Category Archives: Getting Started

What is a Tuition Waiver?

What is a Tuition Waiver

Not everyone can afford to go to college. Some have to apply for financial aid to get through college. Tuition waiver is one option available to students that desperately want to further their education and lack enough funds. 

However, getting a tuition waiver largely depends greatly on what is available to you, your qualifications, and if your school offers the scholarship option.

What is a Tuition Waiver?

A wavier should not be confused with a student loan. It is a program that allows a student to pay only a portion of his/her tuition or not to pay at all. They are issued only for a certain period; therefore, the student has to re-apply every semester that he/she would like the tuition waived. 

Tuition waivers are beneficial for those that can’t afford to pay the college tuition fee. However, not all colleges grant waivers, so you have to research the colleges that offer tuition waivers to students. And because a tuition waiver covers only tuition, students that live close to the institution, can work while at school, or have relatives close by can benefit from this program. 

Difference Between A Scholarship And A Tuition Waiver

Both scholarship and a tuition waiver are financial aid packages offered to students to further their education. It is possible for a student to be awarded both programs or to run both programs simultaneously. And even though they might seem alike, they are not entirely the same. 

A scholarship can also be termed free money, and it doesn’t have to be paid back to the institution. Scholarships offer the benefits to pay tuition fees with other college expenses such as accommodation, school supplies, and maybe feeding. Besides, colleges, NGOs, and states can offer scholarships to students. 

The requirement for each type of scholarship depends on who is offering it. For example, state scholarships usually require the student to be a resident/native of the state. Other scholarships might require the student’s accomplishment of some sort- an outstanding academic performance or talent.

A tuition waiver is offered by a chosen college that provides such benefits. When a student qualifies, the college reduces or pays the full tuition fee for the student. The waiver only affects the tuition fee for some credit hours, and it needs to be re-applied after every session. 

The disadvantage of this is that it does not cover any other educational expense. There are also qualifications that a student must meet to qualify for a tuition waiver. Some include being an American by birth, having encountered a significant hardship, being adopted or a foster child. 

Qualifications for Tuition Waivers

Not every college offers tuition waivers, and they are definitely not for every student. Some criteria make a student eligible for a tuition waiver. Some of these factors include the following. He/she:

  • Is or was a foster child.
  • Has served or fought as a soldier/sailor in a war.
  • Is a spouse or a dependent on a veteran.
  • Is a native of America.
  • Is a non-traditional (older) student.
  • Have financial hardship (or any other sort of hardship).
  • Is a full-time employee of the college.
  • Is enrolled in a STEM Degree Program.
  • Has a high or attractive academic status in the previous institution such as class valedictorian etc.
  • Attended an automatic scholarship school.

These are the common eligibility factors that would qualify a student for a tuition waiver. However, it is best to know the requirements before applying for the waiver. 

How To Apply For A Tuition Waiver

Usually, a college offers a waiver automatically based on the information provided by each student in the school’s application. However, it is not always this seamless. Students would have to follow the process to ensure that the waiver has been approved and granted. The students can visit the department in charge for a follow-up. 

The department you’ll be checking in may differ depending on the qualification of the student. An employee of the school might visit the school’s employment office for a waiver, while an American (who is not employed by the institution) would visit the admissions office instead. 

However, if you don’t get an automatic grant (and you qualify), you can apply through the school’s admission office or directly online. Sometimes, the student might be required to write a letter requesting a tuition waiver. Sometimes, the student might be required to write a letter asking for a tuition waiver. 

If you are planning on visiting the office, it’s best to inquire before applying to be well-aware of what is being offered. Different schools have different procedures; it is better to understand what your school demands. 

Conclusion

If you sincerely need financial aid to enter college, you should look into requesting a tuition waiver. You might have your tuition fee disappear for a whole session. Just ensure that you qualify by looking at the eligibility factors for a waiver, and the rest will be sorted out for you. 

The Best Headphones Under $50 for College Students

Best Headphones under $50 for College Students

Looking for some headphones for this semester and wondering what are some good headphones for college? Let me walk you through some different options that I felt were the best.

If you are college student and you’re on a tight budget but need headphones for your studies let me go through the range of the best headphones for under $50.

Yes there are a lot of cheap headphones available and there are also a lot you want to stay away from!

The range of headphones for under $50 is broad sweeping so for sure there will be one that suits you best and as you will see fifty dollars or under for headphones is enough to give you great sound quality, durability and comfort. Several were chosen from this site https://headphonecomparison.com/best-bluetooth-headphones/ that has over 15 amazing options.

Considerations choosing Student Headphones

There are some important points you want to look out for when buying cheap headphones; the quality of build, its comfort, style and lastly the sound quality. Now with buying headphones at a cheaper rate you will have to unfortunately let one of these points slide.

If the headphones you want will be used a lot and you also want them to last a long time well at least until you graduate, build quality, sound quality, comfort and battery life must be taken into consideration.

Sound Quality

You don’t need to spend a fortune to find headphones with good sound quality. There are two styles of headphones that can affect the sound quality along with your sound preference. Open back versus closed back headphones makes a difference in the quality of sound. Closed back headphones give you good sound quality while blocking out most if not all background noise. Open back headphones offer very unique acoustic properties and can sound very airy.

