How to Choose a College Once You’ve Been Accepted

College Decision

Though it probably feels like getting accepted into several colleges or universities of your choice would be a great problem to have in the spring of your senior year, it will end up being more of a curse than a blessing. Making the final decision about where to spend the next four years, which program best suites you and dealing with the financial aspect is nothing short of overwhelming, especially when they are several good choices.  Remember, make a decision based on you and your needs rather than what your peers are doing or not doing. An undergraduate degree plays a major role in a person’s career.

Look at the material
When you visited college campuses on a college tour or trip, refer back to any handouts of brochures you were given. Jot down as many notes as possible to help make an informed decision.  It will help to lay out any material you have to visually see what you like and dislike about each school. It’s nearly impossible to be objective without having all of the facts. Try to remember what you were thinking and feeling while you were standing on each campus or speaking with an admission’s officer. Decide which ones immediately stand out in your mind.

Do some additional research
While thinking about your final decision, write down any questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to surf the Internet to get answers or simply call the campus to ask away. An admission’s officer will have the answer to most concerns you will have. These people can help you to feel confident about your decision and ensure you choose the right school for next year.

Be practical
For many students, cost is an important factor in making your decision. If you are being offered a particularly generous financial aid package or scholarships from one of your top school — it may help to bump it ahead of the competition. Similarly, an acceptance from a good state school with a great deal for students in the state can be tough to pass up if cost is a big component of your choice. Also, you may want to consider other practical matters, like the location of the school and how far from home you would be while attending college.

Chat with your parents
By talking to someone you respect like a parent, sibling, professor or counselor, you will be able to bounce off ideas in regards to pros and cons. Getting advice from people who know you the best can help when trying to pick the “right choice” out of many options. Simply talking about it with others will help in the long run to be the perfect balance between objective and emotional. A guidance counselor may also be able to help you to narrow your options and a parent may have insights from going along on the process with you.

Once a college becomes your number one pick, tell your family and friends the good news and then immediately let the school know you’re accepting their invitation to be part of their college. The best part of all of this will be the ending to the college search process and knowing SAT prep is long behind you.

Can Your Facebook Profile Hurt Your Chance of Getting Into College?

It has been said that one’s past can come back to haunt. Social media networks are a prime example, especially considering the many high school students who have damaged the reputation of not only themselves but others as well.

Though posting pictures, status updates and information on Facebook or other social network sites is perfectly acceptable, it is still something that users should air on the side of caution before doing so.

Potential employers and colleges admissions officers will often conduct a background check on applicants. Social media networks and blogs are subject to these checks. Although Facebook can be a valuable tool when used appropriately by students, these networks can also be damaging if too much is exposed.

Social media networks are not the place for disagreements or to slander former friends and those you do not like. This, along with a lack respect for authority figures, parents and teachers are not desirable traits a college looks for in a student.

Regardless of a remarkable grade point average or high SAT scores, posting hate messages, abusive language, vulgar words and inappropriate photographs, are viewed as a reflection of one’s character. Social network profiles are judged by colleges, potential employers, new friends, co-workers and business acquaintances.

A college may view your social network post in the past and present, they are subject to the rejection or acceptance into the college of your choice. Colleges have an obligation as an institution to select students who have the potential of becoming tomorrow’s leaders in business, finance, medicine and science.

Practice damage control now and think, before you post.

 

 

Five of the Best Jobs to Seek as a College Student

Let’s face it, in today’s economy a college graduate needs every competitive advantage they can get when it comes to landing their ideal first job in the professional world. Stellar grades and involvement in extra circulars, while extremely important, do not provide the real-world work experience that many employers seek in new hires. Taking on a part-time job is not only a perfect resume builder, but is also a great way to achieve some financial independence.

Seeking an on-campus job removes the need for transportation, and with the time commitments posed by classes, papers, studying and exams, the convenience of an on-campus job is noteworthy. Below are five on-campus jobs that will put some extra cash in your pocket while also helping to set you apart from the competition come graduation time.

1. Departmental Intern / Research Assistant
What better way to gain the inside-scoop on your field of study than by assisting your professors with research projects and other tasks? You will have the chance to form strong relationships with faculty members; be privy to information, opportunities and knowledge your classmates may not be; and be able to “sink your teeth” into projects that may reflect your future career path.

2. Bookstore Clerk
A job at your campus bookstore will help put a few extra dollars in your bank account and may also afford you a discount on textbooks, which can help offset a substantial college expense.

