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The Secret to Getting into a Good College is…

…doing your homework. Pardon the pun, but getting into the college of your choice requires diligent college preparation. The college admission process has become extremely competitive, and not just at Ivy League colleges, but at most leading U.S. colleges and universities.

College counseling budgets are being cut at high schools. This means students and their parents must take their college prep into their own hands. The college application process can be daunting so there are online tools such as iPlanForCollege.com to help future college students. iPlanforCollege.com is a new service that provides parents and students a personalized college admissions “roadmap.”

Currently, the iPlanForCollege.com is FREE, which saves families hundreds of dollars and lots of time.

Go to iPlanForCollege.com to learn more >>

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Free College Courses and Other Ways to Keep College Cheap

The Internet provides us with so many benefits. We can access news and Facebook and more.

Did you know you can also access free college education?

This is great news for students on a tight budget and for students who need to take an online course at their own pace and schedule.

Although you can’t get a totally free college degree (yet), you can access free college courses. Some free online college courses are provided by accredited universities. While others can prepare you for an exam, the CLEP, that will give you college credit if you pass the exam.

Now that you’ve decided to keep your college costs low by taking CLEP exams, you can now find free or cheap college classes to prepare you for taking CLEP and other exams.

Free College Courses

Here are some online sources for free college courses. Once you’ve take the course, you will then take the corresponding CLEP exam ($77) in order to gain college credit for the course.

Cheap College Courses

Instead of paying $600 per college course, you can pay a fraction of the tuition through companies like Straightliner and Ed2Go.

Straightliner is not an accredited college, it works with over 20 accredited institutions that award college credit for the courses. Straightliner offers online courses where students pay $99 per course.

Ed2Go is another source for online college courses at affordable rates. Ed2Go offers 300 instructor lead online courses. Ed2Go has partnerships with over 1,800 colleges and universities to offer a flexible option for non-credit courses.

Both Straightliner and Ed2Go enable students to use these college courses to prepare for the CLEP exams. For adult learners who want to expand their knowledge and skills, but don’t necessarily want a college degree, Straightliner and Ed2Go are great options.

Make Sure “FREE” (or Cheap) is also Good When it Comes to College Courses

It is very important that you research these college course options to ensure they will lead to college credit that you can use toward earning an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree.  Otherwise, you may be wasting valuable time and a little bit of money.

Read entire article, Free College Courses and Other Ways to Keep College Cheap

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How to Pay for College

How to Pay for College

According to a recent Forbes magazine article, “Ten Ways to Pay for College Right Now,” you should always apply for financial aid (FAFSA) first as “You may pleasantly surprised with the result.” Here is five of Forbes magazine’s 10 ways to pay for college:

1. Financial aid (Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA)
2. National grants (including Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants, National SMART Grants)
3. Local scholarships
4. Apply to many colleges to increase chances of good financial aid packages
5. “Bargain” with the college to get the best deal

Forbes recommends additional ideas such as studying abroad, living at home, taking advantage of tax credits, For complete list >>

For additional ideas on paying for college read:

College Scholarships

College Financial Aid

Ways to Keep Down the Cost of College

Is College Worth It?

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Never Too Old or Never Too Late to Get a College Degree

More and more jobs are requiring a college degree today and in the future according to research. This can present an obstacle or an opportunity depending on your perspective. Life and finances may be keeping you from getting a degree or from finishing your degree. If you are thinking about finishing or getting a bachelor’s the good news is that you will earn more money. It’s a fact that in 2009, men and women with a bachelor’s degree earn 58% more than those with a high school diploma.

According to the NCES, college enrollment continues to rise in all age categories, especially people over the age of 25. Between 2000 and 2009, college enrollment of students under 25 years old rose 27%, whereas the enrollment of students rose over 43%. Colleges and universities are changing to better accommodate older and returning students. Online courses and flexible scheduling are some of the newer accommodations. In some cases, colleges will accept work experience for college credits! Obtaining these college credits requires a certification process, however it can be well worth it to save you time and tuition.

Explore college degrees now >>

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Hot Degree Spotlight – Animation Degrees

Animation is not just for cartoons anymore. Movies, websites, software, corporate presentations, online advertising and many other animation venues are fueling growth in animation careers. While a majority of animators are employed by the motion picture and video industries, there are career opportunities in advertising, computer systems, software and specialized design services (bls.gov). According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Multimedia Artists and Animators make an average of $63,440 per year. To begin preparing for a career as an animator, a college degree is a must. Animation Degrees give you the design skills and technical training needed to be competitive.

Learn more about:

Animation Degrees

Other Related Degrees: Art & Design Degrees, Web Design Degree

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Ways to Keep Down the Cost of College

Don’t let the cost of college scare you away from earning your degree. A college degree does payoff and if you keep costs down then the payoff can be even higher! Here are some ways that can help you keep the cost of a college degree down:

  • Earn college credits while in high school by taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes.
  • Start at a community college – make sure the community college is a “feeders” into good colleges and that ensure your college credits will transfer.
  • Prepaid tuition programs that lock in current tuition and  529 college savings plans that increase at the same rate as tuition increases over time (Learn more about funding college
  • Financial aid, grants and scholarships – the time spent researching and applying can be worth it. (Learn more about  financial aid and scholarships)
  • Avoid credit cards, period.
  • Rent text books at websites such as Chegg
  • Keep living expenses low: have roommates (or live at home?), inexpensive car, take online classes to avoid high gas prices,
  • Avoid high-interest private student loans.
  • If you are studying to be a teacher, you may qualify for loan assistance. (Learn more about teaching degrees and grants and financial assitance)
  • Serve in AmeriCorps or other service plans that provide education awards that can be used to repay student loans. (Learn more about the Americorps education awards)
  • Work if you need to pay expenses, as long as your job doesn’t interfere with your academics.

