meeting between co-workers

What Does Life Post MBA Look Like?

Earning an MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree is no small feat. Between the work you did in undergrad, the application process, determining how to pay for your MBA education, and completing your studies, internship(s), and other work—you’ve done a lot. You should be proud of yourself!

But what comes next?

After all, you’ve taken a breadth of courses. According to The Princeton Review, core business school
(often taken in Year 1 of a two-year program) cover a range of topics: finance, management, accounting, decision science, organizational behavior, and economics. During Year 2, students may specialize their studies.

For example, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business offers courses including technology, health management, and corporate social responsibility. All these subjects are designed to help an MBA grad develop the skills to lead in a business setting.

According to a survey by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, about 57% of survey respondents reported wanting to acquire new business-related skills and knowledge.

Others hoped the degree would increase their job prospects, help them build a strong professional network, help them make a positive difference in the world and/or lead to an increased salary.

With these skills in hand, there are a number of avenues your post-MBA career can follow. Below, you’ll find some of the paths today’s MBA-holders are considering—and they may not be what you expect. And because MBA students leave school with an average of $70,000 in loans, we’ll dig into possible ways to tackle that debt, too.


According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), MBA grads are likely to find opportunities in the tech world . Major tech companies include Amazon, Microsoft, and Google—and their lesser known counterparts are hiring MBA grads, too. GMAC polled recruiters, and 89% said they were looking to employee people with a business degree.

MBA grads might be hired for work in strategy, product management, business development, finance, operations, or human resources. Depending on your undergraduate degree (computer science, engineering, etc), your previous work experience, and your specialization in grad school, some roles may be a better fit than others.


If you’re an MBA grad aiming to making a positive environmental or social impact, you may be leaning towards a job at the intersection of business and sustainability. You could work for a company devoted to green energy such as a solar power company, or an automobile brand that makes hybrid and electric cars.

You might also want to consider a company that aims to develop new green products, or that wants to make its current business practices more sustainable.

“Environmental issues like climate change and its impacts are going to profoundly affect businesses across almost every sector in coming decades,” said Katie Kross, managing director at the Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE) at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. “Today’s MBA students are launching their careers in a world where natural resource constraints have far-reaching implications for how businesses operate.”

See how refinancing could help
you pay off your MBA sooner.


By definition, an entrepreneur is an innovator who launches and operates a business, often taking on most of the financial risk and reaping most of the rewards.

Business schools recruit future business leaders, so plenty of MBA students attend graduate school hoping to gather the skills necessary to create and run a successful company. Some even started companies before attending business school, gaining valuable experience, with specific questions about how to improve their business.

Cameron McCain is one such MBA grad . According to McCain, the biggest advantages to earning an MBA as an entrepreneur, for him, included building a network. One day, those people may be behind the doors you’re knocking on in your quest for capital. He also says that an MBA helps entrepreneurs fill in the gaps of their own business acumen. For McCain, that meant focusing on finance, an area in which he had less experience.


Fashion, entertainment, and sports companies likely need people with a business background. Take film and television companies, for instance. Like other businesses, they require market data analysis. Which products are succeeding? Which are failing? Being able to look at consumer data and then make strategic business moves is an MBA-taught skill set.

Entrepreneur Cara Withers Shaw , who got her MBA from Pepperdine University, worked for multiple entertainment companies (Disney, Twentieth Century Fox) before launching her own company. She says her time in business school helped her develop the quantitative and qualitative analytical skills she needed to study movie-going data.

But What About My Loans?

If you attended a two-year MBA program at a top business school and took out student loans in order to do so, chances are you’re looking at around $80,000 to over $100,000 in student loan debt.

This doesn’t mean your hard-earned degree isn’t worth it, financially speaking. Debt for B-School grads who attended Harvard, Stanford, or the University of Chicago ranges from $86,000 to $116,000; their average salary is about $161,000. That said, even with a hefty salary, grads’ loans may be overwhelming.

There are strategies that may make your monthly payments more manageable. First, once you know your income, you might spend some time making a new budget that factors your loan payments into your expenses. You might consider setting up automatic payments, which could ease your stress—and keep you from missing a payment.