3. Tutor
Tutoring fellow classmates, or even local high school or middle school students, is advantageous for numerous reasons. The ability to properly teach someone is a beneficial skill to have. It requires one to be a good listener, a problem solver and a leader and also often entails looking at something from an entirely new perspective.

4. Social Media Marketing Assistant
Social media is here to stay and today’s youth certainly has an advantage over their predecessors, simply because it is a large part of many of their daily lives. Put that knowledge to work for you. Offer your services to your campus’ marketing department. Whether it’s assisting with a Facebook page, a Twitter account or writing a blog geared toward incoming students, this type of job will help you improve your communication skills while providing a valuable service to your university.

5. Resident Advisor
The cost to live on campus can be high, but part of the fun of college is campus life. Gaining a position as a resident advisor often means free (or at least reduced) room and board. You will typically be able to squeeze in some study time while on duty and helping to resolve conflicts between fellow students is also great preparation for the team environment found at most companies.

10 Tips to Survive College on a Budget

Operating on a college student budget is tricky at best. With little or no steady income, a constant stream of activity, and a highly stressful environment, college students are often just glad to make it through the semester.

Thankfully, there are small steps that college students can take to not just make it through, but save money while in college. By following these ten tips, students can graduate with the financial backing to enter the working world on the right foot.

1.Take advantage of public transportation and carpooling.
Larger cities typically offer public transportation and, by paying one monthly or yearly fee, students can use it limitlessly. Students can also take advantage of gas savings by carpooling with friends to school or when traveling home.

2.Find free food.
One of the great advantages of being a student is the access to free food. Many student organizations will provide meals weekly, as will local churches and government agencies. Students can usually find information on these programs at their student center.

3.Buy books online.
Campus bookstores are known for raising book prices far higher than they should be. Check out online bookstores like Amazon or eBay to save big on textbooks.

4.Sell, sell, sell!
Most college students have things they have collected over the years that they don’t use anymore. Get together and have a garage sale. Sell gently used clothing to a resale store. List old books online. Clean out regularly and collect extra cash for the end-of-semester crunch.

5.Coupon.
Check the local papers and websites like coupons.com for discounts on items regularly purchased.

6.Stock up.
Things are always cheaper when purchased in bulk. Go in with a roommate and buy the huge pack of toilet paper. It will last all semester!

7.Ask for gift cards.
Sure, that new guitar would be a great Christmas gift, but asking grandma for a gift card to the grocery store will pay off more in the long run.

8.Buy off-brand.
There’s not really much difference between name-brand milk and generic. Off-brands can be dollars cheaper than brand-name items, making them a great source of savings.

9.Skip the take-out.
Everyone has to learn to cook sometime. Buy some basic ingredients and find recipes online. At the very least, bring some of mom’s soup from home and eat leftovers.

10.Skip the movie.
Opt for game night instead. It’s cheaper and offers more face-time with friends.

Starting College in the Summer versus Fall?

High school graduation is looming, you’ve been accepted to your university of choice, and now you have a big decision to make: when should you start? There are pros and cons to both waiting for fall and for getting an early jump on your education this summer.

During summer semester, classes tend to feel more relaxed and the campus is much less crowded. This gives you ample opportunity to get used to your new home away from home without all the crowds of fall semester. However, don’t forget that summer semesters are shorter than fall and spring semesters; this means the same amount of coursework is crammed into a shorter window of time, potentially leaving you busier than you would otherwise expect. Do you have scholarships lined up for college? If so, you’ll want to check with them to see if summer classes are covered or not as many scholarships will only fund fall and spring semesters.

On the other hand, you’re nearing the end of your K-12 education: a journey lasting more than a decade! Don’t you deserve a summer off? While many would argue that taking a whole summer off is lazy and an inefficient use of your time, there is something to be said for taking a breather and decompressing before jumping into the next phase of your life. You can use that time wisely to prepare for college placement tests, catch up with friends and family, and to save money from a job so you’re able to spend time with the new friends you’ll make over the next few years.

There is no right or wrong answer to when you should begin college; it’s a personal decision that must be made based on your own personality and other factors that are specific to your life. Think about what makes the most sense for YOU and do what you need to do in order to be best prepared to make the most out of college.

Sorting Through Acceptance Letters: Which to Choose?

It may seem like having a few acceptance letters to choose from would be a great problem to have in the spring of your senior year. While it is an honor and an exciting time, it can also be stressful to make the final decision, especially when faced with several excellent choices. It is important to put in the time to make the best decision possible and end up at the perfect college for you next year.