Comfortable Fit

The most common of headphones is ‘in the ear air’ which gives quality sound and is compact so is easy to pack and take anywhere. The second is the ‘over the ear’ headphone which on the down side is not as compact but does have soft cushioning for ear and drowns out a lot more background noise than the in ear style.

Build Quality

Because of the advancement in materials and technology out of China you are able to easily find built to last headphones for cheap.

Battery Life

Battery life is another reason to take into account for what you will be needing your headphones for. These days batteries have come along way long gone from the times of one to two hours of listening time. You are now able to purchase wireless bluetooth headphones with a battery life of up to twelve hours of listening. If you need more use than 12 hours on the move this should be taken into consideration.

Top 3 Headphones for Students on a Budget

Firstly, there is a choice you have to make and that is over ear headphones verses on ear headphones. Now it depends on what you will be using your headphones for? Do you need them to be compact? Is comfort an issue for you? Whatsoever maybe your choice fortunately these days as far as sound quality goes both types can deliver the same quality of sound.

1. Sony ZX Series Wired On-Ear Headphones

Panasonic Long-Cord Headphones RP-HT161-K

Is Lightweight and is able to deliver high quality sound to even the most demanding of sounds. It has a cushioned swiveling ear cup for comfort and compatibility with a standard L shaped 3.5mm stereo plug.

BUY NOW

2. Beats Flex Wireless Earphones

Beats Flex Wireless Earphones

These stylish comfortable wireless earphones are great for those on the move they feature magnetic earbuds, a built in microphone, seamless connectivity and auto play and pause just to name a few.

BUY NOW

3. Panasonic Long-Cord Headphones RP-HT161-K

Panasonic Long-Cord Headphones RP-HT161-K

These padded comfortable long cord headphones have a superior sound quality compared to higher priced headphones. With its over the ear style and sufficient cushioning blocking most if not all background noise and giving you a quality bass and high frequency trebles.

BUY NOW

Final Thoughts

Overall for students on the move or not a good comfortable set of headphones goes a long way. There are many out there to choose from that are under the price range of $50. I have laid out three of my best to help you get started .from wireless to comfortable yet compact to a pair with extra long reach and high audio definition.

For me, the best headphones that I found were the last ones Panasonic ‘Long-Cord’ Headphones RP-HT161-K. So, I hope this helped with your decision on the range of headphones available out there for college students that are under $50.

Differences Between Quarter, Semester and Trimester

Academic calendars divide an academic year into different sessions to allow the students to catch a break in-between each year of study. However, it is possible for schools that offer the same program to have different academic calendars. 

Schools in the United States, for example, offer three different academic calendars. These are the Quarter, Semester, and Trimester systems. Understanding the differences between Quarter, Semester, and Trimester is important to any college student who is just beginning to understand the complexities involved in the structure of their academic years. 

Different Schools Have Different Academic Calendar

Colleges, Middle schools, and high schools all have different academic calendars they operate. Some colleges working with distinct administration forms might also not share the same academic calendar divisions (even if they are located in the same state). It is common to see schools that are located in different places have different academic calendar divisions. 

Schools that operate on the quarter system award quarter credits like those that run the semester or trimester systems. Institutions nevertheless have a way of converting incoming credits from a system to another. This is especially needed in the cases of a transfer (foreign exchange or within natives). 

When a student transfers to an institution offering semester credits with an incoming quarter credit, academic advisors are instructed to multiply the incoming credit by 1.5. Vice versa would attract a division by 1.5. 

However, when a student moves from a quarter system to a semester system, it might be a little difficult for the student to adjust if they don’t understand what each means. 

What Is A Quarter?

As the name implies, a quarter system divides an academic year into four divisions (sessions). The four sessions are named according to the four seasons of the year; spring, summer, fall, and winter. Usually, summer is used to complete outstanding courses or if a student wishes to finish his/her degree in advance. 

Each session in the quarter system lasts for about 10 weeks, each with the whole academic year ending in June from September. In each quarter, a student can take about 3 to 4 classes. This highly depends on how many credits each class is. This is because each session comes with a maximum number of credits a student can offer. 

Some students prefer this system because of its flexibility, and it allows students to take small loads of coursework at a time. Teachers would prefer this system because the shorter breaks would keep them and students in focus. Most students tend to forget what was taught in the previous semesters when the break is too long. 

What Is A Trimester?

A trimester system divides the academic year into three sessions. These sessions are also named according to the seasons of the year; fall, winter, and spring. This system isn’t prevalent with higher institutions, but it is also used in many middle schools and high schools. 

Each trimester lasts about 12 to 13 weeks. However, the ‘summer system’ still exists, but it is not recorded as part of the school year. Students can take about 3 to 4 classes within the credits allowed in each session. 

What Is A Semester?

A semester divides an academic year into only two sessions; fall session and spring session. This means that there are two long breaks within each academic year. The summer break (the break after the spring session) and the long winter break (the break in between the fall and the spring sessions). 

Each session is about 15 weeks long. This system is the most commonly used in the United States. In each session, a student can take about 4 to 6 classes within the allowed number of credits for that session.

