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Adulting Student Life

How to Build Credit as a College Student

October 18, 2021

Going to college is all about learning, which includes your studies, but also gaining a better understanding of how to manage your finances. A key part of this is building your credit. 

According to Experian, the average FICO score — a type of credit score — in the U.S. in 2020 was 711, which falls into the good credit score range. Good credit can open up more financial opportunities during college and beyond, including more favorable loan terms and interest rates. 

If you want the benefits of having a healthy credit score, here are a few ways to help build your credit to above-average and excellent levels.

Apply for a student credit card

It can be difficult to qualify for certain credit cards when you’re starting to build credit, but student credit cards typically have less strict requirements. Even better, many of the best credit cards for students don’t come with annual costs and provide valuable benefits — which could include earning cash back on your purchases.

To find the right student card for you, consider the benefits and earning rates being offered. A card might be a good fit if its benefits and cashback bonus categories align with your spending habits and lifestyle.

Become an authorized user

You don’t have to apply and qualify for your own credit card to start building your credit. Many credit card companies allow for authorized users to be added to existing accounts. The account owner controls what the authorized user has access to, including having their own card connected to the account.

The benefit of becoming an authorized user is being able to build your credit with the help of the account owner. As long as the credit account is being used and paid off, you should see your credit start to grow. Talk with a family member or trusted friend about becoming an authorized user on their credit card account and whether it would make sense for you.

Use credit responsibly

An essential part of building and maintaining a healthy credit score is ensuring you always use credit responsibly. For example, it typically doesn’t make sense to carry a balance on a credit card because of high interest rates. Paying off your balance in full each month can help you avoid costly fees and interest charges and stay on track toward your financial goals.

It’s important to use credit responsibly so you can improve your credit score. Part of this includes budgeting for your monthly payments and making them on time — whether you open a credit card or take out a loan.

Add rent payments to your credit report

If you’re the type of person who has renters insurance and always pays rent on time, it could make sense to research and consider using a service to report your rental payment history. 

Rent payments aren’t often automatically included on credit reports, but certain services can help report your positive rent payments to different credit bureaus, which could boost your credit score. Since most college students are just getting started building credit, there’s no credit check for GradGuard’s Renters Insurance.

Consider a credit-builder loan

Apart from credit cards, you can also use loans, such as credit-builder loans, to help build your credit. With a credit-builder loan, a lender will typically add the proceeds to a secured savings account. You’ll make regular monthly payments toward the loan balance, and the money becomes available to you once you pay off the loan.

You have to pay some interest for the borrowed money, but this type of opportunity can be helpful if your options for building credit are limited. Many banks and financial institutions offer credit-builder loans.

Final thoughts

No matter your field of study, having a solid understanding of credit and its potential benefits can help shape your future financial decisions. And if you start building your credit now, you’ll pave the way for unlocking valuable financial opportunities down the road.

BIO: FinanceBuzz’sVP of Content, Tracy Odell, also held the same position at Student Loan Hero and has expertise in this subject, as well as all things related to college finances.

Adulting

7 Time Management Tips for Working Students

October 11, 2021

Studying for a major exam or writing a paper is time-consuming, but it’s even more challenging when you’re dealing with a job at the same time. Effective time management can often be the difference between passing your classes and struggling, but how do you manage your time while you’re working? With the right plan in place, you can enjoy a successful academic year, all while keeping your job.

Read on for a list of 7 time-management tips for working students that will help to ensure success in school and your career.

Make a Schedule

Every successful venture starts with a good schedule in place. Whether daily, weekly, or monthly, the first step to effective time management is creating a schedule that works for you, then stick to it. If you need to, design a schedule that allows you to work in 30-minute increments. For example, jot down your work hours, then break up your non-working hours in smaller bites, noting which classes will need the most attention first and when.

Don’t Procrastinate

It can be easy to put off things you don’t want to do, but procrastinating will always result in you feeling stressed out later. Avoid putting off something you can do right now whenever possible. The sooner you accomplish tasks, the more free time you’ll have to enjoy things later on.

Prioritize

Set your priorities in order of importance and try to “knock out” the most essential items first. Even if you have to start small, doing things right away will make meeting deadlines and writing papers easier when the time comes. Not only will prioritizing tasks make it easier to get them done on time, but it will also ease your stress levels.