Refer Back
Be sure to hold onto the brochures and materials you collected during interviews and campus visits. These things, along with any notes you made at the time, can help to jog your memory and make the decision a little easier. Think about how you felt on each campus, which ones stand out and which made you feel at home from the beginning?

Additional Research
If you come up with additional questions or feel like you still need more information, don’t be afraid to contact the admissions office or to follow up with contacts you made on campus. These people can help you to feel confident about your decision and ensure you choose the right school for next year.

Practical Considerations
For many students, cost is an important factor in making your decision. If you are being offered a particularly generous financial aid package or scholarships from one of your top school — it may help to bump it ahead of the competition. Similarly, an acceptance from a good state school with a great deal for students in the state can be tough to pass up if cost is a big component of your choice. Similarly, you may want to consider other practical matters, like the location of the school and how far from home you would be while attending college.

Talk it Over
It can sometimes be helpful to talk through your options with a parent, teacher, or guidance counselor as you make your final decision about college. Just the simple act of talking about your schools with someone else may help the top school to become clear. A guidance counselor may also be able to help you to narrow your options and a parent may have insights from going along on the process with you.

When one school ends up the clear front runner, it’s time to send in your acceptance, announce it to your family and friends, and celebrate the end of your college search process.

Beyond Financial Aid: Tips for Paying for College

College tuition costs are rising every year. As the cost of tuition, books and fees continue to increase, financial aid alone is not enough to pay for an education. Careful planning and research, and a bit of creativity, can help pay the bills and make college affordable again. Here are some tips to help ease the cost of tuition.

Scholarships

Communities, schools and organizations of all types offer scholarships. Review the criteria and apply for everything possible. Employers sometimes offer scholarships for children of employees or for the employees themselves. Certain clubs and community organizations have scholarships for just being a member. There is also assistance available for many types of high demand careers like nursing and teaching. The internet is a great resource for finding listings of available grants and scholarships.

Take an alternative route

Taking classes at a community college for the first two years can save thousands of dollars. Most colleges will transfer credits from a two year school making the transition easy. This path does take cautious planning since taking classes that will not transfer can be a waste of both time and money. Taking advanced placement (AP) classes in high school can also save money. Many colleges will grant credit for AP classes which will save on tuition long term.

Commute in state

Room and board are a large part of the college bill. While living at home is not glamorous, it can save enough money for a down payment on a home after school is done. Local state schools are another great way to save money when combined with commuting. State schools usually have reduced tuition rates for in state residents. Check with individual schools for more details.

Student Loans

When free money is not available, student loans are the next best option. Loans are available through the government and from private lenders. Loans do carry interest rates and will have to be paid back once school is complete. Interest rates may be variable or fixed and often students can defer payment until they find employment after graduation. The government offers loans as part of a financial aid package and there are limitations on the amount that can be borrowed. Private loans are available from banks and credit unions and they can bridge the gaps left by financial aid. Loans are an extremely useful tool for paying for school but they should only be used when necessary to avoid incurring excessive debt.

Work for the money

It is difficult to balance school and work, but it is almost impossible to get through four years of school without at least a part time job. Even working during breaks or the summer can provide enough money for books. Some employers even have tuition reimbursement plans for employees attending school. Those who serve in the armed forces may meet the qualifications for the G.I. Bill to assist with tuition costs. Work-study programs are also part of a financial aid package and while these positions usually do not pay well, they are typically on campus or related to the student’s major in some way. Certain colleges have paid co-op programs as part of the curriculum which allows students to earn money and credit at the same time.

The key to finding sources of funding for school is to start early. Start saving in a 529 plan or a savings account early on so there is money available when the time comes for college. Look for scholarships at least a year in advance as most applications have requirements to fulfill before a deadline. It takes time to find sources of aid and to complete applications. Tap all available resources and be sure to meet deadlines to ease the stress of finding money to pay for a college education.

What Should I Major in at College?

Choosing a college major can feel like the biggest decision you will make early in your college career. Luckily, most colleges offer students time and flexibility in making the decision. If your career goals and academic interests have been obvious for years, choosing a major may not be very stressful. If you have many different academic interests or are unsure about your future career, it can be more challenging. Most colleges report that 15-20 percent of their first year students are undecided and about half of these students will declare a major before they enter their sophomore year.

Business and Economics
Majoring in business can seem like the standard choice for students who don’t have a specific major in mind, it can also be a very flexible subject. Many business programs allow students to concentrate on a specific area such as marketing or finance. Some students may choose to combine business with an economics major or a computer science program in order to broaden their education. Many business majors will find positions in major companies while others may choose to continue on to get an MBA.

