Benefits of Higher Education: Why College Matters

You have graduated high school and this seems enough for now. You have gotten a job and it pays well. Or maybe you are fresh out of high school but aren’t really sure what to embark on next. College is expensive and the work that you have to put in is a lot. Along with taking care of your family, this seems too hard to balance. So what will be the difference if you have a college degree?

You are pondering on the idea of going to college but aren’t really sure. Here are the reasons why you should:

When you are a high school graduate, you will only have several job options because most job openings are for college graduates. If you have graduated from college, you won’t have to settle for a job that you don’t like because many of employers will want to hire you. Your job options won’t have to be limited.

If you look at the many job requirements, you will notice that a lot of them require a college degree. Having attained higher education will open more doors for you. You will be qualified for many job positions. This means getting to pick one that you really like.

And this means job satisfaction for you. The unemployment rate of individuals with college degrees is half than the unemployment rate of high school graduates.

Promotions and increased salary

Even if you have a stable job when you are only a high school graduate, your chances of being promoted are quite slim if ever at all. This means being stuck to the same salary for the years to come. If ever you get a raise, it will only be significantly low.

We know that along with promotions come higher salaries. This is one of the biggest advantages of having had higher education. According the US Census Bureau, those with a college degree will earn a salary that is 86% higher than those without it.

College graduates, even in entry level positions, will be paid more. The climb to the corporate ladder and to a higher paying position will be much broader if you have a bachelor’s degree.

Healthy for your community

Having graduated college is not only healthy for you but for the community and the country in general as well. This is because college graduates are less likely to rely on government assistance programs than high school graduates. Instead, you will be more likely to contribute to these funds. You will be able to take care of your family and won’t have to rely on the government and anybody else to assist you.

Now there you have it. Reasons why you should invest in a college degree. Going to a university may seem like a lot right now but it is more of an investment really. Sure you will have to worry about tuition and deadlines but I assure you it is well worth it. Your future will be much brighter if you have one and your chances of earning are substantially higher.

4 High Paying, In Demand Careers for Women

If you are considering what the next step for your career that you should take is, then read on to know if you are interested in any of these fields. These are known to be the highest paying jobs for women:

Pharmacist – The pharmaceutical industry is a growing career. It pays very well and has a lot of job openings. There are more than 10,000 job openings every year and you can earn up to almost a hundred thousand dollars annually. Most companies that hire pharmacists don’t even require work experience. They will accept you even if you’re fresh out of college.

It is a four year college degree where you will have to pass a licensing exam. Majority of pharmacists are women. Although the work schedule of pharmacists isn’t exactly flexible, which is one of the things that single mothers look for, it is very well compensated by the pay.

CEO/Chief Executive Officer – if your interests are more on the corporate side rather than the legal or medical area then this might be the job for you. CEOs are the highest ranking officials in a company. Responsibilities vary though on a company to company basis.

Women CEOs earn more than $80,00 each year. You can’t just apply for a CEO job, you have to earn it. You will have to start at the bottom of the corporate ladder and work your way up and mind you, it is a very competitive climb.

For you to be promoted to CEO, you must have an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) degree that you can only enroll into after having graduate a 4-year business course.As for the flexibility of schedule, it isn’t the most flexible either since most companies will require you to work the usual work hours.

Lawyers– lawyers is one of the most popular career that pays really well. Being a well known lawyer could even increase the money coming in. With being a lawyer, your monthly income does not have a limit. Depending how good you are and how much work you have, you are most likely to get paid quite high.

To become a lawyer is not an easy task though. Law school is 3 years but you will have to have an undergraduate degree which takes 3 to 4 years. You will also have to pass bar exams in order to practice. Average annual income of women lawyers is $79,000.

Computer and Information Systems Manager – This career is quickly rising together with the advancement in technology. Because companies are now adapting technology for making things run smoother, they need somebody to manage this aspect.

This is what the job of the computer and information systems manager is; to manage software development, operations of the internet as well as the computers in the entire office. Being a manager in this field is usually an 8 to 5 job but pays quite well with an annual average income for women of over $70,000.

These top 4 high paying jobs may not have the most flexible schedules but are very well compensated. Another reason why many women get into these fields is because of the companies themselves. A really good company has amazing benefits for mothers as well as child day care centers.

