Posts published in August, 2017
By Melissa Brodsky
Disclosure: This article was originally published at Career School Now.
Furthering your education can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be completely cost driven. There are many ways you can get financial aid in order to alleviate the cost of career and technical education or college. The trouble is, the whole concept of financial aid can be overwhelmingly confusing for many, whether you are headed off to college or career school. Where can you find available money, and how do you apply for it? Add in the deadlines, criteria, paperwork, and all the other necessary evils that go hand-in-hand with finding and applying for scholarships and grants, and it can be a long and drawn-out process. However, financial aid, in the form of scholarships and grants for trade school, doesn’t have to be intimidating obstacle. There are millions of dollars available every single year, ready and waiting for students to receive so they can pursue their dream technical ed. school careers.
Types of Financial Aid for Career School
There are three major types of financial aid available. There are government-funded grants, scholarships, and both private and federal government loans. Government grants are considered “gift aid”; the money is free and does not require the student to pay it back. Grants are based on need, while scholarships are often given to students with high academic and test scores, or outstanding ability in certain areas. There are also student loans that require reimbursement. Depending on whether they are private or federally funded, the interest rate will vary. There is a vast number of scholarships available; these also do not need to be paid back. Visit the full Financial Aid Guide based on the book, “The Scholarship and Financial Aid Solution,” for help finding and applying to scholarships.
Sources of Financial Aid for Career School
Many colleges and institutions have their own funds that can be applied for, whether it’s a scholarship, grant, or loan. There are also state government and federal government sources that can be awarded to students who need help paying for career school or college. Many sources of financial aid are not on a “one-and-done” type of basis. They require the student to remain in good to excellent academic standing, and the school financial aid office will monitor the student’s record. If a private school is bleeping on your radar, don’t be discouraged due to its high cost. Private schools offer better financial aid than public schools, both on need and merit. This is largely due to the fact that private schools are funded by donations and endowments, as well as tuition, while public colleges are state funded. The price published on the private college’s informational package or website isn’t necessarily the actual out-of-pocket cost; many offer grants based on financial need that can actually bring the cost down to the same level as public colleges. Many colleges have a net price calculator available on their websites, which helps students figure out the net tuition cost including financial aid options. It’s a good idea to visit each potential school’s website, locate the calculator, and follow the instructions. Have your tax documents available to complete the net price calculations, in order to receive a reliable cost estimation. This could take awhile, depending on how many colleges are on the list. But, it’s a worthwhile endeavor when trying to compare college costs.
How to Get Financial Aid
The student must start off by applying for the FAFSA. It can be done all online, but it can also be done via snail mail. The FAFSA is a fairly easy, yet time-consuming process. A school’s financial advisor may be able to help, to make it more efficient. The earlier the application is in, the more aid the student may receive. The application will once again be available as of October 1, 2017. It cannot be stated enough the importance of filing the FAFSA before applying for any more grants or scholarships, as all of the awards are based on this form.
Breaking Down the Financial Aid Options
- Grants: Grants are the most desirable due to the fact that they don’t have to be paid back. Two of the best options are the Free Application For Federal School Aid, or FAFSA, and the Pell Grant. There is also the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) that can give some additional funding depending on need, which the FSEOG is based upon. To even begin the financial aid process, you MUST fill out the FAFSA form.
10 FAFSA FACTS
Because the FAFSA is THE most important step in obtaining grant or scholarship money, here are some important facts to know:
- File as early as possible; the FAFSA is first come, first served!
- Because family or individual income is a factor, minimize the amount of taxable earnings.
- Make sure “college savings” is in a parent’s name, when possible.
- FAFSA is not just for low to middle income families. Wealthy families are eligible, as well.
- The FAFSA determines where the $150 billion will be distributed.
- FAFSA uses a July-June calendar with the form available for processing in January.
- If the student is from a divorced home, use the financial information of the parent who more time is spent with. This is including a stepparent.
- Twenty four is the age when a student is considered independent and may file accordingly.
- Because the FAFSA is recalculated annually, it needs to be filled out every year for the course of the student’s education.
- Full-time students will receive more funding than part-time students.
- Pell Grant: There are extenuating circumstances that could exclude a student from being eligible for Pell Grants, such as incarceration. The amount awarded changes yearly, but the 2016-2017 maximum allowance is $5,815. Pell Grant amount awards are based on financial need, the cost of college attendance, full or part-time student status, and whether the student will be attending for a full year. Pell Grants can only be received for 12 semesters or six years of college attendance. The amount of any other financial aid does not affect the amount received from the Pell Grant. Pell Grants are awarded through the FAFSA application; there is no other way to apply. The Pell Grants need to be renewed annually, in the same way as the FAFSA. Funds are disbursed by the school the student is attending.
