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Living On Campus vs Living Off Campus

One of the most exciting parts of heading off to college for many students, is living on their own for the first time. Whether that be in a freshman dorm, an on campus apartment, or in their very own off campus living space.

Some students may even choose to live at home during some or all of their college years. Leaving home, not having to follow their parent’s rules, and living amongst countless other coeds is undeniably exciting.

There’s no wrong answer about where to live in college as this is a highly personal decision. That being said, to gain a better understanding of the general pros and cons of living on campus vs off campus, keep reading!

Pros of Living On Campus

Students dream of the day they’ll pack their bags and begin their new life at college and a major part of that fantasy involves living on campus. Fair enough! Living in a freshman dorm with hoards of other students the same age or making new friends in a sorority house can be really fun. There are some benefits of living on campus that are hard to deny.

Generally, arranging on campus housing is relatively easy, especially for freshmen who may be more likely to get a spot, or may be required to live on-campus. Unlike apartment hunting, which can be time consuming and challenging, living on campus can be a more straightforward arrangement and there are generally additional resources provided for students in on-campus housing.

For example, there is generally a RA (Resident Advisor/Assistant) that can answer any questions and help resolve conflicts with roommates. Plus RA’s may run programming for the floor, or dorm, to encourage community and help students meet each other.

Typically students living in on campus housing can also purchase a meal plan, which means they don’t need to find time to grocery shop or cook meals when they should be cramming for finals.

Living on campus also means students are conveniently close to all of the resources provided by their school. Of course, they can get to class quickly, but they’ll also have easy access to on campus dining, gyms and fitness centers, the health center, libraries, and student recreation centers. Attending on campus events, rushing to office hours after class, and sleeping in is a lot easier when living on campus.

Cons of Living On Campus

While very convenient and exciting in many ways, on campus housing has its downsides. One of the most notorious cons of living on campus is that some schools may not allow first year students to choose their roommate.

While some schools try to match students based on their preferences (night owl vs early birds or clean vs messy), sometimes, getting an assigned roommate that is truly a good fit comes down to luck.

Roommate pairings can go so right (best friends for life) or so wrong (passive aggressiveness). Having a messy or noisy roommate can add to stress during an already challenging stage of life.

Pros of Living Off Campus

Thanks to Hollywood’s imagination and penchant for movies about wild college lifestyles, it’s easy to picture living in dormitories or on Greek row as the must-have college experience. But there are actually some benefits associated with living off campus.

Some students may greatly appreciate having a bit of separation from their school life and their personal life, especially as they inch closer to graduation and they begin to plan their transition to the post-college era.

One major benefit of living off campus is the potential to save some money on living expenses and to have some extra flexibility. Living off campus can be cheaper than living on campus depending on factors like where the college is located and how close to campus the house is located.

Students may also save money on room and board if they are able to live with a family member or rent a room in a house with multiple roommates, instead of getting their own apartment. Being able to cook their own meals in lieu of a meal plan could also potentially help them cut costs. It may take some number crunching to determine which option—on or off campus—is cheaper for you.

Another factor to consider is the lease on off campus housing. Students who are renting an apartment or house may be required to sign a 12-month lease as opposed to on campus housing which generally runs in tandem with the school’s schedule. This could be considered a pro in some cases, for example, if you plan to stay in your college town full year pursuing internships or research opportunities or your hometown is so far away that you cannot go home frequently. It could end up being a con if you are on the hook for a lease when you don’t actually need to be in town.

Aside from moving inconveniences, there are a lot of other day-to-day hassles of living on campus, including: having to follow campus rules, dealing with fire alarm drills, and not being able to choose a roommate.

Cons of Living Off Campus

In many ways, living off campus can offer students more flexibility but it can be a hassle. One example of this is that the student may have to commute.

While some students may be able to find off campus housing within walking distance to school, others may have to drive. This brings its own set of complications, such as traffic and parking on some college campuses can be expensive and competitive.

A commute may also make it less appealing to participate in on campus events and take advantage of campus amenities like gyms, health centers, and libraries.

