Browsing Tag

college life

Student Life Uncategorized

Picking the Right Renters Insurance Deductible

February 20, 2019

College offers many young adults the first opportunity to live in their own apartment or share one with friends. But living independently can leave you financially exposed to unexpected disasters, like fires or burglary. Renters insurance—sometimes required by apartment complexes—offers a form of relatively inexpensive financial protection from these risks. And you’ll want to pick the right deductible to balance both coverage and costs.

What Is a Renters Insurance Deductible?

When you make a renters insurance claim, the cost of any covered event is split into two parts: the amount you pay and the amount your insurance pays. Your share of the cost is the deductible, with your insurance company paying the balance.

If your policy has a $1,000 deductible and you file a claim for $1,500 of stolen items, you’ll be expected to cover $1,000 of that claim. Your insurance company will pay $500 to cover the expenses of replacing your lost items.

How Deductibles Affect the Cost of Insurance

Renters insurance deductibles can have a notable impact on the price of your renters insurance. When you purchase a policy with a high deductible, you’ll pay a lower rate for your insurance. The reverse is also true: A lower deductible results in a higher rate.

If you file a claim for the theft of $1,500 in personal belongings and have a $500 deductible instead of $1,000, your insurance company will pay you $1,000 to cover the damage. However, your renters insurance policy will cost more, likely a few extra dollars per month.

How to Pick a Deductible

How do you decide between higher or lower deductibles? There are a few things to consider.

A higher deductible will get you a lower premium. However, you’re also increasing the costs of replacing your property should a loss event occur. It is a cost-saving measure in the short term, but in the event you make a claim, you’ll pay more money than you would with a lower deductible.

College students who can afford to pay more money out of pocket and have expensive items to cover may consider a lower deductible. The premiums will be higher, but if you need to file a claim, the insurer covers a larger share of your costs.

Unique Risks for College Students

College students should also consider the risks posed by their location and roommates. If your apartment or rental is located in a high-crime area, you’re more likely to experience a theft. Roommates also represent a risk, as they may be the cause—directly or indirectly—of thefts, fires or other potential losses covered by your renters insurance. The higher your risk, the more appropriate it is to select a low deductible.

College students own thousands of dollars in property, and financial protection for all these items is important. The average cost of textbooks and class-related supplies can be over $2,000, according to CollegeBoard. And even if you have digital versions of your class materials, your laptop and other electronic equipment are high-value items that are at risk for theft or destruction. Picking the right deductible will help you balance affordability with financial protection.  GradGuard offers low deductibles to benefit students the most. Get a quote at any time online on our website!

Student Life Uncategorized

6 Key Rules for Learning a Foreign Language

February 19, 2019

Learning a foreign language is no picnic, but nor is it impossible. You will have to work hard, but the result will be worth it. Just like everything, learning another language has its rules that make the process easier. You just need to remember that it’s going to take time and you can’t just dive right in. Learning a language does not have to be hard and frustrating all the time, so here are some major rules to help guide you.

  • Learn Pronunciation

Wrong pronunciation can change a word’s meaning, and that is why you need to learn it. A fantastic way to learn pronunciation is to listen to songs or talk shows in the target language. No one can teach you how to pronounce a word better than the native speakers themselves. If you are learning Spanish, try listening to how different words sound in Spanish.

  • Create Achievable Goals

Some people start learning a language and create goals that are too hard to achieve. For instance, setting a goal to learn a language in three months is unrealistic. A goal like this is too vague, and you cannot concentrate on what you have to do. If you set up a goal to become an intermediate learner in a certain time period, then that will help to keep you motivated. Instead of aiming to be fluent in a language, just try being able to strike up a conversation with someone instead. Fluency comes automatically!

  • Read For Pleasure

Reading is very beneficial generally as it broadens the mind and introduces you to rich vocabulary. Find literature written in the target language, and try reading it. You’ll probably have trouble at first, but you will slowly get used to it. Highlight the words that you don’t understand and then check their meanings. If you want, you can write the meanings in small footnotes on the pages so the next time you read it, you know instantly what the words mean and slowly you will begin to remember them.

