March 02, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Robin Rectenwald graduated from Duquesne University in 2012 with 20 different student loans and $100,000 in loan debt. But through working a full-time job, two part-time jobs, working with a financial planner, and creating strategies to successfully pay off her student loan debt, she is setting herself up for financial freedom from her student loan debt.
Now, in 2017, she only has five loans left, and is quickly whittling down the amount she owes.
Learn about Robin’s story, her strategies for success and how to reduce and eliminate student debt below in this College Recruiter Spotlight on Success:
Name: Robin Rectenwald
City/state: Pittsburgh, PA
Current profession: PR Professional for WordWrite Communications
College/University attended: Allegheny College (1 year) and Duquesne University (3 years) – both private schools
Annual tuition: $42,000 and $25,000
Student loan debt at graduation: $101,527.38
College Recruiter: What do you know now that you wish you knew in college?
Rectenwald: I wish I would’ve saved every penny when I was in college and living with my parents. And…
- I wish I would’ve known that you can start paying the interest on your loans while you’re still in school.
- I wish I would’ve known more about the difference between private and federal loans and subsidized and unsubsidized loans. I also wish I would’ve researched student loan options ever year.
- I wish I would’ve learned more about the cost of living after college (more info on this below).
- I wish I would’ve applied for more private scholarships.
College Recruiter: In addition to working full-time, you also work two part-time jobs, with all money from those part-time jobs going towards paying off student loans. How has that helped?
Rectenwald: My balances would be through the roof! When I graduated from college, I had 20 loans with balances ranging from $1,000 to $12,000 and interest rates as high as 10%. If I would not have really investigated these loans after graduation and made an action plan to pay them off, my payments today probably would only be going to the principal. In other words, my balances would be getting bigger because my payments would only be going towards the interest and because of that the interest would just keep growing and growing, I’d be paying my student loans forever. Recent college grads need to know that yes, you may be sending payments, but is it actually paying down the principal balance or is it just going to the interest? Don’t get caught in this trap!
College Recruiter: How have you handled the mental stress of having student loan debt? What tips do you have for others who have stress from student loan debt? Continue Reading
February 16, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Robin Rectenwald has a full-time job working for WordWrite Communications a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania public relations firm, that she absolutely loves. But that hasn’t stopped her from finding unique side jobs to help pay off her student loan debt. Rectenwald graduated from Duquesne University in 2012 with 20 different student loans and $100,000 in loan debt. Now, in 2017, she only has five loans left, and is quickly whittling down the amount she owes.
Before landing her first full-time job in 2012, Rectenwald worked part-time as a customer service representative at Gateway Clipper Fleet, a Pittsburgh sightseeing organization. She worked in the ticket and sales office, where she learned about marketing, sales and customer service – all valuable skills in her current role – and for any future opportunities. She worked for Gateway Clipper Fleet for four years, using that money to make extra payments towards her school loans. Rectenwald recently switched to a new part-time job as a customer care representative at ShowClix, a ticketing software company. For this job, she works from the comforts of her own home answering phones and responding to emails from customers looking to buy tickets to international events.
“Even though I’ve grown as a professional in the PR field and have had a number of promotions that increased my salary since starting out as an entry-level professional, I continue to work a part-time job because I’m trying to save as much money as possible,” says Rectenwald. “With this part-time income, I’ve been able to pay off several student loans and I’m currently using this extra money to pay tuition out-of-pocket for grad school.”
Rectenwald takes these part-time jobs seriously, and puts in maximum effort – something her managers have noticed. She was offered a full-time job in the marketing department at Gateway Clipper Fleet, and is writing a crisis communication plan for ShowClix as part of her grad school program.
“These part-time jobs have not only expanded my network and presented additional career opportunities, it has also given me a unique perspective on marketing and communication strategies.”
And it’s also helped her greatly reduce her student loan debt, and time it would take to pay the loans back.
That’s what Eric Hian-Cheong is also trying to accomplish. He works full-time for a public relations firm in McLean, Virginia, but also has two, unique part-time jobs. He makes $11 an hour as a part-time rock climbing instructor at a local fitness center, and also works as a second shooter/assistant to a local wedding photographer.
“Why limit yourself to just one other part-time job?” said Hian-Cheong.
He works up to 8 hours a weekend, and nets up to $400 a month as a rock climbing instructor – which is right around what he pays each month for his student loans. That job also provides a free gym membership – saving him another $95 a month in gym membership fees.
These jobs have helped Hian-Cheong improve his self-confidence, he says, and also provides an incredible social life outside of the 9-to-5 job.
“I have several friends whose social lives revolve around their 9-to-5, which can get a little unhealthy at times,” says Hian-Cheong.
It’s also helped him network and communicate with a wide variety, and diverse group of people, helping him develop communication, interpersonal, critical thinking, and speaking skills, as he must provide instructions, detail, and clarity, when instructing individuals and a class.