- FSEOG: This grant is a need-based monetary award. It can pay anywhere between $100-$4,000 per year depending on the student’s financial circumstances. It can be done online, but the student must be a U.S. citizen, a full-time student who already completed the FAFSA application, and is in dire need of additional funding for college or trade school. Like the Pell Grant, the FSEOG amount is determined by the FAFSA; there is no other way to apply for this grant directly. The money is either sent to the student by check or is credited to the school account. If the student’s financial circumstances do not make him or her eligible for the FSEOG, then he or she may be better fitted for a Pell Grant.
- FAFSA: The FAFSA is simply a free application for students to fill out to help them obtain money to pay toward their schooling. This online form MUST be filled out by any student wanting to apply for grants and scholarships, as it is used to determine the amount of money the student will be awarded. Every single loan and grant is based upon the FAFSA, and colleges also base their scholarships on FAFSA. It’s important to find out deadlines of schools being applied for because they could differ drastically from one to the other, and timeliness is extremely important in order to receive the highest amount of money. The federal deadline for filling out the FAFSA form is June 30th, but each state may be different.
- Federal Loans: Student loans help cover the cost of school, but they must be repaid over a designated period of time and usually with a high interest rate. Two loans to be aware of, both offered through the Department of Education, are The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program and The Federal Stafford Loan. Also, there is the Sallie Mae Career Training Smart Option Loan. These loans are usually lower than the market rate, so the payback isn’t as daunting. They do not reduce the cost of schools; they just are there to help with the immediate cost and will have to be paid back upon graduation and employment or when lessening college enrollment to part-time status.
- The Federal Stafford Loan is offered by the Department of Education, which can be subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized means the government pays the interest during select times while unsubsidized has no federal aid. The subsidized loans are for low-income undergraduate students with high financial help needs, and there is no time limit on how long the student can receive the loans. Unsubsidized loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students, and it does not matter what their income levels are. Unlike the subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans are only available for up to six years of education.
- William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan is the largest loan lender through the Department of Education. Under this program, there are four different types of loans available: Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans. The ungraduate student can borrow between $5,500-$12,500 per year with any of these loan programs. Parents applying for loans for their dependent student would qualify for the PLUS loan, which covers the costs not covered by other financial aid. Only borrow what is needed.
- Sallie Mae Career Training Smart Option Loan allows the borrower to take out a loan for the entire cost of school with a choice of repayment options. There are no prepayment penalties with this option, and payments start upon receiving money, but at low rates. Six months post graduation is when full payment plus interest begins.
Federal loans have a fixed interest rate that is much lower than credit card interest rates. If the student ever had to consolidate his or her debt, a federal loan can be rolled into it. Interest rates on Federal loans are tax deductible. Unlike a private loan, if there is financial hardship, the debt repayment can be postponed or payments can be lowered. There is no prepayment penalty fee, and a portion of the loan can also be forgiven if you work in public service. To receive a Federal loan, you must first fill out the FAFSA. Based on the result of the FAFSA, a financial aid offer will be sent out by the college or career school from which the student is enrolling in. This might include the federal loans, as well. Before any federal money is given, the student will have to complete entrance counseling that will spell out the exact loan obligation so that it is easily understood, and a Master Promissory Note, or an agreement to the terms of the loan, will have to be signed. The school will have all the information and will help the student understand how to make sense of it.
- 3. Private Student Loans: Approximately 38 percent of all money students receive is from loans. Many private loans need to be paid back even when the student is still enrolled in college and at a high interest rate, the average being 18 percent annually. The interest rate is what can bring the cost of the loan up tremendously. Interest may not be tax deductible with private loans and many not be included in the event of a debt consolidation. Private loans rely on credit scores along with other factors specific to the loan institution.
4.1. Merit Scholarships: Merit scholarships are given directly through the specific schools and the student has to apply for them. The scholarships are awarded based on certain criteria which is generally school specific and usually based on the applying student’s GPA and test scores as well as personal achievements. Vatterott now offers a variety scholarship opportunities for both part-time and full-time student status. Need and merit-based scholarship options are available with Remington College. The Lincoln Tech Group of Schools has over $15 million in scholarship funds available nationally for students who qualify. Whichever school you are considering, make sure to check the financial aid and scholarships sections of their websites to find out what the school offers and what the qualifications are.
4.2. Vocational Scholarships: Depending on which trade the student is entering, there are scholarships available. Examples such as Home Depot for students studying construction, contracting, and HVAC. Straightforward Media offers six different types of scholarships of $500, given out four times a year. Another, 2nd Chance Scholarship is given out by American Fire Sprinkler Association, and it awards five $1,000 scholarships to high school graduates going into trade school. They also have a High School Senior Scholarship Contest that awards 10 students each a $2,000 scholarship to go to trade school. Nexstar Legacy Foundation gives out two scholarships per year to students going into HVAC, plumbing, or electric, and it can be renewed for up to four years. The American Welding Society also hosts a variety of scholarship opportunities for undergrads interested in welding engineering or welding engineering tech studies. There are also scholarships available directly through the colleges or career schools, and it’s important to consult their websites for specifications.
