How to Get Started on a Career While Still in College

By Alison

Many college students are so focused on their academics that they may decide to put their career aspirations on hold until after graduation. This is understandable; while attending classes, studying for tests and doing homework, beefing up a resume may seem like a Herculean task.

Fortunately, using some creativity and taking advantage of your inherent interests and spare time, you can start working on your career goals while still in college — all while keeping up with your studies. For example, check out the following outside-the-box ideas:

girl typing

Experiment with contract work

Traditionally, one of the best ways to gain real-world experience in college is through an internship. If you are not having any luck finding a paid or unpaid position, or if the companies that need interns require a larger time commitment than you can afford, consider contractual or freelance work. This is an especially good approach for entrepreneurial-minded students to test out their interests and gain needed experience for their resume.

For example, Forbes notes that Amway, the 26th largest private company in the United States, offers plenty of flexible career-development opportunities that can easily fit into an already busy schedule. Other websites that offer freelance work include Handy, Upwork (which offers both short and long-term projects), Elance and Fivrr.

Make extracurriculars count

There are typically plenty of extracurricular activities in college. As Career Builder suggests, join some organizations and clubs and take on leadership roles that you can highlight on your resume. Showing your long-term commitment to a team or club will impress potential employers with your sense of responsibility. If the extracurricular fits into your career goal in any way, all the better — for example, if you hope to go to law school, joining the speech and debate team is a nice way to show you have experience in public speaking.

Work on your technology skills

Once you graduate from college and are getting into the real world of work, chances are good you’ll use at least one type of technology. In addition to becoming familiar with Word, PowerPoint, Excel and other programs, consider creating a website or app. This is especially important if you are hoping to get into IT or a related field. When you interview, you might not have a part-time job in technology on your resume, but if you can show a snazzy and eye-catching website that you created or talk about an innovative app you invented, it will be sure to impress your future boss. As a bonus, these are projects that you can fit in and around your college work.

Never underestimate the power of networking

Another great way to start on your career path while in college is to network with anyone and everyone. Tell your folks about your work dreams and see if they know anyone who works in that industry who might be willing to talk to you over a cup of coffee. If you are working a part-time job as a barista, tell your regular customers what you hope to do — one of them may surprise you and say she does that type of work and will keep you in mind for future openings. You can also use social media to your advantage, posting about your after-school plans. Getting the word out may lead to internship and job offers.

About the author: Alison has been a freelance writer for the past 15 years. She enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, and always looks for opportunities to learn about new subjects.


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A College Student’s Guide to Creatively Keeping in Touch

By Natalie Posdaljian

Keeping in touch as a college student is vital for maintaining relationships with family and friends, keeping them in the loop and weaving your home life with your college life. Reliable ways of keeping in touch, such as texts, emails and chatting on the phone, can get redundant and don’t always provide the best insight into your life as a college student. Instead, spice up how you keep in touch with your family back home.

student video chat

Video Chat

Video chatting with a laptop isn’t new to the scene nor is it the most creative way to keep in touch. Expand your virtual horizons with the iPad Air 2, which is thin and light enough to take anywhere. Video chat with your family at a public park in your new town or while you enjoy a much needed caffeine fix at your favorite coffee shop. Or, your family can video chat you when they all get together for a birthday party or Sunday afternoon BBQ. Although you won’t get a bite of the cake, you can still chat with all your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.

Snail Mail

With the speed, efficiency and reliability of technology, it’s understandable why snail mail is a thing of the past. Yes, you have to handwrite your letter, buy a stamp, stop at the post office and wait a couple days for your mail to reach its destination, but that’s what makes snail mail fun. The feeling of checking the mailbox and finding something addressed to you that’s not a bill or advertisement is priceless. Sending snail mail to your family leaves them obliged to write you back, giving you something to look forward to in the mail. You also can throw in a copy of the A+ paper you wrote. Snail mail is especially great for grandparents, who typically appreciate handwritten letters the most.

Vlog

A vlog (video blog) is a unique way to show others what a day in the life of a college student looks like. Whether you keep it private for your family to enjoy or you make it a public YouTube channel, vlogging is in. Model one of your vlogs off a cooking show, with a twist on ramen or PB&J sandwiches. Vlog a tour of your favorite spots on campus, such as where you get your morning coffee, restaurants you frequent, the gym and the library. Or keep it simple and just talk straight to the camera about school, your roommates, professors and anything else that’s on your mind.

