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Last updateWed, 20 Sep 2017 1pm

Ask the Experts

BY SCHOLARSHIP MEDIA

Going Gap

My parents and I strongly disagree about my taking a gap year. Shouldn’t I be able to make my own decision?


When you ask your parents what you should do with your life, you reveal the answer. You do not have the self-confidence and maturity to make your own decisions. College propels you into the real world and requires you begin to making choices. If you are unsure, perhaps that is exactly the reason why you need a gap year.

Traditionally gap years were taken after high school and before college but a recent trend has seen students taking them during college years. Many have little direction regarding life and careers when just out of school, so they usually abide parent or community pressures and go straight into further education. This can leave you feeling burnt out and overwhelmed, so taking a gap year may not be a bad idea after all. Plenty of suggestions as to what to do can be found on the American Gap Association but we will also look at a few here.

A year out of studies can be worthwhile only if you use it constructively. Most students go travelling and there is nothing better to broaden the mind and your experience. If budgets are a concern, you can work while you are on the road. There are plenty of temporary jobs out there or you can volunteer in exchange for food and lodging. Either way, you will meet new people, expand your horizons, and gain vital life experiences.

Doing national or community service is another way to occupy some of your year out. Volunteer work always goes down well on your resume, it shows your humanitarian side and big corporations appreciate that. You may be able to earn some credits or eligibility for scholarships and financial aid by working with the National Outdoor Leadership School.

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Healthcare Hurdle

Across the country, international students are part of the student body. Do they qualify for Obamacare?


In answering your question, I am trying to surmise whether you are a Trump supporter or opponent. The answer is no, they do not receive it. That satisfies your question, but the issue is much larger: how do international students afford and access health care in the U.S.?

The number of international students studying in America has increased for the past ten years. International students studying in the U.S. has grown 85% in the last decade and their numbers exceeded a million for the first time in 2016. According to the Institute of International Education, the total number of overseas students was 1,044,000 last year, up 7% on the previous period.

The majority of colleges require some mandatory insurance to cover health care which is a major concern for foreign students. Essentially, free health care for international students does not exist.

A visit to an emergency room can rapidly accumulate a bill of thousands of dollars. Campus-based student healthcare services offer cheaper options for routine procedures: infection screening, injuries, birth control, etc. If the college medical staff are unable to administer care, you will be transferred to a private hospital at much greater expense.

International students are exempt from ObamaCare, providing they retain the status of ‘non-alien resident’. However, your tax status changes to ‘resident alien’ once you spend more than five years in the country. You are then subject to ObamaCare and must find a compliant health insurance policy. Students needing gap coverage for another year or two of study find themselves purchasing expensive policies covering all the services required under ObamaCare.

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Let’s Go Clubbing

I was involved with clubs in high school, for fun and socializing. I am thinking ahead about my resume and job hunting. Which are the best groups to join that will help me get a job?


Your question shows that you clearly understand the value of networking for your future. Research studies showed that over 70% of professionals accept a new position with a company where the individual already has a contact. Beyond networking, the experience alone gained from participating in a club, organization or association is educational and valuable.

The old adage ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is more relevant today than ever before. A large proportion of industries seek to hire from within before advertising vacancies to the public. Networking has now become an essential part of job hunting, so knowing someone with connections can put you ahead of the competition.

Joining a professional association is a great way to start your networking with like-minded people and professionals in the industry. There are a number of advantages of joining up while still at college, such as meeting other students interested in the same field and getting a feel for the realities of a career in that area. You may get the opportunity to attend conferences, follow industry trends, and read journals to broaden your knowledge.

Most professional associations publish periodicals with updates on latest developments in the field, and there will also be regional events and seminars or webinars to attend. These provide a good opportunity to network and swap web addresses and business cards. Most of the young people joining us have started their careers in a professional association, explains Ryan McCann, real estate agent. Our field in particular relies on long-standing, personal contacts.

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Medical Migrant

Next semester I will be studying in Asia. My parents want all possible medical issues handled before I leave. Are they worrying too much?


The quick answer is that you are not worrying enough. Around 35,000 American students will be studying in Asia during this academic year. Preparing for student travel abroad is a maze of ‘what if’ questions. You have medical insurance, but you do not speak the local language and do not know where to find the nearest hospital. This situation means you did not properly plan in advance.

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when studying abroad: applying for a visa, booking flights, arranging accommodation and researching healthcare risks in your destination country. Medical care and facilities can vary widely, especially in Asia where hospitals range from third world to five star. This variation also reflects in costs, where you can be treated in a backwater hospital up-country for very little or a plush resort-type medical center that will cost thousands per night.

Medical insurance should be your first consideration when living overseas for any extended period of time. Some countries have public healthcare and benefit but most in Asia do not, especially for foreigners. It is strongly advisable to arrange health insurance for coverage abroad before you go. Many of the universities will advise on what type of coverage is recommended and where it is accepted. Many hospitals in Asia are operated like private corporations, profits are the reason they run and their prices will reflect that.

