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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Friday, April 15, 2011

Inside:

Alternative student loans Financing your future with FAFSA Complete your graduate degree online Technology in the college class What students need to know about the SAT and ACT Cosmetology: Beauty changes lives


The role of alternative loans in financing education T he Ma i ne Educ at iona l L oa n Authority is a quasi-governmental agency established to assist Maine students and families to achieve their higher education goals by providing an alternative student loan program. MELA currently offers two fixed i ntere st r ate loa n pr og r a m s, The Maine Loan and The Maine Medical Loan. For students and families involved in the financial aid process, the following is helpful i n for mat ion i n u ndersta nd i ng alternative student loans.

What are alternative student loans? A lternative student loans, a lso k now n a s pr i v a t e e duc a t ion loa ns, a re ava ilable to elig ible u nder g r a du at e a nd g r a du at e students to borrow funds up to the full cost of education after financial aid has been deducted. These types of loans are a resource t hat ex i st s to br idge t he gap between the full cost of college and traditional financial aid resources, such as scholarships, grants, and federal education loans. Students should fully utilize their eligibility for federal education loans such as Stafford loans and maximize other traditional financial aid resources

prior to considering an alternative student loan.

Borrow the minimum amount needed. Borrowers are advised to borrow t he minimum amount needed. Take into consideration not only borrowing what you need, but what you can afford to repay. Depending on your program of study, keep in mind t hat you may need to borrow for two, four or more years of college which could result in a significant amount of debt.

Your credit score. Eligibility for alternative student loans is based on the credit score of the borrower(s). The Fair Isaac Credit Score is the most widely used score and ranges from 300 to 850. Your credit score can also affect the cost of your debt, with lower interest rates and fees reserved for borrowers with better credit scores. This is why it is often better for a student to apply for an alternative st udent loa n w it h a cosig ner, since the lender usually bases the interest rate and fees on the highest credit score of the borrowers. You shou ld rev iew your credit report annually, but at least six months in advance of applying for

a loan. This will allow you sufficient time to correct any errors. Federal law entitles you to a free copy of your credit report every year from each of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion or via www.annualcreditreport.com.

Ability to repay debt. In addition to your credit score, many lenders w ill look at your ability to repay debt. This is most commonly done using a debt–to– income ratio often abbrev iated as DTI. DTI is the percentage of a consumer’s gross income that goes toward paying all recurring debt payments. If your DTI ratio is more than 50 percent, you probably have too much debt. Ideally you want to have a DTI ratio that is less than 36 percent.

Compare alternative student loan programs prior to selection. • H ow long has the student loan lender been in business and where are they located? • Does the lender have a good reputation for customer service? • Does the loan have a variable or fixed interest rate?

– A variable interest rate can change as frequently as every 30 to 90 days. Find out how your interest rate is calculated and how often your rate may change. – M a ke sure to resea rch what interest rate you qualify for since lenders often advertise their lowest rate, but not everyone will qualify for that rate. – Find out the maximum variable interest rate that you can be charged for your loan. – A fixed interest rate remains consistent throughout the life of the loan and provides stability with respect to your monthly payment. Find out the current interest rate. • W hat are the fees associated with the loan and do the fees var y depending on your credit score? • A re there annual and/or aggregate loan limits? • W hat are the repayment options and do the rates and fees vary depending on which option you choose? – Defer principal and interest: Ma ke no pay ment s wh i le cont i nuously en rol led i n school. Interest is capitalized

at repay ment. Principa l a nd interest repayment begins six mont hs a f ter g raduat ion or when you are no longer enrolled in school. – Interest only: Repay only your interest while continuously enrolled in school. Interest-on ly pay ments may begin within 60 days of the first disbursement date. Repayment of pr i ncipa l a nd i nterest w i l l beg i n si x mont hs a f ter graduation or when you are no longer enrolled in school. – I m m e d i a t e r e p a y m e n t o f principal and interest: Repay principal and interest in a monthly amount beginning no more than 60 days after the final disbursement date. F or m ore infor m a t i on a b out The Maine Loan or The Maine Medical Loan program, please visit www.mela.net or call 800-922-6352.

