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Strut Your Stuff! Make Yourself A Great Scholarship Candidate!

scholarships Strut Your Stuff! Make Yourself A Great Scholarship Candidate!Going to college with scholarships can greatly ease the burden on yourself and your parents. Scholarships are free money to pay for your education, books and room and board. There are scholarships everywhere and for almost anything, and the winner of the scholarship will be the candidate that best presents themselves in their application. Take these ideas under consideration when considering how to make yourself a great candidate!

Academics are the deciding factor on many scholarship awards. Most will have a grade point average (GPA) requirement. Demonstrating your ability to handle your course load and maintain a strong GPA will speak volumes about your aptitude and possibilities for success. When scholarships are awarded based on academics you have to demonstrate your desire to succeed in higher education. This starts with studying hard and doing well in your high school classes. This does not always require a 4.0 or perfect grade point average. SAT/ACT test scores can also give an indication about the possibilities for your success. Dedicate yourself to study time, focused classroom presence and maintaining a healthy balance to do your best and increase academic scholarship eligibility.

Going beyond academics, extra-curricular activities are also important to your profile as a scholarship candidate. Being a member of the drama team, debate team, band, national honor society, foreign language club or Explorer club will demonstrate that you are committed not only to your academic career. It will show that you are a well-rounded individual, and that you can handle academic studies along with social activities that will benefit y our community.

Speaking of benefiting the community, scholarship awards seem to find their ways into the hands of those with a strong sense of community service. Knowing that there is much more beyond yourself and understanding that there are people in need around you is important. Recognizing that need and feeling compelled to volunteer your time and energy to those less fortunate sends a message to scholarship committees that they are spending their money wisely on individuals who care not only about making a difference and succeeding academically, but helping others do so as well. After all, isn't that what scholarships are about?

Being a strong candidate does not depend on the type of scholarship you are applying for, it depends on the type of person applying for the scholarship. Present yourself in the best possible way by showing off your academic success, along with your desire to learn and be a vital part of your community.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Scholarships and have No Comments

Living Large with an MBA

large Living Large with an MBAHaving an MBA can open so many new paths to you. The sky is truly the limit when you have your MBA. Suddenly, a whole new world of opportunities is open to you, and you can pick and choose what you want to do and where you want to do it. Maybe that sounds great to you, but you want some cold, hard facts about getting an MBA: What can you do with it? How can you get it for free? Well, I'm going to try to answer a couple of your questions.

What Can You Do With It?

Anything. I mean it, you can do almost anything with your MBA. You may not be able to be a brain surgeon, but you can certainly tackle most upper level jobs and ask for promotions more easily than you can now. With advanced management skills and documentation to prove that you've been trained with advanced management skills, you can qualify for most upper level management and specialty jobs in the business world.

An MBA, or any kind of Master's degree actually, can also open a different door – education. When you have a Master's, you are qualified to teach most remedial and many general education classes. At some schools, you may even be able to be an adjunct professor in the business department. Even if you've never thought about teaching before, the pay is usually decent, and it's a lot of fun to have a positive impact on a student's life.

How Can You Get It For Free?

Another common question is "How can I get my MBA for free?" You've probably heard the great stories about other professionals getting their Master's degree for free, and you want to know how to do the same. It all starts with your employer.

Many employers are willing to pay for your education if you promise to work with them for a certain amount of time. They want to reap the benefits of the education they are paying for, but they are usually willing to give you the raise you've earned once you get your degree.

Most employers will have an education policy in their handbook, and you can read over it to see if (1) it's worthwhile and (2) you're eligible. If your employer doesn't have an education policy in writing, talk to your immediate supervisor about your interest, why it would be good for the company, and what you are planning. With the right sales pitch, you just might get your education for free.

