tips-for-students-on-budget

Tips For Students on a Budget

tips-for-students-on-budgetLiving on a budget is a part of college life.  You spend money on what you believe is important and cut back on what isn’t.  As you live by semester you will begin to understand what’s important and what isn’t.  Surviving college is about learning a new career and learning about you but don’t forget about saving for college and learning how to spend money wisely.

Write It Down

Write down everything you spend money or credit on – extracurricular activities, leisures, entertainment, food, clothing and other necessities.   Write down the various sources of receiving money (i.e., job, parents, student loans, etc).  Write down fixed purchases like car bills, cable, phone, tuition, room/board or rent/utilities, credit cards and insurance.  Categorize them into expenses and income.  The goal is to have more income in your pocket than money spent or break even.  If it doesn’t balance, cut out necessities that’s not needed or find a new avenue for income.

Set a Timeframe

It’s easier if you decide how long the budget will be.  Set a budget to last per week, per month, per semester or per year.  You will know how much to spend per timeframe and you can control yourself if you are tempted to go over budget.

Look for Deals & Discounts

In order to save you must be creative and flexible.  If you have to spend extra for a must-have, find it for a good price.  Textbooks are a prime example.  Instead of buying new books at the bookstore purchase used books or eBooks instead.  Go to thrift or second hand stores to buy dishes, dressers, and more.  Go to dollar stores for school and dorm supplies.  Look online for company coupon codes to use at checkout while you’re shopping online.  Reuse items as something else.

Emergencies

We hate to think of a worst-case scenario but life happens to everyone.  The unexpected happens to our loved ones and us.  Have money saved up in case of car repairs, medical emergencies and sudden travel expenses.

Big-Ticket Items

Sometimes spending a lot of money is a great investment.  An example is money for a new apartment or a spring break trip.  Cut back on expenses further so you’ll have so much income you can afford to purchase that investment.  If you do that, you won’t go over budget.  If you must borrow money make sure the amount is as low as possible so it’s easy to pay back.

Take small leaps toward saving and you will save.  Adjust the budget to spend more or less until you find your groove.  Saving money wasn’t a class taught in school; it’s something you must learn on your own.  Test those limitations to find the boundaries.  Contact us for more information.

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advisor-meeting-admission-tips

3 Admissions Tips for Transfer Students

advisor-meeting-admission-tipsSwitching schools after you’ve already started college can be a tricky undertaking if you are not prepared. By transferring schools, you run the risk of losing financial aid, having to spend more time in school, and not having a program that matches your experience. Save yourself a lot of unnecessary headache by following these 3 easy tips.

1. Keep a printed copy of your transcript

Yes, you will most likely send a transcript to your new school when you are applying, that is almost guaranteed. However, there are countless reasons why you should have your own copy, too. When the time comes to choose classes, your transcript may be the difference between repeating an English class and getting the class you actually want.

2. Ask about scholarships for transfer students

Many schools only offer scholarships for incoming freshman or continuing students. If you are transferring, you may not qualify for those scholarships. Before you decide to transfer, search for scholarships offered by private institutions in addition to the school. Also, ask the school if they have any transfer scholarships that you can be considered for.Transferring is hard, but transferring and then finding out that you cannot afford to attend is harder. Doing a little research ahead of time will make the process easier.

3. Meet with an advisor

A college course can be significantly different than the one you are currently taking, even if it has the same name. Because of this, it is important to meet with your potential school ahead of time, to make sure that the classes you took will fit in the degree program they are offering. Not doing this could result in having to repeat classes that are not ‘exactly’ the same. If you believe that the course is the same, bring a copy of the course syllabus to the advisor and request credit for the course.

Transfer students can have it rough, but our generous transfer policy makes it easy. Prior to applying you can confirm the courses you took match our programs, research scholarship options, and review the transfer policies. We want to make it easier for you, even if you still need to keep a copy of your transcript. Contact us or visit our transfer students page to find out more information about how you can finish your degree with University of the Potomac.

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saving for college

Ways to Reduce Debt

saving for collegeAs college students, we are penny pinching our way through college.  As loans and costs rise, our goal is to leave with little or no debt.  There are some ways to reduce college costs.  Be sure to contact us for more information about ways to save.

