7 Tips to Overcoming Test Anxiety

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This article is an update from the last published article on How to Overcome Test Anxiety in Nursing School, published May 12, 2014.

You’ve been diagnosed with test anxiety. The fear of failure and the dreadful nervousness that builds up as the test day looms are just some of the symptoms you have experienced among others such as the inability to recall important information and complete unconsciousness. Taking a test is stressful and the desire to do well is broken down by the fear and anxiety of not receiving a passing grade. Even before the test, the anxiety you feel conflicts with the retention of information, creating a more challenging task of learning the concepts. Many learners experience test anxiety, so you are not alone. To refuse treatment and allow test anxiety to consume you is detrimental in nursing school and in your career as a nurse.


To help alleviate the symptoms and reduce the effect of test anxiety, it is recommended to seek treatment and follow the steps outlined by the Learner Advising and Life Resources (LALR) department.

  1. Be prepared! This may seem obvious, but the more prepared you are for an exam, the less anxious you will be.  Having good study habits and being organized when studying will help you feel more prepared and build your confidence.  Remember, don’t cram right before a test.  Plan out your study time so when it gets down to the last minute, you don’t have to cram!  For tips on how to effectively study, please contact the LALR department.
  2. Use relaxation techniques.
    1. Deep belly breathing: Close your eyes and breathe deeply into your belly; focus on your breath. Spend a few minutes practicing your deep belly breathing before you study and after. Do the same before and after an exam.
    2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This is when you tense your muscles then relax them. Start at your arms, hold for seven seconds, then release. Next do the same with your abdominal muscles, and so on.  This creates a deep relaxation sensation in the muscles.
    3. Visualization: Find your happy place. Close your eyes and think about a place you feel most relaxed.  Think about the details of this place, the smells, what it looks like, how you feel when you are there, etc.
  3. Eat a good meal before your exam. Fruits and vegetables are known to reduce stress.  Stay away from processed foods, red meats, preservatives, and spicy food. Tip: It is also helpful to snack on fruits and veggies while studying and eat those same foods right before your test.
  4. Get a good night sleep. Try to use the relaxation techniques above to clear your mind so you are able to fall asleep.  Try not to think about the exam.  Feeling well rested will help you stay focused on your exam.  If you do not get a good night sleep, don’t worry.  Try to do some relaxation techniques in the morning, go on a walk, or do yoga to help you feel refreshed.
  5. Reward yourself. Using positive reinforcement can be a great way to help with test anxiety so you have something to look forward to after the test.  Plan on treating yourself to a tasty treat or a gift after the exam, if you were able to complete it to the best of your ability without stressing too much.  Even if you do stress and find the test was way too difficult, reward yourself anyway for staying calm and pushing through.  You deserve it for working so hard.
  6. What to do during the test:
    1. Read the directions carefully.
    2. Budget your test-taking time.
    3. Change positions to help you relax and feel more comfortable.
    4. If you go blank, skip the question and move on. You can come back to it later.
    5. If you are taking an essay test and go blank on the whole test, just pick a question and start writing. It may trigger the answer in your mind.
    6. Don’t panic if other learners finish their test before you. There is no reward for finishing first.
  7. What to do after the test:
    1. List what worked for you and hold on to these strategies.
    2. List what did not work so you know what needs improvement.
    3. Celebrate that you are on the road to overcoming this obstacle.

It is possible to manage test anxiety. You don’t have to go about it alone.  Studying with other learners and sharing your tips could be extremely helpful and beneficial.  For more information and tips on test anxiety and overcoming test anxiety,  please contact Sam Hanlon with the LALR department at shanlon@nightingale.edu.

The Learner Advocate: Meet Sam Hanlon

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As a counselor in Learner Advising and Life Resources, many learners know Sam Hanlon. Part of her main focus at Nightingale College is to help learners in not only the academic environment but to provide support and guidance to positively influence their role as a learner and prospective nurse. Sam currently resides in California with her husband and three-month old daughter, Olive. Although she is a few states away from home base, she represents Nightingale College well on the West Coast  and brings her passion for helping learners to her daily activities.

How long have you been with Nightingale College and what is your position? 
I have been with Nightingale for a little over a year, since June 2015.

