You Don’t Have To Dread The Waitlist!

The dreaded college class waitlist! You try to perfectly plan your college classes, even judging your next class based on the distance and time it takes to get from building to building to ensure you have enough time and won’t be late. But then… the worst thing happens. The class is full and you’re left… on the waitlist. 

The waitlist can be so daunting, because it’s never going to tell you if you’re going to get in or not. There are people who are very first on the waitlist for a class and never get in. And then you have people 20th in line on the waitlist that can get in by the first day. Being placed on the waitlist comes with the fear of the unknown, which can be scary. But no need to fear, here are some tips for the waitlist! 

  1. Know your dates. Oftentimes there is a deadline for enrolling in the class, typically a week or two after classes have started. Know these dates and have them noted somewhere so you can be prepared and they don’t sneak up on you. 
  2. Sit in the front of the classroom, where the professor can see you. 
  3. Be on time, if not early, for class. Take good notes and be attentive. 
  4. Talk with your professor before or after class. Let them know you are a student on the waitlist and that you would love to be in their class. If it feels appropriate, you can even try to email them.

The goal is to prove that you want to be in the class and that you will put in the time and work to be there. Professors can’t always bend the rules, especially if it comes to the amount of seats in their classroom or the fire code rules, but they may be able to change things here and there for you to get you into their class. 

Do you have any other waitlist tips you can share? Comment them below! 

What Is The Purpose Of Higher Education?

We’ve covered on our blog that there are multiple forms of higher education. But I think it might be important to take a step back and ask the question- but what is the purpose of higher education? 

Looking at a broad, overall answer, the point of obtaining a higher education beyond high school is to gain the knowledge needed for a profession. It gives you a specialized field of study that later you can boast to potential employers. But, there is also a long list of other reasons we as humans work hard to obtain a higher education. They are (but not limited to): 

The social skills that inadvertently come with being in a school setting.

Networking with professors, potential future employers, and peers. 

Proving that you can work hard and achieve something that takes hard work.

It helps you meet the needs of your own self-fulfillment, giving you a higher purpose in life.  

Learning critical thinking skills, how to adapt to different situations, work with others, and gives you emotional intelligence and resilience. 

Studies show that individuals that have attended higher education courses tend to make healthier decisions in their lives. 

Other studies have shown that those that have achieved a degree in higher education show more success in their careers. There are less unemployment and job loss. 

There are plenty of reasons to obtain higher education from the institution of your choice. Not only are you studying a field that you want to pursue a career in, but you are also gaining relationships, networking, and meeting some of your most basic self-fulfillment needs. 

A Guide To Buying College Textbooks

Textbooks in college- what’s the deal with them? You’ll find such differing opinions when it comes to textbooks in college. Some will say you absolutely need them, others will say don’t bother buying them. Here’s a quick rundown on college textbooks and the different options you have! 

My first piece of advice is to wait until the second or third week of school to buy textbooks, if possible. This way you’ll know for sure that you’ll not only stay in the class, but you can also get a feel for whether or not you need the textbook. Take a look through all of your syllabi and see which assignments you’ll need the book for. Once you’ve weeded out your classes to know which you’re staying in and which you’re dropping, and know if you need the textbooks or not, you’ll have a better idea of how to obtain them. 

There are different types of textbooks you can find at a school: 

Regular books that you can purchase anywhere.

Books specific to the school, but can be used for general classes, even if taught by different professors. Typically these are only found in the school’s bookstore. 

Textbooks written by the professor specifically for that class only. These typically are a more “workbook” or interactive textbook, and only found new in the bookstore. 

E-books for all of the above, if available.

Person Holding Stack of Books

The different ways to purchase them: 

New and from the bookstore (typically the most expensive way to buy books)

Used and from the bookstore (saves money, but there are also cheaper ways) 

Rented, either from the bookstore if they allow this option, or from a service such as Chegg, Thriftbooks, or Knetbooks. 

Purchase used from Amazon, other textbook online services, or on local classified pages. Many colleges will have a Facebook page to buy/sell textbooks, too. 

Using the school bookstore isn’t the end-all for buying college textbooks! Look online to find books where you can. There are so many companies out there that realize how expensive college is and want to cut you a deal where they can. Look into these companies! 

A few other tips:

Try to rent or buy used when you can. It saves money, and saves the environment! Win, win.

If it’s a class that is specific to your field of study and seems like one you may want to reference later in life, try to buy it used instead of renting so you don’t have to return it later. 

Another great way to save money is to split the cost of a textbook with a friend or roommate that is attending the same class as you,  as long as it can easily work out for both of you to use it for readings and assignments. 

There are specific scholarships out there too that will fund your textbook needs. Search for those and apply. Other scholarships can go towards any school expenses, also including textbooks. 

Textbooks don’t have to break you financially! There are ways to save money and be smart financially if you’re willing to put in a little time and research. 

What is your favorite way to find textbooks? 

Choosing A College: Some Tips For Seniors

Choosing a higher education school can be so daunting sometimes! First you have to decide on a trade school vs a university. And then once you’ve decided that, a whole list of options come up. It’s overwhelming. But here are some tips for you! 

