Tuesday, May 31, 2011

College graduates and credit scores

College graduation can be the last step before getting a good paying job. You will be sending off resumes and going to interviews. More and more employers are checking the credit ratings and scores of job applicants. Your credit risk could be used to determine if you are fit for the company. College graduates are new to the job market and need to have good credit ratings. How can you protect yours?

The very best thing you can do to maintain credit worthiness and keep your score high is quite simple: Pay your bills on time and keep your accounts current. Timely payments contribute more to your credit score to anything else. This means the flip side is also true. Late or missed payments will hurt your score quite significantly.

This is the main reason why college students should not borrow more than they need. Nor should they buy things on credit knowing they will struggle to make the payments. Ruining your credit score before graduating could be detrimental to your job search. Stop charging things. You can wait until after college to have fun. If you realize you have a sizable credit card debt that is in trouble, contact the lenders. You can start to negotiate lower interest rates and payments. Again, don't get behind in payments. If you do nothing, it will eventually be too late. Try and concentrate on paying off the accounts with the highest interest rate first.

It is wise to keep a close watch on your credit record as well. You want an accurate report. If there are errors, you can send letters to the credit reporting agencies to correct them. You are entitled to a free report every year.

Get your bills and payments organized. Start a system where you keep track and have payment dates set up. This will keep you on the task of monitoring your credit and payments. Many companies are telling customers to opt out of paper mailings. They will notify you of bills online. Think twice about going paperless. A statement in the mail is another reminder. An email may get deleted, missed, or ignored. If you do opt for paperless, then you really need to keep track of bills and payments.

Cutting your spending and sticking with a budget are the best things you can do. As a college student, you probably don't have access to a good money supply. Developing good money habits while you are young will mean you will be better prepared to handle money in the future. Many problems are related to money. Get penny-wise now for a life of being debt-free.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to pick a college degree

Picking a college degree can be one of the most important decisions you make in your life. It can mean the difference between getting a job, getting well paid, and make college worth it. Choose wrongly, and it is difficult to recover. Going back to school is not a thing that college graduates look forward to.

One of the best things you can do is wait. Be patient. Many students do have a degree picked out, but many don't and are pressured. Even those that pick a degree before entering college have second thoughts and go through many changes before settling on exactly the right one. You can generally take the first two years of college, get your general education and graduation requirements done during this time. You normally do not have to declare a major when you first enter college anyway. After the first year, you will have a better feel as to your college life, aptitude, study habits, and overall ability to handle college. During the first year, do some serious thinking about what degree to go for.

It is up to you, and you alone, to pick a degree. Don't let others pick one for you. Only you know what you are capable of and can handle. You know your interests. You know what kind of lifestyle you want. You know where you want to live. Your lifestyle, habits, ability, work ethic, and adaptability all factor into a college degree choice. See college counselors early and often. Read the college catalog as to what classes are required for majors. Most majors require some classes outside the major as adjunct to the degree. Like a foreign language or math class as a requirement for the degree. You may like the major classes, but what about the other requirements? How long will it actually take you to finish? You know your weaknesses as well.

A job is a critical reason for getting a degree. Find out what majors pay the most, and the least. Find out which majors are fairly easy, or fairly hard. What college majors are getting the job offers at the moment? There is no reason to get a degree in any major if you are stuck working as a waitress because there are no jobs in your major available. Look to the future as well. Find companies and industries that are growing and their workforce is needed. Gear your degree to something you like, can handle, and get a job with.

You also may need to think outside the box. Some degrees can cover a lot of bases. Companies that are not similar may want the same kinds of people working in their offices. That psychology degree might work in an ad agency looking for people who can analyze reactions.

Remember the reasons for going to college and why you want a degree. Good luck in your choice and choose wisely.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Graduating college? What's next?

Many graduates will be finding a tough job market after graduation. If your graduation date is looming, you are probably already worried, or at least scrambling around for your next move.

The job market is tough. Today's college graduate will not find jobs just waiting. You will need to hunt long and deep. Job fairs are not really good places for recent college graduates to get jobs. And the problem with internships, is no pay. But an internship may be a possibility if you need a little more experience.

Many college graduates will be moving back home due to lack of a job. If this is potentially your situation, you may think about something else. Graduate school.

Graduate school is a terrific choice in today's economy for college graduates. The best reason is that it eliminates a job hunt for the time being. Going to grad school puts off the job search until, maybe, things are better in the economy. That means you should apply now. There is generally more dollars for financial aid if you are a graduate student. Learn more about graduate school admissions and financial aid.

If you do choose to look for a job, there are some things you can do. Research companies before you get an interview. That way you know the company and that looks good to a prospective employer. You may have to settle for a lesser job than you thought. Don't let that discourage you. Get your foot in the door and move up as best you can. Internships offer no pay, but many times interns are offered jobs. Get more job hunting tips.

Don't let the economy get you down. There are options out there for new college graduates. You may need to think outside the box. Your first choice in companies may not be hiring. Get a second tier list. Find out if there are jobs there that may be offered to people with your degree and experience. Sometimes you will be surprised at the different jobs at certain companies. You may find yourself with a good paying job at a company you would have never considered. Job interview tips.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Establish Good Credit in College

College students work hard for their degree. And hope it will lead to a better job. Having good credit is also a goal. Potential employers may give credit checks to applicants. Not having any credit can be just as bad as having no credit. College students are usually at the perfect age to begin developing a good credit history. The younger you are, the better. Establish a solid credit rating in your young adult years will benefit you for life. But how can you develop credit at such a young age?

The easiest way to establish and boost your credit rating is to get a credit card. Not a debit card. But a real credit card. Debit cards do nothing for credit history. They don't boost your credit rating.

It may be more difficult for young people to get a credit card today. But there are ways around some obstacles. Banks are going back to the old ways of needing to see good credit in order to get good credit. But college students normally can get a couple of credit card offers. Many campuses pass out fliers, although some have stopped this practice. You can look for ads in college-age magazines. Or, go to the websites of some big credit card banks and look for special offers for college students.

You may also have an easier time getting a department store credit card, especially if you have a part-time job. Having some form of employment income is a good thing to have on any credit card application.

What is the easiest most sure way of getting a credit card? Having your parents co-sign for one. They can even add you to one of their credit card accounts. You are now attached to the card and will benefit from the the credit history. If your parents are reluctant, talk them into getting you a credit card with a nominal limit like $200. That way they will know you can't break the bank.

Once you get your first credit card, maintain it correctly. Pay the bill on time each month, and preferably the whole balance. Don't be saddled with more debt than you need. Your student loan balances may be substantial.

You should not get several credit cards. The more open balances you have may count against you. Plus, having several cards is just a temptation to charge more. One credit card, used wisely, paid up, will do your credit rating wonders!

>>More tips for college students and credit cards.

>>How to find college scholarships.