eCampusTours

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As a student who is just beginning to establish a financial life, one of the most important steps to take is opening up a checking account. A checking account will provide you a means to learn how to responsibly handle cash, make smart financial decisions, and keep track of your spending records. Review these tips and considerations for opening and managing your first checking account.
Opening a Checking Account When opening a checking account, you should shop around for a bank or credit union that best fits your needs. Different banks and credit unions will have various policies for account requirements, charges, and fees. As a student who is establishing a first-time account, here is what you should look for in a financial institution and/or checking account (depending on your needs):
No minimum balance. Some institutions offer accounts that require you to keep a minimum amount in your account, such as $100. If your balance falls below this amount, the bank may charge a small fee or close your account. Because your cash flow is likely to be pretty minor as a student, you should look for an account that offers no minimum balance in order to avoid any penalties.
No annual or monthly fees. Some institutions charge a fee just for housing your account, so look for an institution that offers free checking. Be sure to understand the specific policy of your free checking account, as some banks will offer accounts with totally free checking while others will provide free checking as long as you meet certain requirements. These requirements may include having a certain amount of transactions per month, maintaining a certain minimum balance, or enrolling in electronic statements.
Convenient ATMs. You will most definitely have days when you need quick access to cash, so choose a financial institution that has plenty of convenient ATMs. When you use an ATM that is owned by your bank or credit union, there is usually no cost involved. However, if you use an ATM that is not owned or affiliated with your bank or credit union, you will be charged service fees.
Free online and mobile banking. With your busy student schedule, you will need to choose a financial institution that offers convenient banking services, such as online and mobile banking. These services will allow you to perform tasks, such as transferring funds, balancing your checkbook, and confirming electronic transaction amounts, anytime and anywhere.
Properly insured. When searching for a financial institution, you need to make sure that your money will be properly insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). These are federal agencies that will protect consumers in the event that a bank or credit union fails.
Managing a Checking Account Once you open a checking account, it’s crucial that you stay on top of your finances. Knowing how to effectively manage your account will help save you from potential embarrassment, financial penalties, or possible fraud. Consider the following tips for managing your checking account.
Weigh the pros and cons of overdraft protection. Overdraft protection is a feature offered by many financial institutions in which your checking account balance is allowed to go below zero. For instance, if you have $100 in your account and use your debit card to buy $300 worth of textbooks, the transaction would still process and you would have a negative balance of $200. However, this protection is not free. Financial institutions charge an overdraft protection fee each time you overdraw on your account. To decide if overdraft protection is right for you, consider your individual circumstances. Would you rather a card transaction be approved or declined if there is not enough money in your account? How often do you write checks? Can you afford possible overdraft protection fees?
Monitor your account on a regular basis. Make a habit of checking your account online at least once a week to check for any errors or fraudulent transactions. Reviewing your account on a weekly basis will also keep you abreast of how much money you have in your account so you can adjust your spending accordingly until your next paycheck. And even in the digital age, you should consider “balancing your checkbook” once a month to make sure your records are in alliance with your bank’s records.
Set up a checking account balance alert. Determine a minimum amount that you don’t want your account balance to go under. If your bank has this option, set up an alert with their online system that will notify you whenever your checking account balance gets close to that minimum amount. This will help keep you from overdrawing on your account.
For more information about opening and managing a checking account, speak with a financial advisor at your chosen bank or credit union.

As a student who is just beginning to establish a financial life, one of the most important steps to take is opening up a checking account. A checking account will provide you a means to learn how to responsibly handle cash, make smart financial decisions, and keep track of your spending records. Review these tips and considerations for opening and managing your first checking account.

