Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Time Management Tips for College Students

Time Management for Students InfographicDid you know that the average student productively uses 128 hours out of the 168 hours in a week? When you’re in college time management can make or break you. Successful students will learn pretty quickly that effective time management strategies can help make college less stressful and more fulfilling.
One such strategy is getting a day planner AND USING IT. Whether you use a physical planner like the ones provided at many college bookstores, or keep track of your time on your google calendar, planning for all your activities in one place is a huge help!
This brings me to the next time management tip: don’t procrastinate! I know, students are sick of hearing this, but it’s still a good piece of advice. Staying on top of your assignments and getting them done early can help you manage your time more effectively, as well as keep your stress levels down. Plus, the less all-nighters you have, the more time there is for sleeping!

3 Ways to Help Your Troubled Teen

The teenagers fucina controvento 20090501
Originally posted on List Garage.
According to USA Today, 1 in 3 kids will be arrested before they turn 23. If you are a parent that is a frightening statistic. While you can't make your child's choices for them you can do a lot to steer them in the right direction.

Talk

One of the best thing you can do for your child is talk with them. Find out what their concerns and struggles are. Get to know them. the better you know them the easier it will be for you to tell when something is wrong. Also the better they know you the more likely it is that they will trust you when something has happened in their life.
It can be hard to find time to talk and things to talk about. If you need help there are plenty of resources to help you. Your teen might not give you a lot of answers. But they will know when they need you, you will be there.

Teach

Even though they might like to think otherwise, teens are still pretty inexperienced at life. Part of the reason that adolescent years are so hard is because they are trying to figure out who they are as a person and how they fit into the world around them.
This is a crucial time. You will probably have to talk about sex, drugs, and many other uncomfortable things. If you want your kids to learn the right information make sure that you are taking control of their education. Let them know that if they have any questions they can talk to you and it won't be awkward.
You want to be their source of information not someone else. Wrong information can lead to a lot of grief like arrests, program for troubled youth, or prison time.

Love

The most important thing you can do for your teenager is to show them that you love them. Sometimes this means making hard decisions. Like limiting the amount of time they spend with friends who might be a bad influence orsending your child to a bootcamp.
If they know that you love them they might be mad at you for a while but they will understand what you are trying to do.

Bonus Tip: Space

One of my favorite quotes comes from Jonas Salk:
Good parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what's been taught them.

Financial Awareness Counseling for Students

There has been a lot of talk lately about the financial literacy of Americans, and of the Millennial generation in particular. According to the National Financial Educators Council:
About thirty-four percent of parents have taught their teen how to balance a checkbook, and less than that has explained how credit card interest and fees work and ninety-three percent American parents with teenagers report worrying that their children might make financial missteps such as: overspending or living beyond their means.
To help combat the low rates of financial literacy, the Department of Education has recently launched a new Financial Awareness Counseling program. This online tool allows consumers to enter their student loans and other financial metrics to view reports on things like:Financial Awareness Counseling Tool
  • Student loan balances
  • Managing spending while in school
  • Income and tax information
  • Default avoidance

You can log in using their Federal Student Aid PIN, or enter information as a guest if you don’t have a PIN or don’t want to track sensitive information. If you have a student aid PIN, your loan information pulls directly from NSLDS.ed.gov, making it simple to enter your federal loan infirmation. You can even add private loans manually, making it easier to track how much you owe in one place.
One thing to be careful of though – this finanical awareness tool is NOT the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling, so make sure you complete the right one for your school! While entrance counseling is required for direct loan borrowers, Financial Awareness Counseling is not.

5 Reasons to Consolidate your Student Loans

Pile of Bills

1. Easier Repayment

If you have loans from many different lenders, staying on top of your payments can be tough. Consolidation can help to streamline the repayment process, so you only need to send one check, to one lender (two if you have both federal and private loans).

2. Better Discounts

Many lenders offer student loan discounts for a variety of situations. Discounts can include interest rate reductions for setting up automatic payments, or even for being a current customer of that bank. If your loan does not have any incentives like this, then consolidation may save you some money.

3. More Repayment Options

Did you know that Parent PLUS loans aren’t eligible for all repayment plans? One way around this is consolidation. By consolidating your loans, you can sign up for a variety of repayment plans, including plans your current loans may be ineligible for. Plus, if you’re looking into Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you’ll need to be on a repayment plan with a term of more than 10 years to ensure you have a loan balance left to forgive.

4. Lower Monthly Payments

With a consolidation loan, you have the opportunity to lengthen your repayment term, which lowers your monthly payment. For example, if you have a $20,000 loan, with a 10-year term at 6.8%, that’s $230 per month. By paying this loan off over 20 years, you would pay $152 per month.
Be careful though! Just because monthly payments are lower doesn’t mean you’re saving money. Increasing a repayment term also increases the amount of interest you’ll end up paying in total. While consolidation is a great option if you’re strapped for cash right now, the sooner you pay it off, the better!

5. Lower Interest Rates

If you have private student loans, shopping around for a new lender or applying with a cosigner can help to lower your interest rate. Lenders may offer different terms or provide discounts that can save you more money than your current lender offers. Consolidation can help you take advantage of some of these opportunities.
Unfortunately, this benefit is not available for federal student loans. Consolidation will have no impact on the interest rate of your federal loans because your new interest rate would be a weighted average. This means you’ll be paying the same amount in interest on your one loan as you were on multiple.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

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