student loan repayment

In the latest episode of Getting In: A College Coast Conversation, guest host Sally Ganga covers a wide range of topics, beginning with a discussion on how to prepare to repay student loans, and then an in-depth look at the supplemental essays for Loyola Marymount University and Occidental College. She wraps up with a lively conversation about the differences between studying the sciences and studying engineering in college.

Student Loan Repayment: Part One

‘Tis the season when many Class of 2018 college graduates will begin to repay what they borrowed to pay for college. Sally’s first guest, college finance expert Tara Piantanida-Kelly, is on hand for part one of a two-part series on how to manage education loan repayment. Tara addresses when repayment begins on federal and private student and parent loans, as well as how to make sure you have tracked down and accounted for all of the loans you have borrowed, using two different websites, the National Student Loan Data System and She also advises borrowers to reach out to their servicer before repayment officially begins. Next week’s finance segment will continue the student loan repayment discussion with some advice about how to choose a repayment plan and how to know whether refinancing is a good option for you.

LMU and Oxy Supplemental Essays

Sally’s next guest, college admission expert Mary Sue Youn, offers some useful insights into how to respond to the supplemental questions for Loyola Marymount University and Occidental College. LMU asks an optional “Why LMU?” question, which both Mary Sue and Sally agree is not really optional—if you are really interested in attending LMU, you should answer it! They then offer a choice of three questions, all of which help them get at what LMU looks for in students—not necessarily that you are Catholic and religious, but that social justice and service to your community matter to you. Occidental asks a “Why Occidental?” question with a special twist and a request for you to share your intellectual curiosities. They also ask a question about community, and give you an opportunity to share your quirks, idiosyncrasies, and peculiarities. Mary Sue and Sally both provide some marvelous examples and advice on writing these essays—if either of these California private colleges is on your list, you won’t want to miss this segment.

Science vs. Engineering Majors

Finally, Sally’s last guest, college admission expert Becky Leichtling, joins Sally in a very wise and useful conversation about the differences between studying the sciences and studying engineering. When asked to distill those differences into just a couple of sentences, Becky posits that scientists ask the “why” questions about why the world works the way it does, while engineers ask the “how” questions about how to use science and math to fix a problem or create an outcome. In the rest of the segment, Sally and Becky continue to dig more deeply into the differences and relationships between the two, the coursework required in each field, how graduate schools view the two topics, and finally, why a desire to do “hands-on” work doesn’t necessarily mean you are cut out to be an engineer. This segment is filled with great information for the STEM-centered student.

And don’t forget to tune in next episode, when guest host Ian Fisher and his guests will continue the discussion about student loan repayment, talk through how seniors can handle their early round admission results, and tackle the supplemental essays of Boston College and Colgate University.


Written by College Coach
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