Posts published in July, 2016
BY SYLVIA KOHL
Imagine that you are through three years in college, and you realize that the area of expertise you major in isn’t really what you want to do with your life. Or you get disappointed in your chosen career. Or simply suddenly find another area of interest. Is it a reason enough to drop your current studies and go study for another degree entirely?
Not necessarily. There are many industries where you don’t exactly need a college degree to achieve success – and even major success. It doesn’t mean that a degree won’t help – but it may be advisable to graduate with the degree you currently study for while acquiring the skills necessary for your new chosen career on the side.
Of course, high-level programming requires a good deal of mathematical knowledge, and a corresponding degree will surely come in handy. But whether or not programming itself is worth studying at a college is a huge question. The thing is, programming courses even in the best universities often lag behind the actual development of the industry, it moving forward with breakneck speeds. As a result, after spending several years studying coding at a college you may find yourself landed with a three years’ worth of outdated knowledge. Your best bet would be to be open and use complete web resources and similar tools to keep learning.
2. 2D/3D Graphics and Animation
If you think that everybody working for graphic design and animation studios has some kind of formal education, you are very much mistaken. A considerable percentage of currently quite successful illustrators, animators, graphic designers and artists have little to no formal training. Nowadays you have access to a truly staggering amount of courses, programs and software packs aimed at teaching one the tools of the trade – and you can do it on your own.
Linguistic knowledge one learns at college is, at best, rather removed from the actual requirements of a translator’s or interpreter’s job. At worst, it doesn’t have anything to do with them. Frankly speaking, college education is more of an add-on to one’s knowledge of a foreign language, and certainly not a prerequisite for being an interpreter or translator. College won’t teach you a foreign language and how to translate from one language into another – it is speaking, reading, listening to the language in question that does.
4. Creative Writing
It is one area that is probably the least dependent on formal education. Ironically, people with educational background in creative writing very rarely achieve any notable success in literary work – actual life experience and talent seem to be of much greater use. Perhaps that is why there is such a great percentage of well-known writers originating from medical practice – simply because they have to encounter people and their lives on a daily basis.
In our quick-changing world, education gradually ceases to be a necessary prerequisite for building a career in a particular sphere. Actual skills and experience are of much greater use. So, if you are studying for a degree, you needn’t change your course – the knowledge you acquire on the way can still come in handy – but you should take care of moving in the chosen direction on your own.
Sylvia Kohl is IT teacher with more than 7 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and beta-testing. This writer chose news about the increasing role of IT usage in colleges and schools as the most common topic for her articles.
BY MELISSA BURNS
All too often students get complacent after getting into the college of their choice. The underlying belief is that they’ve already done the hard part – securing a place there – and now education is going to somehow settle on them of its own volition, like dandruff. The problem is, education is an active process – in order to get a good one, you should go out and do it. Here are some ways for it.
In the age when the acronym TL;DR becomes an all too popular answer to any text longer than two sentences, reading is certainly getting out of fashion – which is yet another reason to swim against the flow and set aside some time for it, especially at college, when you are going to have free and convenient access to numerous libraries, online databases and suchlike. In the long run, reading considerably improves the quality of your speech, both written and spoken, not to mention general knowledge.
2. Study Online
Your college may offer a wide variety of courses; but then again, it may not. Or you may choose to major in one subject while retaining an interest in another one, and cannot combine them in your official academic schedule. Or you simply want to broaden your horizons and study something in addition one basic set of skills and proficiencies. In this case, online courses can prove to be of immense help. They are probably best suited for IT training, but today one can easily find online courses on anything from graphic design to engineering – an excellent way to become a versatile specialist.
For many people, college is the first time in their lives they get into an environment in which they are surrounded by people different from what they are used to. Which is especially marked today, when there are so many international students in American colleges. Getting in touch with them not only broadens your horizons and earns you potentially useful acquaintances, but is an excellent opportunity to learn foreign languages as well. More often than not, they will be happy to find local friends as well.
