Posts published in September, 2017
By: Elisabeth Jackson
With the internet at our disposal, you have access to a plethora of tools and resources to help you succeed in the classroom. As we head into the fall quarter, having a strategy for how you take information from each lecture will not only help your grade, but also help you retain information long after finals are over. Here are 4 solid techniques you can utilize to better your studying:
- Capture what you don’t know, then revisit the information frequently
The way we retain information is by repeated exposure. You don’t need to record something that you already understand. Having a focused portion of your notes strictly on portions of the material you don’t know will help you maintain greater focus on memorizing that text.
- Inherit a note-taking system
Yes, those Cornell notes you learned back in high school actually were of value. Note taking systems like Cornell, Mind Mapping, and The Sentence Method are structured to help create a structured flow to all the information that will be coming at you throughout the semester. Creating organized notes will make compartmentalizing the information easier, causing the information to stick to your memory better.
- Integrate notes from readings with lecture notes
Organize all your lecture notes with your reading notes into a central location. Whether this is a notebook or an online cloud, having ALL your notes in one location will help you study all the material you have gathered over the course of the semester, as opposed to trying to find pieces of information scattered across separate note sections. If you want to be able to study on the go, I strongly suggest integrating all your notes onto a note-taking portal like EverNote.
- Record the lecture
We all learn in different capacities. Having an audio recording and transcript of the professor can help teach the content in a multimodal approach, and enhance the amount of material you retain. Audio transcripts allow you to go back and relisten to key points you may have missed, and help not only jog your memory, but give context to your written notes as well! You can do this either by recording and transcribing the lectures yourself, or, order a transcription through a professional.
Incorporating these techniques will help you retain more information into your brain after a lecture and ace those exams.
Elisabeth Jackson is a freelance content writer with a background in technology and marketing.Before she wrote for a living, she was a post-graduate mentor and advocate for college seniors. You can view more of her writings and work on her website justlizzi.com
BY EMMA BONNEY
Building a good credit score is important as it will determine a large part of your future. Therefore, it is best to start early. Even if you are a student you can start building your credit score and here is how.
Become an authorized user on your parents’ credit card
Before you take on the responsibility of your own credit card, you can start learning the ropes by becoming an authorized user on your parents’ card.
Get your own credit card
Once you are more responsible and stable, it is time to get yourself a credit card of your own. But you have to realize that this is an adult responsibility which you cannot mess up.
Choose your card wisely
Once you decide to go for a credit card, you will be flooded with different option to choose from. So, do your research well, compare and pick the right credit card for yourself.
Pay credit card balance every month
Do not pay the minimum amount that you absolutely have to pay but instead clear off the whole amount every month so that you do not carry a balance on the card. This will ensure that you do not have to pay additional late fines as records of those are detrimental to the development of a good credit score.
Pay your bills on time
Your other unpaid dues can also affect your credit scores as every single record is linked. Make sure you pay off your bills in time and not fall into a defaulters’ list. This is something you should avoid at all costs as it will hamper your credit scores.
Keep your information updated
Every time you move and your address changes, it is crucial to update the change immediately so that you still get your credit card bills on time and do not miss out on the payments. Late payments will not only mean that you have to pay your interest, along with the late fines, it also puts a strain on your credit scores.
Don’t apply for several credit cards
If you are looking forward to building a strong credit maintain one credit card carefully and in an utterly responsible fashion. The more credit cards you get, higher are your chances of messing up, and thus, incurring huge debts and subsequent higher payments which can lower your credit score.
Don’t cosign for your friends
Just like you would need the signature of an adult to obtain your first credit card, your friends and juniors would too. Sometimes they try to get it co-signed by a friend or a senior with a credit card so that they can avoid the whole hassle with parents but never agree to sign this because if your friend is irresponsible and incurs and debt, you will see that automatically bringing down your credit score, since your name is also associated with that person’s account.
