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Other Transition

The 4 Most Make-or-Break-It Factors When Choosing a College

November 4, 2019

There’s a lot to consider when choosing your future alma mater. Is attending a big, football-happy university a priority for you? What about a smaller, more intimate liberal arts school? Do you prefer a college town over a big city? There are dozens of factors to think about when shopping around for colleges. Here are five things to consider when choosing where you want to get your degree:  

#1. School Size 

When contemplating a small, medium, or large-sized college or university, consider how your future college’s size will affect your ability to meet people. Does it have fraternities and sororities, or another way of meeting people? Does it offer any clubs and team sports that interest you?

School size also affects class size, and class size affects how well you learn. If you do well in smaller-sized classes, look at colleges with smaller professor to student ratios. If you’d prefer to try your hand in big-hall lecture-style classes, consider a larger school. 

#2. Campus 

Is your heart set on a beach campus, or do you want to attend class in the middle of the city? Some future college students couldn’t care less about where they spend their all-nighters. Others are set on studying at the most buzz-worthy campuses. But consider things beyond city size. What’s your preferred type of weather? If you grew up in Arizona and hate the cold, you probably won’t love Vermont and Alaska’s winter. If you’re looking to ski in-between classes, we don’t recommend going to Hawaii. Choose a school with a location where you can see yourself living comfortably.

#3. Major 

Does your dream school have a good program for your major? Does it even offer it? It’s easy to get wrapped up in a school’s social scene and instagramability, but don’t forget to look at its programs. For example, if you’re set on becoming a doctor, make sure your school offers a pathway to medical school. If a school doesn’t offer your desired major, see if there’s an alternative way of reaching your end goal.

Keep in mind, 80% of college students change their major at least once, so don’t limit your college choice based on your future degree—especially if you think you might pivot your studies at some point. 

#4. Cost

College debt: two words that strike fear into every ramen-eating, penny-pinching college student. If a college’s tuition cost is well beyond what you can handle, don’t go into debt chasing a fun college experience. 

Here are three ways to cut down on tuition costs: 

Look into scholarships. 

Every school offers scholarships—and they’re not all athletic or academic-based. Ask schools about the scholarships they offer, and look into state and federal scholarships and awards. 

Apply for FAFSA (free application for federal student aid). 

If you’re a US citizen with a valid social security number, you can apply for a federal loan. FAFSA also includes grants and work-study programs.  

Save money. 

Put money into a savings account while you’re in high school and save money where you can while you’re in college. The faster you pay off your student loans, the less time it has to appreciate. Remember: debt is frustrating no matter what stage of life you’re in, but luckily there are ways to manage your student debt.

In addition to worrying about pesky student debt, you also need to think about how you’ll get by as a student. Is rent pricey or feasible in your college town? What about the fuel costs? 

Consider the Big Picture 

Beyond cost, school size, campus, and academics remember that there’s a slew of even more things to consider when choosing the right school. A college’s greek life, class count, and campus are weighty factors to consider when you’re shopping around for colleges—but don’t let it be the only factors you consider. Remember to find the fit that is right for you; these are the best 4 years of your life, so make the most of it with a place you really enjoy being at.

BIO: Bailey Caldwell is a freelance journalist whose work focuses on all things tech, cybersecurity, and the internet. She enjoys researching and learning about new resources and technologies.

Other Transition

Finding the Best School For You

August 15, 2019

For many high school seniors, the transition period between high school and college can be just as stressful as it can be exciting. One of the major stress factors during this period is deciding what college students are going to attend. Many factors go into this decision.

The Basics

There are some general things to look at when choosing a school; price, location, school size, grade/test score requirements, available programs, and student living conditions are just a few of the main aspects that future college students are looking at. A great way to narrow down the search is by figuring out three things that you want in a college. From those three categories, you should be able to gather a list of 5-10 schools that interest you. 

Go On a Tour

The next step is to make your best effort to visit all of the schools you are focusing on. The visit is one of the most important steps of picking a school because it gives you the option to try the school on for size. Just like a pair of shoes, you will not know if it’s a comfortable fit until you check it out in real life. When visiting the school try to schedule a guided tour. It’s the best way to get the most out of your visit. Tour guides are normally students who know their way around and can highlight some important areas of the campus. This also gives you the ability to ask questions. Asking questions helps ensure you know as much about the school as you possibly can.