Some scholars have studied each system and its impact on students and teachers. They concluded that the semester system provides students with ample time to digest and learn what they need to per time. Teachers/ Lecturers also can create and complete many assignments to allow students to comprehend better—little wonder why some schools are migrating to the semester calendar system

Conclusion

Now that you know the significant differences between each academic system, the natural question to ask is ‘which academic calendar is the best? All the systems have their pros and cons, and the best one to enroll in will mostly depend on the student’s needs and preferences. As such, we can’t pick the winner of them all. Students can only try to understand how it works to not fall into the trap of each system’s timing. 

Winter Break Jobs For College Students In COVID Times

Winter Break Jobs For College Students In COVID Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly changed so many things about how we live our lives. It has had staggering effects on employment and the traditional working environment. So many jobs have been lost due to the knock-on effects of the virus. On the other hand, businesses have had to change their work pattern and switch to remote work to adhere to the physical distancing guidelines. This switch to remote work has created a surge in demand for remote jobs. 

College students in search of winter jobs during this period might find it difficult to get the regular winter Jobs because of the changes brought about by the pandemic. Nonetheless, there are still jobs students can engage in to make an extra income this winter.

Some of the jobs that college students can do in COVID times include: 

Food Delivery Jobs

Today more than ever before, there is a huge surge in demand for food delivery drivers. COVID 19 pandemic has made people more reluctant about eating out as they try to minimize physical contact. Most people now prefer to order their food online and have it delivered to them at home. This provides an opportunity for college students looking to make extra cash.

However, before deciding to take this job, you must be certain that you don’t belong or fall under the population at risk of COVID 19. Being a delivery driver means that you will likely be having physical contact with different people every day; this makes it a pretty risky job to take on at the moment, given the current state of things.

If, after weighing your options, you decide to do the job, you have to take precautionary measures to keep you protected from the virus.

Aside from food delivery, you can also deliver packages as well, visit websites like Amazon Flex and Goshare to get paid to deliver packages for them.

Online Tutoring Jobs

This is another job that is experiencing an increase in demand as a result of the pandemic. With schools closed, most parents are in search of online tutors to help their kids learn from home. If you are passionate about a particular subject and feel confident in your ability to pass your knowledge to your students patiently, this job is just perfect for you.

Getting an online tutoring job is pretty easy. You’ll find many websites online dedicated to connecting tutors with students. You can find online tutoring gigs from sites like Tutor.comChegg Tutors, Manhattan Prep, and lots more.

Freelance Writing

Even though the knock-on effects of the pandemic have hit many industries, freelance writing is one job that has not experienced any decline. If anything, the pandemic seems to be accelerating its growth.

If you love writing, you can make $20-$55 an hour working from home as a freelance writer. All you need is a smartphone or computer and internet access, and you are good to go. Some employers pay per word with a rate of $0.005 to $0.06; thus, how much you earn is largely determined by your speed. 

To excel in this job, you have to be a creative writer who can write high-quality content on different topics. If you are new to freelancing, you can surf the net for articles on how to be a successful freelance writer.

There are many freelance writing websites where you can get freelance writing jobs, including FreelancerUpwork, Writer Access, and Verblio.

Uber Driver

If you have a car and a good driving record, this could be another convenient job you can do to make money during the winter break. Rides are usually in high demand during festive seasons as people move from one place to another, visiting friends and family members.

However, the current situation has made people more skeptical about taking cabs because it brings them in close physical contact with other people, which puts them at a higher risk of contracting the virus. This is why most people opt for Uber, a more convenient and safer means of transportation. 

You can earn $5-$43 an hour driving for Uber. One good thing about this job is that you can work at your own pace.

Christmas Light Removal

One of the most beautiful things about winter breaks is the Christmas decorations, which light up every home with lovely, beautiful colors. Setting up Christmas lights is always so much fun, but it can be a challenging task for many when it’s time to take them down. This is why most people prefer to pay others to get this job done.

You can leverage this opportunity by simply helping people around your neighborhood to take down their Christmas lights and other decors; you’ll earn a little extra cash doing so.

Pet or House Sitting

This has always been a common winter job for students. The holiday period is when most people travel; in some cases, the whole family might be away for a long time. Most homeowners are willing to pay to have someone watch over their homes and pets while they are away.

You can offer to help people feed and their pets, water their flowers, empty the garbage, and do other house chores for them while they are away.

Proof Reading And Editing

With so many companies working remotely due to the covid-19 pandemic, there is an increase in demand for proofreaders and editors. You can easily make $12-$50 by helping companies proofread and edit their works.

Many companies will pay you to proofread their blog and social media posts to ensure that they are free from any typographical, spelling, or grammatical errors.

You can get proofreading and editing jobs from sites like Editor WorldProofreading Pal, and Cactus.

Transcription Jobs

This is another job you can do from home. With the staggering increase in online video content, the demand for transcription services is accelerating by the day. You can earn at least $20 per hour, helping companies to transcribe audio to text. If you are fast at transcribing, this could be a great job for you.