Opening a Checking Account
When opening a checking account, you should shop around for a bank or credit union that best fits your needs. Different banks and credit unions will have various policies for account requirements, charges, and fees. As a student who is establishing a first-time account, here is what you should look for in a financial institution and/or checking account (depending on your needs):

  • No minimum balance. Some institutions offer accounts that require you to keep a minimum amount in your account, such as $100. If your balance falls below this amount, the bank may charge a small fee or close your account. Because your cash flow is likely to be pretty minor as a student, you should look for an account that offers no minimum balance in order to avoid any penalties.
  • No annual or monthly fees. Some institutions charge a fee just for housing your account, so look for an institution that offers free checking. Be sure to understand the specific policy of your free checking account, as some banks will offer accounts with totally free checking while others will provide free checking as long as you meet certain requirements. These requirements may include having a certain amount of transactions per month, maintaining a certain minimum balance, or enrolling in electronic statements.
  • Convenient ATMs. You will most definitely have days when you need quick access to cash, so choose a financial institution that has plenty of convenient ATMs. When you use an ATM that is owned by your bank or credit union, there is usually no cost involved. However, if you use an ATM that is not owned or affiliated with your bank or credit union, you will be charged service fees.
  • Free online and mobile banking. With your busy student schedule, you will need to choose a financial institution that offers convenient banking services, such as online and mobile banking. These services will allow you to perform tasks, such as transferring funds, balancing your checkbook, and confirming electronic transaction amounts, anytime and anywhere.
  • Properly insured. When searching for a financial institution, you need to make sure that your money will be properly insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). These are federal agencies that will protect consumers in the event that a bank or credit union fails.

Managing a Checking Account
Once you open a checking account, it’s crucial that you stay on top of your finances. Knowing how to effectively manage your account will help save you from potential embarrassment, financial penalties, or possible fraud. Consider the following tips for managing your checking account.

  • Weigh the pros and cons of overdraft protection. Overdraft protection is a feature offered by many financial institutions in which your checking account balance is allowed to go below zero. For instance, if you have $100 in your account and use your debit card to buy $300 worth of textbooks, the transaction would still process and you would have a negative balance of $200. However, this protection is not free. Financial institutions charge an overdraft protection fee each time you overdraw on your account. To decide if overdraft protection is right for you, consider your individual circumstances. Would you rather a card transaction be approved or declined if there is not enough money in your account? How often do you write checks? Can you afford possible overdraft protection fees?
  • Monitor your account on a regular basis. Make a habit of checking your account online at least once a week to check for any errors or fraudulent transactions. Reviewing your account on a weekly basis will also keep you abreast of how much money you have in your account so you can adjust your spending accordingly until your next paycheck. And even in the digital age, you should consider “balancing your checkbook” once a month to make sure your records are in alliance with your bank’s records.
  • Set up a checking account balance alert. Determine a minimum amount that you don’t want your account balance to go under. If your bank has this option, set up an alert with their online system that will notify you whenever your checking account balance gets close to that minimum amount. This will help keep you from overdrawing on your account.

For more information about opening and managing a checking account, speak with a financial advisor at your chosen bank or credit union.

(Source: ecampustours.com)

Filed under checking account high school college

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At most schools, you have the option to choose your own dorm roommate (based on mutual preferences), or you can let the student housing department choose a roommate for you (based on personal preferences, such as sleeping patterns, etc.). If you decide to choose your own roommate, you should make sure that person has the qualities of a good roommate before you submit your request to the school. Try to find a roommate who is:
Trustworthy. Having a trustworthy roommate is crucial. Is she responsible enough to clean up after herself? Can you trust him around your personal belongings? Can you depend on her to take and relay your messages?
Respectful. Of course, there will be times when you and your roommate will disagree, but if you pick a roommate who is respectful, then disagreements should be easily resolved. Pay close attention to how your prospective roommate handles others with whom he has issues. Does he blow up easily and cause unnecessary fights, or is he respectful of the other person’s feelings while trying to communicate in a calm manner? Just keep in mind that a little politeness really does go a long way.
Cooperative. When conflict arises, a good roommate is one who is willing to compromise and work as a team to come up with a solution. You don’t want a roommate who is willing to take but not give. To build a cooperative relationship, you should discuss your commonalities and differences before you move in together so you will know how much compromising you may have to do. 
Friendly. You do not need to be friends with your roommate, but it does encourage a healthy living environment if the two of you are friendly towards each other. Is your potential roommate the kind of person who could still be cordial even if the two of you had a minor disagreement?
Patient. The old saying is correct: patience is a virtue. You don’t want to live with someone who’s going to get mad at you every time you snore or leave your bed unmade. Try to find a roomie who stays patient when she gets stressed out or annoyed.
Compatible. It’s always nice to live with someone who is compatible with you. For example, if you like to go to bed early and get up early, try to find someone who likes to do the same. Rooming with someone who doesn’t share the same sleeping patterns as you can be a nightmare. Furthermore, you should try to find a potential roommate who is compatible to you when it comes to cleanliness, smoking, guests, etc.
Communicative. Communication is the key to having a healthy relationship. Try to avoid the type of person who keeps his feelings bottled in when a problem occurs. It’s only a matter of time before those minor issues build up into an explosion that could ruin the relationship. Instead, look for someone who can openly express his concerns when roommate issues come up.
While these qualities are good for your potential roommate to have, keep in mind that you should also strive to possess these same virtues in order to be the best possible roommate that you can be. For more information on choosing and living with a roommate, read Roommate Matchmaking.

