How to Make the Best Use of a College Counselor Reply

Your college counselor can be a coach, strategist, and therapist all rolled into one. Generally speaking, they’re professionals who assist students with academic goals, careers, and campus life. Here are just a few of the reasons you should seek out your college counselor.

Make a list

You can discuss your life goals, aptitudes, and preferences with a counselor in order to discover what you should look for from higher education. Are you a better fit for a degree in computer sciences or sports medicine? Perhaps you’re already tied to a job but it’s your dream to serve the community. An online master of public administration might be the best option. Your counselor can help you compose a list of factors helping you narrow down your choices to the most rewarding options.

Graduate programs

Most students are faced with choice of going on to grad school. The right school for your talents, goals, and finances might be difficult to determine. A college counselor can help you locate the best opportunities in terms of finances, prerequisites, the programs you’re a good fit for, and related career opportunities. They can help you tailor your current undergraduate course schedule or prepare for your GRE. You don’t want to gamble on any aspect of your education.

Plan your career

One of the chief motivators in going to college is to prepare for a good career. Many people graduate with a degree only to find there’s very few opportunities in their field, or wind up spending year after year in a job they hate while struggling to pay off student loans. A college counselor can provide career advice to prevent you from falling into these situations. The sooner you begin planning your long-term career with your counselor, the better your chances of real-world success.

Lower anxiety

Many college counselors say that the number of students they see with psychological problems is growing. If you’re having difficulty adjusting to the pressures of study, finances, and campus culture, a college counselor can be your friend and mentor. Their job is to help you successively complete your educational goals and prepare you for a career. Before anxieties become depression or disrupt your relationships, talk it over with a counselor.

If you start planning before you graduate, you can eliminate bad choices that waste time and money and affect your future. Your college counselor will be happy to help you realize your dreams.


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 or its parent company Nelnet.

On Track to College: How to Teach Children about Higher Education Reply

Most parents want their children to go to college. Unfortunately, figuring out how to talk to them about it can be difficult. Fortunately, there are three things you can do to make sure your child is taught about higher education in a way that will help you both.

Set Expectations

What does higher education mean to your family? It can be difficult for a child to start thinking about college if he or she hasn’t had anyone to model expectations. If you expect that your child will go to college, start talking about it early on. Make sure he or she understands that this is the educational path that you support, and that you expect him or her to have college plans in mind while in high school. A little thought towards the future can go a long way.

Graduate Degrees

It’s also important that you talk to your child about education beyond the first four years. If your child wants a job in public administration, for example, you’ll need to talk to him or her about the possibility of getting a master in public administration or other degrees they may be interested in. Masters degrees are increasingly important in the work force, and teens who don’t know that might set their sights too low when they seek out a path in college. Giving your children a look at the whole educational process can be a great way to give them realistic expectations for their futures.

It’s About the Journey

It’s also important that you discuss college as just one step in your teen’s life. Sadly, there’s no guarantee that he or she will get into the college that he or she (or you) want. College should be viewed as chance for education, not just a goal in and of itself. If you are able to impress upon your child that college is a place to learn and to get on the right path, he or she can approach the experience without dreading what comes next. College is great, but it shouldn’t be the final goal of anyone’s life.

If you want to talk to your child about college, make sure to start now. Begin setting expectations, talk about further education, and make sure your child knows that no one school is the only option. If you are willing to talk to him or her frankly, he or she just might start to understand why college is so important to you.


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.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Top 4 Reasons a Medical Degree Is an Excellent Education Choice Reply

When a child gets asked about what they’d like to be when they grow up, a common answer is a doctor. When the follow-up question is asked, a child usually reasons that doctors help people. This is what makes this career path attractive to many. Well, this is true. Doctors do a lot to help people and a medical degree is an excellent educational choice to consider if you’d like to work in health care. There are plenty of reasons why it’s a great idea to pursue a medical degree as an educational option. Consider these four.

1. Positive Contribution

With a medical degree, you’ll be in a perfect position to give back to the world in a very palpable way. When people are in dire need of improved physical health, they’ll do almost anything to regain it. As a professional with a medical degree, you’ll get equipped with the expertise needed to help people resolve physical ailments and find solutions.