Spending time with friends may also take more coordination than just walking down the hall and saying hey. Students who live on campus, and without a car, can also cut costs by not having to pay for car costs like gas, insurance, vehicle registration, maintenance, and parking passes.

When it comes to living in off campus housing, many students may also not be prepared to take on the responsibilities of adult living. While each student’s living situation will vary depending on their specific housing arrangements, many can expect to cook more, clean more, and be more responsible for properly maintaining their off campus housing. And if they’re having issues with their roommate, there is no RA to help them clear the air.

Not to mention, they may find it challenging to secure a responsible and respectful roommate who will pay their fair share of rent and utilities on time. Some students simply may not be ready to face all of the very adult challenges of truly living on their own.

Keeping School Requirements In Mind

At the end of the day, there is no “best” choice for a college living arrangement. There are so many variables such as the school’s location, the student’s priorities and personality, and how much each option will cost.

One caveat is that some students may not have a choice about whether they live on campus or not. Some colleges and universities require their students to live on campus for a certain amount of years. This is a more common requirement for freshman students as colleges want them to integrate into campus life and feel engaged and supported.

If a student does not want to live on campus, despite there being a requirement to do so, it’s worth seeing if the school allows students to petition to live off campus.

Allowances are sometimes made for those whose families live nearby, students who have health issues, and even students with specific dietary requirements that can’t be met easily through on campus dining options.

On the other end of the spectrum, some colleges only guarantee housing on-campus for a certain number of years, resulting in students living off campus at one time or another.

Some colleges and universities provide online resources and other information for students who are interested in living off campus. These resources can help students find housing and make the transition to off campus housing a bit easier.

Financing College Life

Regardless of where you live, you’ll need to figure out how to pay for it. Some students may be able to use the financial aid they receive to help pay for their room and board.

Scholarships may have restrictions on how they can be used, and room and board or rent may not be eligible expenses. Review the details of specific scholarships to understand what costs they can help fiance. Student loans can be used to pay for room and board as well.

There are two types of student loans that may be available to collegiates and their families: private and federal student loans.

There are two main differences (and many smaller ones) between private and federal student loans, the main difference being where they come from. Federal student loans come from the United States government and private loans can be obtained from private lenders such as banks, credit unions, and select state-based or state-affiliated organizations.

For federal loans, the government has set very specific terms and they are followed to the letter of the law. Private lenders however set their own terms and interest rates and repayment plans vary based on the lender. Federal students loans have certain benefits that private loans may not offer, such as fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans. Typically, private loans are more expensive than federal ones.

Online lenders can also offer private student loans. To make the process of applying for private student loans less stressful, SoFi has an application process that can be completed online. That way, students can focus on what really matters, which is hitting the books. Because flexibility matters, with SoFi Private Student Loans are fee free and students can add a cosigner to their application.

Learn more about SoFi’s Private Student Loans to help cover the entire cost of attending college.



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Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Balancing Being a Student Athlete & Academics in College

Going to college is a lot of work. Between studying for exams, cranking out term papers, and keeping up on homework, there is a lot to stay on top of.

For student athletes, there is even more to juggle. Their chosen sport is basically a full-time job―and a physically-demanding one at that. However, there is good news for the nearly 500,000 student athletes competing in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sports.

Despite the added challenges, student athletes have considerably higher graduation success rates than their classmates. On average, just 58% of students who started college in the fall of 2012 had earned a degree within six years.

Meanwhile, student athletes during the 2018-2019 academic year had the following graduation success rates:

•  Division I: 89%
•  Division II: 73%
•  Division III: 87%

Although student athletes are showing that hard work pays off, coming up with a game plan for college can help cross the finish line to graduate. Here are some tips for balancing your responsibilities in the classroom and on the court (or wherever you play).

Planning Your Class Schedule Accordingly

Often, coaches will outline clear timeframes for practice and training that student athletes need to plan their class schedules around. Additionally, games and competitions are usually scheduled far enough in advance for student athletes to know which days of the week they’ll be traveling most often.

Still, there may be some discretion in choosing class times. Keeping in mind when you prefer to eat, sleep, and study is key to creating a schedule that will help you perform as a student and athlete.