At most schools, you have the option to choose your own dorm roommate (based on mutual preferences), or you can let the student housing department choose a roommate for you (based on personal preferences, such as sleeping patterns, etc.). If you decide to choose your own roommate, you should make sure that person has the qualities of a good roommate before you submit your request to the school. Try to find a roommate who is:

Trustworthy. Having a trustworthy roommate is crucial. Is she responsible enough to clean up after herself? Can you trust him around your personal belongings? Can you depend on her to take and relay your messages?

Respectful. Of course, there will be times when you and your roommate will disagree, but if you pick a roommate who is respectful, then disagreements should be easily resolved. Pay close attention to how your prospective roommate handles others with whom he has issues. Does he blow up easily and cause unnecessary fights, or is he respectful of the other person’s feelings while trying to communicate in a calm manner? Just keep in mind that a little politeness really does go a long way.

Cooperative. When conflict arises, a good roommate is one who is willing to compromise and work as a team to come up with a solution. You don’t want a roommate who is willing to take but not give. To build a cooperative relationship, you should discuss your commonalities and differences before you move in together so you will know how much compromising you may have to do. 

Friendly. You do not need to be friends with your roommate, but it does encourage a healthy living environment if the two of you are friendly towards each other. Is your potential roommate the kind of person who could still be cordial even if the two of you had a minor disagreement?

Patient. The old saying is correct: patience is a virtue. You don’t want to live with someone who’s going to get mad at you every time you snore or leave your bed unmade. Try to find a roomie who stays patient when she gets stressed out or annoyed.

Compatible. It’s always nice to live with someone who is compatible with you. For example, if you like to go to bed early and get up early, try to find someone who likes to do the same. Rooming with someone who doesn’t share the same sleeping patterns as you can be a nightmare. Furthermore, you should try to find a potential roommate who is compatible to you when it comes to cleanliness, smoking, guests, etc.

Communicative. Communication is the key to having a healthy relationship. Try to avoid the type of person who keeps his feelings bottled in when a problem occurs. It’s only a matter of time before those minor issues build up into an explosion that could ruin the relationship. Instead, look for someone who can openly express his concerns when roommate issues come up.

While these qualities are good for your potential roommate to have, keep in mind that you should also strive to possess these same virtues in order to be the best possible roommate that you can be. For more information on choosing and living with a roommate, read Roommate Matchmaking.

(Source: ecampustours.com)