There are a few steps to take in finding the best deal for international travel and study. Find out what your parents are using, as a student you may get a discounted policy under the family name. If the trip is school sponsored, they may have options for health insurance coverage. One of the critical insurance options to have is emergency evacuation, so you are guaranteed to be flown home in a transport chair for reunion with your family or transfer to a stateside hospital. Use some of the comparison websites to check prices with major insurance companies, some will offer specific student travel-health packages. There are also international companies that tailor to studying abroad so compare their policies to domestic ones.

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Ringside

Two students had a vicious fight in one of the dorms. I heard no life-threatening injuries. Now what happens, the college gets sued?


The tone of this question reflects a larger theme of our modern society: who pays. Political pundits even attribute this phrase to President Trump’s interpretation of foreign policy. Fortunately, you said there were no life-threatening injuries. Since the incident occurred on campus, the college will likely be named as a defendant. Let us overview how laws and judges determine liability.

The legal system is fickle, changing from case-to-case, and state-to-state. We examine three separate cases to highlight these variations and review the parameters.

In the first, a student attacked on a Louisiana campus filed suit for negligence by the university. This comes under a wide sweeping law known as premises liability. The landowner is responsible for ensuring the premises are safe for anyone residing on them. Owners must exercise reasonable care and warn of any dangers or risks. Theoretically, the owner could be liable for accident recovery, lost income, and suffering if they were proven to be negligent.

To comply with this, a University must be aware of the potential for personal injury to students and provide adequate safety and security. In the Louisiana case, it was alleged that the college failed to provide security measures such as fencing and cameras to protect students living on campus.
Switching to California, courts ruled that public colleges do not have a general legal obligation to protect students from attacks or violence from other students. This particular ruling rejected a claim that UCLA did not do enough to prevent an attack on a student by another in the chemistry lab. It was revealed that the attacker had serious mental health issues and was found not guilty under an insanity plea.

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Transfer Two-Step

I know several people that transferred to another college. What is wrong with our school?


Sounds like you are satisfied with college life here and your friends may have felt the same. They are probably not running away, but transferring to another college that better meets their needs. We will give you an overview of transfer statistics and reasons which will surprise you.

Transferring to another college is actually quite common these days, according to a report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, around a third of all students transfer. There are a number of considerations for those thinking about a transfer, firstly the acceptance rate of 64% is a little lower than that of first year students which is 69%. The grades at the previous college weigh heavily on the success of transfer acceptance.

Transfer students can also apply for merit aid with 77% of colleges providing merit scholarships. The net price difference may be a large factor in the decision to transfer and there are a number of ways to save money by transferring to another college. However, not all universities have room for transfer students. Smaller institutions with fewer undergraduates leaving will have fewer spots open for incoming transfers, larger state colleges will be easier.

The Common Data Set is a detailed document about the college that includes a range of things such as freshman academic profile and campus safety, but it also includes transfer admission policies that should be consulted. SAT and ACT test scores are not as important according to the NACAC study, the longer you have been in college the less other colleges care about these scores. If the transfer is after just one semester however, most schools will want to look at the test scores.

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Volunteer Vitality

I had more time to volunteer before college. When I get a job, are many companies supportive of volunteering?


We always appreciate a question that is motivated by a desire to help someone else. Volunteers complain about a college gap, where studies overwhelm their schedules and leave little time for community involvement. You should not be surprised to learn that companies both small and multinational often have direct ties to volunteer activities. The media concentrates on corporate financial pursuits, rather than recognizing charitable ones.

Recent surveys have revealed that companies creating a culture of volunteerism in the workplace can directly boost morale, working atmosphere and brand awareness. Employees surveyed however, do not see volunteering as a way to further their careers or develop new skills. Almost 90% of employees taking the survey believe there is a better working environment at companies that sponsor volunteer activities, and 77% say that it is essential to employee well-being.

Despite all of the goodwill generated by such programs, only 38% of workers said that their companies provided access to company-sponsored volunteer programs. Almost 70% said they are not volunteering as much as they would like and 62% cited lack of time as a reason for not doing so.

It appears that employees recognize the value of volunteering and would like to participate more, but are denied the opportunities to do so. The onus falls on the company to raise awareness and availability of volunteer programs.

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And Baby Makes Two

I feel a bit isolated and ignored, because I have child at college. Do I qualify for any help from the school?


We want to discuss your question, because over 26% of U.S. undergrads are raising a child. You are hardly alone in your struggle. Learning from other campus moms, we found the main issue is lack of recognition from colleges to provide: student health services, childcare and financial aid. Finding out what resources and benefits are available will reconnect you to campus life.

Attending college while pregnant or raising a child can pose severe hardships. Over 2-million women between 18 and 24 get pregnant every year. Naturally, most single college parents are women.