  • Take It Easy

When you start to learn a language in the most difficult way possible, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Taking the easy way is going to be your best bet and will help you learn certain habits. If you are learning grammar, try to find a simple way to achieve your goal, and you’ll be able to learn the language much quicker.

  • Learn Cognates

Have you ever heard a word in a foreign language and think you know what it means because it sounds like something similar to a word in your native language? These words are known as cognates that originated in one language, and another language borrowed it or the word had roots in another language. These words are what enable us to understand particular phrases and words when we hear them even if we do not know the language. Learning them will give you a nice start to knowing some words from the target language without needing to memorize anything.

  • Practice

Whether you’re a basketball star or giving a speech for the first time, you have to practice. The same goes for learning a new language. You cannot sit in a room learning the vocabulary and grammar expecting to become an expert miraculously. You need to put yourself out there and start having a conversation in the target language in order to become good at it. This will give you enough confidence to communicate with the native speakers of the language, and you’ll learn a lot in the process.

Follow these key rules and language learning will become a whole lot easier for you! Don’t forget that GradGuard is here to help you with all your college tips and hacks!

Bio:Lara Smith has worked for Wall Street English for 20 years. After studying at Stanford University and subsequently doing a CELTA course, she began her career in teaching. She is obsessed with languages and currently writes blogs at

Student Life Uncategorized

Spring Cleaning for Your Bank Account

February 13, 2019

As February rolls in, New Years’ Resolutions start to drift off your to-do list. This is the perfect time to reset and realign your resolutions. Instead of cleaning out your backpack or promising that you will study more, take this time to review all of your recurring monthly subscriptions. Reconsider the value that they are providing you. As a college student, every dime counts! We are here to help you pocket as much savings as possible.

Let’s face it: no one wants to pay utilities on a monthly basis, but this is a necessity. Stay away from cancelling anything that provides you a financial safety net. This includes auto insurance, college renters insurance, student health insurance, money management apps (that you’re actually using), and more.

In this article, we are speaking more towards those pesky recurring payments for products and companies you once desired. As Marie Kondo, the author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, would say, “Does it spark joy in your life?” Follow these simple steps to de-clutter your recurring monthly charges.

Step One: Check Your Apple ID Subscriptions

Whether it’s a trivia app or bird-slinging game, everyone has their kryptonite that will make them pay $1.99/mo. for extra lives. You can check your subscriptions by going to settings > your name > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > view Apple ID > subscriptions.

Step Two: Check Your Entertainment Subscriptions

Notice your monthly streaming subscription hike up in price? Chances are you signed up for a free trial of an added perk and never thought to cancel it. Make sure to think about audiobooks, unlimited eBooks, and music as well.

Step Three: Check Your Online Shopping Subscriptions

When you have a monthly or annual membership fee from an online store for discounted products or free shipping, calculate its worth. Habits change. Perhaps you moved off campus and closer to a grocery store. Many companies will even offer you an incentive to keep the service, thereby lowering it and still saving you money. Some offer student discounts. Make sure you take advantage of these discounts while you still can!

Step Four: Check Your Bank Statements

Now that you’ve cleaned out your online subscriptions, print out two months’ worth of bank statements and highlight the charges you see occur twice. If you don’t recognize a charge, research what the company it is. Was this a free trial you forgot to cancel? Should you keep that gym membership, or use on-campus resources?

It is important to scrub through your financials on a regular basis to ensure that you did not forget to cancel a service you no longer need. Doing so will help you grow closer to achieving your financial goals.

At GradGuard, we know there are some subscriptions that we aren’t ready to give up. One thing that we all subscribe to is the value of protecting ourselves with insurance. It may not give us four hours of Friends repeats, but it does protect the TV that streams it.

Career Uncategorized

4 Ways to Improve Your Time Management and Increase Productivity

February 11, 2019

With all the demands of school, learning how to manage your time quickly becomes a priority. Better time management will help you be more productive, reduce your stress, and maybe even free up some time for socializing or sleeping. Here are four tips:

Make a list or schedule

The first step to better productivity is knowing what you have to do. This means making a list, at the very least, although some of us may go all out and create a color-coded schedule. A paper planner might be your thing, or there are many apps to use, but choose one and stick with it. Your to-do list or schedule needs to include everything you need to get done as well as what your priorities are.