2. Mental Expansion

Getting into medical school is no easy feat. You’ll need to study and prepare for the MCAT. You’ll also need excellent grades in biology, chemistry and other science-related classes. You’ll need to learn to retain a ton of important information. Through this process, there’s no doubt whether or not your knowledge base will increase.

The medical school will naturally expose you to new lessons and a better understanding of how to approach the healthcare industry. You’ll also become an expert in your specific specialty. While medical school may be stressful and time-consuming, it’ll definitely expand your mind.

3. Personal Achievement

In society, certain careers are respected more than others. Doctors and lawyers are some of the most respected. Most people appreciate the amount of studying and work that goes into graduating with a medical degree. When you walk into a room and have letters behind your name, people will naturally perceive and approach you differently.

4. Professional Development

A medical degree is a great choice because it prepares you for the future. As the job market continues to shift and change, there will always be a need for medical professionals. Whether you choose a bachelor’s degree in sonography online, or you prefer ophthalmology or pediatrics, someone will always be in need of your specialty. Knowing this allows you to feel more freedom to focus on professional development and honing in on your craft.

There’s nothing like knowing that you’ve chosen a field that’s personally gratifying and enriching. If the thought of med school intrigues and excites you, do your best to give it your all and pursue this option.


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. Anica is a writer for Ohio University, which offers a range of degrees including an online master’s in athletic administration.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

5 Degrees That Can Help You Combine Everything You Love Reply

It is estimated that only 13 percent of the American workforce loves what they do. This is no way to live life, so consider the five following degrees that can combine work with what you love.

Communications Degree

Approximately 87 percent of people that work from home are happier than those that do not. This is likely due to the fact that you get to set your own schedule, and you can spend more time with your family. A telecommunications degree might help you achieve this goal though this is just one option.

Health Care

Some people feel good when they make a positive impact on others. One field that can provide you with the opportunity to help others is the health care field, which makes a health administration master’s degree a good choice. Something like this is especially a good choice if you are interested in the business world as well as the world of healthcare. It really is amazing how many degrees mix topics like this.

The Business World

Some people out there simply cannot deal with others telling them what to do. This is where a business degree might come in handy. This type of education gives you the tools to start your own business so that you can be in charge and, ultimately, be a lot happier. Sure, it may take a lot of work to get a business off the ground, but a person who desires to work on their own will be happier with this challenge than working under others.

Philosophy of Economics

An economics degree may be the right choice for those who are interested in learning how the economy works. This type of degree can open up all sorts of opportunities such as politics, law, or even a position in the business world. It is the kind of degree that can lead to various types of careers just in case you are not sure what you want.

Environmental Degree

You may be one of those people who are interested in finding a way to help humanity as a whole, which means that a job in agriculture might be the right choice. This encompasses information about biology, humanity, politics, and agricultural science. You might end up working for a company working to solve world hunger, and everyone wants to be in the forefront of that problem.

There is no doubt that there are other degrees that might satisfy the true calling of your soul. The key is to ask yourself what you really want, and look for degrees that can help put you where you really want to be.


Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys tennis and spending time with her family. Kara recommends looking into diplomacy programs for more information on degrees that can help save the world.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

First Year at University? 3 Things You Should Know Reply

You’ve picked your roommate and you know what dorm you’re staying in. You’ve even done the campus tour and mapped out the closest dining hall. You think you’re ready, but the real work is just beginning. Your first year of college can definitely be a huge life change, but it is a great life change. It definitely takes a lot of preparation though. It will definitely be unlike anything you have ever experienced. Here’s what you should know to thrive during your first year at college.

  1. Map it Out

In any college setting, it’s common for professors to assign a research paper to be turned in towards the end of the semester. Papers like this can take a lot of research and a lot of time. That’s why you are going to want to make sure to get started on it as soon as you can. By doing that you can avoid a lot of heartache and stress further on down the road. Sadly, chances are the paper will be mentioned once on the first day of class and then will hardly be mentioned again. That is until the day it’s due. Without proper organization and a plan to meet all of the deadlines you will face, you may find yourself up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Get a planner, use sticky notes or write it on the front of your notebook. Do whatever works best for you to stay organized and ensure you get all those papers with longer deadlines completed on time.