Where did you go to school and what is your highest degree? 
I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Francisco and my master’s degree in School Counseling Psychology with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential (which allows me to work with learners on academic and socio-emotional issues) from the University of San Francisco.

What drove you to apply for the position with Nightingale College? 
My mom drove me to apply for this position. She is a nurse and currently teaches in the doctoral nursing program at the University of San Francisco. I have always looked up to her and have had a passion for nursing and education, but I could never be a nurse. I will pass out if I see a drop of blood! I have always wanted to work in education and Nightingale College allows me to make an impact in the lives of future nurses, without the blood!

How do you help learners at Nightingale College?
I help learners by offering them resources for academic needs and offering support and guidance for any issues they are having. I am here to be an advocate for the learners and help them with whatever they need.

What is your favorite part about your job?
Getting to know the learners and watching them succeed!

What is your favorite part about working in the LALR Department?
I love being able to be an advocate for learners and find and create new resources for them. The LALR department gives me the opportunity to support learners in a variety of different ways based on what the learner needs to be successful.

What departments, if any, do you work closely with?
I work closely with registrar, admissions, and instructors. However, I am here as an advocate for learners so any questions learners have that I cannot answer or that is not part of my department, I can get by reaching out to different faculty because our faculty is awesome that way.

What is your piece of advice to learners struggling to juggle nursing school?
The best piece of advice I can give to learners is have one day a week where they do something they love and not think about school or their problems. When school is getting challenging and you are frustrated, step away for a minute and have a snack, watch a TV show, go for run, do something that you love that will calm you. It is really hard juggling school, work, family, etc, but always remember, in the end, you are going to fulfill such an amazing goal of being a nurse!

Please provide anything else about your position that you would like the learners to know. 
If there are any resources learners need and I don’t have it, I can find it for them. If they are having any issues in school or their personal life that is affecting their school work, they can come talk to me.  If they just need someone to vent to, I’m here. I am here to be their advocate, their supporter, their cheerleader, and their counselor.

What is the strangest talent you have?
I would have to say the one real talent I have is speaking/teaching Hebrew. I teach Hebrew school at my temple and mentor kids for their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. A strange talent I have is that I can change a clock in any car, which comes in handy about twice a year, if that.

If you could travel anywhere, where would your destination be and why?
Definitely Bora Bora because I LOVE the ocean and Bora Bora has bungalows that are literally over the water with glass floors so you can see the fish! You can also jump right into the water from your room and it looks absolutely gorgeous!

What motivates you? 
My family motivates me. I want to show my daughter that women can make a difference and we can do anything we put our minds to. I want to do the best I can every day for her.

What is something you would like to accomplish by the end of the year?
By the end of the year, I hope to expand the LALR department to offer learners even more resources and support.

What are three things on your bucket list?

  1. Go to Bora Bora
  2. Have another child (preferably a boy!)
  3. Buy a house

What or who brings a smile to your face? 
There are 3 people (well, one is an animal) in my life that make me smile. First, is my dog Tchotchke (pronounced chaw-ch-kee, it’s Yiddish for knick-knack). She is a 3-year-old Yorkie Pomeranian, and she is the sweetest, smartest pup ever! Second, is my husband Brian.  He is the love of my life and since I have been with him (we have been together 8 years and married for 2), I haven’t gone a day without smiling.  Last but not least, is my 3-month-old baby girl Olive Marie. I have always wanted to be a mom and I could not be happier with my baby girl. She is my everything. If I am having a bad day, seeing her little toothless smile will always bring a smile to my face!

Share anything else you would like the learners to know about you personally. 
I was born and raised in California and I currently reside in the East Bay.  I am a big TV and movie buff.  Some of my favorite (current) shows are Game of Thrones, anything on Bravo (well, any reality TV really), and Pretty Little Liars. I also love cooking shows, but I hate cooking.  I am a vegetarian (I do eat fish, so technically, I’m a pescetarian) and I have been since I was 10 years old!  One more fun fact is that I collect hands and clowns. I know, weird right? I don’t understand it either.

Sam is Nightingale College’s Counselor, Learner Advising and Life Resources. To get in touch with Sam, email her at shanlon@nightingale.edu.

