Why You Should Integrate an Internship Into Your Degree

September 20th, 2017

BY ANTON LUCANUS

 

During the summer holidays of my freshman year, I undertook a short 3-day internship doing communications work for Impressive Digital. Although I was only there for 3 days, I experienced rapid personal growth, both from professional and personal perspectives. Most importantly, I learnt that sitting an entire undergraduate degree without sitting at least one internship is a huge missed opportunity.

Internships are the new way of volunteering. They provide students with an opportunity to develop a strong understanding of what is expected of them in the field and whether they enjoy what occurs on a day-to-day basis. While some people do not believe internships are important, or there is not enough time during the day between studying and classes, there are some aspects that should be considered.

One topic is experience. It is great to have a degree or diploma, but to have one with experience is an asset that employers are starting to focus on. Why is this important? It comes down to the job market. With colleges and universities graduating higher amounts of students than ever before, taking part in an internship can be a big step towards long-term employment. Internships can increase the post graduate employment potential of students by 75%, which makes them well worth considering as an option.

What else can be learnt from an internship?

Relationship building. This goes beyond face-to -face interactions and is extended to the kinds of communication that are often forgotten about. An email, a phone call or even a message via social media all influence and contribute to the relationships that you build every day. Building a strong relationship with managers and co-workers during an internship is important and can have strong ripple effects. It is essential to begin long-term planning for your desired career during your college years. This includes maintaining contact after the internship has ended, regardless of its length. Strong communication can lead to future networking opportunities, full-time employment offers, and a coveted reference. An internship combined with a reference and a solid education is more likely to result in not just a job, but also a fulfilling career.

Work experience. Internships increase your ability to enter your chosen field with confidence. Participating in an internship helps in overcoming first day nerves and breaks down the barriers that exist between the education system and your dream entry-level position. Often a primary consideration for undertaking an internship is the opportunity to gain experience in the field without long-term commitment. This can be the greatest educator of all, and it’s a chance to determine if your education and chosen professional environment are a good fit.

Increasing future salary expectations. When applying for entry-level position, one of job seekers’ most pressing questions is: “What is a reasonable wage?” Being a fresh graduate can limit your potential wage. Internship experience not only enhances employability, but it also increases wage expectations. The experience of students who have been in the field, know the job, and have established relationships is unmatched by student without internship experience. As a result, those who have been through internships demand higher wages.

In closing, participating in an internship goes beyond learning. It is about establishing relationships that connect to future job potential and professional opportunities. Internships develop confidence through experience and build trust with future employers. This confidence can be carried into almost every aspect of life.

Many educational programs, including those at Stanford, offer internships or the ability for students to procure their own work experience and have a notation placed on their transcript. Considering everything above, as a student, it is worth seeking an internship that connects strongly with your character and personality and matches what an employer is seeking. Combining these factors will develop your skills, intellect, and global outlook in more ways than one.

Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to share the lessons learnt throughout his degree and to guide current students to achieve personal and educational fulfilment during college life.

 

 

Marriage in College: Academic Success and Building a Family

September 19th, 2017

BY SYLVIA KOHL

There are many couples that get together while in college – however, most of them have a rather fleeting nature and never get serious enough for long-term commitment. There is a small but notable percentage of those who take their relationship seriously enough to consider getting married without waiting. Is it a good idea? Let’s look at pros and cons.

Pros

1.      Financial support

Many colleges offer financial support to married couples who both attend college. While it is a certainly nice thing to have, even the most lavish support is hardly a good enough reason to consider marriage when taken separately.

2.      Shared experiences

Couples that get together later miss out on the significant events in each other’s lives, both good and bad. Getting married in college allows you to go through these experiences together, potentially strengthening the bonds.

3.      Long-term perspective

For most people, college is usually a fairly irresponsible time. You tend to have a good time without thinking much about where you are going to be 5, 10, 20 years from now. Getting married usually settles you down and helps you take a more long-term view on your life.

4.      Mutual support

One thing is certain – you are never going to be lonely. Somebody is always going to be beside you to support, listen to you and take up part of the responsibilities if you are going through a particularly rough spell.

Cons

1.      Extra responsibilities

Marriage means that a lot of your attention is going to be diverted to your spouse. Most people feel that in college they have their plate full enough with nothing but studies – add to that your marital responsibilities, and you will have a life in which you don’t have a minute to yourself.