  1. Find Your Study Spot

By this stage in your scholastic career, you should be well acquainted with the most effective study strategies for your learning style. Now it’s time to take what you know about your learning techniques and apply that in a whole new environment. Scope out all the best study spots on campus. Find the space that will benefit you and then create a study schedule. Make consistent study dates with yourself and keep them. Resist the temptation to ditch the books in favor of pizza and dedicate yourself to your study spot. You’ll be glad you did.

  1. Become An Expert

Counselors are there to help and guide, but they also have a lot of students and expect you to take charge of your education. Understanding the requirements and deadlines for your program can keep you on the right track and make sure you are prepared for graduation. These requirements are also imperative if you want to pursue a graduate degree. Some programs like the criminal justice master’s program actually place their requirements directly on their webpage making it easy to track your progress and make sure you have what you need to gain acceptance into the next phase of your education.

College is a wonderful experience, full of excitement and challenges. These tips will help you embrace all that college is and allow you to conquer your first year. As you keep yourself organized and disciplined you’ll find handling your schedule more bearable. While most of the weight of your success rests on your shoulders, never be afraid to ask for help from teachers, counselors, and upper classmen.


Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys tennis and spending time with her family. Kara recommends looking into diplomacy programs for more information on degrees that can help save the world.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Choosing the Right Degree: When it Matters and When it Doesn’t Reply

Confusion , Direction , ArrowPicking the right degree in college can be a difficult decision. After you graduate, you will want to be happy with your decision and be able to get a job in a career field that you enjoy. However, you don’t necessarily have to make the decision right away. Most colleges will want you to declare your major by the end of your second year, so you’ve got some time to explore your options.

Take an aptitude test.

Every college will have an advisor’s office, and I would be surprised to hear if everyone didn’t offer some kind of aptitude test to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Take multiple aptitude tests at your school as well as online to narrow down your choices.

These tests are great for figuring out what careers are right for you right now, but also keep in mind that college is a place to learn and improve all of your skills. So even if the aptitude test doesn’t coincide with what you actually want to do, they are still helpful in giving you suggestions and ideas for determining your future.

Don’t worry about it right away.

Being undecided or undeclared for the first couple of years in college is OK. Not everyone should or does know what they want to do their first years in school. The majority of your first two years in college will be spent on general requirements and prerequisites for your upper division classes anyway. While you want to take the right prerequisites, plan on taking classes that help you explore opportunities and will also steer you in the right direction.

Research career paths.

Career paths are just that: a path towards a career. These paths aren’t exact and you will be able to take multiple roads to get you where you want to be. The majority of students will end up changing their major throughout their first couple of years, and quite a lot of graduates will end up working in jobs that aren’t directly related to their major.

When you are researching career paths, keep this in mind. In other words, research online and talk with people who work in that field and see what they majored in and how they got to be where they are. For entrepreneurs especially, the path to their success will come from a plethora of different backgrounds. LinkedIn is a great place to start – look at professional’s profiles and see where their academic and work experience has taken them.

Talk with your mentors, parents, and teachers.

Your family, mentors, teachers, and school counselors will know a lot about you and have a lot of knowledge about the world. Reaching out to these folk will help give you ideas about what degree is the best for you. Ask them about their past experiences and tell them to be honest about their advice. You’ll learn more than you think when you listen to their nuggets of truth.

Considering graduate school or an advanced degree?

The one time when you will want to have a definite idea of what you want to major in is if you plan on going into a specified career. For example, if you want to go to medical school you will have to major in a small number of specific degrees to have the knowledge and prerequisites to pass the MCATs and get into a medical school.

There are certain advanced degrees that don’t absolutely require a degree in the same field to get into, though. An MBA for example will typically take any bachelor degree graduate as long as they pass the required entrance exams and show an aptitude to succeed in their program through the admissions essay and qualified experience.

Keep an open mind.

More than anything keep an open mind as you never know what kinds of opportunities will present themselves and what you might be interested in. Take classes that help you both explore your interests and things you don’t know are your interests yet. Never been in a school play but always wanted to? Take an acting class as one of your liberal arts requirements and see what you think. College isn’t only about preparing for a career, it’s also about experiencing things you never have before.