Plan Ahead

Create a daily or weekly to-do list so it’s easier to plan the things you need to get done in advance. Keep track of important dates and deadlines, and ensure that you’ll have plenty of time available to complete them in advance. Not only does planning ahead make it easy to accomplish tasks, but you’ll remember which things need to complete and when.

Avoid Multitasking

Many people think that multitasking is the best way to get things done, but it can actually backfire. When you multitask, you’re not dedicating all of your brainpower to one task. Avoid the temptation of multitasking and instead, try to put all of your attention on each item individually to stay focused.

Stay Healthy

Getting proper exercise and eating a healthy diet will help you feel better physically and mentally. Don’t forget to make sure that you’re getting plenty of sleep every night, too. When your body is healthy, your mind will be much more agile and able to retain important information.

Create a Routine

Creating a regular routine is vital to any successful lifestyle. Do your best to go to bed and get up at the same time every night and make studying a part of your daily life. Once you have a set routine, it will be much easier to stick to the daily things you need to do.Keep these seven tips in mind if you’re a working student to help you manage your time as effectively as possible. With these simple tasks, you can begin to make each one of them a daily habit that will set you up for success. Remember to devise a schedule and prioritize the most important things you need to do to work best for you and your lifestyle for a successful working life and academic career.

Adulting Student Life

Essential Apps for College Student Survival

October 7, 2021

If you’re a student who’s constantly multitasking, college can seem like a difficult endeavor. It’s especially true if you rely on a part-time job to make ends meet. But at the same time, you’re always trying to balance out other activities and engagements, such as meeting friends, gaming, and relaxing. Managing social and academic life, in this regard, requires that you’re fast and super productive.  

As the education sector integrates more and more technology, students can find new innovative ways to balance their academics and social life. So whether you’re a college freshman or in your senior year, you’re probably looking for apps that can make it easier to survive college. 

Here is a list of some essential apps you can use to manage time and improve your productivity. 

Evernote

A big part of college life entails “note-taking.” How about having an app that allows you to take notes by entering text and ideas?

Evernote can do just that. This amazing app is a “must-have” for every student. From note-taking, organizing them to managing tasks, everything becomes a piece of cake with Evernote. It allows you to take comprehensive notes by adding images, audio, PDFs, text, and documents. 

Even better, the app includes a wide variety of tools that enable students to recall learned material saved as personalized notes. 

Plus, Evernote has an effectively integrated search engine to help you trace phrases within your notes, providing faster notes retrieval. It not only hastens your revision sessions but also allows you to incorporate material relevant to your concepts.

Grammarly

It’s not uncommon for students to turn in fantastic assignments, only to lose marks because of poor grammar or lackluster vocabulary. Sure, it seems unfair, but you can’t deny the importance of good grammar when it comes to writing quality assignments. In this case, apps like Grammarly can be a huge help. This app can significantly improve sentence structure and boost your work’s readability and clarity.  

In addition to this, Grammarly offers numerous suggestions for different errors to help you understand your grammatical weaknesses. The app is compatible with many other applications to enrich your communication.

Turnitin

Turnitin, like the former, is an important service for writing quality papers. The app catches plagiarism in the work and allows you to correct all the plagiarized parts of your essays.

Prezi

College presentations are challenging and can be time-consuming. Use Prezi to add a wow factor to your text while reducing the effort and time spent making a presentation. With Prezi, you can keep your focus on research and deliver a comprehensive and appealing research presentation. 

Another thing that makes Prezi even better is its easy-to-use feature. You don’t need to have video editing expertise or graphics to use Prezi.

Microsoft Office Lens

Microsoft Office Lens is an excellent app that has revolutionized note-taking. It provides students an easy way to scan material for conversion to Word, PDF, PowerPoint, and save to the cloud or local device. It helps students to concentrate on their revision instead of spending time taking notes.  

Dropbox

Dropbox is a popular app that ranks high as a cloud storage solution. The app allows students to access all documents easily. With Dropbox, students can seamlessly access documents and files across numerous devices. 

