Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jump on the Law School Fast Track to Success

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Many of you just wrapped up your final finals as undergraduate students.  Those four years seemed to have flown by!  Imagine yourself as a freshman during the first week of classes – new campus, new living arrangements, new professors, an intense learning curve from your high school courses, figuring out your learning style.  Maybe it was a bit overwhelming.  Maybe after a few all-night cram sessions and loads of Red Bull, you finally got into your groove.  Now, college level courses seem easy, so much so, you may even laugh at the freshman-version of yourself.
As you prepare this summer to enter law school, you may find those nervous freshman feelings resurfacing.  You have a new campus, maybe new living arrangements, new professors, an intense learning curve (as law school is taught entirely different from undergraduate school), and have to develop a new learning style all over again.  Wouldn’t it be nice to skip over the trial and error, those all-night cram sessions (which don’t work in law school) and Red Bull binge jitters?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have the confidence of a third year law student instead of that horrible nervous fluttering in your stomach throughout your first year?  Now, you can!
Derrick Hibbard, author of Law School Fast Track, provides first year law students with the knowledge, experience, and answers you need to get on, well, the fast track!  This book will set you up with good habits before and during the first week of law school – such as how long you should study, how to hone your outlining skills, how to brief a case, and much more!  Together with Barrister on a Budget, you will have your head and wallet in the exact order it needs to be to start your journey of law school success.
Use your summer wisely, and pick up Law School Fast Track in paperback or in eBook format at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold!

To learn more about Derrick Hibbard, his Fast Track Series, and other novels, visit his blog site.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

2014 Graduates Receive Diplomas, But No Job Offers

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The other day, I heard on the radio that two colleges in my area were hosting their commencement ceremonies on Mother’s Day.  The radio DJs were saying how lovely it was that the two celebrations fell on the same day because graduating was a gift from child to mother, giving mom a chest-full-of-pride moment.  I laughed…hard.  Graduating on Mother’s Day was far less likely to be a gift than these DJs imagined.  My mind immediately pictured Mom’s face as she greeted her new graduate after the ceremony.  The grad says, “Hey Mom, I graduated college!  Yay me!  Now, I’m coming home again and, oh by the way, my student loans are due in six months.  Can you lend me some cash and help repay my debt?”  As the family gathers for those post-ceremony family pictures, Mom’s smile is strained and her thoughts go to the vacation she was planning that will now have to wait, her possible early retirement now much farther from reach, the dirty socks and bigger grocery bill on the way. 
Obviously these DJs had not done their research.  The Accenture 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey questioned more than 2,000 students who were preparing to enter the job market and compares their perceptions of the job market to the experience of recent graduates already in the workforce.  This study revealed that a shocking 11% of graduating seniors had secured a job prior to graduation; down from 16% in 2013.  The study also found that only 46% of 2012-2013 graduates were working full-time jobs and almost half say they are either underemployed or working in jobs that did not require their degree.
Another poll by AfterCollege found that an alarming 72% of graduating students are actively searching for employment.  The career-networking website determined that only 1 in 5 graduates have a job locked down.  Even the typically job-guaranteed STEM degrees (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) have been affected with 81% of these degree-holders leaving school unemployed.
For those of you finding yourselves in this predicament, I’m sure it’s a bitter-sweet moment.  You’ve had every step planned until this point when you were “supposed” to have the career of your choosing, and now it may feel as though the rug has been pulled out from beneath you.  You’re carrying your diploma home and finding a fat bill in the mailbox as a thank you note.  My advice in each post remains consistent – work hard, get creative and, most importantly, budget. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Music Inspires Tuition Discussion

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With finals in full throttle, I decided to keep this week’s post on the lighter side.  Many people use music – maybe a certain artist or Pandora station – to immediately turn their brain onto study mode.  But some students are using music to stir up student loan discussions.  One of Beyoncé’s newest hits Partition has enlivened the topic of tuition (see, it rhymes).
 Chanel Carroll says she “just wants to lead a debt free life” as she faces off against Sallie Mae in her Beyoncé parody TUITION.  She illustrates the strain for some students who are hounded by private loan companies – comparing them to the mob – because of accepting additional financing for their education despite having scholarships and doing well during school – a problem faced by many graduates.  Private lenders often have higher interest rates than the government direct loans and do not offer the extensive grace periods, repayment options, and protections that government direct loans provide.  Try to avoid this situation by shopping around for the best loans or avoid taking out loans altogether.
Another parody of Beyoncé’s Partition, focuses on the rates at which colleges set their tuition costs.   Cruella de Coco in Tuition is fearful of “paying off loans until she’s sixty” and pleads colleges to lower their tuition rates.  She says, “I thought the point of college was to get that green, not to be livin off pork and beans.”  And, she’s right – that used to be the notion of going to college.  Many students graduate and feel that they didn’t receive their end of the bargain.  It’s important, now more than ever, to do your research, perform a cost-benefit analysis for going to college and decide whether the degree of your choice will give you the return on your investment.
If you remember back to my post on selling ad space to pay off student debt, these women may have come up with another creative alternative to decreasing their student debt burden.  In some cases, YouTube videos that produce enough hits will receive advertising and can earn money off of clicks.  Keep being creative and continue the student debt discussion!

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