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Student Loan Options: Pros and Cons

What is a student loan and what possibilities does a loan-needing student have?
In the first place, a student loan is supposed to help students with the many costs today’s universities involve, such as fees, tuition, books and everyday life, as many students have to rent apartments in order to be able to follow university lessons.
Unlike other loans, student loans have lower interest rates, as banks reckon that it would be nearly impossible for an average students to pay high interest rates, considering that they can not work full time. A student loan’s repayment schedule is also different from others loans, as the student’s needs are taken into consideration.
Most countries have student loan programs to help students pay for their college and university fees. These student loan programs are guaranteed by the state, which is why students can benefit from impressively low rates while they are in school.

Student loans are usually included in larder financial aid packages which generally include scholarships, grants and study opportunities. In the United states, students can choose from two different types of loans: loans sponsored and guaranteed by the federal government and private loans, which obviously do not offer as low interest rates as the ones offered by federally-guaranteed student loans.
Sometimes, a student has no choice as all student loan options have specific requirements.

The amount of money they can borrow strongly depends on their income level, family’s income level and financial needs. The poorer they are, the more money they can borrow, as long as federal student loan programs are concerned.

With regards to repayment schedules, interest rates on student loans are usually two percentage points lower than the interest rates on conventional loans. We wish there was a fixed interest rate that applied to all student loans, but the truth is that interest rates greatly depend on the current market trends.

To repay a student loan, students may even defer installments until they are out of school, which is great as by doing so, students are able to focus on their studies without having to worry about finding the money to re-pay the loan.

Repayment usually begins after six or twelve months after they get out of school, so students have enough time to find a job that allows them to pay the installments. It makes no difference whether students graduate or not. From the moment they leave school, they will be no longer considered “students”, hence they will have to pay the monthly installments.

However, it is very important that students read through the loan conditions and ask for further information before making a decision. Most of the time, students are given the possibility to extend the loan term so the monthly payment will be lower, even though interest rates will increase.

Among the various student loan options, federally-guaranteed loans are sure to be the most convenient one. However, federal and private student loans are not the only student loan options students can choose from. There are the so-called grant systems, which are preferred by many to the other two student loan options because more transparent.

The entire student loan system has in fact been harshly criticized because of its “tricky” conditions.Common critics include: lack of clarity and transparency, heavy monthly payments, inability to charge off debt in case of bankruptcy and having to pay installments no matter what (should a student injure themselves after leaving school, they will have to re-pay the loan even if their injuries are so grave they can not work).
One thing is for sure, it is important students look through the various student loan options available with an expert who can advise them as to what option is best for them.

6 Ways to Improve Listening Skills for Student

Listening skills are the most difficult part of learning the English language for the ESL student. When listening to a recording in the classroom, learners can easily get lost and stop paying attention while the tape goes on. Almost every ESL student agrees that listening is the hardest part of learning the new language. Here are six ways to improve listening skills.

1. Demonstrate ways for students to ask someone to repeat a phrase or word that they don’t understand. This may sound very basic, but teachers should not take it for granted that their students know how to ask for someone to repeat a phrase or word that they don’t understand. Learning English can sometimes be overwhelming to a learner. As the learner advances, he or she may be too embarrassed to ask for help in something so basic. Learners can practice with others who work as partners. They should also work with the teacher to be sure that they are using the proper words and grammar in their requests.
2. Require the ESL student to rewind a recording if he or she gets lost or doesn’t understand. The instructor can be sure that learners are stopping and listening to an unknown word or passage by doing several things. They can require them to jot down where they stopped the recording in their learning journals. They can then assess understanding through verbal questioning as well as with written questions. Finally, teachers can incorporate words from the recording in oral practice to help learners master the vocabulary.
3. Schedule speakers to come to class once a week for 30 minutes. This can be from a pool of teachers in the building who volunteer to visit on a rotating schedule. They should purposely speak slowly and enunciate clearly so that beginning and intermediate students have a chance to understand what they are saying. This should be a fun, casual activity for students to learn to enjoy listening to live English speakers, even if they only understand a portion of what is being said. As the school year progresses, learners will begin to have a much better understanding of what the classroom visitors are talking about.
4. Using an iPod or other device, learners listen to a song for 5 or 10 minutes. This is a good warm-up activity that an ESL student can do daily at the beginning of class. When a timer goes off, he or she should write new words that they heard in the music in their learning journals. Some days, students can get into small groups and discuss which words they heard and try to discover the meaning of the words. They can draw pictures or sketch symbols of the new vocabulary words to help them remember the meaning of the word. Other days, the entire class can work together on a group of new words for an interesting activity for middle school and high school students.
5. Listen to a 10 minute nonfiction article on an MP3 player or other device. Afterwards, students write a one paragraph summary of the article, including main idea and supporting details. This activity is for intermediate and advanced learners who will write more paragraphs in their summary as their English skills develop.
6. Play a circle listening game. Form a circle in the classroom, if possible. Teacher stands in the middle of the circle and calls a student to her. She then gives the learner a particular directive, such as, “Go over to Gizelle and tell her that it is time for lunch.” Everyone is eventually given a turn to be both the giver and receiver of a variety of messages.
These six activities will definitely improve the listening skills of the ESL student if they are incorporated into lesson plans on a regular basis. Listening should be for short amounts of time, such as 10 minutes or less until learners proficient in listening to basic English.

