Why You Need to Be Brave and Get Life Insurance for College

Why You Need to Be Brave and Get Life Insurance for College

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I did a very scary thing yesterday.

I signed up to be part of a study: The Mayo Clinic GENERATE (GENetic Education, Risk Assessment, and TEsting) Study. Here’s a snippet of the cheery email that appeared in my inbox:

We are very excited to share that the study is now open to anyone who has a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, regardless of genetic testing status. You can read more about our updated eligibility criteria at https://generatestudy.org/participation/.

Basically, if I get accepted, I’ll undergo genetic testing which will tell me whether I have the markers for pancreatic cancer.


My mom developed pancreatic cancer at 55 — the same year my daughter was born. I remember thinking, “I refuse to raise my daughter without my mom around. I can’t do it!” But the odds were stacked against us.

Despite the fact that everyone told me to stay off the internet, I’d Googled the statistics anyway: For all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year relative survival rate is 20% and the five-year rate is 7%, according to the American Cancer Society.

Fast forward seven years: My daughter still has her grammy. My mom beat all the odds, and she’s a nurse now fighting COVID-19. (Ask me how I feel about that.)

Anyway, as you can imagine, it’s a bit terrifying to think about what the tests will find. And oh, geez, the implications: Will I be around for my kids? If not, what will happen to my husband (emotionally and financially)?

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I Realized I Need Life Insurance

Signing up for this study was the club to the head I needed. Nothing like signing up for a cancer study to assist you in realizing your own mortality. Gah. I’d gotten a sizable policy through my old job at the college and I have one through my current full-time job, but it’s not worth much.  

The point of getting life insurance is this: What if I die early and can’t help my husband pay for college for my kids? What if I die before our house is paid off? It might not be from cancer, either. I could get in a car accident or fall off a ladder. 

How Does Life Insurance Work? 

Life insurance is pretty easy to understand. You pay a recurring amount of money, called a premium, to an insurance company. The insurer pays out a tax-free sum of money to your beneficiary or beneficiaries if you die while the policy is active. This is called a death benefit.

Life insurance helps with expenses upon your death, such as: 

  • Replacing your income
  • Paying off a mortgage
  • College costs
  • Funeral and other end-of-life costs
  • Day-to-day bills
  • Cosigned debt
  • Child care or dependent expenses
  • Medical expenses or long-term care (Certain life insurance policies offer an accelerated death benefit rider which means you can access a portion of your death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness. Doing so while you’re still alive could help with medical or other expenses when you can’t work.)

You can choose from different types of life insurance: 

  • Term life insurance lasts for a set number of years before it expires.
  • Whole life insurance is a permanent life insurance policy. It offers a death benefit and a cash value — a tax-deferred cash value account that accrues interest at a predetermined fixed rate. A certain portion of the premium you pay goes into the cash value of the policy, which offers a guaranteed rate of return.
  • Universal life insurance is also a permanent life insurance policy. It also has a cash value, but you can use the cash value to pay the premium, or let your accrued interest pay your premium each month.
  • Variable life insurance has a cash value and is similar to investing. Money that you pay in goes into a series of accounts like mutual fund accounts. You can gain or lose money, depending on the markets.
  • Variable universal life insurance lets you adjust the premium and death benefit amount while investing the cash value in the policy’s cash value.
  • Final expense insurance covers the cost of anything associated with your death, which could include medical costs, a funeral or cremation.
  • Group life insurance is exactly how it sounds. You purchase it through your employer. 
  • Simplified issue life insurance allows you to get insurance without a medical exam, but you do have to fill out a questionnaire.
  • Guaranteed issue life insurance allows you to get insurance without a medical exam or a questionnaire. 

I Chose Simplified Issue/Term Life Insurance

In my opinion, I firmly believe that term life insurance is the best option for most people. First of all, the point of term life insurance is to cover you while you still have dependents, a mortgage, etc. Eventually, our kids will be grown and the house will be paid off. My husband and I may not need life insurance after that. Plus, because term life insurance expires, it’s cheaper than whole life insurance and the rate and payout never change. I liked the idea that we’ll pay the same amount every month and my death benefit won’t change.

I also didn’t want to go through a medical exam — particularly during COVID-19. 

