How to Make Your Education More Affordable Than Ever

One of the hardest things about getting a degree is finding out things you wish you’d known before you started. That’s particularly true when it comes to figuring out how to pay for the education you need in order to achieve your dreams. Most people simply fill out their FAFSAs and wait for the package to be announced, but there’s plenty more that you can do to save classes

There’s More Than You Think
This is the first mistake that people make when it comes to financing an education. It is wrong to assume that you have to take what is offered. You can actually get more out of financial aid by simply asking for it. There are also special “summer only” scholarships that you should jump on to pay for another class. Talk to your financial aid officer and ask them what you are allowed to get, as opposed to what’s offered to you. You’ll be glad you did.

An Early Start Is Best
Another way of stretching your dollars is to make sure you get everything you can out of high school. Some school districts now offer to pay for a year of community college – that’s an entire year of college for free. You should also pay the small sum for any Advanced Placement test you’re capable of passing. It may be a gamble, but many colleges accept scores as low as a 3 on the AP, and will grant credit hours in that subject.

Going Online Gives You an Advantage
Online schooling is another great way to shave expenses. This saves gas money and often allows you to necessary classes so they don’t conflict with the rest of your daily schedule. Many students get caught in the trap of needing two courses that are offered at the same time on the same day. But taking some of your courses online will help you to avoid this problem. There are plenty of options to choose from – a master of public administration program, teaching programs, engineering degrees, and more. This will allow you to find the right subject for you and save money doing it.

Using these tips, you may be able to graduate early and start earning money while everyone else is still sweating out their finals.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan also enjoys researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

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Original Post Date: July 2nd, 2015

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Back to Basics: Tips for Finishing up Your College Gen Eds

Categories: College Life

College students should aim to get their core classes out of the way early. It’s not always possible to know what field you want to enter in those first formative years of college. By taking time to get a sampling of different majors, it’s possible to seek out a degree that resonates with you and gives you a chance at a career you’ll truly love.

college gen ed classes

Take Your College Generals First
If you already know what career field you want to go into, then you may have to stagger your core classes over several years. Some degrees require you to take a certain number of degree-specific courses each semester to graduate on time. For those who have the flexibility to get their core classes out of the way early, it’s a good idea to get them done with as quickly as possible. Consider taking summer classes to finish your coursework earlier and spend less on tuition.

Use Your Credits Wisely
Try to put your credits to good use. If you know certain general courses will be easier for you, try to do more in one semester. You can build up the credit you earn and finish the simple ones first. If you have any extra credits from Advanced Placement or other courses, make sure you talk to a counselor so they count on your permanent record.

Challenge Yourself
If you can test out of an entry level course early on, you should aim to do so. While it might be easier to take a core class that doesn’t require much effort, challenging yourself will help in the long run. By taking coursework that is challenging, you train your mind to be more effective, alert, and capable of solving complex problems. The goal is to get a well-rounded education and to increase your awareness of the world around you. You’ll only sell yourself short if you go the easy route.

Take Online Courses
When there aren’t enough hours in the day to attend classes, online classes are a good option. You can even get your entire degree online with a program like Rutgers online, and free up time to get some on-the-job training, or intern in your spare time. Make sure that any online course you take will transfer to your main program. This is best accomplished by meeting with your academic adviser and asking directly if any courses you plan to take will transfer. Many colleges allow a certain number of transfer credits for your degree.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”

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Original Post Date: July 1st, 2015

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7 Great Small Colleges in the Midwest

There are many reasons so many people love the Midwest – the people are friendly, the fall scenery is beautiful, and there are plenty of schools to choose from. With so many higher education institutions available, it’s tough to choose the top few, but we’ve highlighted a few great small colleges in the Midwest.

Benedictine University

Location: Lisle, IL
Size: 6,900 students

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  • Benedictine offers the best of both worlds: It’s in the suburbs so you can relax and enjoy a quiet atmosphere, but it’s just a short train ride away from downtown Chicago, where you can enjoy all the fun and nightlife the city has to offer.
  • Looking for personalized attention? With a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1, you’re bound to get plenty of facetime with your professors.
  • Forbes ranked Benedictine one of America’s Top Colleges four years in a row.
  • Benedictine is small, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t expanding – it’s the fastest-growing campus in the country, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • Find out your chances of getting into Benedictine University.

University of St. Francis

Location: Joliet, IL
Size: 3,200 students

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  • The University of St. Francis offers financial aid to 100 percent of incoming students. Who says college can’t be affordable?
  • The campus is located in the suburbs, but only a train ride away from the excitement of downtown Chicago.
  • With study abroad options, weekend classes, and online classes, studying when and where you want has never been easier.
  • For a small school, it’s packed with things to do. Athletics, clubs, volunteer organizations, and more make life on campus pretty exciting.
  • Find out your chances of getting into the University of St. Francis.

Illinois College

Location: Jacksonville, IL
Size: 1,000 students

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  • Illinois College was ranked as one of the top 25 liberal arts schools in the country by Washington Monthly.
  • Like sports? Volunteering? Activism? No matter what your interests are, one of Illinois College’s more than 80 student organizations is sure to be a good fit.
  • Maybe you’re interested in studying abroad but not sure about leaving friends and family for an entire semester. Illinois College offers international experiences that range from 10 days to an entire year, meaning you don’t need to worry about homesickness.
  • Find out your chances of getting into Illinois College.

Taylor University

Location: Upland, IN
Size: 2,600 students

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  • Eighty percent of Taylor students have an overseas experience, making this school the perfect fit if you’re thinking about a study abroad program.
  • Taylor has been ranked the No. 1 Midwest College by US News and World Report for eight years running.
  • Worried about job prospects after college? Ninety-seven percent of Taylor grads are employed or in grad school within six months of completing their degree.
  • Students are typically high achievers – the average freshman GPA is 3.7 and 34 percent were in the top 10 percent of their class.
  • Find out your chances of getting into Taylor University.

Augustana College

Location: Sioux Falls, SD
Size: 1,700 students

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  • More than half of students travel abroad before graduating, and Augustana has partnered with more than 550 pre-approved study abroad programs.
  • With sports teams, musical ensembles, student organizations, and myriad speakers visiting the college each year, you’ll never have time to be bored.
  • US News ranked Augustana one of the best regional colleges in the Midwest, as well as a best-value school.
  • More than 50 major options means there’s a course of study no matter what your interests are.
  • Find out your chances of getting into Augustana College.

Loras College

Location: Dubuque, IA
Size: 1,600 students

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  • Every incoming student receives some sort of financial aid, whether it’s in the form of scholarships, work-study programs, or loans.
  • More than 100 clubs, activities, and sports give everyone a chance to get involved on campus.
  • A student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1 means plenty of personalized attention.
  • Loras puts an emphasis on learning by doing, which is helpful for those who want to understand how their college education will be practical after graduation.
  • Find out your chances of getting into Loras College.

DePauw University

Location: Greencastle, IN
Size: 2,400 students

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  • Eighty percent of DePauw students complete an internship before graduation, giving them valuable work experience.
  • Almost 40 percent of the student body studies abroad for a semester or year.
  • The average need-based financial aid package totals more than $28,300, making college more affordable.
  • DePauw prides itself on attracting students that like an academic challenge, are leaders, and are interested in serving the community.
  • Find out your chances of getting into DePauw University.

Original Post Date: June 30th, 2015

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