Prepare Yourself Now To Save Yourself Later

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College is a great time and you could be at the top of your game, moving through each semester successfully. No matter how strong you might feel as a college student, you can’t forget about the end goal. Especially in this day and age, it’s becoming harder to get a job straight out of college, and who dreams of graduation and moving back in with the parents? You have to work towards things that will land you a job when it’s all set and done. Keep up the good work, but add a couple of these tips to your yearly plan.

1. Build Your Network

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Making connections doesn’t always mean going to sanctioned functions, having enlightening and intellectual conversations over dinner, and then boom you have a contact. Building your network can start with knowing your professor. It’s always important to know your professor to get ahead in classes but as said before, you have to look at the bigger picture. Professors are professors because they have been in the industry a lot longer than you, and are your industry professionals. This also means that their connections can become your connections. They can write you amazing recommendation letters, be a great reference on resumes, or let you in on great job opportunities. Before all of this, you should add them to you LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, MAKE A LINKEDIN PROFILE!

2. Land An Internship

Internships are one of the most effective ways to land a job after college, especially if you’re interning in your dream industry. Internships can grant you more connections and you can showcase your talents. If you’re lucky enough (or play your cards right) you could even be offered a job by the end of your internship.

3. Learn Another LanguageImage result for language is power

Why not? If you’ve already put in the work towards four years of Spanish in high school, utilize those powers! This could lead to study abroad opportunities which sets your resume apart from all others. Trust that you will find far more opportunities after college or employers looking for that “little something extra.” If you do end up wanting to master your foreign language for the workplace, read our tips from You’ll Be Awed If You Study Abroad to help get you started.

4. Maintain A Clean Profile

Nothing on the internet is private and nothing is worse than losing the position your interviewing for because you had a little too much fun at college parties three years ago. It’s easy to just make all your social media profiles private yes, but go that extra step to look polished. Change your Facebook settings so that people can’t tag you in pictures without your permission first. A nice dinner with your friends while you’re drinking wine seems nice when you’re studying abroad and of legal age, but not so much to people who don’t know the situation. Avoid cursing up and down your statuses, pictures, and tweets. It doesn’t add anything to what you want to get across or to your social image.

5. Utilize The Career Office

Your career office is much more valuable than you might think, regardless if you may not be a business, accounting, or marketing major. They always know about alumni looking for young, ambitious students to hire. Better yet they can help you with the tools to succeed like improving your resume, practicing for an interview, and overall being your career coach.

It’s okay to have fun in college and you should have fun in college, but just remember these few tips to land your dream job after graduation.

You’ll Be Awed If You Study Abroad

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Photo courtesy of spacestation on Flickr

According to Forbes, fewer than 10% of undergraduate students take advantage of study abroad opportunities. Studying abroad can set you apart from others in the workplace and you gain valuable intercultural communication experience. If you don’t know where to start or feel like studying abroad isn’t possible for you, follow these tips to help get yourself going!

Plan ahead

Studying abroad can be a very long process. Planning ahead allows you to settle everything you need before you go. This includes planning out your college plan when you’re a freshman or as soon as possible. It may seem overwhelming at first, but it will be nice every year after when you just go back to your college plan to sign up for classes. Also, this way you’re able to see where studying abroad fits in best with your schedule. It shows you which prerequisites you’ll need to get before you’re able to study abroad. You’ll also need to get a passport or a visa depending on how long you stay. If you don’t have these things yet or they’re not up to date, it could ruin your trip if you wait too long. And finally, things like packing, funding, and required documents all need to be finished in a timely manner to avoid penalties or expulsion from your program.

Talk to your global adviser

One of the most helpful things you can do when studying abroad is talk to your global learning adviser. Almost every university has them and they are one of your most useful resources in this process. They are the people you’ll be turning your important documents into and they guide you along the way. If you’re lost and have no idea where to start, they can give you great advice. They can help you narrow down your choices and in deciding what route is the best for you. Plan ahead with them early as well.