Living Large

An MBA allows you to expand your options, and with all the competition in business, expanded options is certainly a good thing. If possible, get your education for free so that you will no longer have to worry about student loans. Once you get your degree, you will have thousands of options and you'll be living large.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Business,Graduate and have No Comments

How To Pay For College If Your Parents Can’t

empty hands How To Pay For College If Your Parents CantIf you come from a limited financial background, that's no reason that you shouldn't go to college. In fact, the less financial support you have, the easier it may be to secure financial aid. Financial aid is only given out to the neediest students. That being said, there can be stiff competition for financial aid packages, so you should apply early.

If you are looking to save money on tuition, state schools are much cheaper overall than private schools–especially if you can prove residency. This is not true across the board, however. In special situations, you could potentially get a higher scholarship for a private university than financial aid at your local university. It's important to weigh all of your options. Obviously, the school with the lowest tuition is a good first bet, but there are other factors to consider as well.

A good financial aid or grant program should be able to help with tuition, room and board, and supplies. If the latter is not included, cut costs by buying and selling used textbooks. Room and board can be a huge chunk of expenses–if you can cut costs by living in a shared living space, instead of a dorm, this is recommended. The trade-off is that you will have to make your own meals, but you can save hundreds of dollars a month on rent.

Getting a job is an absolute necessity–and may be mandatory as part of your financial aid package. Many financial aid packages require that you get a job on campus–a sort of pay as you go student loan. This may be preferable to other types of student loans, as you won't be saddled with payments after you graduate. The problem is that your work study paycheck will go right back to the school, which doesn't provide money for other expenses.

Student Loans

Student loans are by far the most popular form of tuition payment: borrow now, pay later. If you get a job during the school year, much of your paycheck will be going in pocket. At the same time, it is important to start paying off your student loan early on. Defaulting on student loan payments after you graduate can have long-term consequences. As you are trying to get footing in the workforce, it can be difficult to have to spend a large chunk of your paycheck on loans.

All that said, there is no reason to not go to college just because your parents cannot afford it. They may be able to meet you halfway by fronting some of the money if you are able to find a loan from somewhere else. Even if they don't help out at all, you can still pay off tuition and other expenses through government loans, private grants, school scholarships, work study programs, and more.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Paying for School,Reducing Cost/Tuition,Scholarships and have No Comments

5 Reasons Why Graduate School is Right For You – Now, Not Later

graduation cap 5 Reasons Why Graduate School is Right For You   Now, Not LaterMany undergraduates decide that at some point that they would like to pursue their goal of earning their advanced degree. Some decide to take some time off between their undergraduate and graduate education. Others go straight from earning their undergraduate degree to graduate school. Which way you decide to go depends on you personally, but here are 5 reasons why you should consider going to graduate school right now…

1. You are already in a "school" mode. As an undergraduate you have spent the last 4 or so years of your life studying and engrossed in a college environment. While graduate school is a deeper commitment than undergraduate school, what you learned from your undergraduate education is still fresh in your mind when you enter graduate school. You still have a school mindset and it is easier to take what you have learned in undergrad and apply it toward your graduate degree if there isn't a lapse in time.

2. While you are still enrolled at your college or university, information about graduate schools and their programs is more readily available to you. You still have immediate access to your teachers and professors, career advisors, and libraries of information about graduate schools, etc. If you have already graduated and moved on, you can still access this information but it takes a little more work to find and research the information. It is not at your fingertips like it is during your undergraduate study.

3. It is easier to request reference letters from faculty and staff. You, as a student, are fresh in the minds of your professors when you are still enrolled as a student, rather than after you graduate. You can walk to their office, request the letter, and pick it up without much effort at all. If you have already graduated, you will have to contact the professor, hope that he or she remembers who you are, and then make arrangements to receive the letter of reference from them.

4. Another reason to go straight from undergraduate to graduate school is that some advanced programs recruit recent graduates versus those that have been out of school for a period of time. While this doesn't mean that you won't get accepted to graduate school, it just means that the process may be simpler and less stressful if you pursue graduate school immediately following undergrad.