Take Notes

After each visit, be sure to make notes of the highlights. Having a physical list in front of you can help with the decision process; you are able to see the pros, the cons, and the things you might need to know more about before making the big choice.

From here you should be able to make an educated and confident decision of the school you will be attending. While making this decision can be stressful,  gathering as much information about the schools will make the process go smoother. No matter your preferences, if you put in the due diligence, finding the right school to put you on the path to success is possible.

Other Student Life

Finding Community in College

August 15, 2019

Starting a new school can be frightening, especially if you are moving far away from the friends and family you are so accustomed to seeing. There are many things you can do to feel settled on campus, but one of the most important is finding a community. When you have your own “college family”, the transition to college life is much smoother. Here are five tips that will help you to find community in college:

Attend a Pre-Orientation Program

A great way to go into college with some friends under your belt is attending a pre-orientation program. Many colleges are offering this as an option to incoming freshmen. It is a great way to connect with people who have similar interests as you and are also new to the university. This is also a great way to become acquainted with the university before campus becomes busy. 

Introduce Yourself to People in Your Dorm Hall or Apartment

You never know if your new best friend is living in the dorm right next to you! It can be a great idea to keep your door open when you are in your dorm and go around and say hi to your neighbors. 

Join Clubs!

Clubs are obviously a great way to meet others who have similar interests. There are so many different options for clubs that students can join. There are many clubs that specialize in different interests and cultural backgrounds. You can feel more at home if you can connect with people who come from similar backgrounds.


Another way to make connections is through volunteer work. Volunteering is a great way to get out into your community and meet new people. Many universities provide opportunities to do service on campus and in the surrounding area. 

Make the First Move

When you are starting out in college, it is important to put yourself out there. If you are proactive about meeting new people are fostering friendships, you should have no problem finding your community on campus.

With the new year beginning, be sure to remember these tips from GradGuard and get comfortable with your new home! It truly is the best time of your life so be sure to enjoy it.

Other Transition

Three College Surprises to Avoid

July 11, 2019

Given the amount of work I have done with colleges and universities over the past twenty years, I am often asked by parents for advice. Most recently, parents I speak with are particularly concerned about the cost of college and campus safety. Here are a few of the most common questions that I receive and my response to them:

  1. Do You Have a FERPA Consent? FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) was designed to protect the privacy of educational records and to establish the rights of students to inspect and review their educational records. Even if you support your student financially, the college or university will not have any obligation to share student information with you unless you have the consent of your student. College Parents of America recommends that all families discuss this topic and have a plan for dealing with student information.
  2. Does Your School Provide 100% Refunds? If your student is forced to withdraw from school due to an unexpected illness or injury, there’s a high possibility that your university will not provide a refund of the tuition that you paid that semester. In this case, you could lose thousands of dollars in non-refundable tuition and fees. GradGuard Tuition Insurance can help refund those costs that your university is not reimbursing you. Note that different plans are offered in different states and vary for price and coverage, but purchasing a plan is smart to consider nonetheless. Be sure you know your school’s refund policy and remember that tuition insurance must be purchased prior to the start of classes for your chosen term.
  3. Is Campus Crime a Bigger Deal Than Reported? Colleges and universities are required to disclose annual campus crime and safety statistics through the Clery Report. Note that your university probably doesn’t reimburse students for stolen or damaged property. Not to mention if your student causes damage to their residence hall; in that instance, you will likely get stuck with a bill for the damage at the end of the year. With all this in mind, you will want to consider GradGuard College Renters Insurance. Evaluate the benefits of a low-deducible insurance policy, with worldwide personal property coverage, and specifically designed for students all for an average of $15 a month; there should be no argument!

Bottom line; no one likes to be surprised.

It’s true that some families are able to replace stolen property or pay for an extra semester of college if their student is forced to withdraw for medical reasons, but why would you want to? Especially if this is your students first year at college, you will seriously want to consider both tuition and renters insurance from GradGuard.

