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Why Should I Have A Side Hustle?

Ah, this is one of the most common questions I encounter and I am an advocate of side hustles and multiple income streams, so I am tackling this question with a lot of passion…hang tight!

You are feeling miserable that your current job is not giving you the financial satisfaction you are looking for. At the same time, you fear of risk, and a side hustle is a “No, No” for you.

You come up with several excuses why you cannot quit your current job–you are right! Quitting your job should not be in your mind if you have not found a better opportunity or a replacement income. But why can’t you have a side hustle? You are better off going for a side-hustle, if you will ask me.

FACT: Your current company is more concerned of the profits it makes and not really how to better your life as an employee. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, having one source of income is just too risky! Actually it is suicidal! Remember the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket?”

A side hustle can be executed during your free time, if you are able to carve out 30 minutes or more on senseless chitchats or mindless browsing on social media that don’t really add much value in your life. Time lost could not be replaced, might as well make the most of it and use it wisely.

Maybe you are not compelled to earn extra. But doesn’t it feel nice to have a few extra coins in the pocket? These extra pennies could mean making a dream into a reality, blessing a family member or relative in need, or serve as an extra cushion for the rainy days. By practical definition, a side hustle is a way to make some extra cash that is not from your mainstream job. It allows you flexibility to pursue what you’re most interested in. This could be referred to as dispensable income or others may use the term “fun money.”

But apart from the extra cash that comes with a side hustle, there are several other reasons why one needs to have a side job. Here are a few that I feel strongly about:

  1. Financial Freedom

We all strive to reach a point in our lives where we do not have to worry about the simplest of things like food, eating out. Right? I know you also want to have enough money, not only for your basic needs, but extra cash that will give you the freedom to go where you want, eat what you want, and start up development projects! A side hustle can provide the financial freedom we all are looking for!

Secondly, when you are side hustling while being employed, your tendency is not to sell your products or offer your services at a “desperation” fee, because you have a job that actually covers your necessary expenses. You are not desperate to earn money from your side hustle to make sure there is food on the table. You can be selective of the type of work and the clients you wish to serve. The beauty of not coming from the mentality of desperation is this, you will discern the client who sees the true value of your product or service and he/she is more than willing to pay for the price that you have established. No haggling, no guilty feeling on your part that you may be overpricing. Set your price to what is fair and what will make you feel happy for your product or work — and do not look back! After all, this is our main objective for entrepreneurship, to be paid for our real value.

  1. It Gives You An Opportunity To Do What You Love

Most of the time, our normal or day job is not entirely what we are passionate about, to some perhaps a fraction. Most often than not, you get duties that are required of you in line with your job description, which may not necessarily something you enjoy doing. But a side hustle, as small business owner, your tasks are your personal choice! You can make it as interesting as you want so long as you are doing it right. You may opt to operate on your zone of genius and hire out the things you are not good at and you have no interest all BUT are necessary to grow your venture.

  1. Exposes You to New Experiences

A formal education can earn you a living but self-education can make you a fortune- Jim Rohn. Having a side hustle does not mean that you have to restrict yourself to the skills you have learned from your current job. It also doesn’t mean that you go for something you absolutely no knowledge about. Focus on your transferable skills, this way you are limiting the learning curve! Your passion may be parallel to the skills and interests you have, sometimes, you may have to take the time and effort to learn additional skills in order to succeed.

Find out what excites you and start developing skills towards that direction. It can help you acquire new skills and genuine experiences easily if you have the interest factor taken care of. With time, you might reach a point where you will be making enough from your side hustle to become your primary source of income.

  1. It’s Your Plan B

Setting aside extra money in your pocket regularly is an insurance policy. Have you ever thought of being fired? Do you have a back up income worth at least eight months of living expenses? Most certainly, just like many Americans, your answer is a NO! Now you realize why a backup income plan is important.

Fully relying on what may seem as a stable job is risky! If you are to be served with the pink slip today, you still have bills to pay, you still need food to eat, and life goes on! Your responsibilities will not go away because your job ended. This is where a side hustle comes to the rescue as your lifeline! What you earn from it may not match your day full time job’s salary, but it will make your situation better! It will help you financially and emotionally as you transition out. It may also give you the opportunity to ponder and make your side hustle into a full time gig.

  1. Ride On Your Employer’s Brand

When you have been hired to work for a name brand, it is easy to push a side hustle through your offerings while leveraging on your employer’s brand. The work you do for your employer creates a significant portfolio for you!

Projects that you do at work could be used as samples of your work for the side hustle, granted of course you are within the ethical and legal boundaries! Side hustlers are usually deemed to be high performers in their regular jobs. WHY? Because they have their stakes high and are focused not to waste time during office hours.

Since you have a job, what you earn from a side hustle can be reinvested back to grow a business in a sutainable manner.

Therefore, don’t fear risk and failure! Side hustle is the best deal when it comes to making that needed extra cash to pursue philanthropy, passion projects or business; ultimately making life more interesting. As women, we are multifaceted, we are stimulated by various things. Our day jobs should not define us, side hustles provide a creative outlet and enables us to contribute our talents and skills for the betterment of others.

 

 

 

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Things To Check Before You Travel For Business

THINGS TO CHECK BEFORE YOU TRAVEL FOR BUSINESS 

There is hardly enough time for a career woman to pack her stuff in the wake of a business trip. Most often than not, we realize at our destination that we have forgotten a lot of important things that should have topped our packing list.

As a career woman, I sometimes forget my laptop charger while on a business trip. I had to buy a new one which is more expensive than the one I would have purchased from my home country.

Leaving out necessary items for the trip  can sometimes  be blamed on our busy schedule of trying to balance between being a successful proffessional, a wife, and, or a mother.

This article is therefore intended to help us, women figure out a checklist as we look foward to having a successful trip. The secret to ensuring stress free travel and not miss out on anything, is early planning.

GENERAL TIPS

Early Preparation

There are trips that we are notified on short notice while others take two weeks, one month, or six months to prepare for.

If you have a higher likelihood of going for short notice trips, depending on the nature of your business/job, then you will have to be very swift. Unfortunately, however no matter how hard we try, we still miss out a few things here and there.

But this can be avoided, more so if you are a regular traveler.There are things like toiletries that you do not have to unpack everytime you come back from a trip. Knowing that a prepared toiletry bag has been packed lessens the thinking what to carry for the next trip.