Using tutoring opportunities provided on campus is a great way to improve your grades and actual knowledge. There are people who are better at certain subjects than you are, and a short study session with some of them can be worth many hours of trying to figure things out on your own. Vice versa, if you are particularly good at certain subjects, you may offer your own tutoring services (they may be paid or volunteer) – it will improve your knowledge and people skills, and will look greatly in a resume.
5. Attend Extracurricular Activities
All colleges arrange lectures by guest speakers, seminars and similar things – and you will do yourself a very poor service if you neglect to use these unique opportunities. You may never get a chance to hear these people again.
As you may see, college education is not just the college’s job, but yours too. If you don’t make an effort to squeeze everything from your time at university, it isn’t going to happen on its own.
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.
BY JANE HURST
Throughout the school year, you are likely going to accumulate a lot of clutter in your dorm room. A good way to make some extra money this summer is to sell some of that stuff that you really don’t need. You will also be cutting down on a lot of clutter, and may even be able to see the floor again! If you want to get the most money for your stuff, check out these awesome places to sell your used goods.
- Cash4Books – If you have text books that you no longer need, make some extra cash by selling them through sites that are dedicated to selling books, such as Cash4Books. This site will buy the books from you, so you don’t have to look for people who want to buy them. It is easy to use, but you do need to make sure that you have the books they want. Before selling, check out their lists to see if your books are what they are looking for. You will need to provide the IBSN number for each book that you want to sell.
- OfferUp – This is a great site that lets users connect with others in their area to get deals on unused items, as well as used items they no longer need. You can use this site to sell old clothing, furniture, or anything else that you just want to get rid of.
- Set Up Your Own Website – Another great idea is to set up your own website for selling used college stuff. This is easy to do, and a great way to get the word out about the items you have for sale. You will need to do an analysis of shopping cart software providers before you launch the site, to make sure that you are going to be offering the best possible shopping experiences to your visitors.
- Consignment Stores – This is a tried and true method of getting rid of stuff you don’t need and making extra cash. This is easy, and you don’t have to bother listing items for sale yourself, pay for postage or deliveries, etc. The only downside is that you don’t always get as good of a price as you would if you were doing the legwork yourself and selling online.
- Pawn Shops – Another option is to take your items to a pawn shop. Just remember that they are in the business to make money, not to give it away. You will likely only receive 20-40% of the item’s value. But, it is a fast way to make money when you need it, and you can sell just about anything, from jewelry to electronics to household goods and more.
- Craigslist – This is another easy way to sell unwanted items. Simply list the items for sale, wait for an interested buyer, make the arrangements, and then meet them to sell the item. Be careful when meeting strangers to sell items. Make sure that you never give them your home address, and that you always meet in a public, well-lit area. Also, make sure that you don’t fall for any scammers, of which there are many.
- Facebook – Never underestimate the power of social media when you want to sell things. You will find all kinds of buy and sell pages for your area, where you can post your items for sale. In many cases, you will end up selling to people you already know, so you won’t have to worry about meeting up with a stranger. Another advantage of using Facebook to sell stuff is that it is free.
Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about ed tech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter!
Online education has presented institutions with a great opportunity to expand their services to students who were previously less likely to attend. At the same time, however, new technology also threatens the higher education system as it currently stands. As this technology becomes more prevalent in years to come, universities will either have to keep up and rise in stature, or risk shutting their doors forever. What will separate the two lies in the willingness of faculty to adapt to new technologies.
Many professors have adopted the misconception that online teaching is of lesser quality than traditional instruction, and as such, many have hesitated to embrace online learning.
A 2014 survey of faculty views on technology revealed that although record numbers of students are enrolling in online education, faculty members worry that those students are receiving an inferior experience to what is offered in the traditional classroom setting.
“Virtually all faculty members and technology administrators say meaningful student-teacher reaction is a hallmark of a quality online education, and that it is missing from most online courses,” the study highlights. “Only about one-quarter of faculty respondents (26 percent) say online courses can produce results equal to in-person courses….most faculty members maintain serious doubts about being able to interact or indeed teach students in online courses.”
