Useful Gifts for Job-Seeking Students Reply

Looking for a job is never easy, especially when you’re a student and are pretty much clueless about the state of the business market (sorry if that’s too blunt!). The stress, the anticipation and all those applications that rarely ever result in an actual job opportunity have the tendency to turn even the most of enthusiastic individuals into quitters (hey, we’ve all been there).

If someone dear to you is looking for a job and you want to give them a useful gift – here’s a rundown of ideas that could help!

Resume expert

Resumes (Curriculum Vitae, aka CV) are the first step to getting a job interview that will help you land a job. If the CV you are submitting isn’t well written, i.e. is lacking information, has grammatical errors, is inconsistent and doesn’t follow a logical timeline, don’t expect a call back. On that note, the best gift someone can give you is a professional who specializes in writing CVs so they appear attractive to your potential employer. The CV can be interlinked with your LinkedIn profile or any profile you find could be useful. In case you’ve got no experience at all, a resume expert will still know what to write, how to write it and make the most of your current skills.

A style makeover

No matter what they say, first impressions count – in both business and private matters. Once your CV is updated and you’ve managed to get the first interview, you need to look the part. No, you don’t have to rock the Mad Men office look to be taken seriously, but you should look decent and office-ready. Even though most jobs these days can be done remotely or don’t require special business attire, you need to look professional when meeting your potential employer because that’s your chance to leave the best possible impression. One of the best gifts to get from someone is a style makeover: tips on how to dress for the interview, a different hairdo, the way to do makeup, business etiquette, etc. Getting this makeover doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the way you look/dress now; rather, it’s an upgrade that costs you nothing and you can gain everything.

A gift card

All that job hunting can get extremely stressful, especially if you’ve got a lot of studying to do in the meantime: balancing your exams, social life, finding a job and staying sane can really take a toll on your everyday life, so – relaxing a little bit can go a long way, especially if it’s already paid for! Getting a gift card from someone close to you is one of the best ways to blow off some steam, especially if vouchers you get extend to your favorite stuff – lunching, shopping, pampering, etc. Use your Visa prepaid gift card to relax, buy a few pieces you’ll need for the interview (a new laptop bag, a blazer, smart pants, etc), have lunch with someone you love and stay stress-free (as much as possible) until you get a call from your potential employer.

Career coaching

A fantastic way to help an inexperienced friend get a job is hire a career coach. Depending on the business sphere your friend is looking to score in, a career coach can help in a number of ways: these professionals know a lot about employers’ requirements, career specifics and other important parameters that play a role in choosing a career path. On that note, a career professional is the best person to talk to about staying focused to a particular field, the best person to motivate and support you, boost your confidence and help you develop in your field. Find a reputable coach for your job-seeking friend to help them gain confidence and build a career path.

LinkedIn Premium account

Social presence plays a huge role in all spheres of our lives, business included. LinkedIn is the most popular business network that can help you connect with a number of field-focused experts that could be your first link to getting the job of your dreams. The network is interactive and regular browsing can really help you get a job in no time. Setting up a regular LinkedIn account costs nothing and it can still get you a lot of connections as long as you optimize your profile well. However, a Premium account is a safe bet that ensures a number of top-notch connections.

Good luck with the job-hunting, let us know how things went!


Emma Miller is a marketer and a writer from Sydney. Her focus is digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at Bizzmark blog and a mother of two.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com.

College Transportation: 4 Options for Students on a Budget Reply

It’s important to get to school on time, but doing so can be costing you a lot of money. However, there are plenty of options open to you to get to school when you’re on a tight budget. Below, are the four best options for you to get to school on a tight budget.

Carpool

One of the most affordable ways to get to school on a budget is to carpool with your friends or other classmates. This may not be the most practical way to get to school since classes can differ among your friends, but it certainly can save you money in the long run. However, just keep in mind, your friends might ask you for gas money down the line, so be prepared to pitch in a few dollars for carpool rides.

Buy a Car

Although buying a car may sound expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Certain companies, such as Young Subaru, know that buying a new car will ensure that it will run for years, and will end up being inexpensive in the long run. Plus, buying a car can lower your weekly expenses of carpooling, taking a bus or train, or using a rideshare service. However, keep in mind that you will have to pay for weekly gas expenses and regular maintenance.

