Saving on College Textbooks

March 9th, 2014

Cost of textbooks can be flat out ridiculous.  Here are some tips on saving money:

Go Online

Half.com

eCampus.com

Screw the Bookstores

Bookbyte

CheapestTextbooks.com

Campus Books

Go Used

Why pay double for a book that looks a little nicer?

Get a Feel for the Class before Buying

Some classes rely heavily on the book but some professor provide really good material and lectures where you can ace the tests without the book.  Attend the class a couple times to determine which category the class will fall into before committing to buying the book.

Only Get the Required Books

Sometimes professors with list a few recommended but not required textbooks.   Make sure you absolutely need the book before buying it.  Who wants to pay for a book you never open?

Go without all the Extras

Sometimes books come with workbooks, CDs, DVDs, etc. that you may never touch.  Hold off on the extras unless specified otherwise by the professor.

 

Finding Free Money for College

February 2nd, 2014

As the costs of a college education continue to skyrocket around the country, potential and current college students struggle to find sources for funding. With some research and planning, students may discover free sources of money for college in numerous available scholarship opportunities.
Many factors are included in the total cost of a college education. For example, college tuition, fees, housing, meals, books, school supplies, and other miscellaneous necessities are all on the list of ever-growing expenses for students today. Extra money to help defray the costs of these items would, of course, be extremely helpful to students.

First and foremost, it is necessary for all students who plan to attend a post-secondary institution to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is the most important form students and parents should complete in order to qualify for almost ALL types of financial aid. Federal, state, local, and private entities use the information to determine eligibility for grants and scholarships. It is available January 1st for the upcoming academic year. The Class of 2014 must wait until after January 1, 2014 to complete it. The FAFSA must be completed each year that the student is enrolled in a post-secondary institution. States and post-secondary institutions have various deadline dates. More information can be found at www.fafsa.gov.

With this in mind, scholarships are free money available for funding college. It is never too early to start looking for scholarships. Various scholarship programs are open to both high school and younger students. There may also be opportunities for students already enrolled in college to find scholarships.

Be aware of scholarship scams. Some examples of scams include, “This scholarship is guaranteed, or your money back”—you should NEVER have to pay any money to get a scholarship or “We will do all of the work for you”. As we know, there is “no such thing as a free lunch”—no one is going to do ALL of the work for you. A student’s input is essential to any reputable scholarships.
Another caution is that every college and university has an outside scholarship policy that dictates what happens to need-based financial aid packages when students win a merit scholarship. Federal laws require the school to reduce the financial aid package when the sum of financial aid from all sources is more than the school’s cost of education by more than $300.

Excellent sources for finding scholarships are corporate organizations or employers, various civic associations, disabilities agencies, post –secondary institutions, religious organizations, and states of residence. There may also be scholarship opportunities for field of study or intended career, gender, international students, military participants, minority status, national or ethnic background, returning adult students, state of residence, etc. Not all scholarships require students to have all A’s in school. With the proper research and guidance, students can find scholarships awarded for numerous reasons; many of which may be a perfect match.

The best advice for completing scholarship applications is to apply early, follow all directions, be organized, check all work and have someone else check the application, keep copies of everything, and if required, reapply each year. Some websites which offer information on scholarships are: fastweb.com, cappex.com, bigfuture.org, finaid.com, and meritaid.com.

One final piece of advice to students—you will never get a scholarship unless you try. Never hesitate to apply for as many scholarships as possible, regardless of how small. Very often scholarship money goes unused. It would be unfortunate to let free money go to waste. A little extra work will pay off in the end. Good Luck!

Article provide by NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates: Excellence in Career and College Preparation is available to help students find their ideal career and college major. Our services include aiding the college admissions process, advising students on college admissions testing, resumes, essays, financial aid and scholarships. Contact Jennifer Severini-Kresock at (570) 702-5700 or jkresock@gmail.com for more information on this article and on career and college preparation services. Like us on Facebook at NEPA Career and College Counseling and follow us on Twitter @NEPACareerandco.
Our new Website—www.NEPACareerandCollegeCounseling.com



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Using School Resources

December 1st, 2013

Using the Resources That Your School Has to Offer

Guest Article by StateFuse

Once you enter a college or university, you walk into a new world full of countless opportunities. There are resources available for you specific to your field, general resources, and great ways to get ahead in life and for your future career and endeavors. The moment that you begin your new school, seek out these wonderful tools and take advantage of what it could potentially do for you.