Mint

Finances are some of the tricky elements in the life of a student. Mint is a smart app that helps students keep track of their expenses, thus enabling them to develop healthy spending habits. Besides this, Mint offers suggestions to create financial goals to help college students balance their accounts.

In a nutshell, campus life is hard. But for all your student-life challenges, there is a comprehensive app to reduce the burden. The given apps are the top picks to help you make stellar essays, manage time, and boost productivity.

BIO: Lyle Solomon has considerable litigation experience as well as substantial hands-on knowledge and expertise in legal analysis and writing. Since 2003, he has been a member of the State Bar of California. In 1998, he graduated from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California, and now serves as a principal attorney for the Oak View Law Group in Rocklin, California.

Adulting

Adulting 101: 15 Tips Everyone Should Know About

October 1, 2021

Let’s face it: Adulting is hard! How can you make your life smooth-sailing when transitioning from being parent-dependent to living your life on your own terms?

When you were younger, you probably felt excited about the independence that comes with adulthood. But as you entered this stage, and went off to college, you probably realized you have to include home and health responsibilities, finance management, and some organization into the equation. 

It can seem overwhelming at first. Here are some tips to make your adjusting easier as you handle your grown-up responsibilities.

Home

Tip 1: Clean Your Home Regularly

By regularly, I mean at least once a week. During your adulting years you’ll experience more stress. Putting off cleaning your home will just make it worse. 

Cleaning your house regularly doesn’t just make the place tidy and organized, but it also clears your mind from too many worries. Vacuuming and mopping can be even more of a hassle if you put it off for a few weeks, so make it a habit to knock it out when you clean the bathrooms, counters, and other parts of your home.

As you declutter your house, you declutter your mind as well. 

Tip 2: Learn To Do Minor Home Repairs

You don’t have to be like The Fixer from Youtube. You just have to learn the very basics so you can fix small damages quickly. 

You’ll also get to save some money which you’d otherwise need to spend on experts for doing tasks you’ll later realize are so simple to do if you just did a little bit of digging on how to do it. 

Some of the things you can learn to do online are:

  • Clearing gutters
  • Patching small holes
  • Clearing gutters
  • Replacing light bulbs and light fixtures
  • Replacing a blown fuse
  • Turning off the main power supply if you’ll be out for a few days
  • Unclogging a drain
  • Plunging a toilet
  • Turning off the water supply
  • Replacing air filters

Tip 3: Learn Laundry and Mending Skills

Did you ever have a white shirt that turned pink after laundry? That doesn’t only happen in movies, it happens when you mix colored shirts and white ones in one wash. 

Or have you tried wearing a shirt that used to fit right only to feel extra tight after it went through the dryer? It happens.

To avoid those things from happening, here are some laundry skills you need to keep in mind:

  • Separate delicates, whites, and darks when washing
  • Do small loads at low heat when drying clothes to avoid shrinking
  • Use warm water or cool setting to prevent color bleeds
  • Hang delicates when drying to keep the cloth quality intact

Moreover, you’re bound to get ripped shirts, popped buttons or broken zippers one day. Learn to do basic sewing, button, and zipper change. There are plenty of tutorials and how-to articles out there!

Health And Wellness

Tip 4: Learn To Cook

Relying on fast food, takeouts, and deliveries isn’t just unhealthy, it bores a big whole in your pocket. I’m not saying you have to avoid those altogether, you just have to minimize depending on them by learning to cook

You can either take a cooking class, ask your mom to teach you, download meal apps, or watch Youtube videos on meals you’d like to eat. 

Tip 5: Set At Least 30 Minutes Daily For Exercise

You don’t have to get a gym membership. A short walk, 15 minutes of light stretching, or a video-guided exercise on Youtube will suffice. 

As you grow older, you’ll start to feel aches here and there. Setting a few minutes of exercise a day keeps you physically agile and prevents sores you’d likely get from sitting all day. 

Tip 6: Schedule Annual Doctors Appointments

Taking care of your body now will save you from serious health complications down the line.

Scheduling appointments for yearly physicals, regular teeth cleaning, and eye check ups will help you catch anything early and get it treated before it gets worse.

Finances

Tip 7: Create A Budget

Unless you have an unlimited inflow of cash, you’ll need to create a budget. It’ll help you prioritize spending on the essentials and put spending on wants in place. 