Professor Henry C. Lucas formerly identified as an online education skeptic. Now the chair of the Decision, Operations and Technologies Department at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, now believes that embracing online education is absolutely vital for the future of higher education.
“Until a few years ago I shared the common professorial knee-jerk opposition to online teaching, assuming it had to be of lower quality than traditional instruction,” Lucas writes. “But seeing in action software that allows real-time interaction between and among faculty and students convinced me that student-faculty exchange can remain at the heart of at least some kinds of online ed.”
What is behind the bias against online education?
Perhaps most notably, online classes have been tarnished by the recent prevalence of for-profit colleges which provide a subpar education, leaving students with large amounts of debt and no real job potential after graduation.
But online education comes in many forms, from “flipped” courses, to blended courses, to fully online programs, and dismissing online education outright will only stifle innovation. And by now, there is enough evidence that exists to prove that online education can be of high caliber.
“If I showed my colleagues the final exams turned in by students in my online MBA course and the exams from my full-time residential MBA course, I doubt they could tell which students were in which program.”
Other online learning naysayers argue that face-to-face communication is essential for students to learn, especially in humanities courses where a large amount of work and understanding comes through hearty debate and discussion.
Paul Ventura, Acting Director of the School of Business at Marylhurst University argues that online learning platforms can just as easily foster intelligent, thought provoking conversations, in the same way that face-to-face interactions can.
“They’re very dynamic discussions. In a class of 12 people, we might have a discussion question on reading a particular article of how a business has developed a sustainability plan…And out of 12 students, there’ll be a hundred different comments…they’re extensive,” Ventura states. “Our students are literally talking books. They’re bringing in resources. They’re bringing in links to videos–things that you can’t do in a spontaneous classroom.”
The fact of the matter is, online learning platforms are here to stay. Just as technology has changed the world of business and healthcare, it is rapidly changing–and bettering–the higher education system. If faculty don’t begin to embrace the inevitable, it’s too likely that students will find themselves navigating towards affordable, technologically driven institutions.
Rather than continue to spread misleading criticisms of online learning, professors, faculty, and administrators would be better off embracing the incredible potential available in online learning.
Danika is a writer and musician from the northwest who sometimes takes a 30 minute break from feminism to enjoy a tv show. You can follow her on twitter @sadwhitegrrl.
BY ALYSSA SELLORS
When you get into college, you soon realize that it is a whole lot different from high school. One of the major differences being that unless you keep yourself disciplined, keep your due dates and take up all your responsibilities, nobody will do it for you. You have to remember everything on your own and even though it catches up, in the beginning it takes a toll on a lot of students. At times like these, one can really feel apathetic, lazy, uninspired and, lose interest in a lot of things. Now, regardless of the situation, you still have to go on and stay on course in order to accomplish youth goals; you need to remain motivated at all times. Below are some tips that will help you stay motivated and inspired through your college life.
- Organize your time
Organization is a major key in the completion of tasks. Regardless of the demands of the task, try and set some time when you can plan out your whole week. This will help you stay on track and you won’t have a chance to leave everything to the last minute. If you procrastinate and do everything in the last minute, you will be overwhelmed, exhausted and ultimately fail miserably.
Of course, you should have a healthy balance of studying and extracurricular activities; therefore budget your time appropriately. Use a planner if you have to, to mark all the important assignments and their due dates.
- Form a study group or a support group
Humans are social beings and supporting each other can make a big difference. Study groups can be a brilliant idea as they will keep you motivated. You will be able to open your mind, look forward to the discussions, consolidate your understanding and share different views with others. Having other people involved in a task can make it more fun and enjoyable. In addition to this, you will also make friends while at it and they will also motivate you.
