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What Do You Do When Good Students Seem to Go Bad?

As an educator, I care about my students – all of them. Even the students who challenge me and occasionally cause me to walk away from my laptop for a short break. I believe it stems from my belief in the potential that every student has to learn, even if students do not learn at the same pace or comprehend the course topics at the same time. Most of the classes that I have taught have been online, and I have enjoyed teaching in a virtual learning environment – even though it was challenging at first when I could not see the students like I could when I was teaching in a traditional classroom. Over time I developed an ability to tell when students are engaged in the class and when students are slowly starting to disengage. I know that some form of outreach is needed when students are struggling, to help re-engage them back in the class.

 

The easiest aspect of online teaching, and I know that it applies to teaching adult students in general, is working with students who are highly motivated and want to perform well in your class. Those are the students you do not have to worry about or spend a lot of time trying to help them improve upon developmental issues as they are usually your top performers and earning the best grades in the class. At the other end of the teaching spectrum are the students who seem to put in the least effort possible and need a lot of attention, and I do not mind that either as I want to show those students that someone cares enough to help them when they need it – even when they may not think they need help. As long as they are receptive to receiving help, they can improve.

 

A challenge for teaching adult students, and this applies for instructors who are teaching students online and in traditional classrooms, occurs when the performance of high achieving students suddenly declines. Their involvement in class discussions may diminish significantly, they may miss assignment deadlines, or they stop submitting assignments. With poor performing students it can be easy to make an assumption that they are not applying themselves, not trying hard enough, or they are not utilizing the feedback and coaching provided. What does an instructor assume when it is a top performing student whose grades and performance begins to decline? At what point should an instructor intervene and try to ascertain what is causing the issue? I have learned that there are always steps to be taken and solutions that can be implemented, whether internally or externally based, and these are the strategies I will address.

 

Finding the Root Cause

 

Whenever a student is struggling, regardless of how well or how poorly they have been performing throughout the duration of the course, I always make an attempt to reach out to them and assist them. When the performance of a student who has been doing especially well begins to decline, there is likely something more going on. For those situations, I have learned that it may not be possible to get to the bottom of the issue – especially if it involves something going on in their personal life. More importantly, is not my responsibility to ask questions of a personal nature when contacting students.

 

However, I need to be diligent in my outreach attempts and determine if there are any factors that are within my control. For example, within an online classroom it is possible that a conflict has occurred between this student and another student. I can usually spot incidents like this during class discussions and when I do, I make certain to intervene. Other factors that cause disengagement from online classes include a dislike of the course, course topics, or discussions. When there are visible symptoms within the classroom that provide indicators as to why the student’s performance has been adversely affected, I can then better address the root cause of the problem.

 

Finding Solutions to Help Your Students

 

Before you can develop solutions to help the top performing students recover from a time of declining grades or performance, you need to speak with that student in some manner. The most effective method would be direct one-on-one communication, either by instant messaging or phone. However, I understand that as an adjunct instructor finding time to schedule an appointment with students who live in different time zones can be challenging. Consider though how impersonal an email can be, and how easy it can be to misinterpret the tone and intent of the meaning of the message because you are being represented by the words you have written.

 

Once you have made contact with your student, you can then develop a solution. I view the possible solutions for helping these students from three different perspectives: Internal solutions, external solutions, and solutions discovered through self-reflection.

 

Internal Solutions: When I am able to contact a struggling student, and learn about the reason for the decline in their performance, I can better determine how to assist them. For example, if they have lost interest in the class topics, they are bored with the class in general, or they do not know how to respond to the class discussion; I can find a solution to help them and it is something internal or within the scope of my instructional practice. There may be other reasons identified when I am able to speak with the student that can be addressed, and would have remained unresolved if I would not have made an outreach attempt. As an example, if this student had a conflict with another student, I can implement conflict resolution strategies to help change the situation.

 

External Solutions: If I am unable to contact the student whose performance has declined, and I have been consistent in my outreach efforts, then I have school procedures I can follow. For example, I may be able to contact an academic advisor for assistance with reaching out to this student or submit a referral notice to classroom support. If I am able to communicate with the student, and the student expresses personal information that concerns their well-being, I can also make an immediate referral to the appropriate academic department. Regardless of the circumstances, if I cannot reach the student and they are now at risk for failure – I need to make certain that I have done my part and the school has been notified as well.