Filed under college dorm roommate

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The excitement of gathering items that you will need for your dorm room or college apartment may cause you to forget that you actually need school supplies too. Yeah, the new adventures of college will be thrilling, but you still have to work to accomplish! Be sure to put these items on your school supply list for college:
Adhesive page markers. Marking your textbooks with adhesive page markers will make your studying efforts much more efficient. Use different colors to indicate certain topic points for easy reference.
Backpack/Messenger bag/Rucksack. You will most definitely need a bag to carry all of your textbooks and your laptop across campus. You have a variety of bag options from which to choose, such as a standard backpack, a messenger bag, a rucksack, a laptop bag, etc. If you purchase a high-quality bag, it should last you throughout your college career.
Binders/Folders/Notebooks. Every student has a preferred method of taking notes and keeping these notes organized. If you prefer paper over digital, be sure to obtain a binder or folder for each course for better organization.
Calculator. Even if you don’t plan to major in a field that requires a lot of math or science classes, you will still be required to take at least one math and/or science course in your general education studies. Your major will determine the type of calculator you will need. If you will be taking advanced math and science courses, you may need a graphing calculator. Otherwise, a scientific calculator should suffice. Check with your major department for specific calculator regulations.
Citation style manuals. As you will be writing various college papers, you will need reference books to help you know how to cite those papers. The most common citation formats used in college classes are MLA and APA. Students in humanities courses are usually asked to style according to MLA guidelines, while students in science and research are usually encouraged to follow the APA guidelines.
Flash drive. With the advent of free cloud storage, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive, a flash drive is not as big of a necessity as it has been in previous years. However, there are still a few benefits of using a flash drive for your college documents, such as maintaining physical custody and security of your files and not needing internet access to retrieve your files.
Highlighters. Highlighters are a must-have for college students. Use highlighters to make the most essential information in your textbooks and notes stand out.
Hole punch. In order to keep all of your course material organized properly, you will need a hole punch for any worksheets that professors hand out. File these worksheets in binders in an organized manner to enhance your studying efforts.
Index cards. Studying with index cards is a great way to learn material. Writing subject matter on index cards will help you better retain information, and the cards are easy to take on the go to use as flashcards.
Laptop/printer. Some colleges require students to have laptops, while others do not. And while you will have access to your school’s computer lab, the convenience of having your own will make the cost worthwhile.
Pens/pencils. Even if you will be taking notes digitally, you will still need pens and pencils. Purchase pens in black, blue, and red ink and be sure to obtain No. 2 pencils for scanner test sheets.
Printer paper. You will be writing a lot of essays in college so be sure to stock up on printer paper.
Scissors/tape. You probably won’t need these basic art supplies often (depending on your major), but you should add them to your list in case you need them for a class project.
Stapler. Carry a mini stapler in your backpack as you never know when you may need to turn in multiple pages for a class assignment.
Student planner. From test dates to group meetings to extracurricular activities, your schedule will surely be packed. A student planner is crucial for time management and will help keep you on top of your busy college calendar.
This list comprises the most common needed school supplies for college. Be sure to check your syllabus for each course to see if you will need additional supplies, such as protractors, poster boards, art supplies, etc. Check out Amazon and Dormco.com to get the best deals on your school supplies.

The excitement of gathering items that you will need for your dorm room or college apartment may cause you to forget that you actually need school supplies too. Yeah, the new adventures of college will be thrilling, but you still have to work to accomplish! Be sure to put these items on your school supply list for college:

Adhesive page markers. Marking your textbooks with adhesive page markers will make your studying efforts much more efficient. Use different colors to indicate certain topic points for easy reference.

Backpack/Messenger bag/Rucksack. You will most definitely need a bag to carry all of your textbooks and your laptop across campus. You have a variety of bag options from which to choose, such as a standard backpack, a messenger bag, a rucksack, a laptop bag, etc. If you purchase a high-quality bag, it should last you throughout your college career.

Binders/Folders/Notebooks. Every student has a preferred method of taking notes and keeping these notes organized. If you prefer paper over digital, be sure to obtain a binder or folder for each course for better organization.

Calculator. Even if you don’t plan to major in a field that requires a lot of math or science classes, you will still be required to take at least one math and/or science course in your general education studies. Your major will determine the type of calculator you will need. If you will be taking advanced math and science courses, you may need a graphing calculator. Otherwise, a scientific calculator should suffice. Check with your major department for specific calculator regulations.

Citation style manuals. As you will be writing various college papers, you will need reference books to help you know how to cite those papers. The most common citation formats used in college classes are MLA and APA. Students in humanities courses are usually asked to style according to MLA guidelines, while students in science and research are usually encouraged to follow the APA guidelines.

Flash drive. With the advent of free cloud storage, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive, a flash drive is not as big of a necessity as it has been in previous years. However, there are still a few benefits of using a flash drive for your college documents, such as maintaining physical custody and security of your files and not needing internet access to retrieve your files.

Highlighters. Highlighters are a must-have for college students. Use highlighters to make the most essential information in your textbooks and notes stand out.

Hole punch. In order to keep all of your course material organized properly, you will need a hole punch for any worksheets that professors hand out. File these worksheets in binders in an organized manner to enhance your studying efforts.

Index cards. Studying with index cards is a great way to learn material. Writing subject matter on index cards will help you better retain information, and the cards are easy to take on the go to use as flashcards.

