Monthly Archives: December 2015

5 Tips for Managing Exam Stress in College


No one likes to take exams. Even the night leading up to the exam can be a bit of a nightmare. As a college student, exams can be even more daunting because there is a good chance that you have multiple tests at the same time. Some of these exams may include requirements to write long papers. This is usually the case during finals or midterms.

This is why it is so crucial to find ways to manage your stress around exam time. If you don’t, it could affect your grades. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to manage exam stress so that you don’t burn out. Here are five tips for managing exam stress in college.

1. Head to the Park and Take a Breather

If you are starting to feel the stress come on, you certainly want to take a break. If you go on, you could wind up letting the stress get to you. You can head to the park, you could go on a run or you could simply hang out and watch movies. Whatever you do, you want to relax and take a moment to gather your thoughts.

2. Practice Meditation

Another way to manage your stress is to practice meditation. Whenever you are feeling stressed out about your exams, you want to take a moment to breath. If are in Portland State’s criminal justice degree, there is a good chance that your finals are a serious stressor, so you want to learn how to properly meditate.

In order to properly meditate, you want to remove all computers and cellphones from the room in which you are meditating. Afterwards, you want to get your breathing rhythm down. Once your breathing rhythm is down, you can start to clear your mind and let the meditation session really begin.

3. Study With a Friend

Sometimes, it can be a lot less stressful to study with friends. If you have peers that are in your course, you may want to think about organizing some study sessions. You could have some drinks, snacks and other items to make the study session seem like a small party. Another benefit of studying with friends is that you will wind up retaining more information, so you may do even better on your exams.

4. Prioritize Your Schoolwork

If you leave your schoolwork for after you spend time with friends, your stress will skyrocket. This is especially the case around test time. What you want to do is force yourself to finish your exams before you spend time with friends. If you develop the bad habit of not setting your priorities, it will be really difficult to manage your stress accordingly.

5. Get Organized

On top of everything, you want to be sure that you stay organized. The more unorganized you are, the more stressed out you are going to be. This is why you want to clean up your computer desktop, you want to clean up your dorm and you want to have a clean environment to study in. In the end, this will help lower your stress significantly.

5 Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt


Student loan debt can be a heavy and sometimes unbearable burden for recent college grads. As a college student, it can be easy to graduate and be confronted with this grim reality. This is usually when disillusionment sets in.

However, the simplest way to avoid student debt is to understand the way it works. If you don’t take care of the debt and pay it off as soon as you can, then interest payments will only get worse making the total amount owed seem impossible to repay.

With the recent rise in interest rates, it can make things even harder. Moreover, it can help to have some tips and tricks for avoiding the debt altogether. Here are five ways to avoid student loan debt.

1. Pay it Off During College

One of the best ways to avoid student debt is to pay any loans off during college. This may mean you will need to get a part-time job while in school, but if you are able to make a dent in your loan before graduation, then your monthly bill will be substantially less. Indeed, if you wait until you graduate to make your first payment, it will only become harder to pay it all off.

2. Look for Grants Instead of Loans.

If you feel like it would be difficult to pay off debts, you probably don’t want to take on student loans. Ideally, you want to find grants. Grants are extremely beneficial because you don’t have to pay them back. This is the major difference between a loan and a grant.

Right now, there are many different grant programs that you can apply to. Some of them are federally funded and others are privately funded. Sometimes it can be easier to get accepted by the latter because there is less red tape.

3. Take Online Courses

Another way to avoid student loan debt is to take online courses. Taking online courses is a much more affordable route to take because you don’t necessarily need loans to pay for school. These courses generally cost less money so it is more likely that you can pay for them out of pocket.

For instance, University of New England has some great online courses. If you want to further your education, you could use that degree to secure a position in the workforce and then use your savings to fund further education.

4. Build Your Credit

When you are in college, you may want to think about applying for a credit card because you will need the credit. The last thing you want is to apply for student loans with a low credit score. In most cases, your interest rates will be much higher, which will make paying back the loans much more difficult. With a high credit score, your loans will be much more manageable.

5. Consolidate Your Loans

On top of everything, you may want to consolidate your loans. Consolidating basically means lumping them all into one, easy-to-pay debt. In most cases, the consolidator purchases the debt from your bank and will set up a payment plan. In the end, this is a great way to lower your debt and make it easier to pay back.

5 Ways to Be Money Savvy in College

Becoming money savvy in life is important. This is especially the case in college when finances are tight. There is a good chance that you will have a very strict budget and need to penny pinch as much as possible.

If you have to watch your spending while a student then you may not be able to afford brand new clothes or going out for expensive dinners all the time. However, practicing financial planning and budgeting now will provide a strong foundation for strong money management skills when you graduate.

It may not always be fun to have to pinch pennies, but it is worth it to avoid serious credit card debt. There are plenty of ways to make the budget you do have work for you. Here are five ways to be money savvy in college.

1. Save Every Penny

No mater how much money you have or where you get it from – if you work, if your parents are able to give you money each month to help while you are in school, or if you stumble into some extra cash – then you want to save every penny of it.

While in college you can easily be faced with unexpected expenses. Books for your classes one semester may be more than you budgeted, your roommate is a nightmare and you need to break your lease, or your bike gets stolen and you need to replace it. No matter what the situation, there will certainly come a time when you need to tap into some savings. It is critical that you have some liquid capital that you can draw from so that you aren’t faced with the inability to pay for all of your necessities.

2. Take Online Classes

Another way to save big and to be money savvy in college is to take online courses. Indeed, online courses are much more affordable than in-class programs. Not only is the tuition much higher, but you also don’t have to worry about fuel to get there, parking and other miscellaneous costs.

With an online course, you won’t have to worry about coming back to your car and finding a parking ticket. Moreover, taking online courses is much more convenient – you don’t need to wade through traffic and you can take classes in the comfort of your own living room.

