×
TAGS
Career
For College

What College Major is Right for You?

March 21, 2019

When going to college, one of the most asked questions is, “What’s your major?” For a college student, a major can feel like it defines your career path and your future endeavors. A major can put a lot of pressure on a college student, to pick something fast and stick with it. On the other hand, many college students come into their first year not knowing what they want to study, or where they see themselves. The good news is that is OKAY. There are many things you can do to find a major that suits you and your values. Here is a list of things you can do to help find a college major that is tailored to you:

  1. Get to know yourself

This decision requires you to learn a little about yourself. Maybe start with a personality test. The Myers-Brigg personality test will help you determine what characteristics you have, what you like and dislike, and even suggest work environments that may fit your persona. The Myers-Brigg gives examples of what other people with your personality type succeed in.

Another way to learn about yourself is by evaluating yourself in a S.W.O.T. analysis. The S.W.O.T. stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. List a few things relating to yourself under each column to help you match your abilities to a major that is right for you. Examine your interest, values, and potentials for a major that fits your personality.

  1. Create Goals

After college where do you see yourself? Where do you see yourself 5 years after graduation? What about 10? These can be as detailed or as generalized as you like but setting goals and preparing for them helps when finding a major. Creating short and long term goals help to know what you would like to see in your future and what steps may be necessary to get there. Be sure when you are setting goals for yourself that they are achievable. If your goals are too unrealistic, you may feel discouraged and quit. Some people find writing their goals down on a piece of paper helps to make them more permanent.

  1. Do your Research

Look at majors offered at your college of choice and do some research. There is so much information on the internet. You can also talk with a guidance counselor too if you’re looking for further insight and assistance.  When researching a major you’ll want to take into account the type of career you’ll have with that major. Some questions you may want to ask include what jobs are out there and how sustainable are they.

A four-year university can be expensive. You may find yourself borrowing student loans and receiving financial aid to afford education. Regardless of the major you choose, you need to verify the major and career path have a return on your investment. If you’re borrowing student loans when you graduate you’ll need to pay those back upon graduating. Once you receive your first career job you want to be financially responsible. You should be able to start paying down that student loan debt without having to eat Ramen® every night. Unless you really like Ramen®. When researching consider if the job has long term potential, look at the average salary, and consider location and necessities. A major can lead to many careers, but finding one that can support your future goals and lifestyle is important.

  1. Find a Mentor

Explore some of the options available for the majors you’re interested in and make a few cold calls. Your university may have a directory of alumni who graduated in your field of choice. Call them to find out about their career, day-to-day task, what to expect, and things that make them happy at their job. You can even consider shadowing or interning with alumni to find out if this career path is something you want to consider.

Try paying a visit to a college advisor. Most colleges provide separate advisors depending on the major. Make an appointment where you can sit down with them and discuss course load, professors and future employers with your major of interest. College advisors can help you decide if you can tackle a major on an academic level as well as real-world experience. Before you make the investment of attending college you want to be sure that you are pursuing the right career path for yourself.

  1. Seek Advice

Utilize people within your network and ask them for advice and guidance. Ask friends what they are considering for a major. People in classes may be a good resource for you as well. See what they are planning to study in college and what their interests are. You could even talk to a parent or someone you trust about your values and ideas. The people who are close to you may have your best interest and connections that can help with your decision.

Lastly, going into college not knowing what major to pursue is NORMAL. Do not rush into a major because you don’t want to be behind. Deciding a major a semester late or even changing majors does not always effect graduation dates. The goal of attending college is to gain the skills and education that could lead you to something you will succeed in. As you continue to learn more about college understand how you will handle it financially. It can seem overwhelming, but understanding what your finances are and what you’ll need to be making upon graduation will be helpful.

 

10 Facts About Student Loans That Will Save You Money

 

NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites
Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2020-02-11
10 Cities With Best Job Markets

By Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

Once you graduate and start looking for a job, you may realize that your hometown isn’t the best place for your career. You may think about relocating to a new state to get the right job, but it’s a huge decision.

 

Where you live can have a big impact on your income and quality of life. Depending on your field, some cities can be better for your career than others.

 

To help you narrow down your search, we looked at Indeed’s Best Cities survey to identify the top 10 cities for job seekers.

 

10 Cities with Booming Job Markets

In its survey, Indeed looked for cities with low rates of unemployment, a prevalence of highly-rated companies, high average salaries, and low competition for jobs. With that research in mind, these are the 10 cities it identified with the best job markets:

   

10. Salt Lake City, UT

Utah’s economy is one of the fastest-growing in the country, and that’s largely due to Salt Lake City’s rapid development. While the U.S. economy grew as a whole by about 3%, Utah’s economy grew by over 4%.