 

Solutions Through Reflection: Becoming a highly effective educator occurs over time and with practice. I have discovered that the times when I am challenged are also the times that I discover how to improve my teaching methods and instructional strategies. When a “good” student seems to go “bad” – that is a time when I look more closely at what I have posted in my online class, considered how I interacted with students through emails and posts, and what I did to encourage their best performance. I realize that I cannot control all possible circumstances; however, reflection is always part of growth and I know that I can always learn, just as my students can learn.

 

The most important lesson I have learned is that putting in my best effort does not always mean every student is going to stay highly productive and engaged in the class. If there are students who are not a good fit for the class or the program, then they need to be offered assistance and options – rather than be allowed to continue to decline until they fail the class or they are dropped by the school. If there is a reason for the decline, and one that can be corrected once it has been discovered through a conversation, that creates a teachable moment and strengthens working my relationship with them. Hopefully the next time they feel challenged, they will contact me right away.

 

I have also learned not to have pre-conceived assumptions about students when they are performing at different levels. Instead, I want to help students discover their own potential. However, I know that student performance is going to naturally fluctuate over time. I remember being a student and I did well in some classes but in others I had to put in a lot more time as the subjects challenged me. It was my instructor who made a difference and that helped influence me as I became an educator. When I demonstrate care and concern for a student, especially a student who is struggling for reasons I may or may not ever know about, I might be able to make enough of a difference to help re-engage them back into the class and see their performance begin to improve again.

Five Reasons Your Humanities Degree Was a Great Idea

In 2014, President Obama offhandedly dismissed art history, and by extension, the humanities, as irrelevant in the job market. He wisely apologized. His remark is indicative of a widespread sentiment: The humanities are useless in a technology-driven economy. This view is wrong, and here are five reasons why.

 

  1. Humanities majors are taught to innovate

 

Innovation comes from putting together ideas that have no business being together. Steve Jobs famously combined ideas from Chinese calligraphy with ideas from computer science to create Apple’s aesthetics. Amazon was born by mashing together bookselling and algorithms. Sticky notes were invented when engineers at 3M screwed up trying to make a new adhesive and later realized they could use the botched result to stick pieces of paper together, and then separate them without leaving a residue. In order to innovate, you have to see how things can go together in a way nobody else has thought of.

 

Humanities majors are singularly equipped to do this. The basis of a humanities education is exposure to the breadth of human knowledge. From literature, philosophy, and art to social sciences, hard sciences, and mathematics, the liberal arts curriculum has exposed humanities students to ideas from wildly different fields. They are in a position to take two disparate concepts – say, ideas from evolutionary biology and ideas from economics – and make them work together. Businesses, government, and the social sector need this kind of thinking to tackle the increasingly complex problems they face.

 

  1. People who study the humanities are the best communicators

 

Organizations want employees who can communicate in a way that furthers the organization’s interests. For global businesses operating in multicultural societies, unambiguous cross-cultural communication with customers, colleagues, and business partners is essential for success. It is also ridiculously hard. A humanities education makes it easier.

 

Research has shown that reading serious fiction increases your ability to empathize with others. Those English or world literature courses humanities majors take in college make them better able to relate to people who are not like them. That means they are invaluable when their companies move into foreign markets, or they are sent to other parts of the country to rake in sales. People do business with people they like, and people will like those who can easily, and authentically, empathize with them.

 

Studying the humanities also hones means of expression. Someone who spent years reading the best literature our civilization has to offer, and writing cogently about it, can get an organization or cause’s message across eloquently and succinctly, orally or in writing. Humanities majors who studied the best visual, kinesthetic, and musical culture on offer can craft social media campaigns with impact and style, in a way students of marketing, whose apprehension of visual culture begins with soda advertisements, simply can’t.

 

  1. Analysis is second nature for people who studied the humanities

 

Analysis is central to studying the humanities. Whether learning a philosopher’s ethical system, the aims of a cubist artist, or the economics of Tudor England, humanities majors routinely imbibe vast amounts of information, make sense of it, and then critique what they’ve learned. People who have studied the humanities understand arguments, discern their strengths and weaknesses, and formulate responses. They practice looking at data and using it to craft an argument. Whether the raw data are examples of symbolism in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or consumer demographics in a potential new market, the skill is the same: Finding meaning in the data, and convincing others your interpretation is correct. This works in the seminar room and in the board room.