- Be realistic
You have to set realistic goals for yourself and keep in mind that nothing comes easy, or overnight. You have to make the efforts and be committed at accomplishing a certain goal then you can truly enjoy the fruits of your labor. Of course, you also have to strive for improvement at all times; never settle for less.
- Use motivational apps and motivational movies
Achieving your goals will take a lot more than just good intentions. You have to take action and be consistent in order to make progress. Now, to motivate you, there are numerous apps you can use like Nozbe, which is a task management system, GoalsOnTrack, which is one of the most robust goal setting applications, Strides, which is a goal and habit tracking program and irunurun, which will help you reach your full potential. There are also numerous motivational movies you can watch through apps like Showbox or Playbox HD that will inspire you to do great things.
- Use the library
There is no place quieter than the library and on top of that, they are full of excellent resources. It’s an environment where you can concentrate and focus unlike at home where there are numerous distractions. You can do all your assignments peacefully and you will not feel the need to procrastinate. If anything, the other people in the library with you will motivate you and you will want to indulge yourself like them. Before you realize, your assignment will be done.
- Do not skip class
There are those mornings that you just feel lazy and uninspired and feel like the best thing would be to take some rest. Yet, you will miss a lot each time you miss class. You will have to do double work in order to catch up with the rest, complete assignments, and before long, you are lagging behind and struggling to hold on. So by all means, try as hard as you can to attend all your classes and on time. Be sure to cultivate a friendly and cordial relationship with your lecturers.
- Find inspiration
It can be very easy to lose perspective when all you see are the assignments, the presentations and the exams. Try and look at the bigger picture, the benefits you will have once you are done. Make sure you read inspiration quotes often enough to stay focused, or find a person who inspires you. Get a daily affirmation that will always get you going on any challenge. Use technological innovations to your aid.
Things will always appear as you want them to be; so be positive. A positive mindset will never lose focus and if you keep everything in check, you will never lose your motivation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; if you are not so good in a certain subject, go to a lecturer or a fellow student who is good at it and ask them to help you.
About the Author: Alyssa Sellors has been teaching English and Journalism for seven years. Currently she works for a number of online publications as a freelance writer and contributor.
By David Gutierrez
Of course you should use computer. It untiringly simplifies students’ life, allows saving time when you need to prepare paper works, researches, essays, etc. But sometimes we forget to ‘clean out’ it – to delete unnecessary files and documents. Do you notice, that your device began to work slower, ‘hang out’ or make a suspicious sound? If you faced with blue screen of death, the situation is quite bad. All this staff can cause huge problems in your studying. Always remember, that without cleaning own PC or laptop you may you lost an opportunity to do your lessons. So you should clean out and organize your PC. In summer you are almost free from studying, so you have time to do it.
You may need several applications to save you time. But remember that your computer is not the only device, that should be regularly cleaned up. Keep in order your smartphone too. Use Samsung Smart Switch, when you need to move files from one device to another.
How to ‘put in order’ a computer
This process consists of 3 steps:
- First of all you should find out duplicate files. Probably you will be surprised, how many duplicate files and downloads contains your device. It’s a campus life! Usually such files appear when you buy music from special services like iTunes, for instance.
You may look for such ‘reiterations’ manually by clicking ‘All my files’. But it takes too much time and there is a big chance to miss something unnecessary, as the same files on your computer could be saved under different names. We recommend you to try some third-party apps. They quickly detect duplicate files and move them into the Trash. There are free services, like Duplicate Cleaner or DupeGuru (supported by Windows), and several paid.
Then pay attention to your system’s cache. It should be cleared too, because your device produces a lot of temporary files for fast retrieving information that you need. Clean a cache, and your PC will work faster. For Windows 8 and 10 use app Disk Clean-up, that can be found on the Control Panel.
Do not forget about clearing a folder ‘Downloads’. There can be «hidden» tons of old PDFs, pictures, torrent links and other files. That’s why it’s better to take books from libraries.
At last, make sure that there are no trackers and viruses in your computer.