There are always tons of Coupon codes and discounts offers which will help you spend less. Use them wisely instead of piling up a huge credit card bill. Just because you don’t have to pay now doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay at all.
Be careful with your identity
Be careful and keep your credit card, social security card and other valuable documents safe because an identity theft can completely mar your credit scores which will take forever to recover, if at all.
Your credit card is much more than a piece of plastic which helps you spend money whenever you want so to use it responsibly!
Short Bio: – Emma Bonney is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, Women’s Empowerment, Education, entrepreneurship and content management.
BY MONIQUE SERBU
As a college student, you’re likely living in tight quarters in a dorm or an apartment. Between squeezing in a minifridge and finding a spot for your personal belongings and school books, creating a study space might seem like an impossible task.
But you don’t need an elaborate office or spacious room to have the right study environment. With a few additions and a little creativity, you can create a study-ready space in the smallest of apartments or dorm rooms. Just try out these five tips for making your space study-ready for the school year and see the benefits for yourself.
- Designate a Specific Study Space
Avoid studying in bed or shifting around between different locations, and stick to a single spot in your room. This space could be a desk in a corner, for example. Only use this area for your schoolwork so you train your brain to get into a study mode each time you sit down and open your books. Whatever place you pick, make sure it’s a comfortable space where you can focus. Don’t set up your desk near a wall you share with a loud neighbor, either, so you won’t get distracted by noise.
- Keep Your Desk Clutter-Free
Clutter doesn’t just make for a messy space. It also impacts how your brain functions. Studies show that clutter limits your brain’s ability to process information, increases stress, and contributes to procrastination—the perfect recipe for poor grades. Keep your desk organized and clear of knick-knacks and papers. Have a small desk? No problem. Use drawers and under-the-bed organizers to store papers and binders, and keep your desk space open for your computer or laptop.
- Don’t Skimp on the Necessities
Even when you’re on a college budget, invest in the tools you need to succeed. These items include books, software for your classes, and a reliable internet connection. Slow internet can hinder your productivity and focus. For example, while you’re waiting for a source page to load, you may look at your text messages or Instagram feed, and suddenly it’s midnight and you still have five more pages to write for your term paper. You’ll get a lot more done in less time if you have quality internet.
- Stick to Your Schedule
A clock can encourage you to stay on a schedule and help you manage your study time. Use a clock on your desk to set aside chunks of time, such as thirty-minute sessions, to study and then take a break for ten minutes. Alternatively, a clock can be distracting for some, and it might serve as a stressful reminder of how much or little time you have left for studying. If this is the case, get rid of your clock, use a timer on your phone, and avoid looking at the countdown.
- Create the Right Environment
While studying isn’t the most enjoyable of tasks, the right environment can help you study more efficiently and feel more relaxed. Make sure you have pens, notebooks, and a calculator; pin up motivational posters or your favorite pictures; and use an Amazon Echo to play relaxing music. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, consider getting a houseplant to purify the air and promote increased feelings of calmness.
Follow these tips and devote an afternoon to creating your perfect study space, from organizing your files to planting a houseplant. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you, whether it’s jazz music and bright lighting or white noise and a wall covered in posters. Not only will you create a relaxing environment but you’ll also set yourself up for success all semester
Monique is a recent transplant to Utah from the Windy City. Her educational background includes a BS in Marketing and Management as well as a MBA in Marketing Management. Now she’s testing the waters in freelance writing, and in her spare time she likes to spend time outdoors hiking in Utah’s beautiful terrain and hanging out with her Cocker Spaniel.
BY MELISSA BURNS
Education is an area where one expect innovations to take hold as soon as they become available – and at the same time one of the most conservative industries out there. To a considerable degree modern schools and colleges still keep on using methods and principles that have been developed centuries ago – and not always because there is nothing better.
However, with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and it finally seems that we are about to experience a serious paradigm shift – and education in five-ten years’ time may be something completely different from what we are used to. What will it be? Nobody knows. But at least we can see some tendencies and build assumptions based on them.