Scholarships:  It won’t hurt to put some effort into scholarships.  The chances are slim that you will receive one but the chance of winning free money to pay for tuition is worth the time.  Follow the rules and deadlines and you have a huge chance of winning one.

Family savings: College savings accounts, your personal savings and checking accounts, and your parents’ income can slash the bill down a bit.  Paying out of pocket hurts the wallet because you see the money leaving.  However, it’s a small sacrifice to pay when you see the tuition bill decease.

Federal over private: If you need a loan, a federal loan is much more affordable than private ones.  Private loans have their own rules and rates to follow, and the law has no control over any changes or additions.  A federal loan cannot make too many demands as the law permits it.  It’s too risky to take on a private loan when a student loan from the government is a safer bet.

In-state tuition: In state tuition is very inexpensive.  This is what college students need to aim for when applying to out-of-state colleges.  Paying out-of-state costs is like paying for private college.  Whether it through residency, border state rates or academic exchange programs, you will save money no matter where you go.  At the University of the Potomac, we offer one flat rate for USA students, another one for military students, one for international students and one for online international students.

Community college: Going to a two-year college before transferring to a four year is a money-saving option.  Take basic courses at a low cost and then transfer to focus on your major.  It’s never a good idea to take courses only to lose them in transfer.  Look at the academic catalog of the four-year college of choice for the list of courses you need so it seamlessly transfers.

Employment: Working during college will trim down many of the costs.  While it’s best to work at a job in your major, any job will do.  You will have a great work ethic and business connections lined up for future business opportunities.  An alternative is an internship; unlike a job, it only lasts for a semester.

Live at Home: The thought of living with your parents while you crave freedom is torture.  However, if you can tolerate it four to six more years you will graduate with less money owed.  Dorm rooms and off campus housing is expensive.  On top of that, you must pay for food, rent, utilities and transportation.  Additional costs are avoidable when you live with parents while driving to and from college.

Four Years: It’s impossible to do if you’re switching majors but graduating in four years is the best solution.  A fifth or six year is another year of unnecessary tuition paid to the college.  You can add more classes per semester and go to school in the summer to get out of college faster than six years.

Saving for college is never easy.  We know to eat food in the cafeteria and chow down on Ramen noodles, but there’s nothing wrong with cutting extra corners.

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international students

UOTP Offers Exciting Opportunities for International Students

international studentsLooking to study abroad in the United States? More specifically, are you looking to earn a degree in what many argue is the most culturally diverse, vibrant, and exciting areas in the entire U.S. for international students to go to school?

Then look no further. The University if Potomac offers many excellent opportunities for international students (aside from being located in Washington DC, the nation’s capital!).

Here are just a few:

Faculty with International Experience

Many universities offer multi-cultural learning, but few can actually offer that same learning from faculty who have experience with international students. Nearly a quarter to be exact. Many of our professors come straight from Washington D.C., and have had careers at the local and international levels (World Bank, Peace Corps, DC government, and so on).

Smaller Class Sizes

Depending on where you go to school, class size varies greatly. In a large class, students have the tendency to get lost, confused, and have a great chance of misunderstanding the material. However, a smaller class size is perfect for providing individual attention, which helps to bolster a student’s learning.

Broad Range of Degree Programs

Because we are an accredited university, we offer degree programs from all levels. Including Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s Degrees. You can earn any one of these degrees from our many campuses located around northern Virginia. For more on each individual degree, visit our Degrees and Academics page to see what degree to suits your needs.

Experience American Culture

Because of our location, we are located near many, large metropolitan cities. Including Atlantic City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. Visit any one of these major cities with just a $20 bus pass and a weekend. How much more cool can you get than that?

Learning Beyond a Degree

For students that plan to pursue a long-term career goal here in the US, our location also comes with many perks for jobs and internships. We are just a hop, skip, and jump away from Capitol Hill, every consulate and embassy in the world, and a host of international organizations. DC has it all.