Nearly 5-million undergrad students are raising a child. Reports reveal over 60% of women with a child do not finish their degree. Overall, student parents account for over 25% of the undergrad population, and 13% of them are single parents.

With high-tuition and child-related costs, it is difficult to manage at all. There are no special discounts for student parents and raising a child can cost up to $17K per year in some states.

Single women parents at school are one of the most overlooked groups. Colleges do not provide child delivery at student health services, reports Powers and Santola, birth injury lawyers. As of this date, our research could not find any colleges with childbirth services. If you are having a baby, you seem to be overlooked, invisible or ignored.

Institutions of higher education are slow to recognize the change in demographics. Many universities simply do not consider student parents as a financial priority, and most institutions are seeking places to cut.

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A Sad Truth

As a student, I have seen alcohol abuse and several classmates become depressed. I have not seen any action by the university. Why does our school have a passive policy on these issues?


This question should be posted at nearly every university. Nationwide, over 1,800 students die every year from alcohol-related incidents and over 600,000 are injured as a direct result of excess consumption. Depression and suicide can be the final chapter for others, without counseling. So why is the response administrative torpor to America’s long-standing social problems?

Binge drinking has reportedly increased to over 40% among college students, at one time during their 4 years. Many view this as a rite of passage while attending a university. Studies show there has been a consumption trend from beer to hard liquor, because getting drunk quicker is now the goal. This is directly responsible for the increase in alcohol-related accidents involving students, explains a DUI attorney.

Prevention and intervention strategies have educated students on the dangers of alcohol abuse. However, colleges continue to view student alcohol abuse as an individual problem, rather than a public health crisis. Administrators believe that providing information may not solve the problem, but does absolve them from further responsibility.

Institutions often turn a blind eye to an almost ritualistic part of college life. Many have the determination and courage to take an aggressive stance against student alcoholism. However, they are often thwarted by administration failures, budget constraints, or resistance from fraternities and sororities. Remember, this is an inherited problem, where some students arrive at college already abusing alcohol.

Policy makers at the Department of Education did establish the Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Use and Violence Prevention. However, studies have shown that participating colleges reported only minor improvements in drinking behavior.

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Athletic Abandon

Our fraternity has several athletes on scholarship. If they can no longer play, even with good grades, what happens to my friends?


Your question is touching because you omit the obvious. When you say your friends cannot play for their college teams, you mean they were injured on the field. This is a harsh reality of college sports, which does not offer the same financial compensation or protections of professional sports leagues. There are clearly rules protecting college athletes, but even ObamaCare does not cover medical expenses for many events. We will examine what protections college competitors receive by law, NCAA rule and even goodwill.

How many student athletes are injured each year? The statistics are compiled by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Athletic Trainers' Association which collects reports submitted by trainers. The figure of around 12,500 serious injuries-per-year has been consistent over the past few years. Over 54% of students claim to have played while injured, while over 90% reported some kind of sports-related injury during their college years.

Who picks up the medical bills for injuries caused while playing sports at college? NCAA member institutions are not obliged to provide long-term care for athletes who have lost eligibility or graduated. This also extends to student athletes who have lost their scholarships while still enrolled at college due to injury and inability to play.

NCAA bylaws require that student athletes have medical insurance to cover expenses relating to sports injuries. Colleges are not required to cover expenses that exceed insurance limits, leaving the students or parents to pay the bill. When treatment exceeds $90,000, NCAA Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program will apply. Student athletes participating in NCAA championship events are covered by insurance under the Participant Accident Program.

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Parental Perspective

My parents do not understand how much college has changed since they were here. Please explain it to them?


You know you parents had the same request when they were students and tried to explain a changing world to your grandparents. However, your generation has clearly seen exponential changes in college, career and life. The advent of the digital age surely leads the way, but you will read below your parents’ generation set changes in motion that you are now experiencing.

There is no doubt that the world is a different place now, with attitudes to life, love and work for young adults vastly different from a generation or two ago. Firstly, college admission and attendance itself has changed; more students than ever before are attending college. Around 70% of high school graduates are now enrolled in college according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Undergraduate enrollment has over doubled in the past four decades, but completion rate remains virtually unchanged. Around 40% complete a degree in four years while 60% take six.

A delayed adulthood for this generation is affecting all aspects of work, age of leaving home, education, and marriage and children. A large number of young adults in their twenties feel that they are in an ‘in-between stage’ of life. Around 47% of 19- to 21-year-olds still live with their parents and only 7% live with a husband or wife at this age. According to a report by Pew Research, 72% of all adults over 18 were married in 1960 compared to only 51% now.

Looking at your neighbors reveals much about the changing economic demographics. Seattle is experiencing a 12% annual growth in tech jobs. In the late 80s, 52% of real estate buyers were married, while now only 40%, observe Seattle condo agents. The average age of the first-time buyer is now 33, about the start of the Millennial generation.

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Contact Information

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The Outlook
Monmouth University
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Phone:(732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu