college scholarships

Where to Look for College Scholarships

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college scholarshipsStudents aren’t awarded college scholarships by chance. Even if you have an outstanding academic record, you need to actively apply for scholarships in order to receive financial aid.

The good news is that there are many scholarships out there, and not all committees look for the same thing. While some prioritize academic factors like GPA, others place more weight on extra-curricular activities.

According to a recent CBS News article, there are many scholarships from organizations that go by unnoticed because students are too focused on receiving ones from colleges:

“Unfortunately, many students who are currently enrolled in college or are planning to attend soon are unaware of all of the scholarship and grant opportunities that exist across the board. While many scholarships require a solid grade-point average to qualify, and some grants are particular toward certain income amounts or club affiliations, there are quite a few others in existence with different requirements that practically go unnoticed.”

Here’s a few places you can look for scholarships:

Local organizations

Many local clubs and organization offer scholarships for motivated students. These are a great opportunity to reduce your total cost of college.

Scholarship websites

Sites like Fastweb.com make the college scholarship search easier. Most don’t require application fees, so apply to as many as you can. You can also narrow search results based on your academic record and future goals.

Ethnic scholarships

There are many scholarships which can only be awarded to certain ethnic groups. Whether you’re Hispanic American, African American, Irish American, or Italian American, you should search for scholarships where the competitive field is limited.

One last piece of advice: don’t just apply for scholarships that will pay your entire undergraduate tuition. The smaller ones add up and can take years off your student loan payments.

If you’d like more information about college scholarships, contact us today. Thanks.

washington dc springtime

Things to Do in Washington DC in the Springtime

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washington dc springtimeCan you believe that it is finally spring? Now that the weather is on the upswing, people will be out having fun and experiencing Washington DC for all of the spring sights and sounds it has to offer. This includes the surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland.

There are tons of spring festivals and events during April, here are a few notable things to do.

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Visit the Tidal Basin and see the cherry tress bloom. The annual tradition is welcomed each year at beginning of April. The festival began in 1912 when Japan gifted DC 600 cherry trees. Events include, a festival, fireworks, a parade, and many cultural activities.

Southwest Waterfront Festival and Fireworks

On April 4, on the Southwest Waterfront in DC, you can experience  this annul fireworks event, tied very closely to the Cherry Blossom Festival. The entirely free event includes music, other live entertainment, and cultural events in addition to the fireworks.

International Pillow Fight Day

Bigger than you think, this day (April 4) that celebrates the simple things in life, namely pillow fights, is a spectacle throughout the city. From monument to monument you’ll find people toting around pillows, ready for a breakout pillow brawl at any minute.

Washington National’s Baseball

Opening day is April 6 for Washington National’s baseball. This year on opening day, the Nationals will play the Mets. But don’t worry if you miss this one baseball fans, the National’s have 81 home games this year.

Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival

Celebrated on April 11, the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival includes live entertainment, food from allover the world, cultural events, and a Ginza marketplace.

Bethesda Literary Festival

April 17-19, held annually downtown Bethesda, MD, the Bethesda Literary Festival readings, talks, contests, and galleries featuring some of the literary world’s best. This year’s lineup includes, Gary Krist, Jonathan Allen, Susan Coll, and Kirstin Downey among many others.

Georgetown French Market

Held over a two-day period, April 24-25m the Georgetown French Market features elite fashion events, food, French antiques and shops, art galleries, and music. We highly recommend you visit this annual event.

And that’s just a handful of things to do each April. DC in spring is a wonderful time. We hope to see you here.

For more information on us, please contact us any time.

saving tips college

Remember to Use Your Campus Resources

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saving tips collegeOne of the best saving tips for college students we have is to use your campus resources. There’s no need to spend extra money on things that your university offers for free.

Oftentimes, students don’t even realize all that their college has to offer. According to a recent Bradenton Times article, students should always review campus resources before moving in:

“Review campus resources ahead of time so you can eliminate items that you don’t necessarily need to bring with you to school. Why bring your car and pay for an expensive parking pass if you can use free public transportation? Similarly, it might make more sense to borrow textbooks from your university’s library or rent them rather than fork over the dough to buy pricey books you’ll use for a single semester.”

Printing is a great example of this. Many students want to bring their own printers to college since they already bought them. They think that they’ll need access to quick printing in case they’re running late for class.

What they don’t realize is that every college campus has printing labs for students. The fees are covered by your tuition, so printing an essay won’t cost you anything.

So when students bring their own printers, they’re essentially paying twice as much as they need to. Plus, personal printers aren’t cheap to maintain. Ink is relatively expensive and you need to keep a ream of paper in supply.

The same goes with borrowing books from the library and using campus shuttle buses. The resources are there and already paid for, so it doesn’t make sense to pay for the same things a second time around. By using campus resources, you can save money each semester.

To talk more about saving tips for college students, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

saving tips for college students

5 Easy Money Saving Tips and Life Hacks for College Students

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saving tips for college studentsFinancing your education is costly. Without scholarships and grants, most people who attend college are strapped with massive amounts of debt after they graduate.

So while going to college is money well-spent for receiving an education, saving every penny is worth your extra effort and time.

Here are some money savings tips and life hacks for college students are who trying to minimize their debt burden.

- Budgets are your best friend. Once you make a budget, stick to it! Unless, of course, you find extra money in the couch. Try free websites like Mint.com that keep you up-to-date on your finances and spending so you never run out of money, and squirrel away some in the process.

- Textbooks are costly, find alternatives. As if college wasn’t expensive enough, sometimes a single textbook can cost $200, and you might not even use it. Discuss with your instructor beforehand two things: Is it required? Are there online alternatives?

- Rent textbooks if possible. There are many alternatives for student who need textbooks for a discount, or for a temporary basis. Search around for ways to minimize your book cost by renting from reputable websites like Amazon, or checking out textbook boards around campus.

- Travel doesn’t come cheap. But is also doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. If you live on campus, you likely won’t need a car. Instead, take public transportation (DC has many forms of mass transit). Check out student discounts for these services and save big each term.

- Shop for food, don’t waste it on fast food. Food is a necessity, but fast food is filler. Don’t waste your money on fast food that is high in sugar and carbs, which will leave you hungry in a few hours. Hit the grocery store and stock up! Ramen and a bag of frozen vegetables has saved many people’s lives.

College is hands down the best years of your life! Enjoy it while it lasts, and come out with as little debt as you possibly can.

For more information on how we can help you, please contact us any time.

financing education (1)

Tranferring From An Online College

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financing education (1)Transferring credits from an online college to a traditional campus is either a smooth or messy experience.  While we aim to make it as smooth as possible, it’s best to learn the transferring system.

  1. In order for online credits to transfer, it must have accreditation. Online colleges attached to a college campus have accreditation, but check the Department of Higher Education for this information on their website. Also, make sure the traditional college has accreditation.
  2. Next, read about transfer policy on the college website thoroughly. If it has a college-to-college transfer guide with your school listed, give that a glance.
  3. Then look at the grades on your transcript for each class. Most colleges don’t accept grades lower than C.
  4. Finally study your credits. General education classes (math, science, history, English, speech) and lower division class numbers (100s/1000s, 200s/2000s) have a better chance of being transferred than specialty classes, upper-division class numbers (300s/3000s, 400s/4000s) and graduate classes.

As with all transfers, there are limitations.

  • Some colleges go by equivalence. Instead of the credit counting toward the official class, it counts as an elective or as something less.  It may or may not count toward the degree.  The ones that don’t transfer will either be throw aways or re-taken.  Financing education may include additional money for those classes.
  • Traditional colleges have a credit limit to transfer ranging from sixty to one hundred. Successful credit transfers higher than the college limit won’t go through. You must complete at least 30 credits at the new college to graduate.
  • Colleges accept credits depending on how old the credit is. Many colleges have a time limit on the age of credits.   It can range from three years to twenty years old.  Look at the semester and year of the credit.  Credits older than the college’s expiration date won’t transfer.

For more information on online colleges, contact us.

career and job outlook

Understanding Your Career and Job Outlook Before Searching for a Job

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career and job outlookFinding your first job right out of college can be intimidating, especially if your skills and qualifications bring you to industries with big corporations and scores of talented people. The key is to not narrow yourself down to very specific entry-level positions. If you understand the career and job outlook for a number of different industries, you can find the job that is the right fit and will benefit you on your path to success.

Know What Your Bring to the Table

The best way to understand your career outlook in any industry is to know what skills and qualifications your bring to the table. While you may have a solid education, you will also want to make sure that other desirable skills of the industry are met, such as licensing, being a member of a professional organization or looking into continuing education courses to gain additional skills.

Find Industries Where Your Skills are in Demand

If you have a computer science degree, you may think that you need to look for a job within a company that manufactures computers or creates software. These can be great position, but a computer science degree can also be applied to almost any industry because high-level computer skills are in demand for corporations, retailers, small businesses and even government positions.

Think Outside the Box

Just because you have studied for years to be an accountant doesn’t mean that you must work as an accountant for the rest of your working life. There are many jobs suitable for people who are trained for one specific job, but find themselves looking for more. In the case of a trained accountant, they can also easily find jobs as auditors, analysts and managers in a range of industries.

Interested in learning more about how career and job outlooks can help you find a great job? Please contact us for more information.

washington dc (1)

A Local’s Guide to Washington, D.C.

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washington dc (1)The University of the Potomac is based in Washington, D.C., one of the most popular travel destinations in the U.S. and included by Lonely Planet on their list of the top ten Best-In-Travel cities in the world for 2015.

The city is well-known for the White House, the U.S. Capitol, presidential monuments and memorials, and the Smithsonian Institution which includes some of the world’s finest museums open to visitors for no charge. But there is more to the city than the U.S. federal buildings and institutions.