Local Bus/Train Line

The next most affordable option of transportation for students to get to school on a budget is by using the local bus and/or train line. Usually, a one-way ticket to get to school only costs a few dollars. Plus, riding a bus or taking a train to school can give you extra time to get any assignments you might have “forgot” the night before. Just make sure the bus or train stop is close to your school, or else you might be walking a while to get to school.

Rideshare

Using rideshare services like Uber or Lyft is an affordable way of getting somewhere. Plus, there are even passes that only cost a few dollars a month for rides around your city. This can help you stay within your budget while getting to school on time. You can even ride share with your friends and share the cost to lower the overall cost as well.

If you’re a student on a budget, there are plenty of transportation options open to you. Whether you want to buy your own car, hop on a bus, or ride share with your friends, you’re open to a wide variety of choices.


Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook@RachelleWilber


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com.

7 Great Career Paths for Psychology Majors Reply

If you major in psychology, or you’re thinking about declaring a psychology major, then you’ve probably had many friends and family asking if you’re going to become a psychiatrist. While this can be a great career path, it’s far from the only option for psychology majors after graduation.

Psychology is one of the most popular majors in the United States (it’s currently ranked in the top 10), and for good reason. It’s a fascinating subject, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology can serve as a foundation for a variety of different careers. Job outlook is promising as well—about 19% job growth in these fields is expected from 2014-2024.

So what kind of career paths can you choose from as a psychology major? Here are just a few of the many exciting options open to graduates.

  1. Clinical Psychologist

A clinical psychologist is the first job that comes to mind for most people who are thinking about getting a degree in psychology. Clinical psychologists can focus on general psychology and provide therapy for a range of patients, or they can specialize in disciplines like neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, or even forensic psychology. Becoming a clinical psychologist requires students to complete a doctoral program (PhD), which can be highly competitive. Successful students can earn a good living, however, and have the opportunity to make their patients’ lives easier and more fulfilling. It is important to understand the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist—psychiatrists are doctors who can prescribe medication and must complete MD training, while psychologists focus solely on psychotherapy.

Average salary: $73,000

  1. Counselor

Counselors work with patients in the same way that psychologists do, but they have a smaller scope of work, and are more limited in the tests and services they offer. It is easier to become a counselor than a psychologist, because counselors are required to complete a master’s degree, but not a PhD. Mental health counselors have a good outlook for employment, because many schools and organizations need people with this kind of training to help students and at-risk people through common problems and refer them to more specialized treatment if necessary. Counselors may work with people on a variety of issues, from depression to substance abuse to the negative impact of discrimination.

Average salary: $44,780

  1. Social Worker

Social work is a challenging field that can nevertheless be extremely fulfilling. Social workers help children and families to heal and cope with issues like domestic violence, which affects about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men at some point during their lifetime. Most social workers need a master’s degree, and may work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, shelters, and child welfare organizations. Many social workers also visit families in their homes, to assess living conditions, provide counseling, and assess compliance with court orders.

Average Salary: $46,890

  1. Human Resources Manager

For people who are more interested in applying psychology in a business setting, human resource (HR) management could be an excellent career path. Human resource managers are responsible for hiring and terminations, resolving behavioral issues within the workplace, and often administrative work such as managing benefits. Typically, securing an entry-level job after completing a bachelor’s degree is the first step in becoming an HR manager. After this, many HR assistants can move up in the ranks organically without further education.

Average salary:  $106,910

  1. Marketing Manager

Though many people who are interested in marketing end up getting a degree in that field, psychology can lay a solid foundation for jobs in marketing. Marketing managers have to understand how people think and feel so they can strategize for marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness and sales. Marketing jobs can be entry level, but most organizations want to see a bachelor’s degree and some demonstration of marketing knowledge and communication abilities. Most people start as a marketing assistant and work their way up.

Average salary: $80,673

  1. Parole Officer

Though most people don’t dream of becoming a parole officer, psychology graduates can be excellent candidates for this role. Good parole officers work with offenders to help them turn their lives around, adjust to being back in society, and adhere to the terms of their release, making it a potentially fulfilling career. Because psychology majors have a deep understanding of how people think, they often make excellent parole officers. Most positions require only a bachelor’s degree, although federal parole officers must hold a master’s degree.

