Sunday, February 16, 2014

College Debit Cards

Many colleges are making financial aid available on a college provided debit card. The money may be more conveniently available to students. Many students are taking them up on this offer and using their financial aid right from the debit card. But did you know there are reasons to not do this?

College students need every dime of financial aid. Some debit cards provided by the college may charge you a fee if you actually use it as a debit card. You should be able to use it as a credit or check card, then there should be no fee. If you cannot do this, you should not be getting your financial aid on a debit card.

Did you know that the colleges are probably getting a bounty for each student they get a debit card to? The colleges do not actually run the cards. Private banks do. You are then dealing with a private bank.

You can avoid fees as well if you just withdraw cash to use from ATMs run by that bank. The problem is, there may not be these ATMs readily available to you at any given time. So if you need quick cash, you pay a fee to get it. That's not fair to college students.

You are better off getting the financial aid in a check that you deposit in your own account and use it the most prudent way.

But, be aware that even if you do the debit card, you still have the option of getting a check or deposited right in your own bank account.

Of course your bank might have fees as well, but those would be fees you are already paying and know about.

Before you jump at the convenience of financial aid on a debit card, look at how much it may cost you. It could be a few dollars, or add up to hundreds over your college stay.

>> How about a tuition-free college?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Iowa Law Students May Not Need to Pass Bar Exam

Law students who graduate in Iowa may not need to pass the Bar Exam under proposed legislation. Law graduates will be able to start practicing law, so long as they stay in Iowa. They still would be required to pass the Bar for whatever state they choose to move to.

Iowa law students would need to do a few more things before practicing law in Iowa. They will need to take an elective course in Iowa, as well as pass ethics and character tests.

Currently, Iowa law students must wait four months before taking the Bar exam.

These changes are to help struggling law students with debt, and allow them to get jobs sooner.

Iowa is also looking to change their Bar exam to UBE (Uniform Bar Exam) thet is good for 14 other states.

Iowa would not be the only state to allow law students to practice law without the Bar. Wisconsin has allowed their law students to practice in the state with the Bar exam for 75 years. So if you are thinking of being a lawyer, dreading the Bar, those two states are an option for law school.

>>Read more: Law school admission tips.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Getting into college with bad grades

How can you possibly get into college if you have bad grades? Does that sound like you? Don't panic, there are plenty of options. Grades are indeed one of the factors that are looked at, but you can get around it.

The best way is actually to delay college. Okay, not actually a delay in college, but a delay in applying to the college of your dreams. Go to a two year community college first, rack up good grades, then transfer. Your high school record will almost be a moot point. Some four year universities in the same area have a guaranteed acceptance agreement with some of the junior colleges. Doing some college at a community college helps lower the cost as well.

Another way to get around bad grades, is to just be open about them. In your college admission essay, admit the bad grades. Don't make excuses, but convince them you are a good risk.

Apply to as many colleges as you can and increase the odds that someone will admit you.

Get people who know you to write stellar letters of recommendation. These should include teachers, counselors, employers, even a pastor. The slant should be with your ambition overcoming your grades.

Most high school students start applying in their junior year. If your grades are bad, the chances are slim that you will be chosen. So, go ahead and strive to do A+ work as a senior, then apply. Sure, you might have to take a college that is not at the top of your list, but at least you're in.

So there you have it. Some ways of getting into college with bad grades.

> College Freshman Tips

Sunday, November 17, 2013

College Students: Choosing a credit card

College students as a group are always looking for money. Getting a credit card may seem like it's the same as getting money. It's not. However, credit cards are not bad, and certainly not for college students if used wisely. And chosen wisely. Here are some tips to choosing the right card.

First and foremost, for any credit card, is the interest rate. Nothing else really matters, as this is the bottom line as to what using it will cost you. Many companies offer several options. College students normally do not need rewards, so choosing the lowest interest rate is a must. You should pay the credit card off in a timely manner. Since many college students cannot pay a large bill off at once, not being charged a substantial amount for interest is a plus if the need arises to maintain a balance.

In conjunction with the interest rate are the fees you may be charged. Many will entice you with an easy way of getting a credit card, but then slapping you with a huge upfront yearly fee. Do not get a credit card with an annual fee. Thee are plenty that are free. No reason to pay for the privilege of using a credit card.

Last but not least, is the credit limit. This is where college students need to be careful. Having a smaller credit limit will limit your ability (and temptation) to get deep in debt. If you can't pay off a balance in 3 to 4 months, try and not get it up that high. Graduating with student loan debt is bad enough. If you do have a high limit, relative to your income, try and keep the balance at between 25 and 30 percent of the card's limit.

There's nothing wrong with college students having and using credit cards. The danger is in what it will cost you now and in the future. Building your credit now is very important.

>>More info on college students and credit cards.

>>Freshman tips for college.

Friday, July 26, 2013

MCAT Medical College Admission Test

Thinking of medical school? You must take the MCAT!

The MCAT, the Medical College Admission Test, is generally required for all students who wish to go to some type of medical school. It tests variousl things like problem solving and critical thinking, as well as scientific knowledge and writing. The MCAT test is given entirely by computer at various sites. If you want to be a doctor, you must take the MCAT. Being prepared is the best thing you can do.

Other medical professional schools also require the MCAT test, including allopathic, osteopathic, podiatric, and veterinary medicine.

Where do I get started on the MCAT?
The best place to get started on the MCAT is from the source.
The website is:

Association of American Medical Colleges
Medical College Admission Test
2450 N St., NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 828-0690


Where do I take the MCAT?
You take it mostly at Prometric testing centers, which are owned Educational Testing Service. They have numerous testing sites around the country. Remember, the entire test is taken sitting in front of a computer. When you register for the test, you will be given a choice of testing sites open and convenient to you.

