Seven Tips for Summer Internships

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Interning during college can help you prepare for the job market as you gain important skills and contacts. These tips will help you get started.

Cast a wide net.
This is your opportunity to explore careers and employers, or take on a dream job, before settling down to your permanent career. Consider organizations like the FBI, Disney, MGM, Marvel Comics or the Jane Goodall Institute.

Combine two of your goals.
Many college students gain a global perspective through a study abroad program. Similar work abroad programs can help you gain a new perspective on another culture as well as apply your studies in new ways. Start with your campus study abroad office to learn about reputable organizations and needed documentation or other requirements to work in another country.

Know what you want to gain.
You can use an internship to define or affirm existing goals, set new ones, earn money or academic credit, meet potential contacts or mentors, gain entry to a coveted employer, or all of the above. Define your goals for your internship so you know which potential employers and workplaces to focus on.

Know what you offer.
Internships, especially paid positions, can be competitive. Be prepared to treat the search and acquisition of an internship just like you would a job: prepare a resume and cover letters, interview professionally and sell your skills and enthusiasm.

Ask for help.
Besides searching for internships online and through your campus career office, let family and friends, former employers and teachers, and others know you’re looking for certain types of internships. These connections can help pave the way with their acquaintances if needed.

Be flexible and reliable.
Some internship providers will have set projects that will help you gain important skills, while others may not know exactly what to do with you. Be prepared to accept projects or tasks others don’t have the time or desire to complete. Use the opportunity to learn more about the inside workings of the organization, make connections and develop suggestions for improvement.

Meet the requirements for credit.
You may be able to earn academic credit for an internship. Work with your campus career office or the related academic department to determine if you need to meet certain prerequisites, complete required paperwork or turn in a project or report to earn credit.

By: Iowa Student Loan

Reevaluate Your College Savings Strategy this Summer

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Summer is a time for part-time jobs, summer school, ball games and barbecues. Between the constant rush of activities and sun-drenched vacations, learn how easy it is to prepare for your child’s higher education with Iowa’s 529 plan, College Savings Iowa.

While your young ones are testing their business acumen at a driveway lemonade stand, and your teens are putting those early lessons into practice at their first job, use these tips to plan for what tomorrow may bring.

  • “Set it and forget it” with an automatic investment plan (AIP). Saving with AIP allows you to set up automatic contributions on a regular basis by connecting your financial institution and College Savings Iowa accounts. By making saving a part of your routine, you won’t need to set aside time to contribute. If you already use AIP, consider increasing the amount you contribute. Even a few more dollars a month could mean big savings when it comes time to write that first check. You and your kids may be taking a break this summer, but your accounts will not!
  • Use the College Savings Plans Network college cost calculator to ensure you are still on track to meet your savings goals. The calculator allows you to select the student’s current age, the type of school they are interested in attending and the college cost inflation rate (the average national tuition inflation has been between 6-7 percent). With this tool, it’s easy to reevaluate your saving strategy. Remember, whatever you’re able to save in a 529 today is one less dollar you have to borrow tomorrow!
  • Revisit how your money is currently invested. Are you taking advantage of an age-based option or relying on individual portfolios? If you are using a combination of investments, make sure they are working to your benefit. Remember, you can exchange your money from one option to another – IRS regulations allow you to make two exchanges per year – or direct your new contributions into a new portfolio.
  • Help us spread the word! When you are getting together with friends and family this summer, be sure to mention the benefits of College Savings Iowa – from a state tax deduction to minimal initial investments and a low annual fee. Encourage them to open an account for their own children or to give holiday and birthday contributions through Ugift®. Each child can have his or her own dedicated college savings account!

By investing in your children’s education, you are investing in their future. I encourage you to make time and evaluate your college savings strategies, because just like this summer, the time to save for those expenses will be over before you know it!

By: Michael L. Fitzgerald, Treasurer of State

Investment returns are not guaranteed and you could lose money by investing in the plan. Participants assume all investment risks as well as responsibility for any federal and state tax consequences. If you are not an Iowa taxpayer, consider before investing whether your or the designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s qualified tuition program.

For more information about the College Savings Iowa 529 Plan, call 888-672-9116 or visit CollegeSavingsIowa.com to obtain a Program Description. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other important information are included in the Program Description; read and consider it carefully before investing.

This is Contributed Content. Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information contained in Contributed Content are solely those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect the opinion of Iowa Student Loan and/or this blog. See the “About” page for additional important information about Contributed Content.

High School Graduation Preparation

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So, you’re a senior right? College is just a few months away and you are ready to be done with high school. Senioritis has crept in and you just want to hang with your friends. Well, before you graduate and hang with your friends here are a few pieces of advice from a 2006 college graduate:

1. Save some money!
According to the College Savings Foundation only 44% of students have saved for college before graduation. Having a savings account will prepare you for those unexpected car expenses, college class book expenses, and, yes, those late night pizza runs. By saving you are creating a plan to succeed.

