Scholarships — The Jordan Krakauer Memorial Scholarship

July 30th, 2015 by


NextStepU is happy to help guide you toward scholarships and opportunities to earn money for college. Here is a new scholarship we found for you!

Scholarship: The Jordan Krakauer Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Description: In memory of Krakauer, whom passed away on February 8, 2015 suddenly, at the age of 22, a one full-time enrolled student majoring in the field of Sports Management/Marketing at any accredited college in the U.S. will receive a scholarship of $10,000 annually. To date, the fund has received donations from several sports notables including Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Vince Coleman, Jason Kidd and Carl Banks.

Requirements: Must fill out the form online, meet the criteria listed above and 

Deadline: Unknown

For more information: Visit The Jordan Krakauer Memorial Scholarship website.

Best of luck to those who apply!

> Want to continue your search? Take a look at NextStepU’s database of more than 2 million scholarships after you register at




Adjusting to your first year in college

July 29th, 2015 by

iStock_000049563202MediumThe summer is quickly drawing to a close and if you’re a student who’s just graduated — congrats! You’ve likely started preparing for your first year of college. If you’re not starting school yet, the nerves about what it might like can still be scary to consider. During this first step of your college career, you may be wondering what it’s like to adjust to a college atmosphere. Nerves, excitement, and curiosity are all present as you take that initial step into college. I have experienced all of this as I walked through the doors of Monroe Community College on my first day. I remember being excited, but slightly nervous as I started my first day.

Looking back, my first adjustment to college life wasn’t as scary as I expected it to be. I recall walking around campus trying to locate my classrooms, and it was at first a little overwhelming because the environment, classes, and people were different compared to high school. But soon enough, it all started to feel a little more comfortable.

As a freshman, I learned to take it all in and explore the campus. My advice to you is to put yourself out there. Spend some time creating friendships and making connections with your professors. While in class, do not be afraid to engage in class room discussions. This helps others to know who you are as a student. Be proactive in all you do while in college.

The first adjustment is a significant part of your next step. Think of this as an adventure; a journey with new beginnings. I also learned that creating a schedule and organizing your work helps make the transition a little bit smoother. By being less stressed about what you’re doing and where you have to be, you can actually sit back and take it all in. Take a moment and focus on your strengths and discover new ones through this experience.

Keep in mind that building relationships with your classmates and teachers can help you become more confortable while beginning your college experience. Do not be shy. Be creative, engaged, prepared, and excited to see what college has in store for you! Make yourself known to others in your classes and as you walk around campus. Remember this first adjustment is only the beginning of what is to come as you experience your own college journey.

valerieValerie first attended Monroe Community College and later transferred to Roberts Wesleyan College as a communication major with a concentration in business. Her ultimate career goal is to become a news anchor. Valerie is originally from Rochester, New York and her hobbies include writing and hiking.


Trendy Tuesday — Saving on BTS Purchases

July 28th, 2015 by

college studentWe know, we know — talking about “back to school” anything is enough to make your skin crawl. But the inevitable is already here — and you’re going to have to start budgeting for those costly school supplies.

Luckily, it’s not too difficult to find ways to save on your supplies, whether you’re headed back to high school or starting your first year at college. Andrea Woroch, consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., shares her tips to saving those necessary bucks on your back to school purchases:

1. Shop at home
When you go grocery shopping, you generally have a good idea of what’s filling your ‘fridge and pantry. Take the same approach with back-to-school shopping and search around the house for any supplies you already have or can reuse. If there are optional items on the supply list, hold off on buying those until you’re absolutely sure you need them.

2. Time your purchase
They say timing is everything, and that’s especially true for back-to-school shopping. Those living in or near states offering tax-free holidays should shop these days to save on sales tax. Since summer clothes are on clearance (yes, already!), it’s best to load up on tee shirts and shorts and hold off until September and October for fall apparel, including denim. If you’re unsure of the best time to buy items, use tools like or the SnapUp app to track prices for you. Finally, continue tracking prices even after you make your purchase, since stores including Kohl’s and Target will offer price adjustments for items that go on sale after you buy them.