Note Taking Strategies for Nursing Students

effective-note-takingNursing school curriculum requires a high-level of dedication to studying course material and reviewing it often. Learning to become a learner who is able to capture strong notes from lectures and reading materials helps prepare you for not only exams needed to pass the course, but for a lifelong career in nursing where continuous education is a must and excellent note taking skills is necessary. To become an effective note taker while attending an online nursing school is intimidating, especially when you are unsure what information is important enough to be deemed “noteworthy.” It requires more than simply putting course material on paper and regurgitating it for the exam. Learners must be able to takes good notes and learn to retain the information and pull from it when needed. Our Learner Advising and Life Resources Department endorses several note taking strategies to develop better skills that can be applied in nursing school.

  • Understand Organization.

    Organization and structure is the foundation for recording effective notes and without the two, there is no flow nor consistency in the notes. Learn how to use a multi-list approach that breaks main sections into smaller and smaller sections based on relevant content.
  • Be Active when Reading.
    Pace is important when focusing on crafting useful notes that is not filled with worthless content. When listening to a lecture and reading book material, practice connecting the ideas and concepts to create a continuous bridge of information that is supported. This strategy encourages you to always look for the right links between concepts, which is shown to improve memory, to help you formulate the connections.
  • Learn Note Taking Methods.
    Every learner uses specific strategies that benefit their personal learning structure. Just as one learner benefits from reading, another learner may understand better by hearing and seeing elements of the lecture. Practice several methods and try combining methods to see what benefits you.

    • Pen-and-Paper Method. There is a reason why the traditional method of using a notebook and pen to record course material is still a popular method. Because it works. It has only adapted to today’s technology of note taking on a computer, tablet, or phone. Taking notes in the margins of your book as you read and listing questions that you have immediately next to the corresponding concept helps you, as the learner, maintain consistency in your notes (not to mention it will be a helpful reminder to remember where your questions stemmed from).
    • Mind Map Method. Often times the traditional method is just too traditional for some learners who will adopt a more creative method of note taking—mind mapping. By connecting concepts through a spider diagram, visual learners are able to grasp the concepts better by simply drawing it out.
    • “Teach It” Method. When reading the lecture notes you captured or reviewing the book material is not enough, try the “teach it” method. Envision yourself as the teacher lecturing on the topic to a class that is unfamiliar with the topic. Record yourself explaining concepts then take some time to listen to it to find out how accurate you are.
    • Other Methods. Note taking depends on the type of learner you are. Auditory learners are able to learn better by recording lectures then listening to it later, not necessarily taking notes. Heard of a photographic memory? Learners who have the ability to easily remember by taking a mental snapshot of lecture notes and reading material are able to sort it mentally and recall it fairly quickly. They only need to study the page once or twice before they categorize it. Any learner can obtain a photographic memory through a mental exercise: 1) picture a place that will become a memory library such as a childhood home or a fictional library, 2) visualize yourself sorting and categorizing information into buckets, and 3) when studying, visualize yourself taking the material to your memory library and sorting it. Part of this exercise is to always return to your memory library and see yourself going through the buckets to retrieve the right information.
  • Learn when to Listen and what is Noteworthy.
    Especially with online education that has recorded lectures in the modules, learners have the ability to return to the recorded lectures if needed. However, it is beneficial to learn how to listen intently to lectures in hopes of not having to return to lectures more than once. As you listen, learn to decipher what is worth noting. Not everything the instructor says is noteworthy and spending time trying to capture everything the instructor focuses on will steal your attention away from what is actually being taught. You may return to your notes and be clueless as to what the lecture was about because of the lack of attention you had on what was being covered.
  • Reflect, Review, and Refer.
    The 3 “R” strategy should not be overlooked and time should be set aside to complete each step. Because of the greater degree of independent study time online students have, it is recommended learners do not go a day without reflecting and reviewing the information from the lecture or reading. Spend time reflecting on the information to create links between concepts to help solidify your understanding of the material then review it. This is the time to think out loud. Talk your way through your notes, focusing on what you remember from the lecture and reading. Finally, refer to the concepts you just learned, which will help you develop the skills needed to summarize course material without plagiarizing straight from the course.

