11th Grade, heading to college -- What should I be doing? Part 3

Are you coming back for part 3, or are you reading this Blog first?

If you are reading this one first, scroll down to find Blog 1 and Blog 2 of this series.

Keep moving. You don't have as much time as you may be thinking. Between now August 2020, when applications open for the Class of 2021, you have a lot to think about and decide. Financial aid is also tied to your good work now.

Here are the topics, and in reverse order.
5. Where are you going to apply?
4. Have I visited every college I am applying to?
3. What are my academic qualifications?
2. What will I major in?
1. What do I see as my future career?

Do you play sports? Video games? Anything competitive?      

There is a competitive aspect to college. Not every student in every class will earn an A. Not everyone will earn a C. The difference between a C and an A is determined, in part, by how well the entire class is assimilating the subject matter.

Really good teachers (the kind we all want) feel out the academic ability of the class and adjust their teaching.

  • Is the class getting it, and catching on? Accelerate the curriculum.
  • Is the class giving you that deer-in-the-headlights look? Slow down. Take more time to explain each concept.
  • Tests and grades are based on what has been presented.

I was a soccer referee for many years. I worked just about the entire spread of players' abilities from recreation matches for children, to college and professional players. The child who is the
star of the recreation program team might well sit the bench, or even not make a premier level, youth team. There are college athletes who, although good, will not make the cut in a professional team tryout.


Applying the analogy to colleges, there is a difference between the academic rigor of a school like the University of California at Berkley and California State University at Chico. A student who will find his comfort level at one may not feel pushed enough at the other. Turn it around, and a good fit at one may well struggle to keep up at the other.

Look at a college's most recently published, First Year Cohort. What are the SAT/ACT score ranges? What is the average GPA of the incoming class; average Class Rank?

Another tactic is call the university you are considering. Ask about academic rigor. Tell them you are determining where to apply based, in part, on that criteria. They will pick up the conversation from there.

Come back next week for answers to questions 4 and 5 above.
 

Posted in College Planning, College Planning Strategies.

Paying Your Way through College — Financing Options Available in the US

It is no secret that college education in the US is expensive. In fact, most students in the United States require student loans to finance their education. There are two types of financing solutions available to them -- federal student loans and private student loans. Even though most students choose to go with federal student loans, looking at other financing options available can help you select a financing option that works best for you.

Federal Student Loans

The five types of federal student loans include:

1. Direct Subsidized Loans

A direct subsidized loan means it is funded by the government. It is a cost-effective loan, allowing undergraduates to borrow money for tuition and related expenses. With a direct subsidized loan, interest does not accumulate for the student while they are enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, including for six months after graduating.

Interest begins to accumulate after the grace period, which means the student needs to start making the required payments unless they get a deferment. Direct subsidized loans are based on the student's or their family's financial status. For this reason, it is difficult to qualify for this loan.

2. Direct Unsubsidized Loans

A direct unsubsidized loan accumulates interest over the lifespan of the loan. The student is responsible for paying off the loan with interest. Interest can add hundreds and sometimes, even thousands of dollars to the total repayment amount.

3. Parent PLUS Loans

The Parent PLUS Loan is available to the parents of the undergraduate student. It offers a fixed rate and flexible loan limits. Parents can only qualify for this federal loan if they have a good credit history. A bad credit card history is:

· Current delinquency of 90 or more on over $2,085 in total debt.

· Over $2,085 in total debt in collections or charged off in the previous two years prior to the date of the credit report.

· Bankruptcy discharge, default, repossession, foreclosure, wage garnishment, tax lien, or write-off federal student loan debt in the previous five year prior to the date of the credit report.

Parents borrow this loan to pay for their child's education. It is recommended that students first qualify for direct loans before their parents apply for the Parent PLUS Loan because this loan has higher interest rates and fees.

Some parents apply for this loan because they do not want their children to have a massive student loan debt. Only parents, including adoptive and stepparents, can borrow this loan.

4. Graduate PLUS Loans

The Graduate PLUS Loan is available to students enrolled in graduate and professional school. It has a fixed interest rate and offers flexible loan limits. A student's eligibility for this loan does not depend on their financial needs.

However, students may still need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to qualify for it. Additionally, you will need to clear a credit check. Some benefits of applying for this loan are:

· Fixed interest rate

· Loan payments can be deferred while enrolled at an accredited graduate or professional school

· Cosigner not required

· Several loan repayment plants, including income-based

5. Direct Consolidation Loans

A direct consolidation loan allows students to consolidate several federal education loans into a single loan at no cost to them. After the completion and approval of the direct consolidation loan, students need to pay a single payment each month instead of paying several payments each month.

There is no application fee if you file it through the United States Department of Education or ED's federal loan servicers. If you choose a private company, they may charge you an application fee. Filing the application should take you less than 30 minutes and it should be done in a single session.

Private Student Loans

The two types of private student loans include private student loans and private parent loans. The requirements, conditions, and interest rates of private loans differ from lender to lender. Parents and students getting a private loan should compare several companies before applying for it.

The Differences between Federal and Private Student Loans

Following is a list of differences between federal and private student loans:

· The cost and use of credit scores to determine eligibility is a major difference between federal loans and private loans.

· Undergraduates will not have to undergo a credit check if applying for a federal loan, whereas they will need to undergo it if they are applying for a private loan.

