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Getting Off To The Right Start In College

college Getting Off To The Right Start In CollegeThe college or university you have chosen to attend will be your home for approximately the next four years. The decisions you make over that time will affect your entire future for years afterward. Here more than ever it is important to get off to the right start. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you get off to the right start in college.

Have a Plan

There is no substitute for preparation. Do some college reading or take a few preparatory college courses before you start college, so you will have some idea what to expect. Have an idea how you are going to structure your time. Once you know what your classes are and what they will demand of you, try to schedule how many hours per day you will need for school work and try to stick to that schedule. If you have a good idea what your major will be, in doesn't hurt to map out a long term class schedule in advance. Figure out what courses you will have to take and when in order to meet all of your requirements before you go in for your first scheduling session. These decisions are not etched in stone, but they could save you a lot of heartache later.

Keep An Open Mind

You are going to encounter a lot of new ideas and attitudes in college. Some may be foreign to you, some you may find confusing, some you may even find offensive. You will do yourself a favor if you approach the college situation with an open mind. Keep in mind that people from different backgrounds and with different experiences will form different opinions from yours, and that is okay. You don't have to agree with everything you see or hear, but you should respect the diversity of culture and opinion that you encounter.

Don't Panic

When you arrive at college, you are going to be flooded with new experiences. You will essentially have a new home and a new hometown. You will meet all sorts of new people, many very different from what you are used to. The style of academics may be vastly different from what you encountered in high school. This may all be very scary at first. Remain calm. Almost all of your fellow students are undergoing the same anxieties. They, like you, will get over it. You will surprise yourself at how quickly you adapt to your situation. Give yourself a chance.

If you approach college as someone who is organized, flexible and ready to put forth a positive attitude, your transition to college life can be relatively painless, and can set the stage for a fun, exciting and successful four years as a college student.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in College Life,Going to College,Strategies for Success and have No Comments

Use Your Resources To Plan For College

Planning to go away or to start college is a fun and exciting time for those students who are planning on attending. The stressful part usually comes from finding the resources to pay for your college education. It is important that you and your parents plan out together how much money you are going to need for college and where the money will come from to cover your college expenses. You will need to sit down with a pad of paper and a pen in order to write everything out. The earlier you start planning, the better. This way if you or your parents need to make adjustments, you can do so before it is time for you to head off your freshmen year.

Figure out your costs:

1.Tuition & Books: Contact the colleges and/or universities that you are interested in attending. Ask specifically about the estimated costs for tuition and books. Usually the estimate of these costs is provided in the college brochure.

2.Housing: If you are planning on living on-campus, you will also need to obtain housing information. Housing information should include the cost and what the cost includes. Some colleges and universities offer meal plans to students who live on-campus, which provides you with a certain amount of money to eat at the campus restaurants, cafeteria and cafes. If you are planning on living off-campus, you will need to do a little research on the average cost of rent for the area. Also be sure to include extra costs such as electric, phone, water, etc.

3.Food: You have to eat, so be sure to include spending money for food in your calculations.

4.Spending money: College is more than just academics. There are student activities that you are going to want to participate in throughout the semester. Be sure to allocate a certain amount of money to spend on going out with friends, going to the movies, participating in a sorority or fraternity, etc.

5.Tally up your costs on an annual basis and then be sure to multiply the annual cost by how many years it is going to take you to complete your particular major. Usually, 4 years is the number you will need to multiply by, unless you already know that you will be going to on to graduate school, law school, medical school, etc. If that is the case, you will need to go through the same 5 steps for the costs involved with these types of schools (adding it to your undergraduate college costs).

Tapping Into Your Resources:

Once you have an idea of what the cost of your college education is going to be now it is time to list out all of the possible resources that you can tap into to pay for everything. You will need to sit down with your parents and go over all of these costs that you have tallied. Find out from them what source of funds they have and are willing to contribute. You may also have some resources of your own that you can contribute.

Here is a list of possible resources to consider:

1. Savings or Investment Accounts
2. Pre-paid College Tuition Program
3. Education IRA, ROTH IRA, or Retirement IRA
4. Savings Bonds
5. Contributions from Grandparents or other family members
6. Scholarships*
7. Grants*
8. Student Loans*

*You may not know the contribution amount of these resources yet.

After you have a list of your possible fund sources and the total amount that each resource can provide, total everything up. Where does this leave you? Do you have enough to cover your college education or are in the hole? If you are in the hole, then you should come up with a plan on how you and your parents can make up for the difference. Research scholarship and grant opportunities that you may be able to qualify for or pick-up a part-time job after school to help contribute to your college savings. Your guidance counselor at school and the Internet should be able to help you find scholarships and grants that you may be eligible for. Especially, if it is your senior year of high school, contact the financial aid department of the college you will be attending. Find out when they deadline is and what forms you have to complete to apply for financial aid.

There are resources available to you for paying for your college education. Just be organized and diligent about finding out what the costs are, what resources you have available to you, and whether or not you to find additional resources to cover your college expense.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Campus College,Finding Your School,Paying for School,Reducing Cost/Tuition and have No Comments

10 Ways To Maximize Your Time Off From School

College life can be tense and a bit stressful at times. Students who excel in college are self-disciplined and know how to manage their time. The constant managing of time and priorities does not suddenly stop when your vacation starts—it’s an ongoing process.

