In 2017, the National Center for Education Statistics reported 78 percent of students studying in the 2015–2016 academic year required financial aid, more than in any other year since the turn of the century. With more students needing financial help than ever before, it pays to seek out scholarships. Scholarships are better than student loans, as you never need to repay them. Make sure you stop by the following websites on your scholarship search.


Fastweb claims it’s the leading online resource for finding scholarships. CampusBooks’ Founder Alex Neal recommends it, so you shouldn’t miss stopping by. It lists more than 1.5 million scholarships, with a total value of around $3.4 billion, which you can filter according to your strengths, skills, and interests. Fastweb membership is totally free. Apart from the scholarship search, membership also entitles you to special student deals and discounts.


CollegeBoard is best known as a college-planning website, but it’s useful even before you ever start thinking about majors and extracurricular activities. The site has a comprehensive scholarship search of more than 2,200 programs, worth nearly $6 billion, based on its Annual Survey of Financial Aid programs. Complete your CollegeBoard profile in full, as the information it contains will help you find the most appropriate scholarship matches.


ScholarshipOwl is ideal for prospective college students short on time. Rather than having to apply for scholarships individually, ScholarshipOwl streamlines the process, instantly putting your name forward for hundreds of relevant scholarships on your behalf. You can also browse the site and find new scholarships to complete using the details in your online profile. ScholarshipOwl also has its own scholarship, the You Deserve It scholarship, awarded at random to an eligible member each month.


Niche is a simple-to-use website listing thousands of educational scholarships. Anyone visiting the website can browse these listings, which are searchable by categories such as states, majors, and minorities. However, you’ll get the most from the site when you become a member. Sign up for free and complete your profile to browse a filtered selection of scholarships you’re eligible for.

Established in 1998, has positioned itself as one of the longest-running online scholarship searches on the net. Just like Niche, any members of the public can search, but it works best for members. Sign up for your free membership, complete your profile in full, and you can filter out the scholarships that aren’t relevant and focus on the ones that are.

Like CollegeBoard, will serve you long after you’ve applied for aid. Its name is a little misleading, as it hosts a wealth of academic information, including advice about preparing for college, settling into campus life, and studying. Its nifty College Matchmaker feature is especially useful for students undecided about their school preferences.

Remember to read the eligibility criteria and application guidelines carefully; then submit your scholarship applications well before the due date. Then cross your fingers and wait. With a little luck on your side, you can receive the scholarships you need to ease the financial pressure of your college education.

LinkedIn is potentially your greatest marketing tool for finding internships and employment opportunities. However, fail to update your LinkedIn page and it’s little more than a digital resume. As a college student or a recent graduate, you might feel you’ve got little worth posting on LinkedIn. However, with some creativity, you can keep your LinkedIn page regularly updated and feeling fresh.

Change Your Profile Picture

LinkedIn pages with profile pictures get 14 times more views than pages without pics. However, a LinkedIn page with your last high school yearbook photo is never going to project the workforce-ready image you’re trying to present. Experts recommend updating your LinkedIn profile pic every year to help your page feel fresh and current. Forget about those frat party pictures, though. A simple headshot in front of a plain background presents a much more professional image.

Keep Your Information Up to Date

An old photo isn’t the only thing that can make your LinkedIn profile seem dated. Jessica Slaughter, a software engineer from Texas, recommends reviewing your LinkedIn profile page at least once a month and more often during recruiting season. Add any new classes and remove any you’ve dropped, note projects you’ve completed and any new ones you’ve started, and make any adjustments to your grade point average. Some simple tweaks will make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects your current situation.

Share Your Work

You’ve worked hard as a college student. LinkedIn gives you a platform for promoting that hard work. The site makes it easy to upload or link to your assignments, design projects, video presentations, articles written for your college newspaper, and other relevant work. Sharing your work doesn’t just keep your LinkedIn profile feeling fresh. It’ll also add visual interest and sell your skills to any browsing employers.

Write Blog Posts

While popular social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter focus on micro-blogging, LinkedIn gives you a greater platform for self-expression. Writing regular blog posts is a great way to keep your LinkedIn page fresh and to demonstrate how you tick. You could write blog posts about interesting lectures, concepts you’ve learned, or perspectives on current events in your industry. LinkedIn will share your posts with your network, but they could have an even wider reach. Remember to proofread them carefully to ensure they appear as professional as you want to be.

Seek Out Recommendations

Just as you consider customer reviews when buying new products, recruiters pay attention to LinkedIn recommendations, according to Omar Garriott, Salesforce’s director of product marketing and strategy. Getting recommendations on your LinkedIn page is a fantastic way to freshen it and to make you look more desirable to potential employers.