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today to discuss how we can help you with your enrollment, your admissions, and all of your housing and tuition options. We provide knowledge for the global community.

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News Flash

Important Notice of Change in Academic Calendar

At the all student meeting on July 17, 2014, President Clinton Gardner and Interim Chief Academic Officer Richard Resch described forthcoming changes to Potomac’s academic calendar beginning with session 4C on July 28, 2014. Session 4C will be a transitional session compressed from eight weeks to four weeks and will be the last of the University’s C sessions. All continuing students will be in A sessions beginning with session 5A on August 25, 2014. The calendar for sessions 5A and 6A will remain as currently established. There is no change for students already in A sessions.

At the link below is the Schedule of Classes that will be offered on each campus and online for the transitional session 4C. Students already registered for session 4C will need to change their registration to one of the listed courses.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

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enjoying-a-book

The Art of Balance: 5 Simple Methods for Managing Your Time Effectively

enjoying-a-bookEducation is the key to taking your life to the next level. Whether you want to pursue your passion, gain new skills, or prepare for your future career in ___________ (you fill in the blank), you are going to need a solid academic background. However, there are several things that should be held just as high – if not higher – as a world class education. Family and work are the essential backbone components to a successful education. Learning to manage your time effectively will not only benefit your scholastic pursuits, but will also strengthen your bond with family and allow you to excel in your workplace.

Balancing these important factors can be challenging, but it can be accomplished with hard work and consistent effort.  Your family will benefit from new job opportunities and your employer will invest more into an employee who is looking to move up through the ranks. Here are 5 ways to make sure that nothing is left on the back burner:

  1. Make a Plan, Make it Happen: Nothing beats a well thought out plan. Taking the time to sit down and evaluate your commitments is essential to staying on top of everything. Select an electronic calendar that you can update on the go. Before the start of each month, take a look at what you know must get accomplished and put those items on a hard calendar. Whether it is a whiteboard or wall hanging calendar, having a hard copy in a central location of your home will help you to remain aware of all that is required of you. Put your bills due dates, doctor appointments, community commitments, work schedule, school schedule, vacations, anything you can think of, get it on your calendar. Don’t forget to add in times that you have set aside for social gatherings – these are just as important. Another perk: your employer asks for your availability and you can print it right of the computer!
  2. Accountability Counts: Sometimes it can be hard to hold yourself accountable. Think of times when you have tried a diet or seen a friends attempt to lose some excess weight. Many time they are not successful because they never shared their goals with someone in their life that they knew could hold them accountable. This is not to say that it isn’t possible without the help of others. Having a co-self manager will help to remind you of your educational, family, and workplace goals. Those times when you feel as though you have some room to slack or that you might night reach your goal, this person who you have selected can set you on the right path. Make sure to discuss how you want to be reminded or encouraged so that this tactic does not turn into a burden.
  3. Reward Your Effort: So you spent all day working on your studies, before heading into work for a few hours. You then head home to take care of household responsibilities (e.g. kids, dinner, chores, bills). After a few more hours invested in your studies you think to yourself, “I feel like a robot.” When this hits, and it will, take a break! Give yourself that hour or two sit back and enjoy a movie or book you have been meaning to get to. Head to bed – sometimes those extra hours of sleep will be just what you needed. No matter what you choose, choose something that YOU want to do.
  4. Teamwork Works: Whether you are tackling chores at home, a project at work, or a trying to master a new subject in school – working within a group pays off tenfold. If you need to clean the main areas of the house, ask you family to pitch-in. Turn it into a game where you set a time limit and try to see who can finish first. At work attempt to set up an assembly line of sorts. Not only can it be fun to try and think of work in a new light, but it is can be valuable to understand the ins and outs of each specific job functions within your workplace. When it comes to pulling together a study group, you have so much room for creativity. You can watch online videos of the subject and discuss what they got wrong and what they got right. Test each other or even play the role of tutor and tutee. Reinforce each function in each setting and you will surely succeed.
  5. Celebrate Success: When you meet your goal, don’t let it go unnoticed. There is no problem with tooting your own horn! Celebrate your small achievements (and those of others) with little tokens such as cards, balloons, or posters. Draw attention to the biggest achievements by heading out to a nice dinner or getting away for the weekend. When you are reminded of your success and even take some time to relax after the fact, you will be ready to get back into the game – renewed and re energized!