Budget your expenses

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A common problem with studying abroad is that people automatically assume they can’t afford it. Another problem with studying abroad is that there are thousands of unclaimed scholarships out there because no one applied. Apply for every scholarship you can. You can also use financial aid to help your funds, but remember that financial aid isn’t dispersed until the actually semester you study abroad, so you’ll have to be able to supply funds until then. Seek out help from friends and family too! These people love you and want to see you succeed. Set up a GoFundMe account and set a smaller amount at first like $2,000-$3,000. If you aim too high with an amount of $5,000 or $10,000 to pay for your entire experience, people will feel like their $5 contribution wouldn’t help anyways. And again, start planning this early!

Figure out what you want out of the program

One of your very first steps if you don’t know what to do, is to decide what you want out of a study abroad program. Do you want to learn or improve a language? Do you want to receive specific credits at your home university? Have you always had a passion for volunteer work abroad or want to do an internship in a foreign country? After you consider these options, then you can narrow down your search to your program type such as, faculty-led through your university, exchange programs, or applying through an outside program provider. Each will have different benefits for instance, faculty-led means that you’ll have even more guidance from faculty who travel with you on your trip and your credits can directly be transferred easily. Exchange programs are usually a lot cheaper and outside providers allow you multiple different options like staying with a host family while you’re overseas or going on excursions. Visit Study Abroad 101 where they rate different things you consider when going abroad like the top budget-friendly countries, top “foodie” cities, and the top providers.

If you plan correctly, studying abroad can easily fit into your schedule and cost nearly the same or even less than your current college expenses. Allow yourself to see a new global perspective on life. Never stop yourself from doing something new and exciting because you assume it’s unattainable. With these few tips, you’ll have a solid foundation and the study abroad process will be a breeze!

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Five Tips for Surviving Online Courses

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 2.36.27 PM.pngWith recent developments in technology in the classroom, universities are increasingly starting to utilize online classes. In 2016, a study found that 75% of students were taking one or more online courses in their current semester.

Online courses are seemingly easy on the surface, but with the new platform students are finding that the constant posting can be stressful. Here are five tips to help you out with your new online course.

Familiarize Yourself with the PlatformImage result for cat using computer gif

Quizzes, homework and exams are all taken online and  will come in formats you may not be used to. Check for any online tutorials that your school has posted to assist you in figuring out the program. Most online courses also mandate a discussion board with strict rules. Be sure to learn what is appropriate to post, word counts, and important feedback tips. These can all be found within your syllabus or by emailing your professor.

Writing Down Important Dates

DSC_0039.jpgIt is very important to familiarize yourself with the syllabus. Most teachers have this available to you online throughout the entire semester. Review the policies of the syllabus and proceed to write down every due date inside your calendar. Utilize your planner and continually check following days to ensure that you remember to post and turn in important assignments. 

Setting Alarms

Image result for phone alarm gifDiscussion boards are really strict on posting. Usually you are required to post two discussion points and respond to different people a certain amount of times on a determined amount of days. It can be overwhelming and a little confusing, but think of it as participation in class! You go to class to participate and discuss, this is the point of the discussion boards. Setting alarms in your phone or lap top while also writing it down is a sure fire way to never forget important due dates or to post in your discussion posts. Remember that these points add up! Set a weekly alarm for as many days necessary at one of your less busy hours.

Always Ask Questions

Image result for question gifProfessors are here to build your education and help you succeed. They are required a certain amount of office hours and must therefor answer any questions you may have! Don’t be afraid to ask simple questions or ask for clarification, this will surely help you in all classes, online or in person!

Know Your Technology

Image result for technology gifWhether you are using your own computer or a school computer, it is important to know how to use them. Since due dates online are time stamped and recorded, be sure to always prep for the worst and test your computer’s ability to work with your online class! Be familiar with you computer and connecting it to wi-fi and so on. If your computer has any trouble with anything in the course be sure to email your professor promptly for assistance.