Conclusion

The COVID 19 pandemic has greatly altered the world of work, it’s just like a double-edged sword. On one hand, it has led to the loss of so many jobs (especially formal jobs in the traditional office setting). On the other hand, it has created a demand for new jobs as companies adopt remote work to keep their employees safe. College students may find it difficult to get regular student jobs this winter. However, there are many other jobs that they can do, as highlighted above.

What is a FICO Score and How Will the New FICO Score Affect You?

FICO score

For most of us, debt is a fact of life. It’s not hard to understand why – post-secondary education expenses have ballooned over the past 40 years. Back in 1980, tuition, fees, and accommodation cost about $9,400 (in 2020 dollars). Today, that figure is nearly two-and-a-half times higher, sitting just below $24,000.

Meanwhile, wages haven’t budged much over time. In 1980, the federal minimum wage sat at $3.10 – or $9.70 in 2020 dollars. Today, Washington State has the highest minimum wage in the country at $13.50. Meanwhile, states like Idaho still allow employers to pay as little as $7.25 an hour. That’s right – some of us make $2/hour less than our parents did 40 years ago.

Suffice to say, many of us borrow tons of cash to pay for post-secondary schooling. According to CNBC, more than two-thirds of 2018 graduates needed loans to pay for their degrees. This isn’t just some rite of passage – it’s something that could seriously impact your creditworthiness down the road.

Recently, banks have been tightening lending standards in response to the COVID crisis. This development has negatively impacted FICO scores. Because of this, many institutions are leaving behind many would-be borrowers.

However, FICO has recently announced a new credit assessment tool – the Resilience Index. What will it mean for college students and graduates? We’ll explore this issue in-depth in today’s post.

What Is A FICO Score?

FICO scores are statistics used by lenders to assess the legitimacy of a borrower. “FICO” is an acronym for the Fair Isaac Corporation, a data analytics firm based in San Jose, California. They debuted the FICO score in 1989; shortly after that, it became the gold standard for determining creditworthiness.

The Fair Issac Corporation determines your FICO score by assessing five indicators of credit risk. These are as follows: The length of one’s credit history, credit utilization, the number of accounts held, recently opened accounts, and payment history.

After assessing your finances against these factors, FICO then assigns you a score. It runs, oddly enough, from 300 to 850. FICO and most lenders consider anything below 580 to be poor. On the other hand, anything above 800 is deemed exceptional.

Few borrowers have a FICO score that is truly bad or exceptional. Most lenders deem a FICO score between 670 to 739 to be a “good” score. However, FICO occasionally changes the weighting of their variables. As such, even borrowers that maintain consistent credit characteristics can have their FICO scores change significantly.

The FICO Resilience Index is one change that could have a significant impact on scores. We’ll break down what it means later. But before we do, let’s address a common question: Can a bad FICO score really impact your life negatively? To be frank, yes.

How Can Your FICO Score Impact Your Finances?

Lenders aren’t the only entities that check credit scores. From phone companies to your landlord, scores of firms do. In other words, if your FICO score tanks, your life can quickly become a living hell.

Let’s start with your bills. If your credit score is low (but not terrible), it can affect the interest rates you pay. Those with scores that slip below 670 may notice a rise in the rate on their credit cards. Need to go back to school for a graduate degree? If you have a “fair” credit score, interest on private student loans can get as high as 14.5%. In both cases, double-digit interest rates can result in monthly payments hundreds of dollars higher than those with good credit.

Are you trying to land that first significant role? Playing fast and loose with your credit can make it tough to get a well-paying, prestigious job.  According to the Society for Human Resources Management, 47% of employers admitted to running credit checks on potential hires. Many fear those with bad credit will “help themselves” to company funds or sell trade secrets.

Worst of all, a bad credit score can make it tough to keep a roof over your head. Increasingly, landlords require credit checks from applicants. If you don’t meet a lender’s minimum FICO score, the application process usually ends there. Often, this situation forces those with lousy credit to seek out a roommate. Sometimes, these living arrangements work out. Much of the time, though, they can prevent you from living your best life.

When It Comes To FICO Scores, Every Decision Matters

Often, measures taken against those with bad credit make sense. Businesses don’t want to lose money. Companies don’t want to hire dishonest employees. And landlords want dependable tenants.

There’s just one problem – as a young person, making even one mistake can screw everything up. As someone fresh out of school, you already have one strike against you. If you have a credit card, you’ve probably haven’t had one for long.

You also lack employment experience. It can be hard to find work, and when you do, you may not make all that much. If you miss one credit card, car, or student loan payment, it can have a disproportionate impact on your FICO score.

As such, we implore you – take this topic seriously. Yes, it’s okay to make spontaneous plans and enjoy your youth – but only if you’re able to pay your bills first. If your finances are drum-tight, focus on increasing your earning power/cutting expenses first. Then, save up a “fun fund” that can pay for spur-of-the-moment adventures.

This way, you can make the most of your twenties without compromising more expensive goals (e.g., homeownership) later on in life.

The FICO Resilience Index: Good Or Bad For College Students?

As if worrying about your FICO score wasn’t bad enough, a new metric has arrived on the scene. Recently, outlets like CNBC have reported on the latest tweak FICO has made to its credit reporting. In June, the agency announced the introduction of the FICO Resilience Index. In brief, this scale assesses the resiliency of borrowers to economic shocks.