Laptop/printer. Some colleges require students to have laptops, while others do not. And while you will have access to your school’s computer lab, the convenience of having your own will make the cost worthwhile.

Pens/pencils. Even if you will be taking notes digitally, you will still need pens and pencils. Purchase pens in black, blue, and red ink and be sure to obtain No. 2 pencils for scanner test sheets.

Printer paper. You will be writing a lot of essays in college so be sure to stock up on printer paper.

Scissors/tape. You probably won’t need these basic art supplies often (depending on your major), but you should add them to your list in case you need them for a class project.

Stapler. Carry a mini stapler in your backpack as you never know when you may need to turn in multiple pages for a class assignment.

Student planner. From test dates to group meetings to extracurricular activities, your schedule will surely be packed. A student planner is crucial for time management and will help keep you on top of your busy college calendar.

This list comprises the most common needed school supplies for college. Be sure to check your syllabus for each course to see if you will need additional supplies, such as protractors, poster boards, art supplies, etc. Check out Amazon and Dormco.com to get the best deals on your school supplies.

(Source: ecampustours.com)

Filed under college backtoschool

1 note

Think summer jobs are just about earning some cash? Think again. While making money may be your primary goal, having a summer job can actually have a bigger influence on your future than you may realize. Check out the long-term benefits of working during the summer.
Learning work ethic. A strong work ethic (values based on hard work and discipline) is vitally important no matter what job you pursue, and having a summer job allows you to develop those values. Work ethic can include being dependable, taking initiative, having a positive attitude, etc. Since work ethic is based on routine/habits, it is crucial that you are persistent in forming good habits from the get-go once you obtain a summer job. Make a habit of showing up on time, focusing on your daily tasks (don’t procrastinate!), being optimistic, going above and beyond what is required of you, etc. Employers place great emphasis on having a reliable work ethic, so gaining that ethic now will benefit you significantly in your future career.
Building references. Obtaining summer employment is a great opportunity for you to build references for future jobs. Relatives and friends generally do not make valuable references, so it’s crucial to start building a professional reference list early. For each summer job that you have, be sure to network and develop positive relationships with employers, supervisors, coworkers, etc. Before leaving your summer job, ask your managers or coworkers if they will serve as references. If they agree, get their contact information and keep in touch with them from time to time via phone/email.
Appreciating other jobs more. So granted, the summer position you currently have may not be your dream job. If you are working in a restaurant, you may hate busing tables and cleaning up after people. You may go home every night with a headache after your babysitting job. If you are a camp counselor, the great outdoors may not seem so great if you are covered with bug bites and poison oak. That office assistant job you thought would be interesting has turned out quite boring. Etcetera, etcetera. However, by working these summer jobs, you will have the chance to find out what you like and don’t like; and it will give you incentive to continue your education so you have the skills to move on to bigger and better opportunities. Years from now, you will appreciate your chosen career more if you have worked in multiple summer positions.
Showing dedication/longevity to a company. You may be on the opposite end of the spectrum in regards to the above point. Instead of disliking your summer position, you may have a summer job that you absolutely love and can see yourself pursuing a career in that field. If this is the case, then the summer position that you have now can help you show dedication to the company. By showcasing your strong work ethic and being an exceptional employee summer after summer, you will prove your commitment to the company. In turn, this may help you achieve a full-time position at the company (after graduation) with opportunity for advancement.
As you can see, there are many long-term benefits to having a summer job; the extra cash to buy all those back-to-school clothes is just a bonus. Have a fun and productive summer!

Think summer jobs are just about earning some cash? Think again. While making money may be your primary goal, having a summer job can actually have a bigger influence on your future than you may realize. Check out the long-term benefits of working during the summer.

Learning work ethic. A strong work ethic (values based on hard work and discipline) is vitally important no matter what job you pursue, and having a summer job allows you to develop those values. Work ethic can include being dependable, taking initiative, having a positive attitude, etc. Since work ethic is based on routine/habits, it is crucial that you are persistent in forming good habits from the get-go once you obtain a summer job. Make a habit of showing up on time, focusing on your daily tasks (don’t procrastinate!), being optimistic, going above and beyond what is required of you, etc. Employers place great emphasis on having a reliable work ethic, so gaining that ethic now will benefit you significantly in your future career.