Average salary: $47,200

  1. College Admissions Counselor

For students who enjoy the academic setting and helping others, a college admissions counselor career could be an excellent fit. A bachelor’s degree is required for this position, since counselors are advising prospective students, but the position mostly involves recruiting and coordinating different admissions activities and procedures. Experience in an admissions office through work study is a helpful leg up in pursuing this career.

Average salary: $40,752

Endless Possibilities

These careers show just how broad the options are for psychology majors. It’s an excellent field of study if you love to work with people and understand how they think and feel. If you’re not sure what kind of career you want to pursue yet, psychology can be a great choice—simply because the possibilities are nearly endless once you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree. Whether you go on to earn a master’s or PhD or not, psychology serves as a solid foundation for a satisfying career.


Ryan Ayers has been a consultant for over five years within multiple industries including information technology, medical devices and logistics. Many clients call him the BizTech Guru. He is a freelance writer on the side and lover of all things related to business, technology, innovation and the LA Clippers. Read more from Ryan: @TheBizTechGuru


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com.

The Most Interesting Education Techniques of This Decade Reply

One of the most important qualities in a teacher is a willingness to try new things. The instructional methods of yesterday might not be as effective as the teaching tools of tomorrow, so if you’re an educator at a university like College America, you have to be adaptive. In that respect, here are just a few educational techniques that are currently making waves in classrooms throughout the world.

Flipped Classrooms

“Flipped” classrooms are ones where teachers record lessons for students to view at home. Then, during class, the students do their homework. While it might sound strange, flipped classrooms are turning things around for many struggling schools.

One principal in Detroit flipped his entire high school after conducting a successful experiment on the effectiveness of flipped classrooms. The results showed that students who could watch lessons on their smartphones or home computers were more prone to repeat viewings, and furthermore, doing their homework under a teacher’s supervision allowed them to ask questions, clarify concepts and reach a deeper understanding of the subject. They might sound backward, but flipped classrooms are actually taking students forward.

Social Media Integration

Social media has become a driving force for young people, and you can tap into this by turning social media networks into learning platforms. For example, if you’re an art teacher, you can ask your students to upload their artwork to Flickr and Instagram for peer review. If you’re a political science professor, you can use special hashtags on Twitter to create student discussion chains on current events.

Pinterest can be used to collect blog posts on fun science projects, and YouTube can become your new homework helper where you solve math problems step-by-step. There’s no limit to the way that social media can revolutionize your classroom as long as you’re willing to embrace it as a genuine educational technique. Don’t think of it as a fad. Think of it as the future.

The Mastery Method

A favorite of Asian countries like China and Singapore, the “mastery method” was recently brought over to the Western world in an attempt to duplicate the success of Asian students in subjects like math. Instead of explaining a concept and letting everyone scribble notes and figure it out on their own, the mastery method requires that every single student in the classroom understands the concept before the teacher is allowed to move on.

This is achieved by calling on each student in a structured, almost military-like manner and having them repeat what they’ve learned multiple times. It might sound a little Spartan, but the mastery method has already improved test scores in the UK, so expect it to hit other countries and additional schools in the future.

Inside-Outside Circle

Useful in large classrooms where teachers don’t always have time to give students individualized attention, the inside-outside circle allows students to essentially teach themselves through group effort. You start by arranging a large circle of students with a smaller circle of students within them. Then you pose a question or suggest a discussion topic, and the circles rotate in opposite directions as the children engage with a different peer for each “turn.” They pass along information and debate answers as they go. Not only does this teaching method encourage communication and cooperation between students who might not normally talk to one another, but it’s also a great way to ensure that no one is being forgotten at the back of the classroom. Everyone gets to talk and share ideas.

These are just a few educational techniques that you might want to consider for your own classroom. Some are more intriguing than others, but all of them are showing results, so they’re worth looking into as potential teaching methods for your next semester.


Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com.