Are You Eligible for a Pell Grant?

A Federal Pell Grant is a need-based form of financial assistance that is awarded to individuals who belong to less fortunate families but wish to go to college. Unlike the usual college loan, this grant does not require to be paid back by the student. This grant is named after former US Senator Claiborne Pell and is known to help 5.4 million part-time and full-time students all over the country.

Obtaining a loan, scholarship or grant is not an easy process. The government or the institution makes sure they award these to the most deserving individuals. And in the case of having to pay the money back, they award it to those who they think can do so.

Applying for the Federal Pell Grant will require a lot of paperwork as well as a lot of patience. Let’s discuss the specifics on who are most likely to be granted.

First and foremost, you will have to have a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) on file. The same applies to many other scholarships and grants. Application of FAFSA starts on January 1st of every year.

Make sure you fill out the form when the day comes so that you can apply for different grants and scholarships. If in case you will be awarded this grant, you will have to fill up the FAFSA every year in order for you to keep the grant.

Naturally, you also have to be a citizen of this country. Eligible non-citizens or those with a green card can also be eligible for this grant.

The Pell grant is only awarded to an undergraduate student. Meaning, you won’t be qualified for this grant if you already have a college degree or are going to enroll for a master’s degree.

If you wish to acquire post graduate degree, there are other grants that you should look into. You will also have to have a high school diploma, no college will admit you if you don’t.

Upon application, you will be asked to sign an agreement stating that you will only use the funds solely for educational purposes. Also that you do not currently have another federal student loan nor do you owe a refund for any previous grant.

How much does the grant cover?

I cannot and won’t be able to tell you how much exactly you will be receiving since your conditions will have to be assessed by the government to determine how much you need. The amount varies from individual to individual although the maximum award was $5,550 in the school years 2010 up to 2012.

Factors that will determine the amount that you will be granted are the costs to attend your chosen school, whether you will be a part-time or a full-time student, how long you intend to stay in school and your financial needs.

Your chances of eligibility may be limited if you have been incarcerated. Same goes if you have a conviction for drug offence and are serving involuntary civil commitment. You will only be able to take advantage of the Federal Pell grant for no more than 12 semesters.

Home Buying Programs Worth a Closer Look

Having a roof over our heads is one of our essential needs. We need it to protect ourselves as well as to make us feel secure. Every parent wishes to provide a home for their child or children. Yet when you are a single parent, buying a home may seem too far out of reach. You can hardly make ends meet and buying a house is too much.

Home buying programs make all this possible. It makes the burden much easier to carry since you don’t have to shell out money in one go and the cost of the house will even be something that you can actually afford. It is important for each of use to own our own homes. Aside from the obvious of it providing us shelter, it also gives us an emotional fulfillment.

It feels great to be able to provide a house you can call your very own to your kids. You will also feel the amazing sense of security that no matter what happens, you have a home to come home to.
If you want to make the dream of owning a house come true then here are your options:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

The number one goal of the Department of Housing and Urban Development is to provide housing for families that fall on the very low or low income bracket. They have many grants and programs that range from renting a home to fixing one.

One of the assistance that they could give you is assisting you paying for your home. They will make a plan that is convenient to you but will still provide you with the house that you need. Factors that will determine your loan or discount are income and credit records.

The grants and opportunities offered by this department vary from state to state and from person to person. The only way to know for sure what’s in store for you is to contact an HUD counselor.

Home Investment Partnerships

Home Investment Partnerships is a grant that falls under HUD. This grant has the ability to assist you in purchasing your own home by providing you with the down payment. To be eligible for this program, your income has to fall under 60 percent (or less) than the HUD adjusted median family income in the state or city that you live in.

These programs are granted by the country to each state individually. Terms and conditions apply differently to each city or county. It is best that you approach your local HUD to find out more about the program as there are no fixed numbers.

Filling up and the application itself for these programs is not easy. It will require that you take some time off during the day to procure what you need to apply for these programs. It will take a lot of paper work just to complete your application. Don’t lose hope, it will take a while until you hear from them.

Surefire Interview Tips To Land The Job

Job interviews aren’t fun experiences when you are the on being interviewed. You get really nervous. Cold sweats. Shaky hands. Butterflies the size of monarchs. These are only a few of the many things that we feel when we are about to get into that room for an interview.