Spending like a king on the day you receive your pay or allowance will get you hanging by a thread weeks before the next allowance or pay arrives. 

Creating a budget also allows you to allot some cash for savings so you’ll have something handy for the rainy days. 

Tip 8: Save For At Least 3-6 Months Of Your Monthly Expenses

You don’t know when times will get hard. If you find yourself unexpectedly unemployed, an emergency savings fund will save you stress and potentially getting yourself in debt.

Tip 9: Consider a Secondary Source Of Income

If your time allows for it, find another source of income. It’ll help you save bigger amounts, pay off debts faster, or give yourself a break on a nice vacation.

Flipping burgers isn’t your only choice. If you have a creative eye you can design comic books, magazines, or booklets then get it printed to be sold or as a portfolio to get clients. You can also do digital illustrations if you have the knack for it. Side hustles are everywhere if you look hard enough.

Tip 10: Learn A New Skill

Find a skill you’d like to develop and think of ways you can make money from it. 

The digital world offers a lot of potential and it continues to grow since the demand for it in virtually all industries increases. 

Interested in photography? Learn it and create a website for it.

Always on social media? Learn social media marketing. 

Want to master writing? Learn copywriting or content writing SEO for eCommerce

If you can’t find a physical job right after graduating or if you want to quit your stressful 9-5 job, having an extra skill will ensure you’ll have other ways to fend for yourself. 

Tip 11: Get Insurance

There are tons of types of insurance, but for adulting, the best ones to get are life insurance, medical insurance, and auto insurance. Don’t forget tuition insurance if you’re still in college, and renters insurance whether you’re living on or off campus!

Getting insurance will ensure injuries or accidental damage are covered and you won’t be shelling out a ton of money out of pocket.

Others

Tip 12: Plan Out Every Day And Stick To It

Wait. Before you say planning and organizing is not your cup of tea, hear me out first. 

You don’t have to be extra detailed about your daily, weekly, or monthly activities. That’s too overwhelming. 

Just jot down the most important things you need to get done on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. 

You can take note of:

  • Homework
  • Meetings
  • Regular chores
  • Bills payment dues
  • And important events

This way you won’t condemn yourself for missing events, forgetting to have some broken appliance checked, or being late and unprofessional in meetings. 

Creating a simple organizer or journal says a lot of your work ethics. When adulting, you always want to leave a good impression.

Tip 13: Acknowledge Your Limits

You are no superhero. Don’t spread yourself too thin by committing to too many meetups, work, and other activities. 

Thinking you can do everything will only lead to burnout. When you’re adulting, the world isn’t too forgiving when you break down from exhaustion so make sure you get enough rest by acknowledging you can only do so much. 

Also, learn to say no. It’ll save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Tip 14: Take A Break

When everything is closing down on you, take a breather. It could be a weekend drive, a few days of vacation on a beach, a visit home, or a day of hiking near nature. 

Pulling a bit away from your usual routine will help you think clearly of why you’re doing what you’re doing and get you re-energized to start your routine again. 

Tip 15: Keep A Routine Maintenance Of Your Car

Your car breaking down in the middle of nowhere or the middle of a busy street will take your stress to a whole new level. Towing and repairs can be costly too. 

To keep preventable breakdowns from happening always do:

  • Regular oil change
  • Tire rotation/alignment
  • Filter change

Just like learning minor repairs in a house, you should also learn to change a flat tire. It’ll save you time waiting for somebody else to do it for you and save you money for calling on a tire expert to do this simple task. 

Don’t forget about registration renewals too. The last thing you want is paying for a ticket!

Conclusion

Adulting doesn’t have to be back-breaking ( figuratively and literally). Keeping these 15 adulting tips on your home, health and wellness, finances, and other areas will make your grown-up responsibilities worth-taking, less stressful, and best of all, enjoyable. 

Adulting Career

How to Aim For a Six-Figure Job After College

September 24, 2021

Some folks assume you need a postgraduate degree and years of experience to land a job that pays a high salary. That’s one way of earning well, but it’s not the only way. You can aim for a six-figure job relatively soon after college—and it’s possible to do so with a bachelor’s degree.