4.3. Career School Scholarships for Women: There are a variety of scholarships available for women who are entering trade school. They are especially specific to women entering male-dominated professions which are heavy in trade schools such as welding, electric, and mechanical. The larger grants may be very competitive. There are smaller grants available that may be easier to receive. The American Association of University Women is awarded to full-time, female students who are entering fields where women aren’t represented such as math, engineering, and sciences. Deadline to apply is January 10th. There are a number of female-specific scholarships available for those entering the culinary field, such as Culinary Institute of America (CIA) but this is merit-based and the applicant must carry a GPA of 3.2. Horizon Scholarship for Women in Defense is available for females headed into Criminal Justice fields or any other field of study.
4.4 Top Three Websites for Finding Career School Scholarships
1. Cappex: Not only does Cappex help students with their college searches, they also match you with potential scholarship opportunities just by filling out its free profile form. Cappex gives you the options and allows you to make your own decisions. It has its own scholarship available, as well.
2. Chegg: Chegg personalizes your search for scholarships by matching you with ones that fit your career goals, simply by filling out its profile form. The service sends out reminders so you’ll never have to worry about missing deadlines, an important factor when trying to get the most scholarship money.
3. Fastweb: Fastweb is another targeted scholarship search that helps students find even some of the most obscure ones. You just complete an online profile on the site, and it allows you access to its database of 1.5 million available scholarships totalling over 3 billion dollars.
5.1. Lottery Grants: Some states, such as South Carolina and Georgia, host lottery and scholarship grants. In Georgia, the Georgia HOPE Grant Program pays for career school programs, and gives a $100 book reimbursement to the recipient. Not all states offer lottery scholarships, so it’s best to check with the school financial office to find out if your state offers a lottery-based scholarship.
5.2. Minority-Specific Grants: There are so many grants available to minorities that have historically been underrepresented within the educational system. These grants are available in hopes of making higher education obtainable to minorities who would otherwise not be able to attend colleges or career schools. There are grants available through the state and Federal governments, as well as through private sources, professional organizations, charitable foundations, and college and universities. Certain standards apply, so research is crucial.
Not all career schools qualify for government financial aid, so make certain to discuss viable options with the financial aid officer at your school of choice. Your school’s financial aid officer is probably the best source of information when it comes to finding available grant and scholarship money for technical ed or career school. There is a lot of financial aid money for career schools out there to help those who need it!
Melissa Brodsky is a Content Strategist and Writer for Career Now Brands and CDL Marketing Group. We provide students with the largest school database, as well as information on different careers, programs, and schools. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY GORDON SCHORR
Are you worried about how you are going to pay off all of your student loan debt after you graduate from college? How would you like to not have much debt to pay off in the first place? No, we are not exactly talking about taking on a part-time job while you are going to school. We are actually talking about getting scholarships, based on your hobbies. You might be surprised to learn that many companies and individuals offer scholarships to those have hobbies, from amateur radio to knitting and more. Here are some cool ideas to check out.
- Knitting – Do you love to knit? If so, you could win yourself $3,000 towards your education expenses. The Beans for Brains Scholarship is from Jimmy Beans Wool store, and it is open to students from all over the world who are skilled at knitting. So, if people made fun of you for knitting, it is time to show them a thing or two by putting that talent to good use. Create something really awesome, and get your application in.
- Gaming – It’s a good thing that you didn’t listen to your mother when she said you were too into trading card games and that you needed to get a life. Your knowledge of games could win you a $5,000 scholarship. All you have to do is write an essay that is related to the trading card game, “Magic: The Gathering”. The more you know about the game, the better your chances are of getting that scholarship. Applications for 2018 scholarships are open in the fall, and must be submitted no later than March 31, 2018.
- Videos – How many times have you been asked to get your camera out of someone’s face? Well, all of those videos you took for fun may have given you the experience to win $1,000. The ACT Video Contest is open to juniors and seniors in high school. The ACT test is important, but not mandatory, and all students are encouraged to take it. All you have to do is submit a video that makes students want to take the ACT.
- Photography – If you are interested in photography, you could put your talents to good use and win a $500 Camera Runner Photography Scholarship. This award is given to students in high school and college, and part-time students are eligible to apply. You must write an essay about what you love about photography, and submit one of your favorite photos. The deadline for application is August 31.
- Egg Donor – If you are between 18-28 years old, pass the basic qualifications, and have a good health and family history, you can start applying to the program by New Hope Fertility Center immediately.
- Poetry – If you are into poetry, there is an awesome scholarship that would be perfect for you to apply for. The Power Poetry Scholarships are for high school seniors, undergraduate students, and graduate students who have a love of, and a talent for poetry. The winner will receive a scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to use towards tuition or other educational expenses.