2.      Immaturity

You may believe otherwise, but biologically humans don’t finish their basic cognitive development until well into their twenties. You are sure to see many of the decisions you make now as immature, ill-considered and just plain stupid. And marriage is a decision with consequences that may be very hard to compensate for.

3.      Parents’ disapproval

Almost certainly, both yours and your partner’s parents are going to disapprove, and it can be very hard to deal with, especially if you are dependent on them financially.

4.      Growing out of your relationship

The same person may be, in fact, two completely different people at 19 and 30. Your marriage may be alright for a couple of years, but after graduating you can suddenly discover that both you and your spouse are completely different from who you were when you got married – and no longer have anything in common. If your relationship is strong enough, getting married can wait until after graduation. If it isn’t, getting married is a bad decision at any age.

How to make It work

1.      Share responsibilities

It is important for any marriage, but doubly so for time-starved college students. Share responsibilities and make sure both of you understand who does what.

2.      Consult a family lawyer

It may sound like a rather cynical thing to say to a couple considering marriage, but knowing all the legal ramifications of getting married before the fact and having a skilled family lawyer familiar with your case at hand can be incredibly useful.

3.      Exercise discipline

Particularly in the financial sphere. Learn to budget. Avoid debt like plague. Prioritize your needs over wants. Make sure both of you agree to this solution.

Just like in many other areas, the answer to the question whether getting married in college is a good idea would be this: it depends on the situation, the people involved and many other factors.

Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.

 

 

Why To Read For Pleasure At College

September 18th, 2017

By Parinaz Samimi

You may never read a book again after college.

If this sounds like a relief, you’re not alone: 42% of college graduates never pick up a book again after finishing school. Reading a novel for simple pleasure falls by the wayside in the deluge of modern life; turning on the TV and turning off the brain is an unconscious decision for an increasing segment of the population.

If you’re still reading this, good for you — literally. The benefits of reading, whether you’re still in college or not, can affect everything from your social life to your professional aspirations to your personal health. To a student buried under piles of books and required texts, the thought of reading just for the sake of reading might seem crazy, but here are just seven ways that keeping up with words can give you an edge over the 42-percenters:

 

  1. Brain Connectivity Let’s get the science out of the way first: in a study led by Dr. Gregory S. Berns of the Emory University Center for Neuropolicy, brain connectivity improvement caused by reading was registered in the left temporal cortex, an area associated with receptivity for language. “The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” says Dr. Berns. “The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes improves theory of mind.”

 

  1. Focus, Concentration and Memory

Internet surfing, Slack chatting, IRL interaction — all daily multitasking that splits your attention, ups your stress and stunts productivity. Logging off and reading a book for just 15-20 minutes before class or work can sharpen your focus, and the concentration needed to fully submerse yourself in a novel is an invaluable skill to retain. Likewise, keeping track of literary characters, plotlines and backgrounds strengthens memory muscles, as every new memory created forges new synapses and bolsters existing ones.

 

  1. Analytical Skills

If you’ve read a mystery novel and solved the crime before finishing the book, you’ve exercised some diagnostic finesse that you probably didn’t even know you had (and we’ll get to fancy words like “diagnostic” and “finesse” in a moment). Analytical skills in visualizing, articulating, conceptualizing or problem-solving by making sound decisions based on available information can be reinforced through reading. According to Stanford University’s Joshua Landy, you can even gain “a new set of methods for becoming a better maker of arguments.”

 

  1. Vocabulary

The more words you read, the more words you’ll know — if you weren’t familiar with the terms “diagnostic” and “finesse” a paragraph ago, you are now (if you looked them up, that is). Being articulate and well-spoken is an inestimable trait to possess, be it in the classroom, a job interview or even the most innocuous of social locus. Of course, not every situation calls for the overly ornate verbiage of these illustrative sentences, but they’re useful to have at the tip of your tongue. Or brain, if you will.

 

  1. Writing

Want to be a better writer? Read better writers. Or even the worse ones, as cautionary examples of what to avoid. Ideally, though, you’ll gravitate toward worthy authors who will inspire you to write out your own ideas — or borrow some of theirs. (Every writer and artist does it, just be sure to revise and expand, not simply mimic.) There are many ways to spur creative thinking, but when it comes to writing, reading the style and cadence of an entertaining novelist is one of the ultimate inspirations.