Look at a few interesting statistics and examples of well-paying jobs and learn salary negotiation tips below.

What the Statistics Show

A National Association of Colleges and Employers study found that the average graduate earns $45,478 after graduation. Of course, some majors attract bigger average salaries. Look at engineering graduates, for example. Their average salary after graduation is $64,367, which is 42% higher.

Hang on—those are five-figure salaries. Are six figures possible, or are they just a fantasy? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says it is. According to BLS, the average worker with a bachelor’s degree earns $60,112 per year, while the highest-paying bachelor’s degree jobs offer six-figure salaries.

Examples of High-Paying Jobs

The following jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher, and they offer annual salaries of more than $100,000. Some positions listed below may also require professional certification.

1. Actuary

Actuaries assist individual clients and businesses to create policies that reduce the cost of risk. This involves the use of financial theory, mathematics, and statistics to assess potential risks and to calculate their financial costs. Most actuaries have a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, mathematics, statistics, or another analytical field, as well as professional certification. You could make around $108,350 per year.

2. Computer Hardware Engineer

Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, and assess memory devices, networks, processors, and other computer components and systems. While many engineers have a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, some have computer science or electrical engineering degrees. According to BLS, you can make around $117,220 per year.

3. Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineers use biology, chemistry, math, and physics to design equipment and processes involving chemicals, drugs, food, and fuel. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, and to complete an engineering co-op or an internship. It’s possible to make an average of $108,770 per year.

Your chances of finding better-paying entry-level positions or of moving up the pay-scale quickly improve if you specialize and study further. The size of your salary may also depend on your negotiation skills.

Salary Negotiation Tips

Use the following tips when negotiating your salary.

1. Know your level’s salary range—Research the higher and lower ends of the salary range for your level to keep your negotiations realistic.

2. Don’t take the first offer—Employers usually have additional funds available, so don’t accept the first offer after acing your interview. Keep negotiating until they make a final offer.

3. Let prospective employers know why you want more money—Offering reasons for your desired increase can support your negotiations.

4. Let prospective employers know what other important factors would motivate you to accept an offer—This can include non-salary investment, such as relocation assistance or additional leave days that allow you to take a break and regain focus.

5. Don’t be greedy—Keep your demands in line with what others in similar jobs earn.

Only a very lucky few graduates walk into six-figure jobs after graduation. Others strive to reach that pay level early in their careers, which is possible. Let the tips above inspire you.

Adulting Career Transition

4 Tips for Finding Your First Job After College

September 18, 2021

Though you may have been able to follow a clearly defined path towards graduation throughout your college experience, at a certain point that path ends and another begins. As you finish your degree, the time comes to embark on the search to find your first job. This can be intimidating, but a basic knowledge of some of the best practices for first-time job seekers can make the initial search much smoother. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you prepare for finding your first job after college.

Perfect Your Application Tools

It can be helpful to hone a variety of different skills that can make the application process smoother while simultaneously increasing your chances of landing a job.

One critical element of the modern recruiting landscape is a solid, polished online presence. Ideally, this is something you should be working on far in advance of your first application via cultivating a positive, professional manner throughout all of your social media interactions. Past behaviors, comments, and attitudes can all come back to haunt candidates as recruiters scour their online profiles in an attempt to learn more about them.

With that said, even if you haven’t taken the time to do so yet, it is never too late to start cleaning up one’s online presence. Make sure to clean up your common social media profiles and take time to create a fully filled out LinkedIn profile in order to facilitate your communication with other professionals in your field as well as potential workplace recruiters.

It’s also crucial to prepare your resume ahead of time. While you may not have a plethora of past experiences to populate it with, a well thought out resume that properly represents your professional and academic experience, as well as any other relevant skills, is important.

When you go to apply, ensure that every application is uniquely crafted for the position you’re applying for.

Network, Network, Network

Whether you’re an industry leader with a dozen years of experience or a fledgling college graduate, the power of networking cannot be underestimated. While readers of this article will likely still be in the early stages of their career, it is still absolutely worth the time to invest in networking with professionals within your industry. Great avenues for networking include attending professional organization meetings for those in your field and reaching out to a potential mentor on social media. Whatever avenue you choose, finding ways to network is an excellent way to increase your chances of finding a job quickly.