If you’re like me, you would even feel these things while the whole interview is ongoing. More often than not, you would say silly things that you would later regret having said. You sometimes would even get taken aback by a question that it would take a few minutes to respond. The horrors of a job interview.

This doesn’t have to be the case every time. Here are some tips to make it go smoother for you, impress the interviewer and even land the job:

Prepare

No amount of preparation can truly prepare you for the job interview itself because after all, you never know what questions will be asked. Just do the best that you can.

Research on the most common questions and practice answering in front of the mirror. It is important that you at least have an idea on what the questions will be so you won’t have to panic looking for answers when the time comes.

First impressions are crucial. Make sure you dress appropriately. Plan your outfit the night before or better yet, days before to make sure you have everything you need. You are usually expected to dress business casual unless stated otherwise. Have a folder with your resume ready too. Interviewers always ask for this. Never forget a pen and a paper.

The moment you walk into the room is the very moment the interview starts. Walk very calmly towards her/him. How you shake the interviewer’s hand can leave an impression. If she doesn’t offer her hand, initiate it.

Grip it a little firmly but not too tight. Hold that for 2 seconds, while shaking very lightly. When she gestures for you to sit down, do so and thank her. She will most likely ask how you’re doing. The best response is anything positive and don’t forget to return the question.

As the interview is about to start, take a deep breath to calm yourself down. I have learned that this is an important action as it calms me down even for just a bit. Whenever you find your heart racing and are about to get very nervous, take another deep breath. Don’t be too obvious though.

Listen to every question that she asks and make sure that you look her in the eye. Don’t try to intimidate her though. It wouldn’t hurt to put a small smile on your face. This way, you would look pleasing.
If you find yourself blacking out or speechless, it is okay to take a few seconds to gather your thoughts.

End Gracefully

When she says it’s done. Slowly get up and thank her for the interview. It will also matter if you mention her name so do it as you thank her. Shake her hand again as you say goodbye. If there is someone else in the room, thank them too and shake their hands.

Nursing Program That Caters to You

Nursing is a profession that has gained a lot of popularity recently. We all hear of people going to college and taking up a nursing course. This is because of the high demand of nurses in our country. A lot of institutions, not only hospitals, employ nurses. Nursing homes, companies, schools and private individuals do too.

The main reason why a lot of people are becoming nurses is because it is a great job that pays very well and has a flexible schedule. This sounds ideal for single mothers, doesn’t it? It is. A lot of single mothers’ are nurses.

Now you probably have entertained the idea of getting into this career but the fact that you will have to go back to school has scared you away. You are already raising a child or children and you could hardly manage your life the way it is.

Let me tell you that the idea of working hard shouldn’t scare you away. It will only be temporary. Once you have earned your degree in nursing, trust me you will feel very much rewarded. Aside from your current hectic schedule, money is another problem.

You can hardly make ends meet and to have to pay for your tuition is unimaginable. Let me tell you again that this shouldn’t hurdle your dream. There are several nursing programs in the country that will help you go through all this.

I am not just referring to any nursing program but one that caters to single parents just like you. There are several universities and schools that are more than willing to help and support you.
They have a very strong support system that will make your schooling much easier.

Some of them even have a housing program. This is a place where single mothers’ live together in order to help each other. Yes, you will be living under one roof with fellow single mothers who are studying nursing. If you have to go to school, you won’t have to worry about day care since you will all alternately take care of each others’ child.

These schools will also offer you moral support. It will come with counseling sessions, through mentors and classes that will teach you how to become an even better mother. You really don’t have to go through all the hardships all by yourself. These classes and mentors will teach you parenting skills as well as managing your life entirely.

Requirements for admissions to these schools vary from each other. Make sure to check them all out or even better, apply to the ones that you like. Admissions usually include an interview with the Dean and some academic requirements.

Your child must also be between the ages 5 and 10 for you to be considered. Again, these requirements may not apply to all of the universities with nursing programs for single mothers. Take the time to check them out, it just might be the one to make your future m uch brighter.

After all these, you will definitely get out of university not only with a degree in nursing but armed with life skills too.