Popular college majors Thousands of high schoolers will be graduating in a few weeks and many will be going on to college in the fall, a decision that may have been difficult to make. When pondering their futures, high schoolers may wonder whet her college is necessary and a smart choice for success. Although every student is different and there are scenarios that can affect anyone’s future, the decision to attend college is genera l ly benef icia l. It of ten opens up doors and opportunities in the workplace that a high school diploma alone cannot. According to CareerBuilder.com, these are seven of the more popular college majors:

• BIOLOGY • BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION • COMMUNICATIONS • CRIMINAL JUSTICE • ELEMENTARY EDUCATION • NURSING • PSYCHOLOGY

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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 15, 2011


Financing your future with FAFSA For many people, the only thing harder than getting into college is paying for it. Three tips can help:

Think ahead. As early as their sophomore year, high school students should begin collecting and organizing applications, recommendations, test scores, essays and transcripts. They should begin applying to colleges by junior year to take advantage of scholarships geared toward younger students. Create a calendar of application deadlines.

Think categorically. Certain college scholarships depend on ethnic, religious or professional affiliations.

Think federally. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. The form is online at www.fafsa.ed.gov or call (800) 4-FED-AID. FAFSA is the only way to apply for college grants, scholarship money and loans issued through the U.S. government. The FAFSA form is available online on January 1 each year. Fill out the FAFSA application as soon as possible. Do not wait until your parents have filed their tax returns as you can make corrections to your FAFSA after you fill it out if any of your information changes.

Male students over 18 must register with Selective Service to qualify for federal student loans or grant programs, including Pell Grants, College Work Study, Guaranteed Student/PLUS Loans and National Direct Student Loans.

Where and how to register for service Online registration: Go to www.sss.gov and click on the registration icon. It takes only a minute to complete the online form. When you submit your information, you will receive a registration number instantly. The U.S. Postal Service: Visit any U.S. Postal Service branch to obtain a Selective Ser vice “mail-back� registration form. Men living overseas may register at any U.S. embassy or consular office. By mail: Eligible men may also register by filling out a reminder mail-back card. Selective Service will send this card to young men around the age of 18. Mail-back cards are also available at some post offices. School: Most high schools appoint a staff member or teacher to serve as Selective Service Registrar. They help to register young men and answer questions. Registration applies to all young men – even those living overseas. Those who are immigrants must likewise register, regardless of immigration status. For more information about Selective Service, visit www.sss.gov. (NAPSI)

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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 15, 2011

COLLEGE BOUND

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Complete your graduate degree online By Brent Wooten Saint Joseph’s College A graduate degree opens up new opportunities and can give you a competitive advantage in today’s w or k pl a c e . C om ple t i n g y ou r degree online allows for scheduling flexibility around work, family and civic responsibilities. According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning (sloan.org),

enrollment in online courses rose by almost one million students from 2008 to 2009. The sur vey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide revealed t hat approx imately 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in fall 2009, the most recent term for which figures are available. Other research by Eduventures (eduvent u res.com) shows t hat online students represent about

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11 percent of all students at U.S. colleges, with online education already mainstream among adult students (close to 25 percent of adult students are online learners). Online graduate programs and students will become even more prevalent over the next decade, as the existing pool of younger people become work ing professiona ls; this is the very population most interested in learning online. O n l i ne e d uc a t ion of f e r s t he convenience that working adults demand, but prospective students wou ld be w ise to look beyond t h i s si mple adv a nt age. W hen con sider i ng on l i ne educ at ion to stay competitive in your field, advance your career, or simply pu rsue persona l development, these three institutional factors should be examined. Fi r s t , t he leng t h of t i me a n institution has delivered distance education is important, since it means the school has established policies and procedures that work for adult students learning off site. Second, instructors should have professional experience in their f ields, add i ng sig n i f ica nt ly to the graduate student’s learning ex perience. Informat ion about the instructor should be available to you.

