Browsing Tag

college

Transition

Undecided on a College Major? How to Not Waste Your Money

March 12, 2021

So you’re almost ready for college – right? Are you still trying to decide on a major? If you don’t know what to major in yet, how can you be certain the money you invest in your education is well spent?

Find Yourself With a Gap Year

A gap year is a semester or a year of experiential learning, typically taken after high school and before starting college or a career. This idea is growing in popularity as more students take this intentional time to learn independent living skills, develop their interests, or experience a new culture.

Why take a gap year? Instead of spending time and money in college while you’re still undecided, you can find out what you’re good at and what work you’d like to pursue while spending a whole lot less (or even earning money.) Gap year students gain skills and experiences that look good on a college application and can help them get more out of their education.

Be OK With Not Knowing What Comes Next

College is a big investment that should not be decided impulsively. The belief that you need to have this all figured out by the time you leave high school can be a source of great stress, which can lead to poorly thought out decisions.

It’s not necessary to know your major when you enter college. However, it isn’t wise to pay expensive tuition or to acquire debt for a path you don’t feel certain about. If you want to explore a particular area of study while you decide on a major, there are lower-cost options such as auditing classes online for free, or taking prerequisite courses in your field at a community college or a state college where tuition is generally lower.

Consider Your Options

While considering a college major, take a realistic look at the time and money you can expect to spend in college before graduating and starting a career. What level of degree will you need to get the type of job you desire? Will you need to complete internships, a residency, or board exams? Is it expected, if not required, for you to get your masters degree? How much can you anticipate being paid, at entry level? These are important considerations that can help you develop a solid plan to avoid leaving college with unpayable debt.

When you understand the investment you will need to pursue your chosen path, you are better positioned to find support, such as scholarships and grants. If you do choose to take on a college loan, you will do so with a realistic plan for how and when you will pay it back.

Be Aware of Your Priorities

Not everyone leaving high school has a clear vision for where they will be in five years. Are you more interested in meeting people and exploring life as a young adult than you are in your studies? If you’re honest about that, you can avoid spending all your money on one priority and all your time on another.

Finally, be aware that your priorities may change by the time you leave college. If you imagine a home, a family, travel, or hobbies in your future, consider how these priorities may affect your financial and career choices. Above all, college is an investment in who you are and who you’d like to become. Invest wisely, and enjoy this time.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Other Transition

5 Tips For Succeeding In College As A Veteran

February 10, 2020

Current and newly transitioning service members who assume control of their college careers may initially find it a challenge. When you’re accustomed to following a regimented schedule, it can be tough managing study sessions, test preparation, assignments and interaction with new peers. Yet, the discipline and training that you’ve honed during your service — such as time management, attentiveness, and organization — can give you an edge in succeeding as a student.

As a veteran, you’re also empowered in a unique way. You have a singular worldview as a result of your experience and access to benefits that other students aren’t eligible for, such as the GI Bill. If you’re ready to pursue your degree, here are five tips for succeeding in college as a veteran.

1. Develop a Plan

Planning is key when preparing for military operations, and taking the next steps in your education is no different. Prospective students should contact their schools of choice for academic advising. An advisor can help answer questions about a particular area of study or degree plan. This ensures that you take the proper subjects in order to earn your degree. To be a successful student, consult with your professors and advisors about your course options before registering for classes.

2. Connect With a Veteran’s Administrator About Your Benefits

If you’ve been on active duty for at least two years, you’re entitled to certain benefits through the GI Bill. The bill provides students with a direct monthly payment they can use to cover fees, tuition, books, and other costs. Be sure to find the veteran’s office on campus, where you can connect with an administrator to discuss your unique situation. A veteran’s administrator can guide you through the process of claiming your benefits and the various documents you need to complete.

3. Create a Network

College is the ideal place to begin building a network of peers and future professionals. These connections, made both in and out of the classroom, can help you with your career trajectory. Networking is also a great way to find mentors who can provide valuable advice for your goals and point you in the right academic direction. A mentor could also help reduce culture shock, open the door to new opportunities and introduce you to new people.