Remember that it’s easy to get stuck doing little tasks in an effort to avoid starting bigger tasks, so take that into account when you schedule your time. Be sure to include planning time (like making your schedule!) and breaks in this step so you don’t find yourself getting behind right away.  

Adjust your mindset

Procrastination is all about expectation. Do you think it’s going to be hard? Are you nervous about being able to get it all done? Any task becomes easier once you’ve gotten started, and studying is no different.

You can improve your motivation by changing how you think about what you need to do. Instead of worrying about failing, imagine that you’ve succeeded. Then get started. Other ways to change your thinking include taking a power nap or doing some guided meditation. You can find all kinds of meditations on the Insight Timer or Headspace apps.

Schedule regular breaks

Breaks are super important for mental productivity. We can only focus on one thing for so long before we get tired, so regular breaks help us recharge and work more efficiently when we come back. This is relevant both for breaks throughout the day and over the course of the school year.

Build breaks into your daily schedule, allow yourself to relax, and don’t focus on too much when you have longer breaks from school. Even top-level executives take a vacation every once in a while because it helps them to clear their minds so they can get more work done upon returning to the office.

Get rid of distractions

This includes both psychological and physical distractions. For starters, find ways to remove the distraction of social media. Set your phone to silent. Use the Freedom, SelfControl, or Cold Turkey Blocker apps to keep yourself from checking Twitter while you’re working.

With limited space in a dorm room, keeping your desk clear is important for productivity. Spend time decluttering before a big project and commit to maintaining it (you could put a monthly decluttering session on your schedule).

Doing even one of these things can help you manage your time better, so just pick one and start there. Once you see how it helps, you’ll be ready to start on the others. GradGuard is always around to help you with a little more motivation. Be sure to follow us on social media so you don’t miss a beat!

Transition Uncategorized

How to Become Financially Independent While in College

February 6, 2019

As a college student, you may not feel like a full-fledged adult just yet, but establishing your financial independence shouldn’t wait until graduation. While you might currently be supported by student loans or the benevolence of family, it’s still important to get into the habit of budgeting, saving, and responsible spending. That way, when career opportunities knock, you’ll already be on the firm financial footing of other young professionals.

Here are four steps you can take toward financial independence even if you’re still in college.

Get a Flexible Job

You may already have some experience in the workplace. But if not, college is the time to start building your resume. While the job you choose should have opportunities for advancement and demonstrate responsibility, the position you take should also be flexible enough to allow you to maintain a focus on your studies. Tutoring or working as a personal or research assistant can give you a professional boost in addition to providing a steady source of income. If those jobs don’t grab your attention, look for on-campus jobs as many offer more flexible work hours or downtime you can use to finish class assignments.

Make a Smart Budget

The key to financial independence starts with making a simple budget. Track your expenses and begin to comparison shop for ways to whittle down some of those monthly costs, like a cheaper cell phone plan or a better interest rate on your credit card bill. You’ll be surprised how cutting costs for even minor monthly expenses can make a big difference to your budget in the long term. Smart cuts help you focus on better purchases and limited spending while you’re still a student.

Use Your Credit Card Cautiously

As a student, you’ve probably already been bombarded with offers for credit cards with attractive interest rates, but choose carefully. While it’s essential to establish a line of credit and build toward a healthy credit score, it’s also entirely too tempting to use those same credit cards to live beyond your means. Try not to charge items you haven’t explicitly budgeted for and focus on keeping large amounts of debt from building up.

Start Saving Now

Once you’ve made a budget and begun to trim those expenses a bit, start to squirrel away a little bit of savings every month. Even small amounts of money matter, and over time they can help you build up a larger nest egg to cushion the blow of unexpected costs. Now is also an excellent time to plan how you’ll pay off those student loans and what your minimum income needs to be once you’ve launched your career. Your future self will thank you for the self-restraint, and hopefully, you’ll be able to achieve financial independence sooner rather than later.

Don’t forget that GradGuard has your back! Be sure to always refer to our blog for further tips on financing your future.