There are so many methods that can be employed when trying to balance family, school, and work. Some may work better for you than others. Most importantly, find a way that you can stick to and allows you to monitor, reevaluate, and reward your personal dreams. For more information on how to get started on your academic journey, while still keeping your family and work commitments in balance contact us. The first step is deciding on the goal you want to reach for!

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it-consultant

Great Careers With an Information Technology Degree

it-consultantStudying in a career field that is constantly changing may seem difficult, but it can give rise to plenty of job opportunities. Information technology is an industry that constantly changes with the pace of new computer hardware and software. To be prepared for one of these tech jobs, an information technology degree is the way to do it. Here are some of the most common careers for this degree.

IT Consultant

While the term may include a broad range of duties, most medium and large size companies will have an IT department to take care of the computer needs of employees. The job of an IT consultant is to come in to see how the network is set up, where the problems with the network may be, and provides solutions on how to fix these problems in an efficient, cost-effective manner. Consultants can work with a firm or as an independent contractor.

Computer Forensic Investigator

Today, almost everyone who uses computers and cell phones will leave a digital trail. In criminal investigations, having access to this information may provide the evidence needed to get a conviction. A computer forensic investigator’s job is to find useful items through technology. This can include erased information, hidden information and encrypted files.

Website Developer

Most businesses today will have some type of online presence to attract more customers. This often comes in the form of a website. The website informs, entertains and sells to the company’s customers. To have a website that attracts visitors on a daily basis, a good design is needed. Website developers not only create the layout, but they can also create the coding needed to add all types of elements to the page. Developing websites is a way for those with an IT degree to express their creativity.

Information technology can be a challenging career field, but with average salaries above $60,000 for most positions, it can be a field that will give a professional financial stability and the opportunity to work with technology. If you want to learn more about IT degree options, contact us.

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business administration

4 Great Benefits of Earning a Degree in Business Administration

business administrationIf you are in aspiring entrepreneur, are genuinely passionate about business, or would like to earn a degree in business administration or other business-related fields in order to secure a future at your job, then you’re in luck. The business-world offers careers like no other, and allows for qualified candidates to move on to post-graduate studies (like earning your MBA or CPA).

Completing a degree in this area of study provides many advantages for career placement and advancement, here are just a few.

Salary

Out of the gate, many students who graduate with a BB or BSBA enjoy higher than normal average salaries. According to the Department of Labor and Statistics, the median income for a career related to degrees in business begin at around $60,000 annually, with chances for advancement within just a few years.

Demand

Those who earn a degree in a business administration or a business-related field are in high demand. In today’s tough economy these types of degrees are sought after by many employers, and are looked at as a keystone to success. It shows employers that job candidates are flexible, knowledgeable, and ready to work.

Versatility

With a degree in business you enter the working world with unrivaled versatility, which can be approached from multiple angles. You will be armed with the knowledge to start your own business, or work for many companies on a variety of levels. This includes inter-related fields, like marketing, research and development, accounting, human resources, advertising, public relations, and so on.

Opportunities

There are endless opportunities for those with a degree in business. Because what was once a field dominated by large corporations, has evolved (and is ever-changing) to include anyone who applies themselves. From start-ups, to non-profits, to working for global companies, a degree in business or business administration gives graduates opportunities abound.

Ready to take the next step and start earning your degree in business administration? Please contact us today for more information regarding this exciting career opportunity.

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Why having a bachelors degree is still important

Why having a bachelors degree is still important: Are your goals in line with your spirit?

Why having a bachelors degree is still importantWhen asking yourself why having a bachelors degree is still important, remember that the term “importance” resonates beyond monetary value.

The source of value is a long-honored topic of debate, not only in economic circles, but in religious and ethical institutions, as well.

Upon looking at the qualifications of a bachelor’s degree, there is still a list of basic classes and areas that will include you in a list of “educated” people. Will this give you added status if the degree doesn’t land you a job in your “field?” Probably not. Will it give you a full stomach when you are economizing on a job hunt by skipping lunch? No.