 

Studying the humanities inculcates an open mind and penchant for asking questions. These are valuable weapons against conformist thinking, and aid in the critical evaluation of new ideas. In a constantly changing economy, old thinking simply won’t work. Being open to new ideas, helping generate them, and helping refine them by asking penetrating questions will make an employee valuable to his or her organization.

 

  1. Humanities majors see the big picture

 

Many people see only the work in front of them. Accounts to reconcile, reports to write, widgets to sell. Leaders see the big picture. They see where the organization is headed, and what it needs to do to get there. This is the quality that separates leaders from the rest. They ask and answer the big questions.

 

Studying the humanities trains you to ask and attempt to answer the big questions about society, politics, life, and art. You figure out how the pieces go together. You argue about how things should be. These experiences are analogous to what goes on in the upper echelons of any organization, where arguments about how the pieces of an organization will work together, what the future of the organization should be, and what impact the organization will have play out. Someone versed in debates about the best way to organize society politically will have no problem joining a conversation about how a company should organize its operations.

 

  1. The humanities are our moral compass

 

Art, literature, and philosophy are the arenas in which societies debate who they are, what is acceptable and what isn’t. It is impossible to read great works of literature and not ponder moral dilemmas. Judging or pardoning characters in a work of literature exercises our moral judgment. Recent events (the sub-prime mortgage crisis, Gov. Christie’s Bridge-Gate) suggest that the private and public sectors need ethical thinkers.

 

Humanities majors are people who have wrestled with ethical issues and know them when they see them. They are more likely to speak up when they see wrongdoing occurring, because they are free of the blinders and acceptance of the status quo that come with specializing in a vocation. Organizations would do well to hire humanities majors if they want to avoid harmful ethical lapses.

 

A critic of the humanities may concede that humanities majors possess these soft skills, yet assert that they simply lack the technical skills required for most jobs, i.e. understanding particular technologies, markets, or regulatory regimes. This is true, to an extent. To be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or computer scientists, you need certain knowledge and skills. These jobs are and should be closed to humanities majors unless they pursue formal education for them. However, jobs in management, sales, human resources, marketing, consulting, and many others fields do not rely on technical skills that cannot be learned on the job, despite protestations to the contrary from those who wish to aggrandize their professions. The details of any of these professions can be learned quickly if you are a fast learner, which studying the humanities helps you become.

 

For those of you who currently hold humanities degrees, be confident in the worth of your degree and skills. Convince employers that you have the skills they need to accomplish their goals. For those of you currently studying for a humanities degree, stay upbeat in the face of that perennial question, “So what will you do with that degree?” You have a great answer.

Don’t The Socialists Ever Learn – Student Loan Debt Bubble Crisis

While the Democrats and Republicans fight and argue over what to do about repealing and replacing ObamaCare which is almost in full-crisis mode, no one seems to be looking at the Student Debt Crisis and the potential implosion of higher education. Maybe everyone hopes to put that off until the 2018-2019 Federal Budget, because there is no more money left if we return our US Military to full-readiness and take our ObamaCare losses (cut and run) then replace it with something that at least has a running chance.

 

The was an interesting article on MSNBC Money page on June 7, 2014 titled; “Obama to issue order easing student loan debt pressures,” which stated;

 

“Obama will issue an executive action on Monday aimed at making it easier for young people to avoid trouble repaying student loans. An order directing the secretary of education to ensure that more students who borrowed federal direct loans cap their loan payments at 10% of their monthly incomes. Federal law currently allows most students to do this already. The president’s order will extend this ability to students who borrowed before October 2007, and who have not borrowed since 10/2011.”

 

Additionally, the article noted the Obama Administration is trying to help 5-million borrower stay out of default stating; “Many student loan borrowers are working and trying to responsibly make their monthly payments, but are nonetheless struggling with burdensome debt.” Now for some tough questions:

 

  1. Why are we subsidizing higher education which refuses to innovate and adapt to the new paradigm of instant information and a changing of our workforce demands.
  2. Why is the Obama Administration further propping up a bubble, didn’t we learn anything from the subsidized housing bubble?
  3. Why is nothing being done to reign in tuition costs which have outpaced inflation every year by a factor at least 5% or more for the last 2 decades?
  4. Why are we busy economically enslaving our next generation with worthless degrees in industries that will not exist in the next 5-10 years at all?

