March Madness and Story Time

Can your application tell a story?Is your bracket busted yet? (Probably.)

One of the things that draws even casual sports fans to March Madness is the storylines—the last-minute excitement, the players’ personal stories, the upsets, the Cinderella runs deep into the tournament.

And during the tournament, absolutely everything becomes a story. As I write, one of the top stories on Yahoo Sports is about the chair that GA State coach Ron Hunter fell out of in excitement when his son hit a game winning shot. Yes—the chair, which is now a treasured object of superstitious reverence. Of course! But another great story (and one of the enduring images of this year’s tournament, even after GA State was eliminated in the next round).

Stories make the game more exciting by giving us a personal connection to it. That’s how we tend to relate to the world around us. And I think it’s a useful thing to remember when you’re writing application essays: stories matter.

Your personal experiences add depth and interest to your application essays, helping you stand out and illustrating the qualities and goals you’re explaining. As you prepare to write, think about the stories you want to tell. It can be helpful to do some prewriting—think through some of the experiences you want to write about and what you learned from them, as well as how they relate to what you want to do in the future. This will give you some good material to draw on in your essay(s).

And…Go Bruins! (If they’re eliminated by the time you read this—better luck next year.)

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!

 

Rebecca BlusteinBy Dr. Rebecca BlusteinAccepted.com consultant since 2008, former Student Affairs Officer at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center, and author of the ebook, Financing Your Future: Winning Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards for Grad School. Dr. Blustein, who earned her Ph.D. at UCLA, assists our clients applying to MS, MA, and Ph.D. programs. She is happy to assist you with your grad school applications.

Related Resources: 

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essays
• Telling Your Story in Your Application Essay
• MBA Application Essays: All You Need is a Story

It’s about Way More than the Grades at the Ross BBA Program

Download: 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in your Grad School Statement of Purpose Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what are you studying?

Danny: I am from West Bloomfield. I am a senior at the University of Michigan studying Business. I also have a passion for technology so have taken various computer science and product design classes over the years.

Accepted: Why did you choose Ross’s BBA program? How is it the best program for you?

Danny: I chose the Ross BBA program because of my interest in business from a young age. Ross was the best program for me because of its flexibility and variety of classes. While I knew I was interested in business, I had no idea what that really meant or what specifically I was interested in. Ross gave me the ability to figure this out.

Accepted: Which other programs had you considered when you were applying to schools a few years ago?

Danny: Computer Science, School of Information

Accepted: Now that you’re about to graduate, can you share some advice with students who are may be starting out their undergraduate careers in the fall? What do you wish you would’ve known before starting the BBA program?

Danny: It’s about way more than the grades. The people you meet and the experiences you share are more important and valuable than any single class or skill you learn.

Accepted: Can you share some job highlights with us? What are some of your most recent jobs?

Danny: Last summer, I worked at Lightbank, an early stage VC firm in Chicago. I did some traditional analyst work but I spent most of my time as a designer-in-residence. 

Accepted: Do you have a post-graduation job lined up yet? What role (if any) did Ross’s career services department help you in this process?

Danny: Yes, I will be working at Trunk Club in Chicago as a Product Designer. Ross Career Services didn’t play any role directly (I recruited only off-campus) but I have done a few mock interviews/career workshops over the years.

Accepted: Do you plan on pursuing additional degrees?

Danny: Not in the near future, but it’s a possibility down the road. In my current field (technology/design), the degree you have is not as important as experience/skills. However, I could see myself going back to school to get an MBA eventually.

Accepted: Do you have any other tips for our applicants?

Danny: Figure out what you really want to do before applying. A genuine and honest application will get you further than anything else.

For one-on-one guidance on your college applications, please see our College Application Packages.

You can read more about Danny’s journey by checking out his website, http://dannyfreed.com/, or by following him on Twitter (@dannyfreed). Thank you Danny for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes
Michigan Ross B-School Zone
• An IE Grad Reflects on Spain, School, and Career Searching

Reminder: Actionable Postbac Tips Webinar on Wednesday!

If you haven’t yet registered for Wednesday’s webinar, 9 Keys to Postbac Acceptance in 2015, then please take a moment to do so now (it literally will take you a few seconds). The tips that you will learn in this webinar will be instrumental to helping you choose wisely and then apply successfully to the BEST postbac program for you.

Postbac CoverRemember, acceptance to a postbac program could make or break your future as a physician. Don’t miss out – this webinar is for you!