Although many student athletes maintain an active training schedule throughout the year, the official NCAA season (or the majority of it) for many sports occurs during either the fall or spring semester. Student athletes can take advantage of a more flexible offseason schedule by taking more academically-demanding classes and those that would otherwise conflict with their practice schedule.

Keeping Your Eye on the Prize

Student athletes invest countless hours in their chosen sport. Yet, the vast majority will graduate and pursue a career outside athletics. On average, just 2% of college student athletes move up to professional leagues after NCAA competition.

Academics are an integral part of being a successful student athlete. Choosing a degree program you’re passionate about and that supports your career goals can help keep you motivated and on track to graduate.

Each team and college may maintain its own standards for GPA requirements to compete, but the NCAA sets minimum requirements too. Division I and Division II athletes are required to meet initial eligibility criteria set by the NCAA while Division III student-athletes are held to the standards set by the schools they attend.

Just skating by in terms of GPA may allow you to compete, but it could hurt your candidacy for internships and jobs after graduation.

Building Relationships With Your Professors and Classmates

This advice could apply to any college student, but student athletes in particular stand to benefit from getting to know their professors and classmates early on in the semester.

To varying degrees, college sports teams travel off-campus for games and competitions, which means student athletes might miss some in-person class time. Meeting with professors at the beginning of the semester can show a commitment to your studies and help hash out any scheduling conflicts for classes and exams.

Also, making friends with classmates can be beneficial for exchanging class notes to cover each other’s absences, as well as forming study groups.

Finding an Accountability Buddy

Student athletes know the importance of teamwork. In addition to pushing each other to greatness at practice and the gym, teammates can be a support system to help achieve your academic goals too. Forging a partnership or study group to hold each other accountable to these goals, on and off the court or field, is one such strategy.

For starters, who can better relate to your experience and challenges balancing athletics and academics than a teammate? Together, you and your accountability buddy can capitalize on downtime on the road to away games to tackle assignments or plan a study night before a big game to resist the urge to party.

It’s okay if your goals are different. The important thing is that you find an accountability buddy you feel comfortable with and who will help keep you on track.

Prioritizing Health and Wellness

Both academics and sports can be demanding, and taking them on simultaneously requires serious stamina. Prioritizing physical and mental health by eating well, getting enough sleep, and finding ways to destress can help prevent burnout and stay sane. It’s okay to slip up every now and then, but creating a plan that you can stick to could make a difference in succeeding as a student athlete.

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

Many college students deal with stress between exams and assignments. For college student athletes, the pressure to succeed athletically and academically can be a lot to handle.

There is no shame in asking for help, and the sooner the better. College tutors can assist with everything from proofreading essays to prepping for a chemistry test. Approaching professors early with any concerns could also help with extra credit opportunities or a chance to redo an assignment.

What About Redshirting?

For Division I athletes, the NCAA regulation grants college student athletes a span of five years to compete in four years of athletic competition. For Division II and Division III students there is a 10-semester, or 15-quarter clock. This means that student athletes may take a year off from competing―a practice known as redshirting―as long as they continue taking coursework and meet other eligibility requirements.

Traditionally, redshirting is applied to allow students athletes more time to develop or recover from a significant injury. However, student athletes may be able to use redshirting to their advantage in terms of coursework.

Redshirting may allow students to take a more manageable course load by stretching their degree over ten semesters instead of eight. Alternatively, it can provide extra time to complete both a bachelors and graduate degree in one go.

Keep in mind that redshirting guidelines vary by division. For instance, Division I and II athletes are permitted to practice with their team during their redshirt season, whereas Division III athletes may not.

Paying for College

College is a big investment, but fortunately there are options for funding education. Financial aid, grants, work-study programs, and scholarships may be enough to pay for all or a portion of tuition and room and board.