I Chose Bestow

One of the reasons I chose Bestow is because I fell prey to the mere-exposure effect. Have you ever heard of that powerful psychological term? It’s when you develop a preference for things merely because you’re familiar with them. It’s also called the familiarity principle in social psychology. (If you’re good at marketing or sales, you know the power of this psychological phenomenon.)

Bestow is one of a million insurance agencies — you don’t have to choose the same one I did. 

Bestow offers policies provided by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®. Bestow only offers 10-year and 20-year term policies and the 20-year term is only available if you’re under 45 years old. 

Anyway, I wrote about Bestow for a not serious article close to Valentine’s Day and remembered the name.

However, I also chose Bestow because there’s no medical exam, Both plans allow you to cancel any time, without paying any fees. You can apply for a plan in a matter of minutes online and get approved quickly. Dust off your hands. You’re done.

Plus — no blood draw? Sign me right up.

Here’s How I Signed Up

The process couldn’t have been easier. First, I filled out some basic information. 

I chose 20 years because of my kids’ ages — they are seven and four, so 10 years wouldn’t be quite enough.

Then, I added my address and email address. And created a password:

It took me to this screen: 

I needed to answer a few questions about my health, such as whether I have high blood pressure, cancer, etc. I also needed to check the boxes on whether I SCUBA dive, skydive or other types of high-risk activities.

A popup did ask whether a parent of mine had died of cancer or heart disease before age 65. I was able to say “No!”

I added my beneficiaries and my credit card payment. I monkeyed with the coverage a bit, then hit “Enter Your Payment” and I was set. Covered for 20 years!

Peace of Mind for the College Years

Is your child heading to college this fall? In that case, it’s still a good idea to get life insurance if you plan to use a tuition installment plan for college — you may not quite have saved all the money you need for college and plan to do it per month. 

Bestow in particular only insures people ages 21 to 55, so look into different life insurance options. Life insurance is more expensive as you get older. Also, the more health problems you have, the higher your rate will be — or you could be denied altogether.

Think about this, though — I’m going to be really straightforward here. It’s totally possible to contract a disease and die within a four-year period, while your child is in college. My reality is that for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year relative survival rate is 20 percent and the five-year rate is seven percent.

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Protect Your Family

These days, it doesn’t require a whole lot of effort to get life insurance. And really, if you prefer to find the cheapest option possible, you might want to undergo the medical exam. It could save you some money in the long run. 

Getting life insurance is a great way to say, “I love you!” to your family members. It’s one way to care for them the way they deserve — and it’s also a great way to help your spouse or kids do any number of things after your death, including go to college.

6+ Great Ways to Make Money from Home if Your High Schooler’s College-Bound

6+ Great Ways to Make Money from Home if Your High Schooler’s College-Bound

“Did I save enough? If not, where will we pull the extra cash?”

Paying for college: The thought alone is enough to make any parent sweat right through her socks.

You may want so badly to contribute to your child’s college education, even if it’s just a little bit. Maybe you’d like to try to avoid taking out a Parent Plus Loan.

Guess what. There’s no law that says you have to use already-saved money to pay for college. You’re not doomed because you didn’t save money when your kid was in diapers!

I remember meeting with a couple from Chicagoland when I worked in admission. They really wanted to help their son pay for college. The mom decided she needed to get a job, though she wasn’t sure she wanted to spend long days in an office. Her husband said, “Looks like it’s time to get a work-from-home gig.”

She said, “Now there’s an idea!”

So she did!

There’s never been a better time to consider how to make money from home. If the COVID-19 outbreak has done anything, it’s taught that it’s possible to work a lot of different jobs from home!

Before You Learn How to Make Money from Home…

First, it’s important to understand how you’ll be asked to pay for college. Obviously, you won’t need to pay for tuition for the whole year upfront. Here are a couple of quick notes on how to pay for college.

  1. After all scholarships, grants, etc. are taken into account, what’s leftover are your out-of-pocket costs.
  2. You’ll have a few options as to how you want to handle out-of-pocket costs. For example, you (and/or your student) can pay for them outright. You could also decide you’d like to pay for a portion of those out-of-pocket costs and get a loan for the remainder.
  3. Most colleges send a bill twice a year. For example, colleges usually send a bill for the fall semester in late June or early July, with a payment deadline of early to mid-August.
  4. You can break up the cost even more by using a monthly tuition payment plan. Tuition payment plans are installment plans which are usually broken up into equal monthly payments over 12 months or less. (Be sure to ask the college whether there’s a finance charge included and read my post on how a tuition installment plan can make college affordable.)

