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5 Ways to Get Your Degree for Free

5 Ways to Get Your Degree for Free

The cost of education is a hot topic these days. Millennials are on track to be the most educated generation ever, but rising costs mean that many graduates are set to be in debt for the rest of their lives. This is a bit of a catch-22 situation.

A more educated population means that we will be able to work more efficiently and make greater contributions to society. But when you have a higher number of degree-holders competing for the same jobs, there will be many unsuccessful applicants with no hope of ever paying back their student loans.

If you know where to look, there is actually a simple solution to this problem. With a little digging, you can have somebody else pay for your degree.

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1. Get Good Grades

Merit is one of the most well-known ways to get your education paid for. If you are able to keep your grades up through high school, many educational institutions are willing to give you a free ride through the entire process.

Unless you’re one of the most brilliant students in the country, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get a scholarship for Harvard or Princeton. But simply qualifying for entrance into these school is usually enough to earn you a full ride scholarship at another excellent educational institution.

2. Look Everywhere

Even if you can’t get the school to pay for your education, there is still a lot of money out there just waiting to be found. You just need to look for it. Most financial institutions offer their own scholarships. HonestlyNow Banking, for example, has a scholarship application form located right on their homepage. You can also try local credit unions.

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They often are required to spend a certain amount of money to better the community. What better way to do that, than by helping locals get their education? If you’re still coming up short, there are a number of websites online that allow you to search for scholarship programs located all across the country.

3. Join The Military

What do the Coast Guard, Air Force, Merchant Marines, and Naval Academies all have in common? Every one of them offers free education to their members. Not only do you get a chance to serve your country, but you’ll have the opportunity to get your degree while you do it.

The military actually have their own colleges, and you complete your training while you study. This can even give you an edge in the job market, as military schools are often very well respected in the commercial marketplace.

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4. Be in Demand

If you’re in a high demand field, you can often get your future employer or even the government to pay for your entire education. Jobs like Nursing, teaching, and social work are in desperate need of employees, so there are plenty of programs that can help prospective students pay for their education.

Nursing, for example, has a program where your student loan is paid off provided you work in an underserved community. This does require that you take out a student loan in advance, but as long as you’re willing to live in a rural community your educational expenses could be nothing.

5. Take an Apprenticeship

If you like to work with your hands, apprenticeships are usually incredible opportunities. Typically, an apprenticeship takes 4 years just like a degree. Instead of studying for the entire four years, you’ll usually be working, for 10 months of the year you learn on the job, followed by two months in school.

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The best part of it all is that your employer almost always covers your educational expenses. Even if you do have to pay for them on your own, you have ten months to save. Plus, because the courses are so short, the cost is usually minimal compared to a traditional education. On average, trade school charges $1500 per session. This is more attainable than the $10,000 per year that Universities charge.

Featured photo credit: GHATS via flickr.com

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Josh MacDonald

Internet Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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