Athletic Scholarships

There is more than $3 billion in athletic scholarships available to Division I and II student athletes, though it varies by sport. Athletics classified as headcount sports offer full ride scholarships to a certain number of athletes per team, whereas equivalency sports traditionally extend partial scholarships. Head count sports include the following:

For Men:
•  Division I basketball
•  Division I-A football

For Women:
•  Division I basketball
•  Division I tennis
•  Division I volleyball
•  Division I gymnastics

For equivalency sports, it’s up to the college and coaching staff to decide how to divide scholarship funds between student athletes.

Student Loans

In the event that scholarships, grants, and financial aid are not enough to cover tuition and living expenses, student athletes can take out student loans to help them cover the difference.

SoFi’s no-fee Private Student Loans, for example, let students apply online and learn if they are pre-qualified in a matter of minutes. Flexible loan repayment plans can help potential borrowers find a loan that works with their budget and financial plan.

Learn more about SoFi’s Private Student Loans and get ahead of the game on financing your education.



SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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College vs. University: What’s the Difference?

For many Americans, the words “college” and “university” are used virtually interchangeably —as attendees at both can earn an undergraduate degree. Having two terms describe similar types of schools can —understandably—be perplexing.

So, how’s a confused student to answer the question: “What’s the difference between a college and a university?”

Whether they opt to attend a college or university, students can earn a bachelor’s degree at either type of higher education institution. Still, some types of US colleges don’t offer four-year degrees— especially, community colleges and career colleges, which typically offer associates degrees and certificate programs.

When it comes to getting an undergraduate degree, understanding the differences between colleges and universities can be key in applying to the school that’s the right fit. (Uncertain where to go? Check out this helpful “What College Should I Go To?” quiz!)

Comparing College vs. University

So, how might a student compare the difference between a college and a university? Colleges and universities are both higher educational institutions that people attend after finishing high school, but there are some major distinctions between the two. Here’s a helpful overview explaining the difference between college vs. university:

Community Colleges

When it comes to understanding colleges, there are a few different types to keep in mind. Community colleges and career colleges are usually smaller, often offering two-year degrees, like an Associate’s Degree or pre-professional certificates. Many community colleges also host online degrees and, in some cases, do not expect students to live on campus.

Some students attend a community college with the intention of then transferring to a four-year college or university to get their undergraduate degree. Others opt for community colleges precisely because they want to earn a pre-professional or technical certificate and then work right away.

Four-Year Colleges

Another major type of college is a four-year institution. These types of colleges offer undergraduate degrees, typically a Bachelor of Arts (BA). Sometimes, students choose to go to community college first because it is less expensive. But, some students will choose to go directly to a four-year college after high school.

Generally, four-year colleges are smaller schools that tend to focus on offering undergraduate degrees and a broad-based curriculum, including the liberal arts. Frequently, four-year colleges expect students to reside on campus during some or all of their studies.

Understanding Universities

Universities can also offer undergraduate degrees, but they differ from colleges in some significant ways. Usually, a university is a larger institution, frequently offering graduate degrees as well.

In addition, most universities tend to be research-focused, hosting on-campus laboratories and hiring faculty recognized for their publications or academic findings. Universities can be either public or private.

One extra (and confusing) snarl here: at some institutions, the word college is also used to describe certain departments or sub-divisions of the school. For instance, a university might refer to the College of Liberal Arts, or the College of Engineering.

Examining Degree Programs

If a student is applying for their undergraduate degree, it can be helpful to know ahead of time which course of study (i.e., pre-med) or major is of interest. This way, it’s possible to research each college or university’s undergraduate academic programs.

Since the terms college and university are sometimes used interchangeably, it may be useful for applicants to do detailed research to see if a school’s academics might further their desired career or study goals.

Pros and Cons of College

When debating college vs university, one possible pro of choosing a college over a university is smaller size. Not all colleges are smaller than universities, but it is a common difference.

Sometimes, going to a smaller school could mean getting more one-on-one time with professors. For students hoping to maintain a relationship with professors after graduation (or those intending to apply to graduate school), more interaction with professors can be an added benefit. Having smaller class sizes could also make it easier to get to know classmates.