4. Utilize Military-Specific Student Groups

Connecting with a military community on campus can help new veterans relate to the challenges of transitioning into college and civilian life. Many institutions of higher learning offer veteran-specific orientations, classes and organizations, which can serve as a support system and source of comfort. Bonding with peers from similar backgrounds can also make a veteran student’s academic career more rewarding.

5. Get Involved

While a strong support network is important, don’t let your military group be the only individuals you interact with on campus. Daily contact with new people from various backgrounds can help enrich your experience. Getting involved in organizations such as sports leagues, honor societies, fraternities or sororities and civic or cultural groups is a great way to meet new people, discover your passions and unwind from the stresses of school.

College doesn’t have to be an unfamiliar, foreign ordeal after your time in the military. Today’s universities offer veterans convenient ways to gain the education they desire. By taking the right steps and utilizing the resources available, a veteran can successfully transition into life as a student.

Bio: Jeremy Silverstein is Vice President of Operations and Vehicle Dispatching at Veteran Car Donations. During the years he’s been with the organization, he has become quite an expert in the industry and has handled tens of thousands of donated vehicles.

Career Other

A Happy New Year: GradGuard Gives Back

January 17, 2020

Giving back to the community and supporting foundations that help make the world a better place is something we are all passionate about here at GradGuard. 

This holiday season we decided to give back by choosing four charities that our team at GradGuard actively supports. We invited our partners to participate by having them choose amongst the four charities and their vote would define the donation amount. We had a lot of fun and are excited to share the success with you!

Below are the charities we chose and why they mean so much to our team. All of these charities are ones that our team strongly supports and believes in. 

4Ocean Charity – 33% donated. This company is committed to cleaning the ocean and its coastlines by working to stop the inflow of plastic by changing consumption habits. GradGuard and more specifically some of our team members, namely Susan and Chanda, are passionate about the health and future of the ocean and our planet. 

Global Sports Foundation Athletics 6% donated. This charity supports children to connect with each other and learn to battle adversity. We recognize the valuable lessons that are learned on a playing field and don’t want any child to miss the opportunity due to a lack of proper equipment. The Global Sports Foundation Launches missions around the world to bring gently used equipment to children in need and get them back in the game! One of our newest members of our GradGuard team, Kaylyn, was an NCAA Division 1 Student-Athlete and this cause is very close to her heart. 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) 14% donated. GradGuard protects college lives and as a company, we believe animals lives should be protected as well. The ASPCA is the national leader in animal rescue, protection, and placement – we believe they make life-changing differences for animals across America. At GradGuard, our Team Members have a special place in our hearts for our rescued furry family members making this cause special to our company. 

“I Have A Dream” Foundation (IHDF) 47% donated. This charity works to ensure that all children have the opportunity to pursue higher education, fulfill their potential, and achieve their dreams. They empower children, (“Dreamers”), in under-resourced communities to graduate from college by equipping them with the skills and knowledge to succeed in post-secondary school, along with tuition support to remove financial barriers. GradGuard’s mission of helping students reach their aspirations of achieving higher education is perfectly aligned with IHDF. Our team here at GradGuard has a passion to promote student success and we’re happy to support this great cause!

We are excited for what the new year will bring and our future philanthropic contributions! 

Career Other

Higher Ed Podcasts

January 17, 2020

There is so much to be aware of and prepare for your higher education in today’s society. From applying to scholarships to making sure you have coverage for your laptop and textbooks, it’s good to keep it all organized. We’ve curated a list of podcasts to help guide you through your higher education journey. Whether you are an incoming freshman or looking into master programs these provide some great tips for higher education!

The College Info Geek Podcast: Study Tips & Advice for Students: For College Students

Learn how to be a more effective student, even while you’re doing your laundry. The College Info Geek Podcast features in-depth, actionable advice for boosting your productivity, earning better grades, paying off your student loans, and more.

Getting In: For Incoming College Students

For millions of American teenagers and their parents, adolescence is increasingly defined by one all-consuming goal: Getting into the right college.

“Getting In” is a real-time podcast following a diverse group of New York-area high school seniors through the exhilarating and harrowing process of applying to college. The series is hosted by Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University and author of “How to Raise an Adult.”