 

  1. Knowledge and New Interests

Gaining new knowledge from reading is kind of a given, right? Even reading the same book over again can reveal new angles and aspects you might not have caught the first time. New knowledge can also lead to new interests and hobbies: you might never have thought of picking up a musical instrument before you read that Jimi Hendrix biography, or considered becoming an economist before digging into “The Wealth of Nations.” And some hobbies can make you smarter, thus feeding your brain even more than reading alone.

 

  1. Relaxation and Sleep

The most immediate, and arguably most valuable benefits of reading are decompressing, de-stressing and simply relaxing — even the most intense thriller is a calming reprieve from a long day of classes or hours at work. Quality relaxation lowers cortisol levels, which leads to quality sleep. You’ll want to stick with fiction, as non-fiction (such as business or current events books) tends to switch your brain into active mode, while a story can turn off the part of the brain that’s overly critical. Lesson: at bedtime, turn off Stephen Colbert and pick up Stephen King.

 

Reading makes your life, and your brain, better — it’s also free and easy, the magic words for any college student. There’s no downside to reading every day: don’t view it as an obligation and you’ll never fall out of one of the healthiest habits a person can have.

Parinaz Samimi is a certified yoga instructor and sleep and wellness expert. She is passionate about sharing her experiences to help inspire and empower others to cultivate happiness, health, and productivity. Having both a Masters in Public Health and one in Business Administration, she has taken great interest in sleep and well-being—specifically their relationship with and correlation to health and productivity. In her free time, she can be found traveling, exploring the outdoors, and enjoying a good book over a glass of Malbec.

4 Ways to Increase Your Lecture Retention

September 15th, 2017

 

By: Elisabeth Jackson

With the internet at our disposal, you have access to a plethora of tools and resources to help you succeed in the classroom. As we head into the fall quarter, having a strategy for how you take information from each lecture will not only help your grade, but also help you retain information long after finals are over. Here are 4 solid techniques you can utilize to better your studying:

 

  1. Capture what you don’t know, then revisit the information frequently

The way we retain information is by repeated exposure. You don’t need to record something that you already understand. Having a focused portion of your notes strictly on portions of the material you don’t know will help you maintain greater focus on memorizing that text.

 

  1. Inherit a note-taking system

Yes, those Cornell notes you learned back in high school actually were of value. Note taking systems like Cornell, Mind Mapping, and The Sentence Method are structured to help create a structured flow to all the information that will be coming at you throughout the semester.  Creating organized notes will make compartmentalizing the information easier, causing the information to stick to your memory better.

 

  1. Integrate notes from readings with lecture notes

Organize all your lecture notes with your reading notes into a central location. Whether this is a notebook or an online cloud, having ALL your notes in one location will help you study all the material you have gathered over the course of the semester, as opposed to trying to find pieces of information scattered across separate note sections. If you want to be able to study on the go, I strongly suggest integrating all your notes onto a note-taking portal like EverNote.

 

  1. Record the lecture

We all learn in different capacities. Having an audio recording and transcript of the professor can help teach the content in a multimodal approach, and enhance the amount of material you retain. Audio transcripts allow you to go back and relisten to key points you may have missed, and help not only jog your memory, but give context to your written notes as well! You can do this either by recording and transcribing the lectures yourself, or, order a transcription through a professional.

Incorporating these techniques will help you retain more information into your brain after a lecture and ace those exams.

Elisabeth Jackson is a freelance content writer with a background in technology and marketing.Before she wrote for a living, she was a post-graduate mentor and advocate for college seniors. You can view more of her writings and work on her website justlizzi.com

10 Ways Students Can Build Good Credit To Borrow

September 14th, 2017

BY EMMA BONNEY

 

Building a good credit score is important as it will determine a large part of your future. Therefore, it is best to start early. Even if you are a student you can start building your credit score and here is how.

Become an authorized user on your parents’ credit card

Before you take on the responsibility of your own credit card, you can start learning the ropes by becoming an authorized user on your parents’ card.

Get your own credit card

Once you are more responsible and stable, it is time to get yourself a credit card of your own. But you have to realize that this is an adult responsibility which you cannot mess up.

Choose your card wisely

Once you decide to go for a credit card, you will be flooded with different option to choose from. So, do your research well, compare and pick the right credit card for yourself.