Overall…

Image result for good luck gifRemember to focus. It’s hard to be held responsible for a class you don’t have to show up to. A lot of students push off their online courses because there is no one there to hold them accountable. Don’t fall behind! And be sure to always have good communication with your professor. Good Luck!

Wait, What’s Free College Tuition?

New York

I wouldn’t know because I don’t live in New York. If you’ve somehow not heard already, New York is officially the first city in the U.S. to offer tuition free college to students. But before you start packing your bags, be aware that there’s a catch (because there’s always a catch).

First, it’s important to know that the free tuition is more scholarship based. According to CNN Money, there is an income cap for those eligible of $100,000 and the scholarship only applies to SUNY (State University of New York) and CUNY (City University of New York) school systems.

The Excelsior Scholarship, the actual name of this amazing free-tuition opportunity, only applies to students studying full-time and on track to graduate in either two or four years depending on their program. Unfortunately, the scholarship would only cover a student’s tuition and not textbook fees, room and board, or the many other costs of going to college, so if you love seeing your refund check each year, this won’t aid you there. This doesn’t come close to the biggest catch of all.

The New York Times says that students who receive this scholarship MUST stay  and work in New York for the same amount of time that they received the scholarship, i.e. if you used the scholarship all four years of college then you’re stuck in New York for another four. Otherwise, if you decide to leave for other potential opportunities, the scholarship you received turns into a federal loan you have to pay back.

Very catchy, right? It’s like Cinderella’s carriage turning into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight because she didn’t want to go back to her step-mother.

Although we all don’t qualify for this amazing scholarship, there are still ways to maintain your college budget. If you haven’t yet, read our posts What You Need to Know About Borrowing for College and The Truth About Student Loans and Debt for need-to-knows on paying for college.

Luckily for us, we all know about downloading the Freenters drive to earn money for printing at no additional cost.

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A Priest, A Minister, and a Rabbi Walk Into A Bar…

20160509_121621Actually, there weren’t any religious figures, but there was a college student, his roommate, and a great idea.

Rho Kook Song and Paul Park are the co-founders of Freenters Inc.. They were college Rho and Paulroommates and fraternity brothers, at the University of Chicago, who wanted to create something that sparked the interest of young college students. By combining their bank savings and getting help from friends and family, they were able to jump start a new innovation.

Paul said they were very nervous and maybe a little introverted at first, but were quickly able to adapt to greeting people everyday and starting the business.

“We had this idea we just wanted to make a reality,” Rho said.

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They created Freenters, a way of
satisfying your daily printing needs while earning some cash, simply by using the driver to print ads on each page. Yet, the first model wasn’t what we’re used to today. Back in October 2013, they were able to start sending the first hardware models out onto 22 different college campuses in Chicago, Boston, and New York.

“Starting out, everybody who has never worked on a startup has a romantic view of startups,” said Paul. “I don’t think it’s for everybody.”

The growth of the business came to a halt when they experienced their first hack on the website. It may have been one of the most difficult periods in the company, but it made it stronger.

Paul laughed as he said, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

They were only economic majors who had a lot to learn and today value the experience because it taught them to prioritize security and hiring people who could get the job done.

The original model was far from a total loss in the company, but rather a pivotal moment in Freenters success. Our co-founders entered into the University of Chicago’s College New Venture Challenge and won, winning $10,000 in support of their new start-up company. The competition brought them immense support from their university and they met their first investor.

In only a year, the growth of the company was great, but they wanted something more scalable to meet the demands of the market, hence the creation of the Freenters driver.

Rho admitted Paul being the more “tech savvy” of the two and Rho works hard to to supplement the numerous duties of a CEO, yet both equally contribute to new objectives and highly encourage their employees to collaborate on creative ideas as well.