If anything, we should just check what needs replenishing and make sure we replace these before our next travel date.

 

But those who have adequate time to prepare should have no excuse whatsoever when it comes to early planning.

Early planning is important because it saves you both time and money.

You are wondering how, right? See this. A report from a corporate-travel firm- Carson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) found out that women save their firms approximately $17 a trip, around 2% of the ticket price because they prefer to do their business flights earlier than men.

Planning ahead is key when you want to avoid checking in of bags that come with additional fees and sometimes could be hefty.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

What documents does one needs to check before travelling?

Trave documents comprise several important things that you can not do without in most circumstances, and are very relevant in ensuring a safe, peaceful trip.

These include:

  • Plane, train tickets or passes
  • Passports (with up to date Visa if needed)
  • Up to date health insurance card
  • Extra photos if you have to get visas along the way
  • International vaccination certificates
  • Guide books and relevant maps
  • A list of local contacts in the places travelling to
  • Copies of all important papers

 

Money

Ensure enough cash is handy to avoid being stuck. If travelling overseas, know the local currency’s exchange rate. The money we usually carry will help us in sorting out taxi bills and for any other relevant transactions.

We can also play safe by carrying your credit cards and ATM cards. But be proactive, check for bank charges when used overseas and notify your bank in advance regarding your travel time and destinations.

 

 

Clothes

I usually carry clothing items with basic colors like black, blue or brown for skirts and pants to reduce the weight that I will need to carry. The dark colors come in handy since they do not easily show dirt or inner wears. It doesn’t harm to put it on one more time if we run out of clean clothes. Tops should be able to match the selected bottoms. Always pick out materials that are light and do not take up a lot of space.

Don’t forget to add a jacket or blazer that has a solid color scheme and matches the selected bottoms. Do not forget to pack a pajama suit if you know you cannot sleep without one.

All work and no play is no fun, pack workout clothes that are not heavy but can dry quickly since you may be forced to wash on the sink and dry them through hanging after exercising.

Throw in one or two evening dresses depending on the time table. Don’t over pack shoes. One or two pairs are just enough, so long as they match with the outfits that have been preselected.

Stationeries

Having a pencil pouch where you can stack in pens, small notebook, glue sticks, diary, Business cards, personal address book, maps, guidebooks, phrase books, and telephone access numbers among other items is always handy. I lived in Japan twice and this is something I learned there.

You are wondering if a pencil pouch/case can be used by a business woman?  Of course yes. The pencil case is very versatile and functional. Most importantly, it brings order to your collection of writing instruments and other knick knacks.

 

 

 

 

Personal items

Don’t forget to pack personal items like toilet paper, anti-bacterial wipes, nail cutters, a small tube of moisturizing cream or lotion, small bottle of anti-bacterial soap or hand sanitizer, Cotton ear bud, toothbrush and paste, shampoo, deodorant, a small unbreakable mirror, sewing kit, safety pins, wash cloth and menstrual pads or tampons. Yep, these things we could NOT live without.

Electronics

Carry chargers for all electronics. Be it for cameras, phones,or lap tops. It does not matter whether you will travel away for a few hours or couple of days.

If you will be using a camera, remember to carry lenses, batteries, extrtra memory cards, and flash as needed.

For the lap tops, remember to pack a flash disk, hard drive, power cord and network cable.

Medication

If you are the type that gets affected by environmental change or jet lag when you travel, remember to carry a few painkillers of your choice, infection treatment, antihistamine incase you suffer from allergies, malaria tablets, mosquito net or insect repellent, a sun screen, lip balm,   contraceptives and any necessary medication (with prescription if required to have one).

Lastly, a tip I learned from a close friend who is a frequent traveller, make it a habit to have different suit cases for different travel trips. For short trips that take a few days, a small bag or an overnight bag is usually enough. But in case you are travelling abroad and intend to stay for long, say more than two weeks , get a spacious suit case or luggage. I prefer the box type luggages that are not heavy but are sturdy.

With all the above suggestions based from my experiences, you are set for your journey and assured of comfort that will make you feel at ease while travelling and relaxed as you embark on your business trip. Bon voyage!

 

 

 

 

Leveraging Overseas Experience

Third Culture Kids or better known as TCKs brave growing up in different countries and they do experience cultural identity crisis. Well, the other side of that story or perhaps the result of the experience is a priceless gift they appreciate, the strong spirit to rise above all odds and think independently.

What happens usually is that when one is raised in countries other than his/her birth place, she/he is set to come across different sets of cultural norms, value systems, and behavioral personas that all together makes him/her adaptable to different cultures and more flexible to changes that come

Over the years, research has revealed more distinctive traits of TCKs. These includes: Emotional stability, better understanding of the environment, cultural sensitivity, resilience, communication and personal skills. We would agree that these traits make the exceptional student and or employee

Again, more study results indicate TCKs are well-read, well-travelled, and have the professional skills needed in most work places; that close to 80 percent of TCKs are professionals, executives or managers and that their career choices often reflect the need for advance education, creativity, insatiable desire for autonomy, flexibility, voluntary work and great interest working with others.

Bethany Clarke, an expat who manages an international film program in LA expected to impress the panel with her 3.9 GPA in Arts Education, Honors Society membership, multiple internships with reputable organizations and four year work experience in college but no, these never caught their attention. Instead they scanned through her resume and focused on her experience overseas.

“Wow, you happen to have lived in so many countries. What does this background make you?” she was asked. As you’d expect she prepared for the interview. However, she never anticipated this line of questioning. She succeeded of course but all through the interview she felt the panel was more interested in her expat life, the effects of it on her, and the languages she had learned.

In her article advising TCKs to leverage on their overseas experience, she emphasizes the need to include and highlight the following key aspects of expats life and character traits in their resume.

Cross-Cultural Background

A unique background always attracts attention she says: “It makes you stand out among others.” To leverage on your multi-cultural upbringing, highlight it on your resume then be prepared to explain how the different cultures have influenced your behavior and attitude towards both work and people, why it matters to the organization, and how it is likely to help achieve their set goals.

Values and Social Orientation

TCKs have experienced a rare gift, the world. Due to their interaction with different cultures and people, they have a broader worldview compared to their mono-cultural colleagues and are more comfortable engaging with diverse groups of people. To leverage on this, Clarke notes you could underscore the ease the many breakups you have had have helped you connect with other people.