 Don’t let the cost of college keep you away from your dream of having a college degree!

Research college degrees and receive free information from accredited colleges and universities >>

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The Ongoing College Degree Debate

Yes. A college degree can give you more earning power and job security. Studies have proven again and again that a college degree is better than not having one when it comes to financial success and your competitiveness in the market. 

But let’s take a different look at the value of college at a more personal level. The college experience is like no other life experience. It can be enriching in so many ways: socially, financially, intellectually and emotionally. You’ll make lifelong friends. You may even find your husband or wife while attending college.

College gives you unforgettable experiences that you carry with you the rest of your life…not just the social ones, the academic experiences are very meaningful as well. First and foremost, the academic accomplishment of a college degree is paramount. However, we can’t discount the many other non-monetary benefits of a college degree.

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Hot College Degree Spotlight – Pharmacy Technician

A simple search on the job site Indeed.com resulted in more than 18,000 jobs available for pharmacy technicians! This is just on one job site. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth in employment of pharmacy technicians will be 31% over the next several years. This growth comes from an aging population who typically use more prescription drugs than younger workers.

Pharmacy Technicians can complete training and receive formal certification in as little as 6 months and as much as 2 years for additional training. Employers favor Pharmacy Techs who have received formal training. Career colleges offer pharmacy tech degrees on campus or online.

Some of the courses a student will take include drug regulations, pharmacy operations, drug information sources, label preparation, reading and interpreting directions on prescriptions, pre-Algebra, pharmacy math, pharmaceutical dispensing of many drug forms, how drugs work, drug reactions/interactions, compounding, medical terminology and more.

Once trained, Pharmacy Technicians assist Pharmacists with a variety of duties such as receiving prescription requests from patients, counting tablets, labeling drugs, managing inventory, prepare insurance forms, and other pharmacy related duties.

In as little as several months, a Pharmacy Tech can be employed quickly because of the high demand for these professionals. Pharmacy Technicians can make an average annual wage of $36,000.

Learn more about Pharmacy Degrees >>

Explore these Pharmacy Technician schools now >>

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Healthy Growth for Nursing and Other Health Degrees

If you are looking for a degree in a growing field, then a health related degree may be for you. Jobs in health care are some of the fastest growing according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ten of the top 20 fast growing occupations are in health care. The job growth rates are much higher than average, from 2008-2018, for the following occupations:

  • Physician assistants – 41.3%
  • Medical secretaries and administrative assistants – 26.5%
  • Physicians and surgeons – 26%
  • Registered nurses – 23.4%
  • Counselors – 22.6%
  • Licensed practical and vocational nurses 21.9%
  • Medical billing and posting clerks – 19.7%
  • Social workers – 19.5%
  • Pharmacists – 14%
  • Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians – 14%

If you want to get a fast start in health care, considered an associate’s degree Some fast-growing health related degrees can be completed in just two years include: dental hygienists, physical therapy assistants, radiation therapists, surgical techs, registered nurses (RNs), medical records and health info techs, and respiratory therapists. (BLS.gov)

According to AllHealthCare and BLS.gov, the top five high paying bachelor’s degrees in health care include:

  • Physician’s Assistant – $74,890
  • Medical and Health Services Manager – $73,660
  • Registered Nurse (RN) – $60,010
  • Health Educator – $53,000
  • Clinical Laboratory Technician – $51,720

Learn what the other top paying health care careers are >>

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How to Make Sure College Pays Off

There is no debate that a college degree will give you more earning power, over not having one…the facts prove it. However, many students are wary of the growing costs of college. The potential of being saddled with large college loans is the biggest concern of students.

Rather than not pursuing the degree, why not set yourself up for success after college, before you graduate? There are many ways…some easy, some challenging…to ensure you are well positioned to land a great job that pays well so those college loans aren’t thought of as a burden, rather a smart investment.

  • Choose a college degree wisely – Is the college degree in a growing field? Are you passionate about the area of study?
  • Choose the right college – Is the college accredited? Does the college have the right courses to prepare you? Do you want to attend a college with a campus, or an online college, or a college that offers both campus courses and online courses?  
  • Keep college costs down – Take the time to make sure you find grants and scholarships. Stay away from high interests loans. Seek government sponsored college loans at lower interest rates. Buy used books or rent books. Create a budget and stick to it! Do you really need an expensive iPhone? Use a debit card instead of a credit card. If your grades are good, maybe try working part time.
  • Try a college internship – Look into college internships to gain experience (and college credits and/or money) while in college. You’ll be coming out of college with some relevant experience so you may land a higher paying job than if you didn’t have the experience.

Also read:

College Majors With The Highest Potential

5 Reasons Why Online Degrees Are Hot

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