Use the Resources You Have Available

College graduates typically have a host of various resources available to aid them in their search for employment. If your institution has a good alumni network, it can be beneficial to try to tap into it. Another option is to take advantage of your school’s career center and meet with a career counselor to discuss ways to go about your job search. This can be helpful for refining your search, perfecting your resume, and helping to work through any other questions you might have.

Making It Through the Interview

There’s nothing more exciting (or nerve-wracking) than getting your first interview. Naturally, you’re going to want to do everything you can to prove you’re the best candidate for the job. Here are a few tips for successful interviews:

First and foremost, you need to dress the part. Even if the job you applied for has a casual dress code (or you’ll be working from home in your pajamas), you must dress professionally for your interview. First impressions are everything! 

Second, it’s always a good idea to practice your answers to common interview questions. You don’t want to find yourself tongue-tied or coming up blank when potential employers are asking questions you should have expected. It’s practically inevitable that you’ll be asked the old chestnut “Tell me about yourself,” so be ready with a professional, authentic answer.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t speak negatively about your previous employers. Prospective employers will end up thinking you aren’t capable of resolving problems with your managers through negotiation and diplomacy. You may be perceived as a gossip, complainer, or simply unprofessional. If you’re asked why you left previous jobs, have constructive answers that don’t put the blame on a specific person (i.e. “there was no room for advancement.”)

Accepting a Job

Once you begin to hear back from recruiters, you’re going to want to prepare for job offers that could follow. If you decide to accept a job, make sure to be thoughtful and respectful in your acceptance in order to maintain a professional demeanor as you prepare to join the ranks of your new employer.

Typically, a job will first be offered over the phone or in person. If you accept, a formal job offer letter will follow. If you feel you need time to consider the offer, don’t be afraid to ask. In fact, rushing to accept a job can often be a mistake. Just make sure your request for time is made respectfully. Once accepted, make sure you understand when you are to begin working. The one thing you should absolutely avoid doing at this point is negotiating over the salary. This should be done earlier in the process and can appear dishonest if done after an offer has been made.

As a final note, once you receive the formal job offer letter itself, make sure to respond appropriately in turn. There is more than one way to accept a job offer, and it’s likely you’ll accept the offer initially over the phone. However, whether you accepted on the phone, or asked for additional time to make your choice, once you have reached a conclusion, it is important to confirm your acceptance of the job offer in writing. An official job offer thank you letter typically reiterates the primary details of the offer, the start date, and a personal acknowledgment of your interest or excitement in starting at the company.

Confidence is Key

If you take the time to prepare for your job search, you are much more likely to find success quickly. Not only that, but a professional approach to your search and a polished, pulled-together demeanor as you go through the hiring process will enable you to start your new job with confidence and likely create an added level of respect from your new employer as well.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Adulting Safety Student Life

Apartment Safety Tips for Renters

September 10, 2021

When it comes to living in your first apartment, safety is just as important as location or amenities. As opposed to single-family homes, apartments are 85% more likely to be targeted for crimes such as theft, according to the National Crime Prevention Council. Fortunately, there are several ways to protect yourself from apartment burglars.

An apartment complex that has many units can be an easier target for burglars because they are able to act as though they live in the building and simply follow someone inside. There are other factors that also affect the likelihood of a burglar paying a visit to an apartment complex, including:

  • Convenience
  • Occupancy
  • Visibility
  • Accessibility
  • Vulnerability

Even in a smaller unit such as a one-bedroom apartment, there could be items that are valuable and worth stealing. In fact, the average victim of theft reports a loss of $2,416, according to FBI crime reports. Although the two most common stolen items are drugs and money, there is a variety of valuables that could be in plain sight and easy for a burglar to grab.