Multilingual Ability and Skills

Other than the ability to speak more than one language which makes it easier to satisfy a larger client base, multilingual skills also makes it easier to understand certain aspects of one’s culture, which are best understood in native language. To make the most out of your ability to deliver on this aspect, again Clarke advices that you appeal to the organization’s international status or goal.

Adaptability and Flexibility

The ability and willingness to adapt to changes and new environments is a great attribute in any organization. As a TCK, the likelihood that you have at one point in your development been in a new, sometimes hostile environment and situations where you had to quickly adjust to the system including a different set of ideas and certain elements of tradition as well as learn a new language and translate the same either to work or in college is a skill that should not miss in your resume.

Finally, in a world where technology is rapidly blurring the boundaries, studies and careers even more becoming global, opportunities are increasingly becoming available and all you need is the right knowledge and skills to match the expectations. If you find yourself slightly ill-equipped to benefit in the new revolution, all you need is at least 40 minutes of your time on call with me.

Also, if you’re an expat or an expert with significant knowledge and you don’t mind sharing the same, perhaps you could partner with me in my laser -focused VIP Coaching session (2 hours) or you can apply to be included in my 90-day Mentorship Program, which starts soon, every 1st of each month and only three spots are available
each term.

 

Bazaar Planning 101

Shopping or surfing, buying or selling, checking out prices or not, bazaars are fun to attend and a great way to shop, network, and share ideas. With everything going on now in the months leading up to holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Spring,etc the bar is set high and it is a puzzle to make your own both distinct and uber exciting.

Before we get to plan a fruitful bazaar, let’s first understand what this is. A common definition of the word, “bazaar” is that it’s a central & open market with a large number of various goods and services often displayed for sale. In the West bazaars are often intended to raise funds for charity.

In the Middle East where the idea originated from, bazaars are often located on the street or a place partially covered and set aside, where both profit or non profit organizations or even small businesses have kiosks with rear ends that can be secured. However, we are also familiar with schools and churches having used this format as a fundraising event.

Briefly note the following about bazaars;

  1. Generally the holidays are a good time to hold them,
  2. Off-season or not, it’s important to develop adverts,
  3. Best when not competing other functions in the area,
  4. People like to support causes, let your reason be known,
  5. Some causes require authority approvals so get them.

About planning a successful bazaar, it’s important to have in mind that memorable events do not just happen overnight. It takes design and the following are expert planning tips to include in your checklist.

First Things First

Decide who will attend and plan everything else; format, content, and ticket price as well as location among others; from there make a list of the minute details. This process of listing down everything helps you stay focused on achieving specific goals. Develop a clear cause for the event, set the goals, and understand your limitations.

Funds for the Event

Decide how much you’ll want to charge the vendors, you could charge them up front, for tables for instance or take a percentage of their sales after the event. Also, you could charge the clients.  If they can bring in two canned goods, for example, you could let them in free. Make something along these lines to create a buzz.

 

How to get Numbers

The most important aspect of planning a successful bazaar or any event for that matter is getting the numbers to attend. And for this you need a good marketing plan. The more organized you’re, the more successful it will be. Create adverts, take advantage of social media, use incentives and again, make your cause known and deliver –which should be the motivation for vendors and clients to attend.

 

How to Go About It

No matter the size of your event, you should be able to delegate responsibilities. Let other people take lead in areas of their interests. The other bit is to follow up; do not micromanage, just ensure everything is okay. If you have sponsors, treat them well. Lastly, ask for feedback and act on them.

 

Final Plans: D-Day

On the D-Day ensure all your attendees have a good time by fulfilling their expectations. Do not forget to lead by example. Remember that your attitude during and after the bazaar matters a lot.  Also, carefully analyze the mood of customers in other stalls. Ensure they understand your cause.

 

Contingency Plans

It’s good to think positive but you must have a back-up plan – to take care of emergencies, could be bad weather, power outage, and surprise calls or over attendance. According to small business trends, there’s one way around this. Imagine the event, step by step and make a 2 – Column List: in which you should write what you think could go wrong in one and contingencies on the other.

 

Creative geniuses Philip Macgregor and Ron Wendt who’re the brains behind some of most high end brands in the country says there’s a directive in every successful event. There’s a look, there is a story, theme or something particular about every event that makes them distinct and exciting.

 

These two are very sensitive about detail; photos, flowers, lighting, table clothes and floor plans among others. The difference between them and their competitors they say is a high success rate in designing every event based on the client’s story and playing with flowers, colors, and texture.

 

Now, if you want to know more about bazaars and how to plan a successful one, event planning and management in general, how to start and build a successful event and management company like Phillip and Ron or you want relevant contacts to help you start up, experience from current events in the industry or even tips on appropriate locations for your event then 40 minutes is all you need. Fill out the contact form today and let’s get you sorted. Or we could partner on my VIP coaching session.    

 

 

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How You Can Build A Successful Event Management Empire

Build A Successful Event Management Empire

Do you have great communication skills? How about organizational skills? Seemingly you can do well in the events management field. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry and yet still growing. Event Management skills are even more in demand now given the countless events; Conferences, meetings, trade shows, social events, and weddings among others. Just what does it take?

Events Management – Educational Requirements

First things first, let’s start with educational requirements. While it is possible to become a good planner without proper formal education, it’s becoming desirable to take a certificate, diploma or degree course in the same. Given the current rapid growth of the industry as well as the dearth of quality educational programs in it, career opportunities are abundant and salaries more appealing.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers prefer to recruit individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant communications-oriented or management discipline.

There are several Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in hospitality management including courses like food & nutrition, food production, hospitality marketing, and facilities management for beginners. Colleges also offer certificate programs in event planning designed for established professionals in the industry. The curricula include; budgeting, risk control and negotiation skills

Events Management – Alternative Skills Acquisition

Most event planners learn the skills they need on the job. However, prospective event planners can prepare for their future careers by gaining work experience through volunteering; for their company, school, church, and or clubs. Some candidates have also gained planning experience while working in other fields such as administrative assisting, catering or marketing and more.

To succeed in the events management industry, you need exceptional skills in oral and written communication, creating and maintaining good working relationships. Once your experience is established, you are in a position to either work as a consultant or to open your own company.