The GradGuard team is focused on our mission to help protect the investment in higher education that college families make. Over the years we have developed some keen insights into the risks facing college students.

We have worked on many products to help colleges protect their students from risks that may disrupt their education. College is a great investment, but it’s worth remembering that only 19% of 4-year bachelor degree students graduate in 4 years. Name another large investment/purchase that has such an uncertain outcome. When it comes down to it, don’t be surprised if an unexpected event delays your student’s graduation and be prepared in case it does. GradGuard has your back and wants to help when we can. Visit our website today for more information.

Other Transition

How to be a Successful Freshman

December 17, 2018

Heading off to college or university is exciting, but it can also be stressful. After all, for most people, it’s the first time they’ve ever lived away from home, and they’re under a huge amount of pressure to get good grades and be rewarded the big investment it takes to study.

But how exactly can freshmen make the most of their time at college and survive their first year? And better yet, how can they not just survive but thrive? Here are just a few of the best tips to help freshmen to make the most of their time at college.

Take Responsibility

When you’re at college, you have no parents or siblings around to make sure that you get up and go to lectures. Instead, you need to take responsibility for yourself and force yourself to get up, to show up and to study.

Help Is On Hand

Just because you’re not surrounded by your friends and family, doesn’t mean that you don’t have any backup. The vast majority of colleges and universities provide support for their students for everything from mental health issues to laundry, cleaning, childcare and more. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of these services if they’re offered to you.

Nothing Is Set In Stone

The worst thing that you can do as a college student is to force yourself to keep studying a subject that you’re not enjoying. The good news is that when you’re a freshman, it’s not too difficult to change your major – but it gets more and more difficult the longer you wait.

Luxuries Are Luxuries

When you’re living away from home for the first time, it can be tempting to take all of your belongings with you and to spend money as though there’s no tomorrow. The problem is that life as a student isn’t a life of luxury, and it’s often best to save money where possible and to get used to living a more simple life, with less “stuff” and fewer luxuries.

Exercise Is Important

The phrase “Freshman 15” exists because most people put on weight when they first head off to college. You can combat this by exercising regularly, and it’s also a good idea to work out because it can help you to sleep and even to combat mental health issues. If you take care of your body, it’ll help you to take care of your mind.

When we head off to college to further our education, it’s one of the most exciting times in our lives. At the same time, there’s more to college than partying and socializing, and if you want to make the most of your freshman year then you need to put some effort in and go out of your way to make the year a success. With a bit of luck, the tips in this article and remembering GradGuard will help you to accomplish that.

Peter Hill is the best editor of BestEssayTips. He is a socially active person, likes traveling and photo/video editing. He finds himself in writing. Feel free to contact him on Google+.

Health Other

5 Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy During Finals Week

December 12, 2018

Exam period is stressful for every student, regardless of how great your grades are. Some students stress out way too much and it eventually affects their mental health. If you do not want to get into the same situation – check out our advice on how to stay mentally healthy during your finals week below.

Stay organized

Most students, especially not the most successful ones, start panicking before their finals. This often is resulted in them nervously jumping from one subject to another, trying to learn the semester’s material in one week. Let’s be realistic here, that is not going to happen. There is something you could do though. Set yourself a strict schedule and follow it. It is better to learn half of the material but with the full effort put into it, than to know random facts that most likely will not save you during the exam.

Get enough sleep

It is crucial that you get plenty of sleep, especially during those stressful weeks of exams. A good night’s sleep reduces your stress level and makes you memorize things quicker. Make sure you include at least 8 hours of sleep into your daily schedule.

Positive attitude

How often do you hear teenagers say something like ‘if I fail this exam my life is over’? Well, the thing is that the more you think like this, the bigger is the chance that you actually might fail. Do not put unnecessary psychological tension on yourself, exams are not the end of the world. Do your study, be positive and relax during the examination process – you will remember things much easier this way. Remember when Ron Weasley won the match because he thought he drank the magical portion? That is the same trick here. Positive thinking.


Recent research shows that exercising does not only make wonders to your body, but to your mind as well. By including short workout breaks into your schedule, you will greatly reduce your stress level and anxiety. Therefore, you will study more productively. And that is the aim here, right?

