Your Questions About Financial Freedom University

Linda asks…

how do i prepare for university?

So i’m applying to University of Birmingham (UK) next year. But what do i need to know about student life? How do i manage? Is it all chaos? How do i find the money to pay for everything? All the bursaries and grants don’t cover very much of the costs.

How do i get my head around it all? What experiences have you had at Uni? Can you give me some advice?
hehe thanks :)

John answers:

I completely understand how you feel, as I felt this way before I started college as well. First, is do not panic. I know easier said than done, but just take a deep breath.

Student Life: It is better, in my opinion, than primary and high school. You have more freedoms, get to choose your classes, can choose your own path and it is a great learning atmosphere. I am not going to say it is easy because it is not, but it is well worth it.
Tips: Check out ratemyprofessor (dot com), it is a subjective site, but does give some info into what professors are like– though I am not sure if it is available in the UK. After you have been in school you will learn from other students who is the best professors.
– Make sure you are organized. This helps a TON. Keep a file folder and everything together. Each semester I have an assigned binder, notebook for each class. I then make an excel worksheet and type up one for each class and record my grades and such so I know where I am and how I am staying on track.
– Schedule your time. Before each semester actually sit down with a weekly list and enter in which classes are on what days and schedule in your study time. Make this a priority and this also helps to see where you can have some free time and just relax.
– If allowed, I would suggest a voice recorder. It does help in lecture classes and with studying. Also, if you are taking a full-time semester (12+) credits, those roll around backpacks can help, depending on your book load. Oh, this sounds weird but get a comfortable pen with a sponge thingy—you will be doing a lot of writing and it helps!

There is a lot involved here and college is so expensive. Before the semester starts make sure you have filled out financial aid, student loans applications. There is also the option of scholarships. When I first started school I was relying on a student loan (subsidized and unsubsidized). Because I have shown myself to be a dedicated student (4.0 GPA and in Honors) I now have a sufficent amount of grants, which do not need to be paid back. So making sure you do good in school does help with the costs.

Make an appointment to sit down and speak with someone in the financial aid and bursar’s office. Bring a list of questions and they will also help with what your options are.

My experience:
I love college and it is so worth it. It is not easy work. You do need to be dedicated to your studies and always keep in mind why you are in college and what you are working towards. The professors do make a difference. I have had some that will just pile on the work and others that know their class is not the only one and a student takes. Show you care when you are going to class. Sit more towards the front, ask questions, do the work in a timely manner, study, show up to class (it’s expensive, so be there). If you do those 5 things, you are well on your way to a good educational foundation.

Right now you are nervous, but first thing is first– just get your application and finances in order. Then sign up for your appropriate classes and enjoy the experience. It is really worth it.

Richard asks…

Do you think that sometimes it is better to start off 2 years at a smaller university and then transfer?

Currently my friends are C average students at UGA and other top public universities, they probably won’t get into med school seeing as to how the required GPA there is about 3.5.

Thing is majority of them say they went wild, they did excellent in high school, had independence in college and they ended up crashing as a result because they could not handle living alone and college level work.

I recently transferred from a local university (I commuted to school there) to a university out of state which is well renowned (top 30). I found in my first semester of college at my old university that college level work is not a joke at all. I made F’s on some tests and was lucky enough to pull out of some classes with a B average (in my 2 years I only made 2 B’s).

Currently I am doing well in my new university. I feel that my old college prepared me for this new university I transferred to.

My friends are stuck with low grades on their transcripts and limited options due to their GPA being in the C’s range. They say they could not handle indpendence.

Is starting off at a community college or a local university and then transferring to a bigger university the better option sometimes?

John answers:

Obviously the answer is yes. There are many reasons to start off at a smaller university or community college and transfer.

The first reason is financial. Why pay big university tuition to take a bunch of required core classes? Why not save $50,000 and get all of your core classes out of the way with stellar grades from a community college, then transfer to a larger university and graduate from there?