Events Management – Professional Organizations

Professional organizations like Stratford, Penn Foster, Full Sail and International Special Events Society (ISES) among others offer certificates to professional event planners with at least three years of experience in the industry after passing a written exam. The Certifications may also prove beneficial for the budding planners when used as marketing tools with potential clients.

Events Management – Job Outlook and Salary Info

Also according to the BLS, event, meeting and convention planners can expect significant career growth of about 33% running now till the year 2022. The median yearly salary of most planners is $46,260.  Top ten percent of workers in the industry however earn $79,550 or more per annum while the bottom ten percent often makes $26,480 or less yearly. The rest depends on hard work.

Inspirational $30M Events Management Company 

Talking about which, Jennifer Gilbert is a real example. She began her $30m events management firm, Save The Date in 1993. At the age of 29 she was named Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year. Jennifer started her company apparently to help people celebrate and enjoy life’s littlest and greatest moments. This is after recovering from a brutal ordeal where she was stabbed at age 22.

It’s interesting; according to empower.com, Jennifer started Save The Date as a One-Woman operation with nothing other than a chair and telephone. For five years, she took no paycheck, only enough to live on. Her referral or matchmaking invention continues to earn her company millions in revenue. To minimize on operational costs, Jennifer never advertises nor does she deal with PR firms. To reach out to many, she relies majorly on the traditional word of mouth.

Jennifer says BizBash is a must attend if you want to meet top vendors and to incorporate new ideas into your events management business. Jennifer’s secret weapon however is to outsource everything she’s not good at and to focus on her passion. She says, “Outsource everything but your soul,” adding that what separates Save The Date from its competitors is their proprietary client management platform that details all events down to the likes and distaste of the CEO.

Event Management – Program for You This Month   

Having already learned a bit of what you need to become a recognized planner and building a succesful empire, you must be interested in learning the specifics how to find new clients, manage successfully events, negotiate deals, create effective budgets, deal with difficult vendors and clients and like Jennifer, make the clients not only satisfied and happy but always on call for your services –then stay on for more articles coming your way specifically on this topic of “Event Management”. Also, for this and more, spend at least 40 minutes of your time on call with me today and let us find out if we could partner on my VIP coaching session or perhaps if we could figure out any events for you to start this month. Looking forward to you call, catch up then!

7 Strategies To Pay For College

PAY FOR COLLEGE

A recent study suggested that college graduates expect to earn an average of 65% more over a 40-year career than if they stopped after high school. This means going to college is now regarded as a middle income birthright as opposed to the elites’ privilege. Education is power and there are several options available for you to cut down the cost of college education. Whether you are joining college as a mature entry or are a parent to a child joining college, paying fees can prove to be a daunting task. College education improves an individual’s quality of life; this is according to the National Centre for Public Policy and Higher Education. Therefore, I have put together some of the best strategies to pay for college.

529 Savings Plan

This plan is easily accessible and lets your savings grow tax free only if used for college expenses. It is sponsored by 50 states and the District of Columbia and you are allowed to invest in other states’ 529 plans. Its earnings are completely tax free if withdrawals are used for college expenditure i.e. tuition fees, boarding fees as well as room.

Two –thirds of the sponsoring states give residents a tax deduction or tax break for these contributions. The advantage of this plan is that its sets no income limit and has a high limit on contribution. In addition, in case your child skips college you can change the designation to a sibling without losing the tax break.

Federal Grants

If you have not saved enough for a college education you can apply for a federal grant. Unlike loans, grants don’t have to be repaid. They are provided by the federal government to college going students and universities. It is imperative to consult before applying for any of the grant programs to make an informed decision. To obtain a federal grant you need to fill out the FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

There are different grant programs including the Federal Pell Grant given to students with no university degree as well as those with inimitable monetary need, Higher Education Teach Grant, Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Iraq, Afghanistan Grants awarded to students whose parents passed away while in missions as US military soldiers.

Pre-paid Tuition Plans

If you are planning to send your child or go to school in-state then you should sign up for this plan which is only available to state residents. It is currently offered by 20 states which use different strategies to pare tuition and fees into sellable packages. Pre-paid tuition plans help you lock in tuition at community colleges years in advance. Similar to the 529 savings plan, they offer tax benefits if used only for college expenses. However, if used for unqualified expenses they attract taxes and a penalty. If your kid goes to a private or out of state school, you can get a refund or transfer the value of your account.

Roth IRAs

If you start your savings plan early enough, a Roth IRA can help fund both your retirement as well as your child’s college education. The good thing about money saved in a Roth is that it grows tax-free with earnings of up to 8% a year. In addition if you withdraw money that does not exceed your contribution you also avoid tax. Moreover, if the money is used for educational expenses, you evade a 10% early withdrawal fine.

Private Scholarships

Normal scholarships are particularly competitive and difficult to come by and they are only available to students with outstanding performance in sports and academics. Unlike these, private scholarships don’t need you to be an all-star athlete or an A student to be awarded. They are mostly given to students based on need or special interests. If interested in these scholarships the perfect places to visit is your high school guidance office or see a financial aid officer at the college you are applying for to ask for help.

There are also countless websites which give information on such scholarships and you only have to register for free and have them match your profile with scholarships available. One such website is FastWeb.com claiming to list scholarships which are worth more than $3.4 billion. The other site to visit is CollegeAnswer.com which is run by Salle Mae, a student lender. Most people tend to look for national scholarships forgetting to look closer home. Remember many local organizations also offer these scholarships and the good news is that the competition is minimal.

Custodial Accounts

Known as the Uniform Gifts to Minor Act (UGMAs) and Uniform Transfers to Minor Act (UTMAs), they allow parents to manage accounts which have money and other assets put aside for their children until they attain 18 or 21 years of age depending on the state they live in.

These accounts have no limit on how much a parent can put in them and doesn’t limit the investment choices because they are with 529 plans. It is however important to limit individual annual contributions to $13,000 so as to avoid the gift tax. With this account, students under 24 years don’t pay taxes on the first $950 of unearned income.

Local funding

Groups such as American Legion, Rotary Clubs, and Booster Chapters exist solely to help the community and for such purposes. I mean your college education may as well get funding from your own community members right? Community colleges have recently started giving scholarships to students through four-year colleges. What’s more, transferring credits from community colleges to four-year institutions is getting easier.