How Your College Experience May Change after Implementing the IoT in Education?
Although it may be considered to be an invasion of privacy, schools and universities can use connected devices to monitor their students, staff, equipment and other resources, thus leading to a more safe environment outside of the classroom. It will make locating stolen devices quick and easy, students will be able to check on the location of connected buses to alter their schedules and spend less time in potentially dangerous locations, and if something happens to a student, the authorities will be able to take action sooner.
2. Individualization of Education
The most valuable instruction is the one that is given personally, that is adapted to the needs and peculiarities of a particular person, that takes his strengths and weaknesses into account. Normally, teachers and professors simply don’t have the resources (primarily time) to do so when they have to pay equal attention to dozens if not hundreds of students. The rise of connected technology means that instructors will spend less time performing routine jobs like grading tests and more instructing students individually. If all the devices used in studying are connected to the cloud, it let professors gather information on the progress of individual students and help them modify their approach for each of them.
3. Energy Efficiency
A school or university that fully “goes smart” – that is, introduces a web-based system to control all the mechanical equipment inside the building – will dramatically increase its operational efficiency. Moreover, it isn’t even necessary to build an entirely new building to fully introduce such a system – this effect can be reached even in older buildings through the installation of smart sensors where appropriate.
4. Automation of Routine Tasks for Students
According to the 2015 data, more than 70 percent of American high school students have smartphones, and almost all schools in the country have Internet access. Students already use their mobile devices to perform a wide variety of tasks, many of them education related – note-taking, scheduling, finding information sources, research. Full integration with the IoT will simply mean that this practice will be accepted as legitimate, introduced as a part of the education process and optimized for maximum efficiency. Students will get an opportunity to spend less time performing routine tasks (like consulting dictionaries, looking for books, taking notes, etc.), and centralized scheduling will make it easier for them to keep track of all their activities and lessons.
5. The Change in the Role of the Classroom
With the use of connected devices, students get access to almost identical resources at home and in the classroom. As a result, many of the tasks that recently only could have been done in class will be moved outside, with only the activities requiring active participation from students in groups remaining there.
These are just the most obvious applications of IoT in education – just like with most other things, technology will likely be used in ways we cannot even predict so far.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
BY DAVID GUTIERREZ
College students are busy with classes, homework, social lives, and oftentimes, jobs on top of everything else. That doesn’t leave much time for sleep, so many college students end up getting less than the recommended 7-9 hours per night. Most students average somewhere closer to 6 hours, which is close to the recommended amount, but there’s a significant portion of the college community getting far less sleep than that.
Unfortunately, even an hour of missing sleep per night can add up, negatively impacting your study habits—and your college performance in general.
How Insomnia Affects Your Studies
Missing out on sleep regularly may not seem like a big deal if you’re able to get to class on time and muddle through with the help of caffeine—especially if the other members of your peer group are going through the same experience.
However, lack of sleep can affect your studies in multiple ways:
- Missing sleep—even one night of it—can interfere with your ability to focus. Your brain will have trouble staying on task, which means you’ll drift off in the middle of a lecture, and you’ll find yourself re-reading the same sentence, over and over again while studying on your own. It’s an incredibly inefficient way to study—and a frustrating one at that.
- Tiredness and sleeplessness are also associated with impaired memory, even if you take caffeine to counteract your feelings of exhaustion. That means you’re less likely to remember details you hear, see, or read about, which defeats the entire purpose of studying.
- To a lesser extent, missing out on sleep can impact your mood, which can, in turn, impact your performance in class. If you’re chronically irritable and/or depressed, you may refuse to go to class altogether, or skip out in the middle of a study group because you’re frustrated with the other people.
- Finally, don’t underestimate the impact that missing sleep can have on your health. You’ll be more susceptible to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, and you’ll also be more vulnerable to colds and physical illnesses—which can take you out of school for days.
