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July 6, 2013 / NextStepU

Scholarship Saturday – Vista Health Solutions


NextStepU is committed to helping you find cash for college. We know how expensive college can be and ever penny helps! Here is another scholarship we found for you to apply to.

Answer this question: “How I will stay in control of my health during my college years”

Your answer could win you a $500 scholarship from Vista Health Solutions. The winner must be a student who will be attending a public or private university in the Fall of 2013. To apply, complete the form online and submit an essay based on the above question.

Include at the top of your essay your name, current school attended, current grade level and GPA. The essay should be about 1,000 to 1,500 words explaining how you will take charge of your health.

All essays must be submitted by August 1, 2013. The winning essay will be selected and announced on the Vista Health Solutions website on August 15th, 2013.

> For more scholarships, check out NextStepU’s Scholarship Search.

July 3, 2013 / NextStepU

25 colleges with the best return on investment

iStock_000011186389MediumChoosing a college to attend can be tricky. You don’t want to overpay for your education, but you need to make sure you are attending a college that has your major, is located in an ideal place for you and is an institution you can afford.

Return on investment refers to whether or not you’ll get back what you put into it. So, for education, that means are you getting an education worth what you’ll pay out in the end. Sometimes a lower-salaried career is not worth a $60,000 a year education at a private college. These are things you need to consider when you choose your college and major.

This past spring, published their list of 25 colleges with the best return on investment. You can read the full article online.

Some of the colleges on the list are: Harvey Mudd College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SUNY Maritime College, Santa Clara University and Dartmouth College.

View the complete list at, and we’d love to hear from you! Do you plan on attending one of the colleges on the list? Leave a comment and let us know.

• Investigate more colleges and request information using the tool.

July 2, 2013 / NextStepU

Tuesday Tour Day — Alfred State College

college-clip-alfredToday, we are touring Alfred State College, located in Alfred, NY.

Alfred State, a college of technology within the State University of New York (SUNY) system, offers outstanding educational opportunities with more than 70 dynamic majors. Students can enroll in one of 20 bachelor degree programs, or they can choose an associate degree program from 52 other options.

Over 70 majors are available in the areas of agriculture, architecture, business, engineering technology, health related, liberal arts and sciences, and applied technology. Our project learning programs, teaching methods, and real-world experiences give students a head start on their careers.  One of the biggest lessons we teach is how to succeed in your profession. In fact, 99% of Alfred graduates find work or continue their studies within six months of graduation.

Our classes stress what employers will expect from you on the job. Our faculty has worked in the real world at what they teach. This isn’t about theory. This is about what has worked and what will work. Our faculty is widely recognized for their creativity and excellence.

Another trait that sets Alfred State apart from other colleges is its strong sense of community. Typically, within a few days of their arrival, Alfred State students feel right at home.

Participating in student clubs and organizations enhances the leadership and teamwork skills students learn in the classroom. It’s also a great way to meet friends and form lasting friendships. Students can choose from more than 90 clubs and organizations. In addition, students can participate in intercollegiate sports or a variety of intramural opportunities.

For more information about Alfred State College, click here!

July 1, 2013 / NextStepU

Major Monday — Business Administration and Management

iStock_000018103886MediumDo you enjoy leadership roles? Are you interested in working in the business world? Do you see yourself managing and guiding large groups of people? If so, you should consider business administration and management as a possible major in college! Business administration and management majors organize, plan and direct a given organization’s actions.

According to the College Board, business administration and management is offered at both the associate’s and bachelor’s level. In order to prepare for this type of major, you should consider taking courses like speech, computer applications and accounting in high school. Some typical college classes for business administration and management majors include operations management, business ethics and law, economics and marketing.

What to know before you apply
Before picking a college, it is important to know whether there is a special type of admissions process for business administration and management majors. It is important to know upfront whether being accepted to the college is the same as being accepted to the program. Also, you should research whether the program requires a business internship, which is a great opportunity for work experience. Finally, you should know whether your professors have worked in the business world themselves, since their experience could be helpful to you in the future.

A degree in business administration and management can help you prepare for careers including financial managers, education administrators and human resource managers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial managers earned an average yearly salary of $120,450 in 2011, while education administrators earned between $51,290 and $97,170, depending on their specialty. Human resource managers earned an average yearly salary of $108,600 in 2011.

For more information about choosing a career check out

June 28, 2013 / NextStepU

Freebie Friday — Co-Ed Supply Giveaway


NextStepU is so excited to bring you a summer full of giveaways! We’ve scoured the globe looking for fun and useful gifts for the grads, as well as great dorm gear too good to pass up.

Today’s giveaway comes to you from Co-Ed Supply. They are giving away (1) 3-month subscription to a lucky NextStepU reader.


Co-Ed Supply is rethinking the college care package experience by delivering a box of quality dorm life essentials every month for just $20. Each box is filled with healthy snacks, toiletries, entertainment, and other fun and useful college items. They eliminate the hassle for students to visit the grocery store, deliver the best new brands and entertainment, and save your parents time and money in putting a care package together.