- Automotive Interests – Students who have an interest in working in the automotive field are eligible to apply for the Automotive Hall of Fame scholarships. There are many different awards for both high school seniors and college students who have a love of automobiles. The amounts often depend on the financial need of the winning students. To be eligible for most of these scholarships, you must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, be a US citizen or live in the US and hold a valid visa, and have two letters of recommendation that show you have a true interest in automobiles.
Gordon Schorr is an online educator and creative writer.
BY SYLVIA KOHL
If you are in college, it’s time to start a business and find a product or service you can actually sell into the marketplace. As a college student, you have time on your side, and you can take risks. If you can live in college campus or parents basement for a couple of years, you can save money to set up a foundation to run your business and scale your company.
Think about Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. All these companies have one thing in common – they were college start-ups. Students and great ideas can sometimes be catalysts for innovative business. However, it is not necessary to be an IT genius to thrive in the entrepreneurial space. The way to get business ideas is not to try to think of business ideas. It’s to search for problems, preferably problems you have yourself. If you have such a problem in mind and an idea of how to solve it, here are some thought-provoking points to consider when thinking about starting your business in college.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Business in College
Are You Passionate About Your Idea?
Find something you are passionate about creating, improving or changing – use your experience to develop something that has to mean and provides a service. Don’t choose the idea that you aren’t very excited about, but you think it can potentially make a lot of money. Remember that passion is the main driver that can make any idea successful.
What Resources Do You Have?
Use the resources at your disposal to start your business. As a college student, professors who are highly skilled in their field are available to give advice and lead you in the right direction.
If you are thinking seriously about your venture, after creating a business plan start searching for capital – whether you borrow money from friends, family or get a loan from the bank. Another way to make your idea a reality is to get access to university entrepreneurial loans. Remember to keep entrepreneurial spirit especially in the beginning when you have a minimal income.
Have You Identified the Potential Customers and Brand Influencers?
Depending on a product or service, your future company has a network of college students who can become potential customers or brand influencers. Think about joining target networking organizations to start forming the needed connections as early as possible.
Do You Have Enough Time to Run a Business?
It can be really hard to keep up with your studies and business. Many working students have faced the situation where they had to understand how to wisely organize their tasks in a time frame. College may seem difficult at times, and it can be tempting to take a break, but that won’t solve anything. Instead of leaving college, ask for help if you think things are getting too hard. Time management is another great way to free up more time for your business. One useful tip to take control over your college life is to print out your study program for the whole semester, with details about each course, and deadlines for submission of assignments.
How Will You Protect Yourself?
Once you have an idea and plan in mind, you should be ready to protect your business with trademarks, copyrights, patents of your logo, brand and company name. Moreover, don’t talk about your idea too much. It’s not necessary to reveal every detail of how your product works.
How to Know if You Are Ready to Become an Entrepreneur?
Believe it or not, there is never a perfect time to start a business. No matter how old you are, or how much experience has, you’ll never have zero risks. However, if you understand the risks of business ownership, have an idea you’re passionate about and have found resources and mentors who can guide you through the toughest moments, it’s time to begin your entrepreneurial journey.
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.
BY KATE LARSON
Travel the world while you’re young, they say. Unfortunately, most people are studying when they’re young, which means they probably have to pick between seeing Florence or studying for their midterms.
However, clever students can get away with studying on their holiday if they follow a few simple steps. To help their students study without compromise, during one of my travels, in Australia, I met some students from JMC Academy, Australia’s leading private college offering creative courses and they gave me the following advice:
1. Prepare before you leave
To study while travelling, preparation is key. Make sure you get all the notes and keep a track of the passwords you use to access your institution’s online portal. Plan out your trip and take books only for the subjects you intend to study for.
2. Embrace disruptions
If you take a flight out to your destination, you could have hours of uninterrupted study on board. While travelling to a new destination you can spend all the time you are locked into your seat to catch up with your notes. However, embrace the disruptions that come with being on holiday with friends and family. If you plan to study but your friends really want to go down to the beach, make a concession and go. It’s important for you to take frequent breaks and enjoy yourself.
3. Make sure the internet is available
Online courses and even university notes are all available online now, so it’s essential that you have a backup plan for when the hotel wifi isn’t working. Try to buy a mobile internet hotspot which you connect to anywhere. Make sure you understand roaming charges and the terms and conditions of free wifi at cafes. Stay connected as much as you can so you can quickly Google something if you need to.
4. Schedule fixed hours for study
Perhaps the best thing you can do to balance work and play is to have fixed hours for study everyday. If you finish all your work early in the morning, you free up the entire day to see places and have fun.
5. Don’t study too much
Don’t forget you’re on holiday. When you’re travelling and trying to see new parts of the world, keep aside your books and take the time to relax. If you spend most of your holiday with your nose buried in a book, what’s the point of travelling? Don’t let life pass you by.
These five simple tips should help you strike the perfect balance between studying and travelling.