Advanced Teachers: 5 Ways to Take Your Career to the Next Level 1

It’s the beginning of another school year and many teachers out there are asking themselves, “How can I move to the next level in my career?” It can be hard to navigate your career in a new direction. However, we will explore how to take your years of experience and wisdom and move into the next stage of your career.

Administration

You have likely thought about getting the additional education needed for your Administration License. This will mean additional schooling, but if you desire a move from managing a classroom to managing a school, this is the choice for you.

Online Teaching

Brick and mortar schools will always be necessary and needed, but there is a new game in town and it is online schooling. Whether public or private, online schools are growing at a fast rate and they are looking for experienced educators. These schools offer flexibility, often the teachers can work from home.

College

If you have earned a master’s degree or higher, teaching at the college level is a wonderful change of pace that allows you to advance your career. If you are interested in mentoring the next generation of teachers, this would be an amazing option.

School Librarian/Media Technician

Schools across the country are desperate for school librarians and media technicians. By earning an online master’s degree in library and information science, you can move your career into an extremely rapidly growing field. As a school librarian or media technician, you will work daily to assist students in reading curriculum and using technology. With many schools now 1:1 with technology, this field is exploding and looking for experienced professionals.

Political Life

There are many elected positions that would benefit from the expertise of a teacher, and not only in education. Who better to lead a congressional committee than someone trained to deal with 30 different personalities and behaviors? As teachers, we often overlook the day-to-day management skills that we perform, but these skills could easily transfer into a career as a public official.

If you are teaching and would like to advance into the next phase of your career, there are choices out there for you. If you feel like you are ready for a change of pace, look into the other options available in your area and what requirements would have to be met to get you there. Believe in yourself and your talents and take your career to the next level.


Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Connect with her on Google+and (@LizzieWeakley).


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com.

5 Ways ESL Students Can Leverage Their Life Story in College Applications 1

College admissions essays succeed when they tell the student’s unique story. Unlike the much more technically oriented academic paper, the admissions essay is more along the lines of the personal-essay genre than the five paragraph essay.

Rather than an introduction, thesis, supporting paragraphs, evidence citations, and a summation, the college essay relies on the expression of a personal experience that relates to the student’s desire to attend the school. Through the expression of these personal experiences, students convey their dreams, interests, and characters. They show why they will succeed at the school.

ESL students have a built-in story. Because they came to the United States from another country and put in the extra work needed to learn English while also mastering history, science, math, and elective subjects, the story of their journey through life so far has a natural relation to academic success in college. It shows they are driven, attentive, and willing to put in the study time.

To leverage these natural stories, here are some important tips for ESL college applicants:

Make Your Story Unique and Personal

The last thing any college applicant wants is for their essay to sound generic. That is not to say that all stories of coming to America and learning the language are the same. Quite the contrary, they are all as unique as their authors.

Most star athletes include their sports experiences in their essays. Ditto for debate team stars, chess players, dancers, and thespians. Each thespian has to tell their own unique story about the theatre experience. Each athlete has to convey what their sport means to them on a personal level.

When crafting an ESL related story, students can make them compelling when they really dig deep inside of themselves and find the personal meaning of their experience and how it developed their character, how it made them a stronger person and student.

Only Include the Most Compelling Events and Thoughts

College essays usually include both descriptions of specific events and introspective writing. They are also limited by a relatively small word count. Because of this, editing the essay to include only the most compelling pieces is a must.

High school English teacher Justin Nevin recommends students choose one or two narrative moments and tell them in the moment. Narration of too many events detracts from focus. Nevin recommends choosing a moment or two that is representative of the story the student wishes to tell. He also notes the importance of accepting that the essay is not an exact retelling of events. Events are a representation that relate to the student’s narrative.

Take the Time to Edit and Proofread

Though all students should heed this advice, there are some specifics to which ESL students need to pay close attention. Grammar should be reviewed carefully. Using your school’s writing center and having others read the essay helps a great deal.

Also, always be on the lookout for inappropriate vocabulary. Having a writing center tutor, teacher, or other native speaker review the essay for any out of place words can help the essay be in tip top shape upon submission.

Use College Preparation Opportunities at Your School

College essays should never be written under pressure. They are an expression of individual experience. It takes time for students to decide what they really want to say and to work that into a tightly written format. Many high schools offer college preparation help, such as Connections Academy. These resources help students work through the college essay process.