 

Indeed, as the founder of a Think Tank that happens to operate online, I hate to be a party pooper, with a giants super-duper pooper scooper – but it is time we addressed these real concerns, as the problems with the student loan debt are getting bigger every years, actually every semester. Have you seen the numbers now? Over 1.4 Trillion in outstanding loans, and 45% are 90-days or more in the rears or have never made a single payment – all the while students are graduating with degrees for which no jobs of those type exist. Please consider all this and think on it.

Five Steps on How to Make Friends During Your IELTS Training

How do you feel about making friends? Are you too shy to approach someone and introduce yourself? Read and find out the five steps that you can do to gain friends during your IELTS training.

 

Enrolling in an IELTS course is one of the best options to prepare for the English proficiency assessment. Tutoring centers not only provide students with IELTS practice tests but also help them hone their strengths and eliminate weaknesses.

 

These review centers are often classroom-based, which means that there are others who are preparing for the IELTS exam like you. Although it is not a requirement to make friends, it is encouraged that you do so. Keep in mind that your classmate may know something about the English language that you are not familiar with, in the same way that you are knowledgeable of something that your classmate is not aware of. Thus, exchange of information is beneficial to you both.

 

How does someone make friends if he/she is too shy to approach others? Here are five steps that you can follow to maximize your IELTS preparation course by making friends.

 

  1. Prepare a warm greeting. A simple “hi” or “hello” will do. It does not have to be grand or loud. Do not forget to smile.

 

  1. Introduce yourself. Start the small talk by introducing yourself. For instance, “Hi, I’m ____. You can call me _____. How about you, what’s your name?” This gives an impression that you are friendly and welcoming.

 

  1. Ask common questions or talk about general topics. As a general rule, since you guys have just met, avoid asking personal questions. Start the conversation by talking about a neutral topic like current events.

 

  1. Share some information about yourself. By this time, you guys have realized of what you have in common. Steer the conversation toward that path. You can also talk about what you do for a living or your purpose of taking the IELTS exam.

 

  1. Exchange contact details. You should not confine yourselves with the four walls of the review center. Get your newfound friend’s contact details and encourage him/her for to engage in some IELTS preparation tests or mock exams. For instance, you can deliver a speech and have him/her critique it and vice versa.

 

All things considered, some learn better with a partner. Regardless of your learning style, having friends who share the same goal and who help and support you can provide a better learning experience while preparing for the IELTS exam.

 

This author is a proud contributor of JRooz International or known as J.I, it is an IELTS online course that will help you improve your English language skills. For more information, search IELTS online review or IELTS online preparation for more details.

The Cost Of A Worthless Degree From California State University Just Got More Costly

Inflation has been all but non-existent during the Obama Years, yet you wouldn’t know that looking at the increase of College/University Tuition at the State Level, especially in California. Students are told in High School that college is mandatory to have a fruitful life and live in the elusive middle class, and are told to go into debt to get that degree (more like economic enslavement) with no guarantee. Most of the college professors and administrators are in the 2%, no not the 1% but well ahead of what their students should ever expect to get to. Let’s talk, because the academic bubble is still building and its about to pop – things have gotten way out of hand.

There was a rather troubling segment on ABC News Affiliate in Los Angeles (Eyewitness News 7) recently titled: “CSU Trustees Vote to Raise Tuition by 5% Amid Protest From Students” on March 22, 2017.

First, I’d like to point out that the education hasn’t gotten any better at the California State University System, by all measures and accounts it has gotten worse. Degreed Students are valued less in the marketplace, as employers realize their education isn’t as good, and that those degrees don’t predict the students will be productive employees or even have a clue as to what they are doing.

Most professors, especially tenured professors are not teaching in the classroom much, as they spend lots of time on sabbaticals, and have grad students lecturing now. The increased costs of the university has to do with legacy costs (Pensions) and increase healthcare Cadillac Style Health Care Programs for staff and professors. Although their pension fund is not as bad as the University of California System which highly underfunded, it isn’t breaking any records either – this Trump Bump in the stock market recently has saved their asses (temporarily) if you’d like to know the true skinny on that.

It’s time to face facts – The CSU system (California State University) is broken, academia is broken close the damn universities who give degrees in Gender Studies, Sustainability, Ethnic Equality, LBGT Studies – those kids aren’t going to get work to ever pay off those student loans – academia is on drugs by any rational observable standard – worthless – totally worthless surviving off of Federal Research Grants and Taxpayers and extortion tuition, subsidies and socialist agendas. Some at our think tank online, to put it quite bluntly, say; “To hell with all of it, it’s just BS now,” and I believe these think tank members are absolutely correct.

