Archive for the ‘College Life’ Category

AC Online: 529 College Savings Plans

AC Online

It’s no surprise that attending college can become ridiculously expensive. And did you also know:

“Every year, the cost of higher education continues to skyrocket. With the
average annual cost of a four-year, in-state public college (tuition, fees, and
room and board) at nearly $18,000 for the 2012-2013 school year, and the cost of
a four-year, private college approaching $40,000, the expense can be
overwhelming.” – AC Online

While those statistics may seem disheartening, our friends at Affordable College Online have created and shared an online guidebook with us titled, “529 College Savings Plans” to help us move forward with our higher education goals.

In the guidebook you will read information about how a 529 College Savings Plan works, its origin, and different variations of savings plans. You will also learn about:

  • How Can 529 Plan Funds Be Used?
  • Who Is Eligible To Have A Plan?
  • Tax Considerations for 529 Plans
  • State-Specific Information
  • Additional 529 Plan Resources

We at do our best to provide you with the necessary services and resources to help you attend the college of your dreams and be able to afford it. This guidebook provided by Affordable College Online is undoubtedly an extremely valuable asset to everyone attending college or on the brink of enrolling!

To see the full guidebook at Affordable College Online, click here. To download the “529 College Savings Plan” Guidebook click here.

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Social Media Profiles: Spruce Them Up!

Social Media

As a member of the Millenial Generation, those born between the 1980s and early 2000s, we know we like to share. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress, and Foursquare. Did we miss any? We actively share our thoughts, opinions, photos, videos, location, and just about everything else in between with our social media friends and various networks daily. Some of our notions are simple and humorous while others can be placed in the “oversharing” or “TMI (too much info)” category.

These days, colleges and universities, recruiters, and hiring managers openly admit to scouring through our social media profiles as a part of their background check to get a better understanding of who we really are, both online and in the real world. So before you apply to a college, for an internship, or your dream job take a peek through your social media profiles and ask yourself, “Is this professional enough?”

Here are a few ways you can clean up your social media profiles:


Facebook has a wide range of privacy settings, so make sure you put them all to good use. But no matter what, your name and profile photo and cover photo are still visible to everyone who searches your name. So begin with changing your profile photo to a more professional snapshot, a family photo, or a classy group pic. Take a glance at your cover photo and past cover photos to make for certain that there is nothing offensive on display but something that showcases your interests. Lastly, take a gander through your timeline and “hide” or delete past stories, events, statuses, or photos that you think your professional network may find offensive.


Start with your Twitter name, then the avatar, and then the bio. Even if your Twitter profile is set to “locked tweets” – any user can see your username, photo, and read your 140-character biography.

The same rules apply to Twitter - your username should be something simple and nothing offensive, your profile photo should be a modest headshot, and your biography should simply state your name, location, and maybe a fun tidbit about yourself or interests.

Scroll through your timeline a few times and delete tweets that you wouldn’t want your professional network to read.

Last but certainly not least, think before you tweet.


Think of LinkedIn as your online resume. Whatever you want your future college, employer, or colleagues to know about – your volunteer work, your internships, your work experience and education – you are able to include on your profile. Keep the professional trend going throughout and you should be all set!


Check out this helpful infographic via by CareerBuilder:

What are Employers Discovering about Candidates through Social Media?

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The High Price of College Textbooks: What are Universities Doing About It?

college-textbooksThe rising costs of textbooks have been a ceaseless burden for college students, with not a sign of steadying. In a report released earlier this week, the advocacy group US PIRG  found in a survey that 65 percent of college students had at one point opted out of buying a college textbook due to the price. According to College Board, students spend an average of $1,200 on books and supplies each academic year. Student PIRGs’ Make Textbooks Affordable campaign calls for the wider use of open-source textbooks as a solution.

Textbooks [of all things] shouldn’t have to be a college student’s sworn enemy. Renting books, buying older editions, and sharing with friends are a few ways students have gotten past the sticker shock. But what are campus bookstore’s currently doing about this issue? Their solution could be a major factor in your college decision. Find out how the following universities have made purchasing textbooks more affordable for students:

Kansas State University
Beginning with its textbook awareness campaign back in 2007, Kansas State University encouraged early decision making for textbook choices and established an online textbook listing website. KSU continues to stay ahead by offering used, rentals, and electronic textbooks. The campus bookstore even offers an online tool for easy textbook price comparison across other online retailers!

University of Arkansas
Over the past several years, the University of Arkansas Bookstore has focused on a number of initiatives to keep the cost of textbooks down by including early textbook adoptions, used textbook availability, discount pricing, student textbook exchanges, and electronic textbooks.  Now students can take advantage of the bookstore’s Buyback Database, which allows students to search their database at anytime to determine the possible Textbook Buyback price.

University of California, Davis (UC Davis) 
With a bookstore that ranks among the top in the nation in affordability, UC Davis’ place on this list comes as no surprise. The academic departments and bookstore communicate regularly to make sure book orders are received quickly to maximize the supply of used textbooks and make certain that buyback prices are as high as possible. The bookstore offers year-round textbook buybacks and  a buyback price lookup.

University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
The UCLA bookstore proactively collects textbook requests from faculty members, offers rental, used, and digital textbooks and guaranteed buybacks. They also offer to price match – if you find a textbook with a lower price at another store or online, they’ll match it!

UCLA students can also apply for the USAC Scholarship, a $200 textbook scholarship. The UCLA Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC) gives away about 50 textbook scholarships each quarter. The program started in 2008 and as of recently, undocumented students are now eligible to apply.

University of Virginia (UVA)
The UVA bookstore combats expensive textbooks in multiple ways. The bookstores provides as many used textbooks as possible, textbook rentals, and eBooks. The UVA bookstore was one of the first to offer students an e-textbook option, Jumpbooks. With this option, students can read content online and download sections to be read offline on a laptop, mobile, or tablet device!




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