Pay credit card balance every month

Do not pay the minimum amount that you absolutely have to pay but instead clear off the whole amount every month so that you do not carry a balance on the card. This will ensure that you do not have to pay additional late fines as records of those are detrimental to the development of a good credit score.

Pay your bills on time

Your other unpaid dues can also affect your credit scores as every single record is linked. Make sure you pay off your bills in time and not fall into a defaulters’ list. This is something you should avoid at all costs as it will hamper your credit scores.

Keep your information updated

Every time you move and your address changes, it is crucial to update the change immediately so that you still get your credit card bills on time and do not miss out on the payments. Late payments will not only mean that you have to pay your interest, along with the late fines, it also puts a strain on your credit scores.

Don’t apply for several credit cards

If you are looking forward to building a strong credit maintain one credit card carefully and in an utterly responsible fashion. The more credit cards you get, higher are your chances of messing up, and thus, incurring huge debts and subsequent higher payments which can lower your credit score.

Don’t cosign for your friends

Just like you would need the signature of an adult to obtain your first credit card, your friends and juniors would too. Sometimes they try to get it co-signed by a friend or a senior with a credit card so that they can avoid the whole hassle with parents but never agree to sign this because if your friend is irresponsible and incurs and debt, you will see that automatically bringing down your credit score, since your name is also associated with that person’s account.

Spend responsibly

There are always tons of Coupon codes and discounts offers which will help you spend less. Use them wisely instead of piling up a huge credit card bill. Just because you don’t have to pay now doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay at all.

Be careful with your identity

Be careful and keep your credit card, social security card and other valuable documents safe because an identity theft can completely mar your credit scores which will take forever to recover, if at all.

Your credit card is much more than a piece of plastic which helps you spend money whenever you want so to use it responsibly!

Short Bio: – Emma Bonney is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, Women’s Empowerment, Education, entrepreneurship and content management.

 

 

5 Ways to Make Your Room the Perfect Study Space

September 13th, 2017

BY MONIQUE SERBU

As a college student, you’re likely living in tight quarters in a dorm or an apartment. Between squeezing in a minifridge and finding a spot for your personal belongings and school books, creating a study space might seem like an impossible task.

But you don’t need an elaborate office or spacious room to have the right study environment. With a few additions and a little creativity, you can create a study-ready space in the smallest of apartments or dorm rooms. Just try out these five tips for making your space study-ready for the school year and see the benefits for yourself.

 

  1. Designate a Specific Study Space

 Avoid studying in bed or shifting around between different locations, and stick to a single spot in your room. This space could be a desk in a corner, for example. Only use this area for your schoolwork so you train your brain to get into a study mode each time you sit down and open your books. Whatever place you pick, make sure it’s a comfortable space where you can focus. Don’t set up your desk near a wall you share with a loud neighbor, either, so you won’t get distracted by noise.

 

  1. Keep Your Desk Clutter-Free

 Clutter doesn’t just make for a messy space. It also impacts how your brain functions. Studies show that clutter limits your brain’s ability to process information, increases stress, and contributes to procrastination—the perfect recipe for poor grades. Keep your desk organized and clear of knick-knacks and papers. Have a small desk? No problem. Use drawers and under-the-bed organizers to store papers and binders, and keep your desk space open for your computer or laptop.

 

  1. Don’t Skimp on the Necessities

 Even when you’re on a college budget, invest in the tools you need to succeed. These items include books, software for your classes, and a reliable internet connection. Slow internet can hinder your productivity and focus. For example, while you’re waiting for a source page to load, you may look at your text messages or Instagram feed, and suddenly it’s midnight and you still have five more pages to write for your term paper. You’ll get a lot more done in less time if you have quality internet.

 

  1. Stick to Your Schedule

 A clock can encourage you to stay on a schedule and help you manage your study time. Use a clock on your desk to set aside chunks of time, such as thirty-minute sessions, to study and then take a break for ten minutes. Alternatively, a clock can be distracting for some, and it might serve as a stressful reminder of how much or little time you have left for studying. If this is the case, get rid of your clock, use a timer on your phone, and avoid looking at the countdown.

 

  1. Create the Right Environment

 While studying isn’t the most enjoyable of tasks, the right environment can help you study more efficiently and feel more relaxed. Make sure you have pens, notebooks, and a calculator; pin up motivational posters or your favorite pictures; and use an Amazon Echo to play relaxing music. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, consider getting a houseplant to purify the air and promote increased feelings of calmness.