Unlike past updates, the FICO Resilience Index isn’t a reconfiguration of how it determines FICO scores. Rather, it is a standalone measure that assigns borrowers a score from 1 to 99. The lower your score, the more resilient you are to recessions, sudden job loss, etc. The higher your score, the greater the likelihood you’ll miss payments, or default on loans when things sour.

Unlike traditional FICO scores, which punish the young more harshly for making mistakes, the Resilience Index could be a godsend. That one missed payment three years ago won’t dog you as much anymore. If you’ve managed to stock up an abundant emergency fund and paid down your debts, the Resilience Index would judge you more fairly.

At a time where uncertainty has never been higher, we feel the Resilience Index is a better judge of creditworthiness. In the past, a strong cash position didn’t factor in the computation of your FICO score. Now, this vital stat could help you get better interest rates, find work, and improve your living situation.

The Better Your FICO Number, The Better Off You’ll Be

We’re happy to see the implementation of the Resilience Index. Thanks to this measure, those who have a mostly trouble-free credit record will pay lower interest rates and face less discrimination. However, it’s still important to practice financial prudence, especially in these times.

By spending less than you take in, you’ll avoid overdraft fees and missed bill payments. As a result, your score will climb higher as months and years go by. Interest rates will fall, you’ll find it easier to rent desirable apartments, and you’ll get better job offers.

By focusing on things within your control, you can shape your financial future. Choose wisely.          

How To Create Your Own Online Tutorial Channel For Private Lessons

Create Your Own Online Tutorial Channel

If you’re an expert in a field or have a passion for a certain skill or craft, then sharing this with the world can be extremely rewarding. You may find yourself with a following quicker than you expect, and hearing back the positive comments of their success in your teaching can be inspiring. Not to mention, this is a project used by many college students to help fund themselves — many top Youtubers earn more than top athletes.

Step 1 – Topic choice

Ideally, you will either have a really strong passion for something or just be exceptionally good at communicating and breaking down a topic (or even better… have both). This could be in Calculus, crochet, carpentry, watch making, Python programming, and so on. A camera (or screen recorder) and a decent mic are all you need. If you’re serious about making the channel, then invest in a decent mic (avoid anything under $50) and learn some basic audio editing — this is extremely important for user experience.

Step 2 – Youtube channel > Personal website

First and foremost, you will need a Youtube channel. You may want a website of your own too, like the incredible Justin Guitar tutorial entity, but even with his set of courses and tutorials, its foundation is on Youtube. It’s easy to embed Youtube videos on your own channel for a start, and still reap those monetary rewards. Creating a Youtube channel takes all of 5 minutes, just make sure to have a Google account.

Step 3 – Content

Whatever topic you opt for, stick with it. It will be counterproductive to cover two types of tutorials for the same channel (i.e. gardening and investing). If you have two topics, create two different channels. It’s advised to put all your energy into one for the first few months though, to prevent spreading yourself too thin. That way your second channel can avoid the mistakes you made in the first one.

When creating content, have a strategy in mind. Plan out your first 10 to 20 tutorials to prevent them from being random. It’s not a prerequisite, but it’s preferable to publish them in some sort of order. This is so there’s a logical “in the next video”, so viewers stay on your channel. This will quickly turn into a course. 

If you have some separate content you haven’t published, you can create bonus content. This could be accessed only by patreons or perhaps collated into a paid course on your website. By this point, you will already have an audience, so it’s only natural to monetize away from Youtube as well as on-site.

Step 4… Profit?

In order to reap any monetary rewards, you will need to be in this for the long haul. Before you can even get accepted for monetization on Youtube, you will need 1,000 subscribers. In order to get this, one incredible video will not do it. You will need regular, useful content. If users find your video useful for solving their problem, they will likely click on your channel for related videos. Because of this, do not hold back content. If it’s ready to publish, put it out there ASAP.

For a side project, you may only want a couple of hundred bucks from this. This is entirely achievable with even only a few thousand subscribers. Why? Because subscriber count isn’t everything. It’s great to have but viral videos tend to be seen by more non-subscribers than subscribers. Just make sure you understand basic SEO and how the Youtube algorithm works.

The most basic form of monetization is ads on Youtube videos. These don’t produce a ton, because many people have adblocker these days. A way around this is to include promotions in the videos themselves (i.e. the intro). If you’re doing English lessons, for example, you could have affiliate links in the bio and in the video to an English learning app, where you get a cut of every person that uses it to pay for the app.

If you want to avoid being viewed as spammy or perhaps you feel the channel needs to keep a high standard of impartiality for whatever reason, you could simply ask for patreon donations. Remember, 20% of your following could account for 80% of your profit — so don’t just chase the view counts, keep your cult following happy.

Example Youtube tutorial channels to learn from

  • Justin Guitar — Justin Guitar, of course, makes guitar tutorials. He put out a high volume of Youtube tutorials before making a website which helped structure these into courses. He now has an IOS and Android app, which was probably not as much effort as it sounds, seeing as all the content was already made on Youtube.

— 903K subscribers, outputs ~20 videos per year for 11 years

  • Corey Shafer — Having started 5 years ago, Corey made Python tutorials. Many old ones are low view counts, but because of his incredibly concise explanations and structured tutorials, he pretty much created the best A to Z Python course for beginners that you can find.

