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 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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The Basics of Repaying Your Student Debt

After you finish your education, you may not be finished. You will now need to repay any student aid you received over your years in college. Although these loans are from the U.S. Department of Education, you do not pay them back directly. Federal student loans are repaid to loan servicers who collect payments and offer customer service. There are several servicers. If you are not sure who your servicers are, go to this student aid website. Make sure your keep your servicer’s contact information in your phone; it’s handy! This is your first step in paying back your student loans.

Here are some other helpful guides.
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How to Draw Out Your Financial Aid

Time to think about going to campus, some for the first time and some as veterans. Whether a newbie or a vet, many of you will have financial aid. But, do you know that after a college has deducted tuition and fees, there may be a credit balance? This balance is called a credit balance refund and can be used for other costs like text books or living expenses.

In the past, universities and colleges have hired private institutions to distribute these funds. Often the private companies would send materials indicating a student needs to open a debit card account with a private bank or might even send out a debit card to activate for timely deposit of these funds. Unfortunately, many of these debit card accounts have very high fees.
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Heads Up! Changes in Applying for Financial Aid

How will you decide what you can afford for your college education? The best way to figure that out is for EVERYONE to apply for financial aid – NO MATTER WHAT YOUR FINANCIAL STATUS. You can do so by using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which is your starting point.

Now there are changes to the FAFSA. Here is what you need to know to submit your financial aid application for the 2017 college academic year.
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Taking College Finals for the First time

Going off to college in the fall is a big transition. There is a lot to think about: meeting new people, adjusting to dorm life, learning where your classes are, getting to know your professors; it goes on and on. One thing to think about is your first semester classes and new content along with the need for different learning styles. After your first 15 weeks, you will experience your first college final.

Here are some things to help you through that transition.
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How to Make the Best of Your Campus Visit

An important step in deciding where to apply to college is the college visit. Seeing and being are the best ways to decide where you will be comfortable continuing your education and what is the best fit for your learning and living styles.

Here are some tips for making the college visit work for you.
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New Scoring on the ACT Writing Test

The ACT Writing Test is basically the same. It will still be scored on four criteria call the four domains: ideas/analysis, development/support, organization, and language use/convention. Still two readers will evaluate the writing, and each domain will still be graded on a 2-12 score range. The overall or final reporting score will still be the average of the four domain scores.

But, there will be a difference. That change will be in the reporting of the final writing score, starting in September of 2016. Instead of the final score reported on a scale of 1-36, the score will now be reported on the 2-12 scale, 12 being perfect, not 36.
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Travel Scholarships to Visit Colleges

All college applicants should visit a college campus before applying and certainly before accepting an admissions offer. However, visiting all the colleges on your list or visiting colleges that are all the way, or even half way, across the country can be expensive. If you cannot afford to visit a campus, there are other ways to explore a college’s potential, online for instance. Still being there and sensing the atmosphere, talking to students and faculty, and seeing the dorms as well as the surrounds of the campus are important factors to determine the appropriate fit. College is expensive. You should always take all the opportunities to gauge what is the best college choice for you.

With that in mind, here are some colleges that offer both full travel expenses or help with those expenses. These programs are competitive, and they have application deadlines. Each listing is for the year 2016.
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Stay in Touch with Your College over the Summer

You are on summer break! Well-deserved, and enjoy it! Still,…you may be starting to feel a bit bored or you may be a little stressed thinking about “getting academic” again in just two months and re-acclimating.

Here are some ways you can be off campus and still feel connected.
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The College Application Essay: A Very Important Piece of your Application

Maybe you’re focused on building your resume with activities, awards, work, experiences, travel, and volunteerism. Perhaps you are studying to take your SAT or ACT tests. You may be working to get the best GPA yet—all in preparation to get that college admission notification by spring.

But, you might have overlooked something, one of the most important parts of your college application–the college essay. Or, should I mention ESSAYS!

What? I have to write more than one essay. Yes, that could be. Here are essays many colleges have you write to as part of your application.
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