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.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Federal Perkins Loans

If your financial aid and other college money resources do not pay for all of your expenses, you may need to look for alternatives. One of these alternatives, is the Federal Perkins Loan Program. Most colleges and universities have these loans available. The loans are made through the school, and the majority of the money they lend comes from other students repaying loans. The federal government will also reimburse the school if the loan was cancelled through several ways available to students. You must complete your FAFSA to apply for a Perkins Loan. They will also require you to sign a promissary note. After graduating, you can have the loan cancelled by working as a teacher in under-served schools. You can get a forbearance or deferment due to hardship as well. Be sure and discuss all this with the college that is giving you the Perkins Loan. It must be repaid. Student loans are not discharged due to bankruptcy. Which brings up problems about these loans.

Because you borrow from the college, the college will want their money back. They could sue you if you default on this loan. In fact, many colleges and universities are now doing just that.

Keep in mind that almost $1 billion in Perkins Loans were defaulted on in 2011. That's huge. It shows these loans are being given to students who may be getting over their heads in debt. These loans are supposed to be for low income and otherwise poor college students. That alone may be contributing to the delinquencies. Think long and hard before getting one of these. These loans are not the normal Federal Direct Student Loans that every student can get.

Barack Obama is hoping to increase the money available to students in the Perkins Loan program. He is also suggesting that it become loans only available from the federal government and not the individual college.

You need to look at your situation if you qualify for these loans. It may not sound good to you, but these loans are made to students in the lowest position to repay them. You are probably a high credit risk. Will you earn enough money to pay this loan back, as well as your other student loans? Think first.

>> Student Loan Consolidation.

>> PLUS Loans.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Parents guide to paying for college

Now that your child got accepted to college, you have to begin to plan to pay for it. There is a lot of financial aid available, as well as other money sources out there for college. You will need to look at all options after studying your child's financial aid award.

Look at the financial aid letter very carefully, especially if your child applied to multiple colleges. The letter will spell out where all the aid is coming from, from grants to your pocket. There may even be an itemized list of what the bottom line for school costs are, like room and board. If it does not, you must factor that all in. Beware of the hidden costs of college. The bottom line is the total out of pocket expenses you will on the hook for. One college may be more expensive, but gives more financial aid, making it less costly for you. Others may me cheaper, but don't give as much financial aid, making more money come from your pocket. If you have financial hardships, write the financial aid office explaining this.

You will also need to dissect your family's financial situation. How much can you afford to pay? How much can the student pay? Remember, college will last 4 years, not just this one. Your child may need to work to pay for some of the college expenses.

Do a good scholarship search. Don't pay for one. The high school your child attends will have a full list. Also, look at other places for scholarships. You company may have scholarships for employees. Any clubs or professional organizations you belong to will probably have them as well. Apply for any and all you can.

Talk to the college about financing options. Most colleges and universities have some sort of payment plan. Normally, there is no interest.

Much of college is paid through student loans. All direct loans are now made by the government. Private supplemental and parent loans are also available, like PLUS loans. Private students loans should only be used as a last resort. They do not have the same low interest or repayment plans that direct student loans have.

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.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Should you go to graduate school?

Sometimes your undergrad degree just won't cut it or lead to the job you really wanted. After graduating, many college students are thinking about grad school. Should I go, or not?

Many college students are not sure of what to do after graduation. Somewhere they have heard the myth that if you don't know, then just go to grad school. Not true. The only time you actually really need a graduate degree is if the career of your choice requires one. If not, why spend your time and money getting a degree that's a waste? Don't think it will make you more marketable. How about over qualified? Most grad students take out even bigger student loans!

Speaking of "more marketable." You will NOT be more more marketable except in jobs that require an advanced degree. Did you know it may actually make you less desirable? Because instead of getting valuable experience working in some job, you have spent the last 2 to 3 years staying in college. This only delays you getting a job! And what college grad does not need a job to start paying off that mountain of student loan debt?

One final thought. After getting an advanced degree, will you be applying to any and all jobs? If so, many job interviewers will think that you are only applying for a temporary job, IF your grad degree does not match it. After all, you went to the trouble of getting it, right?

>>More tips on graduate degrees.

How to be a teacher.

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.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hot college degrees

If you are just starting college, or doing a career change, there are some degrees that are going to keep growing in high demand through 2013 and probably beyond. You may rethink your degree and career plans if your current degree is not cutting it. Here are some high in-demand degrees.
Accounting: A degree in accounting is perhaps the hottest degree. As the United States continues to recover financially, businesses will be looking for accountants. These jobs will grow almost 20%.
Business Management: Again, as businesses change and expand the recovery, business managers who know what they are doing will be in high demand. Tens of thousands of new managers and business consultants will be needed and desired.
Computer Science: It's no surprise here. Computer science has always been hot and it shows no signs of cooling. Programming and software needs of companies will continue to be needed well into the future. Computer science is a plus because it's a job skill.
Degree in communications: Just think of the growing ways we communicate: TV, internet, smartphone, social, email, and more. Knowing how to communicate across various channels will be a much sought after skill.
And how about graphic design? Again, as businesses expand the recovery, advertising and media will be key ventures. From books, posters, websites, even music cover designs will be in high demand. Again, being able to do advanced graphic design on computers will be a growing field for years to come.
In addition to this list, just about anything in the engineering field will be in demand as well.
>> How to find college scholarships.