Make Your Next Four Years in College a Success

First-year college students are beginning to settle in. We wish you the best of luck on your college career. But, we also want you to be a wise scholar! Today, a college degree is not all that is needed for a successful future. You next four years in college should be a time of study and learning, but you should consider more.

Here is some advice for college students to use their time as best they can:
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The New Common Application Essay Prompts

Now there are 7 college essay prompts instead of 5 on the Common Application. Some of the prompts are still the same, some have been revised slightly, and two more prompts have been added.

Here they are:
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Can You Apply to College Late?

College applications have deadlines that run from October 1 to February 15. And, it is not wise to apply late. But sometimes, there are circumstances that demand a late application. Luckily there are some colleges that have a rolling admission policy. Although rolling admission does not extend application dates indefinitely and competition gets more intense as these schools fill up their slots, rolling admission offers an opportunity for some students to still apply.

So when might you apply late and what happens when you do apply late? Here are some scenarios.
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Grandparents Financing College

Some grandparents are lucky enough to have the financial ability to help grandchildren with college costs. This can be a good way to pass on wealth without estate planning, creating trusts, and estate taxes.

What is the best way for grandparents to help grandchildren with college expenses? Not all help turns out to be help.
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Study Habits for College

College calls for lots of reading and studying. That transition can be easier if you develop good study habits before landing on campus.

Here are a few tips for better study habits at college.
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What Predicts Success in College?

Statistical research based on students who entered college in 2010 reveals that the average college completion is 60% in six years. 26% drop out, and 14% are still enrolled but have not earned a degree.

So, what do these figures say about making college decisions today based on the likelihood of degree completion?

Here are some factors that predict failure with some questions to ponder:
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For Parents and Students: Before Applying to College

Applying to college might seem like setting off on a big adventure, BUT applying to college takes a lot of work and thought. Often stress, indecision, and financial strains can cause rifts, even hurt feelings.

To avoid these typical problems parents and students experience the year or two before actually going off to college here are some helpful tips for negotiating and getting on the same page.
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Student Loans and the Recent College Grad

It’s six months after college graduation and what arrives? Yes, your Student loan statement. Most student loans have a six-month grace period before repayment must begin. Some even have a nine-month grace period. But, the inevitable always happens and your student loans come due. If you’re in shock, you are not alone. About 70% of college students (2015) graduate with student loan debt. So here are some steps to take to get settled as comfortably as possible into your repayment schedule.
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Scheduling College Classes

It’s almost the end of one college semester, but what about your next semester? Making a mistake scheduling your college classes can cost you money. If you don’t have all the classes you need, you might not graduate on time, meaning more tuition, more room, and more board.

Think about these things to schedule your classes well.
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Does It Have to be College?

We’re all about college here at, but we also know college is not for everybody, especially right after high school.

Instead of going to college, it might be better to find out about yourself and your interests. But how?

Here are some thoughts for you to explore:
Volunteer – Maybe you HAD to volunteer in high school and it was not all that rewarding. But, that was forced volunteering. What if you offered to help a group or organization that you have an interest in? You will be working with people and learning how to be collegial with person with shared interests. You may also gain a better understanding of problems facing people like poverty and inadequate education. You will be leaning about the community you work in and how to be part of a community.
Travel – Traveling can get you out of your rut. You will be able to see new perspectives, learn tolerance, and problem solve (missed flights, language barriers, etc.) You will be independent which will help you mature and find out what your own strengths and weaknesses are.
Start a business – It might be a card making idea, an idea for dog walking, a tech business like website design. You can listen to your creative side. You can also learn very practical skills like handling money. You will learn what it is to work for yourself and to work hard, and you will understand what it is to be committed to an idea.
Do an internship – Yes, this is possible, even without a degree. You could job shadow, find a mentor, make a connection. You can find out what it is like actually working in the kind of job you choose, and you will be able to network with people in the job force.
Self-educate – Reading is a great activity, whether it’s online or from books and journals. You are able, through committed reading, to study deep, concentrate on your own interests, and hone the skills in your area of interest. You never know where reading might take you. You might just learn about other things that offer you new opportunities.
• If none of the above seems to click with you, then just take time – You can work, live in a small apartment or share a place with friends, and take a community college course or a course online. This will give you time to make a good choice, to find out what interests you, and to see what college life might be like for you.

Isn’t not going to college a risk? Yes, it is. Everyone else is following the main road blindly. Why not go along? But, think of how taking a year or two might help you be even a better college student or usher you into a more authentic future. You will not be accumulating debt, you will be learning day-to-day skills, getting real life experiences, and, most importantly, learning about yourself and gaining self-confidence to make the right decisions about your life, just a bit later.

A Smart Approach to the College Essay

Essays! Essays! Essays! If you are applying to selective colleges, you know there is more than the one personal essay. There may also be the activities essay, the “why this college” essay, individual college prompts, and perhaps even the optional supplemental essay.

How can you get it all done? Here are some approaches.
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