Learning to become an effective note taker takes persistence and time, but it is a skill that will benefit you while in nursing school and throughout your career as a nurse. Take the time now to build up and improve your note taking skills so you can reap the benefits and transition into a lifelong learner. Our Learner Services Department can recommend further note taking strategies for you.

Class of September 2016 Graduation Recap

Life is not about warming yourself by the fire, life is about building the fire. And generosity is the match…If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap, but if you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody. (Larry Lucchino)

Congratulations! We are very excited to see what amazing things you all will accomplish as a nurse. Always remember to practice with confidence, competence, and compassion.

Faculty Address: Earlene Cooper

Valedictorian Speech: Peter Schultz

One of the Original Three: Meet Karen Sincerbeaux

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Karen Sincerbeaux has been with Nightingale College since its opening and can officially take the title as one of the original three instructors to be hired. Her immense background in nursing shines as she works one on one with our learners. Her passion for nursing bloomed as her love of serving others grew.

How long have you worked at Nightingale College?
I started April 11, 2011. I am one of the first original three instructors to be hired.

What is your current position with the College and what is your favorite part about your role?
I am an Assistant Professor and work as a lab/clinical instructor. I work a lot with first and second semester learners. My favorite part of my role is meeting new learners from all walks of life, connecting from the heart, and helping them to fulfill their dream to make a difference in this world.

What is your highest degree and where did you attend school?
I have a Masters in Nursing Education from Western Governors University. I graduated in April, 2015.

Why did you decide to become a nursing instructor?
I am very passionate about people and the importance of relationships. I wanted to make the biggest impact on the next generation of nurses and being an educator allows me to accomplish this. How we model nursing as educators is so incredibly influential to the kind of nurses we create at Nightingale.

Reflecting back, what was one of the more challenging situations either while you were in nursing school or during your nursing career? How did you overcome it?
This is a very personal story but if it impacts your heart then it was worth sharing. My father died when I was in my third year of nursing school. Needless to say it was a struggle. Soon after I was given a dying patient to care for at clinical and I fell apart. I was then told by one of my nursing instructors that I did not have what it took to be an RN. I overcame this obstacle by becoming an RN with my BSN, became a nurse educator and got my MSN. I love living our core values and demonstrating love and compassion!

Why did you want to become a nurse? And what is your favorite part about being a nurse?
I became a nurse because I love people, helping them to feel better and pay it forward. I believe we need to be prevention oriented in this country with regard to healthcare and we need to teach accountability for our health. My favorite part of nursing is the relationships, supporting people to cope and understand what is going on with their health.

Could you share what your opinion is about continuing education on past an ASN degree and what you believe the benefits are?
Education helps you to grow in ways you cannot even imagine. You look at things from a broader perspective, you grow confidence in all areas of your life, you are in awe at something that you accomplished that maybe you never felt you could accomplish! One of the best benefits is that you are an inspiration to others!

Who is your hero?
Jesus- he has and continues to do an incredible work in me.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
There are so many- getting my Master’s degree was a huge one!

What did you want to be when you were a child?
A veterinarian!

Share a hobby that you love to do.
Singing and songwriting.

If you had a warning label, what would it say?
Beware of your personal space! This woman knows how to HUG and she’ll do it!!!

Where is your ideal vacation?
Someplace warm and on the beach!

Share anything else you would like people to know.
I adore my family ( husband Rob and three children- Jesse, Genevieve and Joshua) and friends . I am honored to work with many amazing people at Nightingale. I adore my Baptist church, True Vine, where I am a Deaconess. I lost my beloved cats Rama and Gabriel this summer so if I speak about them you will understand my sadness. I am blessed to teach at Nightingale and I am honored to know each and every one of you!

Nightingale College Announces New Partnership in Evanston, Brings Nursing Education Programs to the Community

EVANSTON, WY (August 24, 2016) – Local healthcare facilities have successfully partnered with Nightingale College to provide local nursing degree programs to residents of Evanston and surrounding communities.

Nursing college acceptance and admittance remains competitive, and attending a nursing program is not always feasible for some community residents while others travel, even relocate, to attend a nursing program.