Tap into Your Talents

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that it’s a great idea to leverage your talents, passions and capabilities and use those to make money. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Do what you love, the money will follow?” I love it!

I have a friend who’s an excellent graphic designer. She used to work with me at the college and now she has her own graphic design business. In fact, she’s going to help me redesign my site! She’s a real rock star in my book because she works from home doing what she loves to do.

So what’s your special talent? Are you great at gardening? Tell people about your stellar landscaping skills! (People will pay good money for that, especially if you plant it for them. I wish someone would do that for me!)

Are you or your spouse handy around the house? You’d be surprised how many people will pay to fix a washer and dryer or air conditioner.

Do you find painting to be a soothing activity and wouldn’t mind painting houses, fences, rooms, etc.

Are you a potter? Knitter extraordinaire? Use those talents to your advantage!

Pick Up a Work-from-Home Gig

The on-demand gig economy makes it so easy to get an extra job, even if you work a standard nine-to-five job. Gig websites are .

Some in-demand skills clients are often looking for include:

  • Tutoring: Do you have a passion for teaching a particular subject? If so, now’s a great time to take advantage of lockdown. Many parents will pay to keep their children’s reading or math skills ready to go for next year with virtual tutoring. Some companies require you to have an education degree — check the requirements beforehand. However, some don’t require an education degree.
  • Freelance writing: Many marketing companies and websites hire freelancers to create content on their behalf. If you’re a good writer, learn the art of the pitch and start pitching companies. If you have a good pitch and some writing samples you can share, you’re likely to have a few nibbles in no time.
  • Video editing: Do you have some great experience putting together video footage? If so, seek out clients for everyone from bloggers to marketing agencies.
  • Graphic design: More companies than ever need designers to create websites and redesign existing pages. If you have some coding background, even better!
  • Translating: Sure, automatic translators are a thing now, but if you have a lifetime of French lessons under your belt, know that there’s still a market for your skill. Many translating companies need freelancers to help with translation tasks through Gengo and Unbabel.
  • Coordinate social media: Every brand needs a strong social media presence. If you’ve got a good sense of what companies need for their social media engagement.
  • Freelance consulting: As an expert, you can consult others on their personal or business goals. Clarity can help you promote your consulting services. People who need your services can find you on the platform and book a paid session with you. Once you create your own client base, it might be possible to turn this into a full-time job.

Next, I’m going to list some other options that might be a great fit. They don’t require specific talents but can make you money. Some take more time to accomplish and others can happen lickety-split.

Rent Out a Room in Your Home

Your child’s getting ready to go off to college! Why not consider opening a room in your house up as a guest room? You could convert a basement kitchen to a full apartment living space. You could open up just one room to someone who needs one. Why not rent out a room to travel nurses through Travel Nurse Housing? The possibilities are endless.

I have a friend who lived in a teeny tiny carriage house right after college and she loved it. It was like real tiny house living!

Invest in Real Estate

Does your child need a place to live? Why not invest in real estate, rent to his or her roommates, and make some extra money in the process? It can help pay for college tuition. It’s a double bonus if you can buy the rental house outright.

You could do the house-hunt the old-fashioned way: Call up a real estate professional in the city where your child is going to school. If he’s going to school in North Carolina and you live in Minnesota, you could hire a management company to maintain it so you exert a little more control over the process.

You could also look for homes with Roofstock. Roofstock lets investors manage rentals like stock portfolios. You get to focus on your investment, rather than dealing with everyday headaches, like, “The roof is leaking!” or “The shower head flew off!” Roofstock’s property managers are available to handle operational responsibilities, supervising upgrades and day-to-day management.

You can also diversify your real estate portfolio in different cities.

Drive for Uber or Lyft

Okay, so this isn’t technically working from home. Still, it’s nice to work from the comfort of your own car. You can earn money right now by signing up to work for a ridesharing app like Uber or Lyft. Hospital staff, public safety officers and other essential workers still need rides to work, even during a quarantine.

During a pandemic, it’s especially important to keep your vehicle sanitized when offering rides.

Of course, how much you make is dependent on how many rides you offer. A 2016 Nerdwallet study found that in order to achieve an annual income of $50,000, Uber drivers had to complete 60 rides a week and Lyft drivers needed to offer 84 rides.