Eat well

If you are on a diet – exam week is the perfect time to end it. This is the time that your body will most likely be in a lot of stress. In this case, you will need as much ‘body fuel’ as you can get. But that does not mean that you have to stuff yourself with soda and junk food. Eat healthily but do not limit yourself too much. You can even eat cake once in a while – your brain sure does need sugar.

So these are the basic 5 rules for you to follow during your exam week. If you do not neglect these, your success rate will go up during this stressful week. GradGuard is there for you during finals week and wishes you luck where you need it the most!

Daniela McVicker has been writing as a hobby for quite a while. Over the past couple of years, she has been a successful contributor to various websites. Now she is working as a writer and editor at Topwritersreview.

Other Student Life

7 Secrets To Help Improve Your Essays

December 11, 2018

As a student, writer, or researcher, essay writing should be apart of your daily life. And in writing, you’re expected to demonstrate a level of competence that showcases your writing skills. This might be a little difficult. Therefore, you need to know the following 7-point secret outline as it will serve as a handy tool in your essay writing endeavors.

Begin with an outline

An outline provides the framework for landing an excellent essay and is as important to the process as the foundation is to a building. This is because it sufficiently provides you with logical thought processes and the coherence that makes your work relatively easy to execute.

Be ready for thorough research

Every sound writer is a product of consistent and quality research. You can hardly deliver an effective essay without having gained a considerable amount of knowledge about the subject. Be sure you utilize the sources that are available to you within your university library, databases, and proper web searches. Remember to take this seriously as it builds your credibility and gives your pieces some flare.

Beautiful organization

The splendid organization of your essay goes a long way to tell how amazing it may be. Even though some writers make an unprofessional practice of cramming all their ideas into one paragraph, this seriously falls short of the standard for exceptional essays. The proper thing is to ensure a paragraph bears a theme or an idea. Any other idea that comes after should be shifted to the next paragraph.

The mechanical accuracy factor

This actually refers to the right use of punctuation and abbreviations in your essay. The use or misuse of punctuation in write-ups means a lot for quality writing. At times, the wrong use of punctuation results in making grammatical blunders that can disorganize the concept you seek to discuss. If you manage your punctuation properly, you’ll produce an amazing essay!

Style of expression

The manner in which you express yourself tells a lot about your expertise in essay writing. You need to understand that your essay is a voice that speaks to a set of people and it must be properly heard. Your style of expression simply has a lot to do with how you clearly communicate your concepts. At times your tone may have to be conversational, discussion-inclined, and/or informational. Just ensure you use those that suit comprehensible communication.

Use the “how” introducer the most

Some conversant writing tutors have well considered that answering header questions with introducers such as “who”, “what” is not enough. “How” helps you to gain an in-depth knowledge of the proper approach to be more detailed about a writer. This helps you to gain an authentic grip on the scope of the essay. While common essays answer the question “what”, the better ones provide answers to “why” and the best ones answer the “how” questions.

Reference well and avoid plagiarism

Even if you only use a few materials always try to reference them as much as you can. Also, as you reference, attempt to be as original as possible. Do away with plagiarisms! Present ideas in your own words.

As you now know, writing high-quality essays requires more than just knowledge of the subject from you. Irrespective of your level of experience, applying the secrets discussed here is paramount if you truly want your essays to always stand out among others. As you go through this finals week remember that GradGuard is here to help with tips and motivation to get you through!

Tiffany Harper is a talented writer from New York, an extremely active woman, and a real leader. She began her career as a journalist and later proceeded it as an educational writer and editor. Now she works as an experienced freelance writer with cheap writing services, mostly in the technology and education area. Please do not hesitate to contact her on Twitter.

Other Student Life

Top 5 Ways to Boost Your Motivation to Study

December 3, 2018

Top 5 Ways to Boost Your Motivation to Study

Motivation is a well-known problem that many students experience, but most don’t know how to motivate themselves.

Students not only struggle with motivation to study and excel academically but, according to Delta Discovery, 69% of them drop out of colleges because of lack of motivation. This statistic shows how serious this problem is and urges us to find immediate solutions.