And refinancing your student loans at a lower interest rate may help lessen the amount of interest you pay over time, potentially saving you money in the long haul. (Keep in mind that if you have federal loans, refinancing means losing access to benefits like student loan forgiveness, especially if you choose to work in the public sector.)

Regardless of the path you choose, your MBA likely played a large part in getting you there. And with a better handle on your student loans, you’ll likely have more energy and time to devote to making it count.

Thinking about refinancing your MBA loans? Find your interest rate with SoFi here.

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.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.

SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.


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Price to Rent Ratio in 5 Cities

The path to homeownership isn’t always a straight line. After all, there are so many factors that could come into play in the rent vs. own debate. Considerations might include how long you plan to stay in a specific home and location, have you saved enough for a down payment, if you are ready for the responsibility that comes with maintaining a house.

However, one of the biggest considerations when thinking about your housing options comes down to the cost of rent vs the cost to own in any town or city. Often referred to as the price to rent ratio, this calculation can be a helpful tool when determining the rent to value ratio in a certain area.

This ratio is a benchmark that can help potential homeowners as they decide whether or not to plunk down their life savings on a home. Here’s exactly what that ratio is and what it looks like in the top five major metro areas in the United States.

What Is the Price to Rent Ratio?

The price-to-rent ratio may sound intimidating, but fear not, it’s easier to break down than you may think. It’s compares cost of rent to mortgage in a ratio format.

Here’s an example for you: Let’s say the average annual rent paid in the city you are considering living in is $3,000 a month and the average property selling price is $1,000,000.

The price to rent ratio would be calculated by taking the $1,000,000 property value and dividing it by 12 months. That equals $8,333.33 a month.

Next, divide that number by the average rent. In this case, that would be $8,333.33 ÷ $3,000. This gives you the price to rent ratio, which in this example is 27.78.

Alternatively, you could divide the median home price by median “yearly” rent, so $1,000,000 / $36,000. This will give you the same price to rent ratio of 27.78.

This rent to price ratio can indicate whether housing may be overpriced in an area. It can also be helpful when estimating whether it is cheaper to buy or rent. Investors who purchase rental properties often look at this ratio before purchasing an investment property to rent out later as well.

The price to rent ratio can sometimes be used as an indicator of an impending housing bubble. Since a substantial increase in this ratio could mean that renting is becoming a more attractive option in that specific housing market.

Understanding what this ratio means and learning how to calculate this ratio for yourself could be useful information as you consider whether to rent or buy.

There are a variety of resources that describe price to rent ratios in different communities that can helpful in determining what areas are best to rent in or to buy across the country. There are even some helpful online calculators that can give you an estimate of the price to rent ratio in specific zip codes.

Check out local real estate
market trends to help with
your home-buying journey.

Price to Rent Ratio: When to Buy and When to Rent?

So, is the theoretical town with a price to rent ratio of 27.78 a better place to buy or to rent?

A price to rent ratio ranging from 1 to 15 typically indicates that it is better to buy than it is to rent in a given community. A price to rent ratio of 16 to 20 indicates it is typically better to rent than buy, and a ratio of rent to home price of 21 or more indicates it is better to rent than buy.

Since the theoretical town falls into 21+ category, it would be a rent friendly community. Of course, like all things in life, there are a few exceptions to this rule, but these are general guidelines to follow when making the all-important housing decision.

Looking for a few real-life ratios? Here are five popular metropolitan areas in the United States and their price-to-rent ratios to help you make a better informed decision on your next move.

New York, NY

According to SmartAsset’s 2019 analysis , New York City’s price to rent ratio is 36.83 based on the equivalent of a $1,000 rental to its $441,987 purchased home counterpart. And, as described above, that makes the city a renter’s market rather than a buyer’s one.

San Francisco, CA

It’s no secret that San Francisco’s housing market is one of the most competitive in the country . So, perhaps unsurprisingly, its price-to-rent ratio is a whopping 50.11 based on a $1,000 rental that is equivalent to a $601,362 purchased home, according to SmartAsset.

Boston, MA

In Boston, SmartAsset found that would-be residents will find a price-to-rent ratio of 29.23 based on that $1,000 rental equivalent to a $350,811 home. While that’s lower than New York and San Francisco, but the price to rent ratio indicates that it may still be a renter’s market.

