How to Make Sure Your Last Few Months of College are Successful

By Anne Davies

You’re close to graduating college – well done! At this stage, you’ve probably got one eye on the next phase of your life, whatever that may be. However, this is the time when the pressure is really cranked up, when subtle yet insidious dangers can creep their way into your rhythms.

To help you on your way, we’ve put together some of the things you should keep your eye out for – and the things you should ignore – as you near your post-graduation life.

Graduating soon?  Don't lose sight of your goal.

Graduating soon? Don’t lose sight of your goal.

1. Get Serious

Chances are, you’ve already put your wild college days to bed by the time you reach your senior year. However, even if that is the case you’re probably used to late nights, casual drinking, limited sense of routine, and so forth. While we’re not saying you’re going to have to live a button-down life once you enter the real world, there are some practical considerations you need to bear in mind if you’re going to be a success, and these will be best achieved if you make them part of your life while you’re still in university.

Limit Your Drinking

Everyone knows that college students drink a lot, but sometimes it’s more than just a bit of fun. The stress of exams, worrying about the future, and just plain old bad habits can cause a student to drink more than they should. If you think your drinking is becoming a problem, take a step back and seek help from your friends or support network at college. Exams are to be taken seriously, but they shouldn’t have a disproportionate effect on your well being. Equally, now is the time to put down the beer bong! You can celebrate when the final exam is handed in; it’s not worth ruining your final degree just for a few more nights of partying.

Keep a Routine

Many students have a laissez-faire attitude to their daily routine, opting to keep irregular work days and inconsistent sleeping hours. However, having a routine might just put you on a path towards greatness, with many great thinkers and businessman choosing to have a solid daily routine. As you enter your final months, try to develop a routine that you’ll be able to stick to once you leave your college – it might just be  a game-changer.

2. Don’t Stress Out About Searching for a Job

Only around 15% of students have a job lined up when they graduate, so don’t despair if you’re in the majority who don’t. While job prospects have been tough over the past few years, that’s beginning to change and there are more and more opportunities each year.

Be Patient

You’ve got many decades of work ahead of you, so don’t stress if you don’t find the perfect job within the first few months of graduation. Pick up casual work to cover your expenses in the meantime and wait for the job to come along – it might take a while, but it’ll come in the end. If you think job searching is interfering with your studies, then put if off until finals are over – you might think you’re losing an edge, but you’ll actually be doing the right thing. If you must do something, consider interning or volunteering; this way you can decide how much of your time you dedicate to work.

3. Maintain Perspective

College is important, but it’s not everything. There’s no reason to worry or stress, especially over things you cannot control. If you work hard and put the hours in, you’ll do just fine. In fact, worrying might even cause you to do worse on your exam! So try to relax, and don’t forget to have some fun along the way. It’s tempting to think your entire universe revolves around your academic performance, but it’s important to spend some time in the gym or hang with friends to remind yourself that there are other parts to your life, too. After a break from studying, you’ll go back to it with a renewed energy that will make the information more likely to stick.

College is scary, fun, and nerve-inducing – often all at the same time. While you know this as well as anyone by now, you’re entering uncharted territory when you discover that it’s soon to be over. Take your time, try to enjoy it, and don’t let niggling problems spoil what could be the adventure of a lifetime.


Looking for more tips on college success?  Check out The Secrets of Top Students.

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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.


Pssst!  Check out The Secrets of Top Students.

 

7 Things to Consider Before Going Back to School to Further Your Career

By Liz Greene

Despite what you may have heard, a college diploma isn’t the only way to get a decent job. There are multiple professions where you can make serious money without a degree — including working as a web developer, paralegal, or insurance agent. However, many careers that start without the need for formal education can be furthered by adding a degree to your portfolio. When weighing the idea of whether or not you should go back to school, there are a few things you should consider before you make your decision.

going back to school

Evaluate whether a degree will help you achieve your career goals.

The first step is to be absolutely sure that you’re on the career path you want to be on and research whether additional schooling is a necessary to further that path. You don’t want to find yourself several years down the road massively in debt, without the position you wanted.

Know what degree you will need.

If you start without a degree of any kind, a clear place to start would be to obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you’ll want to find out whether a certificate or a degree program is the next step — and which degree is going to offer the best prospects for career betterment.