5 Budget Tips To Help You Survive The Month

Budgeting isn’t easy especially if you have a house to run and mouths to feed. It is a skill that we all have to learn so here are some tips to help you survive this month without borrowing money:

Budget Planning – I know the feeling of receiving a salary and thinking to yourself how on earth will you stretch it to reach the next payday. I get nervous just thinking about it. But I have learned that planning eases my worries and actually helps in stretching that budget. Planning really works no matter the situation.

1. List the expenses you expect to be paying for the next month such as electricity bills, telephone bills, and all other important expenses you will have to make. Set aside money to pay for these important ones. When you do this, you will see how much or how little money you have left. This should also dictate how much you will be spending on other stuff that you don’t really need.

2. Prioritize – Know your priorities. When you have done step 1, you will know how much money you will have left for groceries which should be at the top of your priority. When I say grocery, I mean essential foods and items for you and your family.

How many times do you do your grocery in a month? Divide the money that’s left for each grocery shopping. Buy only what you need. You don’t really need that expensive shampoo, you can do away with a more affordable one. Same goes for clothes, you don’t have to have a new blouse every month.

3. Cut corners – One very good example where you can cut corners is the electricity bills. Make sure you turn off the light if you’re not using it. If you live in a hot city or state and you always use the air-conditioner, try to cut down on it.

Turning it off an hour before you usually do can significantly lessen your electricity bills. When you turn on the AC or heater, make sure that the doors and windows are closed so as not to waste it.

Cable television is another service you can cut down out. No, don’t let it go completely but you can let the premium features go. Just stick to the basic channels, it’s much cheaper.

4. Discount and coupons and bulk buying – these three things are more way to save. Watch out for discounts on your essentials and take advantage of it. Buying in bulk is also always cheaper. Don’t make it an excuse to buy something that you don’t really need though.

Couponing is also key in saving money. These three buying tips don’t seem too significant at first because you will only get to save a few dollars at a time but if you tally it to the number of times you have used it in a year, you just might be surprised.

5. Save – If you still have money left after all the bills, groceries and other essential expenses, the thing that comes to mind is to reward yourself with some nice shoes right? Wrong. The best thing for you to do is to save that money. You will need it in the future, trust me.

How to Choose a Daycare

We take good care of our children and we expect others to do the same. We want nothing but the best for them. We want to nurture them in the best possible way. These are the reasons why choosing a daycare is a tedious task.

It isn’t an easy job because we fear that choosing the wrong one will affect our child or children. Daycare is a place that they will be at every day. It is a place where they will learn skills as well as socially interact with other kids. How do you choose the best?

To visit the daycare where you plan to send your child is a very important step. It is the only way you will see for yourself how the daycare itself is. Bring your child with you too and observe him/her. One determining factor should be if your child is comfortable in that environment. Make sure that your child is, otherwise he/she will have the tendency to keep to himself/herself and won’t be learning or mingling with the others. The other factors that you should look into are:

The facility. A good day care center has nice facilities. Meaning the rooms are well painted, well-lit and has proper ventilation. It also must have specific areas for specific activities such as a changing area and an eating area. The toilets must be clean too.

One thing that most people fail to check on that is very important is an emergency plan. The daycare must be prepared for any form of emergency. All the general child safety issues must be addressed too.

Caregivers are the ones that will be nurturing your child so you should observe them well. Does your child feel at ease with them? Do they interact well with the children?

Are they qualified and well trained to handle children? Make sure to follow your gut when it comes to these things. Your child’s formative years will be spent with these caregivers and you should feel confident on leaving your kid on their hands.

It is also important to ask how long the caregivers work for the center. At least a year is good enough, longer than that is even better. Remember that kids take some time get comfortable and constantly having to change a caregiver will be hard for them.

The ratio of caregivers per child and the number of children in a group are also very important. Having enough caregivers means that your child will be getting enough attention and care.

For children under 2 years of age, there should be one caregiver for every 3 children with a maximum of six children in a group. For those between 2 to 3 years old, there should be one caregiver for every 5-7 kids and a maximum of 14 kids per group.

The Program

Check the center for accreditation from an organization. Having one or more means that the daycare center has met standards that are set for them. Ask for the program of the class where your child will be at. They should have a set program for the daycare. It should include a supervised TV time, rest time, meal time and storytelling or reading time.