— 482K subscribers, started 5 years ago, posts irregularly (~35 times per year)

  • Khan Academy — Quite possibly the king of Youtube education. Khan academy seems to have tutorials for almost anything your high school or college would throw at you. Maths, economics, sciences. Khan created an empire, organizations (for free courses), apps… anything you can think of.

5.53m subscribers, started 13 years ago with a high output, with incredible visual learn methods

  • King’s Fine Woodworking — if you’re not an academic genius or coding wizard, it doesn’t matter. This channel represents that functional skills, such as building things with wood, can make for a great tutorial channel. Plus, they can be completely independent videos, not a sequential course. This can make it more fun

— 196k subscribers, started only 3 years ago, 1 to 2 videos per month

  • ATHLEAN-X — Here is a great example of how image, branding, confidence, and being good at what you do can lead to. ATHLEAN-X is prolific in posting and is estimated to earn $5,000 per day from ads alone.

— 9.66m subscribers, posts a couple times per week for the last 10 years (lower frequency in older videos).

The Best Online Platforms to Raise Money for Your Project or Idea

Best Online Platforms to Raise Money

Crowdfunding can be a great way to raise finances for a young company. By taking little from the many, crowdfunding’s popularity comes from the additional benefits it provides, not just the funding itself.

Firstly, is profoundly more efficient than traditional financing. You get full autonomy and the freedom to put your message across in the exact way you want it to. The platform (and picking the right one is important!) will serve as a place in which you can build social traction and generate more substance and proof – proof in the form of social backing. People want to jump on board of what’s going to be popular – and what better way to show its gaining popularity.

On top of this, you’re not claiming that it’s the finished product. With more isolated funding paths, you’re alone in your design. Crowdfunding, however, can give more opportunity for feedback, perhaps in the form of sending backers some prototypes. The loyalty of early advocates can be rather profound and can stick with you for the long-term.

How do you prepare for the fundraising?

Seeing as this is just as much a marketing opportunity as it is a funding one, you want to ensure you succeed at both.

Research, research, and more research

At the stage of preparing for a crowdfund, your product and idea research should already be finished. This is your opportunity to fully understand the scale and benefits of crowdfunding, along with strategies and what makes a successful campaign.

Picking the correct platform

Choosing the right platform is crucial. There are many factors to consider here, not just the benefits and disadvantages of each but which ones perform best in certain niches and which ones are focused on certain industries. 

Target audience

Understanding the wants and needs of the target audience is important. You’re going to not only figure out exactly the target audience (you should already know this) but perform comprehensive research on understanding them.

Goal setting

Make sure you don’t aimless begin a campaign without having SMART goals in mind. This means the amount you want raised, timelines, quantity of backers and so on.

Prepare the content

Ahead of launch, you want to prepare all of the marketing content so it’s ready to go. This includes planning what tools you’re going to use (perhaps a promotional video over a presentation?) and then get to work. it may also be a good idea to outsource the parts that could be better done by a specialist, as this can really enhance the effectiveness of the crowdfunding campaign. This of course isn’t a necessity if you’re at college and on a budget, as this may be your chance to show and prove your own creativity.

Communicate effectively

Not only should you communicate in a personal way (a good strategy to enhance relationships and feelings towards your idea or product) but also keep the communication on-going. This means being transparent and letting them know all the details. Hiding any information will likely soon be discovered and the word will spread. Honesty is key to gaining sustained social traction. This also means taking feedback on board and recognizing it.

Top 5 crowdfunding sites to help you fund your college project

Kickstarter

Kickstarter is by far the largest crowdfunding site. Its size means that there is instant credibility there to some degree, as well as it having a huge potential traffic and audience reach. The downside to using Kickstarter however is that the money is not kept if the goal isn’t reached – so it’s kind of an all-or-nothing scenario. Kickstarter takes 5% of the total funds raised in fees, as well as payment processing fees.

Patreon

Patreon is another huge platform, but it operates very differently to Kickstarter. The key difference is that it’s a subscription-based model, meaning you’re drip-fed funding each month. No one will take the money away from you if a goal isn’t reached, and monthly funding is great for cash flow. This has less viral opportunity, and instead is more of a network of charitable on-going support (there are opportunities to give Patreon supporters exclusive goods, services and content though). Patreon take 5%–12% of processed payments. This is the preferred method by the Youtube creators.

GoFundMe

GoFundMe is another big hitter which is great for quick funding. GoFundMe crowdfunds tend to be more focused on short-term projects. There is a very standard 2.9% processing fee as well as $0.30c for every donation. This is cheaper than Kickstarter’s 5% processing fee. GoFundMe has seen many successful campaigns that have ran into the millions. However, 0% of funding fees is charged on personal campaigns, unlike Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

CircleUp

CircleUp is perhaps your best choice if you’re a startup trying to establish a brand. It offers equity capital and credit financing, so this is more professional-centric as opposed to individualized. This is a great choice to scale up, but you have to hit at least $1 million in revenue to list on their site, though this may not be as far away as you think for your project if other crowdfunding campaigns are successful beforehand.