Some colleges, especially liberal arts colleges, tend to focus more on general education (rather than offering pre-professional or research-based programs). So, if students want to focus on a particular research topic (or career trajectory) from the start of their undergraduate career, they may want to check that the institutions they’re applying to actually offer those courses of study.

Colleges could also have more limitations in regards to class availability, as some limit the number of students allowed per class. This isn’t the case for every college, so it can be useful to research each specific school’s policies carefully.

Depending on the major chosen, some classes may not be offered every semester at smaller colleges, which could require that students engage in more long-term planning (to ensure they’re able to take all required classes before graduating).

Pros and Cons of University

Universities are, generally, larger and therefore boast more opportunities, when it comes to availability of classes, diversity of majors, and extracurricular activities offered outside of class. Whether it’s finding a niche major or hosting a vast variety of social clubs, larger universities often vaunt a buffet of choices for students.

Both public and private universities offer four-year degrees. There’s typically a difference in price, with public universities often being more affordable (and, in some instances, offering in-state tuition discounts for residents).

Universities might also offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Because universities can offer graduate degrees, there’s usually a stronger commitment to research at these schools, including master’s or doctoral degree programs.

For students who are looking to go to graduate school later on, some universities may offer easier admission to their own grad programs for students who finish their undergrad at the same school. If graduate school is a part of a student’s long-term goals, then a research-focused university could be worth a think.

The cons of going to a university can also be tied to size. A larger university can mean there are fewer opportunities for a student to secure one-on-one time with professors. There may be more large lecture classes offered at a university than at smaller colleges, too.

Large class sizes can also make it harder for students to get to know their fellow classmates.

Why Choose One Over the Other?

After all this talk about university vs. college, some readers might be craving a definitive

answer. Ultimately, the choice will depend on each student’s specific situation and academic or career goals. Identifying a specific course of study (or professional trajectory) up front might make it easier to choose which schools to apply to and, ultimately, which one to attend.

It’s important to take into account whether or not research experience is desired, graduate school is a goal, or extracurriculars are important to a student’s experience.

Neither a college or university is, by definition, a better choice. It’s okay to apply to both colleges and universities, as long as each school meets a student’s specific needs.

Funding College or University

Pricing can also impact a student’s choice of college. Applicants may want to consider what each school will cost to attend, opting to schools within their budget or those that offer more generous financial aid.

Whether opting for a college or university, both types of institutions can come with a hefty price tag. Public universities are generally more affordable for in-state students. Even then, it may be necessary for some students to pursue additional financing to pay for their undergraduate education.

Many students opt to fund college through multiple financial resources. Options for funding college include financial aid from the government (grants or loans), scholarships, family resources, and private loans.

When it comes to loans and grants, the total amount of aid you received cannot surpass the cost of attendance.

When students apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), they can determine if they’re eligible to receive grants or loans from the US government. Eligibility depends on the student’s financial need and additional certification requirements.

Students may be eligible to receive grants, loans, or a combination of the two. Grants typically don’t have to be repaid, but generally loans do. Federal loans come with repayment benefits that usually aren’t available with private student loans, like lower fixed interest rates and flexible repayment options.

Scholarships are sometimes merit-based, meaning they’re awarded based on achievement. In other cases, they’re based on financial need or community-based factors. One place to start looking for scholarships is with a school’s financial aid office.

Private student loans are another option for pay for the cost of college. Private loans are disbursed by non-governmental financial institutions and rates are, generally, based on the student’s credit history and income.

It’s important to do research first to find out how private loans may differ from lender to lender.

SoFi, for instance, offers no-fee private student loans. To learn how private student loans might help pay for a college degree, students may want to check out this guide to private student loans.

Curious if a private student loan is the right choice? SoFi can get you a quote in just 3 minutes!

Check out private student loans with SoFi.



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Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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A Guide to Law School Scholarships

So, you’ve been accepted to law school—congrats! You’re well on your way to embarking on a career that could help you fight for others’ rights and further the public good.

These are all laudable motivations, but chances are there’s something stronger weighing on you: How to pay for law school? It’s not necessarily clear how to find (or negotiate) scholarships for law school.