Denver, CO

Compared to SF and NY, Denver may have a more buyer friendly market, with an estimated price to rent ratio of 25.60 based on a $1,000 rental and a $307,232 home. That still puts it above the threshold for those wavering between renting and buying.

Chicago, IL

One major city to make the list of places where it’s better to buy than rent is Chicago, which scored a 19.99 based on a $1,000 rental and a $239,831 home price.

But not all cities have price to rent ratios as high as these five hot markets. For example, Detroit has one of the lowest price to rent ratios at just 5.35 when comparing a $1,000 rental price and a $64,194 home.

Deciding You’re Ready to Buy

If you decide you’re ready to buy there are ways to make it more financially feasible, no matter your chosen city’s price-to-rent ratio. And that includes looking into mortgage options so you can find the best option. As you embark on your search, consider SoFi.

SoFi Mortgages offer qualifying borrowers competitive rates and no hidden fees. Plus some people can qualify for a loan with as little as a 10% down payment. You can find out if you pre-qualify for a mortgage in just a few minutes. That way, when the right home comes along—at the right price—you’ll be ready.

Price to rent ratio just right? When you’re ready to buy check out SoFi’s mortgage options.

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.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See for more information.


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credit card puzzle

How Long Does it Take to Repair Credit?

Do you know what your credit score is? If not, maybe it’s time to take a peek.

Knowledge is power, and knowing (and understanding) your credit score is important. It may just be three digits, but your credit score can be an impactful number—it can be used to determine whether or not you’re able to borrow a loan or even to rent an apartment.

If you’re new to the game and don’t have much credit history, you may be wondering how to build credit. On the other hand, if you are in need of a little credit restoration, you might be wondering how long it takes to repair credit.

The truth is there is no hard and fast timeline. Building credit from scratch can take time and so can rebuilding it. The process can be complex and can vary from person to person. In fact, many factors can affect your credit scores, so we want to be clear here that SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. This is just a higher-level look at some factors to help give you a better idea of what the credit-repair landscape can look like. With all that said, let’s dive in!

Factors that Can Influence Your Credit Score & Report

A credit score gives a numerical value to a person’s credit history. It can help give lenders a big-picture look at a potential borrower’s creditworthiness. These scores (there isn’t just one) give lenders insight into how reliable a person might be when it comes to repaying their debt.

This can influence a lender’s decision on whether or not to loan a person money, how much money they are willing to lend, and even the rates and terms for which a borrower qualifies.

Since credit scores are so widely used, it’s easy to see why some individuals may be interested in improving their credit scores. First, it might be helpful to understand the factors used to actually determine your score. Let’s take a look specifically at what goes into a FICO® Score 8 , since that is the credit score used by many lenders right now. Typically, the two most prominent are payment history and credit utilization ratio.

Your payment history accounts for approximately 35% of your FICO® Score, making it one of the most influential factors. Even just one missed or late payment could potentially lower a person’s credit score.

Lenders want to be sure that you’re able to payoff the debt, and a history of on-time payments could illustrate your reliability. A history littered with late payments could be a red flag.

Credit utilization ratio accounts for 35% of your FICO® Score . Credit utilization ratio is your total revolving debt in comparison to your total available revolving credit. Revolving credit is what’s considered when looking at an individual’s credit utilization ratio.

Revolving credit (also known as revolving debt) is essentially credit that is renewed as it is paid off, like credit cards. So, things like credit cards or other lines of credit will be included in a utilization ratio while other debts, like student loans or a mortgage, wouldn’t be.

A low credit utilization ratio can indicate to lenders that you are effectively managing your credit. Typically, lenders like to see a credit utilization ratio that is less than 30% , but how much credit being used is “too much” can depend on a number of factors.

Those factors, like the mix of your credit, the number of hard credit inquiries in your name, the length of your credit history, and negative information (like a foreclosure) can also impact your credit score.

Credit Issues: How Long Do They Linger?

Negative factors like late payments and foreclosures can hang around on your credit report for a while. Generally, the information is included for around seven years .