You’ll also need to consider maintenance on your car — including gas, repairs, insurance, taxes and the commissions that Uber and Lyft take.

Try Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a good option if you want to own a store without investing a lot or having a lot of risks. You don’t even need to own your inventory. Here’s how it works: After you receive an order, you buy the product from a third party, which is usually a wholesaler or manufacturer.

The third party ships the ordered product to your customer. This way, you don’t need to handle the items, see them or even ship them. You’ll make a profit between the price you charge your customer and the cost of the product that the third party charges you.

You can use an e-commerce site like Volusion to start your own dropshipping business. Try Volusion for free for 14 days.

Evaluate What’s Important

One more thing. If you’re kind of a hustler by nature, it’s easy to get addicted to it. My friend (the graphic designer) loves the hustle and finds herself up at all hours of the night — with kids and a full-time job!

Do you have a full-time job and a side hustle already? Your time is precious! How important is your time with family, time for self-care, time for everything you need to do?

Continually trading your time for money is certainly one way to do it, but consider ways to make passive income first — if possible. Making money in your sleep is always the best way to go.

How to Make Money in College — for Parents!

How to Make Money in College — for Parents!

Your kiddo might be tired of hunting for change every time he needs to get groceries. Worse, he might be calling you for money!

College might be the most scrape-the-bottom-of-the-barrel time of your child’s life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some ideas for how to make money in college — whether your child needs a long-term gig or just wants to make a quick buck.

How to make money in college — for parents? Whaaa?

1. Encourage your child to get a job.

Cramming a job into an already-packed student schedule may seem like a daunting task, but college students all over the U.S. have jobs.

Part-timers more commonly have jobs than full-time students. The percentage of undergraduate students who were employed in 2017 was higher among part-time students (81 percent) than full-time students (43 percent), according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

How to Get a Job

Help your student consider the types of industries that might be a fit. A part-time job might help him work his way up to a full-time job after he graduates — so don’t underestimate that night-and-weekend gig.

He can even consider the right industry and which jobs fit his personality. You can be a great help here — you may recognize qualities in him that he may not even know about: (“Really, you think I’m good at caring for kids? Gee, thanks, Mom!”)

Here are a few industries to consider that are almost always hiring: 

  • Service 
  • Information
  • Health care
  • Finance and insurance
  • Real estate
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Agriculture

Look online for jobs in your area and encourage your child to check in with his college’s human resources office.

Can you guess the best method for getting a job? That’s right — use connections! Tap into your own connections at work and in groups to which you belong. Your network may be considerably wider than your student’s.

2. Suggest that your kiddo get an internship.

Your kiddo’s college and career center should be bursting with internship information. Of course, he’ll want to look for paid opportunities. A career center coordinator should be able to dig up internships that aren’t even on your radar. These ideas should all center around what could benefit your child’s future career.

Your student could also consider reaching out to the alumni office at her college — alumni are always super excited to help youngsters from their alma mater.

How to Get an Internship

Here are a few steps your kiddo can take to get an internship. When necessary, have her enlist the college’s career center for help during any steps.

  1. Get that resume in order. Maybe your son or daughter will let you read it over to make sure it’s in good shape.
  2. Make sure your kiddo writes a cover letter. It’s easy to get lazy and not write a cover letter. A cover letter is a must-do because it helps your child stand out among a pool of other interns (who may not have written a cover letter!) Make sure your child’s cover letter is in great shape (if he’ll let you read it).
  3. Choose a few different internship possibilities. Your student may have found a few options online or a good connection through the alumni office or the college or career center. Make sure your child applies for several internships — holding out for just one option may not work out.
  4. Make sure he asks two or three people to be references. Your student may not realize it, but he must ask people to be references and make sure their contact information is accurate. 
  5. Cross your fingers. You can’t hang over your child’s shoulder all the time. Hopefully, he double-checks a company’s online portal to make sure every part of the application is correct. 
  6. Get the right outfit for the interview. (You might be on the hook for the funds for that.)
  7. Help your child understand basic interview etiquette. Shake hands with everyone, go over some common interview questions and make sure he follows up with a thank-you note, kind of like you would if you send a scholarship thank you letter to an individual or organization.