Shared Photos

There are so many ways you and your family can share your photos. If you’re looking to keeping it virtual, create a private album on Facebook and make all your family members contributors so everyone can swap photos. Or, use a photo sharing site like Flickr or Photobucket. Take it a step further by sharing developed photos (yes, people still develop photos). Throw just a few photos into that letter you’re sending, or use an app like Groovebook to upload all of your photos for just $2.99 (college budget approved) to send your family a keepsake photobook.

Family Facebook Group

A private family Facebook group is great for quick life updates, such as acing that Calculus exam, or for sharing links to YouTube videos with each other. Having your family in one Facebook group creates a forum full of sharing, likes and comments between the people that matter the most to you. For those statuses or photos you can’t share with your entire following, a private group lets you share your silly selfies or embarrassing stories with those that will love you no matter what.

Author Bio: Destined to be an Armenian housewife perfecting her hummus recipe, Natalie Posdaljian instead chose a life of marine field biology and sriracha. Born and raised in southern California, her veins rush with salty seawater and sunshine no matter where she goes.  When she’s not saving jellyfish from extinction, Natalie is dancing in the shower, knitting on a plane or swinging in her hammock.


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Top Ways Being a Student Can Save You Money

By Roxy Barnes

It’s been said before and it’s true. College will leave you with a lifetime of memories. But if you’re not careful it will leave you with nearly a lifetime of debt. That is why students should take advantage of the discounts available simply for being students.

And they are everywhere. Many of these discounts are often listed on your school’s site. But don’t limit your search to just that. By putting your Internet skills to work, you can find discounts on nearly everything you’ll need, and some you wouldn’t expect, like this student carpet cleaning discount.

But that’s not all.  Let’s start with a big way to save money in school – scholarships.

Saving-MoneyScholarships

Paying for college is the top concern for the vast majority of college students. Many students may not realize this, but universities often have long lists of private scholarships from businesses and organizations listed somewhere on the financial aid section of their website.

Private scholarships come from every corner of the marketplace and often vary widely in their requirements for entering the scholarship contest. For example, this Halloween costume site offers a cash scholarship for designing a Facebook Cover image for their home page. If you’re more expressive in words, many businesses only require a 500 word essay (or less).

Most of these scholarships aren’t particular about what school you attend. So if your school doesn’t offer very many outside scholarships, check out the pages of some larger universities.

Books and Supplies

Way back in the day students had to buy all of their books from the university bookstore. You paid whatever price they charged and sold them back to the same store when you were done for next to nothing. Talk about buying from the company store – ouch! (Sometimes the good ole days were not so good.)

Now you have choices aplenty for buying your books and supplies. Online sites like Bookbyte.com open up the marketplace so you can shop around for the best deal. Don’t forget to check if your book is available as an eTextbook and save even more.

You probably already realize the savings you can get on software purchases with a student discount, but do some searching for student discounts on computers, tablets and other electronic devices.

Everything else

If there is a product or service that a student can use, you can bet some company is offering a discount on it. Businesses aren’t just doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, they are hoping to win your loyalty now and keep using them for years to come. So even if you don’t see a student discount advertised, don’t hesitate to ask if they have one. What’s the worst they can say?

Even storage companies are getting in on the game, offering student discounts on storage units over summer break. The list goes on, including companies like AmTrak, hotels, clothing stores, even credit cards offering discounted student rates.

If you think searching for student discounts on everything could turn into a time consuming obsession, there are a number of sites that are doing the searching for you. One of the more popular sites is Student Universe. They not only help you find deals on travel and lodging, but have categories of discounts ranging from clothing to food and health.

College is expensive. If you can use your student status to save a few dollars here and there, over the course of a college career the savings adds up. Don’t let that money go to waste. That way, when you look back on your college years, hopefully all you’ll have are great memories, not ones tempered by the specter of debt.


Going to college?  Give yourself the gift of good grades with The Secrets of Top Students!

How to Make a Fashion Statement on a College Budget

By Alison Stanton

As a college student, you probably feel like you figuratively wear many different hats on any given day. There’s your “in class” hat, your “trying to impress the professor during my oral presentation” hat, the “hanging out in the dorms” hat, and, the ever-popular “heading to my first-ever real job interview” hat.

The trick is to create a stylish wardrobe versatile enough that you’re ready for all of these different situations, without spending a zillion dollars or needing a closet that rivals Ivana Trump’s. Fortunately, it’s more than possible to assemble a fashionable fall wardrobe that won’t require you to take out a massive loan. Here’s where to start.

fashionable girl Continue reading

Headed to College? Don’t Become a Victim of Identity Theft (Guest Post)

If you’re going to college, you have lots of things on your mind: choosing the right classes, getting good grades, finding a place to live, making friends, etc.  You’re probably not thinking about identity theft, but according to the U.S. Department of Justice, about one out of 20 college age people will be a victim of identity theft. Losing everything that you own is not the college education that you are trying to get.