Kate Larson is a college student and aspiring blogger, who has a strong interest in the environment and personal well-being. She enjoys travelling and reading, as well as writing novels.
BY DAVID GUTIERREZ
A lot of fresh graduates are out of work today. If you are not currently out of work, you probably will be sooner or later. The ability to get the right job at the right wage is one of the most important skills to develop. In this article, I will show you some great ideas and job search platforms that will help you with your future career.
How to find a job if you are a fresh graduate
First of all, let everyone know you are looking for a job. You never know when an opportunity may arise, so by letting your friends and family know you are looking for work, you extend your reach beyond the opportunities you may see alone.
Fine-tune your resume. Make changes to highlight the right experiences for each position you’re applying for. Swap around skills and keywords for different industries. In fact, it may be helpful to have various versions of your resume, each tailored for a different position or field.
Make use of professional social media. I know that LinkedIn may not be the most exciting social media platform. However, their recent survey showed that 94% of recruiters use this social network. Give your profile a facelift before you begin to apply.
Don’t limit yourself to traditional job search websites. Don’t ignore applications and job postings online; sign up with a local employment agency and read online ads. Besides these traditional methods, networking and informational interviewing will help you to inform people in your industry that you are searching for a job.
Platforms for finding a job
It’s probably not the best idea to check every company website. It is not only tiring but also ineffective.
Whether you are looking for a job in finance or healthcare, the following websites are among the best.
EngineerJobs is one of the most popular and largest engineering job sites. It offers a wide range of positions worldwide, including job openings from large corporations such as Canon, Mitsubishi, SpaceX, and others.
Engineering Daily is a platform that publishes articles about the industry and offers a lot of fun brain teasers for those who are looking for a job.
USA JOBS is a federal government job board, and it offers jobs solely in the public sector. You will find detailed job descriptions as well as salary ranges to help you make informed decisions.
Making a career in healthcare is not the easiest task to achieve. It requires both education and experience. However, there are several platforms that can connect job seekers and employers. Among them are Health Callings, Healthcare Job Site, and Snagajob. These platforms will help any entry-level professional to search for new opportunities and connect with top healthcare employers.
There are also a lot of specialized platforms that will help to narrow your search. For example, if you are a fresh graduate looking for a job as a dental hygienist or assistant, you can skip the general-purpose websites and go to a platform for dental hygienists and assistants such as Cloud Dentistry.
Hospitality jobs are infamous for the long working shifts, but this industry is still a dream job for many. Moreover hospitality management major becomes more popular higher education choice every year. The problem to find the job in this niche is that the number of options is so big, that one can barely get the idea of market needs. A good resource to find hospitality jobs is Hospitality Online. The resource has search options divided by more narrow hospitality business categories and position levels.
Although the financial market is competitive, there are still a lot of opportunities and room for optimism. Among the platforms that focus solely on this industry is eFinancialCareers, which publishes job offers in North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia–Pacific regions. FinancialJobBank, which is more US-oriented, offers thousands of accounting jobs from entry-level opportunities for students to more advanced positions.
In addition to the specialized sites, there are helpful general-purpose platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed. Moreover, if you are close to graduation, don’t forget to visit your job-placement center to ask for entry-level opportunities and advice.
This is a challenging time for graduates to find a job they deserve. However, in spite of the economic changes, there a number of opportunities and possibilities. Persistent people can find great jobs and earn more.
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.
By Scott Hawksworth
You have the ultimate say in the value of your education. No class is inherently pointless, but let’s be real, we’ve all taken classes where a semester’s worth of knowledge seems to evaporate into thin air after finals. Or maybe you remember everything, but resent having taken the class. Ideally, you’ve enjoyed the majority of your courses, and you know they’ll stick with you for a lifetime.
College, especially your undergrad, is meant to help you become a more well-rounded individual, which why you’re required to take several types of classes to graduate. Undoubtedly you look forward to taking elective classes, and why shouldn’t you? It’s your chance to take virtually whatever you want, and it doesn’t always have to relate to your major. However, just because you can take almost any class you like, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
With a multitude of electives at your disposal, how can you know which ones are “pointless,” which ones will have a lasting impact, or, at the very least, fall somewhere in between?
Really any class, elective or otherwise, could ultimately be “pointless,” and that largely depends on you. However, you have a bit more control over the electives you take. So here are a few points to consider before signing up for a class that can help you determine whether or not you’ll see it as an amazing or wasted experience.
Electives come in all shapes and sizes, from ones that relates to your Communication major (for example) like “Media Psychology,” to something off-the-wall like “Philosophy of Mind” or the “Lindy Hop 101” dance class.
To graduate, you need to take electives from your department. Once that requirement is fulfilled, you can usually choose to either take more department electives and have them count as outside/not degree-related electives, or you can choose to take “pointless” electives (ones from outside of your major). Here are a few reasons why those classes aren’t pointless, and why you should take advantage of the opportunity to take electives outside of your major:
- To Learn More About Yourself:
How do you know if you like are interested in something if you never learn about it? You don’t. College is the perfect time to get to find out more about your interests and what you excel in. Students have even switched majors because they connected with that elective subject far more than their original intended major.