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Third, accreditation is crucial since it provides an indication of an institution’s reputation and quality. General accreditation applies to the entire institution as a whole a nd is awa rded by one of si x reg iona l accred it i ng agencies. This accreditation assures you of a basic level of quality, and your degree will be recognized as legitimate by employers. Few institutions have the level of experience work ing w it h adult students off site as Saint Joseph’s College. Mary Haskell, a teacher in Sugarloaf Key, Florida who recently completed a master’s in education, pra ises t he College’s attent ion to t he on l i ne lea r ner. “Sa i nt J o s e p h’s t r u l y u n d e r s t a n d s t he r igor s of adu lt s jug g l i ng responsibilities ... and they make student success possible.” Sharon Davis is completing her MBA online while working for a financial institution in Machias, Ma ine. “Sa int Joseph’s f lex ible curriculum schedule and relevance of course topics have made my graduate experience well worth my time and financial investment. I would highly recommend their prog ra m to a nyone w ishing to advance their education.” In 1976, Sa int Joseph’s College bega n of fer i ng a d ista nce education program to help health

care professionals complete their undergraduate degrees without attending its campus in Standish, Maine. Originally offered through p r i nt-b a s e d m a t e r i a l s a n d delivered via mail, the programs were converted to online delivery more than 10 years ago. Now, 35 years after the first course was offered, students can choose from more than 20 online graduate a nd u nderg r aduate prog r a m s in business, educat ion, hea lt h care administration, nursing and theology – all suited to one’s own schedule and choice of place to learn (often at home). More than 2,600 people throughout t he U.S. enroll in t hese online programs, including more than 600 from Maine. For a complete listing of online programs at Saint Joseph’s, go to online.sjcme.edu or call an admissions counselor at 800-752-4723.

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There’s no doubt that college can be expensive and it’s only natural to wonder whether a four-year degree is really worth the money. “There are lots of benefits to attending a top school, beyond an excellent academ ic ex per ience. T hose additional benefits should include a supportive alumni network and a robust career ser v ices office,” said J. Leon Washington, dean of admissions and financial aid at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.

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With a little legwork and these tips, you can find a college that offers a degree with great value. College might seem like a big investment, but it’s an investment that can pay returns for decades to come.

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 15, 2011


Technology in the college class A re you wondering what t y pes of technolog y are in use at the c ol le ge le vel ? Da n iel St a s ko, assistant professor of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Sout hern Maine’s Lew istonAuburn College, uses a dig ita l pen i n h is science classroom. “The digital pen recognizes what you write,� said Stasko. Using special microdot notepaper, the pen records what you write on a page. During a note-taking session with the digital pen, it also simultaneously records speech v ia a bu i lt-i n m icrophone. Its functionality gets more powerful once t he notes are tra nsferred to a computer. “You ca n sha re what you’ve w r it ten. St udents use the pen to take notes in class and upload the notes to the class website; then we share the notes among the class,� explained Stasko. Note-taking is a very important part of the learning process. These annotated notes can help clarify w r it ten notes because, a s t he student takes notes with the digital pen while the professor is talking to the class, the microphone on the pen is recording the professor’s voice which the student can later play back relat ive to speci f ic sections in the notes. It is like a v i r t ua l, ta l k i ng cha l kboa rd, playing back the class session.

a re not going to be able to do their classwork. Adapting to new technologies is an important part of life.

students come away w ith good knowledge and an appreciation for the course. They learn to change the way they think about things.�

About the digital pen and adaptability, Stasko said, “If you extend the idea of something that records while you write, it becomes instant note-taking or mini lectures or group discussion tracking. Now, when the class breaks into small g r oup s , t ho s e g r oup d i s c u ssions can be shared amongst all groups at a later time so that the information becomes part of a larger discussion.�

Science education has taken a bad rap because many students enter t he classroom u nder prepa red. Sta sko is resea rch i ng ways to improve student retention in the sciences and encourage students to take more sciences in general.

One of t he d i f f ic u lt ie s fac e d by Stasko is the fact that many st udent s a re hesit a nt to t a ke chem ist r y. W h i le ma ny of h is students are freshmen, he a lso gets the students who have been dreading chemistry and take it late in their college career.

One of his methods is encouraging u nder g r aduate re se a rch w it h the students doing real lab work and experiments in which they experience the work ing side of science exploration. An extension of this is looking at science literacy in the population, another area of interest for Stasko who has worked w it h L AC col leag ue, Professor Barry Rodrigue, on examining the course content found in teaching Big History around the globe.

