<![CDATA[CLIMBING-TO-SUCCESS.ORG - Blog]]>Tue, 25 Jun 2024 12:11:31 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Is it Worth It to Take Out a Student Loan?]]>Mon, 04 Jul 2022 04:14:09 GMThttp://climbing-to-success.org/blog1/is-it-worth-it-to-take-out-a-student-loanEach year, thousands of prospective college students complete the Free Application Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or an application for state financial aid for undocumented students, such as the California Dream Act Online Application. Their highest hope is to be able to get enough in federal and state financial aid to pay for their desired college. However, there are various reasons why a student may not be eligible for only scholarships, work study or grants. So, students often ask themselves an extremely important question: Should I take out a student loan?

As a millennial with student loan debt from graduate school, I understand the hesitation from many prospective graduate students to avoid taking out loans or to even pass up on your dream school because the price tag seems insurmountable. However, I always tell students that a loan taken out for your college education is the best loan since no one can ever take your college education away from you. Unlike taking out a loan for a car or another item, your college degree is a lifelong possession. 

So what are the different types of loans that students can borrow?

  • Direct Subsidized Loans: For undergraduate students who show that they have a financial need and can be used at a college or career school
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: For undergraduate, graduate, or professional students and not based on financial need
  • Direct Plus Loans: For graduate and professional students, or parents of undergraduate student. Eligibility is not based on financial need and a credit card is required. If a borrower doesn’t have the best credit, they must meet other requirements. 
  • Direct Consolidation Loans: Allows students to combine all eligible federal financial aid into one loan servicer. 
  • Private Loans: Allows students to borrow from private organizations, such as banks, credit-unions, state based or state-affiliated organizations. These lenders have various eligibility requirements that borrowers must follow

If I decide to take out a loan, what can I do to help myself to limit my debt?

  • Be wise with the amount of money that you’re borrowing: While in school, be strategic on how you decide to spend your student loan funds. If you think a purchase will put you in too much debt, think twice before spending student loan money on it because it will need to be eventually paid back. 
  • Save money while in school: It's a wise idea to put money aside to save while you’re in school so you can pay back your loan faster. When I was in graduate school, I opened up a bank account with another bank that just housed my student loan funds.
  • Pay back student loan debt with remaining student loan funds: While in graduate school, I made sure to not use all of my student loan money. So, for the first year I had to pay money back, I used my leftover funds to pay down the balance. This helped me to save on time before I had to start paying out of my own paycheck. 
  • Get on an income-based repayment plan: If you are not able to pay the standard rate, consider getting on an income-based repayment plan. It may take you longer to pay down your debt but it makes it more manageable while you’re trying to build your life. 
  • Fill out the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Application: If you work in the public sector, fill out a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Application. Recent legislation has passed that has made more borrowers eligible for this funding. 

As you can see, there are many options to consider when thinking about taking out a student loan. If you're strategic, you find creative ways to reduce your amount of student loan debt. Always remember that it is a huge responsibility but worth it to invest in your education.

Source: Federal Student Aid, https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans]]>
<![CDATA[WHERE SHOULD I VISIT ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS?]]>Thu, 17 Mar 2022 05:44:24 GMThttp://climbing-to-success.org/blog1/where-should-i-visit-on-a-college-campusSo you have worked really hard to apply to many colleges and universities last fall and you finally received your acceptance letters. Congratulations! At this point in your higher education acceptance journey, you and your family will most likely want to visit each campus to figure out which one is the best fit for you. But if you have had very little experience visiting college or university campuses, you may not know where to go.

If you are in this situation, Climbing to Success College and Career Consulting has made this journey easier for you by providing a free College Visit Checklist to take to your prospective campuses. By visiting these different locations on campus, you will have a better idea of the feel of it and will be able to ask questions to those who work in these different locations.

Click below to access our checklist!
<![CDATA[What is a "college fit"?]]>Wed, 22 Sep 2021 02:51:43 GMThttp://climbing-to-success.org/blog1/what-is-a-college-fitWhen you think about your dream college, what type of qualities do you think of? Do you want to attend a large university with 30,000+ students or would you prefer to attend a small university with 2,000 students? Do you want to live in a large urban city or a small rural town? Do you care about the amount of diversity on campus? Do you care if you attend a commuter campus or a campus where more students live on campus? 

These are only a few important questions you should ask yourself when thinking about a college fit. A “college fit” is a college or university where a student feels like they belong. Oftentimes, a student will apply or attend a certain college or university based on the advice of a family member or due to its reputation. However, it is way more important for a student to find a great college fit so that you will increase their likelihood of graduating from the college or university. 

Below are some questions you should ask when thinking about a great college fit for you:

  • What is the university’s mission?
  • How many students attend this university?
  • What is the student-to-faculty ratio at the university?
  • How many students enroll and graduate from this university?
  • Does this university offer my desired major? Is my desired major impacted?
  • How much diversity is at the university?
  • Does this university have a strong support system for:
    • First-generation students
    • Students of color
    • LGBTQ+ students
    • Students from different religious backgrounds
    • International students
    • Undocumented students
  • Does the university offer a great financial aid package for my family’s current financial situation?
  • Is the university a commuter campus or do most students live in on-campus housing?
  • Is the surrounding city of the university have a lot of activities that I am interested in? Do I feel comfortable living in the community?
  • Can I bring a car to campus? If not, is there a good public transportation system?
  • Are there opportunities for me to get involved in student organizations on campus?
  • How far away do I want to live from my family? 
  • During the holidays, am I okay with not spending all of them with my family if I live further away?
  • Do I want to study abroad? What do the study abroad opportunities look like at this university?
  • Are there internship opportunities for my desired major on campus or in the surrounding community?

Remember: A great college fit for your best friend or sibling may not be the best college fit for you. Also, a prestigious name of a university doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for you. Happy College Searching Season!]]>