 

Salt Lake City has become a hub of technology, with many tech and bioengineering companies relocating their operations to the area. Compared to other areas like San Francisco, Salt Lake City’s real estate market is relatively inexpensive, making it attractive to both companies and workers.

 

The unemployment rate is 3.1%. On average, workers in Salt Lake City earn $66,000 per year, which is significantly higher than the national mean wage for all occupations.

  Related >> Best Cities for Young Professionals  

9. Washington, D.C.

Known for its politicians and lawmakers, the Washington D.C. area is also the strongest economy in the entire United States. It’s home to over 400 international associations and 1,000 international companies, including 15 Fortune 500 companies, making it a prime spot for job seekers.

 

Total non-farm employment for the area grew by 52,300 jobs — or 1.6% — over the course of a year. That number outpaces the national employment growth rate.

 

The average salary in Washington D.C. is $75,000 per year — $24,000 more than the national mean wage.

   

8. Oklahoma City, OK

The economy in Oklahoma City is rapidly changing. In the past, industries like mining and manufacturing were the leading employers in the area. Now, transportation, construction, and leisure and hospitality have taken over and dominate the job market.

 

The unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and overall job growth is at 2.5% with 15,900 jobs added.

 

In Oklahoma City, the average salary is $58,000. While that’s lower than the salaries of some cities on this list, Oklahoma City has a much lower cost of living, so your income will go further.

   

7. Milwaukee, WI

Like Oklahoma City, Milwaukee’s economy has seen significant changes in recent years. Industries like mining and manufacturing declined, while leisure and hospitality is a booming field.

 

In the area, job growth increased by 1.6%, and unemployment reached 3.2%, which is slightly below the national average. According to PayScale, the average salary is $63,000. However, Milwaukee has a lower cost of living than other cities, so your income is even more valuable.

   

6. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area has lower-than-average unemployment and is seeing significant growth in a number of industries. The biggest industries include trade, transportation, and utilities, education and health services, and professional and business services.

 

The average salary in Minneapolis is $69,000, far higher than the national mean wage for all occupations.

   

5. Nashville, TN

The city known for its culture and music is also one of the fastest-growing economies in the country. It has more than 1.9 million residents and over 40,000 businesses in it. The biggest job opportunities are for workers in the service industry, including restaurants, hotels, and skilled construction workers.

 

The unemployment rate in the city is just 2.7%, which is far lower than the national average. The biggest employers are the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nissa North America, and HCA Healthcare, Inc. However, Amazon recently announced that it would build a center in Nashville, bringing 5,000 jobs to the area. This development would dramatically change the city’s employment landscape.

 

The average salary in Nashville is $61,000, but the city has a lower-than-average cost of living, making your salary worth even more.

   

4. Birmingham, AL

Birmingham boasts an extremely low unemployment rate at just 2.2%. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of total non-farm jobs grew by 1.9% in 2019.

 

Healthcare and banking are two of the biggest industries in the city, with major employers like the University of Alabama at Birmingham, BellSouth, and the Baptist Health System hiring workers.

 

The average salary for Birmingham workers is $59,000. While that’s relatively low for a city on this list, Birmingham’s cost of living is much lower than other cities, making the salary more valuable.

   

3. Boston, MA

Workers in historic Boston can command high salaries. The average salary for workers is $76,000.

 

The city also has unprecedented job growth. According to a GlassDoor report, Boston’s job listings grew by 8.4%, the highest in the country. The biggest employers are primarily in three industries: health care and social assistance, finance and insurance, and educational services. The largest employers are Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Boston University.

 

Boston also has an extremely low unemployment rate. At just 2.1%, it’s significantly lower than the national average.

   

2. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco is a hotly-desired area for job seekers. With an incredibly low unemployment rate — it’s just 1.8% — and big-name employers calling the area home, it’s easy to see the appeal.

 

The job growth rate is 2.4%, outpacing the national average. The biggest employers in the area are Advent Software, California Pacific Medical Center, and Charles Schwab.

 

The average salary in San Francisco is a whopping $95,000. However, the high income is tempered by the fact that San Francisco has a higher-than-average cost of living, cutting into how far your salary can go.

   

1. San Jose, CA

At $99,000, San Jose has the highest average income of any city on this list. Like San Francisco, its cost of living is higher than normal, but that salary is still impressive.