The procrastinators should take chemistr y as freshmen because chemistr y shows up in so many other areas of the sciences. “Yes, chemistry is challenging, but my

Stasko said that while Big History courses are normally thought of as history-based classes, “Big History is a way of introducing science to students who wouldn’t normally

The digital pen in Stasko’s class is relatively new; he’s only been using it in the class for about two years. He said, “I’m still working out all the bugs and trying to get students to overcome a fear of sharing their notes. I give a small grade incentive to get students to take and share their notes digitally.� The over whelming majorit y of students feel positive about using the digital pen and like to have t h e c l a s s s e s s i on s a v a i l a b l e for rev iew. Stasko k nows t he advantages that technolog y can bring to the learning experience, but he doesn’t feel the technology needs to be complicated. “Everyone’s tolerance for complication is different. Technology should not get in the way of learning. It should be like the telephone. You should be able to pick it up and just use it,� said Stasko.

Professor Dan Stasko, of the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College, uses a digital pen that recognizes the movements of the pen as it is being used to write while the pen’s built-in microphone records sound. take it. The course incorporates scientific methods and scientific principles in its lessons. Barry and I have been researching the methods other Big History instructors are using to teach this course.� Stasko hopes that students who take Big History, and any science course, realize a fuller appreciation

of science and its impact on the economy and social structure of our world. FMI about the research that is being conducted at USM L AC or for more information about their programs, please visit them online at usm.maine.edu/lac or call 753-6500.

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W hat students should be taught about technology is a debate that is occurring in education. There is the idea of helping them learn sk i l l s ver su s c ou r se c ontent . Teaching students how to use their calculators is not the instructors’ job, but if students don’t k now how to use their calculators, they

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 15, 2011

      

  

COLLEGE BOUND

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What students need to know about the SAT and ACT For most h ig h school ju n iors, the SAT or ACT represents one of the most important steppingstones bet ween t hem a nd admission to the colleges they have selected to attend. Many students consider on l y on e t e s t — e i t h e r t h e SAT or ACT — a nd as a resu lt of geographica l predomina nce and lack of information, they might be m issi ng a n oppor t u n it y to achieve t heir optima l score by taking the test best suited to their academic strengths.

The Difference Historically, the SAT is the standard test on the West and East Coasts, wh i le t he ACT dom i nates t he Midwest and South, but things are beginning to shift as more students realize they have the option of taking both tests. T he ma i n d i f ference bet ween the SAT and the ACT is that the lat ter mea su res t he st udent ’s knowledge learned in high school, whereas the SAT tries to determine “innate” abilities.

“Most schools accept bot h t he SAT or ACT, except in rare cases, so the test a student decides to take shouldn’t be a deal breaker in admissions,” said Jake Becker, academic director at Grockit.com, a collaborative and social learning platform. “When trying to decide which test is right for you, I suggest taking a practice test in each and exploring the requirements of each school t hat you’re considering applying to.” The ACT has four sections (English, Math, Science and Reading) and

the SAT has three (Reading, Writing a nd Mat h). T he SAT recent ly added Writing to the main exam a f ter t he major it y of col leges started requiring the SAT Subject Test in Writing (SAT II) as part of the application. The ACT does not require an essay as part of the main test but offers an optional one and it’s suggested that all students take it. The College Board also has SAT II Subject Tests that let students showcase their classroom-based

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k nowledge in subjects such as Physics, Calculus or History, which the ACT does not offer.

“Students should consider their strengths and weaknesses in the different subjects available for the SAT II and compare them with the ACT to help decide which would be a better supplement to their application,” Becker added. “If a student has taken AP courses t hat a lign w it h one of t he SAT Subject Tests, he or she might feel more confident taking that test. If these SAT II tests are daunting and won’t provide great scores, the ACT may be a better choice.” For more information and additional test prep resources, please visit www.Grockit.com. Use the code PREP at Grockit’s checkout for a 10 percent discount. (NAPSI)

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 15, 2011


Cosmetology: Beauty changes lives Ta ke a look a rou nd you . It ’s everywhere ... you see it on TV, you see it in magazines, you see it at the mall. You see it each day while you get ready and look in the mirror. Beauty, style, and image ... we all have our own ways of expressing it. Beauty professionals love what they do. Though not tied together by blood, they are bonded by their love of beauty. They are united by their desire to create and change the lives of others. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupat iona l Out look 2010-11 Edition projects that careers in c osmetolog y w i l l g row much faster than the national average. Overall, cosmetology jobs will be growing about 20 percent for the period 2008 through 2018. These jobs aren’t just in big cities, but are in virtually every American town. Perhaps the most alluring part of a career in the beauty industry is its staying power.