- To Expand Your World:
Sticking to classes within your department keeps you in the same circle and with the same types of people. Engineering majors will likely have the same interests as other engineering majors, and thus, don’t really have the chance to be exposed to other viewpoints. However, if an engineering student decides to take an Acting 101 class as an elective, they are opening themselves up to the world of theatre.
By taking a course outside of your major you have the chance to learn about a new subject, and you’re also getting a taste of that culture. Who knows? You could end up making a lasting friendship from an elective class who you would’ve otherwise never met, or find that you can apply skills learned from an elective class to your current major.
- To Keep Those Full-Time Benefits:
Sometimes taking an elective course is purely practical. This is a more common issue for seniors who’ve already taken several classes from within their department, there aren’t any new ones being offered that semester, and/or they have fulfilled most of their other requirements and really only need to take a couple more classes.
So of course it just makes sense to take an outside elective and keep the benefits, like tuition assistance, that come with being a full-time student. Some schools even offer health insurance and public transit passes to full-time students, and no one wants to lose those. All the better if you can take an easier, 101-type of elective during your last semester (hello senioritis) too.
Yes, what you get out of a class is your choice, but making a hasty decision could be setting yourself up for failure. Outside electives can quickly become pointless classes if you’re not careful, and here’s why:
- Waste of Time:
Plan, plan, plan, and plan. Meet with your academic advisor at least once a semester. Don’t get to your last semester only to find out that the class you need to take to graduate is only offered every other semester, and you spent last semester taking a yoga class instead of taking that one. Now you’ll need to wait until the next semester, for just one class, in order to actually be done with your degree.
- Waste of Money:
Saying that school is expensive is like saying there are seven days in a week – everyone knows it. That’s why it’s important to not fail the elective class you decide to take. It may seem like an obvious point, but students often forget to apply it to electives because it can feel like they don’t matter. It’s still money, it still affects your GPA, and it still matters.
- Unnecessary Stress:
You can take an elective, pass it, have it not interfere with your graduation date, and it can still be pointless. Just because it’s an elective, even if it is an intro class, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. Do some research; ask the professor or other students who have taken that class what the workload is like. As with any class, it’s important to avoid feeling overwhelmed and to know your limits. If you’re already taking 18 credit hours of classes, maybe hold off on the elective until you have a lighter semester.
Taking an elective outside your major is a great way to explore something completely new, just make sure you do your research, think it through, and make the most of it.
—————————About the Author
Scott Hawksworth is the CEO of Best Online Universities LLC, and he maintains a variety of websites that focus on connecting students with prospective colleges. Having been in the eLearning and edtech business since 2009, Scott remains convinced that a quality college education is the best way to have a career that is both fulfilling and financially rewarding.
BY PAMELA CURRIER
A lot of people think that learning a language has to be a difficult thing, or that you have to be immersed in the culture to really get to know the language. Actually, there are several other ways to learn a new language, and you don’t have to travel to a foreign country or spend several hours a day in study. Today, we are going to look at seven of the most innovative ways to learn a new language.
- Conversation Exchange – They say that the best way to learn a new language is to jump right in and start speaking with others. You can do this through a conversation exchange online. All you need to do is find someone who speaks the language that you want to learn, and who wants to learn your language. It might take a while to find the right language partner, but once you do, you will be able to learn that new language, and possibly make a new friend while you are at it.
- Learn New Words – Another trick to learning a new language is to find 1,000 common words in that language, and commit them to memory. Research shows that by doing this, you can understand up to 90% of the language. Of course, this is vocabulary only, and you don’t actually get to practice the words in conversation.
- Watch Movies – If you have avoided watching foreign films with subtitles, now is the time to stop avoiding and start watching. This is a great way to learn a language, because you will be able to read in English what the actors are saying in any language. Obviously, you will need to look for films that are made in the language that you wish to learn.
- Get New Tech – If you are going to study a new language online, you need a good, up-to-date computer that is going to let you use all of the functions of the language website. If yours doesn’t have all of the latest features, you can sell used laptop and use the money towards a new one that is going to make learning a lot easier. Your old laptop will be refurbished, and sold to someone who needs it but also can’t afford something brand new.
- Study before Bedtime – Research shows that when you study anything just before going to bed, you are going to be able to retain it better than if you study at other hours in the day. Information taken in before sleeping goes into the brain’s long-term memory storage, and you will remember things easier, and longer. This technique goes hand in hand with the next one we are going to discuss.
- Spaced Repetition – The more you do something, the more you are going to remember it. Using spaced repetition can help. Review words and phrases you have learned at spaced intervals of your choosing, such as one word a day, and then going over it again the next day. After a while, you will be able to remember the words and phrases for longer periods of time until you eventually have them totally committed to memory.