Bankruptcy is an exception to this seven year guideline—it can linger on your credit report for up to 10 years , depending on the type of bankruptcy filed. Bankruptcies filed under Chapter 7 can be reported for up to 10 years from the filing date. Bankruptcies filed under Chapter 13 can be reported for seven.

While a late payment will be listed on a credit report for seven years, as time passes it typically has less of an impact .

Disputing an Error on Your Credit Report

Checking your credit report can help you stay on top of your credit. You’ll also be able to make sure the information is correct, and if needed, dispute any mistakes.

There are three major credit bureaus—Experian®, Equifax, and TransUnion® . Once a year you can request a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus, at no cost. Checking in with each report may feel a little repetitive, but it’s possible that the credit bureaus could have slightly different information on file.

If you find that there are discrepancies or errors , you can write a letter to dispute the mistake. You’ll have to write to each credit bureau individually. Generally, you’ll need to send in a letter with documentation to support your claim. Once you’ve submitted your dispute letter, the bureaus have 30 days to respond .

Often times, a bureau will require additional supporting documentation, which can lead to some back and forth within or sometimes after the 30 days. It could take anywhere from three to six months to resolve a credit dispute, but it could take less time, or potentially even longer, depending on the issues being disputed.

Staying on Top of Credit Repair Efforts

Sometimes, resolving issues on a credit report isn’t enough to completely repair a bad credit score. On the bright side, credit scores aren’t permanent. Here are a few ideas for helping to keep up with your own credit restoration plan.

Improving Account Management

If you’re struggling to keep up with accounts with a variety of financial institutions, it could be time to simplify. Take stock of your investments, debts, credit cards, and savings or checking accounts. Is there any opportunity to consolidate?

Having your accounts in one, easy to check location can make it easier to ensure you never miss an alert or important deadline. Having easy access and visibility into your accounts can help you spot any issues as they pop up, so they don’t fester under the surface and surprise you when you least expect it.

Making Payments On-Time

Lenders can be hesitant to lend money to people with a history of late payments. So make sure you’re aware of each bill’s due date and make your payments on time. One idea? You could set up autopay so you don’t even have to think about it.

Limiting Credit Utilization Ratio

It could help to set a realistic budget that reflects your credit utilization ratio and stick to it. Some accounts will let you set up balance alerts that can warn you as you inch closer to the 30% guideline. Another option could be paying your credit card bill more frequently (for example, setting up a mid-cycle payment in addition to your regular payment).

Strategizing to Destroy Debt

When it comes to paying off debt, having a plan can help. Without a clearly defined strategy, it can be easy to get swept up in the stress of debt.

For example, using a credit card can be an effective way to build credit, but if not used responsibly, credit card debt can be incredibly difficult to pay off. Not only that, it could end up impacting your credit score. As a part of your credit restoration plan, you might consider putting a debt repayment plan into place.

Your finances and personal situation will be a major factor in the debt repayment strategy that works best for you. If you need some inspiration, these potential methods may be helpful to reference in your quest to pay off debt. If you decide that one of these options works for you, here’s how you might go about them.

The Snowball

The Snowball Method of paying off debt is pretty straightforward. To put it into action, you would organize your debts from smallest to largest, without factoring in the interest rates.

Then you’d continue to make the minimum payments on all of your debts while paying as much as much as possible on your smallest debt. When the smallest debt is paid off, you’d then roll that money into debt payments for the next smallest debt—until all of your debt is repaid.

This strategy is all about changing behavior and building in incentives to help keep you going. Starting with the smallest debt means you’d see the reward of paying it off faster than if you had started with the larger debt. While this method can help keep you motivated and laser focused on eliminating your debt, it isn’t always the most cost effective, since it doesn’t take into account interest rates.

The Avalanche

The Debt Avalanche method encourages adherents to focus on high interest debts first. Prioritizing debts the debts with the highest interest rates by putting any extra cash towards them, while making the minimum payments on all of your other debts, could help save money in interest in the long run. And it could even help you pay off your debts sooner than the Snowball Method.

The Fireball

The Fireball combines the Snowball and Avalanche methods in a hybrid approach designed to help you blaze through costly debt so you can focus on the things that matter most to you.