Juniors: Make a List of Potential Colleges Reply

Making a list of collegesAs a high school junior, the task of picking a college can be daunting. There are so many colleges out there. So much to consider. There are a variety of different guidebooks and websites designed to help you search for a college that is right for you. Sometimes, the sheer amount of information on colleges makes things more confusing. You won’t really know for sure if a college is right for you until you visit it, but you certainly can’t visit every single college you find interesting. So how do you decide?

The best way to start is to make a list of colleges that you could see yourself attending.  In preparation for making this list, it’s important to really consider what qualities you are looking for in a college. It is much easier to evaluate a school, once you have done some thinking about what you want in a college. Make a list of the things you need and want from your prospective school.

Qualifications

Some qualifications are obvious and fairly objective. If you know what you want your major to be, or at least have an idea of where your main interests lie, then you’ll want to make sure that the school you are looking at offers degree programs that fit your goals. Location can be a factor.  Do you want to go to school close to home, or are you looking to move away? Cost is always a factor, though one that is difficult to measure.  Certainly you don’t want to add a school to your list if the cost to attend will exceed your budget.  Still, many schools that may have a tuition expense that is out of your range also have grants and scholarships that can help you offset those costs. A school’s athletic program might be an important decision factor for athletes who plan on continuing their sport at the college level.

Other qualifications are more subjective. What is the best college environment for you? Would you rather be in a big university or a smaller college? In a big city or a smaller one? College is not just about classes and grades and diplomas.  It’s also an experience.  Think about the things that are important to you as a person. What are your hobbies?  What kind of weather do you prefer? What clubs do you think you’d like to join?  What is the overall environment like?  These questions are much harder to answer without visiting the college – and if you are making fairly long list, you probably cannot visit them all! Sometimes visiting the school’s website, talking to someone who attends or did attend the college, or to the admissions personnel might help with some of these more subjective questions.

Share Your List of Schools

Once you have more clearly defined what types of colleges you’d like to attend, then it is much easier to research and add good candidates to your list of colleges.  Throughout this process it is a good idea to talk with your parents, other family members and your high school counselor to get feedback.  Those around you, who know you well, can be great resources because they can provide insight and ideas that may not have occurred to you. Once you have a list, they can also help you narrow it down to a handful of colleges that you can visit.

Time to Get Moving on Early Decision Reply

DecisionIf you are a high school junior or senior that is planning on applying for early decision, then you are a student who knows exactly what your first school choice is. It also means that you have to be on top of all of the various deadlines you will need to meet in order to successfully apply for early decision. You can only submit an early decision application to one school. This is because your application is binding. By applying, you are committing to attending this college if you are admitted. You may perhaps have some other schools that you are applying for, but these schools are really second choices. You know for certain where you want to go to college and why. You’ve done your research. Here are some items to consider about early decision:

SAT and ACT: Something for juniors to consider:

  • If you are considering completing and early decision application for a school, then you will want to make certain that you have completed your SAT or ACT test by October of your junior year. This ensures that your test results will be available when you are sending in your college application. If you take the test any later, there is a high probability that your test scores will not be ready and you will not be able to complete your early decision application.
  • It may be a good idea to take the test even sooner than October however, so that you can retake the test if you are not satisfied with the results.

What seniors should be doing now.

  • Obtain information from your prospective college about the early decision process, and obtain an application. While you are preparing to start your new school year, it is important to remember how fast the time goes, and how busy you often get as you acclimate to another year. By starting your application now, you can be proactive and make certain that you obtain everything you need to complete your application.
  • You’ll need letters of recommendation to submit along with your application. If you did not start obtaining these in your junior year, you need to start asking for these. Letters of recommendation can come from teachers, counselors, community leaders who know you, or other references.
  • Get working on scholarship and grant applications. One of the more complicated aspects of early decision is that you will be making a decision on your college before you really know how much financial aid you will receive. Applying to more grants and scholarships now may help insulate you from the unknown.
  • Know your deadlines. Many early decision application deadlines are in November. Some are as early as October. Make sure you are persistent in getting any information you need to complete your application by the deadline.
  • Complete your financial aid applications. If a school offers scholarships directly, make sure you apply for them as you are applying for early decision and that you know the deadlines for financial aid applications, which may be different. Complete the FAFSA in January.