Some of these resources include the library, the variety of clubs and organizations on campus, additional seminars, and professor office hours.

  1. Every school has a library. And in this library are an endless number of books on shelves, e-books, databases, articles; there is so much information that you can acquire at your fingertips. And the best part about this? It’s free! It is all included in your tuition.
  2. Every school has a great number of clubs and organizations on campus. There is so much variety in these and enough to find a few that are perfect for every individual. Some of these clubs and organizations include different fraternities and sororities, biology club, accounting group, school newspaper, fencing club, ISA, Associated Students, Tennis club, and much more. These clubs and organizations are a great way to meet new people, have fun, get away from your busy classes for a bit, and often times they come with additional advantages and resources to help you get ahead.
  3. Usually schools have additional seminars that they offer. They range from resume building classes to helping you map out your college career. They are extremely helpful especially if you are new to resume building and enter college completely clueless; it happens! Building your resume properly for example is very important when applying for internships and jobs. Your resume acts as a threshold for the rest of your professional career. As for mapping out your college career, this is also very important for knowing which classes you plan on taking and so on.
  4. Every professor that you take at your college or university holds office hours for his students. These office hours are extremely helpful for any questions that you might have! Not just class related but also anything else that you might want more information on. Professors are well educated and have had many experiences. Often times they even know of important people or organizations that can potentially help you greatly in different fields of interest.

These four are only a fraction of the many resources that are available at colleges and universities. You must take advantage of them and use them to the best of your ability. If you graduate without having gone to the library often, being a part of any clubs, ignoring the seminars that are offered on campus, or never visiting your professors when he/she made time for you, chances are that you will regret it. You want to graduate with confidence that nothing went to waste!



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Is College a Good Choice for You?

November 2nd, 2013

There are many reasons to go to college but it not only route to take.  Not everyone needs a bachelor’s degree to be successful or achieve their dreams, especially if your reasoning is “everyone else is doing it.”

Reasons to go to College

A lot of jobs require degrees.  If you want to be a teacher odds are you’re going to need a degree.

You can meet people in you field of work like your future employer, manager, or co-workers.  You could network your way to have an “in” at your dream job.

You have to the opportunity to explore many different fields and then narrow it down.

You get to slowly ease into the “real world.”  You’re not living at home anymore, you’re professors aren’t going to baby you, you won’t have a study hall, and your classes will be harder.  Plus you will have to balance everything out and develop great time management skills.

Reasons Not to go to College

Costs are pushing $15,000-$40,000 per year.  Later on we will talk about affording college but still with that type of money on the line you better be pretty sure you’re making the right decision.

If you’re not motivated then there’s a good chance to fail and waste a lot of time and money.

If you have a workable career path that doesn’t require a college degree there’s no reason to go just to go.

College Alternatives

Technical schools-If you want to be an electrician, welder, or chef, for example, a college degree probably won’t do you too much good.

If you want to be go into an artistic field then a degree may not be the best bet.  How many big time artists or musicians do you think have degrees?

Community colleges are always an option.  There are jobs available with an associate’s degree.

If you’re a self-starter/entrepreneur a degree is not required. Bill Gates was a high school dropout.  If you become 1% as successful as he was you’ll be doing okay.

The military is always an option as well.

Common Excuses People Use for Not Going to College

They can’t afford going to college.

Yes college is expensive, but it is doable.  Check out this article on paying for college.

College is too hard.

Yes it is hard but the best path is often the hardest one, where there’s a will there’s a way, it is what you make it…I think you get the point.

In conclusion, for a lot of people college is a fantastic way to learn and grown but it’s not a necessity for everyone.  There isn’t a one-size-fits-all for every young adult in the world.  There are many pros of a college degree as well as many cons.  Weigh those pros and cons and determine what works best for YOUR future.



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Find the Right Career

October 20th, 2013

Choosing the right career can be difficult for many 17 or 18 year olds as they also contemplate what college to attend and what major to study.  Some may already know what they want to do; others will struggle with the plethora of choices.