Identifying the Root Cause
There are many simple, practical tips for getting a better night’s sleep, but chances are, there’s one or more underlying root causes specifically responsible for your lack of sufficient sleep. Identifying and understanding them is the best way to improve your sleep habits.
These are some of the most common:
- Noisy roommates. If your roommates are night owls, they may disturb you while you’re trying to sleep. They may also bother you unintentionally; since stress is a leading cause of snoring, it’s entirely possible that one or more of your roommates could start snoring during their time at college. Either way, you’ll need to have an open conversation about how you can accommodate each other’s needs, potentially including finding a new roommate (in extreme situations).
- Overbooked schedules. You may also have an overbooked schedule, especially if you’re working in addition to being a full-time college student. If you have 17 hours of activities booked in your schedule for the day, that leaves you only 7 hours to get home, decompress, and get to sleep. If this is the case, it may be time to cut some activities.
- Insomnia and stress are highly correlated, so it’s natural to experience sleeplessness in high-stress situations, such as the week before finals. Take precautions to reduce and manage your stress load, such as physically exercising and meditating.
- Misplaced priorities. You may also be losing sleep simply because you haven’t made it a priority. You might prefer staying up late at night with your friends, or attending parties in addition to your already-packed workload. You have to make sleep a priority, or it isn’t going to work.
- Formal sleep disorders. In rare cases, you may be experiencing an inherited sleep disorder, independent of what you’re experiencing at college. It’s worth talking to a doctor to find out.
If you want to perform at your best and study more effectively, you need to get the full amount of the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. That may require making some sacrifices, and rearranging your schedule, but ultimately, you’ll be able to learn more in less time, and you’ll feel happier, healthier, and more energetic. Don’t let something simple, like lack of sleep, prevent you from making the most of your college experience.
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 ANTON LUCANUS
There is no doubt that heading to college is a daunting experience for many students.
Aside from the sudden upheaval from your established daily routines, it also comes with new challenges of academia, different study workloads, practical assessments, and group projects. It’s easy to assume that with all this going on, getting involved in the social side of your college will have a negative impact on your performance and grades. However, that notion couldn’t be further from the truth.
Engaging with co-curricular activities outside of your studies provides great benefit for both practical and personal reasons. It can teach valuable life skills, like time management or team organization, which can be applied across all areas of life, as well as providing you with the opportunity to form life-long friendships and make useful connections.
The benefits for becoming involved with these types of activities continue long after graduation. According to Marilyn Andrews, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Keele University in the UK, “Engagement with non-academic pursuits is not only beneficial to student development, but is known to be highly valued by employers.”
Participation in co-curricular activities has benefits outside of the realms of academia and employment too, with many researchers illustrating how being involved in non-academic, social activities can create more ethical and understanding students, building skills like intercultural competence and allowing students to understand people from different walks of life.
Most institutions have a wide variety of options. Sporting activities like track and field or basketball are popular. So are cultural clubs, such as a university Korean society, which focus on developing cultural understanding and appreciation. Most political alignments and religions are also represented by organizations amongst the student body. You could even join a University drama club and learn the behind the scenes of theatre production. No matter what your interests or major, finding a club or sporting activity you love won’t be too difficult.
One co-curricular activity that is becoming increasingly popular, and one that I chose during my degree, is running a student startup. Some friends and I built academic repository software to help researchers at our university share their data online (the website is still running today and we still keep it updated). Not only was the experience fun, it was also helpful for academics at the university and it taught us invaluable teamwork, managerial, financial and entrepreneurial skills that simply couldn’t be obtained by attending classes in a regular degree. We learnt to pitch ideas to others, work to a budget, calculate risks, and acquire users. If you have some success, a startup can even provide income to pay your loans and textbooks.