Work-Study Options

Juuuust in case you missed the definition at orientation, work-study is a part-time job offered to undergraduate and graduate students. The amount awarded depends on financial need. Your child will only receive work-study if you file the FAFSA

It’s possible to work on or off campus. College students usually work for the school if they work on campus. Your child might work in a couple of different areas at the college or university: 

  • Athletic office
  • Business office
  • Admission and/or financial aid
  • Food service
  • Academic departments
  • Grounds crew
  • Library 
  • Security
  • Day care

The HR office will be able to give your son or daughter a list of jobs. Your kiddo might also be able to get work-study through a private nonprofit organization or a public agency. Colleges can have agreements with private for-profit employers for work-study jobs.

Undergraduates are paid hourly but graduate students can earn an hourly wage or salary. The trick to work-study is that students can’t work more than what they’ve been allotted through the financial aid award. 

Steer Your Kiddo Toward a Side Gig

It’s tough to fully commit to a job or internship during college, which could require more structured hours. What about a side gig with looser hour requirements? Your student may be able to pick and choose specific hours. Here are a few ideas that can offer flexible hours: 

  • Tutor
  • Babysit or nanny for parents who need help after school, during weekends or anytime between classes
  • Teach music lessons or perform
  • Be a tour guide for the town
  • Manage social media for businesses
  • Personal chef
  • Walk dogs
  • Scoop dog poop (yes, that’s a thing!)
  • Clean houses
  • Do yard work
  • Use TaskRabbit to find jobs and help people do tasks like raking leaves or fixing cabinet doors. Granted, this could be considered a “real job,” but it’s possible to pick and choose among jobs. You’re not committed to being at the same place for eight hours per day.
  • Become a driver for Uber or Lyft.
  • Doordash or UberEats to deliver food.

How to Make Money in College without Getting a Real Job

What with o-chem homework every night, your student may not have time to get a real job at all. Here are a few ways your student can make money in college without getting a “real” job or even a side gig.

Make Money Online

Earning money online is one of the best ways to make money in college. Here are a few ways your student can make money online: 

  1. Fill out online surveys like Swagbucks or InboxDollars. It’s possible to make a few extra dollars doing these.
  2. Participate in focus groups for online market research — these types of surveys pay more than online surveys like Swagbucks. Check out Respondent or Fieldwork
  3. Answer questions on JustAnswer. Does your student have a particular area of expertise that can help people? JustAnswer can be a great option. 
  4. Do micro jobs on Mechanical Turk. Just create a worker account and work on the types of Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) your child qualifies for.
  5. Teach online through Cambly, SayABC or the Tutoring Lab — no degree is required for any of these.
  6. Write an ebook and self-publish it on Amazon.
  7. Do freelancing online, whether it’s writing, web design, web development, graphic design, search engine optimization (SEO), mobile app development and more.
  8. Create a blog and become an affiliate marketer through Amazon.

Rent or sell your things

  • Your child may have an extra room or basement and may be able to look for another roommate. Make sure your student gets a background check on each potential roommate.
  • Use Decluttr to get rid of electronics, Blu-ray discs, DVDs and more.
  • Sell unused clothes through a brick-and-mortar consignment shop or online through Poshmark or ThredUp.
  • Get rid of gift cards at Cardpool.com.
  • Sell scrap metal at a local recycling plant — copper, brass and aluminum will make the most money but all scrap metals have some value.
  • Sell just about anything else on Craigslist — furniture, old TVs, lamps, décor, yard equipment, etc.

How to Help Your Student Make Money in College 

Chances are, your student feels guilty asking you for money twice a month. Ask your child to consider other ways he or she might be able to build up some savings. Encourage your child to be creative and think enormous, giant-sized dreams. Wouldn’t it be incredible if he launched a lucrative entrepreneurial endeavor from your dorm room?

Kids are exposed to so much creativity in college — there may never be a better time to bootstrap that idea that’s been rattling around in his head since freshman year. 

Or a part-time job is a good start, too!

What is an Internship? And How to Get One

What is an Internship? And How to Get One

Are you a college student who’s ready to be able to answer the question, “What is an internship?” with a personalized answer?

You want to be able to say, “So, this one summer, I dissected mice in a lab,” or “I spent all summer editing for a website…” or “I engineered farm equipment last semester…” or whatever your interests may be!

