What’s the difference between grants and scholarships?

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Are grants and scholarships two different ways to say the same thing?  Or are they actually different?

This is a question that may be rolling around in your mind as you look ahead to your college search.  The world of financial aid can sometimes sound confusing and intimidating.  The truth is that minimal research on your part can answer most of your questions.  Financial aid advisers are there to help with the rest!  So, when you do get that far in your college search, be sure to take advantage of the advice that they have to offer! Continue reading

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(How to) Rise and Shine!

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Getting out of bed in the morning tends to be a challenge for many people.  Yes, there are “morning people” in this world – those rare human beings who naturally enjoy beginning their day before the sun peeks over the horizon.  But it seems that the majority of individuals don’t fall into that category.  What about you?  Are you trying to figure out how to get a grip in the mornings?

Welcome, my friend.  You are not alone!

Here’s the bad news: it takes work to unlearn bad habits and learn new ones.  But here’s the good news: it is completely doable!  Below are four helpful ideas to keep in mind as you train (yes, train) yourself to get up earlier in the mornings.

1. Peer Pressure

Plan to meet up with someone in the morning.  Once in a while, peer pressure can be a good thing!  In this case, it could be your saving grace.  Team up with a friend who does get up on time and make plans to meet for coffee, go for a run, or anything else that peaks your interest.  The key is to make it something pleasant (to you).  If you’re meeting up to do something you detest, you’re setting yourself up to fail!  So, if running is misery to you, don’t plan to run.  Instead, tempt yourself with the prospect of a really awesome breakfast, or a trip to your favorite coffee place before class, or a workout that you actually enjoy.  How about yoga? Kickboxing?  See what your local gym has to offer – something might catch your attention.

2. Patience

If you’re serious about changing your habits to wake up earlier in the mornings, you have to be methodical and patient. Change is rarely easy and going from an 8:30am wake-up to a 5:30am wake-up will likely be a challenge!  Take baby steps!  Start with getting up 15 minutes earlier than usual the first week.  The next week, move it back 15 minutes more.  Within two weeks you’ll be waking up a full hour earlier without feeling drastic effects.

3. Persistence

Being patient with yourself is one thing – not holding yourself accountable is another. Don’t allow yourself to slide back into old habits! Challenge yourself to beat the clock and reward yourself when you do.  Track on a calendar – check the days that you get up on time and plan to celebrate when you reach an entire month of check marks.  Give yourself pep talks the night before.  The point is to do whatever it takes to get yourself in the mindset to want to overcome this challenge!

4. Prep

This is your chance to see what life is like as a control freak!  The night before, think through the next morning in detail.  Are you going to work out? Go to class?  Go to work?  Let’s assume you’re doing all three in that order.  Your prep should look something like this:

  • Set out workout clothes (including shoes and socks – no need to wake up your roommate digging around looking for a missing shoe)
  • Decide on your outfit for class. Don’t just assume it’s ready – actually take it out of the closet for two seconds to look at it.  Make sure it’s clean and presentable.  Finding out the next morning that your shirt has a mustard stain on the front will totally defeat the purpose of choosing your clothes the night before.
  • If your job requires a uniform, make sure that’s ready to go too.
  • Pack your book bag and definitely make sure any due assignments are included.
  • Set your alarm and place it somewhere that forces you to get out of bed to turn it off in the morning.
  • See ideas #1 – #3

Here’s to getting started on the right track!  Set a goal and amaze yourself!

Three ways to maximize your study sessions.

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At this point in your life you are very familiar with classwork, exams, and, of course, studying.  If you’re in college, no doubt you are studying.  At least a little!  The question is, are you studying effectively?  Continue reading