One of the most important things to remember during this time is that tertiary education is what you make of it. Being willing to step up and seize opportunities is an important life skill on its own. Of course, as with everything else in life, it always pays to use common sense. Don’t sign yourself up to ten different clubs and societies in your first week, or suddenly try to involve yourself a few weeks before the end of a semester. Both are sure-fire ways to get burnt out or make a bad impression. You don’t want your co-curricular activities to contribute additional stress to your daily life. Too often people think about co-curricular activities as indicators of success or stepping-stones to a high-paying job. Instead of adopting this attitude, let your choice of activity provide some stress-relief and a welcome change of pace from regular classes and homework.
Whatever activity you decide to pursue, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity. Ideally you want to choose something that is both relevant and interesting to your skills and studies. This is an opportunity to actively pursue your passions, so don’t focus solely on what will look good on your CV. Employers look to your experience outside of study to differentiate you from other candidates, gauge your personality, and to understand what sort of fit you might be for the company.
Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to share the lessons learnt throughout his degree and to guide current students to achieve personal and educational fulfilment during college life.
BY SYLVIA KOHL
A growing number of colleges are experiencing revenue struggles and continue to close.
Although the number of colleges across the country has started growing since the early 1990s, it seems that now this trend is changing. The latest news shared on News Breakapp has confirmed that over 5% of colleges in the United States were closed or didn’t meet the criteria to take federal aid in 2016. Without any doubt, this is a radical change compared to previous years. These numbers are clearly showing that the college business sector (colleges that make a profit) is declining. These figures were revealed by the Institute of Education Sciences/ US Department of Education.
The problem is that small for-profit colleges are often tuition dependent, meaning they face challenges when student enrollment declines or even remain stable. Revenue decline often leads to low investments in academic programs and student life which in turn prevents colleges from meeting student needs. Consequently, colleges either lose students to other institutions or are not able to cover expenses.
Another problem is that a huge number of schools were practically forced to close their programs as the result of the threat of the previous administration’s gainful employment concept. This set of rules stopped the financial aid from for-profit college programs that have students who had high debt rates and low earnings.
More than 10% of these for-profit colleges (there are around 365 of them across the USA) were denied financial aid or they decided to close their doors for new students in 2016. Some of them, like the popular for-profit college, known as ITT Technical Institute, was forced to stop their activities right away and the students studying there were left on their own.
The worst part is that a huge number of these schools and colleges are on the brink of closure in 2017. For instance, dozens of colleges managed by EDMC are at risk. EDMC was one of the US largest for-profit college corporations not while ago. This company owns famous chains like Argosy Universities, Art Institute, and Brown Mackie College – these educational institutions are present in almost every US state. Today, EDMC has revealed that they are planning on closing dozens of campuses and sell most of the others.
The point is that most of the colleges in the United States get federal financial aid in order to stay open. While the large colleges can continue raising prices and finding big donations, small for-profit colleges that cannot meet the student’s desires – financial aid, access to student activities and job markets, – face financial pressures that can lead to low-enrollment of students.
Such a pressure that for-profit colleges face is a part of the nationwide budget cut. Almost all of the US colleges and universities suffered dramatic budget cuts after the 2008 recession.
However, the last thing a school wants to do is shut down. That’s why struggling for-profit schools are more likely to merge in future into a larger institution than close, partly because of the difficulty of closing a publicly funded institution. In the meantime, private colleges are more likely to close.
What Options Do Students Have?
Closures can impact thousands of students who are not left with many options and stuck with student loans to pay off and have not received a diploma. The good news is that their federal loans can be forgiven.
Any student can qualify for a Closed School Discharge if your school closes while you are still enrolled or the school you are attending closes within 120 days after you withdrew from their program.
To do so, first of all, contact with your student loan servicer and find out how to apply for the cancellation. You’ll likely need to submit a copy of your academic transcript. Unfortunately, it does not apply to private loans. In this case, you can try to contact your bank and ask for a debt relief.
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 CASSIE TOLHURST
To tweet, or not to tweet: that is the question for socially active college grads and young professionals hunting for coveted internships in person and online. And if you think potential employers are searching for your presence online, too, you’re right.