The first step in this method is to go through all of your debts and categorize them as either “good” or “bad.” “Good” debts are those with an interest rate of less than 7%. Debts with interest rates higher than 7% are considered “bad.” Then, you’d list your “bad” debts from the smallest amount to the largest amount.

Then you’d take a look at your budget and see how much money you have to funnel toward making extra debt payments. While making the minimum monthly payment on all outstanding debts, you’d direct the extra funds toward the bad debt with the smallest amount.

When that smallest balance is repaid in full, you’d apply the total amount you were paying on that debt to the next smallest debt. Then you’d continue this pattern, moving through each outstanding bad debt until they are all paid in full.

An important note: while you are moving fiercely through your bad debts, you would still follow the normal payment schedule on your good debts.

When you’ve incinerated your bad debts, then you’d apply the money you were using to pay off bad debt toward investing in a financial goal—like saving for a house or for retirement.

By focusing on the debts with the highest interest rates first, this method could save you some change when compared with the Snowball Method. And, since you’re then targeting bad debt from the smallest balance to the largest, you could still benefit from the same psychological boost as you see your debt shrink, one payment at a time.

The Fireball also places an emphasis on saving for the future over repaying low-interest debt, so some people may find this method less appealing, especially if they have a strong aversion to debt.

Creating a Goals-Based Approach

Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. So, it makes sense that setting some financial goals could be a smart step in fine-tuning your financial plan.

Having financial goals could possibly help you streamline your efforts. If you’re actively working toward saving for a down payment, you may feel less inclined to spend money elsewhere.

You could try setting short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. In the short-term your goals might be as simple as tracking your spending and setting up a budget. For mid-term goals, you might think about something a little further out, like buying a house or saving for a child’s education. Long-term goals are often things like saving for retirement.

Writing down your goals and setting a time for when you’d like to reach them can help you set up your plan.

Organizing Your Finances

Organizing your finances has never been easier thanks to handy credit repair apps and financial tracking software. If you’re looking for a tool to help you manage your money with ease, take a look at SoFi Relay.

You can connect your accounts, even those unaffiliated with SoFi, to the app so you have visibility to all your finances in one place that can be accessed in an instant. This can make it easier to see when payments are due. You can also track your cash flow and spending in real time, so you’ll never have to wonder where your credit cards stand.

With SoFi Relay, you also have the option to speak with a licensed financial advisor to clarify your goals and refine your financial plan.

It might take some time, but reaching your goals isn’t impossible. Learn how SoFi Relay can help.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Third Party Trademarks: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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.

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, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term “SoFi Invest” refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.

This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice about bankruptcy.

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A Guide to Traveling With Pets

If the thought of hopping in a car for an epic road trip to has you excited, we’re right there with you. But, if you have a furry friend at home, the thought of leaving them behind may tug at your heartstrings.

For some, traveling is especially rewarding with someone to share in the adventure. So why not bring your four-legged friends along too?

Traveling with a pet is becoming more and more popular. According to the 2017–2018 National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), some 85 million American families own at least one pet. Of those owners, about 37% travel with their furry companion every year.

But adding a pet to the mix can make for more complicated logistics. There’s the mode of transportation and finding a pet friendly hotel to consider.

Traveling with a pet may require a bit more planning before you jet off on your adventure. Here are a few ideas on how to travel with pets so you can avoid leaving your furry best friend behind.

Finding a Pet-Friendly Destination

If you want to travel with your beloved animal, you might first want to find a place willing to accept them. For most Americans, that means traveling domestically.

Traveling internationally can be a pain with a pooch (or other animal, for that matter). That’s because the laws of entry vary from country to country and can include lengthy stays in quarantine for your animal.

You may find that traveling domestically comes with fewer restrictions. Within the United States, you might want to check that your hotel or rental accommodation allows pets, or if there are any extra fees or rules surrounding animals on the premises.

Thinking About Your Travel Method

Once you figure out where you’re going, it might be time to think about your mode of transportation. According to the Humane Society , it’s often a better choice to drive to your destination with your pet than fly. And you might want to think carefully before traveling with a cat—as the Humane Society said on its website, “Cats are almost always better off in their own home.”

