Educational News, Scholarships, Student Loan Reviews & More

All About the Incoming College Freshman Class of 2012

samantha peszekThe incoming freshman class of 2012 is ready to start college!  And among their ranks is my personal favorite freshman– my little sister Samantha, who’s starting college this very week at St. Mary’s College in Maryland.  You go girl!

So as an, er, “elderly” member of the Rutgers University Class of 1992, it amuses me to think about who these folks in the class of 2012 are.  Here’s a few facts about them (with a little help from the Beloit College Mindset List):

  • They were born in 1989 and 1990.
  • Bush (the first one) was the president when they were born, and the first president they remember is probably Clinton.
  • They have no memory of the Gulf War (the first one), and their first major political memory is probably 9/11.
  • They have no memory of the Soviet Union, the Cold War, or the Berlin Wall.
  • They have little or no memory of rotary phones (it’s the one with the dials, kids), typewriters, vinyl records, or those little yellow things that came in the middle of 45s. rotary phone
  • They rarely use land lines, VCRs, and cassette players..
  • Cell phones, iPods, and computers are as ubiquitous as TVs were the the generations before them.
  • They grew up with emo and hip hop.  Grunge is already retro. (They were in preschool when Kurt Cobain died.)
  • They can’t remember a world without cable TV, bottled water, Harry Potter, lots of gay people on television, and The Simpsons..
  • Interracial dating is no big deal at all.
  • They can’t remember the days before Elmo was on Sesame Street.

Associate Degrees Can Offer a Great Return on Your Investment

Associate degrees can be much more valuable than many people realize!  According to Yahoo! Education, here are the five college degrees that offer the best financial return–that is, the highest financial rewards for the least amount of money.  Note that #4 and #5 on the list are associate degrees.

  1. Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
  2. Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering
  3. Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing
  4. Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies
  5. Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology

nurseYou’re probably not surprised by the MBA, but did you know that associate degrees in paralegal studies and IT can really pay off–especially considering how little you’ll pay to earn these degrees?  Experienced professionals with these two year degrees average over $60,000 a year, and can potentially earn quite a bit more.  This is great news for students with these interests who aren’t crazy about the thought of going to school for years, and who want to get into the workplace now.  Two year degrees can really pay off.

So why isn’t the two year degree in nursing on the list?  If you’re interested in nursing, keep in mind that the four year nursing degree–which is #3 on this list–has really become the standard in the nursing field.  Two year degrees haven’t lost all their value, though– especially because you can get an associates degree in nursing, work for awhile, and then go back to finish a four year degree.

Of course, some associate degrees are more valuable than others, so if you’re interested in or attending a community college, talk to an advisor about the financial prospects of majors that interest you.  But don’t think that a four year degree is absolutely necessary to make yourself valuable in the marketplace.

MTV Might Be Pushing It

I read a recent article on that discussed how MTV plans on launching 25 new websites for 25 schools across the nation, MTVU, to serve as a College Campus guide for schools such as University of Texas at Austin, University of Central Florida, Ohio State University, Arizona State University, and University of Maryland College Park. MTVUStudents from each of the schools will submit information on a daily basis that will keep their website viewers up to date with happenings such as parties, concerts, and much more; and that the idea behind these websites is for students to know what is going on at campus so they don’t miss a thing.

My main concern though is MTV may have the few students who post things on the website and be allowed to see into their lives, but what about other students who aren’t aware the things they attend are being posted online for anyone to see. I’m sure MTV will censor some things, but things that do not get censored can ultimately lead to bad consequences. It seems MTV may be encroaching on other peoples’ privacy while they keep others updated on campus happenings. It seems that MTV, before going any further, should at least alert students as to what will be happening with these websites before beginning them. Although if MTV has already done this, then my hat is off to them.

mtvu concert

Of course on the flip side, these websites may prove beneficial to prospective students. Students who can’t pay the campus a visit before considering these schools may be able to get a feel of what campus life is like and whether or not its somewhere they feel they would belong. Allowing for students to see the campus life, and also their parents, could help students make final decisions on what colleges to attend, especially if they are torn between two colleges and do not want a ‘party’ college.

So as long as MTV properly warns students at each of the schools that their personal lives may potentially be placed online for all to see, I think what MTV may be a good thing for students to be able to view. Especially potential students that are unsure as to which college they want to attend.