Admissions Straight Talk: For Grad School Admissions

Admissions Straight Talk is a weekly discussion of what’s new, thought-provoking, and useful in the world of graduate admissions. Linda Abraham, leading admissions consultant and author, covers the application process for MBA, law school, medical school, and other graduate programs.

Higher Ed Live: Higher Education in General

Higher Ed Live offers viewers direct access to the best and brightest minds in education and allows viewers to share knowledge and participate in discussions around the most important issues in the industry. Higher Ed Live provides live, weekly content about admissions, advancement, marketing, student affairs, and communications to higher education professionals. Episodes feature knowledgeable hosts conducting exclusive interviews with professionals from institutions; journalists; consultants; and other leaders.

Higher ed: Higher Education in General

In their lively and entertaining weekly discussion of issues related to higher education, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore the topics of higher education, lifelong learning, and exercising the brain. Ed and Jennifer practice what they preach, too, by introducing math puzzlers and brain teasers to keep listeners on their toes.

The Academic Minute: Higher Education Worldwide News

The Academic Minute is a two-and-a-half-minute daily module that features researchers from colleges and universities around the world, keeping listeners abreast of what’s new and exciting in the academy.  A different professor is featured each day and you’ll enjoy updates on groundbreaking research and how it helps us better understand the world around us.

The higher ed world can be a little intimidating, but it’s just as exciting! With these podcasts, you can get ready for that next stage in your life or further your knowledge as a higher ed professional.

Other Student Life

6 College Campus ‘Lifehacks’ that Often Slip Under the Radar

November 21, 2019

College can be an overwhelming experience. Class schedules, living in a dorm for four years, and generally setting up a life away from home can be an intimidating prospect. If you’re preparing for life on campus, here are some less-well-known tips to give you a leg up on the challenges.

1. Get the Right Cooking Gear

It’s common knowledge that cooking your own food can save money on campus, but who has time for that every day? Besides, you can’t install an oven in a dorm room. If you want to keep your food costs down, consider getting an Instant Pot or a slow cooker to help make mealtimes quick and easy.

2. Wield Your Student Loans Wisely

Student loans are for more than just classes and books. In fact, you can use them for pretty much any of life’s necessities. The keyword here is necessities. Entertainment and spring break trips don’t count. However, if you’re in a financial pinch, consider using your loans to cover:

  • Student housing
  • Meal plans
  • Groceries
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Transportation
  • Miscellaneous school fees

3. Record Lectures

Sometimes lectures are recorded for you. Other times, it’s not allowed at all. For every other situation, you may want to use your smartphone to record your professors, especially during classes with information you know you’ll want to reference in the future. This is an underutilized option that can be invaluable when it comes time to study later on. Many times questions on the test are pulled directly from a lecture, so listening to lectures during commutes or during study time allows you to be more freshly prepared than if you had just taken notes.

4. Take a Parking Stroll

It can be easy to buckle under the pressure to pay for that outrageously priced parking pass. However, you may be able to work around it. Take a preliminary stroll around campus and look for places where you may be able to cash in on some free parking. You may even get a little exercise out of the trek.

5. Don’t Limit Your Study Spots

Even if you’re a creature of habit, it’s good to take time to scout out a variety of ideal studying locations, like:

  • The campus library
  • A local community library
  • A coffee shop
  • Your dorm room
  • The student union
  • The great outdoors

If you have several different places available, you can tailor each study session depending on things like the weather, your mood, what you’re studying, and your study buddies.

6. Space Out Your Study Time

For students, cramming is common. So is burning the candle at both ends. In fact, unhealthy academic studying behaviors are stereotypical and too often praised by college students. Don’t fall victim to the hype. Make sure to space out your study time as much as possible. Your brain will thank you for the opportunity to rest in between sessions.

Surviving the College Experience

College is full of challenges. Just when you think you have everything figured out, you encounter a professor on a bad day, run into financial issues, or upend your schedule at the end of a semester. 