What does the MCAT test include?
The MCAT has four parts Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, Writing Sample, and Biological Sciences.

The Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences, and Biological Sciences parts are multiple choice questions. The Writing Sample requires completion of two essays, typed into a computer.

Physical Sciences: Tests ability to solve problems in general chemistry and physics.

Biological Sciences: Tests organic chemistry and biological concepts.

What is taking the MCAT test like?
This information is current as of the time this page was created. It may change.

The test starts out with the Physical Sciences. You will have 70 minutes to complete 52 questions.

Verbal Reasoning is next, with 60 minutes to answer 40 questions.

You then can take a 10 minute break if you wish.

Next up is the Writing Sample. You will have to type in 2 essays. You are given 30 minutes for each one.

Another optional 10 minute break.

The last Section is the Biological Sciences. You will have 70 minutes to answer 52 questions.

How is the MCAT scored?
Most students want to know this, but in reality, because of the nature of the test, you cannot put a percentage on it. There are varying degrees of difficulty factored in. So know how it's scored may or may not be helpful.

The grading is done on a scale, not percentage. It is hard to equate a raw score to your given score.

The multiple choice parts are each graded on a scale from 1 to 15. 1 being the lowest, 15 being the highest. The highest score you can get in total for the 3 multiple choice parts is 45.

The two writing essays are scored by a computer and a human being. You can get between 1 and 6 points on each essay. Your total essay score will be made up of the 4 scores. But that's not your given score. Instead of a numerical value, your raw essay score is converted to a letter scale starting at J and going up to T. J is lowest, T is highest.

What score should I shoot for?
Hard to tell, but the average score is around 28 for the multiple choice, and P for the writing. Remember, multiple choice is worth a maximum of 45 and P for writing. The mean for 2010 is 25 for the multiple choice.

It is rumored that a more balanced, but high, score is better. That is, you want scores close together on all multiple choice parts. Something like 13, 11, 12 and not where one score is lower or higher. Like 15, 10, 11 or even 12, 12, 7.

Things to know about the MCAT
When you show up for the test, you need a valid ID card, like a drivers license.

You will have your photo taken and be finger printed.

You cannot take any personal items, food, or drinks into the testing center.

How can I prepare for the MCAT?
The best way is by doing practice exams and questions.
The MCAT website has sample test questions.

If you have a medical condition or disability, you CAN apply for accommodations!

Medical School Scholarships and Loans

Friday, March 22, 2013

College Scholarship Tips

Can you go to college for free? Well, there are a lot of people that do. They get scholarships and grants that pay for cost of going to college. Can you be one of these lucky few? Yes you can. Thousands of college students each year get literally millions of dollars in scholarships to pay for college. You cannot get a scholarship without applying, so here are some tips.

First thing to do is maybe an internet search. Narrow the search down for college students like you. Never pay for any scholarship search. There is no need. A lot of unscrupulous people take money and do nothing. There really is nothing that a paid college scholarship search can do for you that you cannot do free. In fact, here is a free college scholarship search.

You can find scholarships for students who have a hobby or passion for something. Also, local businesses give out lots of scholarships to local kids each year. Your high school counselor is another good place to start. They will have info and probably even forms to fill out to apply.

There are a lot of small scholarships available, but don't sell yourself short. There are many huge scholarships. KFC gave out a $20,000 one recently.

You want your application to stand out above the others. That means making it unique. You may want to read it out loud to friends and family to see what they think. You want it to be exciting, not boring. It's not a school report or assignment.

That leads to the next scholarship tip. You cannot apply effectively to dozens. You must narrow it down to a handful and do a GREAT job applying. Or, if you are feeling well of yourself, you can apply for more. But remember that each scholarship is unique and requires a unique application and description of yourself.

More info: Nursing scholarships || How to find scholarships

Don't forget that the college you apply will have their own scholarships and grants. Don't rule out a school because it is expensive. Many of those real expensive schools give out the fattest financial aid!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

For-Profit Vocational Schools

Because of the economy, a lot of people are thinking about going back to college. Even young people are thinking twice about career paths. Because of this, going to a for-profit vocational or trade school may sound like a good idea. However, before you spend money on one of these educational institutions, you need to be aware of some things.

First and foremost, you want to get a job after finishing the school. Do some research. Ask some potential employers what they think of the school and training. Admission personnel and salespeople may be pumping up the school with empty promises. No matter whether you get a job or not, if you get a student loan, you will have to pay it back. Look into the job market for your chosen vocation.

What will you get as proof of finishing? Will it be a degree or a diploma? It can make a big difference in your employment prospects and options. Again, ask places where you might apply later what they think.

Again, the most important aspect of a for-profit college, is to get a job. You must evaluate the job market. Are there jobs near you? Will you have to relocate? Is anybody actually hiring?

You may need to get a state or special license to complete the requirements and get a job. Does the college prepare you for it? Can you sit for the license exam after graduating? What are their pass fail rates? Does it cost extra? How often are the tests given?

Above all, you certainly want it accredited. If they offer a degree, make sure it is accredited by the agency that accredits your local colleges and universities. Once again, it will make a difference if you want to use the credits in the future, or even be eligible to sit for a state or national exam.

Before spending a lot of money, do your research on any for-profit college or vocational school you wish to attend. You might also check the local junior colleges. They probably have similar programs at a fraction of the cost and will be accredited. However, the classes may be quite full and you will be on a waiting list.

>> Tips for getting a degree online.

>> How to enter the teaching profession.