The second reason is social. Many students can’t handle the freedom they have at a big university and freak out – drinking and partying too much and not using their time well. Then they either are on academic probation, have to go to college for 5 or 6 years in order to graduate, or simply drop out.

If a student is mature, motivated, has money, and wants to go away to school, a big 4-year institution is fantastic. You really get that freshman experience, meet lots of people, take interesting classes and do fairly well. However, if you have to think about finances, are a little immature socially, do not have good self control, and are not sure about your direction, a community college or low-key, smaller university is a great way to start out. Either way, you graduate from a good school eventually.

Joseph asks…

Math for a financial analyst?

Am I wasting my time taking Calculus 2 and beyond if I want to be a buy-side financial analyst?

John answers:

I don’t think there is such a thing as too much training in academic mathematics for people in finance. At Cal 2, you will be moving into variations in three dimensions. Any type of (truly sophisticated) business modeling will go into multiple dimensions. As an example, high level theoretical physics may be in 10 or 11 dimensions. The degrees of freedom (dimensions) of economics are much higher than this. If you are able to model some system using set theory, partial derivatives, differential equations… Then you are on the right path to doing this in the financial world. It surely won’t hurt. I stopped at Calculus I and have books on higher level mathematics all over my house. Would’ve been better to study them at university than to do it on my own later.

Robert asks…

Financial Independence at 18? Opinions?

In your opinion should 18 year olds be financially independent when they are fresh out of high school? As in paying for their own education, apartment/lodging, car, etc in the current economy? While it is legally considered an adult, I personally have a hard time seeing how someone out of high school could suddenly afford to support themselves plus college (given that’s the option taken) with the price on higher education right now-at least without a transitional period…If you think yes to this question, you are more than welcome to shed light on how you think it can be done….and if both a job and scholarships/grants fail to meet what is needed, would you suggest a loan? If so, how much would be too much to borrow? Thanks in advance

John answers:

Oh it’s totally possible! I did it. My 18th birthday was the best day of my life. (well – until then, after that I’ve had even better days). I lived in abusive home. I turned 18 my senior year of highschool. I went to school on my 18th birthday, but after school, I went out on several job interviews as a bank teller. See, I was lucky – I only had 2 classes I had to take to graduate. I scheduled them for 1st thing in the morning. I went to my 2 periods and I was finished with school by 9am. I saved enough money from part-time after school jobs before I was 18. So, a few days after my 18th b’day I went through my local news papers looking for people looking for room mates. I found a place and moved in. Yes, I was still in high school and wouldn’t be graduating for a few months. My parents were not happy about it – but they did keep reminding me for 17 years: “When you turn 18 you can move out and do anything you want!!!!” So I did. I moved into a bedroom in a house that I was sharing with 5 other roommates and we all split the rent and utiltities. And it was really great having roommates to come home to after a day of school and working as a bank teller – instead of coming home to an abusive family. After I graduated high school, I started interviewing for a full time office job as a secretary. College was going to have to wait a bit. But that’s ok. I was making decent money to pay my living expenses a little entertainment money and some saving tucked away. About a year after I graudated I took some classes at a community college for 2 years (because it was cheaper than going to a University) it took a little longer than 2 years to get the 2 years of undergrad classes because I was working, but I had my freedom! And I wasn’t dependant on my parents! What a feeling!!!!!!!!!!!! Eventually, after getting enough credits to equal 2 years of undergrad I applied to a prestigious university and was accepted. Then I was at a point in my life where I was like: “Hey – now I am making REALLY GOOD money – do I really need college?” I mean, I’m doing really well, why should I get myself into $200,000 worth of debt when for the same amount of money – I could get a condo? I decided to go for the condo. And it’s a very good thing that I did, because a few years after buying it, and paying my mortgage, I decided I HATED the business world! I hated everything about Corporate America and I was so glad I didn’t go to college because what I really wanted to do was be an actress. So, long story short – I ended my office career and went into acting and I’ve been doing that for several years.