Follow these tips and devote an afternoon to creating your perfect study space, from organizing your files to planting a houseplant. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you, whether it’s jazz music and bright lighting or white noise and a wall covered in posters. Not only will you create a relaxing environment but you’ll also set yourself up for success all semester

Monique is a recent transplant to Utah from the Windy City. Her educational background includes a BS in Marketing and Management as well as a MBA in Marketing Management. Now she’s testing the waters in freelance writing, and in her spare time she likes to spend time outdoors hiking in Utah’s beautiful terrain and hanging out with her Cocker Spaniel.

The Internet of Things in Education : Tendencies and Assumptions

September 11th, 2017

BY MELISSA BURNS

Education is an area where one expect innovations to take hold as soon as they become available – and at the same time one of the most conservative industries out there. To a considerable degree modern schools and colleges still keep on using methods and principles that have been developed centuries ago – and not always because there is nothing better.

However, with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and it finally seems that we are about to experience a serious paradigm shift – and education in five-ten years’ time may be something completely different from what we are used to. What will it be? Nobody knows. But at least we can see some tendencies and build assumptions based on them.

How Your College Experience May Change after Implementing the IoT in Education?

1.    Safety

Although it may be considered to be an invasion of privacy, schools and universities can use connected devices to monitor their students, staff, equipment and other resources, thus leading to a more safe environment outside of the classroom. It will make locating stolen devices quick and easy, students will be able to check on the location of connected buses to alter their schedules and spend less time in potentially dangerous locations, and if something happens to a student, the authorities will be able to take action sooner.

2.    Individualization of Education

The most valuable instruction is the one that is given personally, that is adapted to the needs and peculiarities of a particular person, that takes his strengths and weaknesses into account. Normally, teachers and professors simply don’t have the resources (primarily time) to do so when they have to pay equal attention to dozens if not hundreds of students. The rise of connected technology means that instructors will spend less time performing routine jobs like grading tests and more instructing students individually. If all the devices used in studying are connected to the cloud, it let professors gather information on the progress of individual students and help them modify their approach for each of them.

3.    Energy Efficiency

A school or university that fully “goes smart” – that is, introduces a web-based system to control all the mechanical equipment inside the building – will dramatically increase its operational efficiency. Moreover, it isn’t even necessary to build an entirely new building to fully introduce such a system – this effect can be reached even in older buildings through the installation of smart sensors where appropriate.

4.    Automation of Routine Tasks for Students

According to the 2015 data, more than 70 percent of American high school students have smartphones, and almost all schools in the country have Internet access. Students already use their mobile devices to perform a wide variety of tasks, many of them education related – note-taking, scheduling, finding information sources, research. Full integration with the IoT will simply mean that this practice will be accepted as legitimate, introduced as a part of the education process and optimized for maximum efficiency. Students will get an opportunity to spend less time performing routine tasks (like consulting dictionaries, looking for books, taking notes, etc.), and centralized scheduling will make it easier for them to keep track of all their activities and lessons.

5.    The Change in the Role of the Classroom

With the use of connected devices, students get access to almost identical resources at home and in the classroom. As a result, many of the tasks that recently only could have been done in class will be moved outside, with only the activities requiring active participation from students in groups remaining there.

These are just the most obvious applications of IoT in education – just like with most other things, technology will likely be used in ways we cannot even predict so far.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Follow her @melissaaburns or contact at burns.melissaa@gmail.com

 

Insomnia or Lack of Sleep May Affect Your Studying Efficiency?

September 11th, 2017

BY DAVID GUTIERREZ

College students are busy with classes, homework, social lives, and oftentimes, jobs on top of everything else. That doesn’t leave much time for sleep, so many college students end up getting less than the recommended 7-9 hours per night. Most students average somewhere closer to 6 hours, which is close to the recommended amount, but there’s a significant portion of the college community getting far less sleep than that.

Unfortunately, even an hour of missing sleep per night can add up, negatively impacting your study habits—and your college performance in general.

How Insomnia Affects Your Studies

Missing out on sleep regularly may not seem like a big deal if you’re able to get to class on time and muddle through with the help of caffeine—especially if the other members of your peer group are going through the same experience.