Facing An Early Dose of Senioritis

I’ve been back to school now for a week and a half and already it seems the teachers enjoy piling on the homework! Not only do I have homework to manage, but golf and other outside (yet school related) projects that need to be finished! Here’s where my time management skills pay off right? Well there is also something that most seniors deal with at some point in their final year of high school and I don’t think time management skills can really help with this ‘disease’.senioritis

I’m sure for those who know how I feel (and by the title of my blog!) have already labeled this so-called ‘disease’: Senioritis. Symptoms include: not wanting to do school work, avoiding homework, and overall procrastinating more so than usual. I know this is something I shouldn’t have to face until my second semester, but it’s already starting to nip at my heels. Of course, first semester is much easier to deal with. You must keep your grades up, you must apply to your schools, there are so many things you must accomplish first semester that you don’t have time to let senioritis sink in and really effect you. It’s second semester most students struggle with.

The biggest problem a lot of seniors see is their grades slipping second semester. They assume that once they are accepted to a school, they have it made. Well keep in mind that your college will not only want a midyear report, but also a final report. The final report shows your second semester grades because the college wants to be sure you are still the same hardworking person that applied. Colleges have been known for revoking scholarships from students because they didn’t manage to keep their GPAs up to par with what the scholarship requires. Keep in mind then second semester than you aren’t totally set in stone going to a college with a set amount of money, things can easily change!

So the next time I decide to blow off a psych assignment or put off a calc assignment, I’ll be sure to recheck myself and make myself do the work. I hope all of you that face the same problems do the same! Don’t let senioritis cause too many problems!

Trying Something New!

For as long as I can remember, I have always made fun of golfers and always said it wasn’t a sport I would ever find myself playing. It’s funny how opinions change though isn’t it!? This year I picked up a golf club and joined the girls golf team at my high school!

golfNot that this idea was entirely my decision. My friend is on the golf team and finally talked me into doing it. I must say, I’m extremely glad she did because I have a new found respect for golfers.  Not only is it a difficult sport to learn but it also takes immense amounts of concentration. It’s more than just hitting the ball and putting it into a hole with a flag. This is also a sport that I will be able to continue playing, if I enjoy it, for a long time, unlike other sports like softball that I’ll eventually be too old for. Today at practice I realized that while I tell all the younger students, especially freshmen, to take advantage of all opportunities they are offered, but there are so many things that I have missed out on because I just decided not to do it.

High school has so many opportunities it offers to its students and taking advantage of these opportunities is something I really push amongst freshmen and sophomores. High school is full of learning experiences that help you shape and become the person you are or the person you will become. Due to these growing and learning experiences, taking advantage of all opportunities placed in front of you in a very smart thing to do. Now I’m not saying, be involved in absolutely everything. If you try to do that then you will wear yourself thin and wont be able to keep up with everything you are a part of. Involving yourself in a few clubs or sports and going to social activities from time to time is what I’m talking about. These things also make time for you to be with friends and make new friends, which is always a great thing!

So try something new. Join a club, learn a sport, just be sure whatever it is you do, have fun doing it and enjoy yourself! Every experience, good or bad, is a growing experience.

Financial Aid Tip: Check Statistics on Average Percentage of Need Met

The price of private schools can be extremely daunting, and may frighten off potential students.  But before you dismiss a school as unrealistically expensive here’s an important statistic you need to check out: the average percentage of financial aid that the school is able to meet.

financial aidHere’s how his works.  The student and parents will out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines the student’s eligibility for financial aid.  Then the student is admitted to a school.  Based on the amount of financial need the student has, the school may be able to provide need based awards, work study, and other financial aid (which does not include outside aid such as loans and scholarships from other sources).

Private schools often are able to provide students with a large percentage of their estimated need — so when applying to schools, one of the first things you should ask about is the average percentage of financial need that the school is able to provide.  In some cases, the school is able to provide students with most of even all of their projected financial need!

Of course, this makes a difference in the price of college.  If one school costs $40,000 a year but is able to meet 98 percent of students’ need, and another school is only $30,000 a year but only provides an average of 80 percent of financial need, the more expensive school is a much better bargain.

Presidential Elections of ’08

One of the perks that comes with turning 18 this October is that I will eligible to vote! Although this may sound extremely nerdy, this is actually something I am extremely excited for! I got my registration packet in the mail and I was ecstatic to complete it and mail it off the very same day.

