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Money in a jar for a college fund. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted February 23, 2017 by

17 strategies that can help you graduate from college debt free

 

College is expensive. And student loan debt is on the rise. While many believe the only way to graduate from college debt free is by receiving an academic or athletic scholarship, there are actually several strategies one can implement to graduate from college debt free – or with much less debt than the average college student graduates with – which is just over $30,000.

It’s not easy and it could make the path to graduation more challenging, but it can be done. It starts by planning in advance and digging deep to find ways to accomplish this goal.

“The days of going to college without any real pre-planning or self-evaluation are over,” says Bob LaBombard, retired CEO of GradStaff, a company that helps college students and recent college grads identify where there skills fit in the job force  “It’s just too costly and risky.”

Consider these facts: More than half of college students change their major at least once. Further, recent data shows that only about 56 percent of students entering college graduate within six years; almost half drop out.

“Clearly, lack of a clear-cut plan often causes students to waste time, precious tuition dollars and, ultimately, interest in completing a degree,” says LaBombard.

There are many strategies that can help college students cover the high costs of obtaining a college degree, and if done correctly, graduating debt free. We highlight those strategies here:

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Posted June 25, 2016 by

The #1 student job search mistake

As an Associate Career Services Director for the University of Michigan and the CEO of Break into Tech, I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of students during the job search while trying to launch their careers. And it’s an area I’m particularly proud to support, having leveraged my own student experience to land roles at Apple, LinkedIn, and startups.

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

But the one thing that shocks me time and again is that 95% of students make the same mistake when it comes to landing a job. And no, it’s not a bad resume, or a poorly written cover letter or even weak interview skills. Instead, it’s that most basic trait:

Humility.

Yes, humility.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Huh? How hard could it be to act humble?”

But here’s the real deal. That same confidence is a handicap. Because it blinds students to just how hard it is to stay humble in a world where everyone always has to be on, to constantly present their best self.

As evidence, allow me to submit my experience as a Michigan alum working at LinkedIn:

  • Every single day during application season, I’d received at least one email from a current student who wanted to work in Silicon Valley
  • Usually, those emails started out: “Dear Jeremy, I’m XXX and I’d really like to work at LinkedIn…”
  • Eventually I’d get on the phone with these students, and they’d spend the first 15 minutes of the call telling me about themselves, and the last 15 minutes asking me if I could help them get a job.
  • Then, I’d never hear from them again.

On the other hand, about 2-3 times a year, the sequence would go very differently:

  • I’d get an email from a student well before application season that said: “Dear Jeremy, As a a Michigan student, I was so excited to come across your profile today. I can’t tell you how inspiring it was to find someone who’s walked your path. I know you must be really busy, but would you ever have a few minutes to share your story with me?”
  • When I got on the phone with them, we’d spend 15 minutes talking about my experience, followed by 15 minutes of them asking me for my advice about really tricky career questions.
  • Then they’d follow-up the next month to wish me a happy holiday or update me on campus. And they’d continue to do that each month with cool articles they found or little tidbits of school news.
  • Then, only when application season finally rolled around, would they ever ask for support during the application process.

And sure enough, about 2-3 times a year, I’d write an internal recommendation for a student, basically guaranteeing them an interview.

Now, any guesses which students I went to bat for?

Hopefully that illuminates two things about the job search:

BUT

  • You’ve got to network in the right way – the humble way.

Which means no:

  • Waiting until application season to reach out – you need to build relationships in advance; not at the last second.
  • Focusing all the attention on yourself – you need to build a real relationship; not just a transaction.
  • One shot networking – you need to build a relationship over time, not in a single phone call. This aids your job search.

So consider yourself warned. Yes, humility is critical to your job search success. But don’t assume it’s going to be easy. Instead, make it a priority and work hard at it. And then you can avoid the biggest mistake that’s trapped so many others!

Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

Need more help networking and figuring out how to build great relationships on your way to finding a great entry-level job? College Recruiter can help. Keep reading our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Jeremy Schifeling is the Founder + Chief Nerd at Break into Tech, a site for anyone who wants to land an awesome tech job, no matter their background. Get a free guide to the seven ultimate secrets that took Jeremy from school to Silicon Valley!