ESL students have compelling narratives to share on their college admissions essays. These stories provide a framework by which students can share their unique story and how it has prepared them for college life. When ESL students take the time to craft well-written, personalized stories, the results are tremendous.


About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com.

Considering Entrepreneurship? The Best Degrees to Help You Succeed Reply

Are you full of ideas for products and services that could make everyone’s lives easier? Do you love reading books about famous innovators who built their own companies? Do you have trouble just following the rules when you’re constantly thinking of ways to reinvent them and make them better? Are you disciplined and persistent? If so, then you might be suited to becoming an entrepreneur.

Not everyone is meant to live their lives as an employee. Entrepreneurship can be a great option for people who get bored of simply doing what they’re told and bringing home a paycheck. Although most startups don’t take off in the way companies like Facebook and Apple did, a few do–1.28% of startups become “unicorns” (less than 10 years old and valued at $1 billion or more)–creating the opportunity for uncapped income.

Where Do You Start?

Entrepreneurship is an extremely difficult career path to take, involving many challenges and failures along the way. Many people just don’t have what it takes. However, it’s also incredibly rewarding to build your own company from the ground up and see your business grow and change. If you think you might have the drive and persistence needed to build a business, then you’re probably wondering how to start. Not everyone who creates a successful company goes to college, but getting your degree can give you a leg up in the process by training you in critical thinking and giving you important skills you’ll need as an entrepreneur. Here are some of the best degrees to help you succeed as a self-employed business owner.

Business

Let’s start with the most obvious. If you’re thinking about starting a business, getting a bachelor’s degree in business will give you an overview of the way companies run, management skills, analysis and communications, and other skills needed to be successful in business. Some schools even offer degrees in entrepreneurship! With that said, a business degree is definitely not the only option for entrepreneurs, especially if you’re considering an MBA after you’ve completed your undergraduate degree–people from all different backgrounds excel in masters’ programs. Business degrees can be great for entrepreneurs, but it’s a good idea to explore other options as well.

Marketing, English, or Communications

No one is going to buy your product or service if you can’t communicate the value of what you’re selling and spread the word effectively. Having a background in marketing is very helpful, because you’ll know the principles of what works and what doesn’t in bringing in new business. English and communications are also good degree options for entrepreneurs, because they require critical thinking and writing skills, both of which are essential for entrepreneurial success. English is one of the most versatile degrees, as quality writing and strong analysis skills are great tools for entrepreneurs to have, no matter what kind of business they start.

Psychology

Being a business owner involves communicating with others on a regular basis. Knowing the psychology of why people do what they do can help you become a better communicator, negotiator, and leader. As an entrepreneur, you will need to be persuasive and sensitive to the needs of others–a degree in psychology will give you a deeper look into how people think and what motivates them.

Finance

The harsh reality is that 70% of small businesses fail within 10 years, and 82% of those failures are at least partially due to cash flow issues. The “lean startup” concept isn’t just trendy–it’s essential. Getting a degree in finance can be a good choice for entrepreneurs, because founders need to have in-depth knowledge and a realistic view of the finances involved with their business, including investment capital and money management. Yes, most founders won’t be fully managing the company’s money forever, but those with a finance degree will understand it and be wiser when it comes to expenditures–which could mean the difference between success and failure.

Beyond the Bachelor’s: Considering an MBA

If you’ve already got a bachelor’s degree and you’re interested in taking your business education to the next level with an MBA, you’ll be happy to know that MBAs come from all different backgrounds. If you’d like to pursue an MBA, the first step is to prepare for and take the GMAT test. Your results are good for five years, so if you want to get some experience in the business world, or even start working on your company, you won’t necessarily have to take it again to get into an MBA program. After you have your results, you can start applying to MBA programs of your choice. Each program has its own requirements, so do your research!

Entrepreneurship as a Career

Just because you hear stories about famous entrepreneurs who dropped out of school, that doesn’t mean that finishing college isn’t worthwhile for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is about trial and error, analysis, fortitude, and creativity–all skills that can be improved through earning a degree.


