Wednesday, April 20, 2011

College Application Mistakes

Going to college will affect the rest of your life. The college you choose will influence your life. It all starts with the application. Many prospective college students think it's just a regular form. You just answer the questions. Nothing to it really, nothing to worry about. It's just a college application and an application is an application. But, the application process is your first chance to influence the admission officers. That's key to getting in. Take the application serious! Here are some common mistakes.

Not doing any research on the school. You need to research the college of your choice. What type of student do they want? What type of student is chosen? Knowing this will enable you to tweak your application to show you ARE the type of student they want.

Doing it themselves. Don't think for a minute that the average college applicant can fill out the admission form by themselves. And be affective. You can't. You need to get help from a person who knows the ins and outs of a college application. Your high school guidance counselor is a good choice. The better you fill the form out, the better your chances.

Not making the application personal. Sell yourself. Why are you unique? The college wants to learn about you. What you are about. If you don't tell them, they may not want you. Make your college application as personal as you can. You want your application to standout from the crowd. What makes you an awesome person? Think about your unique hobby, interests, awards, or accomplishments. If you run marathons, let them know. If you help at the local food bank, let them know. If you are an accomplished singer, shout it out! The more unique you are, the better you will stand out from the other students. You want to get noticed!

Doing stupid stuff on facebook. Or any other social media site. With your real name. And making it public. College admissions officers are scouring social media sites like facebook to see what baggage you have. Don't blow it by putting embarrassing items and photos of yourself and friends. You want to look professional. Do not use your cutesy email, like or something silly or risque. It will not score you points.

Messing up the college essay. Take this serious. You will probably need help on this too. Your goal is to sell yourself as a worthy student and person. Tout your accomplishments. Things you have overcome. Adversity and diversity. Get help from a guidance counselor. But watch out for close relatives when getting help. They will have a tendency to get mushy and not concentrate on meaningful stuff. Your essay must show a student who has accomplishments and can be a star scholar in college.

Take your college application seriously!

>>Save money on textbooks.

>>The hidden costs of college.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Paying for college without going broke.

College can be expensive, but it is very desirable. There are various ways of getting money for college up front, but on the back end , it may come back to hamper your future budgets.

Borrowing money should be last on your list. College loans are easy to get, but remember they must be repaid. The more college loans you have, the more loan payments you will have.

Get every penny you can from grants or scholarships. This includes scholarships from your chosen college. All of them have them. Grants can be from the state, or from federal sources if you are studying certain majors. Don't even think about paying for college from loans unless you absolutely have to.

You should apply to more than one school. The financial aid package will be quite different from each one. Check them out in detail. There are two ways to look at them. The one that has the lowest out of pocket cost, and the one with the highest amount of loans. They may be the same school, maybe not. If a college gives you a financial aid package that includes mostly loans, or more in loans than another school, think before you take on the debt.

You never can tell which one will be cheaper in the long run on the basis of private or public college. Some public schools are cheaper, but offer less financial aid. Some private schools are expensive, but can give you all the financial aid you need. Private schools normally have more money to give to deserving students.

529 savings plans may be an option if you plan early in high school. But they are changing all the time and may not actually have as good of a deal as promised.

Sometimes a student loan is the only way left for you to pay for college. But how much should you borrow? Here is a general rule of thumb. Don't borrow more than an average of $8,000-$10,000 per year in college. How much do you expect to make in salary upon graduation? Compare how much you think you will borrow against how much you make. If you will make $50,000 and have $100,000 in loans, it does not make economic sense. The payments will be a financial burden. Your starting salary for your career may be a good total to judge how much to borrow.

Debt is ruining a lot of people's lives. If you are young and going to college, you will be saddled with a ton of debt for years if you over borrow.

More college money tips:
>Help in repaying student loans.
>Student loan consolidation.