Archive for the ‘Lifestyle & Family’ Category

Receive help paying for technical schools as a minority student

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Receive help paying for technical schools as a minority student

Whether you’re African American, of Hispanic descent or considered to be a member of another minority, you have the right to further your education. Of course, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially for those of you who have families to support and bills to pay. Fortunately, scholarships designed especially for minority students do exist.

So if you’ve been concerned as to how you would pay for your time in technical schools, worry less and consider some of the options available to you.

Gates Millennium Scholars Program.

Are you African American or Hispanic American? What about Asian Pacific Islander American? Maybe you’re considered to be American Indian – Alaska Native? If you’re any one of these ethnicities, you may be eligible to receive help paying for your education through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Gates Millennium Scholars Program.

What are the requirements?

Aside from being a member of one of those minorities, you need to have a high school grade point average of 3.3 or a GED. You’re also going to want to have three separate forms filled out and submitted by the appropriate dates. They include the Nominee Personal Information Form, the Nominator Form and the Recommender Form.

That’s right, before you can become a Gates Millennium Scholar you need to be nominated. Unfortunately, your spouse, kids and friends are not allowed to nominate you. As you’re looking for helping covering the cost of your education, program officials want to get a sense of the kind of student you’ll be. This means you may have to track down a principal, teacher or guidance counselor who knows you well enough to suggest you.

How much do scholars receive?

Ultimately, the amount of financial assistance you receive will be determined based on how great your need for a little help actually is. However, it’s worth knowing that since its founding in 1999, this particular program has helped more than 16,000 students and provided over $614,600,000 in award money.

Other options

Of course, scholarships are not always guaranteed. That’s why these awards are not your only opportunity for financial assistance. If money’s tight, consider a few of your other options, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Just make sure you pay close attention to your state’s deadlines, as they differ. In order to figure out when you’ve got to have your application in by, just head to the FAFSA website and use its deadline search tool.

You may also want to consider taking out a loan. Just remember that unlike scholarships, you’ll be expected to repay the money you borrowed at some point, usually with interest.

Are you a member of a minority who will need help paying for technical training schools? If so, have you come across any other scholarships or opportunities for funding? If you have, let us know in the comment space below.

How to make homework time fun for the entire family

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

How to make homework time fun for the entire family

Are you a spouse and a parent? If you are, and you’re also planning on enrolling in technical schools, there’s a good chance it’s going to take your family some time to get used to your new routine. Even though your husband or wife get that you’re returning to school for the good of the family, your kids may not be that understanding.

To them, the time you spend acquiring new knowledge and skills in technical training schools is just more time away from them. Even when you are at home, playtime may have to take a backseat to homework time. However, your desire to expand your skill set should not create a rift between you and your loved ones. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to have some fun with your kids.

Here are two ways you can turn your nightly homework sessions, or time spent taking courses through online technical schools, a little more fun for everybody.

Make silence profitable

The younger your kids, the less likely they are to understand your need for quiet when you’re doing school-related work. Rather than getting frustrated, find a way to make silence more fun. Consider starting a system around the house that rewards good behavior.

For example, say you really need to review something you had trouble with in class. A TV blasting in the next room and kids screaming at the top of their lungs are not going to be any help. What could prove helpful is promising your children that trip to the zoo they’ve been begging for or a shiny new toy in return for a few hours of quiet.

While your wallet may take a hit every now and then, this type of activity may teach your kids the importance of good behavior, as well as how their actions influence others.

Have the kids lend a hand

If you’ve been a parent for some time, you probably realize that kids teach you something new about themselves, the world or yourself every day. So why not let them help you learn about the field you’re training for in technical school?

Are your kids just starting to read? Then ask them to pull up a chair and help you read through your assignments for the massage therapy classes you’re taking. Are you reading up on the inner workings of lawnmowers and motorcycles so you’ll be better prepared for small engine repair school the next day? Invite your children over and teach them about the kind of stuff you’ve been covering. Not only will they learn something new, but you may find that just talking about your training more could help you become better at what you want to do.

Can you think of any other activities that will keep your kids out of trouble at night and help you receive the peace and quiet you seek? If you do, let us know in the comment space below.

Set up a home workstation and get more done

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Set up a home workstation and get more done

Whether you’re thinking about enrolling in online technical schools or taking courses in an actual classroom, you’re going to want to have a space at home where you can get some work done.

Now, you may look around the home and see plenty of flat surfaces to do homework assignments and career research and think, “do I really need a designated workstation?” Yes, because it can definitely help in the long run. If you’ve got kids, just think about how distracting they can be at night. Also, how good will your concentration be when you’re working on a surface littered with toys and crayons?

If you’re still not sold on having a workstation, here are three benefits to carving out a little space for yourself:

Better concentration

If you live alone, focusing on the task at hand may not be as difficult as it is for parents or those who live with multiple people. If you’ve ever tried to concentrate over music blaring or a loud TV, do you really want to take online courses at the kitchen table?