· Graduate students will have to go through a credit check if applying for a federal loan and private loan. If they have a poor credit history, the loan may be denied to them. The required credit score to qualify for a student loan is 640 or better. The required credit score also depends on the terms and conditions of the loan.

· Fixed interest rates on federal loans. Variable or fixed and usually higher interest rates on private loans.

· Undergraduates who can prove financial need can obtain a federal subsidized loan. This means that the government pays the interest until they graduate. Private loans can never be subsidized, which means that students are responsible for paying the interest amount.

· Federal loans offer flexible payment plans and loan forgiveness programs. Private loans offer limited payment options and no loan forgiveness programs.

· Federal loans do not need to be repaid until the student graduates or drops below half-time status. Most private loans ask for repayment while students are still enrolled in school.

Quick Tips to Repay Your Student Loan

Here is how you can repay your student loan:

· Use the grace period after your graduate to repay your loan by putting aside the amount you need to pay each month.

· Research your loans to find different repayment plans for federal loans, use an income-based repayment plan to repay it, and determine if you can qualify for a deferment, loan forgiveness, or another repayment plan.

· Increase your income overtime by working two jobs, freelancing your talents, working overtime, or opening a business on the side.

· Reduce your taxable income on any interest you have paid on a student loan for that tax year.

· Seek loan forgiveness, sign up for an automatic payment plan, and avoid getting into more debt.

When seeking a loan for your studies, we would advise you to research all the possible options and select one that suits your short and long-term financial needs and goals.

Posted in College Planning. Tagged as college, college planning, Financial planning.

11th Grade, heading to college -- What should I be doing? Part 2

I'm in 11th Grade what else should I be doing now for college admissions and financial aid?

Are you coming back for part 2, or are you reading this Blog first?

If you are reading this one first, here is a synopsis of the previous Blog. But, please, after you read this, find the Dec 2-7 Blog and read it.

Keep moving. You don't have as much time as you may be thinking. Between now August 2020, when applications open for the Class of 2021, you have a lot to think about and decide. Financial aid is also tied to your good work now. Figure out what is a great career fit. Four years of college will be fun and rewarding if you graduate and land a great job.

Here are the topics, and in reverse order.
5. Where are you going to apply?
4. Have I visited every college I am applying to?
3. What are my academic qualifications?
2. What will I major in?
1. What do I see as my future career?

Once you identify well-suited career choices, address the question of what to major in to be best prepared for that future. Some choices are obvious plan to be an electrical engineer? Major in EE. Some choices are less obvious. Many students pick generic such as business major; psychology major; sociology major.


They are generic until you have a specific career track for which that degree prepares you.

  • Which specific courses, as a college junior and senior should, you take within that major?
  • Will you need to master's degree? a PhD?
  • Do you want to go to school that long?
  • Will the potential income justify the probable costs of Bachelor's + Master's degrees + PhD?
Next and this is really big does the college or university offer that major? If so, how many students do they graduate with that degree? For example, if a college has a total graduating class of 3,000 (in all majors), and your proposed major only accounts for 10 of those 3,000, is that really a program you want to invest in for 4 years, at somewhere around $80,000 - $100,000 (or more)?

Check out the college's website. Call the admission office. Gather the information.

Stay tuned for answers to questions 3,4,5 above.

If you would like our one-to-one, personal, highly tailored coaching, please tap the "Contact Us" tab at the top of this page, or "Schedule an Appointment" upper right corner on our Homepage. There is no cost and no obligation. We'll enjoy talking with you.

 

11th Grade, heading to college -- What should I be doing for admissions and financial aid?

I'm in 11th Grade what should I be doing now for college admissions and financial aid?


The first answer is, "Keep moving." What I mean is, you don't have as much time as you may be thinking. College applications are not on your radar until next August. True. However, between now and then you have a lot to think about and decide. Financial aid is tied closely to five topics.

Here are the topics, and in reverse order.
5. Where are you going to apply?
4. Have I visited every college I am applying to?
3. What are my academic qualifications?
2. What will I major in?
1. What do I see as my future career?

The most important question to answer, now, is "What career?" (Purchase my book here.)  Going to college without an outcome in focus is a HUGE mistake. Across America, for students attending a public university at in-state, resident rates, the annual, actual costs will exceed $20,000.00. At that price, how much time can you afford to meander through five or six years to a degree? Yet, that is the mistake the majority of college students in the USA make.

My students invest in a really good career assessment. It points them in the direction of what they are suited to do (aptitude), but more importantly, what they will enjoy doing for 40 years, more or less.

For example, I am good at taking and transcribing the minutes of meetings. But I do not enjoy it very much. I am willing to do it, but if given a choice, I'd rather not. Another example is I have had students who were science scholars. A medical career might be a logical choice, right? Many of them, however, freak out at the sight of blood. So maybe something else!

Do whatever it takes to figure out what you will love doing after college, and what is required by way of academic preparation to do that. What are the prospects for earning a living in that career? Is that job market expanding or shrinking? Check out www.BLS.gov. That's the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Great website, and updated regularly.

Check back next week for continued discussion of questions 2,3,4 and 5, or call us today.
 

Posted in College Planning, College Planning Strategies. Tagged as Financial Aid.

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