According to The Association of American Law Schools, on average, law school students paid $49,567 in tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 academic year to attend a private, out-of-state school—and, that amount doesn’t even include living expenses and other non-school costs that could pop up during graduate school.

U.S. News & World Report notes that the average annual cost of a public, out-of-state law school is $41,726, or $28,264 for in-state . (Even the lower cost option here comes to $84,792 for a three-year law program.)

Because students aren’t yet racking up those billable attorney hours, it can be helpful to research law school scholarship opportunities before applying. Here’s a broad overview of potential law school scholarships—plus some links to resources for students thinking about going to law school.

Crunching (and Swallowing) the Numbers

On the whole, according to non-profit organization Law School Transparency, law school tuition has been steadily rising over the last 35 years for all American Bar Association-approved law schools.

Per the numbers mentioned above, there might be a fair amount of sticker shock for those who haven’t yet applied for graduate school and are only thinking of someday going the lawyer route. (Here’s SoFi’s guide on how to apply to law school.) Fortunately, there are a range of options for aspiring attorneys seeking to fund law school.

In some cases, there are full-ride tuition scholarships and need-based grants out there. Full-rides of course, are not available at all law schools. If a law school doesn’t explicitly advertise or highlight information regarding full-ride opportunities, interested students can contact the school to ask. To offset the cost of attending law school, some school applicants may opt to apply only to programs that offer full- or partial- rides. One simple way to figure this out is old-fashioned Googling.

Students deciding whether to apply to law school may want to familiarize themselves with the language universities adopt to explain these scholarships. In some cases, specific scholarships are designated for particular students. Here are a few examples of how law schools describe their full-ride law school scholarship offerings— including, the University of Chicago Law School (which has several such opportunities), NYU’s Latinx Rights Scholarship, and Duke Law’s Mordecai Scholars. Magoosh, the higher education test-prep and study counseling company with the silly-sounding name, has published a 2018 list of a handful of others (along with suggestions on how to strengthen one’s resume when applying for such scholarships).

Full-ride law school scholarships can be highly competitive—with some schools offering as few as two to four per enrollment year. One potential tip for the search for scholarships is to target law schools with more tuition help.

U.S. News & World Report has organized and tabulated a list of 10 law schools that offer the most tuition assistance—reporting that “at least 77.8% of students who received grants at these schools got enough to cover more than half of tuition.” Some of the schools listed in U.S. News & World Report , like Pennsylvania State University-Carlisle, go as high as 93.2% of full-time students receiving aid in that amount.

If all of this is starting to sound like alphabet (and number) soup, there are dedicated resources like Fastweb to help prospective students find scholarships for which they may qualify. Fastweb is an online resource to help students find scholarships, financial aid, and even part-time jobs in support of college degrees.

The American Bar Association’s law-student division also has a running list (along with deadlines) of law student awards and scholarships. Additionally, the Law School Admission Council offers a list of diversity scholarships available to students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Here’s another guide on finding and applying for scholarships and one on unclaimed scholarship money.

Another resource that could be useful in factoring living expenses is this student loan calculator for aspiring law school students. Tools like this can, usually, auto-load the tuition and cost-of-living breakdowns for specific law schools. From here, it’s possible then to compare how much degrees from particular schools may end up costing.

Negotiating Wiggle Room

Doing all this research and the math around law school scholarships could put applicants in a more informed position when evaluating which program to attend—and, potentially, help them to identify schools more likely to be interested in their application.

A reality of today’s admissions process for law school is negotiating scholarships. Some schools have a strict policy against negotiating, but others fully expect their initial offer to be countered. That’s why it can help to save acceptance letters and anything in writing from schools that offer admission.

Offer letters could then be shared with competing schools, asking if they’re able to match another university’s aid. It might be uncomfortable asking for more tuition assistance upfront, but a little discomfort now could help applicants shoulder less law school debt later on. If arguing a position makes an applicant uncomfortable, it might be worth pondering whether to become a lawyer.

Doing research on law schools (and figuring out the likely cost-of-living expenses at each institution) could help applicants to determine which scores or grades to aim for in an effort to make law school more affordable for them. Tabulating expenses (and having them on hand) may also demonstrate to universities that the amounts being negotiated are based in well-documented expenses.