Paul confessed that there are very new and exciting things coming to the public in the near future.

“We are currently serving the college market, but we know that they are not the only ones who print in the world, and many adults print everyday. The process has been limited to college students and people can look forward to the [expansion into] the household market.”

 

Five $5 meals under 500 calories

Studying, working, going to class, trying to maintain a social life… No one has time for meal prepping. So for the days you are broke and forgot to meal prep, I give you five budget-friendly and delicious meals under 500 calories from your favorite fast food chains.

 

Taco Bell

Say what? Taco Bell? Who would have thought that our favorite late night mistake has actually climbed to the top of the food chain with multiple options for healthy food. From their salads to wraps, Taco Bell has become one of best options for choosing healthier food. Today I present to you, the chicken cantina bowl *que Angels singing*. The chicken cantina bowl is just under 400 calories and is filled to the brim cilantro lime rice, chicken, CHEESE, black beans, lettuce, pico, sour cream, AND GUAC. All for $5.00! 400 calories never sounded so delicious.

 

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El Pollo Loco

El pollo loco is known for being a fresher option, however they tend to be expensive. My favorite meal is the two piece chicken meal with macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes, but the total comes out to a whopping $8.00 and 820 calories! Yikes! My new option is to get a kids two piece (180 calories) and a mashed potatoes (100 calories) and gravy (20 calories). The total is just over $4.00 and 300 calories. The meal comes with a drink and your choice of corn or flour tortillas! I avoid the extra calories of the tortillas.

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Carne Asada Tacos

Okay what better excuse to scurry on down to your favorite taco shop? Carne Asada tacos average at about 80 calories each, coming with carne asada, cilantro, onions, and two corn tortillas. Lose one of the corn tortillas on each taco and you’re cutting the calorie count to 55 calories per taco. And at a average of $ 0.75-1.50 a taco, you can order up to five and still be under 300 calories. Are you crying yet? So yes girl, douse it salsa and avocado. You deserve it.

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Chick-fil-a

We have a few options from chick-fil-a and they’re a bit of a cheat. Chick-fil-a cooks all of they’re food in peanut butter oil, making it a better option that most fast food joints! For under five dollars you can get 4 chicken strips (470 calories), a chicken sandwich (480 calories), or my favorite, a spicy chicken deluxe (490 calories it has cheese and mayo). If you avoid getting fries you can enjoy a Lowe calorie meal treat for a good price!

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Panda Express

A staple for when we need our Chinese food fix. By ordering a kids meal you get a perfect sized portion of one side and one entree. Broccoli beef (150 calories) and white rice (200 calories) is your best bet for the lowest (and most bareable) food option. I know you’re wondering about the orange chicken. Can you get it? It is it under the 500 calorie mark? Yes it is, but just barely. Orange chicken for child portion ranks at 300 calories. If your Panda Express offers brown rice try getting that instead of white rice to reduce it to 180 calories.

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So there you have it. My quick go-to guide on meals under 500 calories and $5!!! Enjoy and happy hunting!

 

Disclaimer: taxes and prices vary from city to city so be sure to research a little before going out! 🙂

 

How To Spend Your Free Time For the Greater Good

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about what you should do and how you should do it on various topics, most of which involving your free time. When you’re experiencing the lazy Saturday or know you won’t have plans for the weekend, don’t spend time wallowing in your unsociable sorrows and try out these things to benefit your community.

Donating blood#Donated #Blood

Making a donation is one of the easiest ways you can make a difference. It’s as simple as walking in, getting to relax, and getting free food at the end. If you’re worried about needles don’t panic; go in with your friends and conquer a fear. It’s just one tiny pin prick that will save multiple lives. If donating blood is something you’re comfortable with, consider donating plasma and make some money out of it. Most campuses have opportunities about when you can donate, otherwise visit the American Red Cross to find a location to donate near you! If you want to know more about plasma donations, visit donatingplasma.org.