2. Make a plan for your income and expense.
According to CNN Money 76% of people are living paycheck to paycheck. For some people this is because of systemic poverty, but for most of us it’s because we don’t know how to say no to ourselves. Graduating high school is a perfect time to plan out income and expenses and create a plan to live below your means. If you say no to excessive spending now you can say yes to a lot of cool things later. But if you say yes to excessive spending now you’ll pay for it later.

3. Only borrow what you have to have.
In Iowa, the average student graduate leaves college $30,000 in debt according to WHO Channel 13. That means that the average graduate will pay $333 per month for 10 years if the interest rate is 6%. In the end, a $30,000 loan associated with getting your college degree will actually cost you about $40,000! Lastly, a good rule of thumb is to never borrow more than what you expect to make in one year in your job/career. For example, if you anticipate to make $40,000 as a yearly starting salary, do not borrow more than $40,000 for college. Check out this tool from Iowa Student Loan to see how much you will make in your career path.

4. Have a vision for your financial future.
A Harvard study found that two years after graduation 3% of students who wrote down their financial goals achieved more than the other 97% combined. Why is that? Well, they had a plan and a vision of where they wanted to go financially. A vision is where you are going and a plan helps you get there. Before you start college write down a vision of where you want to see yourself in five years. Then write down a plan to get there with all the steps you can think of. Craig Groeschel, a leader and pastor has said, “Everyone ends up somewhere, but few people end up somewhere on purpose.”

By: TS Institute

This is Contributed Content. Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information contained in Contributed Content are solely those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect the opinion of Iowa Student Loan and/or this blog. See the “About” page for additional important information about Contributed Content.

Summer Break and Job Search

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Summer is nearly here and with that comes the burning question for students: what to do over summer break?

The idea of lounging by the pool or on the couch sounds tempting, but it’s probably not the best way to spend the entire summer. A three-month break from term papers and exams is a chance to seek out opportunities that offer you the chance to use some of that knowledge you’ve picked up during the past year. Yes it pads your resume a bit, but it also offers up a lot of learning in the soft skills side of life.

In today’s high-tech, virtual world, the art of in-person communication is fading. People with interpersonal skills are a hot commodity so taking on a summer job with interaction, like serving at a restaurant or working retail will provide you with an immense amount of soft skill action.

If you’re looking for something a little more akin to your future career, think about internships for local businesses that relate to the career path you’ve chosen. Check in with the career center on campus and see what businesses are seeking students from your school. There are also online job searches such as www.Indeed.com that can tailor jobs to search key words and locations.

By: Iowa College Access Network

This is Contributed Content. Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information contained in Contributed Content are solely those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect the opinion of Iowa Student Loan and/or this blog. See the “About” page for additional important information about Contributed Content.

To-Do: College Prep

While it’s tempting to just enjoy your final months at home before starting your freshman year at college, take some time to be ready for your new independence.

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Take Care of Business

  1. If you haven’t already, log in to your school’s website to view your financial aid package, residence and dining contracts, and class schedule. Check for emails periodically.
  2. Sign up for and attend freshman orientation.
  3. Make sure you understand your financial aid package and take any action necessary. If you don’t need all the loans offered to you, decline the extra. Remember, you’ll have to pay back anything you borrow, plus interest, so don’t take any loans you can get by without.
  4. If you have scholarships, check the procedures for receiving the money, as well as any requirements, such as a minimum GPA, for renewal.
  5. Get any vaccines you need, and ensure you have a copy of your health insurance card.
  6. Memorize your Social Security and student numbers.
  7. Determine how to get a parking pass, a student ID, and athletic or event tickets.
  8. If you’re planning to work part-time, check out the job opportunities on and off campus.
  9. Make a budget for the year, taking into account anticipated expenses, financial aid and any earnings.
  10. If you’re going to need more money, research private student loans and apply for the minimal loan amount you’ll need.

Become Self-Sufficient

  1. Learn how to do laundry.
  2. If you’ll have a car on campus, understand basic maintenance and determine when and where to get that done. Also, make sure you have a copy of your registration and auto insurance card.
  3. Know how to fill prescriptions and schedule appointments.
  4. Practice shopping for groceries and necessities on a budget.
  5. Look for a calendar system—whether paper or electronic—that will work for you.
  6. Learn about the resources available on campus—academic, medical, fitness, safety and IT—and know how to access them.

Practice Your Social Skills

  1. Contact your roommate. Find out personal preferences, as well as who will bring what for the room.
  2. Start becoming comfortable talking to strangers of all ages. You will need to have face-to-face conversations with professors and advisers, as well as your peers.
  3. Discover what you can about the campus and the community before you go, and take any chances to learn your way around.
  4. Check out welcome week activities. Choose at least a few that pique your interest.

Get What You Need

  1. Check the orientation materials or school website for a list of recommended items and supplies, as well as those that are not needed on your campus.
  2. Practice your budgeting and planning skills by determining where to get the lowest prices on what you need and whether to bring items with you or buy them later.

By: Iowa Student Loan