The ESL Teaching Guide

In this ESL teaching guide, we will discuss the basics of teaching English as a second language to students from pre-school age to adults.

Basics of the ESL teaching guide
English is a very difficult language to learn. The basis of this ESL teaching guide is that the language needs to be made as simple as possible. Any language needs to be started by learning the basics, and this is especially true with English. That is because of the numerous verbs with multiple meanings that can cause confusion. The verb tenses of past, present, past perfect, and future cannot just be memorized to learn English. They need to be acquired through speaking and learning the language, not the verbs. Anyone learning grammar learns best by using the words in context. The content should be relevant and interesting to the age group. It also needs to respect the culture of the students learning the language.
Learn language, not grammar

Babies and young children learning English as their native tongue often use improper grammar, but they understand what they mean. Understanding is the first step in any ESL classroom and a basic of the ESL teaching guide. For beginning students, grammar is not important. It will be learned naturally through conversation, listening activities, reading, and observing. The learner will realize that the correct verb tenses as time goes on. Just as a baby says, “I go bye bye,” an ESL learner may say, “I go to the store last night.” Although this is not the correct grammatical word form, the student demonstrates that they comprehend the meaning of the verb in the way it is used. The next step is to teach the past tense of “went” to the student. Students eventually pick up the correct usage as they mature in their understanding of the language. Reading will also demonstrate the right way to use words.

Teachers should avoid using idioms at all costs
Idioms are so common in the English language that teachers may not realize that they are using them. They need to be very careful to not use them with students. This is another basic of the ESL teaching guide. It takes a very mature understanding of the language to know the meaning of an idiom. Teachers should skim over all reading passages that they are considering for their lesson plans to make sure that they are free from idioms. If not, the students’ comprehension will be negatively affected. The same applies to practice activities and other assignments. The best way for teachers to keep learning simple is to put themselves in their students’ position as the learner. They need to stop and evaluate whether or not the material they are using in a lesson plan will be easily understood or more confusing to students.
Visual aids help students learn

Many students learn through seeing an image or graphic of what they are learning about. This is helpful for all students in general, but especially for the ESL student. When the learner sees an object, he or she will naturally say the name of the item to themselves in their native tongue. Then, as the teacher tells them the word in the language they’re learning, the connection between the two is made in the brain. If it is repeated several times, along with visual aids, the chance of the student retaining the word and its meaning is greatly increased. Reviewing the word routinely can be helpful, but using the new vocabulary in conversation and in the written word is even better. New vocabulary should be used in the classroom each day in some form. Word walls are also helpful because students see the words and review them by themselves throughout the day.

Add humor and fun to the lesson
Another basic of the ESL teaching guide is that learning must be enjoyable for students. When the teacher adds an occasional touch of humor to the lesson, students’ attention span is increased. It is possible to add fun to lessons through the use of clip art on PowerPoint presentations and on worksheets that teachers give students for practice. Even older teens and adults appreciate a lively lesson that is interesting, challenging, and somewhat humorous. Humor is not being off-task if it is being used as a teaching method. It is actually building a communication bridge between the teacher and student. Humor and fun are powerful motivators that will encourage students to continue learning. That is why they are important in this ESL teaching guide.

Learning Resources

ESL teachers are always happy to find new ESL learning resources. There are many to choose from on websites that specialize in helping learners improve their understanding of the English language. The teacher who is attempting to make his or her class interesting and challenging are always on the lookout for new ways to make learning a great experience for their students.

Online esl learning resources
Teachers can use online ESL learning resources in many different ways. They can be used as a scheduled part of each day’s lesson plan so that students get online for a daily activity. One of these is a very helpful website that teaches students a new idiom each day. As ESL teachers and regular English teachers know, learning idioms and slang is difficult for students until they reach a certain age and a proficiency of basic English. The website provides a new word, its meaning, and a sentence using the word. Students are encouraged to use it in conversation three times during the day. It is also possible to find lesson plans and worksheets for students to use for practice at many websites specializing in ESL.