When making these difficult choices, it would be wise for the student to consider his or her passions, hobbies, values, life expectations, the possible sacrifices, and the subjects preferred in school.  Career decisions can be derived from what the student likes to do as a hobby or in his/her free time. The best career would be developed from either the student’s passion or something which magnifies his/her strengths.  It is so important for the student to pursue a career that is connected to his or her heart.

Life expectations and personal sacrifices are two areas which also must be contemplated.  Do I want a conventional life?  Do I want an adventurous life?  Do I like to travel or am I more of a home body?  These are just some examples of the questions which students must ask themselves as they decide on a career path.

Analyzing the academic courses that match interests is an excellent way to determine which careers students may be interested in pursuing.  A career assessment may help the student reach a decision.

Once the student has some ideas on possible careers, it would be prudent to do some research on each career, take career-related courses, engage in career-related activities; including internships (temporary work experiences related to field of study or career interest) or career shadowing experiences (these may vary in length, involve shadowing professionals, and may include informational interviews, tours of facilities, and participation in actual “on the job” projects).  These types of experiences will allow the student to see what a particular career is like on any given day.

Seek advice from a school or a private career/college counselor about various opportunities to learn about potential careers, network with friends and relatives for available internships or career shadowing, contact a prospective company of alumni for available internship positions, do volunteer work, work a part-time job in the field, and join career-affiliated associations.  It is very important for students to make connections with people in their intended career fields. It is also important for the student to stay current with any changes and new research in the field, research companies, and maintain an updated resume. In order to prepare for a college major and a future career, the student should always select challenging classes. Students should participate in extracurricular activities that will help them to increase their knowledge and prepare them for a career.

(This article is courtesy of NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates)

NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates: Excellence in Career and College Preparation is available to help students find their ideal career and college major. Career shadowing experiences for interested students can be arranged.  Contact Jennifer Severini-Kresock at (570) 702-5700 or jkresock@gmail.com for more information on this article and our career and college preparation services.   Like them on Facebook at NEPA Career and College Counseling and follow them on Twitter @NEPACareerandco.

Their new Website—NEPACareerandCollegeCounseling.com

 



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What to Ask Your Roommate Before Move-In Day

August 4th, 2013

What are you bringing and what is okay to share and not?

I’m sure you won’t need 2 microwaves, irons, vacuums, etc.  Figure out who is bringing what so you can pack as lightly as possible and not unnecessarily double up on items.  You will thank yourself on move in and move out day.  Also, it is a good idea to start getting some ground rules established so you aren’t irritating each other using things you shouldn’t be using.

What are your sleeping habits and class schedule?

If you both have early classes, go to bed early, and get up early or vise-versa then there won’t be an issue…but if one of you gets up at the crack of dawn and the other stays up all night and sleeps all day then it’s good to be aware of this beforehand and both respect each other’s sleeping habits.

What is your major and what classes are you taking?        

You can see what is important to your roomie career-wise.  If you are taking some of the same classes you guys can share notes and help each other study.

What are your hobbies?

This can give you a good feel for your roommate and figure out what similarities you have and things you both will enjoy.  Maybe they play drums and you play guitar…maybe you’ll form the next big arena rock band?

What type of music do you like?

If you dig country and he or she likes hip-hop you may want to consider bringing some headphones.



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What to Do the Summer Before College

June 23rd, 2013

Graduation is right around the corner for high school seniors. With that comes the question of what they should do after they graduate. The most important thing to remember here is that high school is not the end of the road; it’s the beginning. Your real world opportunities and experiences will begin with college, as you pursue a degree and a job.

Nevertheless, the first thing you should do after high school is take a break. Take some time to relax and reward yourself for finishing four years of high school. There is no better time to go on a road-trip with your friends or on a vacation with your family than the summer after high school.

After a few weeks off, however, you should begin to prepare yourself mentally for the beginning of college. In college, it is arguably even more important to succeed academically and be involved with campus activities, because it is your resume that will land you internships and jobs.

Another way to use your summer effectively is to definitively figure out what you want to study in college. Many students come into college unsure about what they want to study and what career they want to pursue. Although that is perfectly fine, it certainly saves time and makes things easier if you can come into college with clearly defined goals and ambitions.

You will have plenty of time after high school, so use this time wisely for introspection. Figure out what you are passionate about and what you can envision yourself doing as a career many years down the road.

