Getting In Is Only Half The Battle

Smart money tips at college

Posted by administrator under Personal Finance

Going off to college?  Don’t have a clue how to spend or rather not spend money?  Well the guys over at Lifehacker have put together a little guide for trying to at least pause before spending your money with wild abandon.

hurt piggy bank

Back when I was in school, last century, personal finance was a course that was required for graduation from high school.

Just for fun, take a look down the list and see how many of these financial terms you’re actually familiar with.

And while we’re at it, US News has an article along the same personal finance vein.

My own college experience was buying at least 20 t-shirts at $15 a pop.  The stupid ones a college freshman wears, but would be too embarrassed to wear once he actually reached adulthood.

Enjoy the articles.  Comments welcome.

winding_roadApplying to college should theoretically be a straightforward process. You did okay in school and you’re ready to make the leap and get into a decent college or university of your choosing. That’s theoretically. Wayne Washington of has an article about the twisted road that the current college admissions process has become.

“Applying for college a long, costly, confusing journey” discusses the admissions process. Applying to a college certainly isn’t a no-brainer, and in fact is something that should be planned for years out. I have to admit that I don’t agree with the idea of coughing up the $100 (or whatever it is these days) application fee to multiple colleges either.

7 More Ways To Pay For College

Posted by administrator under Paying For College


So, getting back to our normal theme of figuring out a way to pay for college, I found an article on the WalletPop blog entitled Seven Little-Known Ways to Pay for College.

There actually only 6 things and none are exactly lightning bolts from the blue, but one or two of them may be things you hadn’t thought of before.

  1. Get Federal Grants (you don’t have to pay these back)
  2. Government Programs for Single Parents
  3. Support for the Unemployed
  4. Full Scholarships for Soldiers (the GI Bill is such a better deal now than when I got it)
  5. Tax Credits
  6. Perform A Little Community (or World) Service

virtual_classroomThe Christian Science Monitor had an article last week about the prevalence and future of the virtual classroom.

The article’s position is that the high cost of a college education can somehow be outsourced online and that it will be offered more cheaply than a tradition college or university education.

As someone who did virtually (haha) all of their graduate work via distance education I just don’t see this happening. My alma mater charged me $500 a course for the “privilege” of taking the courses online.

For younger students pursuing an undergraduate degree it seems like the social aspect of being at an honest-to-goodness campus is a big part of the college experience.

Feel free to comment with your own thoughts.

More Obnoxious College Essay Subjects

Posted by administrator under Essays

Number 2,377,992 on the list of 3 million things that drive me up the wall is irritating college essay topics. The kind where the college admissions officer is asking you to show how cool you are with some cute, snarky little essay question.

Well, the Mental Floss Blog has compiled a list of 11 of some of the most obnoxious essay subjects ever compiled. Let’s be clear, what the author calls “offbeat” I call obnoxious and irresponsible. The worst part of this article is that the subjects listed were actually college essay topics.


Does anybody besides me remember having personal finance as a required course back in high school? It seems like money management is one of the courses that’s been cut from just about every single public high school’s curriculum. The big irony here is a personal finance course has some of the most needed skills that we need once we actually get out there in the world.

Flying MoneyThe Wisdom Journal Blog has an article entitled “10 Critical Money Management Skills Your Children Need You To Teach Them”.

The article covers

  1. Balancing a checkbook
  2. Budgeting money
  3. Establishing credit
  4. How to pay for college
  5. Identifying wants vs. needs
  6. Dealing with debt
  7. Paying taxes
  8. Saving and investing for the future
  9. Understanding the total cost of ownership
  10. Choosing a thrifty lifestyle

To be honest, if you can teach your kids #5 above you’re doing well.

Emptying The Nest Yourself

Posted by administrator under After College

Bye Bye BirdieCBS Moneywatch had an article awhile back about kids moving back into the house AFTER having been gone for quite awhile.

This isn’t exactly in the vein of sending your kids to college, but at the same time you don’t exactly want them back in quite this way once they’ve left.

The article suggests a few things to implement to get your not so little ones back out of the nest.

  • Setting Ground Rules
  • Require A Job Search
  • (If Necessary) A Little Tough Love

WLS tv in Chicago had a short story on (what else) coming up with cash to pay for college. The video can be seen above.
The story source page with copy can be found here.

In keeping with today’s theme of college application deadlines, Suburban Journals (A St. Louis Metro area online paper) has an article about starting the college planning process early.

Here at SMTC I’ve posted numerous articles about starting everything early (especially the saving part), so it should be no surprise that I’d advocate starting the examination and application process early as well.

For members of the class of 2010 deadlines for getting into college are coming around. The Charlotte Observer(.com) has an article that follows the efforts of a couple of this year’s seniors as they prepare and apply for college.

Topics Covered Include:

  • Limit your applications
  • Visualize life there
  • Frustration was normal
  • Most love their choice
  • Make the decision

The main point is really summed up in that last bullet. Make your decision and then GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND APPLY.

As always, the full article can be found here.

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