Ryan Ayers has been a consultant for over five years within multiple industries including information technology, medical devices and logistics. Many clients call him the BizTech Guru. He is a freelance writer on the side and lover of all things related to business, technology, innovation and the LA Clippers. Read more from Ryan: @TheBizTechGuru


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com.

Beyond the Freshman 15: Top 4 Health Risks for College Students Reply

College students face a number of risks to their physical and mental health. Some of these health risks can go unnoticed by both friends and family members, which makes them all the more dangerous. This article covers four of the top health risks for college students and offers advice on how to address them.

Mental Pressure

College students are under a considerable amount of mental pressure. This is due to excessive course loads, applying for scholarships, securing financial aid, and looming student loan debt. This is causing a staggering amount of mental turmoil to college students.

Support from parents, educators, counselors, and friends will help to alleviate this mental pressure. This will help them to not feel so isolated and alone.

Campus Sexual Assault

Female college students ages 18-24 are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women in other age ranges. According to RAINN, 11.2% of all college students will experience rape or sexual assault using force, incapacitation, or violence. This is a serious risk to the physical and mental health of our college students.

There are resources available online which offer tips on how to protect yourself while on campus or out at a party. College-age women should consider taking a self-defense class and investing in self-defense items.

Hypertension

Hypertension is considered the invisible killer. Although hypertension is a health condition often diagnosed in older people, it is becoming a common health issue among college students. Factors contributing to this trend are stress, diet, and genetics.

Students pursuing advanced degrees, such as with an online MBA degree program or PhD, are more at risk for hypertension due to the incredible amount of stress present in post-graduate atmospheres where the financial and academic stakes are higher. It is vital that college students, especially those pursuing an advanced degree, maintain their health throughout their higher education years.

Many colleges and universities have begun building recreation centers to promote physical exercise and proper nutrition. Exercise and athletic participation can help reduce the causes of hypertension by removing excess sodium in the body and relieving stress by increasing the production of mood-enhancing hormones.

Drunk Driving

A study performed in 2011 concluded that 25% of college students have driven drunk in just a one month period. It’s no wonder that 1,825 college students die every year from an alcohol-related incident, including car accidents.

There are ways to help reduce the instances of college-age drunk driving. These include arranging a designated driver, partying at a place within walking distance, or booking a cab ahead of time.

As a parent, you can arrange to pick them up if they are out and unable to drive home. If your child is underage, take a strong stance against their underage drinking and let them know it is not acceptable.

College students are the future of our country and of our economy. We must do everything in our power to protect them and nurture them so that they may achieve their full, brilliant potential.


About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com.

The Most Common Problems Every New Student Faces Reply

Some of the most challenging problems you will encounter in a college like Independence University occur outside the classroom. You already know you must decide when to study and get to classes on time. You also have to find time to shop, do laundry, exercise, fix meals, and take care of yourself. These tasks have been there all of your life, but your parents handled many of them for you. Now you have the freedom that goes with being an adult, and it’s up to you to deal with the responsibilities that come with that freedom.

Paying for School Supplies and Textbooks

Textbooks and supplies are a big outlay for college students. The average course will set you back $67 just for books. The money must come out of your financial aid or income. There are several ways to lessen the cost. You can often buy used textbooks and resell them after you finish the course. Sometimes you can rent books or share with another student. It’s worthwhile to check the school library. You have to be quick about using this tactic, though. Other students will have the same idea.

Maintaining Your Focus

Keeping a clear mental focus when you are studying or attending class is an absolute necessity. Lack of sleep, poor diet, stress and poor organizational skills make focusing your attention difficult. Make it a habit to take a short break each day to breathe deeply, clear your mind and put your attention where it needs to be. You don’t have to formally practice meditation techniques, although this is an excellent method of keeping your mental focus.

Managing Time

Balancing your class schedule, study time and all the daily activities that need to happen if you are to function effectively is a big challenge in college. If something slips through the cracks, you’ll discover the unpleasant truth that there is a domino effect that makes getting everything done more difficult. The keys to managing time are self-discipline and cultivating good habits. If you need help with time management techniques, check around. Virtually all colleges offer students resources and seminars on time management.