Did you know that grit is often more important to success than IQ? In other words, no matter how many tries it takes you to be able to answer the question, “What is an internship?” with firsthand experience, keep persevering. It’ll help you later on.

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What is an internship? 

An internship is work experience offered by an employer to give you exposure to a particular industry related to your field of study. Internships can be as short (a week!) or long (12 months or more!).

What an internship can do for you 

You probably don’t have gobs of experience in your chosen field and this is the only way to get it. (Unless, of course, you have another connection — maybe your mom’s an accountant with her own practice and you’re majoring in accounting.)

Here are five ways an internship can do a lot for you.

1. You’ll understand the roles in a particular job or your chosen field.

Internships are a way to see and experience the different roles that people play so you know exactly what it’s like to work in that industry.

You also understand how teamwork happens. You’ll be able to ask a lot of questions, too! You might learn about:

  • How people work together on projects
  • The roles people play in a work setting
  • The way a job day-to-day activities function
  • Characteristics it takes for people to be successful in a particular career

2. You can put a lot of skills into practice.

You’re not officially “on the job,” so you have a lot of freedom to try new things when you’re an intern. Internships are a time to maybe make a tiny mistake or two. Your supervisor knows you won’t be perfect. Still, your supervisor probably expect you to learn something from it and get better on other tasks before the end of your internship. Once you’ve landed a real job, you’ll have learned a lot about what to do (and what not to do) and can take that knowledge with you.

3. That confidence thing!

Whether you give a presentation or need to get over your fear of speaking up during meetings, an internship will build your confidence. Be confident, but remember that successfully completing an internship doesn’t make you king of the world. Nobody likes an arrogant colleague or fellow student.

You’ll also feel more confident communicating with different individuals. You might even feel a rush of confidence if you’re ever given the opportunity to interact with a CEO or other VIP.

6. You’ll get exposure to different industries.

The company you intern for might offer exposure to a few different fields, like sales and marketing. You might be able to find out if you can get a feel for both. This is a great option if you’re totally not sure which career path you want to take. It can also help you stick a few more skills on your resume.

5. It can help you get a job.

This one is a no-brainer. Obviously, the point of an internship is to get experience so you can prove to a hiring manager that you have what it takes to do the job someday.

You’ll develop all sorts of working relationships when you have an internship. These people will write your letters of recommendation someday. That’s why you need to be as professional as possible with everyone you work with during an internship.

Oh, and one more thing — a paid internship can help you make money in college. You may even be able to save money in college if you’re really motivated.

How to get an internship 

There are lots of ways to get an internship, and one of the easiest is to have a connection with someone ahead of time. For example, maybe your uncle’s a financial advisor and he lets you work in his firm for the summer. Or maybe you get an internship through someone who graduated from the college you attend. Alumni are great connections. They usually always want to help young people from their alma mater.

So let’s dive in. Here are the steps you can take to get an internship.

Step 1: Visit your college’s career center.

Your career center is the best place to visit to start looking for the perfect internship for you. Sure, you can take advantage of its online job listings, but actually have a conversation with the people in the career center. They’re experts! They may have job openings that major job boards don’t because of their abundance of area connections. Remember, in their spare time, they usually meet with employers during campus job fairs and make connections for their students.

A career center advisor will sit down and meet with you when you arrive at the career center.

Step 2: Clarify your interests and identify some of the skills you hope gain from an internship.

When you sit down with an advisor at the career center, here’s one of the first questions they may ask you: “What are your interests?” The second may be, “What do you want to learn?”

Take some time to think about what you really want out of an internship because it will help the career center staff direct you to the right potential internship.

Your college’s career center can direct you to a few jobs, offer some connections and help you get your resume in order. Note: Career center personnel won’t do all of this for you. You have to get that resume pasted together — career center staff can help you tweak it.

Categorize any relevant work experiences on a Google doc. Include the dates you completed this work and give editing permission to career center staff. Ask the individual to do suggested edits so you can see what he or she has done to help you. You may not agree with everything, so that’s why suggested edits are a smart idea. When you’re putting together your resume:

  • Format it effectively
  • Identify accomplishments
  • Write in a way that appeals to the industry
  • Include all experience, especially relevant skills you have
  • Put all experience in date order
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Step 3: Check online resources and network.