- Sorting. It means, your files should be allocated into different thematic folder. Execute these steps:
- combine duplicate folders into a single folder. For Windows and Mac use a combination ‘Copy/Cut+Paste’.
- find a place for photos. It may be the Downloads folder (if you tend to download from social media or email), folders for keeping files from phones and digital cameras, or a cloud storage.
- save all documents in the proper folder. It is obvious, but sometimes we see single documents in folders with music or in folder ‘Downloads’.
- place music and video in a right folder. It is obvious too, but many users often forget about this.
- Finally, you need to delete all you don’t need any more.
Quite simple, isn’t it? These actions help you to free a place for storage and make the computer’s performance better. So hurry up to do it before you PC breaks.
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.
The 2015-16 academic year was one of numerous student protests demanding increases in the admission of minority students and the hiring of minority faculty members — not to mention numerous other measures to promote inclusivity on campus.
But what exactly do students want? While some would say that the various lists of demands of campus protests provide much of the information, two Dartmouth College professors disagree. On Tuesday they proposed on the political science blog The Monkey Cage a new way of measuring student interest in different forms of diversity. And they tested their system on students at Dartmouth, an admittedly nontypical student body given that the college is highly competitive in admissions.
The results at Dartmouth (which they hope to compare to results at other institutions) suggest that students are indeed committed to diversity in admissions and faculty hiring. But students (and the results are generally true across student racial and ethnic groups) are more concerned about enrolling students and hiring faculty members from some groups than others. For both admissions and faculty hiring, Asians are not as valued as other minority groups, the survey found. And when it comes to the diversity of faculty hires, black students and female students are more concerned about the issue than are other students.
The two professors who did the research are John M. Carey, the Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences and professor of government, and Yusaku Horiuchi, the Mitsui Professor of Japanese Studies and professor of government.
They argue that simply asking students if they are pro-diversity or favor certain measures to promote diversity may not yield accurate results. “Conventional surveys on sensitive issues are susceptible to various biases,” they write. “If those who choose not to answer the survey have different opinions from those who do, the results won’t accurately reflect group opinion. Even those who do participate may adjust their responses to harmonize with what they think the researchers want to hear — a phenomenon known as ‘social desirability bias.'”
So Carey and Horiuchi argue that a better way to discern student sentiment is to use “conjoint analysis,” in which respondents are given choices between two options who are candidates for admission or for a faculty position. The candidates have a range of characteristics, including race and gender, but also academic record, disciplinary interests and a range of other characteristics — all randomly rotated. In this way, researchers can find out what students really want in admitted students and in faculty hires. They note that this approach means they are giving students questions that test their interest in certain kinds of diversity without ever saying that the survey is about diversity.
With regard to admissions, this study found that Dartmouth students highly value applicants with strong high school grades and SAT scores. Further, they favor the admission of recruited varsity athletes. And (with responses the same for students from all demographic groups) the students said that they valued diversity. Given candidates who were equal in other ways, the Dartmouth students:
- Preferred a black or Native American applicant by 15 percentage points over a white applicant, and a Latino applicant over a white applicant by seven percentage points.
- Women were slightly preferred over men.
- Students “strongly preferred” disadvantaged students over “the affluent.”
The Monkey Cage piece does not say how the students reacted to Asian applicants. Via email, Carey said that students were given scenarios involving Asian-American, Chinese and Saudi applicants. For Asian-American and Chinese applicants, there was no statistical significance in preferring them over white applicants. But there was a small preference for Saudi applicants over white applicants.
With regard to faculty diversity, traditional academic credentials were highly valued, but students also cared about faculty diversity. Comparing otherwise equal candidates, students picked African-American candidates by 12 percentage points over white candidates, American Indians or Latinos over whites by nine percentage points, and Asians over whites by five percentage points. (Minority students and scholars at Dartmouth have complained in recent years about what they see as a pattern of tenure rejections of minority scholars, most recently of an Asian-American English professor.)