Other than the strategies listed above you can go for the student loan otherwise referred to as Federal Direct. The most important this is to be fully informed on all the pros and cons of these strategies so that you can go with the one that best works for you.

Finally, if you need more information on this or just want to be better informed, sign up for my VIP coaching session or apply for my intensive 90-day mentorship program and see your life change.

Good luck!

 

 

Top 10 College Majors You Need To Know

College Majors You Need To Know

According to recent research studies, the main goal of most undergraduates is to be financially stable in life. For many, this is far more important than raising a family or professional development. The conservatives always question how it’s possible to achieve this goal without the latter but the undergraduates always have a way out, and the decision starts back in college.

For this crop of students, the choice of a college major goes long beyond finding a meaningful philosophy in life like it was back in the 1970s – but more of employability, potential earnings, relevance, and diversity. Again, there’re lots of hearsays about these and the students are often warned against picking their majors based on family legacies, peer pressures and projected income.

Certainly there’s a concern about the selection of college majors and the transition from class to careers, but just before you pick sides, if you’re just getting into college, here are the top 10 majors in most recent years:

Major#1 Computer Science

Hardly anything gets done these days without the essence of a computer somewhere along the chain of production. It’s for these reason universities and colleges not only teach about parts of a computer and how to use them but the general essence of technology in production, business, government and other related areas.  The discipline has expanded to current interests such as software, game and web development, 3-D technology, robotics, programming and artificial intelligence.

Major #2 Communications      

You’ve heard what they say about information right? Same thing is said about communication—the influence factor, clout, and the magnitude of almost everything you want to happen. A communications major will not only improve your personality, the specific skills you’ll learn by persistent analysis of information collection, packaging and delivery; it will also make you relevant for diverse career possibilities including; business, human resource, journalism, and customer care to identify a few.

Major #3 Business

Business is perhaps the most popular college major for both male and female students in this century. More than 2 million students graduate with business majors every year according to the U.S. Department of Education. With knowledge, skills and career possibilities in sales, marketing, finance, banking, communications, accountancy and consultancy, business is certainly lucrative. A business major will also keep you up-to-date with other concerns: policies, ethics, and politics.

Major #4 Economics

Economics is literally the study of choices –for individuals, businesses, governments, and societies and how they choose to spend their time, money, and allocate valuable resources. And you can guess…economics also involves a great deal of math! Production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services are such indispensable tools for making sense of the intricacies of the modern world which makes economics such an exceptional major for a future in business and graduate studies.

Major #5 Statistics

Talking about choices, decisions have to be backed up by proper data analysis, the exact reason there is a good demand for data analytics than are actual job opportunities in the market at the moment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be about 20 percent more jobs in the analytics industry projected in this decade, which are about 24,000 more jobs. It is expected that more people are required to handle statistical information.

Major #6 Political Science

Because it often deals with current events and sophisticated statistical analysis, political science is timely, fascinating, and perpetually changing. In a nutshell, it’s the study of politics and government with the common concentrations areas are American government, public policy, foreign affairs, political philosophy, and comparative government. Taking a political science major does not only help one gain a better understanding of government policies but also history, culture,  as well as critical thinking.

Major #7 Psychology

If you find yourself wondering why certain people react (or behave the way they do) to certain aspects of their environment, then a major in psychology may be a good choice. This area focuses on  features of the human mind such as motivation, learning, perception cognition, emotions, intelligence, personality differences, mental disorders, and parental and environmental influences on personal preferences. In the society, psychologists could work as therapists, consultants, and even teachers.

Major #8 Nursing

Interestingly, the appeal of studying education seems to be slipping. And it’s being replaced by the various careers in the health sciences. Nursing requires compassionate individuals with great interest for the intricate and sometimes heartbreaking treatment procedures in the world of medicine.  And for those who like to spend some time with computers, the good news is that in the course of evaluating, diagnosing, and treating health problems there is also the chance to work with ever evolving and ultra-sophisticated technology. The job prospects for nurses are very diverse: geriatrics, neurology, oncology, and pediatrics.

Major #9 Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers harness chemical reactions to produce things people need. It’s a very broad field that overlaps substantially with other branches of science majors such as engineering, chemistry and biochemistry. With a major in chemical engineering, you’ll learn how to build and operate industrial plants where raw materials are chemically altered. You’ll also learn how to keep the environment safe from potential pollution and in the end several companies will be willing to hire you for your expertise.

Major #10 Biology

From microscopic organisms to cloning procedures, biology encompasses a whole lot of focus areas. It involves the study of humans, plants, animals, and the environments they live in. If you find yourself looking to uncover secrets and ways to solve problems such as finding a cure for diseases, then you’re likely headed for med school or in one of the many growing branches: genetics, biotechnology, veterinary, or ecology.

Finally, as a word of caution, the majors listed above may not be the ones with the highest annual salaries when out in the job market. However, according to several studies, Computer Science, Communications, Business, Economics, Statistics, Political Science, Psychology, Nursing, Chemical Engineering, and Biology are rated as the TOP 10 majors to aim for the current century.

For more information on college majors or other majors you may be interested in and how much it costs to graduate with any of these from local or online universities, then it’s simple, let me assist you with that.  Let’s hop on a 40-minute complimentary call and we’ll see if you and I can partner on an intensive VIP coaching session or a 90-day Mentorship Program.

I initially intended to become a Psychiatrist but the Universe has something else for me! Today, I am an entrepreneur while nurturing an educational administration civil service career.  Regrets? Absolutely NOT! I am able to consolidate my academic background and become more versatile in creating jobs that highlight my interests and strengths.

PS: Can you spot ME? Yep, I bleed Saluki Maroon!

 

 

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Best Practices in Hiring a College or Career Coach

Career Coach

It’s no secret that it’s still a pretty tough job out there to get a good college despite good grades. But even if you successfully shop around and find one, it’s not an easy task either to get your dream job or is it? Fortunately, there is a growing number of college and career coaches to help.

About College and Career Coaching

But just what does it entail and why is it even important? Well, College and Career coaching are rather two distinct career paths each with two main roles: coaching and counseling, and a similar objective; to help high school graduates make better college choices and for professionals to have informed career decisions. More importantly, to support both populations in using various tools they may need – resume and cover letter writing, interviewing skills, salary negotiations,, brag sheet, standardized testing preparations, admission essay writing, etc at a more one-on-one level.