Make your search successful by using all the resources available to you: online postings, company websites, online classified ads and more. Check out Internships.com. Talk with everyone in your network. You may think you’ve tapped out your network, but think about other people you may not have considered:

  • Older students who have completed the internship you’re after
  • Professors
  • Family and family friends and their business associates
  • Those alumni we mentioned? Yeah, it’s time to network with them!
  • Neighbors
  • Teachers from high school
  • Professionals you know at businesses you or your parents already frequent (financial advisor, photography studio, utility company, vet clinic — whatever!)

Kind of like writing a scholarship thank you letter, write a thank-you note when you meet with these people or whenever else it’s appropriate.

Step 4: Don’t wait to apply!

Pay close attention to application deadlines, and if you see a position you’re interested in, apply right away. It’s really easy to say, “I’ll keep it on my radar and go after my top choice instead.” What happens if your top choice gets picked up by someone else and this second choice gets snapped up, too?

Kind of like applying for admission to college (what is rolling admission, anyway?!), you want to make sure you apply way before the deadline.

Step 5: Create your own internship.

Don’t be afraid to reach out directly to an organization you admire and ask about internship opportunities that may be available.  This is especially true with smaller organizations and nonprofits. They may not even have internships on their radar, but you may spark their interest! You may not find the highest-paying internship this way but you never know.

Get the best internship for you 

Did you know that the best internship might do exactly the opposite of helping you find out what you want to do with your life? It might show you what you don’t want to do forever! Yeah! That’s considered a total win.

In other words, all of this can help you avoid a career path that’s not a fit. Wouldn’t you rather know that now, rather than later? It’s true that you can change career paths, but why not nip it in the bud with an internship?

So, do two things:

  • Think about what you want.
  • Head to your college’s career center and have a great discussion.

Both will help you get an internship so you can identify your career path or help you decide what you don’t want to do with your life. It’s not a guarantee because you still have to put in some hard work. But these are two great steps in the right direction.

How to Save Money in College

How to Save Money in College

How to save money in college?! The title of this post might seem laughable to you. Especially since you’re probably praying that your holey underwear will last till Christmas. (Thank goodness for your mama’s yearly Hanes stocking stuffer.)

But you can save money in college, and there are smart ways to do it. And those savings can even benefit you beyond your college years. Let’s explore how you can save money in college.

Step 1: Understand your goals.

First of all, what are you saving for? Maybe you’d like to propose to your girlfriend at the end of senior year or purchase a car once you graduate. Know what you’re saving for and why.

Zoom in on your immediate short-term goals. These might be anything you want to accomplish in the next week or over the next three months (or more), like:

  • Pay your brother back the $50 you owe him.
  • Save for textbooks for next semester.
  • Have $1,000 in the bank for the next time your car’s alternator decides to crap out.

You may also want to identify some long-term savings goals, which could be six months away or up to retirement. These could be:

  • Pay off student loans and credit card debt.
  • Save for a down payment for a small condo after graduation if you’re really opposed to renting.
  • Plan a special vacation after you graduate.

Be sure to write it down! There’s huge power in writing down your goals. Do a thorough exercise in jotting down your goals and be very specific. It can look something like this:

  • Goal: Save $5,000 for a spring break trip by March 2020.  
  • Goal: Pay off $30,000 in student loans by December 2025.

Finally, post those goals somewhere where you’ll see them every single day — on your bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator — wherever you can see it.

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Step 2: Seek scholarships and grants.

Scholarships and grants are an excellent way to save money because you don’t have to pay them back. This is less money you’ll have to funnel toward college tuition. That might equal fewer loans to repay later, too.

Scholarships and grants are more accessible than you think. Visit your school’s financial aid office and talk to a financial aid professional in person. They are good resources to help you investigate available and upcoming opportunities. You’ll also learn more about your school’s application requirements and deadlines.  

Step 3: Set a budget.

Budgeting can be a groan-worthy endeavor… spreadsheets and subtraction… blech! But mapping out your goals will help you set a budget so you can get to the gold. In fact, track your spending to see where you’re spending your money.

Don’t alter your spending habits for one week. If you normally buy a latte and croissant from the coffee shop every morning, do it. Then decide which part of your budget you really can give up. Is that delicious breakfast costing you too much money? You could be eating yogurt and brewing your own coffee for $1 in your dorm room.

Set your budget so you know where you should be spending. And you can schedule that occasional professional brew as a reward for saving.