Colleges Give You Plastic

There was a time when the only purpose of a college ID card was to get you a discount at amusement parks. Now most college finances go through the student ID card. Often they are linked to a bank account and serve as a debit or credit card. Because all of the account information is linked, one slip can mean losing everything. Scambusters.org cites carelessness with financial aid information as one of the top reasons that students fall victim to identity fraud.

One of the ways to protect your credit is to never give your financial aid PIN to friends. With PIN information, a clever thief can get all of your other specific account information, including your Social Security number and residency data. The funds can also be diverted into the perpetrator’s account.

Continue reading

The Many Ways Students Can Make Money From Unwanted Items (Guest Post)

By Maja Tisma. 

Maja is a Graphic Designer with a passion for Frugal Living. She wants to help people to make their money go as far as possible, and does so with her website DailyProof.

As a student, it’s often difficult to fit any kind of employment around your studies. Even if you find a way, trying to make ends meet can seem pretty much impossible! Everyone knows that getting a job while at college or university can help your employability afterwards, but practicalities surrounding actually getting your degree must come first. How, then, should you best make some money to actually maintain your standard of living and get by?

First if all, it’s a good idea to get yourself into a habit of reading blogs and websites dedicated to the practice of frugal living. There are some great tips out there, and most aren’t at all time consuming. Not only are they great for providing you with ways to make money, websites such as Daily Proof and even your typical Social Networking sites can help you actually save money, too. From coupons to budgeting, there’s no point in shying away and looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Still stuck? Here’s a breakdown of the best ways to gain from stuff you already have:

Ebay/Amazon

Now, these ones are a bit of a given, but it just goes to show that tried and tested methods really work! Whether you’ve got some old clothes flung at the bottom of your wardrobe, or some antiques handed down through the generations that you really see no use for, these websites could indeed be your saving grace. If you don’t really have anything sale-worthy, get customizing! There’s a new trend surrounding upcycling, and it’s a fantastic way to make something shiny and new out of old stuff. It’s environmentally friendly as well, because it’s basically just a glam form of traditional recycling.

These are some books sold by the editor of this site for over $100!

These are some books sold by the editor of this site for over $100!

De-Cluttering Sites & Stores

Following on from the standard sites mentioned above, there are some great sites out there which actually take the hassle out even more (if that’s possible!) from selling on your junk. Just go to sites like De-Cluttr, enter the barcode or specifics of the items you want to shift, and you’ll be given a price. And that’s it! No auctions, no waiting around for someone to commit to a purchase. You’ll be invited to send off your items (from gadgets and CDs, to DVDs and clothes), and once they’ve been vetted, they’ll pay out. On the same level are businesses such as Cash4Clothes, who pay out to recycle your stuff for you, by taking your clothes to places in need. You won’t get much for them, but it’s better than them just sitting there collecting dust, right?

College Groups/ At College

If your college is on Facebook, it’s likely that there will be a group dedicated to the students. Find people taking your classes and see whether they’d like to buy your books from you once you’re done. Not only will you make a little back from your investment, you’ll win some brownie points in helping out some of the younger students.

‘The Old Fashioned Way’

Have a yard sale! It may not seem very 21st Century, but sometimes, the oldies know best. As the warmer weather approaches, it’s the perfect time to gather some friends and set up shop (literally) for the day. Be prepared for hagglers – set your prices a little higher than you actually hope for, but not so high that you have them running for the hills. Make some posters and flyers and pepper them around the neighborhood, and you’re good to go!

Swap Shop

This is a trend that has been sweeping campuses the last few years. A ‘Swap Shop’ might not make you any money per se, but it’s a brilliant way to gain some new essentials just by using the ones you no longer want. Think of it as a giant hand-me-down extravaganza; whether it’s just between your circle of friends, or even spread to a larger audience. Why not charge everyone $3 to enter, have everyone bring 3 good items of clothing that they no longer have use for, and give everyone a ticket to be used in exchange for someone else’s clothes that they do want? The admission can be put to charity or a society event, so not only will you gain a new wardrobe for next to nothing, the rewards can be reaped elsewhere as well.

There are an abundance of ways that you can make a little extra cash while you’re studying – you just have to get creative!


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