Posted March 20, 2015 by

Apple Inc. Voted #22 in Best Places to Work Survey

Apple logoIt is important to most of us that we enjoy our work but difficult to know when you’re looking for a job whether we’ll be happier working for one employer versus another. A great way to know if an employer offers a great place to work is to ask the people who know the organizations best — their employees. For the past seven years, Glassdoor has awarded its Employees’ Choice Awards to honor the 50 best places to work. For 2015, the 22nd best place to work was Apple Inc. (more…)

Posted May 16, 2014 by

Are You Networking for Recent Graduate Jobs? 4 Ways to Make Your Meeting a Success

When networking for recent graduate jobs, you want to make the most of each opportunity.  In the following post, learn four ways to make your meeting a success.

Someone recently paid $610,000 to share coffee with Apple CEO Tim Cook. To the person who won the bidding war: sip your latte slowly. Every gulp will run you about 50 grand. And it may be worth it… because a networking meeting with the right person can open doors never thought possible. Which is why

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Posted April 24, 2014 by

Millennials, Are You Considering Entrepreneurship for Entry Level Jobs?

For Millennials considering entrepreneurship in their search for entry level jobs, the following post has some opportunities that might interest them.

Twenty-somethings are also applauded for open-mindedness, forward thinking and self-expression. Along with liberal views, new perspectives and cultural confidence, the kids of Gen Y are future leaders who seek outlets for their creative talents and opportunities for professional establishment. Even if that means not working for someone else…

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Posted March 31, 2014 by

Apple Inc. Voted #35 in Best Places to Work Survey

Apple logoIt is important to most of us that we enjoy our work but difficult to know when you’re looking for a job whether we’ll be happier working for one employer versus another. A great way to know if an employer offers a great place to work is to ask the people who know the organizations best — their employees. For the past six years, Glassdoor has awarded its Employees’ Choice Awards to honor the 50 best places to work. For 2014, the 35th best place to work was Apple Inc. (more…)

Posted March 26, 2014 by

Have Interviews for Jobs for Recent College Graduates? 4 Unusual Types of Questions to Prepare for

When going on interviews for jobs for recent college graduates, you might be surprised at some of the questions that you’re asked.  In the following post, learn four unusual types of questions that potential employers might ask you.

You can’t prepare too much for a job interview. Ironing your shirt, researching the company, having a map with directions to the interview location… even practicing answers to likely questions should be part of your interview preparation. You should expect to answer a variety of questions; some of which will be difficult and even weird.

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Posted March 07, 2014 by

Secure and Stable: 7 Tech Careers That Aren’t Going Anywhere

Computer programmer working on a problem

Computer programmer working on a problem. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Today’s tech industry is booming, making sure there are plenty of careers that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. If you’re searching for secure and stable work, think about getting your education in the wonderful field of technology. To get you started, here are seven careers offering a lifetime of opportunities. (more…)

Posted October 03, 2013 by

Have an Unorganized Desk at Your Entry Level Job? Why It Might be Helpful

While your boss may encourage you to keep a clean desk on your entry level job, it might benefit how you work.  Learn more in the following post.

Your mother, your teachers and plenty of career writers (including ours!) have extolled the virtues of keeping an organized office space. When it comes to productivity, focus, lack of distraction and less stress, having a neat and orderly desk just seems to make sense, right? Maybe not. In a recent post on The New York Times

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Posted August 28, 2013 by

Discouraged in Your Search for Recent Graduate Jobs? Get a Pick Me Up from Ashton Kutcher

If it has been a while since you graduated from college and started searching for recent graduate jobs without success, the process might seem discouraging.  However, the following post includes words of wisdom from Ashton Kutcher that can give you a boost.

Ashton Kutcher gets a bad rap sometimes. When you heard he was slated to play Steve Jobs in the new movie about the legendary Apple creator, did you groan a little? Some of us did. After all, some of Kutcher’s most famous roles are playing the airheaded Michael Kelso on

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