Decide if the financial investment is worth it.

There’s no doubt about it, going to school is an expensive venture. It’s important to evaluate whether your future salary will allow you to pay off the accumulated educational debt in a reasonable amount of time. Thoroughly research your options before committing to a program. Attending classes at a private university will likely cost substantially more than those offered by a state school or community college. However, depending on the major, the value of getting a degree from a first-rate university might make the additional cost a worthy investment.

Explore financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

Carefully explore your financing options — you might be eligible for special scholarships, grants, or beneficial financing arrangements. Contact your school’s financial aid department for more information, and be sure to check with your employer to see if they offer a tuition reimbursement program.

Look into transfer credits and work experience

Sometime the experience you have can be one of the greatest benefits. If you earned college credits in the past, check the transfer credit policies at the college you’re considering to see if your credits will apply. Some colleges will accept work experience as well. You can easily shorten the amount of time it takes to earn your degree by getting credit for for the knowledge and experience you have already acquired.

Consider an online/nontraditional program.

Deciding where to attend college is an important step in the process. If you work full time and have a family, you’ll want to find out which colleges in your area provide resources to help nontraditional students earn their degrees — full-time versus part-time curriculums, night classes, etc. A great way to get started is to visit a school’s website and search with the keyword “nontraditional student.”

If the program you’re after isn’t available at a nearby university, an online degree program is something you can consider. Most colleges offer full online programs or blended programs that allow you to do a great deal of the coursework online as well as scheduled in-class time to meet with your professor. However, it’s important not to mistake online classes for being easier or less time consuming. Online classes require just as much a discipline and time management skills as traditional classes.

Evaluate whether you’ll be able to balance school, work, and family.

For each hour you spend in class, you are likely to spend an additional two hours studying and completing assignments. If you have a family, a full time job, and a social life, how will you find time for classes and assignments? Are you and your family willing to sacrifice time together? School commitments will mean additional stress on both you and your loved ones. It’s imperative to consider the impact on your life and whether or not you’re willing to shoulder the burden.

Going back to school can be a massive benefit to your career. Gather your data, gauge your finances, talk to your family, and take the time to make the best decision for your particular set of circumstances — it’s the best way to set yourself up for success.

Liz Greene hails from the beautiful city of trees, Boise, Idaho. She’s a lover of all things geek and is happiest when cuddling with her dogs and catching up on the latest Marvel movies. You can follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene or delve deeper into her internal musings at InstantLo


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How To Cope With The Transition From College To The Working World

By Thomas Maurer

Coping With Uncertainty

graduation student  open arms to welcome the worldwide jobFor some graduating students there is a rush to get out of the confines of academia and into the working world. For others there is an element of uncertainty and apprehension.

College was a place where you were your own boss and the thought of being forced into the rat race is abhorrent.

While the world has always been an uncertain place, there is a strong argument that it is more uncertain than it has been in recent decades, especially for college graduates. It is no longer as simple as getting into a good college, getting good grades, graduating, getting a good job and settling down, even if that was what you wanted in the first place.

The economy is uncertain, good jobs are harder to come by and the competition is fierce. We all want meaningful and rewarding work but at the same time you need to make sure you first have the ability to make a living. It may be that you have to take a menial job while you wait for your dream career.

Unfortunately the uncertainty doesn’t end there. Once you are making some money you have to be able to protect it, as inflation, taxes and student loan repayments eat into your earnings. There is a very real fear that once you actually get a job you will feel like you can’t leave, chained to the paycheck that you need to pay your student loan and ever increasing living costs.

By comparison the college lifestyle seems like a dream. You were essentially your own boss and while you had some hoops to jump through and requirements that you had to meet, how you went about doing all those things was up to you. The loss of freedom in moving to a 9 to 5 job, with a boss, can be a hard adjustment to make.

While those fears are very natural and well-justified, the direction of your life is in our own hands. You can make decisions that will lead you down the path to a deadening soul, or you can make decisions that lead to freedom, flexibility and the rewarding career that you want.

Life is what you make it, so while you should acknowledge the challenges and uncertainty, don’t let it weigh you down. Focus on the upside and you will benefit from the all the wonderful opportunities in the world.

