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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Watch Out! Your College ID Card May be a Debit Card!

When students receive financial aid, they can receive the funds in several ways. Tuition and room and board could be paid to their college directly, or the monies might go to the student who then pays his or her college bills. Either way, monies for books and other college costs do have to go into student hands, and many colleges are doing so by loading their student college ID cards with financial aid funds. Then the student ID becomes a debit card or a pre-paid cash card.

These cards can be convenient and do allow students to manage their own financial aid monies, but there is big catch that most students are not aware of with these cards.
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The College Application Essay: Looking at the Prompts – Option 1

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The above is the first college application essay prompt you will find on the Common Application for admission to college. It is one of five choices, but it is the one most often chosen by applicants.

Your first reaction to this prompt after reading it may be: “I have no story!” You should know right off—everyone has a story. What you might be feeling is that your story isn’t big enough or important enough. But, you don’t have to have traveled in China or own your own business by the age of 17 to have an important story. Any student growing up in an urban or rural part of American who is attending high school has a story. You just have to believe in your own story enough to write to this prompt.
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Warning: Juniors Planning to Go to College Shouldn’t Take the Summer Off!

“Applying to college can wait till my senior year.” That is the worst wrong thinking and college-bound high school student can have!

It is time to get informed. Getting into college is a long, hard process and is getting harder as college admissions becomes more and more competitive.

Here are some things you should be doing BEFORE your senior year.
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Making Your Activity Essay Come Alive

The activity essay may be the most difficult essay you write.  Although it is no longer required as part of the Common App, it still may appear as a college specific essay. It is usually short, so you must choose your points and budget your words carefully; it must engage the reader quickly; and it must tell a part of your “story” succinctly. Here are a few pointers to give life and uniqueness to this essay.
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Tips for Repaying Your Student Loans

One quarter to one third of recent college graduates who took out students loans to finance their college education are late paying their first student loan bill. 35% of people under 30 are 90 or more days delinquent. After 270 days of non-payment, you are considered in default on your loan. All of this can result in damage to credit scores that can affect graduates for life.

The reason is not usually irresponsibility but the inability of those who are indebted to understand the whole process of repaying their loans, a very complicated business. Students who have borrowed monies for their education should know three things:
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Dual Enrollment Courses for the College-bound

Dual Enrollment allows students in their last two years of high school to enroll for college credit at a local college or university. This program extends the opportunity for lower income students or minority students to get a head start toward college. It also allows college applicants looking to get into a more selective college get on the fast track to their goals.

Dual enrollment, then, can make your high school resume look even better and demonstrate your ability to do college work. It can also help students get a sense of what to expect in college, give them more familiarity with college culture, and save them money on their college degree. In fact, the dual enrollment programs are often designed to keep the cost of a baccalaureate degree under $10,000.
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A New Take on SAT Subject Tests

Fewer than 50 colleges require scores from the SAT subject tests for undergraduate admission. Those that do are among the more selective colleges.

Harvard has now announced it will no longer require scores form subject tests (May, 2014).
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What College Are You Looking For?

Colleges want to know their markets, and academic research tells them there are six types of college students they must appeal to.

Perhaps if you know which type of college student you are, it will help you choose which college will best appeal to you. Here are the six types of college students:
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Going Off to College the Right Way

Nervous about starting college? Of course! You should know right now that Student Affairs people at the college are working hard to make your transition from high school to college easier for you, but there are always glitches and problems. Knowing what to expect is half the battle. Here is some information about what you might find transitioning to college so you can either avoid problems, plan for them, or do something about them.
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Why College Students Should Consider Playing on a Sports Team

You go to college to prepare yourself for success. But, what if that success is not only based on your academic program and the grades you earn?

A recent study shows employers value leadership skills of athletes graduating from college above other students, including debate team captains, resident assistants, and college newspaper editors. They especially value college graduates who held leadership positions in athletics. Top scorers are Division III captains of both men’s and women’s’ tennis teams.
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