Here are a few places in the District, as locals call it, that many tourists never manage to visit:

  • Eastern Market: Located in Capitol Hill just steps from the metro station of the same name, this historic indoor food market is a favorite place for locals and tourists alike. Come here for regional culinary treats, great people watching, and for the cafes and open air flea market that line the blocks around the market.
  • Union Market: Part of the revitalization of the North of Massachusetts Avenue neighborhood (known as NOMA), this former public market was reopened in recent years and has quickly become a destination for college students and young families looking for quick, good food and coffee at great prices. Local vendors sell everything from oysters to bagels to Korean tacos and offer D.C.-brewed beer and the city’s best espresso.
  • Lincoln’s Cottage: President Abraham Lincoln’s summer home when he was president, this cottage is located just a few miles north of the White House in a residential neighborhood of D.C. called Petworth. This is where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Rock Creek Park: Part of the U.S. National Park System, Rock Creek Park runs the entire length of the District and offers trails for running, walking, biking, hiking, and horseback-riding, and the chance to connect with nature in a beautiful setting without leaving the city.

These are only a few examples of lesser-known places to spend your free time in the D.C. area. To learn more about Washington, D.C. and the benefits of living and studying here, contact us.

Resources for international students

Resources for International Students: What You Need to Know About Studying Abroad

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Resources for international studentsStudying abroad is an exciting and exhilarating opportunity. However, many international students don’t know where to begin, who to talk to, or where to direct questions, and we understand why: it all seems very daunting when you first begin.

So to help you along, here are some great resources for international students who are looking to broaden their horizon and expand their parameters.

Find a Program

It’s the first step in the process: find a program that you like in a place you want to study. Look for aspects that interest you, what you want to study, how long you want to stay, and where you want to go.

Talk to the Right People

While there are many resources for an international student to refer to, the best decision you can make when choosing where you want to study is to talk to those who your trust. Including, your school’s advisors, financial aid, people at the school you are planning to attend, your parents, and even alumni of the program.

Research Reaches Far

Another important aspect about studying abroad, is the amount of research you do about the school, the area, the surrounding city’s culture, the program’s details and so on. It’s also not a bad idea to speak to current students studying at the same place, their input is indispensable when it comes to particular details that others often overlook.

Exploring new and exciting places as a student is important to building a solid life experience, while broadening your personal horizons. The learning, culture, and people you meet make for one-of-a-kind experiences that last a lifetime.

For more information on making us your future study abroad location, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on how we can help make your internationally scholastic dreams come true.

financing education

Finish college in three years (accelerated degree)

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financing educationThe cost of college is rising, and financing education is harder to do in today’s economy.  One way to save money is to attend college and finish sooner.  You can finish college in three or three and a half years instead of four to six years.  There are also accelerated degrees made for students who want to finish college sooner.  You’ll save money and get a head start on finding a job.

Many people finish college in five or six years due to switching majors or going to school part-time.  The ones who finish college in four years go to school in the fall and spring semesters.  The ones that finish college in three years do something different – go to summer school.  Don’t confuse PreK-12 summer school with college summer school; it is very beneficial.  Students use the summer to catch up if they are behind or get ahead to graduate early.  Colleges offer discounts in the summer because of fewer students and teachers.  However, there is plenty of general education and major specific classes to select.  Instead of summer school, another option for students is to take more classes per semester.  Eighteen hours or more are mentally draining and your social life is a bust; however, saving a semester or two’s worth of money is worth it.

Gain credit for what you do before attending college.  This approach will save a lot of money toward your education.  Depending on your college, you can use life/work experience and high school AP classes to reduce the amount of classes to take.  You’ll spend less money and graduate faster.

Some colleges offer three-year bachelor degrees.  Also an accelerated degree, this modified degree requires the same classes, but adds a winter/mini-mester in between fall and spring semesters to speed up the process.  However, because of how rigorous and focused the term schedule is there is no room for error.  If you take a break or change degrees, you are out of the program.

For more information on this, contact us.

career services

4 Ways to Get More Out of Career Services

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career servicesDuring your studies, you should get to know your career services department. If your main goal of studying is to land a job after college, then career services will be your favorite department on campus.

But just how important are career services exactly? Well, The Princeton Review has a ranking solely based on a university’s career services department. The more they help their students successfully get jobs, the better ranking they get.

The problem is that not all students know about their career services departments, so they never take advantage of them. Here are four ways you can get the most out of career services:

Know where to look

Some universities have a career services department for individual colleges. Check to see if your specific college has one, since this will be more tailored to your studies.

If you don’t know where to start, then check your university’s website. You should find a link from the drop-down menu.

Know what you want

You can use career services more effectively if you know what you want to do. If you speak with a representative, then let them know if you’re interested in an internship or a job and choose a specific field.

Play the odds

The odds are against you if you just apply to one internship. Consider all your options and apply to internships even if they aren’t a perfect fit. The more applications you submit, the better chance you’ll have at working in the summer.

Follow-up

One way to differentiate yourself from other students is to follow-up after an application or a meeting. This will demonstrate your interest in the position and will show that you’re a serious applicant.

We encourage all our students to take advantage of our Career Resources. Let us know if you’re interested in working this summer.

To talk more about career services, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.