So what is it about a bachelor’s degree that contributes value to your life in the absence of extra money?

Jordan Weissmann, writing for The Atlantic, states:

 ”. . .I fear that the more we accept the idea that the value of a particular college major can be summed up with a lifetime earnings estimate, the more likely policy makers are to come up with questionably designed schemes aimed at pushing students towards one field or another. Recent screeds aside, sometimes ‘do what you love’ is perfectly good advice.”

The idea that making money is the goal of every student is not valid. Although it is desirable to make enough to pay off the student loans, the likelihood of doing so increases if you pursue the line of work that you love. In the same Atlantic article, Weissmann mentions:

“Over a lifetime, . . . typical humanities and social science majors earn similarly to graduates who study practical, pre-professional fields such as education or nursing.”

Even so, the value of an education is not necessarily measured in monetary terms, even if modern society consistently directs us to that sort of yardstick for measuring the worth of any endeavor or object.

To what extent does any education enrich our daily existence? Formal study increases research skills, and expands our horizons beyond the hum-drum of daily existence. Accomplishing the completion of a bachelor’s degree is a testament to our persistence, and a statement that the quest for knowledge itself holds some value of its own.

Perhaps the test of value is the quality of your life, rather than the size of your paycheck. And the statistics do show that over time the pursuit of knowledge does eventually pay off.

Contact us for the beginning of a dialogue that will define your future, and help determine the values in your life.

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choosing university major

How To Select A University Major

choosing university majorТhеrе аrе fеw decisions аs іmроrtаnt іn life аs choosing a university major. Тhе rіght decision саn bе thе start оf а long, prosperous аnd fulfilling career. Тhе wrong choice, hоwеvеr, саn lead tо endless frustration, regret аnd lost opportunities. Whіlе thеrе іs nо magic formula fоr choosing thе correct major thаt will work wіth аll students, thеrе аrе сеrtаіn steps thаt уоu саn tаkе tо streamline thе process.

Think Оf Тhе Big Picture

One оf thе fіrst things thаt оnе shоuld dо whеn deciding оn а degree choice іs tо thіnk аbоut whеrе уоu wаnt tо bе 5, 10 аnd еvеn 20 years dоwn thе lіnе. Іf уоu knоw уоu wаnt tо bе thе CEO оf а company 10 years frоm nоw, majoring іn drama, whіlе fun, mіght nоt bе thе best choice.

This mіght sееm obvious, but you’d bе surprised hоw mаnу students асtuаllу hаvе а vеrу good idea оf whаt thеу wаnt tо dо аftеr college уеt dоn’t thіnk аbоut whаt classes аnd undergraduate major thеу nееd tо dо today іn order tо qualify аnd prepare thеm fоr whаt thеу wаnt tо dо аftеr оr tо gеt іntо thе rіght graduate program. Іf уоu hаvе а specific goal іn mind fоr а career, іt іs іmроrtаnt tо dо уоur rеsеаrсh аnd find оut frоm established professionals thаt аlrеаdу аrе successful іn thаt career exactly whаt thеіr path wаs. Іf уоu dо nоt hаvе thаt specific goal іn mind, here’s hоw уоu саn help yourself expose іt:

  1. Talk tо а career counselor аt thе college fоr advice оn choosing а major.
  2. Narrow dоwn а list оf rеlаtеd majors tо three.
  3. Find аn internship rеlаtеd tо thе top оnе оr twо majors.
  4. Set uр interviews wіth fіvе people іn еасh potential field оf study аnd find оut whаt thеу lіkе аbоut thеіr jobs. Alternatively, уоu саn usе online rеsеаrсh tо learn mоrе about the thе potential field.
  5. Read three books rеlаtеd tо еасh оf уоur potential majors. Search оut professional journals, teaching manuals, аnd books geared tоwаrd thе industry thаt you’re interested іn.

Іf уоu nееd mоrе guidance оn hоw уоu shоuld select а major, contact us. Yоu саn аlsо tweet us @UOTPotomac.

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