Law School Scholarships

There are lots of options for law-school hopefuls to find potential scholarships. The nonprofit organization Law School Admission Council (LSAC) has compiled a list of the many law school scholarships available to applicants .

From the LSAC’s list, the Attorney Ken Nugent Legal Scholarship ($5,000) and the BARBRI Law Preview’s “One Lawyer Can Change the World” Scholarship ($10,000) are worth pinning, due to the sizable chunk of change they offer.

Many law schools themselves offer competitive scholarships to attract stronger candidates. It might be helpful to check if a school also offers in-state residents specific tuition reductions or grants—especially true, if the applicant is considering a public school in their home state.

Similarly, some law firms offer scholarships. Usually applying is a straightforward process: Many, like the Rise To Shine Scholarship , only require a short essay to be considered. On top of this, there’s the rising trend of law firms helping new hires to repay a portion of their student debt once onboarded.

Federal vs. Private Loans for Law School

Students wanting to apply to law school could consider the differences between federal and private student loans. Federal loans come with certain benefits not guaranteed by private ones (such as, forbearance or income-driven repayment).

Private loans—like SoFi’s—can also help applicants to cover the expense of graduate school. So, it might be a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of both federal and private student loan options for law school.

For example, Direct PLUS loans for grads charge 7.08% in disbursement fees for the 2019-2020 academic year. (2020 numbers aren’t out yet.) SoFi Graduate Student Loans, by comparison, have no fees whatsoever—not even late or overdraft fees. Another great resource in understanding federal loans can be found over at studentaid.gov .

It’s important to note that private student loans don’t offer the same benefits and protections afforded to federal student loan borrowers, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). If a law school applicant is interested eventually in becoming a public defender or pursuing non-profit legal work, forgiveness and forbearance perks may play a role in their decision.

In addition to the financial aid resources mentioned above, more information can be found in SoFi’s overview of private student loans for graduate school. Those interested in figuring out how to pay for law school may want to check out SoFi’s competitive-rate private law school and MBA loans.

Law School Loans from SoFi

Going to law school is a big life decision. And, law school’s attendant costs add even more weight to this choice. If students interested in law school find themselves coming up short on funds for the JD after scholarships or federal aid, additional options may be available.

Some might seek out a student loan from a private lender, to name one possibility. SoFi’s private loans for law school offer competitive rates, flexible repayment options, and access to member benefits.

You can check your rates in just three minutes to see if a SoFi Law School Loan might help you pursue that dream of becoming a lawyer.

Learn more about private student loans for law school with SoFi.



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

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Tips for Taking Online Classes Successfully

A new semester is usually a fresh opportunity to collaborate and hobnob, but 2020 and beyond will be remembered as the time when learning largely went online.

As the coronavirus pandemic caused an increasing number of colleges to abandon or delay plans to open campuses, a scramble to adapt ensued.

But adapt everyone must. Welcome to the epic socially distant epoch of higher education. Can a collegian still thrive? Yes. A student can learn how to be successful in online classes.

Types of Online Classes

When trying to come up with a plan for not just taking but succeeding with online classes, the first step is to determine whether classes will be fully remote or a hybrid.

Hybrid Approach

A hybrid course is a mix of in-person instruction and remote learning. The exact schedule will vary by school, class, and instructor but may include several hours of live or prerecorded virtual learning per week with one in-person session.

For example, a chemistry course could include virtual learning and in-person lab work.

Hybrid courses offer the benefits of remote learning without fully abandoning in-person instruction, making it a prime choice for students concerned that online classes may not meet their needs.

Exclusively Virtual

Classes that are all virtual never meet in person. Instruction is given through live webinars, prerecorded video, and physical or digital material.

Depending on the format of the course, students can fit sessions into their schedule as they see fit, an option not provided by a hybrid or traditional class.

Benefits and Potential Pitfalls of Virtual Courses

While virtual learning is ideal for some students, it may be frustrating for others. Some degrees may not lend themselves to a virtual experience either. But for students who have taken the plunge into online learning, there are several benefits to talk about.