5. It is less disruptive to the flow of your life to go straight from undergraduate to graduate school. Once you are finished with school, both undergraduate and graduate, then you can carry on with your career and your family and home life. You avoid the interruption of having to go back to graduate school after you have been in the "real world" for a few years if you follow-up your undergrad with grad school.

Graduate school can be a very rewarding experience, but it should not be entered into lightly. It is a huge commitment of your time and money. Choosing to go to graduate school is a decision that you should make based on your own personal needs, goals, and desires. There are many factors that you should consider very carefully before making your decision.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in 10/5 Top Tips!,Graduate and have No Comments

Smart Networking Tips For Job-hunting Grads

You don't have to be a seasoned professional to have a great list of contacts. In fact, if you think about it, you probably already have a number of contacts that you made without really thinking about it. All of your classmates and professors are contacts. That is a pretty good start. Also, everyone that you have ever worked for or interned for is a contact. Not only can these people all offer great job hunting advice, but they can also lead you directly to the source- a great company that is looking to hire. Here are some great tips for networking and job hunting:

- Job hunt with friends. Did you have a study group while you were in school? If so, get together a similar group for job hunting. Even if you had exactly the same major as your classmates, it is likely that you will all have different feelings about what kind of jobs you want to have. Therefore, get these trusted friends together, talk about what you want out of a job, and then get to hunting. Of course, look for jobs for yourself. While you are doing this however, note any jobs that might be perfect for one of your friends. In so doing you can help each other find great opportunities.

- Get in touch with previous employers. When you are getting close to graduation, be sure to get in touch with previous bosses and supervisors to learn about what is going on in the industry. Perhaps they know someone who is hiring and can give you a good recommendation. Also, make sure that you get in touch with any companies that you interned for. If you would like to work for them full time, be sure that they know this and ask for them to think of you if they have any openings.

- Talk with professors. If you had a particularly good relationship with one of your professors, be sure to ask him or her if he or she knows about any great job openings. It is likely that your professor will be able to help you with some leads. If not, he or she might be able to help you brainstorm about networking ideas that would work particularly well in your industry.

- Play the home field. If you went to college away from home, be sure to consider the contacts that you have in your home town. Perhaps there is a job for you back home.

- Go to job fairs. Many school host or sponsor job fairs. Be sure to attend them and speak with representatives from every company that you would like to work for.

- Post your resume on web communities for your industry.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Careers,Networking,Unemployment and have No Comments

Prepare Yourself Financially For Your Graduate Degree

Earning a graduate degree is perhaps one of the most time intensive yet rewarding challenges that a seeker of knowledge can undertake. Few people, however, consider the big picture when it comes to the entire financial aspect of earning a master's degree. Tuition will undoubtedly be one of the biggest expenses, but there are other things to consider as well. Does your degree program allow you to work while you attend school or will the schedule be too demanding? If you cannot work, one needs to consider living expenses and funds for emergencies.

The cost of tuition for a master's level degree ranges from $12,000 at smaller colleges to in excess of $80,000 at some of the Ivy League schools. On average, at a state university, a student can expect a total cost of about $40,000. Be aware that these are just tuition costs. Traditionally, there are also costs for each book, registration fees, and application fees as well as possible fees for parking depending on your school.

Then, there is also the cost of living. You know more about your unique financial situation than anyone else. So, it is up to you to decide how you will handle this. Be sure to interview people in the academics department, career services office as well as current students if you can. This way, you will get a more accurate portrayal of life at the school. You can then determine whether or not you will need to work full time, part time or not work at all. If you are in a financial situation that does not require you to work during your degree, you may consider volunteering at a company that operates in your chosen field of study. Or, the career services office may be able to help find an internship near your school. True, these options may add a part time job to your schedule, but you will be better off in the long run for a couple of different reasons. First, internships allow you a place to network among peers in the industry. I am sure you are aware of the old adage, it is not what you know, but who you know. If you play your cards right, you might just find yourself a job before you have completed your degree. Second, even if you do not find a job with the company you volunteer at or intern with, you will gain valuable insight into the industry while providing yourself with professional references and experience.