 

San Jose’s unemployment rate is just 2.2%, and non-farm jobs have grown by 2.9%. The area is home to hundreds of technology and research firms, including big names like Apple, Lockheed Martin, and the Stanford School of Medicine.

 

Maximizing Your Income

Deciding to relocate can have a big impact on your income and, consequently, your student loan repayment. If you do move to another state for a great job and secure a pay increase, you’re a prime candidate for student loan refinancing and you can get a low interest rate on your loan. You can get a no-obligation quote from ELFI without affecting your credit score.*

   
 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

Photo of graduation cap on top of a pile of money
2020-02-10
Financial Aid Options for Middle-Income Families

It’s no secret that college comes with a hefty price tag. Every year, students and their families have to figure out how they’re going to pay thousands of dollars in school bills. While high-income families may have the resources to pay tuition, footing the entire bill just isn’t realistic for some families, especially if they have more than one child attending college. This is why many students rely on financial aid to fund their education.

 

It’s generally known that students from lower-income families can qualify for special scholarships and grants that help fill the gap to fund their education, but for families around the middle-income tier, financial aid options may be harder to come by and make them feel that their options are limited. Rest assured that there are options for middle-class families to receive the financial assistance they need – it just may take a bit more effort.

 

FAFSA

When it comes to looking for financial aid for college, the FAFSA is a great place to start. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid has no income cutoff for eligibility, so your child could still receive some need-based aid from the FAFSA, especially if he or she plans on enrolling at a higher-cost school. The FAFSA opens October 1 every year, and you can apply as early as the year prior to your child’s first day of college. The earlier you apply, the more likely your child is to receive financial aid. 

 

Scholarships

Researching and applying for scholarships has continually proven itself worthy of the effort. Many scholarships are merit-based instead of need-based, so your child may be eligible for many different scholarships depending on the qualifications. Start by looking for local scholarships – many locally-owned businesses and organizations offer scholarships for graduating high school students. If your child visits the school guidance office, they may have some applications on file. You or your spouse could also ask your employer if they offer any type of scholarships or financial aid for employees’ children. After exhausting local options, your child may want to research national opportunities. A quick web search could reveal countless free scholarships – Niche, Fastweb, and eCampusTours are a good place to start. Finally, many colleges offer merit-based scholarships and endowment scholarships. Make sure your child looks for institutional scholarships at the school he or she plans to attend. You may discover that if your child joins a club or raises a standardized test score by a couple of points, he or she could receive thousands more dollars of financial aid.

 

Tuition Discounts

If a family member, such as a parent or grandparent attended the same college or university you're enrolled in, you may receive a tuition discount. There may be additional requirements to qualifying for this discount, such as, your family member being active in the school's alumni association or maintaining a certain GPA.

 

Tax Rewards

Middle-income families are perfectly positioned to receive tax credits for college expenditures. For example, the Lifetime Learning credit has income requirements that exclude those who earn over and under certain amounts. Programs like this, as well as tuition savings plans, offer a few different ways for middle-income families to receive tax benefits.

 

Federal Loans

If you’ve taken advantage of all your financial aid options and find you still have more to pay, it may be time to consider loans. Non-need based federal loans such as the Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan for students and the Federal PLUS Loan for parents can bridge whatever gap you find in your aid and your expenses. Federal education loans generally have low interest rates or may be tax-deductible, so they’re a smart alternative to using a credit card, for example.

 

Private Loans

You may find that you still need financial assistance after exhausting all the options above. If that’s the case, private student loans may be for you. We always recommend you take advantage of grants, scholarships, and federal aid before taking out a private student loan. To learn more about ELFI’s private student loan options,* click here.

 

The cost of college can present a challenge for families at all income levels, but middle-income families often struggle the most to find good financial aid options because their finances fall between affording college and needing assistance. If your family is in this situation, don’t let it get you down. The options in this article are a good place to start searching for financial assistance. Don’t lose sight of the end goal – getting the degree you want and establishing a successful career. If you’re already looking for financial aid options, you’re well on your way.

 
  *Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.  

Note: Links to other websites are provided as a convenience only. A link does not imply SouthEast Bank’s sponsorship or approval of any other site. SouthEast Bank does not control the content of these sites.

2020-01-27
FAFSA Deadlines for 2020

Congratulations! You are graduating high school and taking the next step into college. You may have been accepted into different schools and still deciding where you will attend or you have already been admitted into your dream school and are now wondering how you will pay for it. Whether you’re already committed to a school or still planning your future, it’s important to know what the FAFSA is and the deadlines associated with it when you are figuring out how to pay for college.