Healthcare facilities struggle to employ the sufficient number of nurses due to potential nurses relocating for school and the current nursing workforce reaching retirement age. These factors make it difficult for healthcare facilities to meet the community’s needs. Alongside the demand for registered nurses is the rising need for accessible educational options—a necessity recognized by Nightingale College.

“Healthcare outcomes suffer when there is a lack of competent nurses,” said Jonathan Tanner, VP of Partnership at Nightingale College. “Without the proper nurse staffing and more importantly, without access to nursing education and quality nurses, patient care declines, affecting the community’s healthcare overall.”

Nightingale College brings its associate and bachelor’s degree in nursing programs to Evanston as a means of encouraging locally grown registered nurses. The College’s pioneering approach to supply nursing education through distance learning and on-ground lab and clinical experiences allows communities the availability to continuously grow and maintain registered nurses at a local level.

Additionally, higher-level degree nurses are in high demand because their advanced knowledge and skills are preferred when caring for the patients with diverse medical needs. The College’s expansion to the Evanston area will provide current nurses with an option of furthering their education to obtain a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, which is essential to training and leading new nurses entering the healthcare field.

“The unique struggles Partners located outside of urban centers face when it comes to having qualified, sufficient and effective nurses keep them from meeting the needs of their communities,” said Jill McCullough, former DDC Coordinator at Nightingale College. “The College’s mission is to help these facilities retain local nurses who are passionate about the community’s health and will drive positive health solutions forward.”

Healthcare employers partnered with Nightingale College provide an educational opportunity designed to expand the pool of local ready-to-work registered nurses and supply an additional advanced degree nursing program that is available to the community. These healthcare employers investing in local education and employment prepare their communities to support fully staffed and safe nursing units while contributing to the increase in the number of qualified RN applicants in the area.

“We have found through our other partnership cohorts that nurses who are educated locally have a greater understanding of the healthcare needs in their community, are invested and more likely to work for local facilities,” said Tanner. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to bring our nursing programs to Wyoming and provide a solution that will not only assist our partners in supporting competent RNs in their facilities, but help improve the community’s healthcare.”

As of August 2016, Wyoming joins Nightingale College’s four other partnership cohorts located in Utah and Idaho.

Going Beyond Self as a Team – Our Give Back Day

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One of our values is Beyond Self. It is a simple collection of two words meaning something very powerful—something we collectively define as “a meaning to selflessly serve others.” As an organization, it is important to us to find ways to reach others in a positive manner to the point when an appreciative, endearing smile goes beyond a thank you. We actively unite together twice a year to make a difference during our Give Back Days.

The College’s Give Back Day initiative commenced in 2013 when employees banded together with the goodwill of showing the power a group of individuals can have on the community. Past Give Back Days have included delivering 100 sack lunches to the St. Anne’s Center, helping the Boys and Girls Club of Ogden move, donating an iced-themed tree to the Festival of Trees organization, and remodeling the interior room of the OWCAP/Head Start building.

Give Back Day has become a standard biannual tradition of the College that allows employees to exemplify compassion and the value of Beyond Self—characteristics the College encourages its nursing students and employees to embody.

On Wednesday, August 17th, we came together to donate food and supplies to the Lantern House in Ogden, Utah. The Lantern House, formerly known as St. Anne’s Center, serves community members who are less fortunate find a place of refuge that also provides food and shelter. Serving men, women, and families, the Lantern House opens its doors to assist its residents more forward towards a better life. The organization works closely with each resident to support them in finding employment and establish residence. Additionally, the Lantern House’s soup kitchen feeds upward of 300 hungry individuals a day who travel as far as Logan to the north and Bountiful in the south. The volunteers and staff at the organization rely strictly on food donations to feed each person that comes through the door. Nightingale College donated a variety of foods that will assist with feeding the large quantity of people.

We are grateful to have the opportunity to work again with such an amazing organization whose mission is to go beyond self and be a helping hand to those in need. It is a constant reminder that there are many chances for each of us to volunteer and help another.

Our College President and CEO, Mikhail Shneyder, shares what it means to give back, “Give Back Day is about people coming together and doing something good. It’s the power of the community when we help others without expecting anything in return that the world becomes a little bit better through this labor of love.”