However, lack of sleep can affect your studies in multiple ways:

  • Missing sleep—even one night of it—can interfere with your ability to focus. Your brain will have trouble staying on task, which means you’ll drift off in the middle of a lecture, and you’ll find yourself re-reading the same sentence, over and over again while studying on your own. It’s an incredibly inefficient way to study—and a frustrating one at that.
  • Tiredness and sleeplessness are also associated with impaired memory, even if you take caffeine to counteract your feelings of exhaustion. That means you’re less likely to remember details you hear, see, or read about, which defeats the entire purpose of studying.
  • To a lesser extent, missing out on sleep can impact your mood, which can, in turn, impact your performance in class. If you’re chronically irritable and/or depressed, you may refuse to go to class altogether, or skip out in the middle of a study group because you’re frustrated with the other people.
  • Finally, don’t underestimate the impact that missing sleep can have on your health. You’ll be more susceptible to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, and you’ll also be more vulnerable to colds and physical illnesses—which can take you out of school for days.

Identifying the Root Cause

There are many simple, practical tips for getting a better night’s sleep, but chances are, there’s one or more underlying root causes specifically responsible for your lack of sufficient sleep. Identifying and understanding them is the best way to improve your sleep habits.

These are some of the most common:

  • Noisy roommates. If your roommates are night owls, they may disturb you while you’re trying to sleep. They may also bother you unintentionally; since stress is a leading cause of snoring, it’s entirely possible that one or more of your roommates could start snoring during their time at college. Either way, you’ll need to have an open conversation about how you can accommodate each other’s needs, potentially including finding a new roommate (in extreme situations).
  • Overbooked schedules. You may also have an overbooked schedule, especially if you’re working in addition to being a full-time college student. If you have 17 hours of activities booked in your schedule for the day, that leaves you only 7 hours to get home, decompress, and get to sleep. If this is the case, it may be time to cut some activities.
  • Insomnia and stress are highly correlated, so it’s natural to experience sleeplessness in high-stress situations, such as the week before finals. Take precautions to reduce and manage your stress load, such as physically exercising and meditating.
  • Misplaced priorities. You may also be losing sleep simply because you haven’t made it a priority. You might prefer staying up late at night with your friends, or attending parties in addition to your already-packed workload. You have to make sleep a priority, or it isn’t going to work.
  • Formal sleep disorders. In rare cases, you may be experiencing an inherited sleep disorder, independent of what you’re experiencing at college. It’s worth talking to a doctor to find out.

If you want to perform at your best and study more effectively, you need to get the full amount of the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. That may require making some sacrifices, and rearranging your schedule, but ultimately, you’ll be able to learn more in less time, and you’ll feel happier, healthier, and more energetic. Don’t let something simple, like lack of sleep, prevent you from making the most of your college experience.

David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.

 

Choosing the Most Rewarding Co-curricular Activity: Sports, Cultural Clubs Etc.

September 8th, 2017

BY ANTON LUCANUS

There is no doubt that heading to college is a daunting experience for many students.
Aside from the sudden upheaval from your established daily routines, it also comes with new challenges of academia, different study workloads, practical assessments, and group projects. It’s easy to assume that with all this going on, getting involved in the social side of your college will have a negative impact on your performance and grades. However, that notion couldn’t be further from the truth.

Engaging with co-curricular activities outside of your studies provides great benefit for both practical and personal reasons. It can teach valuable life skills, like time management or team organization, which can be applied across all areas of life, as well as providing you with the opportunity to form life-long friendships and make useful connections.

The benefits for becoming involved with these types of activities continue long after graduation. According to Marilyn Andrews, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Keele University in the UK, “Engagement with non-academic pursuits is not only beneficial to student development, but is known to be highly valued by employers.”

Participation in co-curricular activities has benefits outside of the realms of academia and employment too, with many researchers illustrating how being involved in non-academic, social activities can create more ethical and understanding students, building skills like intercultural competence and allowing students to understand people from different walks of life.

Most institutions have a wide variety of options. Sporting activities like track and field or basketball are popular. So are cultural clubs, such as a university Korean society, which focus on developing cultural understanding and appreciation. Most political alignments and religions are also represented by organizations amongst the student body. You could even join a University drama club and learn the behind the scenes of theatre production. No matter what your interests or major, finding a club or sporting activity you love won’t be too difficult.

