Finding the Best Savings Account for You

Many college students struggle with personal finance and have a hard time saving money. On top of that, many banks don’t offer a savings account that is conducive to a college student’s savings plan and budget. To get a decent interest rate, most banks require a large balance in the tens of thousands, which isn’t an easy feat for most students.

Decide on a Savings Plan

Most college students don’t think saving money is important. While it’s true you don’t necessarily have to start saving for retirement while in college (although it definitely helps), you do need a savings account. You need to plan for unexpected events and emergencies. It also helps to save money if something really incredible comes up – like a trip to Europe. Having the financial freedom to join your friends on a vacation is a much better choice than having to beg your parents for the funds.

If you’re saving up for something specific, like a $10,000 car, figure out how much you need to put away per month. If you’re just saving money, put away as much as you can per month. Even small savings can add up over time to large amounts of money. An extra $5 per month over a few years makes a huge difference, especially if you get a good interest rate.

Finding a Bank

The first step is finding a bank that offers what you need. You can start locally by visiting banks and credit unions in your area or you can start online by searching. Credit unions will be more friendly to smaller accounts, but you will be limited by their smaller network. While a large network is more important for checking accounts than savings accounts, this may still matter to you if you live far from home or plan on moving soon.

Choosing the Best Account

Once you find a bank that you think will work best for you, look carefully at their types of savings accounts. You want to find the best savings account for you. Look at minimum deposit amounts, monthly balances and any fees associated with the accounts. U.S. federal law only allows you to withdraw money a maximum of six times per month for an account to be considered a savings account. Most banks will turn your account into a checking account if you go over the withdraw limit, and sometimes they will charge you a fee.

Online Classes from Public Universities

I went to college a few decades ago, at a large public university, where it was consistently difficult to enroll in the classes I wanted.  It may get easier at the graduate level but for this undergrad the “sold out” signs on classes were a consistent disappointment.  It’s got to be a lot tougher today at least in the public schools, because the budget crunch/enrollment surge pattern has been repeated over and over, state after state.  In my home state of California, it is virtually impossible to graduate in four years from a public university because of the overcrowding.

One of the options that students have today is online classes, from their own or another university.  In recent years traditional schools have jumped on the distance learning bandwagon for a number of reasons.  Many students are working significant hours and need the convenience of online access; schools can enroll more students in a class than there are seats in the classroom; and the technology has gotten to the point that most traditional universities feel they can deliver a quality educational experience online.

That gives students in many state universities the option of enrolling in classes that aren’t available on campus.  The University of North Carolina, for instance, offers 240 programs of study in 22 academic disciplines, with classes drawn from all of its 16 constituent campuses.  Many of the courses are intended for students enrolled on the campus offering the course, but there is also a roster of Carolina Courses Online open to all students who are academically eligible.

The State University of New York (SUNY) offers the SUNY Learning Network which is a virtual campus offering online courses, degrees, and certificates from 32 member schools, including both doctoral universities and community colleges.  You can be attending college at one campus and enroll in courses from other schools.

Both Florida State University and the University of Florida have selected degree programs available; from FSU there are both undergraduate and graduate degrees and from University of Florida there are undergraduate completion programs and graduate degrees.  One of the impressive efforts from the University of Florida is the online graduate level options in engineering, with over fifteen degrees and specializations ranging from aerospace engineering to industrial systems engineering to computer engineering.

Three states with three different approaches to online education from their public universities.  If you are struggling with course access at your current school, public or private, you should take a look at the online options for classes that meet your needs.  With a little legwork on the issue of transferability, you may be able to round out your college experience with an attractive distance learning option from your state university.

This post was submitted by Bob Hartzell, who writes on the changes in undergraduate education and on accredited online graduate programs for several websites.

The Most Popular Health-Related Majors

With the current economic downturn, one industry that has not suffered as hard as the others is the healthcare industry. People get sick and injured even when the stock market is down, so there is still a strong need for medical professionals to take care of people. With the relative stability of the field, it’s no wonder that many college students are choosing to pursue health-related majors. Healthcare, however, is a broad term that encompasses everything from CNAs to nurses to medical doctors. With so many choices, it is interesting to take a look at which health careers are most popular among today’s students.

According to the 2011 Princeton Review, the ten most popular majors on college campuses today include three health-related fields of study: psychology at number two, nursing at number three and biology at number four (business administration/management was number one). These three health care majors have appeared in the top ten for several years and do not appear to be going away anytime soon. Many women business leaders have emerged and made a large impact on the healthcare industries within the last ten years or so.