I have always viewed the elections, especially of the President, to be something very Election 08important. Especially at this point in time, with where our country is at economically and internationally, getting someone who is qualified in the oval office should be a top priority of all US citizens who are eligible to vote in this next election.

I have noticed that a lot of the campaigns have been geared to getting the youth of our nation involved, which I think is a tremendous idea. It seems that many people I talk to my age or a few years older seem to have no idea what exactly is going on with the election right now; all they know is who the two candidates are and their parties. Those who are younger and are voting for their first or second time are in fact going to be the future of our country and I believe that the younger generations should be a major deciding factor in who will run our country next because they will be the ones who are most effected by the next president.

So for those you are eligible to vote, get involved and pay attention! I’m not saying you have to watch every news story or read every story in the papers and magazines, but be aware of what is going on with the election and candidates. Know what each candidate has to offer our country so that you will be able to vote for whoever you feel will do the best at running our country! Although it does seem overused and corny, your vote DOES count!

A good place to start is understanding the candidates’ positions on financial aid for college students.

Hope to see you on Election Day!

Narrowing in on Final College Choice

If you’re a student who has created a generous list of college choices, you know it’s not always an easy decision to start cutting and make a final decision. Factors like who accepts your application will certainly play a part, but your personal preferences should also be important.

New G.I. Bill 2008 is Good News for U.S. Vets

On July 31, 2008, President Bush signed the updated GI Bill — known as the GI Bill 2008 — into law.  This is great news for vets who want to get a college education!gi bill

And even more good news, folks–your new college backpacks will weigh less!

The original GI Bill was passed in 1944, and provided funding for college or vocational education (and other kinds of financial assistance) to the many soldiers who were returning from World War II.  By giving vets a leg up financially, this helped spark the strong economy the U.S. enjoyed after World War II — while at the same time rewarding the young men and women who made the sacrifice of fighting for our country.

Unfortunately, the GI Bill hasn’t kept up with the price of an education.  Until recently, the $40,000 received by vets over a four year period paid for only an average of 60 percent of the cost of a state school education.

The new GI Bill offers the following benefits:

  1. Pays for the full price of tuition at the beginning of the year, with a maximum tuition benefit set at the cost of the most expensive public school in the country
  2. $1000 provided annually for books and supplies
  3. Monthly living expenses paid (the amount of which is based on a formula that varies by the ZIP code of the school and the military’s Basic Allowance for Housing)
  4. Funding provided to reservists based on months of service; at 36 months of service, reservists get full benefits
  5. Vets get up to 15 years to use these benefits

I can’t think of a more patriotic way to honor the people who served our country — especially considering the sacrifices we’ve asked of our military over the last seven years.  Hooray!

Effective Way to Narrow Down College Choices

As the deadline creeps closer for our college folders to be turned in, I realize just how ahead of many of my classmates I am. When I started my whole college search process, it was an absolute mess. I felt overwhelmed because of just how many schools I had to choose from and all the different factors that could play into my choice.

I myself have decided to apply to 10 colleges. I have read in multiple sources that 8 is a good number of colleges to plan on applying to, while anymore than 10 is a little much. How many colleges a students decides on applying to depends heavily on just how much time the student has to devote to applying to each school. And if you realize you don’t have time to apply to a lot of schools then don’t apply to a large amount of schools. All of my colleges are small liberal arts schools, and while most are in the Midwest, I have a few that are located along the east coast. Looking back though, I have realized that keeping myself organized really helped me narrow my list down.

best collegesOne of the biggest helps was This website, after creating a free online account with them, allows you to search through profiles of colleges online and allows you to build a list of schools that you could see yourself applying to. After making such a list with them, their site then will allow you to compare schools and look at different numbers and facts about each school, which really helped to see most of the numbers I wanted to see. When it came to student opinions on the school though, I relied on my book “The Best 366 Colleges” by Princeton Review. This book not only lets you see the numbers like the websites, but it also gives you insight into the student life, campus activities, and application due dates. The book even gives student quotes and explanations, which is nice getting a student produced response rather than the college feeding you a bunch of information that’s been sugar coated to make the college look even better.

So when you begin your college search, I would suggest going online and snooping around there. Also, I would advise you to either buy a copy of the Princeton Review’s “The Best 366 Colleges” or a book that is similar so that you not only get a view point on the college from the college, but also the view point of a student that attends the school.


We help students find reviews on colleges, get help with student loan refinancing and other resourceful content to help students.

Social Links

© 2018