PhilanthropyImage result for helping the homeless

As you may know, there are dozens of opportunities to involve yourself in charity work on campus. Seek out these organizations and take the initiative. If you don’t know where to look, you can visit DoSomething.org and find opportunities from wherever you’re located.

Multicultural Services

And as many of you may not know, there are ways you can help on a smaller spectrum. Often times campuses have some kind of center for international students. Stop by and find out ways where you can help a fellow student with tutoring or even just finding their way around campus, or if you’re interested in becoming a tutor alone that’s a great opportunity as well.

Music Heals All

Accoustic Jam in Hongkong
Do you love musical performance and want to help someone in need? Musicians on Call is an amazing nonprofit that brings musicians to patients in hospitals that need a little cheering up. Whether you consider yourself to be an amateur or a pro, sign up to be a part of this amazing movement to perform your music in hospitals either in New York, Philadelphia, Nashville, Miami, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, or Baltimore.

Give Your Voice to Someone Else

Has anyone ever told you that you love the sound of your own voice? Well then why not put it to good use. VocalID.org allows you to record your voice from the comfort of your own home and they use it to create a synthetic voice for those who have the inability to speak on their own.

All these activities look great on a resume, so along with the joy of giving back, helping others will always benefit you in the end. Remember to help out your friends too and tell them to download Freenters to print what they need and earn money when they want!

What You Need to Know About Borrowing for College

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In 1993, less than 20% of students earning their bachelors degree did not take out student loans. As of today about 68% of current students borrow annually.

WIthin the last twenty-five years, tuition has quadrupled in price, raising faster for anyone in the middle or lower class to keep up.

Federal Stafford Loans

With so many offers and FAFSA’s not-so-user-friendly format, students and parents are stumped about which loans to utilize. The Federal Stafford Loan is designed specifically for students. Borrowers are to repay their debt six months after graduating college or after they’ve started their job outside of the university.

Some facts about the Federal Stafford Loan:

Unsubsidized Vs. Subsidized

If possible, stick to subsidized stafford loans. Students who qualify for subsidized loans do not need to worry about interest accruing while they are in school. Interest will begin to build once qualified students graduate. However, those granted an unsubsidized loan will accrue interest while they attend school.

Student Loan interest rate on subsidized loans has lowered substantially to 3.4%, however, this is subject to change at the beginning of the new student loan year. The interest on unsubsidized loans sits at 6.8%. The department of Education and Congress continue to debate whether the lower interest rates should be kept.

Which Do I Qualify For?

Your college or university will inform you which financial aid packages are available to you (i.e scholarships applied, grants, and loans). In your financial aid package you will find a breakdown of what loans you qualified for. Subsidized loans are usually awarded to those whose family makes under $50,000. It is common to see both loans available to you.

The amount you can borrow is broken down in the chart below. This is the maximum amount a dependent student can borrow per year:

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What You Need To Know:

If you can avoid loans, do at all costs. Borrowing can be a heavy burden, but not a defeating one. If possible, also try to avoid borrowing over the general maximum of $27,000 and keep an eye on the interest. Pay during school if you can, but if not do not worry too much. Payment plans will be set accordingly. Remember to utilize subsidized loans when possible!

Do You Think You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep Each Night?

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Only around 11 percent of college students report that they consistently gain enough sleep each night because sleep deprivation is an ongoing epidemic on college campuses.

Sleep deprivation may seem like the new norm, but depriving your body of much needed rest can hurt your GPA, lead to ongoing health problems, and result in a threat to your life.

When you’re not getting enough sleep each night it affects your three learning processes: Acquisition, the ability to store information, Consolidation, your brain making use of the information, and Recall, the ability to access your memories. The Rundown compares sleep deprivation to both binge drinking and drug use, stating that all three have similar affects on student’s test scores.