Arming yourself with lesser-known lifehacks like these can make a world of a difference as you try to go with the flow. They can help you keep your grades up, your professors happy, your finances in order, and your brain sane.

Bio:  Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

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.

Health Other

The Best Spotify Playlists for Students

October 7, 2019

We all like that rhythm and blues, right? Whether it’s studying, walking to class, or working out at the gym, having the right tunes is essential to any college student depending on your mood and activity! Here are a few of our favorite playlists on Spotify that are perfect for students!

Lo-Fi Beats

This playlist is perfect for the student that needs a little noise to study but doesn’t need the distraction of actual voices singing. Lo-Fi Beats adds that little something to your ears to drown out other things around you and helps you chill out and focus a little more. Other playlists like this one include Lo-Fi Cafe, Study Beats, and Sunny Beats.

Headbanger Halloween

Now, don’t get wrapped up in the title of this one. It’s perfect for workouts, hangouts, or the Halloween party you said you weren’t planning to throw this year. Filled with upbeat tunes with a “creepy” undertone or lyrics. This is the perfect playlist for fall! Don’t disregard it as it will bring up your spirits and get yourself into that spooky fall mindset.

Mellow Drive

This is a go-to for anyone who thrives on those late 90’s-early 2000’s classics; lot’s of Matchbox Twenty, Train, and Jack Johnson. This could be a good station for some light studying or walking to class on-campus. It picks up your spirits and lightens your mood, but be careful, you will probably end up singing out loud.

Your Daily Drive

If you commute to school, this is definitely one you want to look into. This is a station that is completely catered towards you and is handpicked for your taste in tunes. It is a completion of the music you like on Spotify, combined with news stories to keep you up to date with what is going on in the world. If you commute to school via car, bus, or train, this is a good one to help pass the time.

Confidence Boost

The ultimate playlist for the gym or a run around campus is Confidence Boost! Filled with upbeat songs to keep you motivated and going, this playlist is ideal for anyone needing that instant pick me up. You will be belting at the top of your lungs to hits from Kelly Clarkson, Pink!, and of course, Lizzo. Dance your way around the gym with this playlist and definitely give your confidence the boost that it needs.

Well, there you have it! Five playlists that are perfect for students depending on your mood or activity. Be sure to follow them now and it will surely be music to your ears. Pun intended.

Career Other

A College Students Guide to Community Service

October 3, 2019

Community service is a great way to stay connected to the community around you while you are attending a university. It allows you to step outside of your usual surroundings and learn more about the experiences of others. There are many different types of service. Here are some examples!

Volunteer at a Food Bank

There are many food banks across the United States that provide packaged food boxes for those in need. Volunteering at a food bank may entail packaging boxes, sorting food, or helping to move and organize the boxes. This is a great place to volunteer with a group as you all will likely be able to work together. Find a food bank near you through Feeding America’s website.

Tutor at a Local School

Tutoring is a great way to share your time and knowledge. Many universities work with local schools and provide college students with the opportunity to volunteer as tutors. You may have to travel to a local school or your school may bring children to campus to be tutored. Tutors can play an important role in a child’s life so it is important that you make a consistent commitment if you wish to become a tutor. Check with your university to see what kind of tutoring opportunities they have available.

Help Out at Your Local Animal Shelter

Who doesn’t love spending time with animals? Volunteering at your local animal shelter is a great way to connect with your community and meet some furry friends! When volunteering at an animal shelter you will likely have to undergo training before working with the animals. You can check to see if your school has any groups that work with animal shelters or you could also look online to locate an animal shelter near you

Participate in a Neighborhood Clean-Up

Picking up trash is not just for criminals! Helping to clean up your neighborhood is a great way to meet others in the community and make your area a better place to live. You will be able to explore parts of your neighborhood you would not have been able to explore otherwise and meet people you may have never been able to meet. Neighborhood cleanups can be messy and typically involve a lot of time on your feet so it is important to dress accordingly. Many cities host neighborhood clean-ups so check to see if one is happening near you.

There are many more ways to serve your community! Volunteering is a great way to gain new experiences and meet new people while also doing good. Explore all of the options that your university provides for a student looking to do service.