3. Shop smart for extracurricular activities
In addition to school clothing and classroom supplies, consider the equipment you will need for your extracurricular activities. Shopping smart for these pricey items can help you save big bucks. For example, Play It Again Sports offers gently-used sporting equipment for up to 90% savings compared to department stores. You can also shop online for musical instruments and save with coupon codes. For example, currently has a promo code for 10% off American Musical Supply, where acoustic guitars start at $199.

4. Look for last year’s model.
If you need a tablet or computer to complete your coursework, don’t pay full price for the latest model — even if it’s tempting! To save big bucks, opt for last year’s models or consider refurbished. A previously-owned and certified laptop, tablet or smartphone from Apple, Samsung, AT&T or Verizon comes with a warranty and can save you anywhere from 20 to 40%. You can also trade in old gadgets and smartphones at such sites as or to retail stores including Target and Best Buy for cash or store credit.

5. Use social media.
Stores reward customers who like, follow, post, tag, pin, tweet and retweet, offering social media fans exclusive coupons codes and special savings. Like a brand on Facebook or follow them on Twitter for a chance of unlocking special savings. Create retail lists for easy-to-browse sales and instant offers. Check in to a retail location on Foursquare for freebies and coupons and track prices with Pinterest. Ultimately, it pays to be social!

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Huffington Post, Forbes and many more. For more information, visit or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.


Major Monday — Social Work

July 27th, 2015 by

iStock_000020391535MediumYou have probably heard of a career as a social worker — but do you really know what it entails? Social workers are prevalent in many aspects of life — in child welfare, in clinical and mental health facilities, and in palliative and hospice care. If you are someone who likes to help others no matter what their difficulties are, you might want to consider a career as a social worker.

To work in this field, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in order to practice. Depending on the area in which you want to practice, you may also have to continue your education to a Master’s degree or further licensing. While earning your undergrad, you should expect to take classes in sociology, psychology, social work policy, community outreach, welfare programs and ethics. Be prepared to also do plenty of work outside of the classroom — you will have to complete fieldwork hours in your community that will give you a hands-on approach to what a career in social work is really like.

What to know before you apply
A career in social work is not always an easy one. You should be prepared to deal with difficult situations and have a lot of patience. Additionally, you should be aware of the requirements it takes to be a licensed social worker. How many hours of field work does your state require? Do the schools you’re applying to give you those hours? Make sure you’re getting the training you need.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social workers earned an average of $44,200 per year as of 2012.

For more information about social work careers, take the course at


Scholarships — MoolahSPOT

July 23rd, 2015 by


NextStepU is happy to help guide you toward scholarships and opportunities to earn money for college. Here is a new scholarship we found for you!

Scholarship: The $1,000 MoolahSPOT Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Description: This scholarship helps students pay for higher education. The competition is based on a short essay. Family income, grades and test scores are not used in selecting a winner. The award must be used for any education-related expenses such as tuition, fees, books and room and board.

Requirements: Must be at least 16 years or older, plan to attend (or is currently attending) college or graduate school. Students may be of any nationality and reside in any country, but all applications must be completed in English.

Deadline: August 31, 2015. Winners will be notified by mail and email approximately 8 weeks after the deadline.

For more information: Visit the MoolahSPOT website.

Best of luck to those who apply!

> Want to continue your search? Take a look at NextStepU’s database of more than 2 million scholarships after you register at



Top 5 college decision factors

July 22nd, 2015 by

GraduationAs you approach your next step, you’ll soon discover that there are many ways you can approach your college search. You can attend a private college, a public college, a co-ed college, an affiliated college, a community college…the list goes on. But what kind of school is right for you? It doesn’t often have to do with the type of college at all. Many more important factors come into play more than just being an Ivy League or a state school.