Finally, you should always have money set aside for emergencies as well as health insurance. Too often, people fail to plan in these areas and end up making a costly mistake because of an unforeseen circumstance.

So, you need to decide how much it will cost you to live every month. Do not be afraid to put yourself on a budget and adhere to it! Outside of that, planning ahead is the best action that you can take to ensure your success in school.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Graduate,Paying for School,Reducing Cost/Tuition,Strategies for Success,Time Off/Returning to School and have No Comments

10 Ways To Be A Good Graduate Student

1. Take Your Work (And Yourself) Seriously
You might be continuing on right after undergraduate, or perhaps you're going back for an advanced degree after a stint in the working world. Maybe you've decided to go back for that Master of Information Systems to increase your earning power. Or, maybe you've arrived at a point in your life where the road to personal development is pointing towards higher education. Whatever your reasons for going to graduate school, honor them. Take the work of your program and your goals seriously so that you will get the most out of your experience and your investment of time and money in your program.

2. Attend Every Class
This piece of advice is especially aimed at professionals pursuing a degree on their (very limited) downtime. While it may be true that you can get away with skipping a class here and there, for the full experience, you need to show up for the full experience. Besides, and probably more importantly, you might keep up with all of the work on a day that you skip class, but you might miss out on valuable information a classmate or the teacher might pass along during the class meeting.

3. Be The Star of Every Class
Sure, maybe being the star of every single class might seem a lofty goal, but if you make it your own, you'll ensure that you are prepared for every class meeting, for one thing. Secondly, if you make sure you participate in every class, you will get much more out of the material because you will be actively engaging with it.

4. Go Above And Beyond In Your Assignments
Even if you can skate by, you should try your best not to. This graduate program is costing you money, right? Besides, knowledge is power. The more work you do on the assignments you get in and out of class, the more of a knowledge base you will build up in this field that you've chosen for advanced study.

5. Attend As Many Extra-Curricular Functions As You Can
So, you've found the extra time you need to excel in your assignments and in the classroom. Now, you should find the time to do as much as you can outside of the classroom as well. Whether you're attending graduate school for professional or personal growth, or both, much of the experience to be gained in graduate school comes from what you do and learn outside the classroom. Chances are that your program will offer lectures, presentations, films, and get-togethers that will help you expand your knowledge of your field and get to know your colleagues.

6. Get To Know Your Teachers
Get to know them before and after class, and at any extra-curricular functions they attend. In addition to helping you learn, they may be able to help you down the road with jobs or other opportunities in your field. Besides, they're probably very interesting!

7. Get To Know Your Classmates
Your classmates are not just the people you're sitting next to in your seminar today. They may be your coworkers in the field you're all studying tomorrow. Start building your professional network now.

8. Consider a TA or Tutoring Position
Especially if you're studying a field that will most likely land you in academia once you reach your terminal degree, start teaching or tutoring as soon as possible.

9. Volunteer Your Expertise
Whether you are doing graduate work to further your career or enrich your personal life, consider volunteer opportunities in your community that will help you share what you've learned with those around you.

10. Before You Graduate, See Where You'll Land
Talk to your professors, classmates, and visit the career services office before you graduate. See what opportunities exist for you now that you have an advanced degree, and see if you can secure one before you walk across that graduation platform.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in 10/5 Top Tips!,Developing your Strengths,Graduate,Strategies for Success,Studying/Test Taking and have Comment (1)

Can I Automatically Renew My Student Loans Each Year?

When applying for financial aid for undergraduate, graduate or professional degree programs, you’ll likely hear a lot about scholarships touted as being renewable for a year or two at a time.

While scholarships and other forms of non-loan financial aid do have the ability in some cases to renew, student loans generally do not. At least, not in the conventional understanding of the term “automatically renew.”