In fact, a 2016 CareerBuilder survey reveals that 60% of surveyed employers look on social media sites to research job candidates and see if these applicants present themselves professionally. Additionally, 60% use social media to learn more about an applicant’s qualifications.
Employers aren’t just looking for your good qualities and personality, though. They’re also searching for reasons not to hire you. In that same report, 41% of surveyed employers say they’re less likely to interview job candidates if those people aren’t easy to find online. And out of 49% of hiring managers who use social media to screen job applicants, 43% say they have found content, such as evidence of drinking or drug use, that led them not to hire the candidate.
All of this means that if you want to nail that competitive internship, it’s time to brush up on your social media etiquette and clean up your profiles so you can make a positive and lasting impression. Here’s how.
Post Your Way to the Top
Ask just about any recruiter and they’ll tell you that social media can help you land a job. Follow these tips to clean up your accounts and use them to impress potential employers:
- Upload a high-quality headshot for your profile image. Make it easy for an employer to recognize you. Skip the group shots and use a professional headshot on all your social media profiles.
- Be active. If you want your social media accounts to help you land an internship, stay active on your public profiles. Post regularly and share content that relates to your ideal job industry or role.
- Sign up for alerts. Depending on your circle of friends, sign up to receive notifications whenever someone tags you in a photo or mentions you in a comment. It might just save you from finding your name or picture in an embarrassing post or picture.
- Curate your professional profiles. Unless you’re aiming for a job in social media, employers and recruiters don’t expect to find you on every platform. If you want to dedicate your Snapchat to content about your personal life, make the account private. You may also want to change your username to something less identifiable.
Avoid Social Media Faux Pas
We’ve all heard the social media horror stories, from leaked images to viral reviews. When you’re applying for internships, there is such a thing as bad press. Avoid making these social mistakes:
- Publicizing personal information. You don’t need to share every detail of your breakup, date, night out on the town, or student loan debt.
- Featuring swear words, poor grammar, and slang. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your grandma, don’t post it on social media. Also, poor grammar and inappropriate slang could make you look unprofessional.
- Criticizing a business or individual. The last thing a potential employer wants to see is a candidate bad-mouthing a former boss or speaking ill of a business.
- Sounding like a robot. You’ll want to keep your drunk karaoke photos private, but don’t hide your personality. Post pictures from the half-marathon you ran or share a funny article about a TV show you love.
Improve Your Profiles
Ready to dust off your social media profiles? You only need a few tools and a little time to get started:
- Get a reliable internet connection. Posting on social media, networking with recruiters, and applying for internships require a reliable internet connection. Make sure you have a reliable internet plan that meets your speed needs.
- Review your reputation. Want to see what’s posted about you online? Google yourself to see how you look online and remove any negative information you find.
- Update your privacy settings. Visit each platform’s privacy section if you want to make some profiles private or limit what the public can see.
- Add a professional email address. Make it easy for recruiters or employers to contact you. Create a Gmail account, using a variation of your name, and add that address to your social media accounts.
Social media has become a huge part of companies’ hiring processes. Rather than deleting or making your accounts private, use them to your advantage. Review your profiles, think about what you want your online persona to look like, and impress your future boss to land that must-have internship.
Cassie Tolhurst is a recent grad, freelance writer, and a wannabe world traveler. Her passions include the newest tech gadgets, what’s streaming on Netflix, and the latest rides at Disneyland.
BY JANE HURST
This fall, you will understand all too well what people mean when they use the term, “starving college student.” By the time you pay for tuition, books, accommodations, etc., there probably won’t be a whole lot of money left over. This is likely going to be your first time taking care of your own finances, and you will have a lot to learn about budgeting your money so you don’t become one of those starving students. Today, we are going to look at some of the best financial literacy tips for college freshmen that will help keep you in the black.
- Find the Right Bank – Even if you already have a bank account, it is still a good idea to look into other banks that may offer better services for students. For instance, you need to make sure the bank has a branch near your school. Look for a bank that offers low ATM fees, low minimum daily balance requirements, online bill payments, etc.