Causes

If your project is a non-profit, then Causes may be your best option. With a focus on social and cultural issues, Causes provides a platform for those who want to make a difference. With almost 200 million users, its global reach is massive and could really help pick up your non-profit and create a movement.

How To Save Up For Retirement Without Breaking Your Head

Save Up For Retirement

The best time to start saving for retirement is now. However old you are, waiting is unnecessary. Even if you’re in-between jobs, putting a few dollars aside keeps the habit going and all adds to that 8th wonder of the world: compounding interest

However, getting started is difficult. Talk of allowances, annuities, inflation, maxing out 401Ks and diversifying your portfolio is a certified way of putting you off even beginning. The issue is that whilst these are things you want to become familiar with in order to prevent mistakes and optimize your retirement plan, they are not prerequisites to starting. That is the misconception, that only the sort of people that already know this stuff are those who can invest from a young age.

The jargon is certainly a barrier, but it can be overcome. Here are some of the most basic concepts you should know and some ways to invest as, say, a broke student. 

Easy, functional options for retirement saving

Automation is key

First thing’s first, pensions are at the core of retirement savings. Pensions offer the ability to have annual income until death, no matter how long you live, once you reach the agreed age of retirement. They can also be great ways to pay less tax and can be taken out early in a lump sum.

So, paying into a retirement plan is a clear necessity. If you’re employed, you can pay into a 401k (a pension pot, essentially) directly out of your pay. This means there’s no chance of spending the money first. Automated retirement contributions such as this are at the core of lazy retirement planning – nothing can go wrong and you can forget all about it. It removes the temptation – the choice – to spend it elsewhere.

Being self-employed or a non-working student makes this a little more difficult. However, you can still set up direct debits/standing orders into a 401k yourself and let money drip out of your account each month.

Another great tool is Robo-advisors. These are essentially companies (websites) that let you contribute monthly (or just a one-off) and they invest for you. They claim to be AI investors with an intelligent bespoke algorithm. They’re not. They’re nothing special. They invest in a mixture of bonds and index trackers that follow a few markets and they take around 0.5% as a cut. 

But reading up about Vanguard, making an account and doing the same with a few others doesn’t sound appealing. Robo-advisors are actually a great resource to get you started. You can let them take out fixed, monthly contributions from your account and you may end up getting a 6% return if the western economy does reasonably well that year. 

Annual returns can vary widely, from potentially losing money to getting over 10%, but considering they’re longer-term than one-year investments, they’re a safe bet with decent returns. Very few can beat the market, let alone when getting started so investing in the market itself (or a tracker that mirrors the market) is a great place to start.

Emergency fund

No matter how keen you are to start saving for retirement, you must keep some of your assets liquid. This means not tying up your savings in bonds that you can’t sell quickly, or savings accounts that you can’t access for 5 years.

Yes, these usually offer better returns. But always keep a month or two worth of expenses as either cash or easily accessed deposits. This is vital to giving you a safety net throughout your journey to retirement.

Learn frugality

The importance of whether your investments return 4% per year or 6% per year pales in comparison to being able to save more. Learning how to save on a small scale in everyday situations is what will lead to long-term results. For example, cycling to college instead of driving, learning to cook, not buying coffee at lunchtime.

Increasing your savings rate (% you save in relation to income) from 5% to 25% isn’t all that hard, but it could be the difference between saving $100 per month and $500. That’s around $100k more in savings over 20 years – but it would be more than that of course because you will have gained more from compounding interest too!

Frugality can become a subconscious mindset that will prepare you for retirement, where you won’t have enough money to be splashing out on eating out every day and such (compared to your working pre-children life).

Understanding tax relief

The government understands the necessity of having money at an old age, and how difficult this is when you cannot work. However, they also understand how expensive paying pensions are. To promote our efforts and focus on private pensions, there are tax advantages to saving for many of them.

The specific reliefs will depend on which country you’re in, but generally, there is tax relief on private pensions and many ISA savings accounts. This means you can reduce your taxable earnings in the now, by saving for the future.

When the future comes around and you want to receive your pension, there will likely be tax relief wherever you are. In the UK, 25% of your pension will be tax-free. It doesn’t matter whether you take it out in a lump sum or as annuity payments, the first 25% will be tax-free. Of course, if you’re properly retired and have not just taken your pension early, it’s unlikely that you will be earning enough to pay tax anyway, as there is a personal allowance of £12,500 (in the UK). This means you may end up never paying a penny tax on your pension. Compare this to the tax you would have paid if you didn’t save it throughout your life – you will have likely saved tens of thousands in tax. Saving for retirement is a marathon and reducing tax is just as important as making more returns on investments.

When Should College Students Start Looking for Their “Adult” Job?

Adult job

It’s something that every college student starts to stress out about during their educational career – when do you start to look for your first “adult” job? The job search can be incredibly time consuming and overwhelming. Many students might feel discouraged by their prospects, or maybe they’re expecting a job to fall into their lap just because they’re on their way to earning their degree. However, especially in today’s world where it’s not always what you know but who you know, job searches are much more about networking and pursuing opportunities with people you know or could potentially be introduced to. So, knowing that your job hunt might take a little longer, do you start to look for an “adult” job while you’re still in college? Or do you wait until you’ve graduated and have your degree in hand?