Other common stolen items include:

  • Cash
  • Jewelry
  • Illegal drugs
  • Electronics
  • Prescription drugs

Security Tips for New Renters

One of the perks of living in an apartment complex is that other tenants can give an added element of vigilance. Aside from this, however, there are some steps that new renters can follow to help protect their homes. Whether it’s your first time moving into an apartment or the tenth, here are some safety tips to think about before move-in day:

  1. Do a search of local crime. Take a virtual tour of an online crime database before you tour the building. Location is key, so find out what to expect before you sign a lease.
  • Survey the environment. Details such as dark corners, overgrown landscaping, peeling paint or broken fences are signs of inattention and carelessness, which can attract burglars looking for an easy target.
  • Check the windows. While doors are often the first point of entry for residents and burglars alike, broken, vulnerable or loose windows make getting in too easy for intruders.

Moving into your first apartment is an exciting adventure. To protect your new home, make sure your security bases are covered. Check out this infographic for more information on how to get your residential security up to snuff as a renter or landlord.

BIO: Travis Ray is Director of Customer Care & Strategic Marketing for KEYper® Systems, a key management and storage systems company. Ray is responsible for overseeing the customer care team that provides software and hardware support for new and current clients.

Adulting Career Transition

10 Most Common Business Plan Presentation Mistakes to Avoid

September 8, 2021

Making the leap from college student to entrepreneur can be daunting; especially when pitching your idea to investors. Presenting college projects to peers and professors may have given you some experience, but successfully selling your business plan to a room full of executives requires practice, polish, and professionalism.

To avoid the most common mistakes, follow these top tips:

1. Poor Time Management

A thorough business plan presentation should last about an hour. If you’re the person presenting, the responsibility of time management is yours.

You need to plan your use of time carefully, or risk running out of time to explain essential aspects of your idea.

2. Not Pitching Correctly

It’s not uncommon for several members of a team to attend a presentation. However, investors want to hear from the CEO.

If the CEO isn’t adept at public speaking, they’ll need to practice. This isn’t a college group project, it’s a business pitch. Relying on others to pull the CEO through isn’t going to cut it.

3. Forgetting Visual Elements

Not every investor pays attention to visual slides—but some will be put off if you don’t provide them.

Create a detailed visual presentation, just in case. Visual presentations are the gold standard in the business world, and most investors will expect you to bring one along.

4. Not Identifying the ‘Big Problem’

Your presentation should start by highlighting WHY your company has been created. If you don’t address this driving force in detail, you can’t explain how your business aims to solve it.

5. Failing to Be Convincing

Your presentation must be convincing. You can achieve this by implementing a mix of credible and accurate information, honest forecasts, confidence, and personal belief in your business plan and capabilities.

6. Lacking in Focus

The last thing you want during a presentation is to veer off on a tangent. One question from an investor can send a conversation down dozens of different paths, few of which were included in your original strategy.

If your meeting veers off course, respectfully regain control and direction.

7. Telling a Weak Story

Your business plan needs to tell a story, and your presentation gives you the chance to relay that story to investors. If your storyline is poorly coordinated or weak, investors may not see the merit in investing in you.

Make your business’s story coherent, compelling, and told in enough detail to make sense to outside parties. There may be a generation gap you need to account for.

8. Ignoring Your Audience

The point of your presentation is to demonstrate how you can make investors’ money. Your interviewers are assessing whether you’re a good investment.

You’ll need to ditch the student mindset and focus on how your ideas and skills can benefit investors. Leave out your college achievements, sports trophies, or hobbies. They’re not relevant!

9. Underestimating Your Competition

Confidently stating your business won’t face any competition is not a smart move. Such bold assertions make you seem egotistical, arrogant, and poorly read.

If you conduct enough market research, you’ll always find competition, no matter your sector or market. Being honest about potential challenges shows you’re reasonable and level-headed.

10. Dressing Too Casually

The point of a business plan presentation is to impress investors. Stereotypical student attire has no place at a pitch.

You’re going from the dorm room to the boardroom and need to look the part. Dressing smartly and professionally will make you seem mature and capable.

You can always put on your hoodie once the seed money is in the bank!

Adulting Student Life

Overcoming the Challenges of Parenting While In College

July 28, 2021

While our kids are everything to us, it doesn’t mean that the world completely stops when our family grows. Parents still have hobbies, work, and some are eager to continue their education. If you are attempting to fit in schooling along with your busy family life, then you know all too well the struggles that can arise.

From finding the funds to pay for your education to finding the time to study, there is a lot to juggle, but it isn’t impossible. To help you out, we have compiled common challenges and how parents can overcome them.