While in high school, I didn’t really have a clue about my college decision.  I originally had a desire to attend a four-year university, but when I was informed about a community college option during my senior year, my plans took a turn in a whole different direction.

In my previous blog, I mentioned that I attended Monroe Community College for my first two years. I would like to give you some reasons to consider when researching community colleges in your area. These are key reasons that guided me in my decision, and hopefully it can help you with yours — whether you attend a community college, a private college or anything in between.

Financial needs
A community college was much more affordable than spending my first two years at a private college and it helped me save money in the long run. Make sure you keep your financial situation in mind when looking for a college — and also consider the scholarships and aid you could receive. Sometimes a private school with many scholarships is more affordable than a state college with no scholarships!

At my community college, I had an opportunity to fulfill my general education requirements and take courses that gave me an in-depth understanding of my major. But keep in mind: make sure your school has a solid policy for transferring credits to a four-year institution otherwise you’ll risk losing all those general credits you worked so hard for!

Having professors that took the time to get to know me and help me with my studies was an important factor in my decision. At MCC, I was able to learn from knowledgeable teachers who helped me learn to the best of my abilities. Check out the student-faculty ratio at the schools you’re researching — is it small enough that you’ll get the attention you deserve? Or are you okay with relying more on yourself at schools with a higher ratio?

At my college, I learned how to interact with different students and create friendships with students who had like-minded goals. Student population is important when choosing a college because you want to be surrounded by people who will help you become your best self. Consider affiliated colleges like religious colleges or gender-specific schools if it will help you attain your focus and make lasting friendships along the way.

College life
MCC was a great stepping stone into the world beyond high school. I learned how to balance a heavy workload and maintain grades that enabled me to transfer to a four-year school. For you, you might be ready to jump into the four-year college experience right away — and that’s great! Just make sure you consider other factors like extracurriculars, clubs, activities and other aspects of college life. You don’t want to be somewhere that will overwhelm you any more than you want to be somewhere that bores you!

Remember, college is what you make it. Two-year colleges offer opportunities that are far and wide, but that may or may not be the best option for you. You may have the same reasons when it comes to researching colleges as I did when I was in high school.

For me, my MCC experience has brought me to where I am today. I learned how to become a college student and meet other new students. You can too! First, you must weigh all your options and create your own list of reasons why you should attend a college. You will be surprised at how far you will go in your college career. It just takes a step in the right direction.

valerieValerie first attended Monroe Community College and later transferred to Roberts Wesleyan College as a communication major with a concentration in business. Her ultimate career goal is to become a news anchor. Valerie is originally from Rochester, New York and her hobbies include writing and hiking.


Tuesday Tour Day — University of Houston – Downtown

July 21st, 2015 by

uhv-dUHD is an urban university located in Houston’s central business district. It is the second largest public, four-year university in the city and is considered one of the most ethnically diverse liberal arts institutions in the southwest, a distinction that indicates the student body accurately reflects the Houston community’s wealth of cultures, languages and nationalities. The University offers all students a specially tailored opportunity for quality higher education, as well as small classes and personal interest from faculty

UHD offers 48 undergraduate majors, six master’s degrees, including an MBA, and 13 online degrees. UHD offers a wide selection of prestigious programs, including criminal justice, social work, urban education and the Scholars Academy, which is an academically competitive program for students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Campus life
With over 30 student organizations, the Office of Student Activities & Events works diligently to serve the diverse needs of students. From honor societies and Greek organizations, to cultural and social groups, it is easy to get involved on campus. UHD also has its own student newspaper, “Dateline.” UHD is also recognized for community engagement, receiving the U.S. President’s Award for Community Service four consecutive years. If sports is more your scene, The University has 11 intramural and nine club sports teams for men and women, including powerlifting, basketball, soccer, cheerleading and more.

For Texas residents, full-time tuition costs $4,650; for out of state students, tuition is $14,040. Financial aid packages average about $8,441 for both in-state and out of state students.