Here are 10 ways that you can maximize your time when you are off from school:

1. Review what you have learned
Although your classes may all be completed for the quarter (or the semester), it’s not a bad idea to review what you’ve just learned over the course of many weeks. Reread your notes, papers, tests and skim through the books you’ve just read. Finalize the imprinting of fresh information in your mind so that you can retain what you’ve learned over the long term.

2. Read ahead
If you already know what courses you will be taking in the upcoming quarter, start reading ahead. If you are going to have some time to kill, might as well get a jump start on your upcoming classes. Contact your professors and collect copies of syllabi. Purchase your materials and begin reviewing them before your class begins.

3. Go back to your roots and reconnect with family and friends
Go home. Say hi to the family and reconnect with old friends. College isn’t about severing all of your previous ties. Keep up your network and pay the people you love a visit.

4. Stick around and explore the town
Forget about going home. Stick around and explore your college town. Find new places to buy groceries and new bars to frequent. Take a mini-road trip to some nearby destination that you’ve always wanted to see. Take your time off of school as an opportunity to experience your surroundings.

5. Travel
Drive cross-country or travel abroad. See the world, or a tiny piece of it. Take your new outlook on life and expose yourself to different peoples and places. Visit a destination or place of interest that you have just studied. Travel with a partner, in a group, or go venturing off on your own.

6. Get an internship
Find an internship in the field that you are studying. Supplement your classroom work with real life on-the-job training. This way when you graduate, you will already have solid academic and professional experience.

7. Lay the groundwork for future employment.
Explore your career interests. Market yourself and your abilities. Try to find an organization that you want to target for employment once you’ve graduated. Find out what the minimum professional and educational requirements are for the specific job that you are interested in. Take measures to fulfill those requirements before you graduate.

8. Explore the course catalog and schedule of classes
Get lost in the pages of your course catalog. Map out different schedule scenarios. Find out if that class you really want to take is offered in alternate academic years, and then plan your schedule accordingly. Pick a focus in your major and consider all the courses that you’d like to take. You’ll be surprised how quickly your time in school will fly by, so you need to construct a solid schedule.

9. Apply for scholarships
Find some more money. Buy a book or do Internet research. Apply for as many scholarships as you can. Each application may seem like a bit of a hassle, but the results could seriously alleviate any financial burdens you may have accrued.

10. Just relax and take a break
Don’t do a damn thing! You’ve spent months cramming, pulling off all-nighters, and wowing you professors with your polished intellectual abilities. You’ve earned a break, so enjoy it, and come back to school refreshed and ready for anything.

If you utilize your vacations properly, you will be a better student. Just remember not to stress out too much. Whether you are in school or not, you are in control of your life, so make the most of it.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in 10/5 Top Tips!,Developing your Strengths,Strategies for Success,Studying/Test Taking,Time Off/Returning to School and have No Comments

Do Employers Mind If My Degree Is From An Online University?

Maybe you're considering getting a degree from an online university. Maybe you've just earned one and in preparing to apply for new jobs that will make the most of it, you're wondering whether or not prospective employers will see your resume and have bad associations with your online degree. In a word, the answer is no.

Employers who require employees to have a college degree care that you have one from somewhere. Traditionally, there are about 20 colleges in the United States (the Ivies and a handful of other prominent schools) that make employers sit up and take notice about where your degree came from. If you did not attend one of these places, you are like most people, who find that the name of their school is less important to their employers than how they performed academically, and what they studied.

In fact, your online degree may set you apart in a positive way from the rest of the pack of applicants. Successfully obtaining your degree online tells prospective employers that you are a person who will get the job done even when no one is looking. Online degrees testify that their recipients are self-motivated individuals who are capable of managing multiple priorities. And whatever job you're applying for, rest assured that those are two qualities all organizations prize.

Furthermore, online universities are becoming more and more popular. While your online degree can set you apart in the aforementioned ways, you should have no fear that it will stigmatize you. Each day, it becomes more and more likely that the person you sit down to interview with may have attended the same online school that you did!

Another benefit of the online university experience in the eyes of employers is that it is designed in large part for working professionals. The fact that you've made it through an online degree program tells your prospective employer that you have had intense exposure to the types of collegial interactions you will face in the working world. Online universities emphasize and develop the ability to work with others, to manage and meet deadlines, and to be responsible for learning on your own. When you consider all of the things a degree from an online university says about you, you should realize that you're more of a proven commodity, a "safer" hire than recent graduates from brick and mortar universities.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Careers,Finding Your School,Making the Decision,Online College and have No Comments

Scholarships: Get That Money!

Academic scholarships are an easy way to use your academic success to pay for college. Taking advantage of these can be incredibly easy, provided that you are able and willing to submit applications notifying whomever is awarding scholarships about your academic ability. There are some common mishaps that might keep you from gaining access to that free money.