3. Don’t Use a Car

When you are in college, you may want to think about forgoing the use of your car. If you don’t have a car, you don’t want the added expense of a new one. Ideally, you want to take public transportation. Also, you could purchase a bike and pedal yourself to and from class.

Indeed, cars can be incredibly expensive to own. Not only do you have car payments – you also have insurance, gas, repairs and other expenses. Also, if you are attending UC’s respiratory therapy schools, taking a bike to class can offer some great exercise.

4. Live on Campus

Another way to be money savvy in college is to live in the dorms. In most cases, your dorm will be included in your tuition. You may have to sign up to live in the dorms, but once you do, you will realize all the benefits of living on campus versus paying for an expensive apartment. Another benefit of living on campus is that you will be near all your friends.

5. Make a Budget

On top of everything, you want to make a very detailed budget. If you know how much you have is coming in then you will know exactly how much you can spend on monthly expenses. You want to make a list and divide things between bare essentials that you can’t live without (like food and housing) and then a secondary budget of niceties, like coffee, movie tickets, and bar tabs. Who knows, you may get to the point where you worked up a budgetary strategy that helps you save money.

5 Ways to Improve Your College Exam Grades


In many colleges, a class’s final exam or midterm accounts for much of your grade. Sometimes up to 80% percent of the grade. The rest of the year, or semester, you are simply leading up to the exam. This is why you really want to find some ways to boost your test taking skills.

Not only do you want to increase your efficiency at studying, you also want to learn some methods to get into the right mind space to take the exam. Many people sit down to take an exam and get too nervous or stressed out. If you sit down and start to get sweaty palms when you look at your exams, this could affect your grade significantly. Here are five ways to improve your college exam grades.

1. Prioritize Your Schoolwork and Get Prepared for Studying

Of course, if you want to improve your exam grades, you want to be sure that you improve your study skills. The easiest way to do that is to prioritize schoolwork over social life. Instead of spending time with friends, you want to study. When you have studied, taken the exams and received excellent grades, you can celebrate by spending time with friends.

2. Review Your Notes Daily

When you are in class, you want to be sure to take excellent notes. To become an excellent note taker, you want to be able to become a master at shorthand. Also, you want to become a master at listening. It is critical that you take all the pertinent information down without leaving anything out. If you are slow at taking notes, you may miss something. Moreover, you want to make sure that you review those notes on a daily basis to stay up to date and to keep the information fresh.

3. Speak to Your Professor During Office Hours

Many college professors offer their time after class if you need to clear something up. It is critical that you take advantage of these times because they can really help you clear things up. If you leave questions unanswered, you may do poorly on your exams. Many professors are incredibly receptive to students who take the initiative to clarify information.

4. Organize Your Work Environment

Of course, when it comes to studying for the exam, you want to be sure to have a clean and organized working environment. If the environment where you are studying is a mess, you will feel less inclined to get your work done. You may wind up procrastinating on social media or by binge watching some movies – or you may just leave altogether. Before you study, you want to go in and organize all the clutter first.

5. Learn to Relax When You Take Your Exams

On top of everything, you want to find ways to center yourself before you take your exams. Many people start to get nervous as they are taking their exam, which can cause a person to psych themselves out. Even if you are taking a UAB online course, you could still psych yourself out. If this happens to you, you may want to think about meditating before the exam. In the end, you want to be completely prepared.

5 Essential Money Hacks for College Students


Out of all the life hacks you can learn, learning to save money is one of the most important. This is especially true when you are in college.

As a college student, you will be living on a very shoestring budget. In most cases, you won’t be able to afford many of life’s little pleasures. With tuition, textbooks and other miscellaneous costs, you will need to get creative and resourceful.

Ideally, you will want to stretch your nominal budget as far as you can. If you student loans to pay off then this is even more important because you don’t want to graduate with exorbitant debt on your shoulders. An inability to pay your loans down could destroy your credit and make it very difficult to get back to a normal financial rhythm after you graduate. Here are five essential money hacks for college students.

1. Create a Daily Budget for Everything

You are certainly going to pinch a few pennies in college, but until you create a budget, you won’t really know how much you have to spend. In order to get a better hold on your finances, then track how much money you have coming in each month, how much in savings you have available to spend, and what expenses you need to pay. Be sure to capture everything, otherwise an extra bill could surprise you at the end of the month.

2. Subsidize Everything

Once you have your budget, you want to find ways to subsidize your expenses. Perhaps you can ask your parents for money, you can take advantage of student loans to cover costs until you graduation, or you could make some money during the year and sell old textbooks.

Another option is getting a part time job to increase how much money you have coming in each month. These days, there are many jobs that you can get that won’t take away from your schoolwork. Indeed, some of these jobs can be completed remotely from the comfort of your own dorm room.

3. Purchase Used Textbooks

When it comes to textbooks, you want to always purchase used, because new textbooks will cost you a small fortune. There are many places to purchase used textbooks. You could find a used bookstore in your area, or you can shop online. The benefit of going to a local brick and mortar shop is that you will be able to see the quality of the textbooks first hand.

4. Take Online Courses Mixed with In-class Courses

Usually, a college will offer the ability to take some online courses. With faster browsers and video conferencing, it is easier than ever to get your degree online. Plus, online courses are much more affordable. For instance, you could get your UIC online degree from the comfort of home, which will allow you to organize your financial life a lot more efficiently. For one thing, you won’t have to drive all the way to class, which forces you to spend money on fuel, parking and more.

5. Live on Campus

On top of everything, you may want to think about living on campus. Living in a dorm room is much more affordable than living in an apartment near campus. In the end, many on-campus living opportunities are included in tuition, which makes it even more of a money hack to live in the dorms.