Lack of Time

Poor time management can sink your educational career, and the fear of not having time to spare can stop some prospective students from even trying. Just remember that you don’t have to go to a full-scale university to get the schooling you desire.

Online programs are gaining major steam, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only can you learn everything that you would at a brick-and-mortar institution, but you can do so in your own home, on your schedule, and you get the chance to network with students around the world. Before you commit to a school, complete some research and find those that are flexible to your parenting needs and have the exact programs you are looking for.

You will really want to work on your time management during this period, as you never know what else life will throw at you. As adults, you may be faced with family and travel emergencies, or you may be selling your home for the first time, which requires some extra prep. All of these events can take time and be stressful, so you want to be ready. Cut yourself some slack and remember that you are only human.

Lack of Funds

Another challenge is learning how you can afford the cost of schooling while also raising a family. Just remember that when there is a will, there is a way, and although money may be tight, there is always something you can put to the wayside.

The best way to gauge how much money you have to spend on parenting and schooling is to create a budget. Take the time to notate all of your incoming funds and then think about every bill and recurring event that you pay for each month and determine what you can eliminate. Do you need to buy coffee and lunch every day, or can you make both at home and save money? What about all of those cable channels? Can you get rid of anything that you watch less often?

Also, remember that schooling is very important for the betterment of you as a person and the life you provide for your children, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask the school of your choice if they have grants for parents. You can also apply for government grants and look to local charitable organizations.

What to Do With the Kids

The other challenge is figuring out what to do with the children while at school or completing school work. You need to find a happy medium between giving school the focus it requires while also providing proper care for your family.

One option is to put your kids in daycare, preschool, or even a camp during the weekdays to keep them occupied. Now that pandemic restrictions are being lifted, there is a chance for kids to get together again and learn new things themselves while you are in class. Just remember to create a smooth transition for your kids by practicing your leaving routine of putting on shoes, gathering backpacks, and saying goodbyes.

When it comes to studying, you may have to get creative. One option is to create a designated study time when you and your kids can do your homework at the table all at once. You should also prioritize your assignments by doing the largest projects during the family study time and sneaking in smaller work when you get the time between your parenting duties.

No one said that parenting and going to school is easy, but it is possible. Follow the steps above and you can have a promising educational career while raising a family.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Adulting Student Life

College Students and the Economy

July 13, 2021

The state of the economy has an enormous impact on the way that everybody spends their money. This impact both indirectly and directly affects college students in many ways. 

A weakened economy might make it harder for a student who supports themself because maybe they won’t be able to find a job that offers the right pay or the right hours to cover all of their bills and still have some fun. If a student sacrifices their school work for a job that allows them one or all of those things, then their academic performance is likely to decline. If this same student also has a work study job or is involved on campus in extracurriculars such as clubs, organizations or social events, they will likely be forced to enjoy less of these things so that they can decrease the likelihood of academic shortcoming. 

When a student is supported by an elder, the same effects of a weakened economy are likely to occur in the student’s life. A student that was not used to working before may need to now. Also, someone in this situation may receive less support from their financial supporter than they are used to, which can lead them to the same situation as one who supports themself. 

With a student’s academic career on the line, it is important that students know where to find information on the economy, and what to do with such information. Here are some resources that can help even students who are not majoring in business or economics understand how the economy may affect them and those close to them: 

  • We The Economy: This Youtube channel is dedicated to explaining economics and current events through short videos. 
  • TEDEd: This is a website that contains compelling talks about current events… often economics related! 
  • Econedlink: Students K-12 can find both economic and personal finance resources from this website for free. 
  • American Economics Association: Providing information on everything from economics to plausible career opportunities, this website is a great resource for students looking to learn more about finance, economics and the workforce all in one place!
  • The New York Times: Staying up to date with current events in the news is a great way to track the economy and gauge how one’s financial situation could possibly change. 

The White House: With this resource, one can find ample information on current events as well as different social issues and topics, including economics, climate change, foreign policies, defense and more. 

BIO: Darique Williams is a senior at Arizona State University. He is studying Economics and is currently a summer intern at Grad Guard Insurance Company.