Can’t stand putting pen to paper? If that’s not your thing, it’s time to join the 21st century and use a budgeting tool. You can plan a budget and track your spending from the comfort of your smartphone. You can even increase your accountability by budgeting with a friend.

Step 4: Make money — and save it

You have so many resources at your fingertips. There are a gazillion ways to make money in college and save it.  

Internet money-making opportunities are plentiful. Do you have a knack for marketing? Social media managing? Photography? Blogging? Some other undiscovered skill you can hone? Use the internet to your advantage. 

You might even want to save more than you spend so that with the excess money you’ve banked, you can pay your tuition down. Why not start early? Let’s say you land an incredible sales job between classes and make extra in commissions. Why not apply that toward your tuition?

Invest while in college

So, that money you save has to go somewhere. Why not invest it? Stuffing your money under your mattress won’t benefit you.  Your money can (and should) be making money. A penny saved truly can be two pennies earned.

There are lots of different ways you can invest when you have some serious savings built up — or even if your savings only fills a backpack pocket.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to look for a reputable financial advisor or broker near campus who can help with your investment plans. They can introduce you to options, explain terms and guide you through selecting the best path for your savings goals. If you are more familiar with investing, you can find online brokers that offer services as well. Do your research carefully and ask financial advisors how much they charge.

Investment Options

Have you determined how much you have left over at the end of the month? Great! Put that money to work for you into an investment account. The amount you can invest per month might vary but at least you’ll have an idea of a general amount you’re able to contribute.

Do you have a short-term investing goal? You could always sling your money into a savings account. However, you might not be too into a savings account’s lackluster return. In that case, here are a few more options for short-term savings vehicles.

Short-Term Bond Funds

Short-term bond funds are safer investments because they usually mature in one to three years. They’re less volatile and invest in high-quality bond holdings across various issuers and industries. They’re a great option if you don’t want to risk your money.

Money Market Accounts

A money market account is like the hybrid cousin of a checking and savings account. You can make debit purchases and write checks. Best of all, you’ll earn a higher interest rate than you would through a checking or savings account.

Certificates of deposit (CDs)

CDs are fixed income investments that pay a set interest rate over a specific (fixed) time period. For example, you may be able to put money into a CD and take it out after three months and earn 1.75 percent interest on it. Typically, the longer you keep your CD in the bank or with your broker, the higher your interest rate will be.

Thinking way, way ahead? In that case, here are some great opportunities.

Roth or Traditional IRAs

Roth and Traditional IRAs are both good choices if you want to earmark money for retirement — even if it’s 40 or more years away! A Roth IRA offers excellent tax-free advantages, which means you don’t have to pay taxes on the money during retirement. For 2020, your total contribution to all traditional and Roth IRAs cannot be more than $6,000.

Index Funds

ndex funds can offer more risk, which is what you want when you have a longer time horizon. Index funds offer you a hands-off, diversified, low-cost method of long-term investing.

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

An ETF is a basket of securities you buy or sell through a brokerage firm on a stock exchange. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) track an index and usually offer low expense ratios. This means you’ll get plenty of diversification. In other words, your money will be spread out instead of exposed to risk like you would be when your money is invested in a single stock. ETFs trade like a stock and cover all asset classes, ranging from traditional investments to alternative assets like commodities or currencies.

Mutual Funds

A mutual fund is a professionally managed investment fund that pools money from many investors to purchase securities. Mutual funds also offer diversification. A disadvantage of mutual funds is that they’re typically more expensive to invest in because they’re professionally managed. You can end up paying a fund manager a lot of money to manage those mutual funds over a number of years!


Stocks are securities that represent an ownership share in a company. They’re much riskier than funds that are bundled together.

Parent tip: Consider offering match your student’s money in an investment account if you want to motivate your college-aged kiddo! 

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Save Money in College Like a Pro 

Being successful in college is about more than getting the grades you need for graduate school. We’ve given you some ways for how to save money in college. Obviously, you need a way to start your savings. Whether you get a part-time job, an internship, search for a work-study job, dive into a creative side gig or sell some of your stuff online, there are lots of ways to make it happen.

Learn to be smart with your choices and multiply your resources. You can be financially savvy starting now.  With a little know-how and determination — and planning ahead! — you can make saving money in college happen. You can even set your sights on post-college financial success. Your 60-year-old self will thank you!

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