debt

2014 Best Grad Schools:Inside the Guide [An Infographic]

So you’re about to graduate college – congrats! What now?

As the economy recovers, so does the job market, allowing new opportunities to emerge. This is great news for those who are currently in college! However, many of these jobs require candidates to have more than an undergraduate degree. It is predicted that 2.6 million new jobs will be created between 2010 and 2020, and that individuals with masters or doctoral degrees will be the ones to fill those spots.

Many students are turning to graduate school as a way of carving a niche for themselves in today’s competitive job market. Grad school can be a risky bet which could land you in a deep pit of student loan debt, or it could result in a dream job with a six-digit salary. Such a commitment requires a great deal of research, and with the growing number of programs offered it can quickly become an overwhelming process. Meeting with advisers and professors is a great starting point, but most students will want to do some investigating on their own. It is important to gather a wide variety of non-biased information, but with the endless amount of websites, books and blog articles dedicated to “facts” about grad school, it can be difficult to find high-quality sources. This is why I recommend U.S. News & World Report’s annual Grad Guide.

Best Grad Schools Infographic

 

Each year, U.S. News & World Report surveys thousands of programs and academic professionals to create a guidebook that helps students navigate the world of graduate school. For the second year in a row, eCampus.com has taken some key information from this elaborate, 200+ page grad guide and created an infographic to help students streamline their research. The goal behind this piece, as with all infographics, is to take a large amount of information and condense it into a unique graphic that’s easy to understand. Similar to the 2013 grad school infographic, The Good & The Bad in Bad, this 2014 edition highlights trends regarding admissions, debt and salaries for the top five professional fields (Business, Education, Engineering, Health & Medicine and Law).

New this year is a section called the “Virtual Path”, which describes the growth in options for online graduate programs. There is also the option to attend a partially online program, where some classroom attendance is required. Such opportunities are favored among non-traditional students who may have children or a full-time job. As this trend increases you will find that there are some great resources for affordable online education programs.

As graduate school becomes a more prevalent option for those holding college degrees, it is important that this decision is made with all of the right information at hand. This infographic should not be used to replace your grad school research, but it is a great way to quickly gather information and gain an understanding of new trends in the academic and professional worlds.

Good luck to all who join me in the pursuit of a higher-education!

To view the full infographic, and purchase your copy of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools 2014 guidebook at 10% off list price, visit http://www.ecampus.com/best-grad-schools.asp or click the above image.

An Argument Against Gen-Eds

Recently in an English class, we were assigned to write an argument. I chose to argue General Education requirements. Because I have a lot of passion for this topic, and because I want a lot of you to read what I have to say, I chose to share some of my basic thoughts in this week’s blog. General Education requirements in college not only take up 2 years of your time in school, they also use up a lot of your money. College is an exciting time in most students’ lives. The strenuous schedule of required gen-ed courses can add unnecessary stress to this exciting time.  For the amount of money students pay, they should be able to choose what courses they take, what are universities doing with all of this money?  I will be focusing on a few main points including: The extra cost Gen-Eds create for students, why Gen-Eds aren’t necessary for students who have already decided a major, and the time wasted spending four years in college due to Gen-Ed courses. Allow me to begin with the extra cost Gen-Eds present for students wallets.

Just imagine if two years of school could be subtracted from your bills, we’d be saving so much money in the long run. To me, there is no sense in paying for two years of classes that have absolutely nothing to do with your major. I am currently enrolled in a theatre class and a music class. My major is broadcast journalism. Taking a theatre class when I have no interest in acting doesn’t make since to me, but it fulfills one of my gen-ed requirements. Although I have learned all about acting in this class, I will likely never pursue this field, or need any of this information. I’d rather enroll in broadcasting or journalism courses because they will actually aid me in my future career.

This brings me to my next point; Gen-Eds are unnecessary for students who have chosen a major. Many people argue that Gen-Eds create more well-rounded students. I argue that the fundamental stages in a person’s life are for becoming “well rounded”, college is for getting a degree and going to work. The overall goal of college is to gain a successful career. If a journalism major wanted to spend thousands of dollars taking art and music classes, they would have chosen to be an art or music major. Isn’t it better to be an expert on one skill than to be mediocre in many?   Focusing solely on one’s major as opposed to being distracted by gen-ed courses might help students to enter the workforce more prepared for their jobs.

