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.

Establishing credit and keeping it stellar is the goal of every college graduate. No matter where you are in life, your credit score will affect lots of what you do. From buying a house, to maybe getting a job. Recently they are getting businesses to remove the credit check from new hires. But this may effect a background check if you are trying to get a job where your credit and personal finances matter. There are a lot of myths as far as credit cards and raising your credit score. Beware, especially college students. Don't make mistakes on your credit rating.

You do not need to carry a balance to keep a good credit rating. Agencies look at how much you have used in regard to how much overall credit you have. The higher the ratio, the more it will lower your credit score. Payoff anything you can.

The next myth is an add-on to the above. People seem to think that by just making payments on time, it will raise your score. It's true that NOT paying will lower it, but just making the minimum payment each month does not do much. In fact, it keeps your balance ratio high. (See above.)

When applying for some sort of credit, you might inquire as to what credit score will be used. There are many different rating agencies and scores, and depending on the credit, a different one may be used. Be sure to know what your credit score is on the one that will be used.

If you have old balances that are late, even in arrears, it will not help to pay them off in a lump sump sum. The negative mark is already there and won't be removed until the set amount of time has passed. It is true, however, that you cna make a note on your record that says you paid it off. This may help in a manual review of your credit.

Your income does not have anything to do with your credit rating. This may seem strange, but it is absolutely true. A high income can have just a low of credit score as low income, and the opposite is true as well. Lower income people may have a higher rating. It all depends on YOUR credit record. It is true, that loan and credit officers will look at your income to see if you will be able to pay the credit balance off.

Don't think that a department store credit card will do anything major either. In fact, it may have the opposite effect. Department stores and companies generally give a lower credit limit. People have a tendency to max this out. This will actually lower your score, as the balance is high to the total. Department stores are an easier way of getting credit and establishing it, but to make it work you need to have a low balance in relation to the limit.

>>More info on college students and credit cards.

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.

Merit Award Scholarships are for academic achievement and not on any other financial criteria. Like need. That means they are open to potentially every student.

Right now, more and more states are switching a lot of their financial aid to merit awards. 27 states now do it, and 13 are giving more than 50% of their awards as merit.

In Georgia, because of financial problems with their scholarship program, they raised the bar. The academic requirement is now higher. Georgia's Hope Program is one of the largest merit awards program in the country.

This could mean other states follow. So what's the real change? Instead of awarding college money based on need, it is now trending to award it on merit. Meaning that maybe, and that's a big maybe, less needy students will get money.

Many other states are starting to look at how they give out grant money. Some are giving over 50% based on achievement. Remember, the financial aid money is not growing, and might even be reduced.

To some it makes sense to award college scholarships based on merit or achievement, rather than on income. It rewards those who work hard, and might raise the standards of those starting and completing college. We might have a better prepared work force.

Achievement comes in various parts, like ACT or SAT scores, and grades.

Of course states are trying to keep some aid there specifically for low income students.

The bottom line, is study study study. You'll be a better student for it, and, it might put money in your pocket!

The best places to look for scholarships are right in front of you.

The high school counseling office will have information on virtually every real scholarship that is available to you, and whether you have a good chance of qualifying. If you are shopping for college money, stop there first! It's free!

Your parents probably have jobs and work for companies that give out scholarships to employees and their children. Get your parents to check this out. Many of these are automatically awarded if you enroll in college. A few dollars does not hurt your college budget bottom line.

The college you enroll in has many in-house scholarships. Ask the financial aid office for details.

Sometimes you do need to do a little research. But researching college scholarships is free. Stop by your local library to see if they have books on the shelf that deal with college scholarship searches.

There is nothing wrong with spending a couple of dollars on scholarship books. They are fairly cheap, and it may help in finding some scholarships you may not know of. But remember, this is a very little cost compared to some paid scholarship searches. Don't fall into a trap of paying out big money for almost nothing. There is nothing a college scholarship search is going to find that you can't find yourself for free. 

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.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Get more out of your financial aid award

If you will be paying for college using financial aid, now is the time to begin. In fact, most college students rely on financial aid. College tuition and expenses are rising, so you need to be able to get the most you can from your financial award package. Virtually every college gives out a financial aid package based on your FAFSA, so it is important to fill that out correctly. Here are some tips for maximizing your financial aid.

File your FAFSA early. You can start filling it out online January 1st. Quite a few colleges have deadlines, many as early as February. There is a limited amount of money that colleges have to give out. First come, first served is common. If you have not filed your income tax, or your parents, you can still fill out the FAFSA and use estimates. Bottom line, file your FAFSA early!

Even if you don't have a clue as to if or what you will qualify, fill your FAFSA out anyway. There is other money aid from colleges available, as well as federal student loans, that require a FAFSA to be filled out.

Be sure and fill the form out correctly and completely. Any errors or blanks will cause delays. All lines need to be filled out, even with zeros. If you fill it out online, the process should guide you on every line that must be filled in. Filling it out online is much easier anyway.

A college student is expected to contribute to their education. Your bank accounts and your parent's, will be counted. If you have money in a savings account, you might want to transfer it to a 529 savings plan. If you have a lot of money saved, use it all in your freshman year. That way, your future financial aid award will not be affected. Your parents can put money into an IRA or 401(k) that won't be counted as well.

One thing about your FAFSA to remember. Be sure and not lie or fudge figures. If you are found out, you could be declared ineligible for any financial aid. Be open and honest.

A little know aspect of getting more financial aid is to tell your college of your financial situation if it matters. You can talk to the financial aid officer, or write a letter, stating financial hardships that you and your family are going through. This could get you more aid. Also, if you get different financial aid awards from different colleges, you can use that as leverage for the school you want. Ask them if they will match a better offer. If the college wants you, they may do that.

Financial aid is not just grants and loans. You may need to work in the work-study program. The school also might give scholarships to eligible students who maintain good grades.

The bottom line is to get your FAFSA in now!

More info: Your financial aid award explained.

>> Free tips for broke college students.

Friday, January 4, 2013

3 Ways for College Students to Earn Money Now

After the holiday break, you may be going back to college with a little less cash in your wallet. But there are ways to make some extra money, even for college students.

This may sound rather crass, but what did you get as Christmas presents?

Gift cards? If you did and you have not used them, why not sell them for cash? allows you to sell them for over 90% of their value. will buy them and pay by paypal or check. Having cash is probably more attractive than a new sweater or something.

Gifts? Unwanted gifts to be exact. What useless stuff did you receive? Why not sell the items on craigslist?

How about a part time job? has part time jobs listed for many areas. Working as a college student is actually the best way to put money in your pocket.

With a little effort, even broke college students back from the holidays can make some extra money!

How to be a teacher and find a teaching job.