Scholarship Sources for Trades Training

Scholarship-Sources-for-Trades-TrainingThe cost of four-year bachelor degrees is constantly on the rise, while job prospects for a liberal arts education seem to be constantly falling. This trend has prompted many people to consider an education and a career in the trades instead. While trade schools are a great alternative to four-year universities, they nevertheless do still come with tuition costs that may be difficult for you to pay. If you are interested in trades training and are looking for scholarships and financial aid, then there four main potential sources of funding that you should be looking at:

1) Financial Aid from Your Institution 

One of the first things to do when looking for scholarships is to find out what sort of financial aid is available directly from your community college or vocational school. You should speak to someone from the Financial Aid or Admissions office so that they can help connect you with the right resources. Even if your school’s website or brochure doesn’t mention any scholarships, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they have nothing available or can’t assist you with finding funding. It is always best to ask.

2) Federally Funded Financial Aid 

Federally funded aid is another good avenue to check out if you are a trades student. You should first find out if your school accepts the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which can provide you with both grants and loans during your time at school. You may even be eligible for further federal funding through the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, the Tech Prep Education Program, and the Advanced Technological Education program, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

These programs are all great for students who are attending 2-year trade colleges. Make sure that you check out all of your options and you may be able to secure enough federal funding to help you out immensely with tuition cost.

3) Financial Aid from Your Employer

Another potential source of student aid may be directly through your current or future employer. Many trade companies offer to pay some tuition costs in order to ensure that they can get and keep skilled workers. For example, you may agree to work for a plumbing company for a certain amount of time after you finish your training, and in return that company will pay for some of your tuition. While your employer likely won’t cover everything, it can be a perfect complement to the scholarship sources already described above. Plus, you’ll already have guaranteed yourself a job after you finish your training.

4) Independent Commercial Funding

While the above three options should be your main choices for student aid, they may not always cover your tuition completely. In this case you can also take a look at independent commercial funding. For example, Sallie Mae has a career training loan for students enrolled at technical schools. Home Depot also offers a nice $5,000 scholarship to students who are receiving training in construction, HVAC, or contracting.

Three Common Job Interview Mistakes

Avoiding-Three-Common-Job-Interview-MistakesJob interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience. Elevated levels of stress can cause job applicants to make uncharacteristic mistakes that might hurt their chances of landing their dream job. It is essential for applicants to present themselves in a calm, professional and confident manner during a job interview. Even a simple mistake can detract from this professional image and indicate a lack of preparation. Avoiding these common mistakes can help you stand out from other people applying for the same job.

# 1: Careless Appearance

One of the most common mistakes made by job applicants is negligence regarding their appearance and attitude. As a job applicant, you may have only a few minutes to convince the interviewer that you are the right choice for the available position. It is imperative that you appear confident and prepared during these brief moments. Even small details like posture and tone of voice can affect the impression you convey to the interviewer.

The best way to avoid an unprofessional appearance is to allow plenty of time for preparation. Make sure that you have clean and suitable clothes readily available well before the interview. Rushing your preparations or dressing hurriedly can lead to a sloppy appearance. You should also consider the nature of the position for which you are applying when deciding what clothing to wear. A “business casual” style of dress is suitable in most cases. Flashy or gaudy jewelry, however, or wrinkled or stained clothing, should never be worn to a job interview.

# 2: Careless Behavior

The next important aspect of a professional appearance for your job interview is appropriate behavior. For example, speaking nervously or too rapidly can sometimes give the impression that you are inadequately prepared. Exhibiting poor posture or focus may also be interpreted as an indication of a poor work ethic. You can avoid these mistakes by practicing before the interview. Recruit a friend or two to help you participate in a mock interview. You can make a list of common interview questions in your field and practice several responses. Plenty of preparation can help any job applicant impress their interviewer.

# 3: Careless Resume

Another very common mistake is failing to bring an appropriate resume to the interview. An inadequate or incomplete resume can badly hurt your chances of impressing the hiring manager. You should create a proper, complete resume well in advance of the interview, and should revise it as many times as necessary to ensure it is both unique and professional. If you wish, you can find many high-quality sample resumes online to study before you revise your own.

An excellent resume should highlight your most impressive qualities as they relate to the job for which you are applying. You should spend plenty of time perfecting your resume before an interview, of course. However, you should also spend time practicing a brief, concise verbal summary of that resume to present during the interview itself. You may even want to practice reciting this summary in front of a mirror to ensure that you can maintain a natural, professional and confident delivery.

An interview for a new job need not be an overwhelmingly stressful experience. Appropriate attire, proper attitude and a well-written resume are great foundations when learning new interview skills. Think of each interview as preparation for future interviews, as well as for other professional meetings you will have throughout your career. Each interview will help you learn new and valuable communication skills that will use over and over again.

You May Qualify for a Grant Worth Up to $5,730 to Return to School

Thinking about going back to school? There could be federal grant money waiting for you.

It’s true. Students by the thousands are becoming pleasantly surprised by the fact that they may be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. This type of financial aid is ideal for adults looking to go back to school (even online schools) such as:

  • Recently laid off workers
  • Single moms
  • Those looking for a career change
  • Anyone looking to go back to school and increase their earning potential

The Federal Pell Grant is currently an annual award up to $5,730 and is usually given to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a college degree. This grant is awarded to students with financial need and best of all a Federal Pell Grant does not have to be repaid.

Why a College Degree is More Important Than Ever

With the rise of tuition prices over the years, people have debated whether or not a college degree is still worth the cost. Based on evidence provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, the answer is a resounding yes, and it’s not even close. In fact, most adults with a bachelor’s degree earn $23,764 more per year than those with only a high school diploma. That’s over a 70% increase in pay for having a bachelor’s. Furthermore, those with just a high school diploma are almost twice as likely to be unemployed than those with a bachelor’s degree.

All of this supports the fact that the value of a college degree has probably never been greater. If you also consider the financial assistance you may be eligible to receive through the Federal Pell Grant Program, the decision to go back to school should be an easy one.

The Big Question – How Do You Find the Right School, and the Grant Money Available? And What About Online Schools?

One big roadblock many adults face is simple logistics. Adults generally cannot “go away” to school, and they don’t have time to sit in a financial aid office. This is where the internet can come in very handy. Not only can returning students learn more about the financial aid they may be eligible for, they can also find schools with career-focused degrees that can be earned 100% online. That means busy adults trying to go back to school can now do it at their convenience – anytime, anywhere.

There are several services available that help adults find the right school. One popular service is CompareTopSchools.. This website is free to use and simply asks you a few questions regarding your education goals, background and preferences. Spending five minutes on a site like this will help you get matched with schools so you can speak to a student advisor and see if you qualify for grants, scholarships and loans.

This article sponsored by CompareTopSchools
Sources: (1) http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm (2) https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/grants-scholarships/pell (3) http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/27/upshot/is-college-worth-it-clearly-new-data-say.html