Career Uncategorized

How to Create a Catchy Research Topic

February 5, 2019

Your research topic should be more than just academically justified. Of course, you need to choose the one that relates to a certain field of knowledge and some important questions, however, the topic should also be catchy and interesting. This will make the process of both writing and reading more pleasant. Check these tips and use them to make your research topic stellar.

Top tips on how to choose a good topic

  • Get inspired

Before you start, you should spend a couple of hours in the library, learning more about the filed you are going to work on. Read as much as you can and gather resources from books, encyclopedias, newspapers, journals, and all relevant materials. Be sure you make notes while you read so you don’t forget your ideas later. Getting as much knowledge as you can will help you define the most interesting themes. If something touches you, makes your creative juices flow, and doesn’t go away from your head, then it is a good idea to work on.

  • Pick something that appeals to you

If you don’t feel that a topic evokes something personal in your heart, then you should move on to something else. You can’t make great research without having a little passion for the topic, so be sure to choose something that is meaningful to you. If you are fond of particular authors or segments of knowledge, make sure to stick to them when choosing a topic. Ideas will come to you naturally if you work with sources and materials that you like.

  • Be clear

It is important to express your thoughts in a clear manner, even if you think that your potential readers are aware of the subject you are researching. Nothing ruins the impression of your research more than unclear language. Even if your ideas are complicated, you have to find a way to express them in an engaging manner. Remember, it is always better to be over-communicative than under-communicative

  • Keep your audience in mind

Think about people who are going to read your work. Who are they? What is their potential level of knowledge? Do they even care about the ideas that interest you? Make sure that your topic is something valuable and understandable for your readers, whether they are professors or peers.

  • Be careful with terms

Here is another thing that can spoil readers’ impression about your work – an improper use of the scientific language. Make sure that you know exactly what terms and concepts mean when including them into your text. It’s very embarrassing when someone uses specified language in a wrong way. This makes you look unprofessional and lazy.  If you don’t know the concrete meaning of the word, just read the explanation or don’t use it.

As you can see, the main secret of choosing a really good research topic is picking something that seems valuable and interesting to you. When you are composing a paper with passion, your readers will notice and take more interest in what you are writing about. Who knows, maybe this way you will make someone interested in something new!

GradGuard is here for all your college hacks and Tuesday tips! Be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date on our blog posts!

BIO: Jennifer Pauli graduated from Corvinus School of Management at Corvinus University of Budapest. Currently, Jennifer is an editor, business writer, and copywriter, working with and other well-known companies, blogs, and personalities.

Transition Uncategorized

Dorm Life: Expected vs. Reality

January 29, 2019

What you think about dorm life is probably different to the reality of living in a dorm. One thing’s for sure – you want to be prepared. Here’s what you need to know.

How to get the most out of living in a dorm

Reggae legend Bob Marley could have been giving advice about how to approach dorm life when he said: “Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief, and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality.”

Good advice, but if you haven’t had an older brother or sister who’s lived through the dorm experience, what you expect from dorm life and what you get is not always going to be the same thing. One thing’s for sure – you want to be prepared for life in a dormitory!

Why live in a dorm at all?

  • Living in a dorm or campus house is the best way to transition to college life – we’ll tell you why.
  • It’s expensive to finance an apartment off-campus for the duration of your stay.

The highs of life in a dormitory

  • Living in a dormitory puts you in the middle of things. You’re part of the university community and just a stroll or brisk walk from classes – now your 8:00 a.m. start doesn’t seem quite so painful.
  • You have facilities and amenities at your disposal – study rooms, the library, and dining hall which means you don’t have to shop for groceries or try to get to grips with mom’s mac ‘n’ cheese recipe. Having access to a gym and laundry’s cool, and your room will already be wired for the Internet and Wi-Fi.
  • You’ll never feel alone. You’ll be surrounded by fellow freshmen all experiencing what you’re going through. Most people will tell you that some of the best friendships of their lives were made in a university dormitory.
  • Living in a dorm means you expand your horizons by meeting people of nationalities and backgrounds you’ve never mixed with before. You’re all one big dorm family united around a new adventure. And there’s always an insomniac to hang out with when you can’t sleep.