Now, although NOT all college and career coaches have the formal professional training required for this kind of work, somehow they all tend to take a solutions-oriented approach in helping their clients achieve specific objectives. It is for this very reason that most people tend to think that all that is needed is a good resume to get a good job OR tend to measure the success of career coaching with landing a job when guidance, support, inspiration, hope and attitude change are part and parcel of the relationship. Some college admission coaches were parents of college-bound kids while other career coaches were prior college admission professionals and even educators themselves!

My point is – while there are available school counselors to assist high school students to plan for college, the truth is, there are way “too many students to a counselor” ratio.  There is NO way a counselor could actually provide a personalized attention to each graduating high school student.  Then there is the issue of –the parents themselves have NOT gone to college or both parents are professionals and got very limited time to devote in researching and assisting their child prepare for college admissions. Which by the way is crucial as college education is an investment of time, effort and money.

Same is true for professionals at various levels (entry, middle, or executive), there may be career professionals at their disposal.  For example for the U.S. Navy, the Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSC) at every naval installation, they have employment specialists assisting spouses find a job, write resumes and gain interviewing skills.  This is perfect! BUT just like we all know –sometimes we feel that we need something more for our needs. Just like that free cooking class available but the schedule does not fit with our work schedule OR you may want that one-on-one attention from that mentor you can directly relate to.

Pros of College and Career Coaching 

Perhaps the general merits of college and career counseling can be cut out from the specific roles the professionals play. According to Richard Knowdell, one of the forefathers of corporate career development, other than to change his/her approach to the precise needs of his/her client, there are five roles of a good coach that includes: assessing, information provision, referral, and tutorship.[1]

College and Career Coaches as Assessors

After listening to your explanation and needs, a good college and career coach will use various instruments – biography or IQ tests to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. That way, he/she is able to better recommend a college that will help you build on the same or a line of career (major) or even a job that will allow you to grow and present you the right challenges.

College and Career Coaches as Informants

A good college and career coach is often aware of and able to advice on several possible options so if you’re not certain about which college to choose, you can expect to be guided onto the best.

Professional Coaches as Referral Agents

Isn’t a good coach all-knowing? Can’t he/she just help me resolve any kind of problem I’ve got? Well, some people believe this, when in truth, college and career coaches don’t have the answer or knowledge about everything. What they do instead is refer you to the experts from their network who would provide additional assistance need be. Or they will find the right solutions for you through in-depth research.

College and Career Coaches as Guides

One of the most important roles of a good college and career coach is that of a guide. As a guide, the coach’s job is to facilitate your decision making process without unnecessarily dictating what your ultimate decision should be. One of the ways the coach is likely to use includes questioning. They will pose questions that will trigger thoughts that you may not be consciously thinking o.  This methodology also provides another dimension to your decision-making process.

 College and Career Coaches as Tutors

According to Richard Knowdell, this duty is particularly important when you already have made a decision on the college, major, or line of career that you intend to pursue after college. The role of a college and career coach thus is to help you make a realistic plan to attain the specific goals.[2]

But that aside, before hiring a college and or career coach, here are a few considerations to make:

TIP#1 The Specific Needs of Your Child

Before hiring a college and career coach, it’s important to know your child’s needs strengths and aspirations. Ask them what they want in life, which college they would like to join, if they know what it would take them to qualify and what they’re doing about it and what they’d like to major on as well as the learning environment they’d be comfortable. Then you’ll know if they need guidance.

TIP #2 Who is Best Suited to Help Him/Her?

Your next concern after knowing your child needs professional guidance is getting the best coach that can help. You may also want to get recommendation from professional organizations such as the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC). Better yet, check also for the credentials of the college coach!  Do they possess graduate degrees from reputable universities is a valuable factor to consider.

TIP #3 The Kind of Help You Need for Them

Good college and career coaches hardly claim to possess any influence on college admissions or that they can pull some strings to help you get into a specific university or a particular job beyond helping with the necessary decision making and or technical application procedures and formats. For them, the child should write the application letter in his or her own voice. In terms of resume writing, helping the professional effectively write their experiences without embellishments is a true mark of a career coach. Thus, it’s important to be wary of such frivolous claims!  As the old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

TIP#4 Find Alternative Help for your Child

Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed by the process; your child may not feel comfortable with a particular coach; it could be that your child has special concerns; or that for one or two reasons you don’t believe in the coach recommended for you. Then, it may be of help to find alternative options for your child and that includes seeking the help of family members, relatives, or private consultants.

Having explained the roles, benefits and cautions of college and career coaching, perhaps you would want to plan in great detail the task on hand.  If we are talking about college planning, you want to know the timeline for admissions, the required tests, direct guidance in writing the essay, the right major for your child, the “perfect fit” school for your child taking in consideration your military educational benefits, home state, relatives in the vicinity of the college or university, overall cost, scholarships available, etc.

On the other hand, if you are planning a career switch or embarking on a new career—your priority list include -to find a career where you knowledge, skills and abilities will be best utilized, the compensation package you will be happy with, the work environment that you desire, and most of all, the job that will give you the most satisfaction.

If one of those two areas is your goal in tackling, I invite you to spend 40 minutes on call with me at ZERO cost to you and let’s explore if you and I could partner up on an intensive VIP Coaching Session or a 90-Day Mentorship Program.  The choice is yours today!

 

PS: Pictures above are from my time serving as an Education and Career Counselor for the Department of the Navy.  It warms my heart to see my humble beginnings and serving our sailors and their families achieve their academic and career goals. Go, Navy!

 

References:

[1] http://www.notjustapaycheck.com/articles/fiverolesofcoach.html

 

[2] http://www.notjustapaycheck.com/articles/fiverolesofcoach.html

 

 

My Job Is Slowly Crushing My Soul

job problem

Today was… well, another difficult one. So you’re back in the house, in a foul mood. After a glass of water (perhaps wine too) and a long pause, you remember the question you were asked a couple of minutes ago. “Hey, how was work today?” “Terrible my dear,” you say. But it has been like this every other day. In your head, you’re planning on enrolling for a degree or a certificate program at the local college so you can bargain for a better salary, negotiate a promotion, or simply get another job because you are “done” –so done with your current job.  Be careful this time. Listen…

Most of us, are in a rush to get work after college, any job, especially those ones with fancy titles. We hardly give it a thought “what it is”, “what it is that we actually want”, “what is good for us”, “the value we’ll get from it in the long run”, and whether we’re not only interested but also able to perform the required tasks with high efficiency.