- Set Up a Budget – As soon as you know what your expenses and finances are going to be, you need to set up a working budget, and make sure that you stick to it as closely as possible. Sure, there are going to be unexpected expenses once in a while, but if you have a good budget, you should have enough money to cover those expenses without putting yourself in a financial hole.
- Start Saving Money – Just because you don’t have a lot of money, doesn’t mean that you can’t start saving for a rainy day. You may not have much, but every little bit counts. Instead of buying that extra latte, put the money into your savings account. Over time, the small amounts are going to add up, and you will have some cash available when you really need it. Even if you are only able to put away $10 each week, at the end of a year, you will have $520.
- Be Responsible With Credit – There is no time like the present to learn how to handle credit cards. Establishing your credit now is going to go a long way toward helping you in the future, provided you keep up with your monthly payments and don’t go crazy with charges. The best credit cards have a decent interest rate, a low annual fee and other rewards. Don’t take the first card offered, because there may be a better offer from the next one.
- Save on Transportation – Chances are you really don’t need a car to get around. Most of the things you need are going to be on or near your campus, often within walking distance. Instead of spending money on gas, insurance, maintenance, etc., try other transportation options, including ride-sharing, walking, cycling and public transportation.
- Be Careful With Student Loans – It can be very tempting to take out more student loans than you actually need to cover all your expenses, because that extra money can come in really handy. The problem is, you have to pay it back at some point. Why put a greater burden on yourself than necessary? You are already going to owe money when you graduate, so it is best to keep it to the absolute minimum.
- Earn Money – These days, there are other options available for part-time work besides fast food places. You can find plenty of jobs that will work with your schedule, or you can make your own gig. Start tutoring other students for extra cash. Find online jobs that let you work on a flexible schedule, and work from anywhere. Don’t forget to look into on-campus jobs that fit in with your class schedule.
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.
These days, the mere mention of going to college causes a kneejerk reaction: to become overwhelmed by the student debt that will most likely accumulate as you go through your degree program. Aside from going to a career school or community college, a higher education comes with an incredibly steep price; one that can make college quite cost preclusive to many. Going to college comes with many choices: where to go, what to study, and how the heck to pay for it. Student loans—and the debt crisis that tags along with them—don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Here’s how to deal.
Facts about Student Loans
$1.4 trillion. 44 million people. Those numbers represent the amount of student loans in the U.S, and how many borrowers owe back that debt. There’s a huge problem with that, especially when it surpasses America’s collective credit card debt by over $600 billion. Let’s break down the student loan debt crisis into numbers:
- As of 2016, the average student debt is over $37K
- Five percent owe well over $100K in student loans, and some total over $200K
- Over 70 percent of American students graduate with student loans
- Fifty nine percent of millennials have no clue when they’ll be able to pay off their loans
- One in four borrowers (11.2 percent) has defaulted on his or her student loans
- The top five states with the highest average student loan debts are New Hampshire ($36K+), Pennsylvania ($35K), Connecticut ($35K), Delaware ($34K), Rhode Island ($33K)
- The top three states with the highest student loans per capita are Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania
- The largest concentration of debt is between $10K-$25K, with over 12.4 million students owing
How to Balance Your College Loans While Still a Student
Colleges and universities won’t be lowering their costs, which means students are going to have to learn to live with, and balance, their loans. For millions of students, it’s just a fact of life and part of their college rite of passage. However, there are quite a few ways students can lower their debt while they are still in college.
- Think about community college: No, not instead of university—think about taking some of the prerequisites through a community college. You’ll get basic credits out of the way in a much less expensive environment. It could translate to hundreds of, if not a few thousand, dollars saved before heading off to the university.
- Work-study program: Federal work-study programs are a form of financial aid that can help students alleviate the cost of college by working on or off campus at a designated job. Students in financial need are eligible for this type of program, and the money does not have to be paid back.