  1. Psychology is a versatile field that can encompass a number of different titles and positions. To be a clinical psychologist, social psychologist, or developmental psychologist, one usually requires advanced training or even a doctoral degree, but there are many research and teaching jobs that one can take with just an undergraduate psychology degree. One-third of all psychologists enter private practice or have independent research firms. As of 2008, the average starting salary for a psychologist was $46,153 per year.
  2. Nursing is the biggest field in healthcare, and nurses still continue to be in high demand across the country. There are several different levels of nursing, including licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, and nurse practitioner. The LPN and RN levels, while important and relatively high-paying positions require only an associate’s degree and the successful completion of professional exams to be certified. The specific areas of practice available to nurses are virtually limitless. Some of the more popular areas of specialty include medical/surgical nursing, geriatric nursing, hospice nursing, home health nursing and emergency room nursing. There has been a well-documented shortage of nurses in the United States for over a decade and it will become more pronounced as women in leadership emerge from the crowd and help in hospitals and nursing homes around the nation. Retirement and assisted living establishments are common places for nurses to work, as are hospitals, but there are also many nurses who work in schools or corporations or travel to take care of people in their homes. The average starting salary for a newly-graduated nurse in 2008 was $41,173 a year.
  3. Biology is another broad field that includes several disciplines, such as genetics, medical research and biotechnology, to name a few. Biology is a popular pre-med degree for those who wish to go on and study to become a medical doctor. To qualify for a job in microbiology, biotechnology or research and development, it is helpful to have a graduate degree in biology. In 2008, the starting salary for a general biologist was $38,896 annually, while a biochemist received a higher compensation of $43,961 per year.

Beyond the “big three,” there are a number of other popular majors to help students become masters of public health. Radiology is very popular, as are some of the new and growing fields of study, including holistic health, environmental health, sports medicine and medical administration. The study of radiology provides graduates with the potential to get jobs performing x-rays or, with special certification, working as a CRT or MRI technician. Holistic health focuses on the psychological, spiritual, social and environmental health of a patient as well as the physical. Environmental health study is a path that leads to a career in the occupational health sector or in epidemiology. A degree in sports medicine can lead to a job with a professional or school sports team or a position in a specialty sports medicine clinic. Those who study medical administration are well prepared for a management job in a variety of healthcare arenas. They could also work in medical law or consulting.

Healthcare is a wonderful and rewarding field, perfect for those who wish to help people. The career choices are abundant, and many of them are in high demand. One of the greatest things about the field of healthcare is the wide variety of majors available for students. Whether they choose the more popular majors of psychology, nursing or biology or one of the new and developing fields like holistic health or environmental health, there are plenty of opportunities for students in the medical field.

This guest post article was written and provided by Marissa Krause who finished her Business degree this last fall and has begun working for a soon coming fortune 500 company.

3 Ways to Get Paid Helping Other Students

This guest post was written by Brendan Baker, a writer for the Student of Fortune blog. You can also find him on the site’s twitter page: @studentfortune

Like any college student, you’d probably enjoy having a little more money in your pocket. But if you don’t have the time to dedicate to a full or part-time job, what other options do you have? Of course there are online opportunities, but more often than not the job is either a get-rich-quick-scheme or an always dubious work-from-home gig. You’re starting to wonder if there are any easy and reliable ways to make money out there.
Well look no further. Below I’ve listed 3 ways of making money that are simple and legitimate. But as an added bonus, these sites will not only bring you some serious dough, but you’ll be helping students like yourself at the same time.

Ready? Here are 3 great ways to earn money by…

1. Running errands
This is a relatively new concept that is really catching on. One of my favorite sites for this is called TaskRabbit, and the idea is simple: If you have an errand to run but you don’t have the time or energy, why not pay someone else to do it? Users can post just about any kind of task they need completed and others in the area will bid on the opportunity to complete it. The person with the lowest bid (and assuming they have passed a background check), gets the job. From picking up groceries to helping a neighbor move, there is no limit to the different kinds of tasks offered. Look for jobs you can bid on around your campus.

2. Tutoring
Are you a math whiz? Maybe you’re an expert in Greek architecture. If so, did know you could get paid for your expertise? Homework help sites are a great place to not only get help with math, science or a variety of other subjects, but you can make some pretty good money tutoring people in those subjects too. In fact, one of the highest earners from a site like StudentofFortune.com has made over $280,000 (Click here if you don’t believe me).

3. Taking notes
Ok, so maybe you’re not a math genius, but perhaps you take good notes. Lucky for you, now you can sell your quality work to needy students. All you have to do is upload your notes, specify the class, and then wait for an anxious student to purchase them. This might be a great alternative if you want to make some money but you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. I like Notehall for this.

As you can see, there are lots of legitimate ways to earn cash without breaking a sweat (unless of course your task is to move a piano across town). In all three of my examples, money can be earned without a long application process, with little to no work experience, and all on your time. Best of all, you’re helping students succeed at the same time. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Added by That College Kid Sydney

I personally have been using Cash Crate to make money since 2008. You fill out surveys and signup for websites. You will need another email address because you will get bombarded with marketing emails. Cash Crate is a great way to make easy money. I haven’t actually filled out a survey or done an offer since 2008. If you refer people, you get a portion of their earnings and a portion of their referrals’ earnings, too.