Review the application entirely. This is the first step in avoiding the disqualification of your application. Read over it before filling or signing anything. Review the requirements to complete, submit the application along with whatever supplemental documentation might be required. This can include, but is not limited to, transcripts, and essays. Make sure that you have plenty of copies of these documents handy to send off with all of your scholarship applications.

Do not confine your eligibility to one scholarship application. Find many academic scholarships for which you might be eligible. Apply for all of them. You might not make the finalist list for one, but you will for others. Give yourself as many opportunities as possible to get that free money!

When you have an application, fill it out completely. Make sure you have read it through and provided complete and accurate information. There are countless applications that are disqualified because the applicant cannot be contacted with the given information. Make sure to be very observant of what you are typing or writing and maybe even ask a friend or family member to proofread the items for you.

Another common mistake when completing applications is to apply for scholarships for which you are not eligible. This wastes your time, the evaluating committee's time and that certainly won't get you a scholarship, especially if you do not have the proper required credentials.

Remember, you are trying to apply for an academic scholarship. The application is your chance to shine! Check for completeness, grammar, spelling, accuracy and that you have all the right supporting documentation. Do not include things that have not been required, such as a photo of yourself or a non-essential essay. Many academic scholarships are reviewed by committees of people who review applications. They won't read anything that isn't part of the application. The application phase shows that you are organized, punctual and capable of following directions. Show them what you've got and they will show you the money!

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Top 5 Ways To Have A Satisfying College Experience

1. Learn
Learn. Learn as much as you can. For many people, college is the last time in their lives when academics take center stage. This might sound great if you’re in the midst of cramming for the SAT or working on your admissions essay, but paying attention to your academics in college will be rewarding in many ways. If you’re not a "learning is its own reward" person, focus on the fact that the more you learn, and the better you do in school, the better your chances are of securing a great job down the road. In some careers, you may even end up providing a transcript as part of your job application. So think twice before cutting class.

2. Meet people
a lot of people say that they learned more from the students around them than they did from any of their classes. Whether or not this turns out to be true for you, another aspect of college that makes it an once-in-a-lifetime experience is the community of people you’ll be living with. Take the opportunity to get to know about people from different parts of the world.

3. Take risks
Whether it’s going abroad for a semester, or taking skydiving lessons, do something outside your comfort zone during college. You need something for the stories you’ll tell in the future about your days as a crazy college student, right? And beyond the potential for spinning a good yarn, taking the opportunity to do something that seems unlike the you in high school may teach you that there’s more to you than even you knew.

4. Prepare for the future
While you should invest as much as possible of yourself in the present moment of your college experience, you should also give some thought to what you’ll do on the other side of the graduation platform. Visit the career services office. Talk to a favorite professor about how he chose his career at your age. Get a couple of internships during your time at school. You might find something you love during an internship, which could lead to a job down the road. Or, you might find that what you thought you’d love is really not for you. Either way, it’s good information to have.

5 Take care of your health
No, this doesn’t mean sit inside on Friday night and do nothing but eat broccoli, but it’s easy to lose perspective on taking care of yourself in the intensity that is undergraduate life. There is so much you need to do, and so much you want to do that sleep and nutrition might not even come up as priorities for you. But you can’t do anything if you get the flu or mono, so balance your flurry of activity with some solid sleep and nutrition.

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The Cost of a College Education – Beyond the Tuition

When figuring the cost of a college education several factors come into play. Tuition is just one of the many costs that a student is responsible for while earning their college education. Some costs may apply to certain situations that do not apply to other situations, so it is very important to assess the individual situation when figuring out the total costs.

Here is a breakdown of some of the costs of college that need to be considered when trying to come up with the total figure.

1. Tuition: Contact the colleges and/or universities that you are interested in attending. Ask specifically about the estimated costs for tuition. Tuition is the fee that schools charge for students to enroll and attend classes. This is not an all inclusive cost. Usually the estimate of these costs is provided in the college brochure.

2. Books and Materials: Contact the colleges and/or universities that you are interested in attending. Ask specifically about the estimated costs for books and supplemental learning materials. Student materials include notebooks, paper, pens and pencils and any other materials that students will need to complete their classes. Usually the estimate of these costs is provided in the college brochure.

3. Housing: If students are planning on living on-campus, they will also need to obtain housing information. Housing information should include the cost and what the cost includes. Some colleges and universities offer meal plans to students who live on-campus, which provides them with a certain amount of money to eat at the campus restaurants, cafeteria and cafes. If students are planning on living off-campus, they will need to do a little research on the average cost of rent for the area. Also be sure to include extra costs such as electric, phone, water, etc.

4. Food: Everyone has to eat, so be sure to include spending money for food in the calculations.

5. Spending money: College is more than just academics. There are student activities that students are going to want to participate in throughout the semester. Be sure to allocate a certain amount of money to spend on going out with friends, football games, going to the movies, and participating in a sorority or fraternity, etc.

6. Other fees: Some distance learning programs or online programs charge additional fees on top of tuition. They charge for items such as technology usage and distance learning fees.

So there are other costs and fees associated with earning a college education. The cost of a college degree goes beyond the tuition itself. It is important that students are careful to obtain all of the fees and costs associated with obtaining their degree before making a final decision.

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