- Concentrate on Content – Rather than worrying about studying the language, concentrate on the content. If you are interested in the content, it is going to make learning the language a lot easier. Read online articles, watch videos, listen to podcasts, etc. that are created in the language that you wish to learn, and it won’t be long before you are able to understand everything that is being said, and be able to repeat it in that language.
Pamela Currier helps recent grads land the jobs of their dreams, she is a career coach and educator.
BY MELISSA BURNS
When a family member is dealing with a serious affliction, the stress can be hard to manage. When you’re dealing with final exams, essays, and a full class schedule on top of that, it can be doubly so. If a family member is afflicted with a serious illness in the middle of your college course, you may even doubt whether it’s possible to finish your academic studies.
Fortunately, there are helpful strategies you can use to secure the grades you need without neglecting your family.
Recognize the Struggle
The worst thing you can do for yourself, mentally and emotionally, is to deny what’s happening—yet, that’s often one of our first instincts when coping with grief. You may be tempted to downplay the seriousness of the illness to avoid some responsibilities or refuse to confront your feelings, or you may deny that taking care of your seriously ill family member is interfering with your studies.
Instead of running away from these realizations, you need to confront them head-on; be honest with yourself, and work to understand how this illness is affecting your life, both internally and externally.
Find a Support Group
If your family member is suffering from a chronic illness, you should both find a support group for ongoing therapy. If your loved one is receiving treatment from a hospital or specialist, the experts there will likely be able to make a recommendation for a support group to join. You’ll also likely find a support group at your own university. Make it a point to attend regularly, and be open about your feelings there; it’s a safe space, and you need to be around people you like and trust.
Be Upfront With Your Professors and Classmates
Professors frequently begin classes with an explanation of their zero-tolerance policy for lame excuses on missing assignments; accordingly, you might be scared to bring up the fact that a loved one’s illness is interfering with your ability to study or complete work.
Professors, for the most part, aren’t there to make your life more difficult; they just don’t want to be lied to, disrespected, or taken advantage of. The right way to approach professors is proactively and openly; explain your situation as soon as you know about it, detail how it’s going to affect your abilities, and ask what alternative work you can do (or what alternative schedule you can adopt) to complete the course satisfactorily. Most professors will be more than willing to help you out.
Reduce Your Class Load
Taking classes full-time is a difficult task for anyone. As soon as a new responsibility or load of stress enters your life, you may want to consider reducing that class load. Dropping even one class could be enough to give you the extra time to manage your hectic schedule—and get better grades in all your other classes. If it’s too late for this semester, consider making the move for next semester.
Attend Group Study Sessions
Studying in groups is inherently better than studying alone for a few different reasons; you’ll be held more accountable, you’ll remember things easier, and most importantly, you’ll get to socially interact with other people. As you cope with your family member’s illness, it’s important that you avoid isolating yourself; studying in a group can get you out of the house and help you achieve higher grades at the same time, so it’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Make Time for Yourself
Between all your on-campus responsibilities and the time and effort you’ll spend taking care of your family, it’s easy to neglect your own health. You may start eating less frequently, losing sleep, and skipping basic forms of self-care like personal hygiene. However, it’s extremely important that you keep yourself in healthy condition; otherwise, you’re liable to suffer far more serious stress and symptoms. Make time to get plenty of sleep at night, eat full, healthy meals, exercise, and do some things that make you happy.
Managing a college workload when a family member is ill can be stressful and exhausting, but with the right approach, it is possible. If you feel you’ve been pushed to the brink, you can put your college education on hold and resume when things have settled down, but it’s better to keep your momentum—even if it means reducing your workload temporarily.
Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Follow her @melissaaburns or contact at email@example.com
BY SYLVIA KOHL
The debate whether narrow specialized or broad liberal arts education is better has been going on for years. It has taken a new level of importance now that the competition on the employment market has grown exponentially. Both types of education definitely have specific advantages and disadvantages. However, when one considers the conditions of the globalized world, liberal arts education seems to come out on top.
Specialized Professional Education: Pros and Cons
Specialized professional, also called ‘career-oriented’ education has been enjoying a higher profile over the last few years. The boost of popularity is mainly caused by the fact that these courses are ‘job-friendly.’ They produce graduates ready to join a specialized branch of workforce immediately.
This branch of education has also gotten a lot of political backing. Some officials even went as far as to ‘undermine’ liberal arts courses in their states. For example, Rick Perry, a governor from Texas, has initiated a ‘solution’ to develop $10,000 bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields. In essence, what Mr. Perry called for was supporting the students, who went for narrow specialized professional education. His ideas were supported and shared by many other officials throughout the US.