Building references. Obtaining summer employment is a great opportunity for you to build references for future jobs. Relatives and friends generally do not make valuable references, so it’s crucial to start building a professional reference list early. For each summer job that you have, be sure to network and develop positive relationships with employers, supervisors, coworkers, etc. Before leaving your summer job, ask your managers or coworkers if they will serve as references. If they agree, get their contact information and keep in touch with them from time to time via phone/email.

Appreciating other jobs more. So granted, the summer position you currently have may not be your dream job. If you are working in a restaurant, you may hate busing tables and cleaning up after people. You may go home every night with a headache after your babysitting job. If you are a camp counselor, the great outdoors may not seem so great if you are covered with bug bites and poison oak. That office assistant job you thought would be interesting has turned out quite boring. Etcetera, etcetera. However, by working these summer jobs, you will have the chance to find out what you like and don’t like; and it will give you incentive to continue your education so you have the skills to move on to bigger and better opportunities. Years from now, you will appreciate your chosen career more if you have worked in multiple summer positions.

Showing dedication/longevity to a company. You may be on the opposite end of the spectrum in regards to the above point. Instead of disliking your summer position, you may have a summer job that you absolutely love and can see yourself pursuing a career in that field. If this is the case, then the summer position that you have now can help you show dedication to the company. By showcasing your strong work ethic and being an exceptional employee summer after summer, you will prove your commitment to the company. In turn, this may help you achieve a full-time position at the company (after graduation) with opportunity for advancement.

As you can see, there are many long-term benefits to having a summer job; the extra cash to buy all those back-to-school clothes is just a bonus. Have a fun and productive summer!

(Source: ecampustours.com)

Filed under summer job

0 notes

Planning for college can be overwhelming. Where do you even begin? Here are five helpful websites that should make planning for college a little easier.
eCampusTours.com Obviously you are somewhat familiar with eCampusTours.com since you are reading this article, but you may not know about all the resources this site has to offer. All of our services are completely free of charge, and we don’t distribute your information to any companies or schools unless requested by you. Just register for an account to enjoy the full benefits of this site:
Virtual tours. eCampusTours features 360° x 360° virtual tours of over 1,300 college campuses. From dorm rooms to classrooms, these tours allow you to see what college life is really like. If you like what you see in the virtual campus tour, you can search the college website, contact the college’s admission office, or save the virtual college tour in your eCampusTours profile. (Note: Account registration is only required in order to save a tour to your profile, not for viewing the tours.)
Edadvisor. A monthly college planning e-newsletter, Edadvisor features articles about choosing a college, student financial aid, campus life, career exploration, student loans, scholarships, and more. It also provides monthly reminders for high school and college students.
Scholarship opportunities. eCampusTours offers a free scholarship search to help you find money for college. You can also register for our $1,000 scholarship giveaway.
College funding guide. You can download a copy of “How to Get Money for College” and get updated financial aid information about Federal Pell Grants, amounts of aid, state aid, veteran affairs, vocational rehabilitation, student loan deductibility, and more. Once you create an account, you can find the link to download the college funding guide under “my profile.”
ActStudent.org If you have taken or plan to take the ACT, be sure to sign up for an account at actstudent.org. This account gives you free access to viewing your ACT scores online and establishes an email address to receive direct communication and reminders from ACT. Some of the other features on the site include:
ACT test prep. This section of the site gives you tips on preparing for the ACT. From tips about calculators to test day procedures, you will find all you need to know to be fully prepared to take the ACT.
World-of-Work Map. The World-of-Work Map graphically shows how occupations relate to each other based on work functions. When you receive scores from one of ACT’s assessments, you receive a personalized report that suggests career areas for you to explore.
FAFSA.ed.gov The first and most important step in getting money for college is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA is the form you need to complete in order to see if you are eligible for any kind of federal financial aid, such as grants, student loans, and work-study. Even if you don’t think you are eligible for financial aid, you should still fill it out because many states and schools also use it to award non-federal aid. You should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st of the year for which you need aid. When filing the FAFSA be sure to use fafsa.ed.gov because other similar sites may charge a fee to submit the form.
EligibilityCenter.org Registering with the NCAA Eligibility Center, formerly known as the NCAA Clearinghouse, is a requirement for any student-athlete who plans to play NCAA division I or II sports. The Eligibility Center is the one place that all division I and II member institutions use to verify the core grade point average, test scores, and the number of core classes for each student-athlete. If you are a student-athlete who wants to compete at collegiate level, review the Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete and follow the directions for registration on eligibilitycenter.org. Use this website as your guide throughout high school in order to compete in athletics at the collegiate level.
CommonApp.org In order to cut out a lot of the time and work that comes with applying to colleges, you may want to utilize the Common Application at commonapp.org. The Common Application is an organization that benefits students by providing one admission application that students may submit to any 500+ participating colleges and universities. This application can be only be completed via the online application system; paper applications are no longer accepted.
For more information about planning for college, please contact your high school counselor.