Contact your college professors, mentors, internship supervisors, or anyone else you’ve worked closely with and ask them to write a recommendation on your LinkedIn page. Offer to repay the favor and everybody wins.
Don’t let your lack of professional experience hold you back. Update your LinkedIn profile regularly and it can be a powerful tool in your search for internships, employment, and beyond.

Whether you’re about to graduate college or you recently accepted your diploma, this is a very exciting time for you. This is a time to celebrate a great accomplishment and be proud of how far you’ve come, but it’s also a time of big decisions and changes. Here are four financial tips every recent college graduate should keep in mind as they begin the post-grad life.

1. Choose Your First Job Carefully

After graduation, one of the top things on your mind is likely to be your job. At this point, you may already have a great job lined up or you may be searching. Either way, make sure you’re being smart with your choice. The best jobs aren’t always the ones with the highest salaries. Make sure you choose a job that is on the right path to your long-term goals. You’ll also want to research the company carefully and make sure their ideals line up with yours. Job satisfaction isn’t just in the paycheck.

2. Live Frugally Until You Get Settled

Start a budgeting habit if you don’t already have one. It can be easy to get used to the somewhat cushy lifestyle of walking to class every day, living in a cheap dorm or college apartment, and benefiting from a meal plan. Once you’ve graduated, you’ll likely need a new place to live, a budget for food, and maybe a car.

Don’t buy a brand new car or lease an apartment that maxes out your budget. Look for a used car in good shape and an apartment that will meet your needs without stretching you too thin. Once you’ve settled into your career path, you’ll have a much better idea of what you can afford. Then you can look into that shiny new car.

3. Make Your Loan Payments on Time

Most college graduates are starting out their careers with student loan debt. This is a necessary evil for many, but it doesn’t have to hurt your credit. If you choose your loans wisely and keep up with your payments, you can actually build up an impressive credit score over time. Many loan types can be consolidated and payment plans can be changed after graduation. If you’re struggling to keep up with payments, look into your refinancing and payment options.

4. Keep Your Credit Under Control

Even if you manage your student loan payments well, you can still hurt your credit score in other ways. Maintaining a good credit score is one of the biggest favors you can do yourself in the long run. When you’re ready to buy a house or need financing for any major purchases, your credit score will greatly affect your options.

Opening a good line of credit and keeping up with paying your statement balance each month will do wonders for your score. However, not all credit cards are created equal. Store cards tend to have the highest interest rates and the smallest benefits. Try not to open a credit card for every store you shop at, but maintain a good general credit card that gives you valuable perks like cash back and travel miles.

Congratulations on your accomplishment and good luck starting your career! Don’t let this lifestyle change throw you off track financially — be prepared and you’ll welcome success.

If you’re like most graduates, your cap and gown came with a ton of gift money from family and friends. Is all that cash burning a hole in your wallet? Before you dump your new nest egg on the latest smartphone, think about your future. If your new degree didn’t come with financial planning classes, you can still start your economic future off right. Use that money wisely with these four smart tips.

Start an Emergency Fund

Students who get a nice chunk of change after graduation can put that cash to good use. Financial experts, including Dave Ramsey, suggest starting out your first phase of adulthood with an emergency fund.

Deposit your graduation money into a savings account. Your life is about to change, and unexpected bills happen to everyone. Having a cushion in the bank is a smart strategy. Be prepared with at least $1,000. Then work to stash away up to three months’ worth of expenses.

Tackle Those Student Loans

Paying off Sallie Mae should be a top priority once you have your diploma in hand. You don’t want that debt hanging around for the rest of your life. For graduates of Wisconsin universities, for example, the average bachelor’s degree takes 19.7 years to pay off. By then, you may have kids of your own heading off to college.

If you have a job lined up, don’t wait for your grace period — typically about six months — before you start paying on your loan. Any lump sum payments you make right away will reduce the interest you’ll have to pay later.

Plan for Your Retirement

You’re never too young to start banking on your future. Retirement probably feels far away, but the magic of compound interest makes saving now one of the best ways to use your graduation money.

If your new degree comes with a job and a 401(k), start putting money in it. You can also open a Roth IRA and use that graduation dough as your first deposit. Use this handy calculator to find out how much you can earn in interest payments. You can turn $500 a year into $132,560 for retirement by setting yourself up in your 20s.


Take control of your money and all your tomorrows by investing. It might sound a bit scary — like something your parents and their friends talk about — but you too can take advantage of those returns. Use your graduation money and jump right in. Start with a mutual fund and a broker. A professional investor will help you spread your wealth over different stocks. This strategy will increase your chances of making more money.

You do have to pay a fee to a broker, but it’s worth it to have the expert advice. You worked hard in school, and the big bucks you make investing are your reward. Make them work hard for you now.

After the commencement ceremony is over and the whole family has given out hugs, it’s time to face the tough choices. Be smart about your money, and you’ll build yourself a comfortable future.