If you decide to take a dog or cat along for your road trip, you might want to ensure your little buddy’s safety. According to the Humane Society, animals should be safe and secure in a carrier or crate in the back seat. While this could help keep your pet safe, it might also help you, the driver, stay focused on the road.

But what if you don’t want to take your own vehicle? Some rental car companies allow you to take your pet along with you, but you might want to call ahead to find out if there are any restrictions.

Before hitting the open road, it might be a good idea to plan out where you can stop to water and feed your pet and let them relieve themselves. But when you get out of the car, you might want to make sure your animal does too. Leaving pets alone in a vehicle can be dangerous, especially on warm days.

And if you’re thinking about cruising with your pet, be warned: It’s fairly difficult to find a cruise that is pet friendly. Some cruises allow service animals, but rules vary by company .

There is only one transatlantic cruise that currently allows passengers to bring their pets—Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 —and it only allows pets on a select few itineraries. Even then, all pets are housed in kennels, but owners are allowed to visit during specific hours.

If you absolutely must fly, the Humane Society suggests you weigh the risk vs. the benefits. The organization noted it can be particularly dangerous for animals with “pushed-in” faces. like bulldogs and Persian cats. That’s because their short nasal passages make them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation.

Ensuring the Airline Accepts Your Pet

If you decide to take your animal with you on a plane, first ask the airline if it accepts animals in the cabin. Policies vary by airline , but many allow cats and dogs in the cabin that are under certain weight limits and can be kept in a carrier throughout the journey.

Some airlines only allow pets in the cargo hold, while others, like Southwest and Jet Blue , only allow crated pets of a certain size in the cabin, and no pets at all in the cargo hold. In addition, some airlines may require animals to fly with a certificate from a veterinarian stating that the animal is in good health.

When flying with a pet, the Humane Society recommends flying direct routes, making sure your pet has an I.D. tag, and giving your pet only medications or tranquilizers prescribed by a veterinarian. It could be helpful to talk to your veterinarian to see what they recommend before flying.

And finally, you might double check that the airline you’re flying with allows your animal’s breed onboard. For example, you cannot fly with a “pit bull type dog” on Delta Airlines , even if it’s a service animal.

Making Sure Your Pet Can Come Along

Like we said earlier, road tripping with your pal might be easier because you don’t need approval to take them in your own car. However, you might need to check if your hotels along the route not only allow pets, but whether they allow animals to stay in the room alone, among other restrictions.

Next, you could think about what you plan to do along the way. For example, pets are only allowed in certain areas of most national parks , such as in campgrounds and developed areas. They may be restricted from certain trails, so you might want to check the rules before you go.

And driving across the border with your pet may not be the easiest thing either. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , animals can cross over the border and return with their owners, but they must have valid documentation from a veterinarian.

And U.S. border agents reserve the right to refuse entry to animals that appear ill. So if your pet gets sick in Canada or Mexico, you might have a difficult time getting them back home.

Packing the Right Things

Sure, you may know what you need to pack for a vacation, but do you know what your little friend needs too? For your trip, you might want to pack enough food for each day, along with a spare meal or two just in case you’re delayed. If you’re going on a long car journey, you might make room for a spare gallon of water for your pal too.

Like you, pets need to have a good time, so you might want to bring along their favorite toys to not only keep them stimulated but to also help them feel more like they are at home. A few things that you could consider packing—their favorite blanket, a few treats, and any medications your animal may need.

Factoring in the Extra Costs

Once you have a destination and travel plan in place, it might be time to consider how to pay for it all. Owning a pet comes with its own expenses, and so does traveling with one. While planning your pet-included adventure, you may pad the budget a little bit more than if you were traveling solo and consider looking into vacation loans.

Like the additional fees for air travel, you might run into additional fees if you travel by train, as well. For $26, Amtrak allows pets up to 20 pounds to travel with their humans on some trips for up to seven hours.

Once you arrive at your destination, you might have to pay a bit more for your pet too. Though many hotels now allow pets, they may require a fee. Policies vary from hotel to hotel. Even home shares may require pet deposits or ask that renters pay an additional fee, so you might check in with the owner before making any reservation.

If You Can’t Bring Your Pet Along

If you find it’s too unreasonable, or too pricey, to bring your pet with you on your trip, don’t despair. There are plenty of other options for how to take care of your pet while you’re away. First, you could go to a trusted family member or friend to ask if they are willing to watch your pet.