Right now you can sign up on the website to be notified when Co-Ed Supply will launch. If you get 7 friends to sign up for updates, you will receive a free month. No purchase necessary on the part of your friends!

To be eligible to win: Leave a comment here on this blog post or on the NextStepU Facebook page letting us know what you hope will be in the box when it arrives on your doorstep. Are you looking for new snacks? Toiletries? Gadgets? Let us know! 

You can also stop by and like the Co-Ed Supply Facebook page:

Thanks again to Co-Ed Supply  for sharing their amazing new product with NextStepU readers! This is the last of our Summer Giveaways. In addition to Co-Ed Supply, we’ve had a chance to win from ColcaSacGiftCard.comKeurig and

If you didn’t enter to win all of the giveaways yet, swing on by the other blog posts linked above before July 12th. We’ll draw winners the week of July 15th and announce them on July 19th. 

> Don’t forget to also read NextStepU’s annual Graduation Gift Guide article and Dorm Gear Guide article.

June 27, 2013 / NextStepU

What to consider when paying for college

istockphoto#21678674-college-students-at-park-SM for BlogDeciding how to pay for college can be confusing. While most students are eligible for one or more financial aid programs such as Federal Stafford Loans, scholarships, grants, and work-study, there is often a gap between what these traditional sources of financial aid cover and the total costs associated with completing a college degree.

When this happens, students and their families need to determine how much additional money they need and if this remaining balance will be covered from their income, assets or other sources including loans such as an alternative student loan or a Federal PLUS Loan.

To make the most financially sound choice, be sure you have a clear understanding of the options available to you. Compare and contrast each loan program to ensure you select the one that is the best fit for you and your family.

Compare interest rates
Be sure you know not only the rate of the loan, but how it is calculated and whether it is fixed or variable. Variable rates can change as often as every 30-90 days, and these changes can significantly affect the total amount you will need to repay over a typical loan period of 10-15 years. Conversely, a fixed interest rate remains consistent throughout the life of the loan. With a fixed rate, your monthly payment will always be the same, making it easy for planning and budgeting.

What’s your rate?
Lenders often advertise their lowest possible rate, but not all borrowers qualify for this rate. Therefore, it is important to find out what rate you actually qualify for. The rate you receive will depend on your creditworthiness including factors such as your credit score, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), minimum income, presence of co-borrower(s), and your chosen repayment option.

Consider the Maine Loan®
With a fixed rate lower than the Federal PLUS Loan, The Maine Loan from the Maine Educational Loan Authority (MELA) can help students and their families meet the full cost of college.

Why choose The Maine Loan?
• Same fixed rate offered to all approved borrowers
• Trusted lender with 25 years of industry experience
• High quality individualized customer service
• Available for the full cost of education minus financial aid
• No annual or aggregate borrowing limits
• Range of repayment terms up to 15 years

Importance of smart borrowing
Although college is an investment in your future, it is important to engage in smart borrowing to minimize your total student loan indebtedness. All student loans must be repaid so it is best to be conservative. Borrow wisely and borrow the minimum amount needed to fund your education.

mela To learn more about the Maine Educational Loan Authority (MELA), visit

June 26, 2013 / NextStepU

hello gives back to celebrate the day

hello group multi 1

Today, Wednesday, June 26, is National Toothbrush Day. To mark the occasion, hello will celebrate by giving free toothbrushes to those who like the hello products Facebook page and register for a free toothbrush. As you are packing up to head off to college this fall, we know you’re going to need a new toothbrush!

Toothbrush-blogStarting at 9 a.m. (EST) today, the first 5,000 people who like and register on hello’s Facebook page will receive a seriously friendly hello toothbrush with a handle made of 50% recycled materials.

To expand the celebration to children and families in need, hello has made a donation of 5,000 toothbrushes to Smiles Across America®, a division of Oral Health America, which distributes more than 500,000 units of donated dental product annually to underserved children.

“It’s National Toothbrush Day, and we want to let everyone know it’s important to change your toothbrush every 90 days. We’re excited to put our ‘greet freely’ mantra into practice as we give the gift of happy pearlies through the brightly-bristled toothbrushes that are part of our new oral care brand,” said Craig Dubitsky, Founder and CEO of hello. “We’re really looking forward to meeting new people, either via Facebook or in person, and giving toothbrushes to folks in need; it’s the friendly thing to do.”

If you don’t yet know hello, they launched in March with a lineup of toothpastes, mouthwashes, breath sprays and toothbrushes. All hello products promise a friendly mouth with no alcohol, dyes or pain. The toothbrushes being given away all feature 50% recycled materials, a simple clean design and soft bristles perfect for maintaining great oral hygiene.

hello is available in Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, select Target stores, and online at,, and, with more retailers to follow later this year.

To learn more about Hello Products, experience the hello brand, and actually Skype with the team, visit, and

So, go on over to the hello Facebook page and grab that free toothbrush. Stop and leave some love for a great company giving back to their communities and maybe even fall in love with a new favorite brand you can pack up and take to college with you this fall!

Thanks, hello!

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