One co-curricular activity that is becoming increasingly popular, and one that I chose during my degree, is running a student startup. Some friends and I built academic repository software to help researchers at our university share their data online (the website is still running today and we still keep it updated). Not only was the experience fun, it was also helpful for academics at the university and it taught us invaluable teamwork, managerial, financial and entrepreneurial skills that simply couldn’t be obtained by attending classes in a regular degree. We learnt to pitch ideas to others, work to a budget, calculate risks, and acquire users. If you have some success, a startup can even provide income to pay your loans and textbooks.

One of the most important things to remember during this time is that tertiary education is what you make of it. Being willing to step up and seize opportunities is an important life skill on its own. Of course, as with everything else in life, it always pays to use common sense. Don’t sign yourself up to ten different clubs and societies in your first week, or suddenly try to involve yourself a few weeks before the end of a semester. Both are sure-fire ways to get burnt out or make a bad impression. You don’t want your co-curricular activities to contribute additional stress to your daily life. Too often people think about co-curricular activities as indicators of success or stepping-stones to a high-paying job. Instead of adopting this attitude, let your choice of activity provide some stress-relief and a welcome change of pace from regular classes and homework.

Whatever activity you decide to pursue, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity. Ideally you want to choose something that is both relevant and interesting to your skills and studies. This is an opportunity to actively pursue your passions, so don’t focus solely on what will look good on your CV. Employers look to your experience outside of study to differentiate you from other candidates, gauge your personality, and to understand what sort of fit you might be for the company.

Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to share the lessons learnt throughout his degree and to guide current students to achieve personal and educational fulfilment during college life.

 

 

For-profit colleges: closed campuses and unused student loans

September 7th, 2017

BY SYLVIA KOHL

A growing number of colleges are experiencing revenue struggles and continue to close.

Although the number of colleges across the country has started growing since the early 1990s, it seems that now this trend is changing. The latest news shared on News Breakapp has confirmed that over 5% of colleges in the United States were closed or didn’t meet the criteria to take federal aid in 2016. Without any doubt, this is a radical change compared to previous years. These numbers are clearly showing that the college business sector (colleges that make a profit) is declining. These figures were revealed by the Institute of Education Sciences/ US Department of Education.

The problem is that small for-profit colleges are often tuition dependent, meaning they face challenges when student enrollment declines or even remain stable. Revenue decline often leads to low investments in academic programs and student life which in turn prevents colleges from meeting student needs. Consequently, colleges either lose students to other institutions or are not able to cover expenses.

Another problem is that a huge number of schools were practically forced to close their programs as the result of the threat of the previous administration’s gainful employment concept. This set of rules stopped the financial aid from for-profit college programs that have students who had high debt rates and low earnings.

More than 10% of these for-profit colleges (there are around 365 of them across the USA) were denied financial aid or they decided to close their doors for new students in 2016. Some of them, like the popular for-profit college, known as ITT Technical Institute, was forced to stop their activities right away and the students studying there were left on their own.

The worst part is that a huge number of these schools and colleges are on the brink of closure in 2017. For instance, dozens of colleges managed by EDMC are at risk. EDMC was one of the US largest for-profit college corporations not while ago. This company owns famous chains like Argosy Universities, Art Institute, and Brown Mackie College – these educational institutions are present in almost every US state. Today, EDMC has revealed that they are planning on closing dozens of campuses and sell most of the others.

The point is that most of the colleges in the United States get federal financial aid in order to stay open. While the large colleges can continue raising prices and finding big donations, small for-profit colleges that cannot meet the student’s desires – financial aid, access to student activities and job markets, – face financial pressures that can lead to low-enrollment of students.

Such a pressure that for-profit colleges face is a part of the nationwide budget cut. Almost all of the US colleges and universities suffered dramatic budget cuts after the 2008 recession.

However, the last thing a school wants to do is shut down. That’s why struggling for-profit schools are more likely to merge in future into a larger institution than close, partly because of the difficulty of closing a publicly funded institution. In the meantime, private colleges are more likely to close.

What Options Do Students Have?

 Closures can impact thousands of students who are not left with many options and stuck with student loans to pay off and have not received a diploma. The good news is that their federal loans can be forgiven.

Any student can qualify for a Closed School Discharge if your school closes while you are still enrolled or the school you are attending closes within 120 days after you withdrew from their program.

To do so, first of all, contact with your student loan servicer and find out how to apply for the cancellation. You’ll likely need to submit a copy of your academic transcript. Unfortunately, it does not apply to private loans. In this case, you can try to contact your bank and ask for a debt relief.

Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.