Planning a Career in Healthcare? Ten tips for getting headed in the right direction as an undergraduate

May 22nd, 2015

by William B. Farquhar and Carolyn E. Quinci

1. Don’t dig a “GPA hole” your first year in college.

Work hard from the very beginning, as catching up is a lot harder than keeping up. In our department at the University of Delaware, the average GPA of students accepted into health-related graduate professional programs is 3.5, while the average GPA of students not admitted is 3.10. That’s a very small gap. Don’t fall into it.2.Embrace the competitive nature of the next few years of your life.

2. Yes, you should have fun during your college years and take the time to enjoy the process of earning your undergraduate degree. But remember that it’s a competitive process and come prepared for that competition. The number of slots in health-related graduate programs and jobs in the marketplace are limited, and you’ll have to compete with other students to get them.

3. The early bird gets the worm.

No one likes 8:00 am classes, but you need to be ready for them. And even if you don’t have early classes, you can get a lot of work done in the morning. Be prepared for everything—as the saying goes, 80 percent of success is showing up.

4. Treat college like a job because it is your job.

The rule of thumb for the amount of time you should be putting into your coursework is 2-3 hours of work outside of class for every hour you’re in class. So if you take 15 credits in a semester, that translates to ~15 hours in class, a total of an additional 30-45 hours of work outside class.

5. Be willing to ask for help when you need it and know where to go to get it.

No one is perfect, and we don’t expect students to know everything. Ask questions in class, go to office hours, form study groups with others in class. In short, use all the resources available to you.Appreciate that knowledge is not fixed – everything is in flux, always.

6. Listen to former chair of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke when he says, “During your working lives, you will have to reinvent yourself many times.  Success and satisfaction will not come from mastering a fixed body of knowledge but from constant adaptation in a rapidly changing world.”  There is no doubt the world is changing rapidly. Don’t just accept change, embrace it.

7. Have a growth mindset.

Personality and intelligence aren’t fixed unless you believe they are.  Psychologists such as Carol Dweck from Stanford University believe that a “growth mind-set” is critical to overcoming adversity and that struggles can be overcome with effort, strategy, and good instruction.  Successful people, including students, are creative, flexible, and open to new ideas, and they tend to have a growth mind-set.

8. Embrace science.

Learn as much as you can about the scientific method and try to get some research experience as an undergraduate. You’ll learn a lot while also positioning yourself to compete for graduate school positions and jobs.  Also, keep in mind that graduate admission committees in health sciences look very closely at your science GPA (biology, chemistry, etc.).  Work hard in all your classes but especially in your science courses.

9. Gain experience whenever and wherever you can.

Most graduate and professional programs require a minimum number of shadowing hours, so start accumulating these hours as soon as possible. Also, if you’re unsure about which area of healthcare you’re interested in, an internship, summer job, volunteer position, or shadowing experience can give you an idea of what the field is like.

10. Take the time to understand probability.

You’ll make better decisions in school—and in life—if you understand the basic concepts of probability.  If you know, for example, that your top physical therapy school choice receives 400 applications each year for only 40 slots, you’ll understand that you should have some back-up options.

On the other hand, this might be the time to circle back to Tips 1 and 2—if you work hard from the beginning and you embrace competition, you’ll have a much better chance of coming out among the top ten percent of applicants for a spot at your top school.

William B. Farquhar, PhD, is chair and professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology at the University of Delaware. Twitter: @farquhar_wbf. Carolyn E. Quinci, EdD, is the Assistant Dean for Student Services in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Delaware.  The authors thank Diane Kukich for expert editorial assistance.  

Federal Financial Aid Application Still Flawed

May 21st, 2015

From Dan Greenstein, Gates Foundation

Students today need a postsecondary degree or credential more than ever to succeed in their careers and life. Unfortunately, for too many students the road to college completion is littered with unnecessary burdens and barriers, such as a needlessly complex financial aid process and a lack of clear information.

The current FAFSA, the application that millions of students fill out to apply for financial aid, is outdated and overly complicated. Because of this, every year nearly 2 million college students don’t receive Pell Grants that they are likely eligible for. Learn more about the problem here and stay tuned for more on how to #FixFAFSA!

In addition, students often lack the necessary information to make better decisions. The good news is that there’s progress underway. The Postsecondary Data Collaborative is suggesting improvements in data quality and transparency which, if used more widely by states and the federal government, will improve outcomes for postsecondary students, institutions, and systems.

Please visit this website to learn more about the importance of data and fixing the FAFSA.