  • Narrow it down to an area if you can. Decide if it’s important for you to stay close to home or choose a school far away. 
  • Look at schools based on what majors they offer/ what majors they are known for. For example- I graduated with my undergrad from Utah State University because I wanted a degree in Elementary Education. In Utah, USU is very prestigious and well-known for their education program, which was ultimately a big swaying factor in my decision. 
  • Dive into the social aspect/ campus life and decide how important it is for you to attend events, sports, etc. College is about the experience AND the education! And not all college campuses are created equal when it comes to social gatherings. 
  • Talk with current students or past grads about schools you are interested in. Hearing about their experience or opinions can help you make a final decision. 
  • Keep a list of potential options. You may find one school that is everything you want! But the reality is, you still have to apply and become accepted into the school before you can go, in most cases. If you don’t get into your dream school, keep a few others in mind for back up. 
  • Remember that you’re not making a decision based on good vs. bad. You’re deciding between good, better, and best. Whichever school you choose is a great option and can hopefully have you leaving with a great experience and a college degree. It’s hard to make a bad decision when choosing a college! 

Pros and cons lists of schools can also be helpful to make a decision. Let us know what school you are choosing to go to in the comments below! 

Cover photo from pexels.com

A Quick Guide To Financial Aid

Financial aid. Do those two words give anyone else anxiety? When I was a senior in high school, they did for me! The thought of having financial aid is great! But the idea to put the work into getting financial aid can be daunting. Let me see if I can ease some of your fears! 

Let’s start with a definition. What is financial aid? Many will think it’s just grants or loans from the government, or FAFSA. But it can be more than that! It can also be grants and loans from private entities, as well as scholarships from your school or other organizations. Any additional money you receive to help pay for school is financial aid. 

So how can YOU obtain financial aid to help pay for your schooling? 

Search for and apply for scholarships

Apply for FAFSA. If you have questions or need help filling out their application, ask a parent, guidance counselor, teacher, or other trusted adult for help. FAFSA includes grants (money you don’t have to repay) and loans (money you have to repay). Even if you don’t plan on taking out loans, you should still at least apply to see if you can qualify for grants. Applying is free. 

If you are employed, talk to your HR to see if they have any programs that help pay for school while you work. 

Search for scholarships- again! 

Apply for our Design A Better Future scholarship. 

Look into your specific university, trade school, or community college to see if they have any grants or scholarships you can apply for. 

Applying and searching for financial aid can be a lot of time, work, and effort. However, if you are willing to put that time and effort into it, you may be surprised what reward you get out of it! 

What other questions do you have about financial aid that we can answer for you? 

Trade School VS. University: Which One Wins?

benefits of reading 20 minutes a day

Let’s talk about trade schools vs. universities. What are the differences and which one is better?

Trade Schools: 

A school based around teaching just specific trades, such as nursing, electric work, plumbing, etc. A very niched program. 

Pros: 

Typically less expensive
Can be easier to get a job because internships happen in the field of work, putting you in direct contact with employers.
Can be faster to graduate than the typical 4-year degree. 

Cons: 

Your line of work is niched and can be hard to find an occupation outside of your line of study.
Typically less social aspect than most universities. 

Universities: 

A school where you receive an undergrad, graduate, or doctorate degree. 

Pros: 

Your degree requires courses from a vast majority of subjects, giving you experience in many different areas. 
You have a broad sense of your area of study, which can open up job opportunities in various positions, not just one niched area. 
A big social aspect on a university campus. 

Cons: 

Is hard to graduate early or faster because of credit requirements. 
Can be hard to choose your occupation because a degree can be so broad.
You don’t walk away with a new set skill, you walk away with a degree. 


So which one is better? 

Neither! 

A university may be a great option for one person, while a trade school is the better route for someone else. Both types of schools come with pros and cons, even more than I’ve written here. A great way to decide which type of school is best for you is to reach out to trusted mentors or school counselors to help you make your final decision. 

What type of school have you chosen to attend, trade school or university? 

Letters of Recommendation: Our Tips To You

As you students prepare for graduation, job interviews, college applications, and more, one common thing will come up that you will need- Letters of recommendation. 

What is a letter of recommendation? It’s when a teacher or mentor writes a letter to advocate for you as you apply for whatever it is you’re trying to get into. Obtaining these letters can be as easy as contacting trusted teachers and mentors asking for a letter. However, here are a few tips to keep in mind. 

  1. Consider what you need the letter for- is it to get into college? Is it for a scholarship? To get into a specific group, club, or program? 
  2. Utilize this in who you ask for a letter from. For example: If you’re applying for a business school at your University, talk to past teachers in subjects related to business. Economics, finance, business, etc. 

One of our past scholarship winners came to us asking for a letter of recommendation for a similar scholarship geared towards college students. Keep your letters similar to what you are needing them for. 

  1. Ask for letters from teachers and mentors that know you well and will have plenty of positive points to talk about for you. 
  2. Let them know what you need the letter for, giving them some background on what the letter is for/ who their audience is can help them in writing it.
  3. Give them plenty of time to get the letter to you, they may not have time the night before to get it done for you! 

Asking for letters of recommendation doesn’t have to be daunting and can help your application be taken to the next level. Good luck!