Planning Meals

Most college students don’t take the time to fix meals that are healthy and nutritious. It’s okay to go out with friends for a pizza sometimes, but consistently poor eating habits drain your energy and make you vulnerable to illness. Follow the guidelines in the famous “food pyramid” when you shop and cook. When you eat at school, choose lean meats like baked chicken or fish. The salad bar is your friend, not soft drinks and the dessert bar.

Self-Care

Staying healthy in college is harder than it may seem. You must set aside time for exercise, relaxing and above all sleeping. If you don’t, your grades will suffer due to fatigue and stress. You need eight hours of sleep each night and at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise. You don’t have to run marathons. A brisk 30-minute walk five days a week will keep you in decent physical shape.

Roommate Issues

Roommates can be a problem, especially in your freshman year when you may be assigned to live with a complete stranger. There will be friction, and you must learn to discuss your concerns and make compromises. There may be more serious problems, such as a roommate who is extremely messy or doesn’t always lock the door. Try to work these problems out on your own. However, if you need help from someone in campus housing, don’t hesitate to ask for it.

Conclusion

Don’t be intimidated by the problems you encounter in college. The reason every college student must deal with them is that this is what the real world is like, and you will be faced with them in some form all of your life. After a while, you will master them. When you do, these issues will remain, but they will no longer be problems.


Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com.

Show Me the Money: Filling Out the FAFSA 2

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

No one likes to think about money when getting all of their college ducks in order, but unless you’re that 20-year-old guy from Florida who recently won a $451 million lottery jackpot, you’re going to have to consider how you’ll pay for your next year of schooling. Luckily, it’s that time of year when there’s one document in particular that can help you jump-start the process: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

This application, which is usually made available in October of the previous year before the year you plan to enroll, lets you know whether you’re eligible for a host of federal, state, and college financial aid based on your financial need, including grants that don’t have to be paid back (such as the Pell Grant), subsidized and non-subsidized loans (including the Stafford and Perkins loans), and work-study initiatives.

Three Options for Filling out the FAFSA

There are three ways you can complete your FAFSA: online at fafsaed.gov (the recommended process), via a paper copy (sometimes available at your high school or college or local library, but mainly right from the US Department of Education by calling 800-433-3243), or by filling in and mailing a PDF FAFSA—you can either print it out and fill it in manually, or use the screen-fillable option online, which allows you to type in the fields directly in the PDF.

What You’ll Need

You’ll need a whole bunch of info at your disposal while filling out this form, which will take you an hour or so to do. This info includes your Social Security number; financial info, in the form of bank statements, tax forms, mortgage and investment records, and government aid, for both yourself and your parents, if you’re still a dependent; and your driver’s license number, if you have a license. In addition to all of that data, you’ll also need to input every single college or university you’re interested in, even if you haven’t yet applied to them, so make sure you have your higher-education dream list on hand as well.

The Student Aid Report

Once you fill out the FAFSA, you’ll receive a report a few days later called a SAR, or Student Aid Report, either by email or regular mail. This document details what you and your family will be expected to contribute (aka the Expected Family Contribution, or EFC) and what financial aid possibilities may be available for your particular situation. Check this document carefully for mistakes, as this will be sent to all of the colleges and universities you put down on your application. Colleges will use this info when they work up their financial aid letters to you upon acceptance.

If you’re already in college and still seeking federal aid for the 2017-2018 school year, you can still fill out an online FAFSA for federal aid to meet the June 30, 2018, deadline. For the 2018-2019 school year, you have more buffer time for federal aid (that deadline falls on June 30, 2019), but deadlines for individual states and colleges vary and are fast approaching; most states set their deadlines early in the calendar year, usually in February and March, though some push further into the spring and summer. That means state deadlines for 2018 and 2019 are coming up within a month or two—be sure to check on the fafsaedu.gov site or with colleges you’ll be attending or hope to attend for specifics.

Some final warnings: Don’t get suckered into FAFSA preparation companies that charge for their services and don’t warn you that you can do this for free yourself or that offer a guarantee they can get you a scholarship. And don’t neglect to fill out the FAFSA because you think you or your family won’t qualify for any of the big federal grants or loans. States and colleges use the application to make their own determinations as well. You don’t want to cheat yourself out of financial aid that could be yours for the taking!