5 Ways to Make Sure You are Ready for College

May 20th, 2015

By Jane Hurst

You’ve graduated from high school, and once the summer is over, you will be heading off to college. Are you ready for this huge change in your life? Many young people go to college thinking they are going to have the time of their lives, only to realize that they were completely unprepared for what was ahead of them. It’s not enough to arrive with a shiny, new Chevrolet Corvette and ready to party. You also need to be ready to take on your responsibilities as a student. Read on to learn more about how you can spend the summer preparing yourself to make sure that you get the most out of your college experience.

Sit at the Front

If you can snag yourself a seat at the front of the class, take it. No, you aren’t going to look like the teacher’s pet. But, you are going to get noticed by the professor. There may be as many as 300 people in a lecture or class, and if you are way in the back, the professor isn’t going to notice you. When you are right in the front, you are going to be able to make eye contact with the professor. Also, it is a lot easier to see and hear what the professor is doing and saying when you are up front, so you will be able to take better notes and achieve better grades. Make sure that your phone is turned off, so you don’t have any distractions or distract the professor and the rest of the class.

Check Your Emails

Before the first semester starts, you will likely get an email from your professor, welcoming you to the program. In this email, there will probably be a bit of information about the class, what you will be learning, and what is expected of you. You will also find out what textbooks you need to have.

Take Part in Class

One of the things that professors look for in students is classroom participation. They know which students are engaged in the work, and you will soon find out that in most of your classes, participation counts for as much as 15% of your final grade. Be sure to ask questions, work with groups, do your homework on time, talk to the professor if you have any problems with the work, etc. Don’t feel stupid about asking a question, because if you are asking, it is likely that someone else in the class has the exact same question but was too afraid to ask.

Early Homework

You may be expected to do some prep work before starting classes in the fall, such as read a certain book. Your professor will let you know about this in the welcome email. It would be in your best interest to take this early homework seriously. If you show up on the first day of classes unprepared, you aren’t going to end up on the good side of your professor. It is important to impress the professor right from day one, so they don’t think that you are going to be a slacker.

Classmate Diversity

If you come from an area where the majority of people are of a certain ethnicity, you may be in for quite a shock when you see the diversity of your new classmates in college. Don’t be afraid to get to know people from different races and backgrounds. You never know who is going to end up becoming your new best friend. You will be meeting a lot of different people, so put yourself out there, be open to new things, and make lots of new friends.


Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot.


Tips for College Educators: How to Hold Students’ Attention?

May 19th, 2015

By Melissa Burns

Young students have a lot to think about: tests, friends, lunch, family, and many other things that are getting in the way of the lecture they should be listening to. When you add smartphones and messaging apps on top of everything, the problem with attention deficit in the class seems impossible to solve.

Among all life lessons teachers have the responsibility to instill, self-control and commitment are the most important ones. According to a common belief, the average attention span of a typical university student is between 10 and 15 minutes. This period is even shorter with younger students, so their teachers have to rely on different “tricks” that will bring the pupils back to reality.

Interactive Techniques Are Efficient for Improvement of Students’ Attention Span

The first and most important advantage of interactive teaching methods is the ability of the educator to assess whether or not the students are paying attention. The new classroom environment imposes interactivity as the only technique that enables students to take an active part in the learning process.

One of the most important educational reforms, implemented with the goal to individualize the interaction between students and teachers, is class-size reduction. Due to the individual attention each student gets in a smaller class, low achievers can improve their attention span through daily commitment and greater participation in discussions.

Among all improvements the educational system has gained through this reform, the establishment of a strong foundation for learning in primary grades is the most important one. The smaller class provides opportunities for teachers to experiment with new methods and share their knowledge in a way that all students can accept. Technology is an integral part of the efforts to make the modern classroom more productive.

Since today’s students consider technology to be an integral part of their daily routines, different tools can be successfully implemented into interactive teaching methods with the purpose to increase the average attention span in class.

Effective Interactive Techniques for Boosting Students’ Attention Span

There are several teaching and evaluation methods that enable instructors to share the knowledge in a way that would increase students’ interest. Not all of them are applicable in every classroom, so you need to assess the collective potential and interest in the classroom before implementing a particular interactive method. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong in experimenting. The following educational techniques will improve the overall effectiveness in the classroom:

  1. 1.     Active teaching

If you simply cover the textbook material in class without any expectations for the learners to participate in the process, you will have a classroom of bored students who won’t remember a single sentence of your lecture. These are some of the methods you can use in order to make your approach more fun:

  • Ask rhetorical questions and allow your students to think for 20 seconds before answering. Don’t be too harsh on them; allow them to be creative in this problem-solving process and try to inspire a discussion after an answer.
  • Use picture prompts. Show images related to the concepts you are teaching, and ask your students to explain them.
  • Infuse some pop culture in your lectures. You can hold students’ attention by asking them to relate the lessons to popular pop stars, events, commercials, games, or anything else they can infiltrate into the lesson.
  1. 2.     Individual participation

The purpose of a small class is to pay attention to each and every student. This is one of the most effective techniques that will help you evaluate a student’s potential and attention span:

  • Assign one-minute papers in which the students should write the most important thing they learned that day. These short projects shouldn’t affect the final grade. With time, the one-minute papers will inspire them to try harder to remember the things you are teaching.
  1. 3.     Teamwork

Enabling your students to work in pairs or groups is a very effective trick to increase their attention span.