For more about UHV — Downtown and to request information, visit


Major Monday — HVAC

July 20th, 2015 by

Portrait Of Female Engineering Apprentice In Store RoomStaying comfortable when it’s hot or cold outside is something that many people have become accustomed to. But, without heating or air conditioning, that comfort would not be possible. That’s where HVAC professionals come in — they are in charge of installing, inspecting and repairing heating, ventilation and air conditioning units. If you are interested in a hands-on job that is in high demand, consider majoring in HVAC.

A major in HVAC will either lead to a certificate or associate’s degree, depending on if you attend a trade school or community college. In high school, consider taking technology and shop courses as well as math and physics. At the college level, prepare to jump in with hands-on training with a licensed professional that will immediately start showing you how units work and how to fix them.

What to know before you apply
While trade schools and community colleges will give you the necessary know-how and experience you need, you may also want to consider an apprenticeship. You are required to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent as well as be at least 18 years old, pass a basic math test, and complete 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and an additional 144 hours of technical related education. Apprenticeships typically last from 3-5 years but, depending on your needs, could be a better option to kick-start your career.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC specialists earned an average of $43,000 per year as of 2012.

Want to learn more about HVAC as a career? Take this free online course to see if it is right for you. 



Scholarships — Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship

July 16th, 2015 by


NextStepU is happy to help guide you toward scholarships and opportunities to earn money for college. Here is a new scholarship we found for you!

Scholarship: The Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Description: Winners are chosen by committee, which bases its decision primarily on the submitted personal statement. The award can be used for tuition, room and board, required fees or any educational expense.

Write an essay of 250 words on one the following topics:
1. Why do you deserve to win this scholarship?
2. Describe your academic or career goals?
3. Any topic of your choice.

Requirements: Must be a student in 9th-12th grade high school, college, or graduate student (including adult students). Must be a legal resident of the U.S.  and currently in school or planning to start school within the next 12 months.

Deadline: July 31, 2015

For more information: Visit The Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship website.

Best of luck to those who apply!

> Want to continue your search? Take a look at NextStepU’s database of more than 2 million scholarships after you register at




Why you should get involved on campus

July 15th, 2015 by

iStock_000013022616MediumMany of you are preparing now to begin your first year of college. First of all — congratulations! You’ve made it so far and there are many more exciting opportunities ahead of you.

While the thought of getting to college is stressful enough, the thought of getting involved can be even scarier. We’re afraid to go alone, we won’t know anyone, what if it’s stupid, and if I don’t go I can sit in my dorm room and watch Netflix or take a nap. All those excuses can talk you out of getting involved — but really they are wasting your time because getting involved on campus will be one of the best decisions you make.

I was a transfer student after my freshman year of college. I lived in a single dorm room (yes, no roommate) and the only people I “knew” on campus were kids I went to high school with but they had already been there a whole year and had their own friends.

Not even five days on campus and I walked into my college’s television studio and joined their student-run TV station. It was the best decision I ever made. From there it led me to numerous other clubs and organizations, landed me two internships in future years and gave me some of my best friends.

I’m sure you will get hundreds of emails, see posters and flyers posted all over the halls of event and clubs happening when you go to college; so when you see one that sounds cool or interesting, go. You don’t want to miss an opportunity that could lead to so much more. Don’t be afraid that you won’t know anyone or that none of your friends want to go, you will always make new friends.

Not every extracurricular activity you go to or every organization you join will work out, but at least you went and it could lead you to go to more. You also don’t want to wait and go until your junior or senior year and end up loving it and realize you missed out on so much.

Take advantage of every opportunity and chance that comes your way; don’t waste time. Remember, it’s your college experience, make the most of it.

headshotWritten by Annalise Cosco. Annalise attended St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. She has a love and passion for writing and is a complete “news junkie.” She’s the kind of girl who loves shopping, chick flicks and pumpkin flavored everything, but is also a complete sports fanatic.