Why the 5% increase in tuition when enrollment is at an all-time high? Why the increase in tuition without increased benefits? The degrees aren’t worth any more than they were last year, in fact they are worth less now. The California State University System is out-of-control just like the University of California System is, and academia across the country is with student loan debt hovering at 1.4 Trillion Dollars, 45% of those loans have never made a single payment or are 90-days overdue. The academic industrial complex is a giant bubble about to burst, and what does the CSU system do? Raise tuition? Oh, well that’s just going to help a lot lot… NOT!

Do Your Students Say “I Can’t”? Here’s How to Help Them Say “I Can”

Teaching adult students is a rewarding experience as I have found them to be goal driven and motivated to learn something they can apply to their lives or careers. When they make an investment in a degree program it is usually done with an expectation that it will be of benefit for them in some manner, whether immediately or upon graduation. When I am engaged and highly involved in the class, students believe they are receiving something of value – and that motivates me to perform my best as an educator.

I know that it is natural for some students to lose interest in the course topics, discussions, or assignments over time. If I have established a good relationship with them, and I have been responsive to their requests and questions, I am able to help keep them engaged during times when they are not feeling highly enthusiastic. There are also going to instances when students struggle with aspects of the class that should seem self-explanatory or easy to understand. For example, I have watched students get sidelined with writing assignments when they simply cannot think of a starting point or topic to begin writing about, and then their academic writing skills are so under-developed they reach a point where the only option may be to completely give up.

When students reach this point, they may express “I can’t” – either through their direct words or indirect actions. These students present a challenge for me as an educator; not for me to question my career choice, rather to challenge me to be a better educator and help these students succeed. I know this form of expression represents their frustration and there is an underlying issue that must be addressed. While I may never know the exact cause of the issue, I must try to help turn the phrase “I can’t” into “I can” or at the very least, turn it into “I will try” and encourage them not to give up.

How Students Express “I Can’t”

Students can express “I can’t” in a number of ways without actually stating those words. Using a written assignment as an example, students have told me that what they submitted is the best they can do, they worked really hard and should have earned an “A” letter grade even though the requirements were barely met, and they put in the minimum effort needed because that is all they know how to do. In other words, they are stating they cannot do better because they either do not know how to perform better, they were not encouraged to do so, or they have performed in this manner long enough that it has become a matter of routine.

There are also other indirect methods that an “I can’t” statement may be expressed. You can tell students have this mindset when their performance begins to decline with class discussions or assignments, you find mistakes are repeated even when helpful feedback has been provided to them, or they are starting to miss assignment deadlines. For any educator, it may be difficult to determine if the reason for any of these issues is a matter of “I can’t” or “I won’t” – or if there are any other underlying causes. What makes these situations even more challenging is that the students may not be very receptive or open to actually receiving help, once they have reached this level of frustration.

Regardless of the reasons, direct and indirect statements of this nature may actually be an expression of “I can’t do better than this right now” – until someone helps them to “do” otherwise or encourages them change their frame of reference. You do not have to know the actual reasons why to be able to help your students; you only need to acknowledge they are struggling and then try to help them get back on track.

Consider Your Perspective as an Educator

Any time you have students who are no longer able to realize their full potential, and you sense a lack of resilience when they are faced with challenges, it may be helpful to first conduct an internal self-assessment of your own expectations. For example, you are familiar with the class discussions and assignments, and what should constitute a strong level of performance from your students. You have read responses and papers long enough to have formulated in your mind what constitutes marginal, acceptable, and outstanding work on the part of your students.

However, if you have been working with those same learning activities for a long time your personal tolerance level for what you consider to be subpar responses and papers may now be quite low. You may have reached a point that you expect all students to make an above average effort, which may not be possible for all students to achieve. For example, the best effort that a student puts in may only be an average discussion response or written paper. That is their best, until they learn how to perform better with time and practice. This is why it is helpful to re-examine your expectations to determine if you are expecting too much from students or helping them to reach their full potential.