  • After a lecture, divide the class into few groups, assign a topic and inspire a discussion. Give them some time to coordinate, and then tell them to agree or disagree with the particular issue.


  • Group brainstorming enables students to benefit from each other’s creativity. Assign team projects and enable the students to complete them during class.

4.     Digital tools

Many old-school teachers perceive the increased exposure to technology as a change that negatively affects students’ attention span, but edTech apps and tools can boost their potential to absorb and memorize information.

  • Facebook and Twitter can literally serve as discussion boards that will make your students more comfortable to participate.


  • YouTube is a great source of video materials you can present in the classroom. In addition, you can inspire your students to create videos though a team projects, and upload them on YouTube for the class to see.


  • Educational games are great attention span boosters. Find games that are appropriate for your students’ age, and make their days at school more fun.

5.     Online tests

Students love spending time online. You can use that inclination into your advantage and assign an online literature test from Assignment Masters at a scheduled time. This can be an individual or team project, but make sure to explain your expectations and give your students enough time to prepare for the assignment.

Author’s bio:

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented in the sphere of education. You may contact Melissa:

Rethinking the regulatory environment of college competency-based education

May 18th, 2015
From American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC

Key points

  • Although competency-based education (CBE) has made considerable inroads in higher education, strategies are needed to improve state, accreditor, and federal oversight of CBE programming.
  • In particular, state agencies should strive to accommodate forms of CBE that operate independently of the credit hour, and state policymakers should consider whether alternatives to enrollment-based funding models could facilitate the growth of competency-based programming.
  • Furthermore, an independent advisory board serving all regional and national accreditors should be created to provide clear, detailed, and coordinated recommendations to all levels of government and to oversee the intersection of innovation and regulation.
  • Finally, the US Department of Education should develop a distinct regulatory framework for approving and managing financial aid for CBE programs without reference to credit hour or instructional time concepts.

Read this publication online

View a printable copy

How Graduating Students Can Use LinkedIn to Get a Job

May 14th, 2015

By Melissa Burns

The rise of social networking has allowed individuals from all walks of life to meet new people and connect with others quickly and easily. Along with being an innovative way to socialize and make new friends, however, social networking sites have transformed the way people look for and find employment.

LinkedIn in particular has become a key social networking website that lets prospects launch and grow their careers. According to Chris Rowe, CEO of Jet Digital Marketing in Salt Lake City, “Social networks like LinkedIn are great resources for getting in front of perspective employers. We have connected to many skilled people through social networking.” These tips for using LinkedIn can help you find new employment or discover professional opportunities.

Use Professional Profile Images and Language

Just as you would set up a profile on Facebook or Twitter, you also should create an engaging and professional profile for LinkedIn. Unlike other social networking sites, however, this website is not the place to be whimsical or even comical.

Rather, you should use a professional picture for your profile and also utilize upbeat, yet professional language when describing yourself and your career goals. When you avoid slang, profanity, poor grammar, and other sloppy writing techniques, you put your proverbial best foot forward to impress contacts and possible employers.

Target and Follow Prospective Employers

When you join LinkedIn, you should have a list of companies that you wish to target for your job search. After you decide for what companies you would possibly like to work, you should then follow them on this site.

By following them, you put yourself on their employment radar. You also discover what kind of employees they are looking for, what kinds of positions they have coming open, what salaries and benefits packages may come with your would-be position, and other information that can be handy to know prior to the interview.

Build a Solid First Network

LinkedIn encourages users like you to build and expand networks by connecting with people with whom you have worked and know. Your network with these individuals then can expand into their networks, letting you connect with people from different industries and professional levels.

It is critical that you take care to build this first network so that your expanded connections do in fact lead you to companies and employers that could help you further your career. Your network is a reflection of your job search and talents, which is why you should cultivate it carefully and only associate with people whose interests and professionalism align with yours.

Use the Job Search Function

Of course, along with building a solid profile and network, you can also find prospective jobs by using the site’s job search function found on the homepage. You can look for new positions in your own location or in any city across the country or globe.