Yes you can do it. I’m not sure what your goals/aspirations are – why don’t you email me in private and tell me the details so I can guide you better and answer any other questions.

Good luck! You can TOTALLY, TOTALLY do it. The first year kindof bites – but hey it’s not like you can go out to a club because you’re under 21. But I can recommend some budget ideas, ideas for apartment, getting furniture, etc…

Oh – very, very, very important: DO NOT FORGET TO REGISTER TO VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mandy asks…

Questions on Music University.. (Careers in Music)?

Hello! I have a few questions hoping to be answered.

I’m a 17 year old female residing in Canada, finishing high school through correspondence. I am working a job to save enough money to buy a harpsichord after being in love with the instrument and music for many years now.

Near where I live, about 40 minutes away is a university that has a section specializing in early music, which I was very happy to find out.

Once I graduate, (and get a diploma in flower arrangement) I plan on spending a year or two practicing the instrument, to hone by skills, I’d then like to attend that university for about 4 years.However I know how difficult it is to get a career in music… but I love music and the instrument so much, and I always would like to learn more.

My question is, is it okay to go to a university if only for pure interest in the subject? If you are not 100% sure that you’ll get a career in that subject– to spend 4 years of your life going to a music university?

John answers:

Hi there. Great question, and of course I can’t answer for you but I can share my opinion and my experiences. To begin, my answer is yes, it is perfectly okay and indeed a great experience to major in something that you truly enjoy. Life is short, and while you are young and have the freedoms that you may not enjoy if you choose to marry or have children later, you can use your talents and let them take you as far as they can.

With that said, you will need to be willing to experience the following things, though they may not always happen:

1. You will need to be able to live very frugally at times. Luckily, I have found that because I am able to play music for a living, I don’t get the same temporary pleasure from having a new stereo or five new pairs of shoes that others seem to get. Material things just aren’t important to me, and I like that, because the few people I do know who are focused on buying things tend to be generally unsatisfied with their 9-5 jobs and so they buy things to temporarily make them happy.
If you can’t deal with a little bit of financial instability, then music may not be the spot for you as a full time career.

2. You will need to have the energy to pursue opportunity. This means traveling to study, looking for new ways to play music for people, and the like. People with 9-5 jobs know where they are going to be going every day, and for many people that is a very good thing, because it takes energy to pursue work. You have to travel to gigs, to rehearsals, sometimes quite far, especially in early music because the jobs are more spread out. In a 9-5, you go to the same place every morning, and can stay all day.

3. You will need to be willing to be in other cities and possibly other countries long term to study. For harpsichord, I would imagine that you would want at least a year or possibly two in Europe or somewhere else that will be far from home. Again, early music is a small world – to be hired when there are a smaller number of jobs you will need to have made quite a name for yourself, and travel looks good.

4. As a harpsichordist, you should be aware that you will probably need to teach as well as perform.

Most important:
All of the above points are for someone who wants to work full time as a musician. In reality, as a harpsichordist, you may never be able to do this, but the adventure of taking a degree in it, of using your skills for something you enjoy, is worth it in my book. Even if part of your work is not related to music, you will still be pursuing what you love and have that knowledge and expertise, and be much richer for it than if you had never learned it at all. You can lose a job any day that you have one (even a CEO can), but no man or woman can take away your expertise in a field you love once you have gained it.

To sum up, my way of looking at it is that the most fulfilled humans have always simply found something that they enjoy and that they do well (both are important) and then committed themselves to it. Blacksmithing, soldiering, making music, teaching, one should always choose if one can. If your choice is real estate, or banking, or business, then so be it, but if you only choose those to make money, then I believe that you are living like the people that get pleasure from buying a new stereo or new shoes, seeking a surface happiness.

With only one life for each of us, why should we not get the most out of it if we can? If I had been hit by a bus today, I would be grateful that I pursued early music while I could, even if I didn’t die the richest person in the world. And, when Iook back from my death bed (many, many years from now, fate willing), I know I would regret it if I had not pursued what I loved.

Good luck!

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