Helping Students Develop an “I Can” Attitude

Whenever a student expresses “I can’t” to you in some form, either directly or indirectly, you should begin with a diagnosis to determine if it is a matter of “I won’t”, “I don’t know how”, “I’m not sure where to begin”, “I’m uncertain I can”, I am unable to find resources”, “I need help but I do not know how to ask for assistance”. In other words, look beyond the initial statement or what you believe the reactionary condition may be to determine if the underlying cause can be ascertained as you can better assist the student when you address problems rather than symptoms. Whether or not you can learn about the underlying issue, you can still attempt to work with your students to help lessen their anxieties and change both their perspectives and outcomes.

Strategies to Assist Students: The most important starting for working with students who seem unable to complete a task or activity is to ensure you are approaching your response to them from a position of empathy and genuine concern for their academic well-being. They will be able to tell right away from the perceived tone of your voice, along with anything you post in an online classroom or send by email, whether you are going through the motions or truly care about them. Your attitude also determines the amount of effort you will put into trying to assist them, and how willing you will be to try to find solutions for them.

Immediate and Direct Contact: Often when I work with faculty, I recommend that they offer one-on-one contact with students and make the suggestion through an outreach method such as an email. However, when a student has reached a point where they are stuck – waiting for a reply and attempting to schedule a meeting can take time and further escalate their frustration.

My approach is to contact the student immediately by phone as most of my classes have been taught online. If I am unable to reach the student, I will leave a detailed message and provide times when I am available and make a genuine offer of assistance. I also add the student’s name to my calendar to check on them again in two days, to ensure I have received a response and if not, I will continue my direct attempt.

Consider the Student’s State of Mind: Whenever a student appears to be frustrated or they are unable to meet any of the course requirements, they are not going to have a positive frame of reference and it may extend towards you as their instructor. What I never want to do is to push back at the student or argue with them about the issue they are concerned about and instead, I will acknowledge their concerns as being valid and express interest in resolving them. Even if the reason why they cannot complete a task is invalid, there is something involved that has created a barrier and that is what I need to help remove. The more I can work with students, the more they will be willing to work with me.

Provide Assistance Immediately: Another helpful strategy that can make a difference for students is to provide assistance when you respond to students, rather than wait until you can speak with them. As an example, if I am providing feedback for a paper and I notice that the same errors are being made from week to week, and I have provided detailed feedback each week, I will write a personalized message with my notes to the student that includes a list of recommended resources and an offer to speak one-on-one. I can also utilize the same approach for an online class discussion, if I see a minimal response and it continues each week.

I can post a general announcement and offer tips and resources. I can also contact the student, request a time to speak with them, and ask for their feedback first about class discussions to gauge their perspective before I try to assess what I believe the issue might be. If they believe they are meeting the necessary requirements, I can discuss strategies for creating substantive and engaging posts. The purpose of these strategies is to be proactive and develop a connection with my students, which goes beyond just sending an email asking to speak with them.

It is not uncommon for students to experience sticking points as they progress through a course. If they are able to be resilient and persist on their own, they will figure out how to resolve any challenges encountered – sometimes with and without the help of their instructors. But when students remain stuck, and they cannot progress any further with a task or learning activity, that is when they are likely to express their inability to complete the requirements either directly or indirectly to their instructors.

As an educator, you always have a choice as to how you will approach these students. You may allow these students to continue and expect or hope they will figure it out on their own, you may demand compliance, or you may choose to empathize with them and provide assistance. Students will be more likely to discover their ability to resolve challenges experienced when they change their perspective about the learning process. This is something you have an ability to influence through any action or inaction taken when you discover they are struggling. Changing “I can’t” to “I can” will take some effort, and I know that the work of an instructor already takes significant time; however, the end result for your students is a renewed sense of accomplishment, self-belief, and self-worth. This is one of the most important academic lessons any student can learn.

Student Undergraduate Loans – 3 Crucial Aspects to Know Before Getting Student Undergraduate Loans

Undergraduate Student Finance Options

One can pursue undergrad education at any point in their lifetime and regardless of when they start, financing the education can always be a challenge. A large majority of the undergrad students irrespective of their background depend on student undergraduate loans to study.

While it is a major challenge to finance their education, many do not have the necessary knowledge about the federal funds that they can tap into for some relief. So if you, your friend or family are planning to take up undergrad study here, are some check points that you can look into:

  1. Student loan choices to finance the undergrad study
  2. Qualifications and necessary requirements
  3. Details on application procedures

Some Financing Resources

  • Direct Loan Program from the federal government directly
  • Indirect federal loans from private institutions through Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP)
  • Regular loans from private institutions and banks
  • State sponsored loans from state and private institutions.