ESL software for classroom use
Schools can purchase a variety of software for use in the ESL classrooms. Some programs feature ESL learning resources with all of the language components that students need to learn. They include reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar, and conversation activities that can be done on a CD-ROM. If students meet in the media center of the school, each intermediate or older student can work independently on a computer. This enables to teacher to work as a facilitators who can individualize learning plans according to the needs of each student. The various companies who write the ESL curriculum try to make the material fun and interesting. Many computer-centered programs are supplemented by workbooks that can be used for practice after learning a new skill on the computer. The workbooks often contain lessons in comic book style. They have colored graphics that help the learner understand the language by associating the photo or picture with the words that coordinate with it. There are supplemental audio MP3’s that feature educational songs to help students remember important words in the language. Teacher assessment materials help the educator know whether or not a student has mastered each part of the program.

ESL learning resources geared toward eventual job placement
High school students and adults may benefit from special ESL learning resources that focus on job preparation. Even if the student plans to attend college or further his or her education after learning basic English, they can benefit from these business-focused programs. This is because the programs feature everyday language terms that every English speaker needs to know. Programs may include activities related to business communication as well as practical listening lessons on finding an apartment for rent, medical advice, or immigration and customs. Students can work in partnerships to work on contacting a prospective employer, mock interview questions and answers, and other skills that they will need when they are out in the world looking for employment. Some programs for adults are specifically geared towards the growing job market that many ESL learners hope to enter, such as hospitality, construction, hotel work, and other positions. In these, they learn the language of the business they hope to enter as they practice basic English lessons.

Keeping learning moving forward
Learning a new language can be difficult, especially if the language is English. If teens and adults are beginning students, they often have more trouble acquiring the language skills that young children do. For this reason, ESL learning resources are important, even for older students. Older students need visual aids, interesting content, conversation practice, and specific business language in addition to what the basic learner of any age needs to learn English. Teachers need to look for interesting resources in the form of magazine articles on the reading level of their older students. The resources need to be tailored to meet the interests of the group, based on their academic goals and how far they want to go in learning the language. Not all teens and adult students will have an interest in progressing to the point of reading proficiency that they would in their native tongue. By using ESL learning resources that are on their reading level, teachers can help students meet goals successfully, whatever those goals may be.

To Apply for A Scholarship

English learners who wish to improve their English and build a career may apply for an ESL scholarship. ESL scholarships are offered by several institutions which allocate funds for students who study English as a second language.
The U.S. English Foundation is one of the organizations that offer immigrants scholarships to help them learn English and, why not, even pursue their studies in the United States. The U.S. English Foundation offers a $ 1, 500 scholarship a year, which however can be accessed only by American graduates who would like to achieve a master in the United States.

Students who wish to apply for this scholarship, should download the application form from the U.S. English Foundation official website, fill it out and send it to The foundation invites students to contact them also to request further ESL scholarship information.

There is, then, the excellent scholarship program offered by the ESL Department. You will find detailed ESL scholarship information at

In short, the organization sponsors a scholarship program which awards scholarships using a meritocratic system. Through their scholarship program, the ESL Department provides students with financial awards. If you are wondering whether you can apply for a scholarship, the answer is: only English learners who are enrolled in ESL classes at CCSF can apply for a scholarship.

Excellent students will obviously stand better a better chance to obtain a scholarship, as financial awards are assigned on the basis of financial situation and academic excellence.

If you need more ESL scholarship information, contact the ESL Department and they will answer all your questions.

Donations and book sales are what allow colleges, universities and organizations to provide scholarships to deserving students.

Among the most popular universities and colleges that offer excellent scholarship programs are King’s University College, Main Campus and Brescia University College.

These three offer entrance scholarships to help students pay college fees. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement. Students who have achieved high marks in high school and boast of strong academic records usually receive entrance scholarships.
What distinguishes King’s University College, Main Campus and Brescia University College from other institutions, is that they do not consider students’ financial needs when awarding scholarships. Moreover, students do not even have to apply for a scholarship. If found eligible, they simply receive a notification from the college saying that they have been awarded a scholarship.
To recognize students’ hard word, then, these three colleges offer a $ 300.00 to the student who gets the highest grade level. This $ 300.00 scholarship is awarded at the end of each term.

Those who are interested in ESL scholarships, had better consider Individual universities and community colleges as they are the institutions that offer the majority of funds aimed at helping ESL students continue their studies. Most ESL scholarship programs are meant for international students who study English in university and are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, even though many institutions take students’ financial needs into consideration when making a decision.

Those who wish to apply for a scholarship should contact the universities and colleges they are interested in to find out what applicants must do in order to be found eligible.
For example, a university may require students to enroll in a specific educational program or have a high grade point to receive more “conspicuous” scholarships.

City College of San Francisco in California, for instance, offers ESL students scholarships ranging from $ 75.00 to $ 500.00.

Pacific University in Oregon can award scholarships in the amount of $ 1.000 or even $ 2.000, as long as they satisfy the requirements you may find in the ESL Scholarship Information section.