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6 Reasons College is More Accessible than Ever Before

6 Reasons College is More Accessible than Ever Before

Our parents started drilling the message into us at a young age: College is the best path for long-term success. Thanks to the focus of the government, schools, and non-government organizations (NGO’s), a college education is more accessible than ever. While the path to a college degree can be challenging, there are a lot of resources at your disposal to get you from start-to-finish. Check out these six tips for accessing the education you need to be prepared for the job market.

1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Did you know that there’s literally free money sitting out there with your name on it? You can use this money to fund your college education, pay for books, student housing and more. Every school has a set amount they can award, so it is first come, first serve. For this reason, it’s critical that you file your FAFSA quickly; online filing periods are based on the year you will start your college courses.

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2. Tuition is FREE at Many Schools Around The Country

Even with Federal student aid, it can be difficult to make ends meet while pursuing higher education. There are a number of schools that offer free, or steeply discounted tuition. Some are able to do this by raising money from donors. Others require students to work on-campus (generally around 15 hours per week) to cover part of their tuition expenses. A list of free colleges in the United States can be found here. These institutions range from Christian universities to military academies, and even a working ranch.

3. Private Companies Offer Scholarships

When companies are successful, they like to give back to the communities that helped them grow and prosper. One of the ways they do this is by creating scholarship programs. For example, Lister Frost offers students the opportunity to win $500 towards their educational expenses if they can create a compelling video aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of drunk driving.

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Thousands of dollars are awarded every year to students attending college. In my experience, it’s best to go for the scholarships that haven’t been advertised heavily. The smaller the dollar amount, the more likely it is that you’ll get a real shot at winning.

4. Federally Subsidized Student Loans

If all else fails, there’s still the option of taking on student loan debt in order to fund your college experience. Please, I beg of you, carefully consider how much debt you want to take on in order to get your degree, just in 2015 total student loan accumulated up to $1.3 trillion dollars. I have a friend who went into more than $400,000 of student loan debt to fund his medical degree. He’s now a dentist, clearing close to six-figures, but he lives like a pauper because his student loan payments are the equivalent of a mortgage payment each month.

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5. Employers are Motivated to Hire Part-time College Students

Once you get to college and start taking classes, it’s easy to burn through your savings. The partying, transportation costs and living expenses can crop up on you. I recommend creating a written budget in order to keep expenses in line. To increase your income, it’s easy to pick-up work around campus or even online if you have a certain skillset and are a productive person, you can do fairly well for yourself working remotely.

Businesses in college towns are looking for college students to work extra shifts while school is in session. Part-time, student labor is cheap and affordable; avoiding the need to fund benefits for full-time employees, and keep paying employees while the town is empty during summer break.

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6. Virtually Anyone Can Get Into College

If your GPA is lower than a 2.0, you’ll find it difficult to get into many of the upper-tier universities and colleges across the country. Thankfully, virtually anyone with a high school degree can attend their local community college. These are schools designed to offer 2-year degrees that can transition to a four-year institution.

Students will also find vocational programs available for skilled trades (some of which can be much higher paying than traditional corporate careers). And, if you have trouble finding topics for all of the papers you need to write, you can always try these surefire strategies to help keep your grades up; ensuring you have the opportunity to transfer to a university.

In today’s job market, a college degree is a virtual necessity to getting ahead. Thankfully there are multiple programs available to help students get over the intellectual and financial hurdles of pursuing higher education. From private scholarships, to free universities, and even a lucrative part-time job market, college is accessible to anyone that’s will to show up, work hard, and remain focused.

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Ahmed Raza

CEO of Samurais.co

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Last Updated on November 19, 2018

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

I went through a personal experience that acted as a catalyst for an epiphany. When I got fired from a job, I learned something important about myself and where I was headed with my freelance career. I realized that the most important aspect of that one rather small job was the influence of the company owner. I realized that I wasn’t hurt that the company and I weren’t a perfect match; I was devastated by the stark fact that I needed a mentor and I had almost found one but lost her.

Suddenly, I felt like J.D., the main character in “Scrubs,” chasing Dr. Cox and trying to rip insight and wisdom from someone I respect. The realization that a recognized thought-leader and experienced entrepreneur severed ties with me felt crushing. But, I picked myself back up and thought about five ways to acquire a mentor without having the awkwardness of outright asking.

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1. Remember, a professional mentorship must be mutual.

A professional mentor must agree to engage in a mutual relationship because, as the comedy T.V. series showed us, one simply cannot force someone to tutor us. We have to prove that we are worth the time investment through persistence and dedication to the craft.

2. You have to have common interests with your mentor.

Even if a professional mentor appears at your job or school, realize that unless you and this person have common interests, you won’t find the relationship successful. I’ve been in situations where someone I respected had vastly different ideas about what was important in life or what one should spend his or her free time doing. If these things don’t line up, you may find the relationship won’t be as fruitful, even when the mentor knows a great deal about one industry.

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3. Thought-leaders will respect your passion.

One of the ways you can prove yourself worthy to a professional mentor is through your passion and your dedication. No one wants to spend time grooming and teaching another who will not take advice or put the effort in to improve. When following thought-leaders on Twitter and trying to engage with higher-ups in a work setting, realize that your actions most often speak louder than your words.

4. Before worrying if he respects you, ask if you respect him.

On the other side of the coin, you should seriously reflect on those common interests and make sure you respect your professional mentor. Just because someone holds a title, degree or office does not mean that person is trustworthy or honest. Don’t be swayed by appearances and take the time to find a suitable professional mentor.

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5. Failure is often the best way to learn

I honestly have made more mistakes than I can count. I know I’ve learned a great deal from poorly organized businesses and my own poor choices. The most important quality I’ve developed is an ability to swallow my pride and learn from my mistakes. If life knocks me down nine times, I get back up 10 times. One of the songs Megadeth wrote, “Of Mice and Men,” resonates in my mind when I pull myself up by my bootstraps and try again for a goal I’ve set: “So live your life and live it well. There’s not much left of me to tell. I just got back up each time I fell.” Hopefully, this brief post can act as a professional mentor to you in your quest to find not only a brave leader but also a trusted adviser.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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