Common Student Loan Alternatives Typically the most sought after loan schemes by undergrad students are the ones that are easy to qualify for and less stressful to repay. If you are looking for such loans the Stafford Loans are a good option. Stafford Loans for Undergraduate Studies. This is one of the most well known alternatives for student loan. Almost every undergrad student that has taken a loan to fund the education would have some part of it coming from the Stafford Loan program. These loans are extended to students based on their financial status and need. Depending on your need you could get a subsidized or the unsubsidized loan.In case of the subsidized loan, the government pays the interest on the loan for the duration of the studies and further for another 6 months after your graduation. This gives the student some breather to settle into a good job and plan the finances to repay the loan.

Stafford Loans are funded by both the Direct Loans or FFELP programs. The best part of Stafford Loans is that they have very simple eligibility criteria and most students would qualify for one. Since it is not based on your credit ratings, you can get one even with a bad credit record.

10 Things to Include in Your Personal Statement – Undergraduate, Graduate & Beyond

Whether you are applying to enter undergraduate school, graduate school, or applying for a job, you may be asked to include a personal statement with your application. A personal statement is a supplement to your application that allows you to elaborate on your skills, experience, etc. Some personal statements ask you to respond to a very specific question, while other personal statements may ask a general question, which gives you a little more leeway on what should be included.

Writing your personal statement is your opportunity to shine. It is your opportunity to describe yourself, list the reasons you are interested in becoming part of the institution you are applying for, and the goals that you have set for yourself to achieve. The personal statement is also your platform for elaborating on the abilities that you possess that are not reflected in the standard form questions that you complete on an application. Finally, by completing your personal statement, you are showing the review board that you have the ability to organize your thoughts and that you can write clearly and effectively.

10 Things you should include in a personal statement:

1. List and thoroughly explain your personal experiences and qualifications. Be as specific as possible. Your experiences may be related to school, extracurricular activities, community service, or work experience.

2. Explain what makes you special, unique or impressive. Set yourself apart from your competition. Explain why you should be chosen over the other applicants that are volleying for your position in the institution.

3. List and fully explain the specific reasons that you are interested in attending this institution. It may be that they offer a course of study that no other institution does. It may be that they have the top medical school in the country and you want to me the top brain surgeon in the country. Also include how you came to know of the institution and/or field of study that you are interested in pursuing.

4. Explain and describe any work experience that you may have as it applies to your interest in your course of study. Relevant work experience may be what sparked your interest in pursuing this line of study or the line of work that you would eventually like to take on as a career. For example, maybe you volunteered in a battered women’s shelter and this has sparked your interest in becoming a social worker. You feel that studying social work will prepare you for a career in social work, which will allow you to help try and change or better certain aspects of society.

5. Describe your career goals. Be as specific as possible. For example, don’t just say that you want to be a doctor, when what you really want to be is a pediatric researcher. Explain the rationale behind you choosing to set these career goals for yourself. Maybe what sparked your goal was that your baby cousin died of a rare disease and you want to be able to conduct medical research, specifically for children, to try and find new and innovative cures for certain diseases that affect kids.

6. List the skills and achievements that you have accomplished. Provide supporting evidence as to how you accomplished the achievements or why you received the awards that you have listed.

7. Describe your most prominent characteristics and attributes. Again, provide supporting evidence to show how these attributes are beneficial to your growth and to their organization.

8. Fully describe some responsibilities that have you taken on and what you learned from them.

9. Describe some difficulties in life that you managed to overcome. Describe how you were able to overcome these difficulties and what you learned from these difficult times or incidents.

10. Make sure that you have written a complete personal statement that includes a strong and attention grabbing opening paragraph. This should be followed by the main section of your personal statement, spelling out all of the details that are listed above. Finally, you should have a strong conclusion which ties the entire essay together. Also be sure to reiterate your interest on becoming part of their institution.

Remember that having to write a personal statement is your opportunity to shine like the sun. Be sure to include these 10 items to ensure that you submit a complete personal statement. And most importantly, be sure to put a positive spin on everything that is on your list to include. You are painting a picture of yourself with words and you need them to impress the reader enough to see you in the positive light that you are standing in!