College Info Geek is one of our favorite college blogs. Why? Because it pretty much helps you become AWESOME at college – How to learn more in less time, become more productive, land your dream job, and obliterate your loans. In a nutshell this is not your typical college blog: College Info Geek provides in-depth, insanely useful articles covering the things you truly need to know in order to be a successful student. The articles on College Info Geek are a true goldmine of information for all future and current college students, as well as recent college grads. To get started, check out those MUST READ articles:
Now meet Thomas Frank, the creator and editor of College Info Geek. With College Info Geek, Thomas made it his full time job to help you succeed in college! A graduate of Iowa State University, he traveled to Japan on a whim, traveled to Japan on a whim and paid off almost $15,000 in student debt while still being a student. Thomas took some time to answer some of our questions, so we can learn more about him and his project for the website College Info Geek.
Where did the idea to create College Info Geek come from?
After my freshman year, I got a job on campus helping to bring the next class of freshman in, get them signed up for classes, and generally answer all of their questions. At the same time, a college success blog I was a huge fan of announced that they were looking for writers.
I figured it’d be a good outlet for writing about the study strategies I was using, and also that it’d look good on my resume – so I applied and wrote them a guest post. Unfortunately, I got rejected.
Still, I had written that post and didn’t want my hours of hard work to go to waste. So I decided to teach myself WordPress and set up my own blog! In the beginning, I just wrote whenever I had time and inspiration in between classes. Today there are podcast episodes, articles, and videos on YouTube going live every week – but at the time, it was just a small side project.
The Impossible List is my version of a bucket list, and it serves as the highest level of planning for my life’s goals and progress-tracking.
Whereas a bucket list is usually a static list of things you hope to do “someday,” the Impossible List prizes active planning, progress, and constant evolution. When I achieve something, I create a sub-bullet with a new, more difficult iteration of the goal. For example, when I achieved my goal of doing 15 chin-ups in one set, I created a new goal to do 20.
Most areas of my life are represented on the list – my career, fitness, travel, skills, major life goals, giving, etc.
I also list the most recently completed 5 goals right at the top. I think this places emphasis on constant progression; I’m less likely to go into a lazy phase if I know the list will start looking old. In my mind, the question, “What are you doing right now?” is just as important as, “What have you accomplished in the past?”
How did you pay back your student loans in such a short time?
The short answer is that I was able to increase my income substantially during my senior year. One source was my website; after running it for 2.5 years, I had enough traffic to make a good amount of money through a couple advertising sources. I also had a part-time job, did a couple freelance gigs, and had money from several scholarships I was able to win (yep, you can still win scholarships when you’re a college student!).
From there, I cut down my expenses as much as I could. I lived (and still live) in the cheapest apartment complex in town with 3 roommates. I rode my bike as much as I could, cooked a lot, and didn’t spend much on anything else.
That let me take most of what I made every month and put it towards my debt. I had two different federal loans with the exact same interest rates, so I just picked the one with the lowest balance and paid it down as quickly as possible. Then I did the same with the other one.
Had the interest rates been different, I would have used the Stack Method – paying down the loan with the highest interest rate first.
One of the main focuses of my writing is personal finance/student loans, and The True Cost of Student Loans is a good place to start for anyone wanting to learn more.
What are your plans for the near future?
Right now, I’m working on writing a free guide on earning better grades while studying less. It’s currently being written, and it’ll be available here when I’ve finished it.
Beyond that, I’m focusing on creating new content on multiple different platforms consistently, putting in the groundwork to become a professional speaker, and working on ideas for collaborating with companies I love (including Studentrate)!