Embrace New Opportunities

The world and the economy changing is only bad news in you are inflexible and unwilling to adapt. The last two or three decades have seen people abandon the notion that you should have one career for your whole working life. It is now perfectly normal to have three, four, five or more career changes throughout your working life.

This is now changing again, where the idea of even having a traditional career in the first place is optional.

Flexible work arrangements, digital nomads and freelancers with clients all over the world are going to become the new norm. Thanks to the Internet it is possible to avoid getting a “regular” job at all. It takes a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, but commuting online or starting an internet business is not a pipe dream, it is a legitimate and perfectly reasonable goal.

The global economy is still adjusting to the emergence of half the world from communism. People in those countries are willing to work for very low wages compared to the West and this has resulted in a lot of business moving East and a shifting of wealth and power to Asia.

What this means for you, the new or soon to be new graduate, is that traditional opportunities may be limited to you in North America and Europe. But opportunities abound in China, Vietnam, India, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries. Developed Western economies located in the Asia Pacific region such as New Zealand and Australia are also well placed to benefit from this transition.

If you are flexible, adaptable and willing to think outside the box then you can take advantage of these possibilities.

There is also the opportunity of geo-arbitrage. This means earning money in more valuable Western currencies by working online, while living in an emerging economy, such as Thailand or Chile, where prices are cheap, your purchasing power is greater and therefore standard of living is higher. $1000 a month goes a long way in a place like that.

Get Out There And Do Something

While the college classroom is familiar and comforting you aren’t actually productive. You learn but you don’t create or do. The chance to actually be productive and do something in the world is very exciting and beats the monotonous drudgery of the classroom.

Learning is important but human beings are designed to make, create and do. The thing that scares people is being stuck doing something you don’t like, working in a job you hate, for a boss that you don’t respect. This can happen for a period but eventually you will find something satisfying if you hustle hard enough.

While it may be daunting and uncertain moving from college into the working world it can actually be very liberating.

Doing something useful and contributing to a business or an organization is very satisfying and you can take pride in your paycheck, which is the reward for the value you have provided.

Embrace The Freedom From Structure

The lack of structure in life can be challenging at first. When all your friends graduate and go off in different directions and move ahead in life at different speeds, it can be disconcerting. But the trade-off is that the freedom and possibilities and endless. Going to college ties you to a specific location for a number of years and limits the possibilities for income – this will no longer be your reality.

It grated on me when people told me that the world was now my oyster, but looking back on it they were right all along. There have been some periods of employment where I have felt boxed in and enslaved, but they have always been temporary and voluntary. It has been easy to walk away and fly half way around the world for a new adventure.

At the end of the day the only constant thing in life is change. You went through a big change moving from high school to college and you will go through a big change again moving from college to the working world. But it won’t be the 40 years chained to a desk that you fear. The world is an exciting place full of opportunities.

Life inevitably goes on, so you might as well make the most of it.

Author Bio: Thomas is interested in helping students get through college maximizing their potential with the minimum of stress. He writes about study skills and stress relief at www.mellowstudy.com

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

Should You Choose a Vocational School Over College? 4 Things to Consider

By Ray Holder

The popularity of vocational schools is on the rise. In the past, once you were done with high school, you had two options.

1 – Get into college
2 – Get a job

In most cases the ones who went to college were the lucky ones who could afford to do so either by means of scholarships or their own financial reserves. The few who weren’t so fortunate were forced to get minimum wage jobs as a way of earning a small income. Today, things are much different.

Over the past decade there has been a significant rise in vocational training institutes. People are slowly realizing that they have a lot to offer. In fact, students are now leaning more towards vocational schools than colleges even though they seem to have the money to be able to pay for a college education. And here’s why:

Time to be Safe

1. Vocational schools save time

If you decide to take the traditional route and get a college degree, you would have to spend 4 years on learning the basics of your area of interest. After 4 years, you are free to study further if you wish to specialize. Depending on what you choose to study, you will end up spending 6 odd years on just getting educated.

On the other hand, should you choose to go with a vocational school you would have quite the opposite experience. Vocational courses last for anywhere between 4 and 18 months, depending on what you wish to study. By the end of the course you are more than ready to land a job. There is never any need for further specialization because vocational courses by design are specialized courses.