How to prepare for the lows of dormitory life

  • Space and privacy are the biggest battles of dormitory life. If you’ve shared a bedroom with a sibling who talks in her sleep, you’ll probably find the experience of sleeping a few feet from a stranger a bit easier.
  • Dorm bathrooms are a whole new experience. You’ll need to assert your right to good hygiene and get used to showering in flip-flops.
  • Quiet time is a luxury. You probably haven’t guessed how much noise a bunch of undergraduates living in close proximity can generate. Make sure you’re never without good quality headphones.
  • Get ready for independence. You might have been dreaming about a complete lack of parental control for years now, but many freshmen find it hard to get to grips with the responsibility of freedom. Yes, you’ll have RAs and staff members keeping an eye on you, but you’ll need to get yourself up and ready for class without your mom’s voice calling softly in your ear.

Living with your dorm decision

It may take a couple of months, but most students count their dorm experience as one of the best times of their life. If you end up hating the experience, keep in mind that it’s only temporary and off-campus living is an option.
Still undecided about which school to attend and the facilities on offer? This report takes an in-depth look at some of the top universities in the U.S. offering aviation and aeronautics courses, including a comparison of the cost, courses offered, course content and duration of study for each.

Regardless of what you decide, remember that GradGuard is here to help with all your Tuesday Tips, college hacks, and to increase your chances of excelling at adulting!

Health Uncategorized

Think Better: How Students Can Benefit From Meditation

January 28, 2019

The life of a student can be a stressful one. Constant deadlines, uncertainty about one’s future, the pressure of balancing a job, a personal life, and one’s studies…it’s a lot to deal with. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by it all, you should try meditating. You might be surprised at how well it works.

Stop me if this sounds familiar.

You’ve got two papers due tomorrow, and an exam in a week. You’re on your fifth coffee, and dreading the early-morning class you’ll have to get up for the next day. At the same time, you desperately wish you could hang out with your friends – you just checked Snapchat, and it looks like they’re having an awesome time.

The life of a student can be overwhelming. Countless deadlines. Student loans and job commitments. And all this with people who are often living on their own for the first time in their lives.

Small wonder students tend to be so prone to stress and struggle with their mental well-being. They also suffer from ailments such as depression or anxiety, and can simply burn out and drop out.

Counseling aside, there may be another way to deal with the pressures of student life: meditation. In the same way that you can train your body to better handle physical exertion by hitting the gym, you can train your mind to not only reduce stress but also improve your attention span. Much has already been written on the benefits of a consistent meditation regime, and multiple studies have been performed on its effects:

  • It reduces the inflammation response caused by stress, as well as improving stress-related conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, PTSD, and fibromyalgia.
  • It helps reduce the symptoms of many anxiety disorders.
  • It can be useful in helping a student cope with depression when paired with therapy
  • It enhances self-awareness and improves your attention span.

That’s enough about the benefits of meditation. I think we’ve effectively hammered home that it can make your life better. Let’s talk about how you can actually start meditating.

  1. Find somewhere comfortable to sit down. Since you probably don’t yet have a meditation cushion or bench, a chair or bed will be fine for now.
  2. Set a timer on your phone, either using a built-in app or by downloading a meditation app like Headspace or Insight Timer. Start small, aiming for a five to ten-minute session – you can always increase the time later.
  3. Optionally, put on some calming music or ambient noise. There are plenty of meditation playlists on both Spotify and Google Play Music – have a look around until you find one you like.
  4. While keeping your back straight, close your eyes, cross your head, and focus on your breath. Don’t think about it. Just take a deep breath in, followed by a deep breath out.
  5. When your mind wanders – and it will – be aware of your thoughts without judging them or engaging with them. Bring your focus gradually back to your breath.

That’s pretty much it. As you continue practicing meditation, you’ll find it becomes easier and easier to focus, and deal with intrusive thoughts and to let yourself relax.

Try to let go of stress, keep a firm grip on yourself, and remember to look to GradGuard to get you through exam season and beyond.

Bio: Brad Wayland is the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.