Planning for college can be overwhelming. Where do you even begin? Here are five helpful websites that should make planning for college a little easier.

eCampusTours.com
Obviously you are somewhat familiar with eCampusTours.com since you are reading this article, but you may not know about all the resources this site has to offer. All of our services are completely free of charge, and we don’t distribute your information to any companies or schools unless requested by you. Just register for an account to enjoy the full benefits of this site:

  • Virtual tours. eCampusTours features 360° x 360° virtual tours of over 1,300 college campuses. From dorm rooms to classrooms, these tours allow you to see what college life is really like. If you like what you see in the virtual campus tour, you can search the college website, contact the college’s admission office, or save the virtual college tour in your eCampusTours profile. (Note: Account registration is only required in order to save a tour to your profile, not for viewing the tours.)
  • Edadvisor. A monthly college planning e-newsletter, Edadvisor features articles about choosing a college, student financial aid, campus life, career exploration, student loans, scholarships, and more. It also provides monthly reminders for high school and college students.
  • Scholarship opportunities. eCampusTours offers a free scholarship search to help you find money for college. You can also register for our $1,000 scholarship giveaway.
  • College funding guide. You can download a copy of “How to Get Money for College” and get updated financial aid information about Federal Pell Grants, amounts of aid, state aid, veteran affairs, vocational rehabilitation, student loan deductibility, and more. Once you create an account, you can find the link to download the college funding guide under “my profile.”

ActStudent.org
If you have taken or plan to take the ACT, be sure to sign up for an account at actstudent.org. This account gives you free access to viewing your ACT scores online and establishes an email address to receive direct communication and reminders from ACT. Some of the other features on the site include:

  • ACT test prep. This section of the site gives you tips on preparing for the ACT. From tips about calculators to test day procedures, you will find all you need to know to be fully prepared to take the ACT.
  • World-of-Work Map. The World-of-Work Map graphically shows how occupations relate to each other based on work functions. When you receive scores from one of ACT’s assessments, you receive a personalized report that suggests career areas for you to explore.

FAFSA.ed.gov
The first and most important step in getting money for college is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA is the form you need to complete in order to see if you are eligible for any kind of federal financial aid, such as grants, student loans, and work-study. Even if you don’t think you are eligible for financial aid, you should still fill it out because many states and schools also use it to award non-federal aid. You should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st of the year for which you need aid. When filing the FAFSA be sure to use fafsa.ed.gov because other similar sites may charge a fee to submit the form.

EligibilityCenter.org
Registering with the NCAA Eligibility Center, formerly known as the NCAA Clearinghouse, is a requirement for any student-athlete who plans to play NCAA division I or II sports. The Eligibility Center is the one place that all division I and II member institutions use to verify the core grade point average, test scores, and the number of core classes for each student-athlete. If you are a student-athlete who wants to compete at collegiate level, review the Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete and follow the directions for registration on eligibilitycenter.org. Use this website as your guide throughout high school in order to compete in athletics at the collegiate level.

CommonApp.org
In order to cut out a lot of the time and work that comes with applying to colleges, you may want to utilize the Common Application at commonapp.org. The Common Application is an organization that benefits students by providing one admission application that students may submit to any 500+ participating colleges and universities. This application can be only be completed via the online application system; paper applications are no longer accepted.

For more information about planning for college, please contact your high school counselor.

