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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College Essay Subjects to Avoid

Some can write about anything and make it turn out right, but when writing your college essay, especially if you are applying to competitive college, there are some topics to avoid because writing about then can be a problem.

Here are some things not to write about.
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Advice for Getting Your Personal Essay Done

College applications are hard enough, but the kicker is the personal essay. Carol Barash, founder of STUDY2, is helping all students, and especially those living in poverty, to get those applications done. One key to college admission is the college essay. It brings all the other parts together. But, the essay does not have to be a stopper. It does not have to be a great specimen of academic writing. Colleges are really looking for a student’s voice and personality. They are looking for authenticity, and that can help you get into college no matter where you went to high school or how average your scores and grades are. The best way to get that essay done and do it well is to tell your story.

Here are some suggestions that Barash makes to students she is helping. Perhaps they can help you too.
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Considerations for Co-signing a Student Loan

Both college and graduate school are costly. Much of the cost is covered by student loans, 1.36 trillion dollars’ worth. Many of these dollars are borrowed from the federal student loan programs. However, the amount a student can borrow in federal monies is limited. The difference has to be made up with private loans which are borrowed from banks and credit unions or from Sallie Mae.

These private student loans require a co-signer as collateral and/or to keep interest rates on the loan reasonable (in the 5% range versus the 7 to 8% range). But, co-signing such a loan, even for the best purposes, is fraught with risks. About a third of co-signers end up re-paying at least part of the loan, a quarter suffer credit damage, and about another quarter end up in a ruined relationship with the student they co-signed for.

Here are some things to think about as a co-signer.
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Why This College?

One essay you will likely be asked to write for your college application is: “Why do you want to attend this college?”, especially if you are applying to selective colleges. Sometimes the question is direct: Why Yale? Sometimes it is asked more subtly: How will you pursue your academic interests at Brown?

This essay matters because at selective colleges grades, tests scores, and recommendations are often similar among their applicants. Such schools also base their admission on three other factors: demonstrated interest – how much you want this school, yield – you will attend if admitted, which helps their rankings, and fit – the chances that you will return after one year, another ranking factor. Therefore, just because it is a short essay is not a reason to leave it until last or to write it as an afterthought. This essay may be the most important essay you will write.
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Tips for Writing the Personal Statement on your College Application

Daunting, isn’t it! What to say? What to reveal? What is too personal? The best thing to do when you are faced with writing your personal essay is not to think about it as a daunting task. Think about it as the less-bureaucratic part of your college application which allows you to just be yourself.

Of course, there are still ways to put forth your best effort. Here are some tips.
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Helpful Tools for College Writing

Perhaps you have dyslexia, or perhaps you are a challenged speller. Maybe you have trouble proofreading your papers before handing them in, or maybe you have difficulty organizing your thoughts. After reading a post by Jamie Martin, Assistive Technology Consultant for Students and Adults with Dyslexia, I have some helpful suggestions for you.
Here are some assistive technology (AT) tools you might use for your college work:
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Starting Your Senior Year in College? Here are Some Tips!

You’re a senior! It may feel like it took you no time to get here or it may feel like you would never get here. But, you are here. Like your senior year in high school, you should have one major goal, only this time it will not be to get into a good college but to find a good job.

Here are some tips about how to start your job search, and yes, it should start at the beginning of your senior year.
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Should You Declare a Major on Your College Application?

There are pros and cons for declaring a major on your college application. Also, there are certain ways to approach the application for both students who know what they want to do and for those who are undecided.

First are the pros for declaring you want to study in a certain program when you apply to a college.
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Off-Campus Living Costs

Room, board, and personal expenses make up about half the cost of college. It certainly matters what the expense is because parents and students need to accurately estimate costs to know what the annual cost of college will be. This can determine both the choice of college and the amount to borrow.
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The New SAT Essay

The 2016 SAT has a new face. One very different part of the SAT is the essay.

The first difference is the essay is now optional. Some colleges will require it, and any free waivers will cover the SAT Essay. Most importantly, taking the new SAT Essay will help prove you are college-ready.
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