The best way to determine your career goals is simply through personal exposure to the field you are interested in. For example, if you think you might enjoy marketing, apply to be a marketing intern at a local firm.

If you wish to become a doctor, try working in a clinical setting at your local hospital. Experiences like these will give you a good feel for the types of occupations you might enjoy in the future.

Take a big break and enjoy your summer, but don’t neglect the imminence of college next fall.

Guest Article from: StatFuse.com



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The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Applying for College

June 8th, 2013

This is a guest article from Jennifer L. Severini-Kresock, owner of NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates who was a high school counselor for twenty years and now is a private career and college counselor.

Throughout my twenty year career as a high school counselor, I have been asked many questions about the college application process.  If you are a student or parent who has begun planning a college or career path, you are likely to have the same questions.  I would like to share some of those questions and my answers to them in this column.

When should my son or daughter start to think about college? 

My simple answer has always been “The earlier the better”. It is important to start thinking about college no later than the sophomore year of high school. For most families, a good time to begin would be toward the end of the student’s sophomore year or early in the student’s junior year. Ideally, college visits should begin by winter or spring of the student’s junior year.  It is important to ask as many questions as possible while visiting schools of choice. The prospective student should talk to students already on campus, visit classes in his or her intended major, check out the multi-media facilities, etc.

 What are the steps in the college search?

This is a lengthy process but here are the basics: First of all, Prepare yourself–Take the right courses in high school, take the necessary standardized tests—PSAT, SAT, and/or ACT, become involved in community and extra-curricular activities—Develop a resume, attend college fairs, and visit colleges. Plan- Research the admissions requirements for each college, in most cases this will involve composing essays, securing letters of recommendation, fulfilling additional testing requirements, and obtaining financial aid and available scholarships. Applications—Watch deadlines for regular action, early action, and early decision; make rough draft copies of applications, even if you are applying on line.  Work diligently on any required essays-choose topics carefully, and be sure to proof read applications and essays. Always have someone review and check your applications and essays for any errors. Decision Making—Once you receive your acceptance letter(s), review the financial aid package(s) you have received from each school.  Weigh the pros and cons of each school.  You may want to consider revisiting the campus of each potential school. You can also request to sit in on classes in your major.  Consider talking to students on campus about their opinions regarding this school.  You should also take time to check out the social scene on each campus. Determine if you can see yourself as part of the student body.

When should the student take the SAT?

I would recommend at least once in the junior year (preferably March, May, or June).  Students may want to consider taking it twice in junior year, such as in January and then one of the other dates.  Depending on the scores received, they may wish to take it again in the fall of senior year (October would be best).  Some schools also require students to take Subject tests (SAT II). They should be taken when the student completes the specific course in high school.  For example, if a student takes Biology as a sophomore, he or she should take the Subject test in Biology, if required by the college, at the end of the sophomore year.

When does the student need to make their decision for what school they will attend?

This can be complicated, because not all schools send their acceptances at the same time. Some have rolling admissions which means the decisions arrive quickly, usually within a month or two of applying. Other schools have much later notification dates (March or April).  For some students, it may be necessary to make a decision within days or weeks of an acceptance to receive the open seat in the major or to guarantee residency on campus.  Ultimately, the final deadline to confirm your college decision and to make enrollment deposits is May 1st, National Candidate Reply Day.

As the college admissions process becomes increasingly more competitive as the number of applicants rise, many parents and students may wish to consider a private career and college counselor for a lifeline in navigating the stressful process of researching and applying to colleges. Private counselors help alleviate that stress for students and parents by providing information, helping them find the best fit colleges, and then guiding families through this often daunting process.   A private career and college counselor will also be aware of the many types of financial aid and the numerous scholarships which may be available to students.  A small investment in a private career and college counselor can pay for itself when it comes to finding and receiving scholarship opportunities.

Few high school students know what they want to be when they grow up, let alone what major or college they are interested in. Private counselors can help students identify their strengths and weaknesses in order to assess what careers and schools might be a good fit.

Written by:

Jennifer L. Severini-Kresock, MS

Private Career and College Counselor

Owner NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates , Clarks Summit, PA

“Like” them on Facebook   NEPA Career and College Counseling and Follow them on Twitter @NEPACareerandco.