(Source: ecampustours.com)

Filed under college planning websites

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If you haven’t already, be prepared when you turn 18 to be bombarded by credit card offers. Using credit cards responsibly can build good credit, but you can quickly become overwhelmed if you aren’t careful. Keep these tips in mind to help you stay money-conscious and avoid credit card woes.
Don’t fall for free gifts or promotions. Many credit card companies lure in college students by offering incentives. Under the CARD act of 2009, credit card companies can no longer offer “any tangible item as a gift” on campus or within 1000 feet of campus. However, companies can still offer incentives at locations away from campus. Gift cards, t-shirts, backpacks, coolers, airline miles - are they really worth damaging your personal credit? Your credit score decreases each time a new inquiry is run in your name, so choose one or two cards and stick with them for the long run.
Shop around for a card. Before you sign up for a credit card, be sure to read the fine print. Try to find a card that offers no annual fee and a low finance charge.
Open an account with a low credit limit. A low credit limit makes you less likely to accrue a lot of debt. Even if you’re approved for more, ask for a limit of under $1,000 and plan to charge much less.
Pay full amount each month. If you always pay the total balance, then you will build a good credit rating and avoid credit card trouble and big finance charges. With a finance charge of 18% on a $1,000 balance, making minimum payments could take 12 years to pay off and cost an additional $1,115 in interest. If you cannot pay your balance off in full each month, adding even $25-$50 above the minimum payment helps.
Pay bill on time every month. If you send in late payments, not only will it hurt your credit score, but you will also be charged late fees. Make sure you know when your payment is due each month, so you can avoid those extra charges.
Avoid cash advances. Most fees for cash advances are steep and interest rates are often higher. If you need cash, use a debit card.
Avoid impulse shopping. Charging an occasional slice of pizza and a soda is fine, but purchases like that add up quickly. Treat your credit card like a checking account. Use it only for emergencies or when you know you can pay off the balance in full when your bill arrives.
Monitor your credit report. Review your report annually and question any discrepancies. Credit agencies can make mistakes.
Having a credit card can be beneficial if you use it in a responsible manner. If you get the best deal when you sign up for a card and pay off your balance each month by the due date, then you should have no problems avoiding credit card woes.

If you haven’t already, be prepared when you turn 18 to be bombarded by credit card offers. Using credit cards responsibly can build good credit, but you can quickly become overwhelmed if you aren’t careful. Keep these tips in mind to help you stay money-conscious and avoid credit card woes.

Don’t fall for free gifts or promotions. Many credit card companies lure in college students by offering incentives. Under the CARD act of 2009, credit card companies can no longer offer “any tangible item as a gift” on campus or within 1000 feet of campus. However, companies can still offer incentives at locations away from campus. Gift cards, t-shirts, backpacks, coolers, airline miles - are they really worth damaging your personal credit? Your credit score decreases each time a new inquiry is run in your name, so choose one or two cards and stick with them for the long run.

Shop around for a card. Before you sign up for a credit card, be sure to read the fine print. Try to find a card that offers no annual fee and a low finance charge.

Open an account with a low credit limit. A low credit limit makes you less likely to accrue a lot of debt. Even if you’re approved for more, ask for a limit of under $1,000 and plan to charge much less.

Pay full amount each month. If you always pay the total balance, then you will build a good credit rating and avoid credit card trouble and big finance charges. With a finance charge of 18% on a $1,000 balance, making minimum payments could take 12 years to pay off and cost an additional $1,115 in interest. If you cannot pay your balance off in full each month, adding even $25-$50 above the minimum payment helps.

Pay bill on time every month. If you send in late payments, not only will it hurt your credit score, but you will also be charged late fees. Make sure you know when your payment is due each month, so you can avoid those extra charges.

Avoid cash advances. Most fees for cash advances are steep and interest rates are often higher. If you need cash, use a debit card.

Avoid impulse shopping. Charging an occasional slice of pizza and a soda is fine, but purchases like that add up quickly. Treat your credit card like a checking account. Use it only for emergencies or when you know you can pay off the balance in full when your bill arrives.

Monitor your credit report. Review your report annually and question any discrepancies. Credit agencies can make mistakes.

Having a credit card can be beneficial if you use it in a responsible manner. If you get the best deal when you sign up for a card and pay off your balance each month by the due date, then you should have no problems avoiding credit card woes.

(Source: ecampustours.com)

Filed under credit card woes credit cards college