Rectenwald and Hian-Cheong are among the many recent college grads supplementing their income, and paying off student debt with the help of a unique side job. What are some other unique part-time job opportunities one can pursue to help make extra cash to pay off student loans? Consider some of these options:
February 22, 2016 by William Frierson
Attracting HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) technicians and instructors has been challenging for recruiters and hiring managers. There is an opportunity to get college students and recent graduates interested in HVACR jobs if their recruitment and training efforts are strong.
The next generation of Americans, Generation Z students, are about to enter the workforce, and many Gen Z students are unaware of the opportunities available in the HVACR career field.
The oldest of Gen Z students are to complete high school. Some will enter the military or the workforce, and most will attend a one, two, or four-year college or university. The oldest of Gen Z was about 10 years old at the height of the Great Recession and spent most of their formative years witnessing and, in many cases, suffering from the financial turmoil. As compared to their Gen X parents at the same age, Gen Z’ers are far more likely to favor career paths with low student loan debt, opportunities for advancement within their organizations, work/life balance, and a good, stable, living wage.
Trades such as HVACR provide all of those benefits, but few young adults are aware of that fact. More than anything else, the industry needs better marketing of its career opportunities. It should make a concerted effort to deliver presentations in the nation’s high schools, just as the military and some other professions do.
“One option for HVACR industry leaders is to live stream informational presentations on YouTube to build a massive and therefore search engine friendly repository of these presentations and have the presentations delivered by recent graduates of those schools. Graduates can share their stories including their challenges. Authenticity and peer-to-peer communication matters greatly to young adults. A message that everything is great or a great message delivered by a Baby Boomer will not resonate,” notes College Recruiter’s President and Founder, Steven Rothberg.
Another way to recruit HVACR technicians and instructors is to have the employers work with educators on developing strategies to qualified students. They can also collaborate on encouraging these students to enroll in training programs, which will create a workforce in waiting. In order to train more technicians and instructors, one option is establishing financial support through local and regional employers in the career field to create training programs.
College students and recent grads can be potential candidates for jobs as HVACR technicians and instructors. However, there must be a more proactive approach when it comes to recruiting and training.
At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent graduate deserves a great career, and we are committed to creating a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and graduates to great careers. Let College Recruiter assist you in the recruiting process. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook for more information about the best practices in college recruiting.
July 29, 2015 by William Frierson
Paying for a college education can be expensive, and many students will use student loans to finance at least a portion of their education. Most graduates leave school owing tens of thousands of dollars or more, and these funds must be repaid at some point. If the time has come for you to start making your payments, it is important you understand what all of your options are for handling this debt. Continue Reading
March 26, 2015 by William Frierson
Recent graduates have reasons to be excited about their prospects in life. You are hopefully now on track to start your professional life and career. To get off on the right foot financially, it is definitely in your best interest to keep on top of your student loans because you don’t want to get in default or delinquency of your account. If you default on your student loan, it can have dire consequences for your financial future. Taking the appropriate steps now can make a huge difference down the road for you financially. There are a number of things you can do to make sure your student loans don’t become a problem. Continue Reading
February 19, 2015 by William Frierson
Completing years and years of school almost doesn’t seem worth it when you consider the fact that when you graduate you’ll be working for someone else. But that doesn’t have to be the case if you have the courage to stand on your own.
Although there are plenty of risks involved in starting your own private practice, the rewards can be tremendous. Whether you’re an ambitious recent graduate, or you’ve been in the medical field for decades, opening your own practice and becoming your own boss is a fulfilling experience.
If you’re ready to make the leap of faith, here are six steps to help you get started. Continue Reading
July 31, 2014 by William Frierson
The severity of the student loan debt crisis in the U.S. varies depending on whom you ask. The average 2013 college graduate left school with $29,400 in student loan debt, according to the Project On Student Debt. But a 2014 report by the Brookings Institute indicates that student loan debt is no more of a detriment to borrowers today than it was 25 years ago. One key finding from the same study is that the median amount of student loan debt for 20 to 40 year-olds is only $8,500, indicating the average is skewed by extreme outliers.
Either way, the best way to handle student loan debt and the effects thereof is to not accumulate any in the first place. These three tips will help you graduate with little to no debt. Continue Reading
June 10, 2014 by William Frierson
Some graduating classes luck out by entering a healthy job market, while others graduate as underdogs, having to come up with some big plays on their own to score a good position. This year’s class is entering a still-struggling economy, one in which employers are hesitant to start taking on new hires, or at least they are much more selective about who they ask to join their teams. Continue Reading
April 17, 2014 by William Frierson
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re in a lot of student loan debt. In fact, as a country we’re in considerably more student loan debt than we are in credit card debt. However, student loan debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing especially if it helped or is helping to fund an education that will pay dividends for the next several decades in the form of a higher income. Having said (or written) that, there are several mistakes that students make regarding the use of student loans and they can be easily avoided. Continue Reading
March 14, 2014 by William Frierson
Congratulations, you’ve just graduated from college. If you’re one of the lucky few, you’ve secured a job and a place to live and bought a new car. You’re living the dream, right? Oh yes, about that debt you incurred to secure the education that landed you the job that afforded you the home, the car, the dream—you have to pay that back. Continue Reading