- Federal loans first: Generally speaking, federal loans have lower interest rates than private loans. So, when seeking out loans, look to the ones offered by the federal government first.
- Make payments on the interest: Usually your student debt payments aren’t expected until after you graduate from college. However, some loan companies allow for early payments to be made; it’s up to you to find that out through your loan company. If you’re permitted to, even small payments toward the loan will make a huge impact once it comes due.
- Make larger payments: If you can, consider paying a bit more each month to buy down the principal loan, much like a mortgage. Or, add a payment by sending a chunk from each paycheck twice per month. The more you pay, the quicker you pay off the student loan.
- Only borrow what you need: This one is kind of important. You may receive a reimbursement check once your school is paid off. If this happens, it’s because there was too much money, and you didn’t need it all. You are not obligated to keep this money, it will only add to the loan balance. You’re better off sending that check back to the originator. Just remember, the more you borrow, the more you have to pay back.
Legit Ways to Get Your Student Loans Forgiven
Believe it or not, there are some things you can do that will actually forgive your student loans. These programs are completely legitimate, and almost half of loan borrowers qualify for different types of loan forgiveness programs but don’t even realize it because the options were never presented to them. These programs are strictly based on federal loans; private loans don’t have forgiveness programs.
Income Driven Repayment plans are for those wanting to get the payments of their federal loan lowered. These can not be used if there is a default of any loan, or if you have a ParentPLUS loan. These are all free to apply for.
- Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE): All loan borrowers are eligible for this plan. You pay 10 percent of your discretionary income, but the loan is forgiven after 20 years.
- Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE): Similar in theory to REPAYE except the qualifying loans go back to 2007. You should file your taxes as “married filing separately” if you are married.
- Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR): If you’re having financial hardship, this is the most common of the loan forgiveness programs. Loans from before July, 2014 will require payments that are not greater than 15 percent of your discretionary income. After July 2014, the loan repayment is less than 10 percent. Discretionary income is based on the size of your family plus your income taxes.
- Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR Plan): Payments would be 20 percent of your discretionary income, with the loan being forgiven after 25 years. Your payments adjust with your income.
Other loan forgiveness programs:
- Volunteer work: Volunteering to work in the Peace Corps will defer your Stafford, Perkins, or Consolidation loans 15 percent per year with a max of 70 percent. One year in Americorps will pay off $4,725 of your student loan. And 1,700 hours in Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) will give you $4,725 toward your students loans.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness: You can take advantage of this program if you work for employers in the government sector, not-for-profits that are tax exempt under Section 510 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and other types of not tax exempt employers, as long as they are providing certain types of public services. This program may completely forgive your loan after 120 months of repayment under one of the said types of employers.
- Teaching: If you’re a teacher working in elementary or secondary schools with predominantly low-income families, then you qualify to have part of your Perkins loan forgiven. The payment schedule for this is 15 percent the first and second years of teaching, 20 percent in the third and fourth, and 30 percent in the fifth and final year.
- Legal and medical studies: There are a variety of programs paying off part to almost the entire loan for both the medical and legal students loans. There are so many of these programs for both fields that it’s best to speak with a financial aid counselor to explore your options.
And a few more options for managing your student loans, especially if you don’t qualify for any of the above.
- Get your loans deferred. This means you’ll be allowed to temporarily stop payments on your loan for a certain amount of time, potentially without having any responsibility for the growing interest.
- Get a loan forbearance: The only difference between a deferment and forbearance is that with the forbearance, you’ll be responsible for the interest that accrues.
- Debt consolidation: There are many companies out there who will work with you to consolidate your debts, including your student loan.
Yes, the cost of college is astronomical. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who is somehow able pay off your entire tuition, you’ll be balancing some hefty loans. Explore your options; there may be some relief available to you through student loan forgiveness programs.
Melissa Brodsky is a Content Strategist and Writer for Career Now Brands and CDL Marketing. We provide students with the largest school database, as well as information on different careers, programs, and schools. She may be contacted at email@example.com.