THINGS TO CONSIDER: • J obs in the beauty industry are not going to be moved overseas. • J obs in the beauty industry are not likely to be replaced w ith technology or machines. • J obs i n t he beaut y i ndu st r y prov ide what ma ny you ng people are wanting more of in their careers today — life/work ba la nce a nd t he oppor tunit y to create a schedule that allows them to do what they love and also find time for their loved ones.

t heir home, ot hers a re w i l ling to commute or relocate close to the school that is right for them. When touring a school, find out if it has students who are currently attending from afar. Speak with t hese students to f ind out why they are willing to travel up to two hours, one way, just to attend. Does the school have a website and, if so, is it informative? You should be able to get a feeling for the school and gather a lot of information from their website. Be sure to read the testimonials on the site. Make sure the testimonials are in regards to the school you are inquiring about. You will find some f ra nch ises post va r ious testimonials, but you want to know about the school in your area. All schools, whet her f ra nch ise or private, are different so beware of blanket statements. What is the instructor-to-student ratio? Be sure to ask t his ver y important question when touring a school. A smaller class size will definitely maximize your learning potent i a l . You w i l l get more personal time with your instructor and a better opportunity to bond with the other students. You do not want to be lost in a sea of students. W hat a re t he schools’ job placement rates? You want to make

sure the school has high placement r a t e s a nd e x c e l le nt w or k i n g relationships with local salons for job placement when you graduate. Does the school provide clients for you to perform services on to gain experience? Make sure your school has a busy clinic that allows you to take clients after your 200to 250-hour mark. You don’t want to have to bring your own models to work on and you certainly don’t want to be stuck in “manikin alley” for months. Hands-on experience w i l l bet ter prepa re you to be salon-ready. Find out how many opportunities to perform haircuts, colors, foils, etc., a graduating student has at the school. A lways tr y to tour not only the school you think you are interested in the most, but other schools. You can better see differences between them and become more informed to make the choice that’s right for you. Ask lots of questions, not only of the admissions representative, but the students and instructors as well. Take advantage of any free service the school offers if you take a tour and are interested in the school. This will allow you to view the school in operation, as well as to pick the brain of the student performing your service. Just be prepared for an exciting career and get ready to change lives.

USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College

As a student at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College, you’ll enjoy the friendly atmosphere of a small college combined with the resources of a comprehensive university. As a member of the Lewiston-Auburn College community, you will have the support of faculty, staff, and friends in one of the most ideal collegiate settings possible.

Lewiston-Auburn College offers • interdisciplinary learning focused on communication, team work, student participation, and leadership. • many classes offered online to accommodate students’ busy schedules • internships, service learning, independent studies, and credit for prior learning • affordable education that lets you work with world renowned faculty and committed staff to help you achieve your goals.

Talk to us about a tour educational goals Call us at (207) 753-6500 or visit usm.maine.edu/lac/sj

U N I V E R S I T Y

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“My experiences in South Africa opened my eyes to a wider world.” –Kathy Roy, a Master’s in Leaderships Studies major who recently returned from and international leadership program in South Africa

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The beaut y industr y has phenomenal networking oppor tunities a nd educat iona l events that are available to the beauty professional. This industry has an astounding support system not seen in most other industries. T here a re s y mposiu m s, t rade show s, I nter nat iona l Sa lon & Spa Expos, distributors that hold educat iona l classes, a nd most salons hold in-house training for their staff. People in the beauty industry thrive on helping each other in their careers. Before beginning your career you must choose a cosmetology school that is right for you. Doing your homework and weighing all your options will help you get the best head start at a career in the exciting world of the beauty industry.

Need Help With The Financial Aid Process?

Questions & Answers Should I only search for schools close to where I live ? Not necessarily. While many students may like to attend a school near

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 15, 2011

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COLLEGE BOUND

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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, April 15, 2011

College Bound 2011  

Learn about student financing options, what college classes are like, online graduate courses, cosmetology, and more.

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