These are the factors that you should take into consideration when picking out a daycare for your little one. Don’t just look into one daycare, make sure to visit as many as you can in your area. This way, you will see the best.

Student Loans That You Should Consider

We know that a college degree can help land us a higher paying job. Not only that, it will also pave a new road for a brighter future for us and our kids. In a lot of career fields, higher education is the only way for you to earn a promotion.

Being a single mother is hard. You have to take care of your child and earn money all at the same time. Going back to school is no longer an option because you just couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to juggle the finances.

Let me tell you that being a single parent shouldn’t stop anybody from attaining a degree. It will be hard the moment that you embark on this educational journey but I assure you that it will pay off in the long run.

If you cannot afford to go back to school, know that it isn’t the end of your dream yet. You still have other options that will help you earn that college degree. I am talking about students loans. They are ideal for busy, single mothers like us. Let’s discuss why:

1. Federal Stafford Loan – this type of loan is good for you if you wish to study only part-time. Perhaps if you still couldn’t afford to quit your job completely. This is quite a popular loan for having a fixed and low interest rates. You can borrow up to $20,000 for every school year.

The Stafford loan is available to both undergraduate and graduate single mother students. For the more financially needy individuals, you can even benefit from the subsidized Stafford loan where the Department of Education will pay for your accrued interest at some point.

2. Federal Perkins Loan – The Federal Perkins loan is also available for graduate, undergraduate and professional courses. Both full-time and part-time students can apply for this too. The amount that you will be able to borrow in this type of loan is based on your needs and it will increase on your second year of enrollment. This loan is granted to the student who is most needy and is also on a first-come, first-served basis.

3. Federal PLUS loan – If your parent/parents are willing to help you, then this just might be the loan for you. Your parents will have to undergo a credit check though and you will be disapproved if they have filed for bankruptcy in the last five years. The good thing about this is that you can be granted to borrow up to the total cost of your education and the interest rate is fixed.

4. Private loans – If you have tried all the federal state loans, then this is your last option. You should only look into private student loans after you have tried applying for federal state loans since private loans have a much higher interest rate and have steeper terms and conditions.

There are many companies that offer private student loans so take a look at each and every one of them. They all have different rates as well as terms so be sure that you have the best deal before you sign the contract.

How Do You Know If You’ve Made Smart Career Choices?

When you’re a single mom, juggling work and family life is more difficult. Your work demands a hundred percent from you and your family demands even more than a hundred percent from you. It’s a delicate balancing act.

You can’t give up your career either because it is the one that puts food on your table. The key in making career and family work is finding the right job. Finding one that works for you means having less stress and more money to spend for your family’s needs.

Here are 3 careers that work very well with single parents:

Education – You may be thinking that having education in this list of career is off because it isn’t flexible. Sure it’s not but the advantage in this career is that you get to work at the same hours that your kids are in school.

You will get to leave the house and come home the same time as them. If you work at the same school where they go to, you will even have the chance to manage and see them more because they are just somewhere around the corner. You also get the same days off and holidays together with your child.
The bigger advantage when being in an education career is that schools offer a big discount to the children of their employees.

Entrepreneur – They say that being an entrepreneur, you own your time and you dictate how much you earn. This is why it is great for single moms. You can come home anytime you want, you can even bring your kid with you to work.

Unlike with being employed, your salary isn’t fixed which is both a good thing and bad thing. If you’re business is doing good then you will get to take home the big bucks but if it’s a bad day then you might even risk being at a loss. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. Get into business only if you’re a go-getter, not afraid to take risks.

Nurse – Nursing jobs pay a good amount of money and the schedule is flexible too. These are two things that we single moms look for in a job. Nurses earn at least ten bucks every hour and your work schedule, in most cases, is up to you.

Another advantage with being a nurse is knowing what to do when your little one gets sick or has an emergency. Being a nurse is like getting trained to take care of your own kid.

These are only three of the many other careers that are suited well for single mothers. When considering which career to get into, your number one priority should be your own interest. Consider what you enjoy doing.

Working a job just because you have to will drain you more than doing what you enjoy.
Once you have narrowed down your interests, then should you consider if it will be able to pay your monthly expenses and whether it will leave you with enough time to be a mother.