Health Uncategorized

Where to Go When You’re Sick in College

January 23, 2019

Since we are stuck in the middle of flu season there is a good chance that you could still get sick. If you can prevent that, you’ll be golden! However, it can be difficult to not get sick especially if you’re living in the residence halls. Being sick in college is, for me, one of the worst things ever. Not being at home with some family-made chicken soup and having someone take care of you is hard. This is especially hard if this is your first time away from home. Since you probably don’t have that comfort of being at home, you have to find it at school. Here are some tips on where to go when you’re sick.

Residence Halls

Being in the residence halls can be pretty hard if you’re trying to avoid getting sick. This is because you’re in close quarters and share the same hallways, elevators/stairs, and even bathrooms. Germs are everywhere. All residents should take care to wash your hands as much as possible, and if you’re sick you should try and stay in your room. You should also notify your teachers if you’re too sick to make it to class. Trust me, your teacher will appreciate you not showing up to class if that means that you’re preventing them from catching whatever you have. Make sure to figure out if you’ll need a doctors note to show proof of your absence.

The most important thing is to stay in bed and get the rest you need to get better. If you’re quite sick this can be difficult. Reach out to your friends, roommate or RA for help if you need it – they may be able to pick up some cough medicine, soup or whatever else you need on the way back from class. You don’t have to suffer through your cold alone!

Health Center

This is especially important. If you’re sick and think that you’re not going to get better anytime soon, go to the health center. The health centers are there for you for a reason; to help you get better! There are various doctors for different types of services that are trained for this exact reason. Make an appointment ASAP and get the help that you need. Don’t put it off until you get worse because your recovery time could be longer than you think, and appointments fill up – especially during flu season! If your recovery time is long, then you could potentially get behind in class and no one wants that.

Hospital or Urgent Care

Unfortunately, health centers at school aren’t open 24/7. Sometimes when you’re sick it gets to its worst point in the late night or early morning, or maybe over the weekend. Since the health center isn’t an option at those times, you should go to the hospital or urgent care. This, of course, is if you can’t wait until the health center is open. Some illnesses are worse than others and need the proper care that it deserves.

Going Home

This is obviously worst case scenario. If you are too sick to attend class, leave your bed, eat, or any other symptom, and it’s an option, you should try and go home. If your hometown is very far away, then this, unfortunately, might not be an option for you. However, if you are close enough to go home, this might be just what you need to make sure that you recover quickly and don’t get anyone at school sick.

If you’re sick in college, make sure that you know what all of your options are. Becoming healthy again is your main priority to having a successful school year and GradGuard is here to give you the tips on how to do it!

Student Life Uncategorized

Ways to Keep Your Dorm Warm and Cozy This Winter

January 22, 2019

With the winter chill freezing our bones on our walks around campus, the best part about coming back to your residence is feeling cozy and warm with the decor around your room! Here are a few ways you can keep toasty and feel nice and comfy in your dorm room this winter.

Hang Christmas Lights

That overhead lighting is less than stellar most of the time. However, hanging a strand or two of Christmas lights gives your dorm a completely different feel! The warm, staggered lighting is easier on the eyes and great for watching movies, reading a book, or listening to music.

Make Warm Drinks

Using your microwave or that new Keurig you got for the holidays makes for great hot drinks such as cider, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate! Wander around the grocery aisles and find something that really speaks to you and use your favorite mug to warm your insides after a cold day of walking around campus.

Get a Space Heater

Sometimes the dorm heater is not all it’s cracked up to be. Getting a small space heater can help add a little extra warmth to your small space! Be sure to plug it directly into the wall instead of a surge protector and turn it off when you leave for any reason, but it is a perfect addition to keep you warm on frigid days.

Invest in Fuzzy Slippers or Socks

Keeping your feet warm can make all the difference during the winter! Get yourself a few pairs of thick fuzzy socks and some new slippers to keep your feet happy this winter. Slip them on right when you get back to your dorm and you surely won’t regret it!

Hopefully, these things will keep you toastier as the winter keeps on keepin’ on. Spring is just around the corner so there is light at the end of the tunnel, but until then, stay warm with these tips from GradGuard!