You can also narrow your search based on criteria that is important to you. For example, you can use the advanced search function to find employment that fits a certain salary range, skill level, or job title. This function saves you the time of having to vet each position and instead focus on jobs that are truly of interest to you.

Commit to Your Profile

Because people use this site for professional purposes, your commitment to your profile is important. When you are serious about finding a job or furthering your career, you should avoid letting your profile become stagnant and outdated.

By keeping your information updated and using the site regularly, you show that you are actively engaged in the job market and that you are a valid candidate for a new position. Your commitment also allows you to keep connecting to new users who may become valuable allies in your bid to grow your career.

Social networking has changed the way that job seekers and potential employers find and connect with each other. When you want to expand your career and find new and exciting prospects both at home and anywhere else in the world, you can use these strategies and join the social media website LinkedIn.

Author’s bio:

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008.  Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented in the sphere of education. You may contact Melissa via

ACT Releases New Model Of Student workplace Readiness Stressing Cross Cutting Capabilities

May 13th, 2015

ACT’s New Model of College and Career Read

ACT on Wednesday released a paper that seeks to define workplace readiness. The nonprofit testing firm also called for a new model of college and career readiness that argues that the skills needed in those two areas, while overlapping, are distinct. And measurements of readiness must include both academic and nonacademic skills, the paper said.

According to the report, four categories of skills contribute to success after high school. They are core academic skills, cross-cutting capabilities such as critical thinking, behavioral skills and navigation skills.


Ace those Finals – Study Tips to Ensure Success

May 12th, 2015

By Jane Hurst

Obviously, you want to ace your finals, but studying for finals can be one of the most stressful experiences of your life. Not only do you have huge and difficult tests to take, they are standing in the way of your having a great time this summer. Before you can think about that, you need to focus on your studies, so you can ace those exams and not have anything to worry about until the fall. Here are some of the best tips we could find to help you do just that.

  • Get Energized, Naturally – Don’t slug back an energy drink or eat something sugary thinking that it is going to give you energy before your exam. Instead, exercise, read a book, do a puzzle, or do anything else that will stimulate you and give you energy and confidence in the 24 hours prior to the exam.
  • Know Your Study Habits – Everyone studies and learns differently. Get to know what works best for you, and use it to your advantage. For instance, if you are more relaxed and learn more when you have classical music playing, keep listening to it every time you study.
  • Take it Easy – Finally, don’t let yourself get too stressed about the exam. Relax, and tell yourself that you have been working hard all year, and that you know the material. Take some time to do some fun things, such as hang out with friends, or find fun things to look at online, such as these cool Top 10 Lists.
  • Prioritize – Some classes you may be acing, while others are more difficult for you and you need to do more work to get high marks. Make a list of the classes that you aren’t doing as well in, and those that don’t require as much study because you already have a good handle on the material, and focus on what you need the most.
  • Stuff Your Face – You need to take regular snack breaks while you are studying. This is going to give you the energy you need to keep going. You should also take regular exercise breaks. Get up and take a five-minute walk, and enjoy a snack while you are at it. This is going to clear your mind and give you more energy for studying.
  • Start Studying Early – It is never too soon to start studying for your exams. In fact, you should start at least a month ahead of time, especially if you need help in certain areas. The sooner you start, the more prepared you will be for all of your exams.
  • Know Your Goals – Figure out what your study goals are, and find a way to achieve those goals. When you have a plan, you will do better on the exams.
  • Know when to Stop – You can’t study forever, and you need to know when it is time to stop. When there are only 12 to 24 hours left before a test, it is time to stop studying. The more you do at this point, the more stressed out you are going to get, and you may end up doing poorly on the exam. If you do like to cram, take a few minutes before the test to quiz yourself.
  • You Need Your Sleep – Pulling all-nighters is only going to work for so long, and then you are going to end up too exhausted to do well on your exams. The night before your exam, make sure that you go to bed early, and try to get a full eight hours of sleep in order to have the energy you need to do well on the exam.


Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot

The Big Problem With the New SAT

May 11th, 2015

By RICHARD C. ATKINSON and SAUL GEISER    first published in the New York Times  

AT first glance, the College Board’s revised SAT seems a radical departure from the test’s original focus on students’ general ability or aptitude. Set to debut a year from now, in the spring of 2016, the exam will require students to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of subjects they study in school.

