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Friday, April 23, 2010

Tips to Apply to College admission

At any point in your high school career, you are preparing for college. Regardless if it is studying for a history exam, acting in the school play, or scoring the winning goal on the soccer team, each task you work on or complete throughout grades 9-12 make a difference in terms of which colleges you'll get into, and which one you'll attend.

Let's look at some steps you can take each year to solidify yourself for college admissions officers:

Get good grades – Sure, it's most important to work hard in math and English, but schools do consider your overall GPA. So make sure you don't slack off in Phys. Ed and be careful not to overcook your beef stroganoff in Cooking II.
Practice for the standardized tests – Most people say you can't study for the SAT/ACT. I agree. Nevertheless, what you can do is become familiar with what they test. I definitely recommend either taking a class or getting a book on whichever test you need to take. This way, when it's time for the real thing, you'll know how they're formatted and the types of questions you'll be up against. 1
Take only the tests you need – I took the SAT IIs and ended not needing them for the school I went to. Research your schools and don't waste your time (and money) with extraneous testing.
Extracurriculars are important – Do you enjoy volunteer work? Can you slam dunk? How about play the viola? Any of these skills should be practiced in your high school club scene. Join the band, basketball team, and Habitat for Humanity. Stick with them and attain leadership roles. Just don't let your grades suffer!
Use AP classes – The sole purpose of these classes is to prepare you for its respective AP exam. If you score a 4 or 5 (and sometimes a 3) you'll receive college credit for the class. Get enough credits, and graduate a semester early. Think about how much tuition and housing costs you'd save!
Research your financial aid options – Most likely, Mom and Dad won't have you entirely covered when it comes to pay for college. Therefore, make sure you know the 411 on potential student loans. Complete your FAFSA on January 1 of your senior year. Apply for any college scholarships you can find. File for as much in federal aid as you can. Still need more? That's where private student loans come in.
College admissions are a very tricky game. When you gravitate to more competitive colleges, there are no guarantees of getting in. However, abide by the above tips to improve your chances. Interested in more admissions help? Check out our college admissions and search site at

Student Loans to Forgiven After 10 Years of Public Service

The government hopes a new loan forgiveness program will give students an incentive to consider a career in public service. In exchange for 10 years on the job in a field of public service such as public safety, education, or social work, the Department of Education will erase certain borrowers’ remaining federal student loan debt.

To be eligible for this initiative — the Loan Forgiveness for Public-Service Employees Program — you must have either taken out or consolidated your federal student loans through the federal Direct Loan Program, in which you receive your student loan directly from the government rather than through a third-party lender.

Breaking It Down: How the Loan Forgiveness Program Works
The loan forgiveness benefit is available for any federal consolidation loan or any federal parent or student loans you’ve taken out through the Department of Education’s Direct Loan Program. If you took out your federal college loans from a private lender through the Federal Family Education Loan Program (rather than directly from the government through the Direct Loan Program), you’ll have to consolidate your FFELP student loans into the Direct Loan Program in order for those student loans to be eligible to be forgiven.

Besides holding a federal Direct loan, you’ll also have to meet certain borrower requirements to qualify for the loan forgiveness program:

Spend a decade in a public service career. You must remain in a qualifying public-service career, working full-time, for 10 years, during which you must be making payments on the student loans you’re looking to have forgiven. You must still be working in the public-service sector at the time your student loans are forgiven.

Hit the 120 mark. During your 10 years of full-time public service, you must make 120 monthly payments on the Direct college loans you want forgiven. Only payments made after Oct. 1, 2007, will count toward the payment requirement. If you have FFELP loans (college loans that you took out from a private lender and not from the federal government) that you’re consolidating into the Direct Loan Program, you’ll only be able to count the payments you make on your Direct Consolidation Loan after your FFELP student loans are consolidated. Any payments you’ve made before Oct. 1, 2007, or to any lender other than the federal government won’t count.

Sign up for a qualifying repayment plan. Your required 120 payments must be made under one (or a combination) of three repayment plans: standard repayment, income-contingent repayment, or income-based repayment, which becomes available July 1, 2009. If you’re enrolled in a different Direct Loan repayment plan, only those payments you make that are at least equal to the monthly payment amount you’d be required to make under the standard repayment plan will count toward your 120-payment requirement.

The Fine Printed: How You End Up Paying Off Your Student Loans Yourself
If you’re considering applying for the loan forgiveness benefit, you may want to look into your eligibility for the income-contingent and income-based repayment plans, which allow low-income borrowers to qualify for lower payments and extend their repayment period to 25 years. Only borrowers who are making reduced monthly payments on an income-contingent or income-based repayment plan will likely have a remaining balance left to forgive after making 120 payments on their student loans.

If you’re in the standard repayment plan, which has a repayment term of 10 years, you may find that you don’t have any student loan debt left to forgive after meeting your 120-payment requirement, since your 10-year repayment term is the same quantity of time that the government requires you to hold your public-service job before any of your student loans can be forgiven.

What Qualifies as Public Service?
Public-service fields eligible for the loan forgiveness program include:

Emergency management
Fire departments
Law enforcement
Public library sciences
Public school education
Public child care
Public health
Public service for the elderly
Public service for individuals with disabilities
Nonprofit work with certain tax-exempt organization