Luckily, there are some tips you can follow to boost your motivation to study. They are easy to follow and take little to no time, which is perfect for high-school or college students, who are always in a rush.

So here are top 5 ways to boost your motivation to study.

  1. Organize a Studying Space

According to a study performed by Harvard University, students who study in a clutter-free workplace are able to work 7.5 minutes longer. So, before you start with your assignments, find some time to tidy up your desk or any other space you’ll work in.

Multiple studies have proven the connection between clutter and stress. Your desk is the place where you spend most of your time studying, so you need to make it as tidy as possible. You’ll see how fast it will help you think more clearly and make you more motivated to study.

Tip! If you don’t have time to de-clutter, go to a place where you can concentrate, like your school library. It’s always quiet and peaceful, and the workspace is clutter-free.

  1. Eliminate Distractions

Procrastination is how our brain reacts to irritants such as stressful situations, however, it can be difficult to break the habit of constant procrastination.

Psychology Today singles out 5 major reasons why we procrastinate:

  • No structure. If there’s no direction, it’s hard to concentrate. To be productive, your brain needs elaborate steps to follow.
  • Unpleasant or boring tasks. Unpleasant tasks can unwillingly force us to procrastinate.
  • Lack of vision of the result. If you can’t envision being rewarded for performing the task, you’re more likely to delay doing it.
  • Feeling of anxiety. Fear of failure is a real reason why people procrastinate. Knowing that you’ve done everything you could to achieve the best result will help you feel more confident.
  • Weak self-confidence. The same as with the previous reason, weak self-confidence causes the feeling of being unworthy or fear of failure.

Tip! To avoid procrastination and find the motivation to study, you can use different smartphone or browser apps, like Tomato Timer, based on Pomodoro technique, as well as Forest app to help you concentrate.

  1. Imagine the Result

Several years ago, there was a real buzz around the visualization technique. The movie called “The Secret” had so many supporters and haters that everyone got interested, whether the power of visualization actually works.

A study by Texas State University, performed on athletes, has shown that 51% of participants improved their free throw after visualizing the successful results, which is a very impressive statistic.

Tip! Take 5 minutes before you start studying, take a comfortable position in a chair or lay down, close your eyes and start imagining the successful results of your work. You’ll feel more motivated right away.

  1. Take a Power Nap

Taking a nap before studying can help you feel refreshed and motivated. A report posted by NBC News shows that a short nap before working/studying results in an immediate alertness and increased cognitive performance for almost 3 hours.

Tip! You can combine your power naps with guided meditations. Downloading apps like Headspace or Calm can help you put your mind to rest and have a power nap to recharge and get motivated.

  1. Exercise

It’s also a well-known fact that exercising can help your body recharge and get energized. A quick workout can help you get motivated immediately. Your brain gets filled with oxygen, which helps you think clearly.

Tip! Try a simple 7 to 10-minute workout to get motivated quickly.


Motivation is Easy to Find

The only thing you need is persistence and desire to find it. Hopefully, the tips mentioned in this article will help you get energized and motivated to achieve success in studying.



Tom Jager is a professional blogger. He works at A-writer.  He has a degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. You can reach him at G+  or  Facebook.

Other Student Life

Rock Your Notes; A Beginners Guide to Note-taking

November 27, 2018

Young students who have just entered a college almost never pack an art of note taking when they attend their first lecture. Studies show that almost 40% of listeners fail to put down an important or consistent summary. This leads to forgetting the material altogether. 

The drawback is missing out on significant items for the term papers and turning in written assignments that significantly stay clear from the requirements. 

With disregard to the proficiency of the topic, taking college notes is crucial to any follow-ups and activities. Moreover, it facilitates the process of getting ready for tests and exams. Sometimes, the test is based on the data provided only in class. 

Tips to Develop Note-taking

Use Highlights to Activate Your Brain

Visualizing activates different types of memory and your study methods become more effective. Highlighting draws the attention to what’s on the paper. Draw a flow and create an outline. If you miss the beginning of the new subtopic and put it as a bullet point, then further you can highlight the subtopics in the same color so you will know when the new stage of the discourse begins. 