The Lantern House is constantly looking for volunteers to join their efforts and for people to donate much needed items. For those interested, visit their website by clicking here.

We are excited to have captured our time at the Lantern House. Head on over to our Facebook page to check out our adventure.

Nightingale College Hosts Site Visit for CCNE

The Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Bridge Program at Nightingale College will be hosting an accreditation site visit for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) on September 12-14, 2016. CCNE policy requires that institutions provide an opportunity for the program’s identified communities of interest including students, faculty and the practice community including current and potential employers to provide written input into the deliberations of the evaluation team. Written and signed third-party comments will be accepted by CCNE until August 22, 2016. All comments must be signed and should be directed to:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Attn: Third-Party Comments
1 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 530
Washington, DC 20036

Please note that CCNE shares third-party comments only with members of the evaluation team. The evaluation team only considers third-party comments that relate to the program’s compliance with the accreditation standards. At no time during the review process are these comments shared with the program. However, all compliance concerns related to the accreditation standards will be identified in the accreditation report and the program will have an opportunity to respond to the concerns as part of its report response.

If you would like to submit a third-party comment, please submit it to thirdpartycomments@aacn.nche.edu or mail comments to the address above.

Thank you for assisting in the accreditation process for Nightingale College’s Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Bridge Program.

Meet Catherine Welker

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Does Nightingale College even have a library? Absolutely! And it is managed by the Learner Resources Manager and Librarian, Catherine Welker. Following her passion of librarianship, she is able to help learners through the LMS access resources and with testing and tutoring services provided by the College. She moved to Salt Lake City eighteen years ago from DuBois, Pennsylvania. Quickly approaching the end of her third month at the College, Catherine is enthusiastic about the opportunities to help elevate the College’s online instruction and develop learner resources–and periodically remind learners that Nightingale College does have a library of useful resources that is just a click away.

Where did you go to school and what is your highest degree?
I attended Allegheny College, a small liberal arts college in Northwestern Pennsylvania, for undergraduate school. I attended Emporia State University, in Kansas, for graduate school.

What interested you most about your field that you decided to pursue it?
I chose to pursue an education and career in librarianship because I love searching and finding information and then packaging/organizing it and then ultimately utilizing it.  I also love working with others.

Give a brief overview of you job description and how it relates to learners.
As the Learning Resources Manager, Librarian, I contribute to the library’s instruction mission through online teaching and support.  I am in the process of creating an online repository of tutorials, user guides and training materials for faculty and learners as well as assisting in the creation, development and implementation of instructional technologies within the LMS. I manage the Testing Center and provide academic coaching services to all learners. I look forward to contributing to the profession and its literature through publications, presentations and participating in a variety of professional organizations.

What have you enjoyed most about your job at Nightingale?
What I have enjoyed most about my job at Nightingale are the wonderful people I am surrounded by and the creative spirit that comes from working together.

What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part about being a librarian is that I get to advocate for intellectual freedom, i.e. provide information and material for all people.

Specific to your department, what is one thing you would tell or advise learners?
One thing that I’d like to advise learners in is in utilizing their resources.  The library, although not physically manifested at Nightingale College, does exist and can make a learner’s experience successful and meaningful.

As the College’s librarian, do you prefer traditional hard copy books or eBooks?
As a College Librarian, I have to say that I prefer traditional hard copy books, but I do love finding ways to make information readily available in a nontraditional manner.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish by the end of the year?
By the end of the year, I hope to make library services an indispensable part of every learners’ educational experience.

What is one thing you cannot live without?
One thing that I cannot live without is a sense of humor.

Many people thrive on daily motivational stories and quotes. To be simple, what is a favorite quote that really hits home for you? 
My favorite quote that really hits home for me is by Confucius, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.”

Share anything else about yourself.
My favorite vacation spot is Big Sur. It is simply majestic with its winding turns, seaside cliffs and misty coastlines.  It is the closest thing to paradise that I’ve ever seen.

Insider Tips on How to Get Started with Financial Aid

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Starting college can be intimidating, especially when it comes to discussing personal financial situations and educational funding options. The costs associated with enrolling in college can make some people very nervous, and there is nothing worse than starting school and being stressed about finances.