Early decision works well for students who are certain they know their top choice of college. In some cases, applying early may increase your chances for getting into a school. It also saves you stress because you won’t have to wait as long to receive your decision. Still, early decision is not for everyone, be certain to talk with your parents, school counsellors and college admissions people prior to committing to early decision.

The Art of Narrowing Your List of Colleges Reply

Narrowing your college list.

Deciding on a college.

As a high school junior just starting a new school year, it is easy to see your college career as something still far on the horizon. Certainly you are preparing (or have already taken) your SAT or ACT test. You’ve likely begun thinking about what schools you would be interested in attending, and maybe you’ve even visited one or two. Still, the actual idea of graduating high school and starting college can seem far off. It’s really not as far away

as it seems, and your junior year is a great time to do some fine-tuning of your list of colleges. Fine-tuning now can save you stress and frustration later.

If you’ve been doing your research, you may have quite a list. It’s not uncommon for a student to have a list of 10 or more desirable colleges. Now it’s time to narrow that list to something a little more manageable before beginning the application process. Applying to too many schools can be stressful and make a tough decision even tougher. Here are a few things to consider while narrowing your list.

Location

Some students want to stay close to home. Some want to go to specific areas of the country. For some, location isn’t as big of a deal. If location is important to you it’s time to think this through and possibly get rid of colleges that are not in a location you are interested in living.

Specific Degree Programs and Features

Obviously, if you’ve placed a school on your “potential school list,” you’ve chosen a school that offers the degree you want. Now it’s time to research further. Does the school have a good reputation for your specific degree? You may also want to consider special ancillary features each college offers. If you are interested in studying abroad, specific work-study programs or ROTC, you’ll want to narrow your list to colleges that fulfil those needs.

Cost

Let’s face it, one of the major considerations when choosing a college is the tuition and other costs. Determining the net cost of a year of college at a particular institution can be tricky. It’s not just a matter of looking at the tuition cost. On the surface, one school may be more expensive than another, but that school may also offer more grants and scholarships. Depending on your situation, it is conceivable that a more expensive private college could actually be cheaper than a public college with a lower tuition because of a more comprehensive financial aid program.

Composite image of student holding laptopLong Shots vs Sure Things

Depending on your goals, you may wish to apply to some schools that are more difficult to get into. Remember, even if you have great grades, you are not guaranteed admission into a school like Harvard or Yale. If schools like these are on your list, then it’s a good idea to also have some second choices on your short list that meet your goals, but tend to be easier to get into.

Every student is different, so likely there are other considerations to be made when reducing your prospective college list. Take some time now to think it through and narrow your list. This way you can focus your time and effort on applying only to those schools you most want to attend.

It’s March – Which College Should You Apply To and When? 1

So you’ve gathered a list of prospective colleges and you are ready to apply. But with applications fees stacking up creating a financial burden, which ones are the right ones to apply to?

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Girl pushing university button on search toolbar of virtual screen.

By now you should have a good list of 5 to 10 or more colleges that you are considering attending once you graduate high school. These colleges should include colleges that are a long shot, some conservative selections, as well as safety nets like local universities and community colleges. The reality is, everyone wants to go to the best college, but a lot have to go to a more conservative option due to a number of reasons, including the cost of attendance, how far the college is from family, and what the college has to offer.

Whatever the case, March of your junior year in high school is a good time to start narrowing down your list of schools. But, how do you know which school is the right school for you?

There are many factors that come into play when choosing which school you want to attend, and ultimately the decision is up to you. However, there are a few things you should keep in consideration no matter what your particular situation is, for example, the cost of attendance, what majors the school has to offer, and the geographic location of the school in terms of where you want to live and how close you want to be from home. Other things to consider are extracurricular activities, such as clubs, sports, and special programs, housing options, and last but not least, the facilities on campus, like science labs, theaters, and gyms.

Each of these things should be carefully considered when deciding where to apply to. You don’t want to end up paying for application fees to places you don’t plan to go to anyway. Some of the can be upwards of over $100 to submit your application.

Get the best information on how to choose the right college for you with Peterson’s.