2. Vocational schools save money

Since vocational schools don’t go on and on for 4 years they don’t cost as much as college. On an average a vocational course from an accredited vocational training institute would probably cost between $14,000 and $20,000. Don’t be daunted by this figure. This is an estimate of total educational costs taking into account all additional costs. Besides, if you enroll in an online vocational school, you will not have to worry about additional costs like cost of living and accommodation.

College tuitions are through the roof nowadays. In addition to tuition you have to consider living costs and accommodation as well. So all in all, it is cheaper and a lot more convenient to attend a vocational school.

Saving-Money

3. Get hands-on experience and be job-ready

Vocational courses are highly specialized courses. They are designed to do one thing and one thing only—prepare you for your vocation. There are no additional irrelevant classes that you are mandated to take. The entire duration of a vocational course is spent in training and preparing students to ensure that they are job ready by the time the course is complete.

You are given a whole lot of training along with practice time and plenty of opportunities for hands-on experience. You needn’t worry about gaining experience in order to land a decent paying job. Vocational courses will give you all the experience you need.
GetHired

4. Land a job easily

Because vocational courses are so specialized and produce highly skilled and well trained individuals, there is a high demand for vocational school graduates in the job market. Also, a lot of vocational schools have placement programs that set their students up with interviews which always result in employment. Some schools also have ties with companies so a certain percentage of students are hired by those companies after every course. Porter and Chester Institute, a vocational training school that is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) is one such institute that has a placement program for all students who are interested.

With college, there is never a guarantee that you will land a well paying job or any job at all for that matter. Students struggle to gain experience and this puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to finding employment.

So there you have it, the 4 reasons why you should pick a vocational school over a college education. If you are interested in saving time and money and landing a job in as little as 18 months, you know just what to do!

Resources:

http://lifehacker.com/trade-school-might-be-a-better-choice-than-college-her-1484086007

http://www.porterchester.com/

http://www.educationcompass.com/advice-central/top-5-reasons-to-choose-a-vocational-education/

http://www.school-directory.net/career-options/trade-school-vs-traditional-college.html

 

What It’s Like to Work in an Office in India

Wondering what it’s like to work overseas? Check out these useful tips about office life in India.

By Prasad Joshi

Work culture in India is a reflection of the various norms and standards followed by its people. Indians have several cultural yardsticks, which extend to their work culture as well. Thus, it is important that a person who is looking to work in India have some basic ideas regarding business ethics and customs followed here. In India many job seekers prefer online job portals for job search as it eliminates geographical barriers and communicates multiple job vacancies.

Working hours:

Indians work a minimum of eight hours a day, excluding lunch and coffee breaks. However, many Indians spend more than ten hours at work or work on weekends in order to follow the deadline. Only a few multinational companies allow working in flexible working hours.

Nidhi

Decision making:

In India, companies follow the hierarchical system and decision-making is usually from the top to bottom. Some companies invite suggestions from their employees on important decisions or policies, but the opinions of superiors are usually the dominating factor.

Time management:

Though not in personal life, Indians are punctual when it comes to their work life. Arriving to work on time is a must. But, in the case of time management, the mindset of Indians differs from that of Americans. Meetings and seminars can be postponed or rescheduled at a very short notice.

Office Environment:

Indians are friendly and helpful. In India discussing things like one’s academic background and previous work experience is very common and not considered as personal.

Employees spend their 30-50 minute lunch breaks in the lunchroom or cafeteria. It is rare to see anyone eating lunch at their desk.

Following rules and procedures is another important factor while working in India.

Hierarchy:

The relationship between the boss and subordinates is believed to be more formal and hierarchical in India. People in power openly display their ranks according to which importance is given. Subordinates generally do not criticize ideas of their superiors even if they feel so. A clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to show disagreement is avoided as it can be considered as rude, instead people show their disagreement indirectly. For instance instead of saying ‘I don’t think this idea will work’, people say ‘The possibility that this idea will work is less’ or ‘We need to do more research to check whether it will be a success’.

While this varies from company to company, the relationship between boss and subordinate is rarely close.

Change:

In the Indian work-culture, people do not accept change easily. Usually a lot of resistance is encountered in order to accept and implement change.


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