There can be no doubt that there are advantages to narrow education:
- Highly specialized professional knowledge
- High level of professional capability
- Knowledge and mastery of practical skills
- Ease of integrating into the workforce
On the other hand, the cons of this education include:
- Lack of adaptability
- Limited knowledge in general areas
- Limited job prospects
In simple terms, specialized professional education definitely produces top-quality experts in their field. However, these people struggle to adapt in the globalized world where the ability to multitask is vital.
Liberal Arts Education: Pros and Cons
Liberal arts education is vastly different from the specialized approach in that it tends to provide students with some knowledge in many areas. There is a common misconception about the term ‘liberal,’ which might be the reason why politicians are so opposed to this idea. It’s essential to understand that being a liberal arts student doesn’t mean that one has politically liberal views.
This type of education aims to give students a solid understanding of essential disciplines, such as English, math, science, and history. The main goal of such studies is to develop the skills of critical thinking and analysis. Liberal arts learning also encourages creative problem solving. This skill has a tremendous importance today.
All in all, the main pros of this education are:
- Well-rounded knowledge in many important subjects
- Developed critical thinking skills
- Ability to adapt to different situations
- Skills in finding solutions for a variety of problems in different areas
The main con of liberal arts education is that these students don’t have highly specialized proficiency in a single profession. However, as most of them go to major in one field after liberal arts solves this problem.
In the globalized world of today with its widespread use of outsourcing, this approach definitely works best. To succeed professionally, most people today require basic knowledge in a variety of areas. They also can easily find narrow experts to help them whenever necessary.
For example, a student planning their own startup needs to understand insurance practices. However, once they are ready to launch, they can hire specialized businesses, like Insurance BPO Solution to handle the actual policy. The knowledge provided by broad education will ensure that the young entrepreneur is able to choose the best business to outsource a task to.
What Is the Best Type of Education Today?
In the globalized world of today, having a solid grounding in many areas as well as the ability to think critically are most important. It’s true that being a narrow expert is also valuable as the world wouldn’t be able to run without those.
Therefore, the right answer is that both specialized and liberal education is ‘best’ is different situations. Therefore, a student should choose based on their personal preferences.
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.
BY LINDA ANDERSON
Every had that terrifying epiphany how much time you waste on social media! What if you got paid for that? If you are a college student who already spends a lot of time on social media, you can now earn money by affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate marketing?
This is a form of advertisement, where a brand uses affiliates, or real-life people on internet, to advertise their products instead of using celebrities. It helps the brand reach out to a larger audience. It is more relatable as the affiliate is just another regular guy or girl, and has hence, gained immense popularity. You can use your time on the internet more fruitfully and make some money out of it too.
Why is it perfect for you?
If you are a college student who is conversant with social media, chances are that you spend quite a lot of time on it. You have probably got around a decade of social media experience on different platforms as the world of social media evolved. Therefore, you have some idea and probably some influence too. While you do spend your time on social media, sharing your life, it is likely that you have made some friends and followers who value your opinion. Now, this is all you need to become a successful affiliate. Dedicate some of time you already spend on the internet to advertising and you can earn money without having to do any extra work. This is perfect for a college student as you do not have to go out of your curriculum to earn money. And do you really want to guess how much you can earn? There are many reputable platforms, such as Lead Network that have leads selling from $2 up to $230. They constantly work to increase conversion, attract new buyers, and improve lead distribution to offer among the industry’s highest payouts.
Here are some tips on succeeding in affiliate marketing.
Pick what you endorse
You really should be careful about what you endorse because a wrong product or brand can ruin all the years of internet image that you have. Hence, it is wise to choose carefully. Firstly, consider what kind of image you have and whether the product goes with it. Secondly, do some research on the reputation of the brand. Thirdly, think of what message you might be giving.
Sell it well
When it comes to affiliate marketing, it is a huge untapped field of opportunity, so not do it half-heartedly. Spend some time on research and development of ideas before you do your marketing. Ask yourself, would you as an audience, be impressed enough with your advertising, to buy the product or service? Keep generating leads, and you will be able to earn quite well.
Test before you launch
This is extremely important, especially for beginners in the field of affiliate marketing. Do a trial run of your advertisement on a small test group before launching it for the public. This test group can comprise of your friends, family, colleagues or a professional group of testers. Take their opinions into consideration and work out all the kinks before the public sees it.
Exaggeration is one thing and lying is another. Don’t let the charm of money sway your judgment. Do not pick a brand which makes you lie to sell its product. Don’t misuse the trust that your audience puts in you. Trying to sell lies will make you lose your credibility.
No place for mistakes
Before hitting the enter or ‘publish’ consider your post a billion times because once you hit that button, you cannot take it back without causing at least some damage to your reputation. One offensive post can ruin all the hard work and land you in legal trouble as well.
Affiliate marketing is a lucrative career option and done right, it can be viable and extremely high paying.
Linda Anderson is a writer and musician residing in Boise, ID in the United States, although I spent a small amount of time (about three years) living in the UK growing up, due to my father’s occupation. I graduated from the College of Idaho with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a focus in marketing in 2014.