Nightingale College’s Financial Aid department is here to help in any way possible. Not only is it our job to help, but we love helping you and there is no such thing as a stupid question. So make the most of it when you meet with Financial Aid and keep your ears open and ask a lot of questions. The financial aid process can be daunting and you are receiving so much information all at once, but it is your responsibility to speak up if there is something you don’t understand. We don’t know that you need help to better understand the financial options and requirements unless you tell us.

It’s true that not everyone knows how to budget or how to tackle their finances, but don’t let it worry you or change your focus of getting a degree. There are many, many tools available to help you along the financial aid process, but one of the most important tools is the services that the school provides you, such as the Financial Aid department.

Creating Your In-School Budget

A tool that is provided to all learners is the Imagine America-Financial Planning Made Simple tutorial. Learning how to budget prior to making any official financial commitments is essential; plus, it is a requirement to complete the tutorial before meeting with a Financial Aid Advisor. It is always important to review your current financial situation before engaging in any future financial commitment. The Imagine America tutorial illustrates the “bigger picture” of budgeting and introduces concepts from a different perspective.

Below is a list of websites with tools to assist you with creating an in-school budget:

The publication “Be a Responsible Borrower: Plan Ahead and Graduate with Less Debt,” is an additional resource that breaks down how to be on top of college finances and provides tips on how to decrease the debt left after graduation. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/responsible-borrower.pdf

Options to Pay for School

Consider the various financial opportunities to fund your education and choose carefully regarding college financing. Please don’t limit yourself to just one possibility. It takes time and energy to look for financial help, so BE PROACTIVE and DETERMINED. Financial aid opportunities are endless. Here are a few financial options that are available to eligible applicants; however, keep in mind that there are more possibilities than those listed below:

  • Federal Student Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans)
  • Grants (Federal Pell Grants, State Grants, Minority Grants, Student Specific Grants)
  • Scholarships- View Nightingale College’s scholarships
  • Third Party Loans (MACU, personal bank)
  • Savings account
  • Official benefactors
  • Income Tax credits (The American Opportunity Tax Credit, Life Time Learning Credit)

Federal Student Aid

Choosing the route of applying for federal student aid is a great start. So, what can you expect when applying for federal student aid?

  • You will be required to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
  • Not everyone is eligible for Federal Pell Grants or Federal Student Loans.
  • You will be required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Requirements (SAP). (SAP is defined in the Nightingale College Catalog)
  • You will need to renew your FAFSA each year that you will be receiving aid.
  • You will be required to complete Loan Counseling and a Master Promissory Note to receive Federal Student Loans. (Please see the Loan Counseling (LC) and Master Promissory Note (MPN) directions that are available on the Nightingale website under Financial Aid)
  • The importance of loan counseling is to help you understand what a direct loanis and how the loan process works. Additionally, loan counseling helps you manage your education expenses and lists your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. (For more information on loan counseling, visit FSA’s website.)
  • The importance of a Master Promissory Note is to ensure your promise in repaying your loans and any accrued interest or fees. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan. (For more information on Master Promissory Note, visit FSA’s website.)

Questions that You Should be Asking Regarding Your Student Loans

When coming to talk with financial aid, have questions ready to go. Sometimes it is difficult to think of questions on the spot, so it is beneficial to have at least a few questions outlined. Check out some of the questions learners have asked the Financial Aid Department:

  • What type of loan am I receiving?
  • What is the interest rate on my student loan?
  • How is interest calculated?
  • When do I need to start making payments on my student loan?
  • What are my repayment options?
  • Can I make payments while I am in school?

The Financial Aid Department is here to steer you in the right direction. Don’t be deterred by false information that can be found online or is given to you by a friend. When a question arises, stop by and let us get you the right answer.

Visit Nightingale College’s Financial Aid page at http://nightingale.edu/financial-aid/ and the Scholarships page at http://nightingale.edu/financial-aid/scholarships-2/.

Remember to frequently meet with a Financial Aid Advisor to stay current on your individual financial status so you don’t fall behind on payments. Call (801) 689-2160 to make an appointment.