Meaning, you will probably not receive the exact amount every year, and it will require at least a cursory update of information to the lender, whether it’s the federal government or a private lender.

Starting with federal student loans: the aid definitely does not automatically renew every year. It does not simply replenish every year because the amount you receive depends on your family’s current financial situation and updated government legislation.

So, a renewal of your FAFSA (Free Application For Student Aid) every year is necessary. An online personal identification number will be sent to returning students each year for online applications, or a student will be required to fill out a paper renewal to make the changes.

Private loans may require a less rigorous change process each year or semester, but there will still be some, for many of the same reasons a federal loan does, minus the federal guidelines.

Financial aid need needs to be evaluated each year or semester to account for a student’s evolving circumstances, as well as that of the economic and legislative environment, to make sure there is fairness in distribution of the aid.

A student’s tuition, housing or expenses might go up one year or semester, making it necessary to increase their aid amount. He or she might have become eligible or non-eligible for scholarships, grant programs or work-study situations that might impact the amount of money needed.

Additionally, his or her family finances could alter slightly or dramatically, making adjustments in the FAFSA or private loan calculation necessary.

Academic progress is an important factor in determining a student’s aid package each year, especially with regard to federal loans. If a student does not maintain a satisfactory grade point average, course load or has some disciplinary actions taken against him or her, aid could be restructured.

Funding and allowances from state, federal and university endowments might change, making the amount of funding from these sources fluctuate and the need to pull money from other private or federal sources necessary.

So, when considering your financial aid needs, remember that they are not automatically renewed each year, although major pieces of information (name, social security number, credit history, tax history) remain on your permanent file and the bulk of your initial information will probably not have to be redone.

Be sure to stay organized and aware of any “new” or “renewal” application dates, and submit all your paperwork on time. This will ensure a smooth financial aid transition throughout all the years you are in school, and be as close to an “automatic renewal” as possible.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Paying for School,Reducing Cost/Tuition and have Comment (1)

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

Jobs Shmobs Who Needs A Job?! Get A Career NOW!!!

Physician and medical assisting is a key element of the evolving health care system. Physician and medical assistants lighten the load of the managing physician, act as the physician’s eyes and ears for at least the initial visit and help keep costs down for not only patients but insurance companies. With the aging population and the sheer increase in patient numbers, the demand for physician and medical assistants will continue to grow. The difference between working in physician and medical assisting is that the medical assistant is responsible for clerical and clinical duties. The physician assistant, on the other hand, not only manages medical assistants but can write prescriptions, make diagnoses, record medical histories, read x-rays and examine patients.

Studying Physician and Medical Assisting

To earn a degree and work in physician and medical assisting, two years of schooling is generally required plus hands-on experience in a health care environment. Accredited programs are generally associated with medical schools. Most physician and medical assisting students have a bachelor’s degree and some programs require it. Prerequisites such as math, biology, psychology, English and chemistry should be taken before applying to any physician and medical assisting program. A typical physician and medical assisting program consists of courses in pharmacology, medical ethics, human anatomy, geriatrics and disease prevention. There is also a clinical element in which the student works under supervision in areas such as emergency medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology.

Working in Physician and Medical Assisting

It is not possible to work as a physician assistant or medical assistant unless you pass the Physician Assistants National Certifying Examination and graduate from an accredited program. Just as doctors can specialize in a preferred area of medicine, so can physician and medical assistants. Some specialty areas include internal medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine and surgery. Physician and medical assistants often work in hospitals, offices, medical facilities and public clinics.

Online Continuing Education in Physician and Medical Assisting

While there aren’t accredited programs online for physician and medical assistants, there are online programs for degree completion and continuing education once certification has been achieved. Many working in physician and medical assisting will complete master’s degrees online and further specialize in such areas as public health or administration. Many universities offer online and distance learning programs for these purposes.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Education and have No Comments
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