If your typical go-tos aren’t available, you could check out dog-sitting services in your area. One option,
, connects pet owners to pet sitters in their area. Owners can filter would-be sitters by experience levels, price, and even whether they are willing to sleep over at your house with your pet.

You might also consider boarding your pet at a kennel. Many offer amenities like doggy day care and spa packages for your furry friend. Some even offer the comforts of home, like queen-size beds and televisions.

Taking SoFi Checking and Savings With You

Bringing your best furry friend with you should be fun, not stressful. You could help limit financial stress on the road with a reliable checking and savings account, like SoFi Checking and Savings®️, that you can take anywhere. With SoFi Checking and Savings, users can save, spend, and earn all in one place.

You could use the card to pay for all the expenses along the way, including your roadside snacks and your pup’s favorite treats, and cover those pesky airline fees for your cat. You have access to your money around the world (at 55,000+ ATMs), without any ATM fees.

Looking to hit the road with your pet pal? Learn more about how SoFi Checking and Savings®️ could help simplify your spending on the road.

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® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi Money® is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member
SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank.
SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.

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How to Study for AP Exams

It’s pretty much a given that you need to study for your AP Exams, but for how long? And how much can vary depending on everything from your personal study habits and the AP class itself.

When planning out how to study for an AP test, keep in mind that your AP classes might not cover all of the course material until a month or so before the test itself, which you’ll typically take in May, toward the end of the school year.

Creating a Study Timeline

Doing well on your AP Exams could also pay off later in college, potentially saving you money by helping reduce your course load. One smart way to prepare for your AP test is to create a timeline leading up to the test. Giving yourself a schedule you can (hopefully) stick to might help keep you organized while studying.

Here are some ideas to help you prepare for your upcoming AP Exams—all arranged in a timeline leading up to your AP tests.

January (16 Weeks Out)

To first figure out how to study for AP Exams, you can evaluate how your current AP classes are going. One place to start is by checking your grades from last semester and if you are struggling with a certain topic, contacting your teacher to see what help is available.

You might want to schedule some extra one-on-one time or join (or even start) a specific class study group. Of course, your grade isn’t necessarily an indication of the score you will get on your AP Exam. But, if your teacher has been using AP practice questions on tests, that could still give you a sense of your early performance—and it may even boost your confidence going into the test if you’re acing those practice answers.

This might be about when you want to start deciding which AP Exams you want to take in May. Just because you are in an AP class doesn’t mean you have to take the AP exam in that subject. But, you should also consider which exams might help put you on a path toward college and career success.

The test schedule is always published well in advance of the exam days. You can start by checking to see when your exams will take place and blocking the dates out in your calendar now. If you have exams scheduled for the same date and time, this is a good time to ask your AP coordinator or teacher about taking one during an approved late-testing period .

February (12 Weeks Out)

A productive next step is to learn the format for each AP exam you plan to take. Paying attention to the structure of class tests might give you a keen understanding of the types of questions you can expect.

There are a total of 38 AP Exams, and each has its own requirements. Most will be two to three hours long with a mix of multiple-choice and free-response questions, according to the College Board.

February is when students with disabilities must request any accommodations during the exams. If you will need testing accommodation, you’d want to approach your AP teachers or AP coordinator ahead of the deadline.

March (8 Weeks Out)

If you are a homeschool student, or attending a high school without AP Exams, March is usually when you must contact AP Services for a list of local schools and coordinators where you can arrange to take your test(s). Keep in mind, however, that sometimes schools need to order exams for students by November , so it’s important to do your research early.

AP Exams cost $94 each in 2019 , so this month would also be a great time to start budgeting for how many exams you plan to take and how you will pay for them. Even if your parents are paying for your exams, you’re responsible for making sure they understand the cost and when to submit payment to your school.

The College Board, which oversees the AP, offers a $32 fee reduction for students facing financial hardship, and individual states also provide some funds to help reduce the test cost even more.

You should start to really delve into your AP study regimen about halfway through the school year , so when you return from winter break, it you’d want to gather your notes and organize them in a way that makes them easy to study. Then, by March, it might be time to actually start reviewing those notes.