Instead, try to find a part of the house where you are unlikely to be bothered. If you’ve got a family, make sure they know you’re not to be disturbed when you enter this part of the house. Will your experience be 100% free of distracting sounds? It’s not likely, but it’s definitely a lot better than some of your other options.

If you’re really concerned over noisy distractions, you can always soundproof the room.

Everything you need in one space

If you want to succeed in the technical schools you’re enrolled in, you’re going to need to be organized. This includes having everything you need for your studies in one convenient place. Whether you’re taking veterinary or massage therapy classes, keep whatever books, tools and other resources you’ll need to get your homework and other schoolwork done in one spot. If you’re taking courses through photography schools and play around with your digital pictures on a computer, move this device into your workspace. The key is to create a place that is equal parts office and library.

Having a routine helps

Some people dislike the word routine, but there’s no denying that it helps you get things done. Think about how much better you feel when you go to bed at the same time every night. Now think about what happens when you stay up a few extra hours. You don’t feel so hot the next day, do you?

Well, with a designated workstation, you may find yourself getting into a regular homework routine. When you sit down in the same chair, at the same table every night, your body and brain will know it’s time to work. If you spend one night doing work on the couch in front of the TV and the next lying on your bed, you may not see the same results.

Can you think of any other benefits to setting up a workstation at home? If so, let us know in the comment space below.

Before returning to school, create a monthly budget

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Before returning to school, create a monthly budget

Are technical schools in your future? If they are, you’re going to want to get very serious about your finances real fast, especially if you’ll be leaving your job or reducing the number of hours you work.

One of the good things about technical training schools is they equip you with a lot of valuable skills in a very short period of time. While you may be done with your classes faster than someone pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you’ll still be in school long enough to deplete your bank account – that is, if you’re not well-prepared. To avoid such a scenario, consider creating a monthly budget.

Where to begin

Before you can figure out your budget, you’re going to collect a lot of data. Be as thorough as possible, as you really can’t afford to mess up this early in the process. First, make a list of all your expenses. Do you pay rent or a mortgage? What about car insurance? How much does it typically cost to fill up your gas tank on a weekly basis?

If you’ve got a family, this process will be a little more complex. On top of all of your expenses, you’re going to have to think about how much you spend on the kids each month.

After you figure out how much money is going out on a monthly basis, it’s time to see just how much will be coming in. This includes paychecks, interest from a savings account and any other income you can think about.

What’s a “must” and what’s a “want?”

Once you’ve got a list of your monthly expenses, look it over carefully and ask yourself what your “musts” and “wants” are. If you live in a rural area, gas and car insurance are probably “musts,” unless you plan to stay home for the next couple of months. That membership to Netflix, on the other hand, may just fall in the “want” category.

If you’ve found a way to balance a full-time job with classes, you may not have to make any changes to your monthly routine. However, if a return to school means a whole new way of life for you and your family, you’re going to want to keep expenses low for the duration of your studies.

Get organized

In order to stick to your monthly budget, you’re going to need some kind of a reminder. One of the best ways to stay organized is to create a chart. You can go about this is to create a spreadsheet broken down by the weeks in a month. Each week, record how much you’re spending on everything from groceries to entertainment. This will help you stay within your budget from one week to the next and ensure that you’re not blowing through your savings during your first week back at school.

Do you have a monthly budget? If so, let us know how it’s helped you in the comment space below.

It helps to be an adult student

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

It helps to be an adult student

Are you an adult who has been thinking about taking classes through technical schools? If you are, there’s a good chance you’ve had a few concerns about being a student at your age. But if you haven’t even considered the benefits of being an adult learner, now is the time to start.

You won’t be skipping class

Kids who go straight from high school to college don’t always appreciate the opportunity they have. They sleep in, skip class, and oftentimes, get a free ride thanks to their parents’ checkbook. When you’re a mature adult, you understand the value of money and the career advantages attending technical training schools presents you.

You’ll take it seriously

If you’re not blowing off every other class, you obviously respect your teachers and are committed to learning a new trade. That’s the great thing about being older and wiser – you’re responsible enough to know where you have to be and you follow through on your goals.

You’re more outgoing

Maybe you’ve been working for longer than you can remember or perhaps you’re married with a few kids. Either way, you’ve experienced a lot more than the average student, which is a good thing. You’ve had your fair share of ups and down and they’ve put things in perspective. Whereas some younger students do not always know how to introduce themselves to their classmates, you may have an easier time making friends while enrolled in technical schools.

You know what you want

If you’re returning to school after many years away, there’s a good chance something about your life had to change. That’s what’s great about being a grownup – you understand when things need to change and you take action.

Can you think of any other benefits to being an adult student? Let us know in the comment space below.

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