Drawbacks of Falling Into the Wrong Career

First fault! Think of it like this. It sounds great to have a job, particularly for us women who are “trailing spouses”- we follow our spouse’s careers and our lifestyle is highly mobile. Most of the time, we search for job openings for various reasons: a) to get out of the house each morning, b) to contribute to the family income, c) to earn extra income for family vacations and travel or even fund higher education for the children (or yourself),  and d) to socialize and become part of something bigger than ourselves. Then we commit to the offer that first come along …out of fear of not having a job and the burden to keep on scouring for position announcements. Oh and don’t forget the ego deflating experience of not getting selected after several interviews.

But the truth is, having the wrong job or being in the wrong career is like a poison slowly crushing your soul. Having the wrong job affects not only one’s professional life but also his/her personal life, worse including the people closest to you. When choosing the right career path, you have to be smart and discerning. You’ll have to look into the different aspects of the job (including the compensation package) and then decide whether it is suitable for you later on. The process of reflecting over the right career field and job title could be tedious. However, it will save you heartaches, frustrations and unhappiness.

Importance of Choosing the Right Career Path  

Choosing the right career path has its share of benefits. Job satisfaction and career fulfillment are the surest ways to happiness and success. When the organization you are working for allows you the time and space to enjoy your personal interests while contributing to the goals of the company, then you’ll more likely to stay. If your work presents to you the kind of challenges that enhance your skills and make you feel important, then, regardless of the pay, you will be happier to be a team member.  When the organizational culture is uplifting and promotes the perfect blend of work/life balance — I am pretty sure you are vested for this company because I would be too!

According to some of the most recent studies on career planning, choosing the right career path boils down to the following key concerns —personal interests and ambitions. Here are a few other factors to consider:

Personal Interests

To begin with, answering these questions is your starting point: “What’s in the big picture?”, “Who are you?”, ” What do you want in life?”, “How is college or professional development classes going to help you become that person you want to be?”

It’s unfortunate not to be aware of your interests because then you are more vulnerable to hearsay and be easily  influenced by others; when YOU should be guided by the truth about yourself, the job realities and your innate talents as a person. Picture this scenario– computer programming is a good career but why would you major in it if the thought of sitting in front of a computer is NOT your ideal work situation? Another one, why would you be in a customer service-oriented career when you don’t prefer talking to people each day? See, this is why you must sit down with an expert or a professional who will assist you in sorting things out, a lifestyle strategist or a professional education and career counselor is your best bet!

Passion

Closely linked to your interests is your passion. It’s essential to know what excites and energizes you. However, it’s possible that you don’t feel as passionate about a specific career–you just know that this is where you will earn the money.  You doubt yourself for making that choice. If that’s the case, you’ll need to know your personality, reflect on your skills, strengths, and choose a career that you can do with ease. Something that feels “natural” to you, passion will arise before you know it.

Even if you don’t enjoy your present career 100% at first, you would not have difficulties accomplishing your assignments IF you have the right skills set in place. Sometimes being in a new career field or position has a learning curve.  Consider the question, “What makes your heart sing?”. The answer will direct you to the things that you love doing and the work involve may not feel work after all at the end of the day.

Training

Once you’ve identified a suitable career path to belong to, based on your personal interest inventory and realities in the job market; the next step is to  look for a course or program that will help you gain the right knowledge and skills that will point towards that direction. General studies is often great for undergraduates, but it may be too broad and you will have difficulty creating a niche or specialization. A specialty course (especially if you have done well with your personal reflection, research and consultations about your interests) may prove to be your clear path towards professional and personal success.

After determining the certificate or degree program you plan to aim for, there are four things you would want from a good college or university: 1)  does the college have the right tools for your training (skills enhancement and theoretical knowledge), 2) how about the fees; is it affordable and 3), of course you also need to know how the courses are taught–online, seated classes or combination of both, and 4)  if credits are awarded and if the grades are transferable.

One last note, before joining a college or university, find out if it requires a standardized test score such as the SAT or ACT prior to applying.

Corporate Training

Now that we’re talking about training, can corporate training boost an organization’s bottom line? Well, it’s not easy to tell, besides, other than the big names like Starbucks, Jet Blue and Chrysler, not many companies evaluate returns made by their employees attending higher education. But according to a new study, companies have a lot to gain by supporting their employees’ postsecondary education. Hint..hint…these companies are investing in their people –a good sign! It will be a good interview question to know if there are professional development or tuition benefit opportunities within than company.

A good example is Cigna, the health-care giant, which posted $38 billion in revenues in 2015 as return of investment (ROI) on the education of its more than 2,200 employees who took part in their education-reimbursement program for 2012-2014. The workers also benefited during and after the program by getting promotions and wage increments. The wages of participating entry level workers for instance grew by 57% for the three years compared to those who did not participate in the education-reimbursement program.

Career Plan

As with most things in life, choosing the right career path can never be easy if you do not have proper goals and plans for it. A good career plan must be in line with your ambitions and growth (both personal and professional). For instance, if you want to be a writer, perhaps the next step would be an editor. So the question would be, “How do you intend to achieve that?” Logically, next step you’d want to teach and mentor young and upcoming writers because that will give you the leadership and mentoring skills.

As I always say, “be specific”, does your plan have the details alongside your ambitions? Here is the secret, if you’re going back to college or planning to take on a professional development program, you must have a reason for doing that, reflect on your interests, and make a good plan that maps out exactly where you want to go.  Same is true in scaling a business –day one will be a lemonade stand and somewhere down the line, the same business is the one supplying various kinds of beverages for restaurants, amusement parks, theaters, etc. Always plan for the future in great detail, carve out time in making it happen, because before you know it, you have outgrown your current position, and you are ready to expand and move forward to a new adventure!

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Choosing a career because of your parents,
  • Choosing the first job that comes your way,
  • Choosing a career because of its fancy title,
  • Choosing a job solely based on the salary and benefits package,

 

Finally, as a word of caution, there are no shortcuts to success. You have to work for it…HARD and you have to be willing to invest in yourself.