In this regard, CBSNews said that driver’s without enough sleep are four times as likely to getting in an accident  as those who had the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. If you’re someone who uses a car on campus, you could be a risk to not only yourself, but others around you. 

Sixty percent of people admit to drowsy driving and over a third of people have fallen asleep at the wheel. If you’ve gone a full 24 hours without sleep it is the same as driving with a blood alcohol level of .10, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Huffington Post adds that 20 percent of young adults are receiving only less than five hours of sleep each night. This can lead to numerous health problems like depression, attention deficits, higher risk of obesity, and dependence on sleep and anxiety medications.

Interestingly enough, NPR noted that that women on average go to bed earlier, wake up earlier, and for biological reasons still need more sleep than men! While around 11 percent of male college students suffer from insomnia, nearly 30 percent of female college students suffer the same, so make sure you’re getting your beauty sleep ladies!

Nevertheless,

there are many ways you can combat this campus-wide epidemic. Make sure you have your daily routine down. It’s too easy to come home, jump into bed and type Netflix into your browser. Sit at your desk (and not your bed because your brain will begin to associate it with productivity) and do some homework. Then you can reward yourself with snacks and whatever else tickles your fancy, then end the night with something relaxing like a book, bath, or playing with your dog.

Even a new pillow or, if you can afford it, a mattress pad can aid your sleep game. Dorm room beds were basically made for jail cells and everyone loves new pillows, so you shouldn’t let your sleep patterns be affected by something so simple. Stay comfortable!

Finally, eliminate your go-to things which may include, caffeine, television, cellphone, laptop, and any screen usage, and alcohol before bed. While sometimes it’s inevitable to avoid the sleepless study nights, there are things you can do to help get a better nights rest.

The Truth About Student Loans and Debt

According to a study conducted by the New York Times, 94% of students earning their bachelors degree have utilized student loans. That is up 49% from 1993’s 45% amount of students borrowing.

Image result for student loans

What is going on?

Within the last decade, state governments have shifted more financial responsibility to the families of students in college. Despite the fact that the enrollment in state colleges and universities has increased immensely, most states have actually cut their spending for higher education, allocating their money to things such as military, prison upkeep, and other political agendas. This trend has continued to accelerate as state budgets increasingly shrink due to financial crisis and unpopular tax increases.

National, state, and local spending per one student was adjusted for inflation and ultimately reached the lowest amount within the last 25 years. This jeopardizes the long-standing belief that state subsidized higher education is available to those of the lower and middle class. Meanwhile, cost of tuition and fees further increase, passing the rate of inflation. According to the Department of Education, should these trends continue, the average cost of a public college will double within the next fifteen years.

As of Right Now

The average student debt is $27,000.00
4 out of 10 Americans carry student debt
In 2015, 53% of graduates were unemployed
Almost 2 million people over 60 are still paying off student debt

Who Else is Responsible?

Colleges also have neglected to address their affordability issues. Institutions continue to urge students to apply despite their financial situation, but offer no solution for the long gap. Just as mortgage brokers promised a worry-free borrowing process for homeowners before the market crash, many colleges refuse to offer warnings about student debt to their doe-eyed student prospects.

The Fault of Borrowing

Without second thoughts, students are forced to borrow heinous amounts of money, throwing themselves into debt before the age 20. Beyond federal loans, it’s too difficult to borrow from private lenders because of the easy credit allowance. Students with no understanding of the concept money or loans borrow amounts that would otherwise be denied to them. This phenomena has led 43% of students to declare bankruptcy by the age of 30.

The Hope in it All

College debt is not always bad. It continues to rise and proves to leave the students at an ever increasing disadvantage, some debt is perfectly acceptable. Preparing for debt and learning as much as you can about it will only help your future. If students were to borrow from the federal stafford loan program only, they would suffer less consequences. For most this will be a $27,000 max loan.

For more information on student loans please see tomorrow’s post:

What You Need To Know About Borrowing for College