How to Streamline the Financial Aid Process

"New Laptop" by Jeff Hitchcock. http://www.flickr.com/photos/arbron/56216377/

“New Laptop” by Jeff Hitchcock. http://www.flickr.com/photos/arbron/56216377/

Jan. 1, 2014 kicks off the start of another financial aid processing year. It is important to plan ahead if you are applying for financial aid for the first time or simply renewing an application. The financial aid application process does not have to be overwhelming if you plan ahead to avoid some of the common mistakes.

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Earn an Easy “A” Over the Holidays

On the platform, reading -- by Mo Riza http://goo.gl/CnGvHd

On the platform, reading — by Mo Riza http://goo.gl/CnGvHd

To keep you from getting intellectually out of shape over winter break, I have a very simple assignment for you: read a book.

You can choose to read an old-timey book made of paper, or read an ebook made of light and pixels if you prefer. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, dram, or something else entirely.

There’s only one essential criterion: the book must be one you really, truly want to read.

In other words, don’t read Proust just so you can brag about it to your professors. Likewise, don’t read some trashy celebrity memoir just because you assume that’s the kind of thing you should read to relax. For this assignment, don’t think in terms of “should.” Go with what you want.

Whether you decide on a book that’s literary, trashy or another delightful adjective, it’s enough for you to feel curious about it. Continue reading

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Defer Does Not Mean Deny!

money3Each year about this time, high school seniors who apply to colleges under Early Decision or Early Action plans are learning that they have been deferred. This means that these students have not been admitted or denied; it also means that schools would like more information from the student. Deferred students should move forward in a variety of ways if they hope to be admitted to their top choice school:

  • Reach out to the college—If you have a connection with an admission counselor or territory manager, call or email them to see how you can enhance your academic credentials. Deferred students have not been denied! Have hope and stay positive. Continue reading
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Student Loans Can Be Your Friend. Really.

Photo by Dave Johnston http://bit.ly/1dl7Ygz

Photo by Dave Johnston http://bit.ly/1dl7Ygz

From the kind of things you read about college grads with $100,000 of debt and no jobs, you’d think that the student loans were the enemy.  Au contraire!

I’m not saying that student loans are the answer to everything you need to pay for college, but I am saying that, used properly, they are a tool to get you where you need to go.  These few simple rules will keep you from ending up on the nightly news due to your impossible debt load! Continue reading

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Are you inoculated … against self-doubt?

Photo by USACE Europe District. http://bit.ly/16VDDA1

Photo by USACE Europe District. http://bit.ly/16VDDA1

Flu season is upon us and students around the country are being encouraged to get a flu shot. An extended illness can seriously affect class attendance and productivity. In extreme cases, it might require a student to drop one or more courses. However, physical illness is only one of the challenges that can impact student persistence and success.

Adjusting to the demands of college life presents difficulties for all students. In the face of these difficulties, many students question whether they belong in college. This is even more likely for first-generation students and those who have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education.

As humans, we often misinterpret unfamiliar situations. For instance, research on social norming shows that students routinely overestimate how many of their peers are engaged in risky behaviors such as misuse of alcohol. “Students typically thought that the norms for both the frequency and the quantity of drinking among their peers were higher than they actually were. … Correcting such misperceptions … might reduce heavy drinking and related harm.”

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The Pre-Thanksgiving Countdown to Finals

"Fencing Duel" by uwdigitalcollections http://goo.gl/gXfNGK

“Fencing Duel” by uwdigitalcollections http://goo.gl/gXfNGK

“A blog post about finals in early November?” you query. “But it’s too early to think about finals.”

Au contraire. At most colleges and universities in the United States, fall semester finals are scheduled for sometime during the second or third week of December. That’s next month.

“Don’t get so overdramatic!” you reply. “That’s, like, five weeks away.”

Well, don’t forget about Thanksgiving break. Let’s not pretend anyone’s head is completely in the game during that week.

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There’s nothing to do!

TraxFoamParty013Have you ever found yourself saying, “there’s nothing to do” or “I’m bored”?

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, research finds that “kids who complain of boredom aren’t necessarily lazy or slacking off, but are actually in a tense, negative state.” They are often unable to focus their attention and engage in satisfying activities.

While universities provide programs and activities to help engage students and overcome their boredom, studies show that students need to take control and become self-starters.

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