Details:
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST

Click Here to Save Your Spot! Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

3 Ways to Make Your Own Student Loan Luck

Not sure how to fund your MBA? Listen to this podcast for pointers.

Luck can’t pay off student loans, but YOU can!

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”  – Benjamin Franklin

If you’re one of the 37 million Americans with student loans, you know it’s going to take a lot more than a few four-leaf clovers to make your debt disappear. You wouldn’t rely on winning the lottery in order to pay your loans, would you?  Unfortunately, neglecting to understand the various loan repayment options can be just as foolish, because you may be missing out on opportunities to reduce or even eliminate your debt burden. Essentially, leaving your loans to chance could mean leaving money on the table.

Rather than wait around for good fortune to find you, take a proactive approach by seeing if one of these three options apply to you:

1.  Spend money to save money
. All education loans, whether federal or private, allow for penalty-free prepayment, which means that you can pay more than the monthly minimum or make extra payments without incurring a fee. Prepaying may sound painful, but the benefits can be huge. The more you do it, the sooner you’re done with your loans – and the less interest you spend over the life of the loan.

Let’s say you have a $100,000 student loan balance at a 6.8% interest rate and 10-year term. If you increased your monthly payment by just $100, you’d save about $5,600 in total interest and pay off your loans about a year early. Or perhaps you pay down an extra $2,000 per year using your annual bonus, saving yourself about $7,400 in interest and paying off your loans about 1.5 years early. Every borrower’s situation is different, but you can do the math on your own loans with a calculator like this.

One thing to note – prepaying is most effective when the extra cash is applied directly to your principal, rather than being earmarked for future payments.  It’s best to check with your loan servicer to see what their policy is before increasing or adding extra payments.

How to get lucky: Commit to increasing your monthly student loan payment each time you get a raise and/or putting a percentage of every bonus toward your loan balance.

2.  Recalibrate your rate
. One of the fastest ways to slash your student loan burden is to lower the interest rate on your loans, which can only be accomplished through the act of refinancing. In addition to reducing the amount of interest you pay on your loan over time, refinancing can allow you to make lower monthly payments or shorten your payment term (so that you can be done with your loans sooner).

Student loan refinancing is still a relatively new option, so many borrowers who could be eligible to refinance aren’t even aware the opportunity exists. Which is unfortunate, because the savings can be significant.  For example, the average SoFi borrower saves $9,400 when they refinance with us.*  In addition, some private lenders offer additional benefits to borrowers when they refinance, such as complimentary career coaching and entrepreneurial support.

How to get lucky: When shopping around for a refinance lender, be sure to compare interest rates as well as other potential benefits.

3.  Ask for forgiveness. What borrower hasn’t fantasized about winning the lottery and paying off their loans in one fell swoop?  Unfortunately, you’re more likely to get hit by an asteroid than win a seven figure jackpot. So what’s the next best thing? How about making your student loan balance magically disappear.

It sounds too good to be true, but this is the basic idea behind student loan forgiveness. Surprisingly, there are quite a few ways to get your loan slate wiped clean, but the most well-known one (and the one that applies to the most people) is the government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. Under the program, borrowers who work full-time for a qualifying public service organization may be eligible to have federal loans forgiven after 10 years of on-time monthly payments.

Before you skim over this section and assume that PSLF won’t apply to you, consider this: The CFPB estimates that about one in four working Americans has a job that meets the definition of “public service”, and yet they believe a “substantial sum” is left on the table by borrowers who don’t take advantage. This may be because the definition is broader than what most people would expect – for example, soldiers, doctors at non-profit hospitals and public defenders are all examples of professions that may qualify a borrower for PSLF.

How to get lucky: Find out if you qualify for PSLF or other forgiveness programs by contacting your student loan servicer.  

*SoFi average borrower savings assumes 10-year student loan refinancing with a weighted average rate of 7.67% and a loan balance of $86,000, compared to SoFi’s median 10-year rates of 5.875% (with AutoPay).

This post is by Anna Wolf and originally appeared on the SoFi Blog. SoFi connects alumni borrowers and investors to refinance private and federal student loans.

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• SoFi: Alumni Funded Student Loans
Tips for Financing Your MBA
• PayScale: How Much You Can Earn, and How to Earn It

Three Topics to Discuss in Waitlist Letters

If you are on a waitlist, Linda Abraham has something to tell you:

Get off that waitlist! Listen how Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• College Applicants: Waitlisted or Rejected?
Help! I’ve Been Waitlisted!
How to Write Waitlist Update Letters