Many people also believe that taking Gen-Ed courses is smart because students change their majors so often. My justification is that it wouldn’t matter if a student changed their major if they were only going to school for two years because they’d be so young, they’d technically have 2 years to spare. Because a bachelor’s degree would only require two years of school, most students could graduate by the time they were twenty years old. If a twenty year old were to change their major, they could attend two more years of school in their new major and still graduate at twenty-two. The point of a two-year bachelor degree program would be to give students who are sure on their major a head start on their chosen career.

My final reason for why Gen-Eds shouldn’t be required is that they are a waste of time. As I mentioned before, why spend four years in college when your actual major only takes two? If student could finish school in two years, (obviously this excludes doctors, lawyers, etc.) they could get two years of work under their belt.  That’s two years of making money instead of spending thousands on school. In another circumstance, if a student wanted to take a couple years after high school to work and save for college they would be able to without much set back.

I can see that Gen-Eds could be useful to students who don’t already know their major. Gen-Eds are a great source for students to explore different fields of study and to find out what interests them. Gen-Eds can also benefit students in their major later on by creating a foundation that’s easier to build on. While Gen-Eds do have their benefits, I find that the consequences of money and time outweigh those benefits. High school was a great foundation for college; I now want to move past high school and focus on my career. My hope is that enough of you will agree with me and that our numbers could make a difference. I’m assuming that all of you believe in and value higher education. I’m assuming that you all wish that you could save thousands of dollars and still achieve your bachelor’s degree. If my assumptions are correct, we need to stand together and make a change.

-Speedy G.

I’m reading Microsoft Office 2010

How Much Do You Really Know About Credit?

Imagine walking into an auto dealership with a stack of cash that you want to use to put a down payment on a car.  You have worked hard and all you need is to get the small auto loan.  Problem is that your credit score is not high enough to finance you and you have to walk out of the dealership empty handed.  This happens much to often because people are not well informed about their credit score.

Do you know your credit score? As a college student, chances are you don’t.  Credit is something that most people know nothing about until they actually need it, and many times that is too late.   Your credit score is a number that is used to judge how trustworthy you are with money.  The higher your credit score, the more trustworthy you are.  Your credit score is used for auto loans, home loans, insurance rates, leases, and even by potential employers.  Bottom line is that your credit score really matters. Fortunately, there are ways to help you establish and maintain a good credit score.

A credit score is a number that ranges from 300-850.  Anytime you borrow money, whether it is for a loan or credit card, it is reported to three credit bureaus.  The three credit bureaus are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.  Some companies report to all three, but some only report to one or two.  Regardless, all three of your credit scores matter.  The borrowers report how much money was lended and how much and how quickly it was paid off.  The more responsible you are in paying off the money loaned to you, the higher your credit score.  Remember that you must establish credit.  In some cases, having no credit can be as detrimental as having bad credit.

 

Because of the Credit Card Act of 2009, anyone under 21 must have a trustworthy co-signer in order to obtain a credit card.  There was a reason that this law is in place.  It is important to truly understand credit prior to using it.  Let’s face it, freshmen aren’t the most responsible individuals.  However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot establish credit and start building your score.  Talk to your parents about opening your first credit card and make a game plan for it.  Having good credit when you leave college can be helpful in more ways than you could imagine.

As a rule of thumb, credit bureaus give the best considerations to people who spend 30% of their available credit and pay in full every month.  This means that if you have a credit card with a $300 limit, you should plan to spend no more than $100 a month and be able to pay each month’s bills in full.  If for some reason you are not able to pay your full balance, make sure and pay the minimum balance on time.  A late payment is really detrimental to your credit score.  Every time you pay a bill late, it negatively affects your score.

After learning to manage a credit card or small loan, the next step is to track and maintain your credit score.  A great way to do this is to use a credit monitoring company to view your credit report.  Online companies such as www.annualcreditreport.com give you a free credit report from all three credit bureaus once a year.  Your credit report shows every line of open credit and how much and how often you have paid your debts.  It also shows any companies that have looked into your credit recently.  Looking at your credit report can also help you to ensure that no one has stolen your identity.  If you want to track your report and score more than once a year, you can use a program like www.freecreditscore.com.   It costs $14.95 per month, but you are able to monitor your credit score as often as you would like.

The bottom line is that you need to be aware of your credit score.  Be smart in establishing it and seek assistance from someone who can you trust for guidance.  A credit score can affect many life changing events such as buying your own home.  Make sure to stay aware and stay smart when it comes to your credit score.

 

Lovejoy

I’m reading Campbell Biology