Pros of Online Courses

Flexibility. The ability to learn whenever and wherever is a priceless advantage for a student with a hectic schedule. Though there are still deadlines and due dates to abide by, learning can typically take place around work, social commitments, and personal preferences. While some courses may include live remote sessions, they’re typically recorded and available for preoccupied students to view at a later time.

Real-life experience. Online courses tend to put more responsibility on the student. Learning how to prioritize instruction in a flexible schedule can help prepare students for careers.

Potential savings. If a course was designed to be taught in person but has recently been adapted for online instruction, a discount may not be available.

But for courses originally built for virtual learning, students often find they can save on the average credit cost. An online degree also could have condensed schedules available, allowing a student to get through the courses faster.

There are other savings to consider. With online instruction, students don’t have to worry about paying for parking, gas, or lunch on the go (and there are ways to thrive as a commuter student).

If virtual learners can pursue an education while working full or part time, an option not always available to students bogged down by a schedule of in-person classes, they may be able to curb student loan debt.

Potential Cons of Online Courses

Minimal social benefits. One concern students might have when taking online classes is the lack of personal interaction. While some simply respond better to in-person learning, others worry that questions won’t be addressed as promptly or thoroughly in an online setting. Other students are motivated by interactions with fellow students and find themselves struggling to concentrate when learning virtually.

A lack of professional networking. Students often discover opportunities to build relationships with professors and assistants that can lead to careers. Virtual learning makes these relationships more difficult to find and develop.

Scheduling conflicts. While the flexibility of online classes is appealing to most, it can create scheduling conflicts. If students are challenged by time management, they may find themselves procrastinating and struggling to manage their workload and deadlines.

Tips for Online Classes

Here are some words to the wise for taking online courses, for both newbies and experienced virtual students.

•  Respect the course. Do you suspect that an online course has less value than in-person instruction? The educational value is the same. It’s just being delivered in a different fashion.
•  Think about time management. Even experienced virtual students can improve their time management skills. Review the syllabus at the start of the semester, note major assignments, and look for potential conflicts.
•  Try to avoid distractions. When taking online courses, it might be best not to set up in front of the TV, as tempting as it may be. Consider cobbling together a home office that blocks distractions and creates a productive environment.
•  Participate. While an online class can be an introvert’s dream, there are still opportunities to participate. Many online courses offer a forum for students and instructors to discuss course materials, comment on one another’s work, and ask questions as needed.

Funding the Virtual Voyage

Even though some online classes are more affordable than their in-person variations, tuition costs may cause a bit of sticker shock. Consider the following options when determining how to pay for virtual classes, keeping in mind that certain institutions may have rules limiting payment methods.

Federal Loans

By filling out the FAFSA®, approved students can obtain federal funding for their education. Known for low and fixed rates, federal student loans don’t typically require payments to begin until graduation.

Private Loans

With a good credit rating and a little patience, students can find private student loans through private lenders, if needed. Though they often come with repayment plans that start right away, they are an option for students denied federal aid or whose costs are not completely covered by federal aid.

Federal student loans offer benefits that don’t typically accompany private loans. It’s generally thought that students and parents should exhaust federal student loan options before considering private loans.

Paying à la Carte

Online courses are designed to fit a working student’s schedule (though being employed certainly isn’t a requirement). Many students who enjoy online classes take them as they’re financially able, paying for them with their own money at the time payment is due, either upfront or through a college’s payment plan.

During this time of great adjustment, don’t let finances become another worry. Consider a private student loan from SoFi to jumpstart the virtual college experience.

Many students have found SoFi Private Student Loans to be affordable and convenient, thanks to flexible repayment options and no fees—no origination fees, late fees, or insufficient-funds fees.

A private loan can cover up to 100% of the cost of school-certified attendance, both for in-person and online courses. A SoFi Private Student Loan can help cover additional costs after federal aid or become a lifeline for those denied government assistance.

Interested in a private student loan? Apply for one with SoFi today.



SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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