Carey acknowledged the limitations of the questions asked. Much of the debate over affirmative action does not focus on candidates who are equal in every way beyond race and ethnicity. Proponents of affirmative action argue that many minority and disadvantaged students with great ability may not have test scores or high school transcripts that are as impressive as those from wealthy high schools.
“An even thornier set of issues confronting affirmative action programs is around trade-offs between demographics and other attributes — for example, how much to give up in terms of percentile rank (on standardized tests, class rank, etc.),” Carey said. “We will be able to produce estimates along those lines, but our first cut estimates a set of ‘all else equal’ quantities — specifically, differences in probabilities of selecting a candidate/applicant if we shift a given attribute (say, race) from the baseline level (white) to some other level (say, black), all else equal.”
In the “How America Pays for College 2016,” a report from student lender Sallie Mae released on Tuesday, the average American family paid $23,688 for college in the 2015-16 school year, down slightly from $24,164 in 2014-15, Reuters reports. What stands out most in the Sallie Mae report is the difference in cost between four-year-private colleges, which average $41,7562 a year, and four-year public schools, at $23,289. Two-year public community college programs are the most economical at $9,840 a year on average. How much families earn and how they finance tuition and other expenses like travel is vastly different in these spheres. Private college families take about $2,150 more in loans per year, and spend about $5,700 more from out-of-pocket cash. But private institutions also kick in a much larger portion of scholarships and aid, which covers the rest of the cost differential.
By Sylvia Kohl
The applicant should understand that his professional future depends on the way in which he will give a taste of his quality to the employer at the first meeting. Wanted position can easily slide through your hands because of the smallest mistake. To prepare for your brilliant job interview use nest advices.
5 steps for successful job interview
- First impression. The impression you’ll make on a person for the first time is the most important. Remember, that you need to look straight in his or her eyes, smile, shake hand and talk with confidence. Try to remember employer’s name and use it in conversation, if there is any opportunity. Also it’s better to smile and greet everyone. Positive comments from other employees may be an additional factor in your favor. Sometimes opinion of the secretary such as ‘what a nice young man’ is crucial. Turn off your cell until the end of the meeting.
- Dress accordingly. The results of public-opinion polls of employers has shown that 70% of them pay attention to the clothes, and about 80% stressed the importance of style and shoes cleanness at the first meeting with future employees. Dress in a classic style and check your shoes are clean and spit-polished. If you have doubt about the choice of clothes, it is always better to choose a suit, a single-color light shirt and a tie for men. Costume and single-color blouse are proper for women. If you don’t have an appropriate business clothing, do not be afraid of throwing a lot of money. Use kohls coupon code and save your money.
- Sign language. Your behavior says a lot about you, even before you have time to open your mouth. Be sure that your gestures are indicating you are interested, serious about job offer and ready to start at any moment. Don’t pull your hair, clothing, cross your hands (this creates a subconscious barrier), and sprawl on a chair instead of sitting up straight. Don’t hold out the hand to the mouth and mumble. Try to keep eye contact with the employer or head hunter.
- Communicative skills. 80% of success in any job depends on your ability to communicate with people. First of all, you must be a good listener, ready to listen what do other people say, and knowing what they mean (people don’t always have in mind what they say). You need to learn how to express your thoughts clearly and consistently. If you present any idea, explain it logically, using facts as much as possible.
- Get enough sleep. You are confident and have prepared answers to tricky questions. So you are ready for your brilliant performance! Well, you are just too excited and can’t even sleep. Go to bed early. Drink warm milk or herbal tea.
Of course, not every interview ends up with recruitment. And you will not get a job after each interview. But don’t take it personally. However, you can increase own chances to be a successful professional. Only in such a way you will achieve a good job offer, which make you happy.
Sylvia Kohl is IT teacher with more than 7 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and beta-testing. This writer chose news about the increasing role of IT usage in colleges and schools as the most common topic for her articles.