The revised SAT takes some important, if partial, steps toward becoming a test of curriculum mastery. In place of the infamously tricky, puzzle-type items, the exam will be a more straightforward test of material that students encounter in the classroom. The essay, rather than rewarding sheer verbosity, will require students to provide evidence in support of their arguments and will be graded on both analysis and writing. Vocabulary will move away from the obscure language for which the SAT is noted, instead emphasizing words commonly used in college and the workplace.

While a clear improvement, the revised SAT remains problematic. It will still emphasize speed — quick recall and time management — over subject knowledge. Despite evidence that writing is the single most important skill for success in college, the essay will be optional. (Reading and math will still be required.)

And the biggest problem is this: While the content will be new, the underlying design will not change. The SAT will remain a “norm-referenced” exam, designed primarily to rank students rather than measure what they actually know. Such exams compare students to other test takers, rather than measure their performance against a fixed standard. They are designed to produce a “bell curve” distribution among examinees, with most scoring in the middle and with sharply descending numbers at the top and bottom. Test designers accomplish this, among other ways, by using plausible-sounding “distractors” to make multiple-choice items more difficult, requiring students to respond to a large number of items in a short space of time, and by dropping questions that too many students can answer correctly.

“Criterion-referenced” tests, on the other hand, measure how much students know about a given subject. Performance is not assessed in relation to how others perform but in relation to fixed academic standards. Assuming they have mastered the material, it is possible for a large proportion, even a majority, of examinees to score well; this is not possible on a norm-referenced test.

K-12 schools increasingly employ criterion-referenced tests for this reason. That approach reflects the movement during the past two decades in all of the states — those that have adopted their own standards, as well as those that have adopted the Common Core — to set explicit learning standards and assess achievement against them.

Norm-referenced tests like the SAT and the ACT have contributed enormously to the “educational arms race” — the ferocious competition for admission at top colleges and universities. They do so by exaggerating the importance of small differences in test scores that have only marginal relevance for later success in college. Because of the way such tests are designed, answering even a few more questions correctly can substantially raise students’ scores and thereby their rankings. This creates great pressure on students and their parents to avail themselves of expensive test-prep services in search of any edge. It is also unfair to those who cannot afford such services. Yet research on college admissions has repeatedly confirmed that test scores, as compared to high school grades, are relatively weak predictors of how students actually perform in college.

By design, norm-referenced tests reproduce the same bell-curve distribution of scores from one year to the next, with only minor differences. This makes it difficult to gauge progress accurately.

Rather than impose higher education’s antiquated regime of norm-referenced tests on K-12 schools, American education would be better served if the kind of criterion-referenced tests now increasingly employed in K-12 schools flowed upward, to our colleges and universities.

And by rewarding students’ efforts in the regular classroom, criterion-referenced exams reduce the importance of test-prep services, thus helping to level the playing field. They signal to students and teachers that persistence and hard work, not just native intelligence or family income, can bring college within reach. They are better suited to reinforce the learning of a rigorous curriculum in our poorest schools.

College admissions will never be perfectly fair and rational; the disparities are too deep for that. Yet the process can be fairer and more rational if we rethink the purposes of college-entrance exams.

The revised SAT takes promising steps away from its provenance as a test of general ability or aptitude — a job it never did well — and toward a test of what students are expected to learn in school. But the College Board should abandon the design that holds it back from fulfilling that promise.

Richard C. Atkinson is president emeritus of the University of California. Saul Geiser is a research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley.



For Profit Colleges Announce Large Cutbacks

May 7th, 2015

On Wednesday two of the largest publicly traded for-profits announced substantial cuts, Inside Higher Ed reports. Education Management Corporation (EDMC) said it would gradually phase out 15 of 52 campus locations of the Art Institutes, which is one of the better known brands among for-profits. Roughly 5,400 students attend the closing campuses. Likewise, Career Education Corp. unveiled a broader restructuring. It’s winding down all 14 Sanford Brown College and Institute campuses and online programs over the next 18 months or so. It is also seeking to sell Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute and Missouri College. Collectively, those institutions enroll about 8,600 students.

Corinthian filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware on Monday, along with two dozen affiliates. Its petition lists more than $100 million in debt owed to its secured lenders and at least $100 million more in unsecured debt. Its liabilities include $1.25 million in “trade debt” owed to Barclays Capital, most likely connected to Barclays’s attempts to sell the company, and hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to a host of law firms, which have handled an onslaught of litigation, The New York Times reports. Corinthian also owes an “unknown” amount to the Department of Education. It listed assets of $19.2 million. It has been a long slide for Corinthian, once a Wall Street darling. The company, founded in 1995, bought more than a dozen struggling vocational colleges and by 2010 enrolled more than 110,000 students online and at 100 Everest College, Heald College and WyoTech campuses nationwide.
From Real Clear Education

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