 

What is the FAFSA?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You should complete the FAFSA in order to be eligible to receive federal, state financial aid, and aid from your school. The aid can be in the form of grants, scholarships, work study, and federal student loans. The application is easy to complete online or by paper. The application provides the necessary information to calculate your financial need to see what aid you would be eligible for. There are no income limitations so it’s smart to fill out FAFSA regardless of your financial situation. Even if you think you and/or your family may not qualify for financial aid, you will not know for sure until your university’s financial aid office reviews your application.

 

Note: As the name states it is a free application, so be aware of any websites that charge you to fill out the application to avoid any scams!

 

Who Should File the FAFSA?

If you are a senior in high school and will be attending college you should fill out the form. Also, returning college students who previously filled out the FAFSA must fill out the FAFSA every year while in school. The information allows financial aid offices to determine your financial need.
  • Your financial need is determined by taking the Cost of Attendance (COA) and subtracting your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  COA - EFC = Financial Need.
  • The COA is different for each school and includes tuition, books, supplies, transportation, and room and board.
  • Your EFC is calculated by a formula established by law based on the information provided on the FAFSA. The formula takes into account your family’s income, assets, and family size, among other factors for a dependent student.
  • If your EFC is low you may be eligible for more financial aid.
  So how does all this work? Here is an example:
  • You plan to attend a school with a COA of $25,000.
  • Your EFC is $10,000.
  • $25,000 - $10,000 = $15,000 is your financial need. This amount could be awarded to you in grants by the school, state or federal grants or by subsidized federal student loans.
 

Preparing to File the FAFSA

Ready to file? Here is the information you will need to complete the application.
  • If you are a dependent student (receiving financial help from parents) you will need the following for both you and your parents:
    • Social Security Number
    • Tax returns
    • Bank statements
  •  You will also need to apply for a FSA ID. This is a username and password that will allow you to access the Federal Student Aid’s system to complete and sign the FAFSA electronically.
 

Important Dates to Know

The earlier you file the FAFSA, the better because you will be eligible for more aid. It is also important to file before the federal deadline because some states set their own deadlines that may be earlier than the federal deadline. Your state may also require an additional form, so be sure to check the Federal Student Aid website to see what your state requires. In addition, some schools have an earlier deadline then the federal deadline so you should check with your school’s financial aid office to ensure that you don’t miss their deadline.

  The important federal dates to know are:
  • October 1 - the application becomes available
  • June 30 - the deadline to file each year
The application becomes available on October 1, the year before you would start school. While you have until June 30 after the school year to submit the application, it’s advantageous for you to apply as early as possible.   This means for the 2019-2020 school year the application became available on October 1, 2018 and the deadline is June 30, 2020. For the 2020-2021 school year the application became available on October 1, 2019 and must be submitted by June 30, 2021. On October 1, 2020 the application for the 2021-2022 school year will become available.  

Other Options: Private Student Loans and Student Loan Refinancing

Maybe you didn’t know about the financial aid process and the deadline passed or didn’t receive enough aid and are looking to cover the gap in education expenses. Luckily, there are other options to help you pay for school.   Private student loans are a great resource to help you pay for higher education. Private student loans are from a private lending company or bank that you can use to pay for your school expenses included in the cost of attendance. You can apply for private student loans at any time. Just like with the FAFSA, you will need to provide some financial information and documents, such as your most recent W-2 and paystub. If you do not have these items you may need a co-signer, such as a parent, who will have these documents.   There are many private lenders so it’s best to do your research and compare. You want a lender that is reputable and offers a good rate on your loan. It’s also important to compare the terms of any loan offers. For example, you should check if there is a prepayment penalty on the loan or any fees associated with the loan.   A private student loan company should make the process easy. At ELFI there are no fees to apply, no origination fees and no prepayment penalties*. There are also flexible repayment options. The online application is a simple process that allows you to see personal rates within minutes and you receive a dedicated Personal Loan Advisor to help you through the loan process.   Private student loan companies can also help if you have already taken out loans. Through student loan refinancing*, you can reduce the interest you are paying on your student loans and as a result, reduce your monthly payments and the amount you pay over the lifetime of the loan. To see how much you could save by refinancing, check out our student loan refinance calculator.  

Bottom Line

Mark the dates in your calendar and be sure to fill out the FAFSA early. Paying for school can be one less worry if you plan ahead!  
 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.