BY DANIEL MATTHEWS
In 2004, Brian Laoruangroch from University of Missouri started a business called Green Mobile. He sells refurbished phones, which, according to Inc.com, generates $500,000 a year. In 2007, students at Yale started a company called GXStudios. It raised $1 million in venture capital with an online game called GoCrossCampus. Zac Workman from Indiana University made a healthy energy drink from a family recipe. Justin Cannon and Chris Varenhorst from MIT built a language-learning software for use in classrooms.
College startups are fascinating. How do entrepreneurs run a business when they have so much studying to do? The risk is huge. Your startup could fail and you could fail your classes. Is it even a good idea to try?
Your college years are a great time to become an entrepreneur. You’re still young. You’re not chained to a job just to pay the bills. There are plenty of people around who can help. You have first-hand knowledge of a valuable market—the college market.
You can do this. Let’s dive in to what it takes.
Brainstorm your idea
Each entrepreneur on Inc.com’s list has something in common. They identified a need related to their environment and figured out how to satisfy it. Looking around you, what is it that your fellow students need? What do your professors need? What’s lacking? Talk to your fellow students, and to your professors, and be sure to research what’s already on the market.
Once you’re observing and highly attuned to what’s happening around you, the ideas will pop up unbidden. Be sure to record them on your phone or a notepad.
Nail the basics
Any solid business has an equally solid foundation. Consult a checklist for starting a business to get a good idea of what you’ll need to start. Planning on going it alone? A Sole Proprietorship is fast and easy, but if there’s the possibility of partners you may want to choose a LLC. The quality of your business plan will help you get funding. You’ll look into branding, legal responsibilities, and how to build a good team once things are going.
Develop your plan
Your plan should be as extensive and as well thought-out as possible. There are a good deal of resources available in your school library. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a business plan template covering all the areas.
When writing your business plan, think strategically. Where will you be in three to five years? How will you get there? Who’s your competition? In what ways will your business be unique? How much funding will you need, and how will you get it? How will you continue to earn revenue?
As part of your plan, you’ll need to think about branding and marketing. Uncertainty and volatility in the market are key concerns for startups to consider when developing a brand strategy. Because of these concerns, your brand must be agile and responsive to consumer needs. Facebook, for example, has continually adapted its technology to give users the type of experience they’re looking for, instead of maintaining a static model. Your brand, essentially, is what you offer. It represents you, and should be as adaptable as you are.
Indiana University’s Zac Workman had his family’s help in procuring $200,000 to start his energy drink business. Not all of us are so lucky. Thankfully, crowdfunding and angel investors have become major sources of funding for startups.
Angel investors are accredited investors who provide seed money (anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 is typical)—but they get a stake in your company. They’re particularly equipped to give you advice, and they like to take risks. Show them a good business plan, sell them on your idea, and you’re in business. But they do have a share of your equity and future profits, and can put a lot of pressure on you to succeed. Look for experienced investors who add value through their expertise and networks.
With crowdfunding, you can raise up to $1 million per year from non-accredited investors. Platforms include IndieGogo, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe. Sites that use the equity model (the same model that applies to angel investors) include AngelList, CircleUp, and Crowdfunder.
Release, market, and sell your product
Now that you’ve received funding and checked off the basics, it’s time to bring your startup to the market. You could do more market research first. But if your branding strategy is agile, you’re prepared to adjust based on how consumers receive your brand.
All of the college entrepreneurs on Inc.com’s list have another thing in common: they’re internet-savvy. You can start off by selling on eBay, but like University of Missouri’s Brian Laoruangroch, you’ll want to develop a website for marketing and sales. A visually appealing website is also essential for your brand.
If you want to do it yourself, there are some great website builders for that. Wix is a fully customizable option with an advanced ecommerce platform. It does cost just over $4 a month. WordPress is free, and there’s a reason 25% of websites use it—you can do pretty much anything with it. You do have to pay for web hosting.
Daniel Matthews is a widely-published writer who specializes in business, lifestyle, and tech. You can find him on Twitter