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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Trump’s Election and its Effects on Going to College

Every election has an impact on college students and their parents. What can be expected from a Trump presidency?

Short Term Effects
Until Trump takes office in January, 2017, the only effect from his election will be on college savings.
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What Should You Borrow for a College Education?

Not that much! Why? Isn’t it worth it? It may be worth it on the one hand, but it may also cause you too much debt to bear.

Ann Carrns of The New York Times writes that seven in ten college graduates have student loan debt. And, now student debt averages $30,000.

About one fifth of that debt consists of money owed to private lenders and/or state programs. And, some of those loans were taken out before federal loan caps were met.

So, how do you budget for a college education without too much student debt? Here are some practical suggestions.
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Simple Tips for a Better College Application Essay

The college essay seems to stop a lot of college applicants in their tracks. Why? Because no one knows quite how to write it and what the college want.

Here are some simple ways to think about the college application essay that might help you get it done.
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Here’s some Helpful Advice If You’ve Had a Bad Semester at College

Having a bad semester? Are you wondering if college is right for you or if you’ve chosen the wrong major?

Our first piece of advice is DO NOT PANIC! One bad semester does not mean a whole four years of a bad college experience. Rather, it’s a learning experience. You can go on to do better, and dealing with not-so-great grades will prove your resilience to future employers.

The first step in rebuilding your grades is to analyze what went wrong:
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College Choice and Your Earning Potential: What You Need to Know

Here is a reality check. According to recent figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau, workers with a high school diploma earn, on average, $678 per week. An associate’s degree raises that figure to $798. However, a bachelor’s degree makes a significant difference, with an average weekly salary of $1,137.

These differences add up, and not just in the short-term. Over the course of a lifetime, it is estimated that the average high school graduate earns about $1.3 million. A person with a bachelor’s degree, on the other hand, has lifetime earnings of about $2.3 million. Thus, it can be said that the level of education you choose has a significant impact on your earning potential over the course of a lifetime. Read the rest of this entry »

College Application Essay Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Let’s face it: Essay-writing is one of those tasks that many students dislike.

Although a lot is said and written about essay-writing, the fact remains that a majority of students stress over writing a college application essay that “stands out”.

While essay writing isn’t always a complicated affair, the obsession to make it unique and impressive is what complicates the process of essay writing. As is the case with every process, the process of writing an essay too requires taking one step at a time. This means you have to give yourself and your essay enough time. And if you don’t, then there is every chance that you’ll end up making the same set of mistakes that several students before you have done and several students after you will do.

So if you really want to write an essay that appeals to your admissions officer (or officers), here are some classic essay pitfalls you would be better off avoiding:
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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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