The Sciences
Many students who want to go to medical school choose to major in biology. other students who want a career in the sciences may choose chemistry, physics, or bio-chem. Majoring in the sciences often means committing to time-consuming lab courses, but for students with a strong interest in the sciences, these majors can provide a solid foundation for future academic programs and careers.

Social Sciences
Majoring in psychology, sociology, anthropology or political science can be the start of many diverse career paths. For students who want to become psychologists or work in social services, this is often the first step towards a masters or doctoral program. Political science is a popular major for students who want to attend law school or work in government. Anthropology can translate into many different cultural positions, museum work, or careers in archeology.

Education
Students who want to become teachers will generally major in education based on the age bracket they plan to teach. Secondary education teachers are often required to take courses in their subject area along with general education classes. Education majors often spend part of their college career observing in the classroom and student teaching

Many colleges allow students the freedom to double major, add minors, and concentrations that will help them to create a unique college experience. Many students choose to minor or double major in a foreign language, or pair up majors that will help them in their chosen career path. Taking the time to research the different majors and find out where majors are landing jobs after college can be a good way to make the decision. Talking with your adviser or with a professor in the department is also a great way to gather information as you make your decision.

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Admissions Interviews

A college admissions interview can be an intimidating part of the college application process. Most students will be able to relax and do their best when they realize that an interview is just one part of your complete package and just as much about giving you a chance to ask questions as it will be about the college asking questions to you.

Preparing for the Interview
Before the interview, be sure that you know a little about the school so that you can sound well-informed and ask the right questions. Come with a few questions already in your head so you will have something ready when the admissions officer asks if you have any questions for him or her.

You will want to make a good impression from the very second you walk into the interview and that begins with being properly dressed, business casual attire will be right for most admissions interviews. Have a few copies of your resume on hand, as well as a notepad and pen in case you need to write anything down. When you meet the interviewer, be polite and professional, a good handshake will get things off to a good start.

Answering Questions
Be courteous and engaging when you answer questions and try to make eye contact with your interviewer. You can be funny and personable in the interview, this is a chance to show the college admissions office what sets you apart from other applicants. Use your responses to highlight your strengths and offer them insights into your academic record, interests, and best qualities that may not be evident from your written application. This is not the time for modesty, be sure to emphasize your successes and show them what you would bring to their school. Be sure to think through your answers and avoid “umms”, “likes”, and other filler words that can creep into conversation when you’re nervous.

After the Interview
Send a thank you note to the person with whom you interviewed. This is another chance to get your name in front of him or her and be sure you have made the best impression possible. If you think of questions later, don’t hesitate to contact that person again if they have said that they will be available to you throughout the process. Well thought-out questions will show your interest in the school and that you have done your homework.

A college admissions interview is a great opportunity to meet with someone from each of your top schools in a one-on-one setting. Learn the basics and you’ll be sure to make a great impression.

Overcoming Testing Anxiety

Testing anxiety can affect even the best students and have a strong impact on students’ abilities to perform well on tests. Finding ways to overcome testing anxiety will help you to do better in school, stay calm before exams, and perform better on big tests like the SAT too.

There are many causes of testing anxiety. Some students become anxious during the hours before a test fearing that they have not studied enough. The best way to combat this is to start studying early and not leave anything to the last minute. When you feel comfortable with the material, its easier to put the books and notes away knowing that you’ve done everything you can to prepare. When preparing for bigger tests, like the SAT. It is even more important to start early and stay calm. A solid SAT test prep schedule will help you to budget your time and know that you have done all that you can to prepare.

The more tests you take, the better you will become at keeping calm before a big exam. When preparing for the SAT, taking practice tests as part of your online test prep can be a big help to students who are anxious. Similarly, if your textbooks have practice tests or questions to check your work, go back and look at them before a test. This is a good way to anticipate potential questions and identify trouble areas. Answering questions about test material can also help you to feel confident going into the test.

If you have questions, make the time to talk with your teacher. Similarly, if you find yourself experiencing severe anxiety, it may be worthwhile to talk with a parent or guidance counselor about ways to feel better, handle your emotions, and find ways to lessen your anxiety.

The day before the test, read over summaries of the material and then put your books and prep work away. Take some time to relax and be sure to get to sleep at a decent hour the night before a test. Feeling well rested and not spending the evening cramming for the test will help you to relax. Going into the exam calm and confident counts for a lot and will help you to recall information and follow directions on the test.

If you feel yourself getting anxious, try taking deep breaths and reminding yourself of the work you put into studying. Learning how to calm yourself down before a test is a skill that will be useful throughout your academic career.


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