The Difficulties of Job Hunting

We live in a very connected world. Even if you’re able to find a job posting on a website or in the paper, it’s likely that the poster already knows several people or can be introduced to several people who are the ideal applicants. However, don’t allow yourself to be consumed by the doom and gloom rumors that all college graduates struggle to find a job. In fact, only 2.5% of college graduates are unemployed as of a January 2017 survey. That doesn’t mean the job search is easy or that there are jobs out there that are a perfect fit for everybody, but there are ways to deal with the difficulties of the job hunt.

It may be tempting to put off your job search until after you graduate. Logically, this might appear to make sense. Ideally, if you focus your time while in college on your studies, your grades will be better. Better grades mean a higher GPA, and that should mean a higher likelihood of finding an amazing job after you graduate. This logic is faulty. While GPA is a factor, most places of employment aren’t going to be scrutinizing your college transcript. Just seeing that you earned a degree is usually enough to qualify you for employment (unless, of course, you’re going into a very high tech or niche-specific field).

If we look at how job hunting works these days (78% of college graduates say that networking played the largest factor in finding a job after college), we know one thing for sure: it’s time consuming. So, the right way to go about your job search is to start as early as possible while you’re still in college. This will ultimately save you money in the long run because before any student loans or hefty post-college living expenses kick in, you’ll already be squared away with a salary-earning job. If you wait to start job searching until after college, it’s likely you’ll take a bit of time to do so. During this time, you won’t be earning money, you could potentially be going into debt to pay for your lifestyle, and you won’t be putting any money towards student debt, savings, or retirement funds.

Timing & Experience

Timing is, in this case, the most important factor in finding a job. You never know who you’ll meet at a career fair, at a panel interview, or during a networking event, and you can’t really orchestrate the meeting with your ideal employer. These chance meetings aren’t premeditated. This is the reason you should start hunting for your job early on, to increase your likelihood of being in the right place at the right time. Of course, timing these meetings or being able to bump into someone who wants to hire you in the right place at the right time isn’t easy – if only because it’s mostly outside your realm of control. Regardless of how difficult this seems, keep pressing on. Continue to apply, send emails of inquiry, and attend networking events to maximize the time you’re spending on your job hunt.

Experience is also a critical factor in your job hunt. It can be frustrating for college students when it seems like all entry-level jobs have a high experience requirement. One way to circumvent this is by attending events within the industry you’re interested in.

Get involved early – a year or more before your expected graduation date with volunteer work, internships, networking events, and more. Although you’re a full-time student, this involvement will show very clearly that you have experience in the industry, know about the employers you’re speaking with, and you’re ready to jump into the workforce after you graduate. The job search is a stressful time, but it’s also an exciting time! Take advantage of events in your area to put yourself in front of the people you want to work for and eventually you will be working for them after you graduate!

Book Review: Share or Die – Voices of the Get Lost Generation

I was recently given a copy of the anthology – Share or Die – Voice of the Get Lost Generation in the Age of Crisis. The book is a collection of stories, mostly written by young adults, about what it is like to grow up in Generation Y (Born after 1985) and try to find employment post-graduation.

I don’t normally review books here at Money for College Project, but this book is an exceptionally interesting read. Many of our readers are in Generation Y, or are just outside of it and can find very relevant lessons in this book. If you are interested, you can pick up up here: Share or Die: Voice of the Get Lost Generation in the Age of Crisis

Never a Better Time to Become and Entrepreneur

I have said this many times before: During college, or the period right after graduation, is the best time to start a business. Your expenses and responsibilities are as low as they will likely ever ben in your life, and a business started in your early twenties can set the tone for the rest of your life/career.

Gen Y is graduating into a very unique economic climate. The world is trying to upright itself after a global economic recession and traditional jobs markets are still faltering. The barriers of entry to starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur are lower than they have ever been.

The Internet has brought the world together, and therefore you are able to connect with like minded people from around the world to share ideas, brainstorm, and plan. You can reach targeted customers quickly and efficiently through online advertising and social media. You can sell digital products online or become an affiliate for someone else’s products. Start-up companies are even partnering with large corporations to head their research and development wings. Did you catch that? Large corporations are outsourcing the future of their business to the sharp minds of Gen Y!

It is our time!

Pack Up and Travel the World

Another main point in many of the stories shared in this book is the call to to pack-up your things and travel while you can. There is a lot than can be learned from travel, and from personal experience, I can attest that many important life lessons and perspectives can be gained by getting outside of your comfort zone. In particular, I learned a great deal about how the U.S. is viewed in other parts of the world.

I think it is very important to understand that there is value, beauty, and power in the world outside the shores of the U.S. It is very easy to get an superior imperialist attitude living here, and this perspective will aid you in your career moving forward. it may also open up opportunities to connect with new and exciting people and places. It might even turn into a job if you meet the right people along the way!

The Bottom Line

graduating from college and striking out on your own in 2013 is not easy, but there is hope. In fact, the future is brighter than it has been for some time and now is as good a time as any to start your future.

Start a business, travel the world, pursue your goals, just please….don’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself.

Get up and make it happen!