolled in internet courses or distance education programs have restricted eligibility or are not eligible at all for federal student loans. Too often, the only type of loan available to students in such scenarios comes from private companies that charge exorbitant interest rates.

Graduate students, unlike undergraduate students, are only eligible for unsubsidized loans. However, they can also borrow Graduate PLUS loans, which depend on the credit rating of the student, have higher rates of interest than undergraduate financial aid, and accrue immediately.

One last option for students seeking a private loan to consider is Sofi, which is a private lender that offers lower interest rates and more favorable repayment terms than competitors like Sallie Mae.

Brandon King is an entrepreneur who moved to China after graduating university in the middle of the Global Financial Crisis. He runs an HR company that specializes in helping people pursue job opportunities in Shanghai, China.

 

An International Student’s Guide to College Health Care

April 11th, 2017

By David Gutierrez

Health care insurance is a major part of life in the US, so all students coming to this country must understand exactly how it would work for them. The majority of schools require mandatory insurance, which is good as there is no such thing as free medical care for international travelers in America. Only a rare few programs can accept an international student, but their medical services are extremely limited and won’t do much good in an emergency situation.

As an international student in the US, you need to follow the news about health care as the changes in this field affect your life directly. You also need to know how to find the best insurance policy and what factors to consider when making this choice.

Health Care Costs for International Students in the US

The main reason why international students should get medical insurance even if it’s not mandatory in their colleges is the cost of health care in the US. A single visit to the emergency room can turn into a thousand dollar bill mailed to you within weeks of the event.

Student Health Care centers usually located on campus offer cheaper services, but even those can sum up to make a hefty dent in your bank account. Also, you must understand that these medical facilities may be unable to render the exact kind of service you need, so you’ll be referred to an off-campus professional, which means an increase in costs.

Obamacare (ACA) and Its Effect on Students

The so-called ‘Obamacare’ (Affordable Care Act) is a topic of great controversy regarding medical insurance. One of the most common complaints about it is the penalty one has to pay when their policy doesn’t meet the criteria specified in this act.

Luckily, as international students aren’t American citizens, they are exempt from this law as long as they retain the status of ‘non-alien residents’. This includes all holders of F, J, M, and Q visas. However, when you spend over five years in the US, your tax status changes to ‘resident alien’. At this point, you will be subject to the same regulations as US citizens in regards to medical insurance. It means that you’ll have to look for an Obamacare-compliant policy.

Those are usually more expensive as they are designed for a lifetime. Some more news is that the new Trump Administration is vying for a health care reform. The new American Health Care Act has failed to get passed into law, but it’s reasonable to expect new ACA alternatives soon. Both current and aspiring international students should stay tuned for more Health Care Reform information.

The Best Sources of International Student Medical Insurance

It’s true that medical insurance is mandatory for most schools as well as some types of American visas (J1 and F1 in particular). However, these rules rarely stipulate that your policy must come from some specific provider. This gives students a chance to seek out the most affordable insurance. The options you can choose from are:

  • Independent insurers.
    These policies usually are more expensive, but they might be better suited for your personal needs.
  • College insurance programs.
    Many schools offer specialized insurance policies. They are more affordable and designed specifically to fit an average student. You can also be 100% sure that this policy will be accepted by the Student Health Center in your college.
  • Student organizations.
    The majority of international scholarship programs, like Fulbright and USAID, offer insurance packages of their own. These might be mandatory for the students participating in the program.

Unless required to purchase a specific type of policy, you should always shop around and compare all the options on offer. Be sure to consider not only the size of the premiums but also your unique health needs so that you truly make the best choice.

David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.

 

 

5 Ways to Improve Your College Presentation Skills

April 10th, 2017

BY TES PAJARON

A lot of people find public speaking to be a bit intimidating – even when they’re speaking to a group of their peers. Unless you’re overtly extroverted or strongly charismatic, giving a college presentation may come as a bit of a challenge. You want to make a great impression, prove to everyone that you’re well researched and of course get topgrades. Preparing can help you find the confidence you need to nail your presentation, and your grade will reflect your effort.

  1. Learn More Than You Need to Learn

One of the easiest ways to make a presentation more interesting is to provide listeners with facts they wouldn’t have had easy access to. Yes, you do need to discuss the basics, however it’s what happens when you go beyond the basics that makes a presentation truly interesting. Pepper your presentation with interesting facts or even jokes about the subject matter. You won’t be regurgitating a textbook or a study if you have enough additional information to spice things up a little bit. You can even get your audience involved. These new tidbits will keep people engaged in what your presenting.

  1. Know When to Fake It

Eye contact is important in a presentation. You want to acknowledge the people who are listening to you. They’re giving you their attention, and the least you could do is return the favor. If you feel too nervous to commit to actual eye contact with the people you’re standing in front of, you can always fake that eye contact. By looking at inanimate objects in the distance, it will appear as though you’re shifting your glance from person to person. You’ll appear engaged, but you won’t actually be distracted or uncomfortable.

  1. Memorize as Much as Possible

Nobody wants to watch you read. It’s a great idea to have notecards with your talking points to help you keep your presentation on track, but if you spend most of your time looking down, you’re minimizing your presence. Have the main points on notecards and memorize the parts connecting these points. Don’t be afraid to adlib a little bit. As long as you’re hitting all of your major talking points in a reasonable amount of time while maintaining a connection with your audience, you’re going to be just fine.

  1. Time and Pace

Your college presentation will usually have to adhere to some kind of timeframe. Maybe you have to fill a minimum of five minutes and a maximum of ten. If you’re feeling jittery or you’re simply tired of the material you’ve learned, you may rush through your presentation and fail to meet the time limit. When you practice, time yourself and adjust your pacing. You can stretch a little bit of material a lot farther with practiced pacing. A few pauses for your listeners to digest the information and a steady talking speed can actually reduce the amount of things you’ll need to say in order to make your time. However, make sure you leave yourself enough time to cover all of your points.

  1. Be Comfortable

If your shoes are killing your feet and your belt is on too tight, it’s going to be difficult for you to concentrate and engage with your audience. You want to look nice standing in front of your class, but you don’t want to look awkward and uncomfortable. If your narrow pointed toe shoes are making it painful every time you step down, your audience will be able to see it in your face. Dress nice, but dress casually. You’ll be able to breathe, move, and think better in clothes designed with your comfort in mind.

Practice makes perfect. Once you think you have a good idea of how you intend to deliver your presentation, practice it until your delivery becomes second nature. Also if you feel you need to brush up on your presentation & business skills be sure to check out online courses on the topic. It’s a lot less intimidating to do something familiar in front of a group than it is if you feel out of your element.

With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.