Timeline for Events in Order

The lectures on the history of anything generally present the data in a form of the time flow of the events. This is a solid clue on how to follow what you hear. Prepare to draw a timeline of the events in your notebook. The focus here should be on the events presented in the classroom. Meaning that it’s better to draw a vertical flow to the left of your notebook leaving enough space on the right for the peculiarities of the events that might not be accessible elsewhere.

Mind Maps

This is a helpful tool that has found its way in most workplaces today. It helps to study too. Use the free online websites that allow creating the mind maps. With a little practice, you will develop this key skill that will aid you throughout the career. Start with placing the core of the map in the very center of the page and spread the items sideways. A mind map is a very flexible scheme of relations, interactions, and organization of notions

Graphic Organizer

Use easy hand-drawn graphs, pie charts, and schemes. Copy them from the tutor’s presentation. Don’t worry if they are not perfect at the beginning. As you train visualizing skills, you will improve note-taking strategies.

Journey Methods and Prompts

If you are engaged in a repeated daily activity, like commuting on the bus or train, cycling or running, connect the things you see daily by tying them to the facts you’ve learned recently. 


Put a name of the object of studies on the card then put prompts about the object on the reverse side of it. Draw a small doodle as a cue for efficient memorizing. 

If you are not into writing, at first, the recorder will help. But it may never plant a seed if you don’t write it down. The professors also provide additional materials from the lecture to the emails of attendants. Some even send the materials on the eve of a lecture or event. Whatever the case, these Tuesday Tips will help you excel! Remember that you heard it from GradGuard first.


Susan Wallace is an expert writer. She is passionate about both writing and education. She has been able to assist students and businessmen develop their writing skills both academically and professionally. 

Other Transition

College Students Over 25, is it Too Late?

November 26, 2018

When we think of college, we can often think of young people at the cusp of late teen years and early adulthood. With many lifestyle changes happening today, more and more adults are going back to college or even starting school in later adulthood. This means older students who often have full-time jobs, life experience, and even children of their own are attending college. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, as of March 2018, more than one-third of college students are currently over 25 years of age. With such an increase in numbers, more and more colleges and universities are providing resources for older students.

The Primary Concern of Cost

College and financial aid tend to go hand in hand. For many older college students past the “traditional” college age of 18-22, resources such as parents or high school scholarships like Bright Futures are not available to them. Fortunately, there are many other financial options out there for non-traditional students. For older college students who work, many companies offer full or partial tuition reimbursement upon successful completion of their courses. Some states offer state scholarships for non-traditional students. Loans are another option, and some lenders offer flexible payment plans for students.

Fitting College into a Busy Schedule

Returning students or students beginning college may feel some apprehension balancing busy lives with academic workloads. For older students with established jobs, careers, families, and other commitments, they may feel they don’t have adequate time for college and might ask younger students to help them with their homework. With this in mind, many colleges and universities have created supportive programs and assistance specifically geared toward these students. More institutions offer night courses for those who have full-time jobs as well. Some schools even have weekend options and most offer online courses. Online classes can be very effective and offer useful tools for students including webcasts, tutorials, and discussion boards.

Life as an older college student can be fulfilling and exciting. Aside from the normal concerns such as time and cost; college has many benefits. From those seeking to expand their education and land a more promising career, to those starting out for the first time ten or twenty years past the “traditional” age of college students, the benefits of attending school are significant. Older students can pace themselves while they are in college. Unlike their younger peers, older students may be established enough that they can take fewer courses at a time and still work toward their degree at a more suitable pace (Lumina).

Having passed the traditional college age, many older college students are actually able to appreciate, truly absorb, and instantly apply their college knowledge to their lives, which can make the journey even more rewarding. With more and more students either returning or beginning college later in life, a new wave of experienced and professional students is emerging. There is such a bright turnout and many agree that it is never too late to go to college.

If you do decide to go back to college, know that GradGuard has you covered with both insurance and all your need-to-know hacks.



Christine is a professional essay writer who writes on several different subjects. Due to her experience with essay writing, she has helped many people land their difficult tasks doing what she loves.