For more personal insights, spend at least 40 minutes with me today and let’s find out if we could partner in my intensive VIP coaching session. Alternatively, you can apply for my 90-day mentorship program and you will never regret. Let’s chat!   

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of College & Top Tips to Obtain Funding

Cost of College & Top Tips to Obtain Funding

From low-end income families to middle income homes, the cost of college education has never really fallen within the list of affordable expenses and so the debate as to returns made from such an investment has swiftly moved from a bedroom whisper to a living room issue with not just the parents disturbed but one that has also got the kids challenging its worth. So what’s the real cost?

Cost of College Education
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the cost of college education varies from one institution to the other depending on the student’s status and the type of college.
However, according to the NCES, in most colleges, the average total cost of college education for full time students is as follows: $15,000 for two-year institutions and $23,000 for four-year institutions, and also $29,300 for 4-year non-profit institutions and $43,500 for similar privates.
These are exclusive of study aids, grants, and scholarships. Otherwise, if taken into account, the average net fees could lower as follows: $9,900 for 2-year institutions, $11,800 for 4-year public institutions, $15,000 for 4-year non-profit colleges and $18,100 at nonprofit institutions.
Students’ dependency and family’s level of income also play major roles in determining one’s total cost of college education; the same factors are essential in determining the amount they are able to benefit in terms of need-based student aid. The average attendance cost for dependent students ranges from $8,300 to $14,000 and an average out-of-pocket of between $7,500 and $13,100.
Independent students on the other hand face the lowest average net price of attendance at public 2-year institutions ranging from $11,400 to $14,100 and also the lowest out-of-pocket net cost at similar 2-year and 4-year institutions at $8,600 and $13,600. It should be noted that both types of students pay the highest average prices in fees both in the private and the non-profit institutions.

 

Value of College Education
Now, whereas 47 per cent of Americans say that a person gets enough out of college education to justify spending these figures, almost an equal percentage, actually 40 per cent of them think that the expenses are not at all justified considering that the students end up with lots of debts to pay.
But, according to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, college graduates have more to gain since they tend to earn more in salaries and other compensations compared to their non-graduate counterparts. According to a report by the US Census Bureau, whereas high-school dropouts earn $22,000 and diploma holders $30,000, university graduates bank $55,000 .
Also, according to the Postsecondary Education Opportunity Research Letter (PEORL), lifetime income of families headed by individuals with a bachelor’s degree averages $1.6 million more in comparison to families headed by those with high school diplomas or below. And that according to the PEORL, every dollar spent on college education gives a return of $34.9 increased income.
Besides financial returns, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education also argues that college education improves an individual’s quality of life with graduates said to have greater knowledge, access to better health and dietetic care, more employment opportunities, confidence, less dependency on government aid and are more able to participate in community development.

 

How to Obtain Funding
There are three main sources of funding for students looking to study in college, which includes:
a) Federal Grants
The federal government provides grants for students attending colleges, mid-level career schools, and universities. Grants, unlike loans do not have to be repaid. The main grant programs include: Federal Pell Grant awarded to students with unique financial need and with no graduate degrees, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Higher Education Teach Grant with a teaching service commitment and the Iraq, Afghanistan Grant for students whose parents were members of the U.S. military and who passed on as a result of their service.
The most important step in obtaining a federal grant is by filling out the Free Online Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)– and the earlier you do this the better but always consult first.
b) Scholarships
Scholarships are extremely competitive and hard to come by but they are available to students with exceptional performance in sports and their academics. They are given by universities in form of merit aids and by organizations in form of corporate sponsorships. Other factors often considered when awarding scholarships include: ethnicity, religious affiliation, interests, talent, and career plans.
One such merit aid is the one issued by Raise.me. The website allows student members to input everything they do including sports (e.g., athletics), their grades, test scores and volunteer work. Once this information is fed onto the website, the students are awarded scholarships of monetary value totaling to hundreds of dollars depending on their grade, score, and or the sports activities.
The website also allows the students to see statistical information on colleges and the type of aid they are likely to get based on the calculated percentages of their records. The students don’t have to pledge to attend a given school in order to earn from them. Instead, they can follow these certain colleges via the website to learn about them and see what types of scholarships they have. Search for more scholarships before choosing a particular one. Be wary of scams though.
c) Local Funding
Your college education may as well get funding from your own community organizations. Actually this is why groups such as American Legion, Rotary Clubs, Jaycees, and Booster Chapters exist. Community colleges are today also warding scholarships to students through four-year colleges. Besides, transferring credits from community colleges to four year institutions is getting easier.
Also, according to the studentaid.com, the Council of Independent Colleges also won a grant to develop an initiative to not just help community college graduates transfer to independent four-year liberal arts colleges and universities but also succeed once they are admitted. This is definitely an option to look out for! Other than the three mentioned above, you can also check out student loans and getting employed within the college or university to receive tuition assistance. There are also private and public companies that offer generous amounts of tuition assistance in exchange for your continued service with them. I will be discussing these topics in detail in the succeeding blogs.
The long and short of this is that there’re several specific options available for you to cut down the cost of your college education. But you must do your research well, apply for those options you are eligible for and that you should never miss out on deadlines. As for the military families, there are even more alternatives such as the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) merit aid and special commissioning programs or loan repayment program in exchange for a guaranteed commissioning in military service.
Now, whether it’s you going back to the university as a mature entry or your child to college for the first time, I know it can be difficult, but it’s certainly possible and you can do this. If for one reason or another you’re having doubts, I’m here. Grab a 40-minute complimentary call and we’ll explore if we could partner up in my laser focused VIP coaching session or alternatively, you may apply for my intensive 90-day mentorship program. Whichever way, my hope is to provide you a detailed road map for you to reach your educational goals!

 

Useful Contacts
www.goarmy.com/rotc , www.afrotc.com, https://www.nrotc.navy.mil , and www.studentaid.ed.gov.
Telephone: 1-888-550-ARMY, 1-888-550-2769 Air Force and 1-866-4-AFROTC (1-866-423-7682) NAVY.

Resources
https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/federal-grant-programs.pdf
https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2015165
http://www.highereducation.org/reports/affordability_pa/affordability_pa4.shtml
http://www.collegeview.com/articles/article/importance-of-college-education
http://www.crosswalk.com/family/homeschool/why-is-higher-education-important-1367463.html