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Paying For College

May 4th, 2013

Obviously college is expensive.  It seems that we’re conditioned to borrow, borrow, and borrow some more to pay for college but graduating with all that debt automatically puts us a step behind from the get-go and can affect us for 15-30 years afterwards.   Keep in mind you end up paying back way more than you borrowed due to interest and not a little more either; we’re talking double and triple.   Here are some tips on how to pay for college with little or no debt:

Scholarships

There are a ridiculous amount of scholarships out there.  Apply for as many scholarships as physically possible. Large ones, small ones, and everything in between.  If you win twenty $300 scholarships that adds up to $6,000.  Yes, it will take lots of time but the return on investment is well worth it.  Plus unlike school loans you don’t have to pay them back with added interest.  Check out FastWeb for info on scholarships.

Consider a Community College the First 2 Years

Getting out of the house and gaining independence is important but the average cost of living for college students was $9,000 per year in 2011.  Is it really worth $9,000/year when your parents are probably charging you $0?

Consider a Trade School

A lot of people today are attending trade schools for a couple years, spending way less money, graduating in half the time, and making more money.  It’s worth a look right?

Work

Yeah college is tough enough without adding work to the equation but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?  You’ll develop awesome time management skills, job experience, a super work ethic, and make money; plus employers will take notice and you’ll be a more appealing candidate to hire.  Also, when you have little or no college debt after graduating  you can relax a lot more than all your debt loaded buddies.

Be Frugal

Make a budget and stick to it.  Get a not so awesome apartment, eat out less, don’t drink it’s bad for you but if you’re not going to listen then buy the cheap stuff, buy cheap groceries, live off Ramen if you have to, keep the thermostat a little higher in the summer and lower in the winter, and don’t get one of those credit cards that will be solicited to you all the time.

In conclusion, if you implement these tips then you’ll be very happy to did when you graduate.  Best wishes!



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Making New Friends in College

February 9th, 2012

Facing college is scary. Not only are you leaving the safety net of your parents, but you are also leaving friends that you have had all your life. Making new friends eases the difficulty of this transition. Even if you are shy, you will have many opportunities to make new friends. You just have to take advantage of them.

Attend orientation. Orientation not only helps you learn what the school expects of you, but also offers many opportunities to meet other new students looking to make new friends. Take advantage of any freshmen lunches or dances offered to meet new people.

Do not go home for at least a month. Go to parties, ballgames and hang out at the student union to meet new friends. If you do decide to stay on campus to meet people, call your mom to find out how to do laundry. You might not make a very good impression if all of your clothes are pink.

Join groups and clubs. While many new students join clubs related to their major, joining unrelated groups allows you to meet more people and expand your interests. If your school does not have a group that you like, start your own.

Attend functions by yourself. In the first few weeks of school, most students will be going to activities by themselves. Typically, you can meet more people if you do not have someone with you that you can talk with.

Open your door. Students see an open door as an invitation to come in and talk. Leave your door open when possible to encourage visitors. Walk around your dorm looking for rooms that you can visit. While you may find some people that you do not want to socialize with, you will find some that will become best buddies.

Study in common areas when possible. Reading your assignments in a public place encourages others to come talk to you. However, if you are studying for a big exam, you should find a quiet place with few interruptions.

Look up your school`s Facebook or other social media website. The internet allows you to find activities that you might not hear about otherwise. Send friend requests to other students and grow your own personal network.

Talk to people. This may sound simple, but all of the parties and clubs will not help you make friends if you stay in a corner and don`t talk to people. Even if you are not typically an outgoing person, college is a time to become the person you want to be. New people will not know that you were the class geek or the most unpopular person in high school unless you tell them. New friends will only know the new you.

Find a job. Colleges offer work-study jobs that limit your hours but enable you to earn some money. An additional advantage of working on campus is meeting people. Usually, your co-workers will be other students that understand what you are going through. Use the extra spending money to go to the local coffee house or another place where you can meet even more people.

Join an intramural sports team. You don`t have to be an exceptional athlete to join a team and have fun. The time spent with your teammates can help them become your family away from home. If you don`t want to play sports, attend games and join booster clubs to widen your circle of friends.

Even if you choose one of the online colleges, you can make friends through online study groups and web classes. The main thing to remember when making friends is that you must reach out to others rather than wait on them to reach out to you.




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