March may also be a good time to take a practice exam. After reviewing your practice examine, you can come up with a study plan to go over your notes and materials for a few hours every week.

April (Four Weeks Out)

By April, you will probably be completely registered for all of your AP Exams. If you haven’t gotten a link from your school guidance counselor, you may want to check in with a school administrator. This is when you really should start to study in earnest, if you haven’t done so already.

Now’s the time to start taking more practice exams, in addition to your regular study and review. You can look up old AP questions online or find a course-specific prep book. School libraries might even have review materials, if you don’t want to buy your own.

Once you’re four weeks out, it might be more efficient to study just the areas you feel less practiced and confident in, rather than trying to cram in all of the information from the past year. The practice exams and questions can help you sort out which topics just need a simple refresh, and which ones you might need to actually relearn.

May (It’s Time!)

You can kick May off by taking another practice exam and focusing on the results compared to when you first began reviewing all those weeks ago. After that, it’s all about day-of test prep, which might include making sure you have your test dates and times marked in your calendar and that you are using the correct, approved calculator for math and science exams.

On test day, you can start your day with a good breakfast—and keep snacks on hand if you are taking multiple tests in one day. Hopefully all of the studying from the last few months will be worth it when you sit down to take the AP Exam and you feel prepared.

AP Study Hacks and Habits

Working on good study habits in high school can help you to feel more confident when you take your AP Exams, but it can also benefit you in the long run when you need to study in college. That’s why using your AP Exam study time to help you figure out what methods work best for you is so crucial.

In college, you might need to devote a few hours throughout the day to studying, depending on your classes and the time of year. But even with shorter study periods, you may want to build in incentives to keep you motivated. A 10-minute walk outside or around your house at the end of every hour is a great way to keep your mind sharp.

Or, you could hold off watching your favorite TV show or playing your favorite video game until after you have finished studying for the day.

This delayed gratification could help keep you incentivized to study efficiently—without rushing through just to get it over with.

During school, it can also help to consolidate your notes at the end of every week. When you are reviewing your notes from your AP classes, you can try organizing the information as it relates to the sections on the exam. By grouping your notes into related “chunks,” you might find that it’s easier to remember (or refer back to) key points as you get further away from the lesson.

Plus, instead of having a year’s or semester’s worth of scattered information to review as you start taking practice AP Exams, you’ll have a clear, organized information with your note summaries.

Planning for Your Future

The College Board says that nearly all colleges and universities in the U.S. offer credit, advanced placement, or both based on your AP scores, typically with an AP score of 3 or higher.

Some students have reported reducing an entire year of school using AP credits, meaning that your AP Exams could end up saving you a lot of money in college. Of course, you will still need to find a way to pay for college, whether it is three, four, or more years.

When federal loans and aid aren’t enough to cover the cost of tuition, some students find private student loans are able to bridge the gap. While students should exhaust all federal loan options before considering private loans from any lender (including SoFi), if it seems like private student loans may be necessary, know that SoFi also offers private undergraduate loans.

SoFi private student loans offer flexible repayment options and terms, and don’t worry, there are no hidden fees.

One difference between a federal student loan and a SoFi private student loan is that with SoFi, you choose a repayment plan upfront that best matches your financial needs:

Deferred: Similar to the repayment plan offered by the federal government for those types of loans, this plan will mean you start paying the principal loan amount and interest six months after leaving school. This means you do not have to worry about making payments while still in college, but it is the highest overall cost option.

Interest only: Paying just the interest payments while in school. This can result in a moderate payment while in college, but can help reduce your overall cost and repayment total.

Partial: This SoFi repayment plan for private student loans means you’ll pay a $25 monthly payment while in school. This is the lowest payment option for making payments while in school, and may reduce some overall interest costs.

Immediate: You’ll have monthly payments that pay back your principal loan and interest right away, starting as soon as you take out the loan. This is the lowest overall cost option, but requires a higher payment while still in school.

No matter how hard you study for the AP Exams, it’s important to budget some time to study your federal and private loan options, including private undergraduate loans from SoFi.

Learn more about private undergraduate loans from SoFi.

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.

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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 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.


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