Archive for October, 2016

The Rich and the Poor: Impact Upon Higher Education Opportunity

October 17th, 2016

By Victoria Klochkova

The question of how the level of a family’s income affects children’s performance at school has been researched most thoroughly. However, even numerous studies from different countries cannot answer this question with 100% accuracy. The majority of data clearly states that lower income equals lower test scores. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, and it’s their unpredictable nature that baffles most researchers. Luckily, today this difference matters little as higher education has become available to everyone.

Who Gets Better Education Today: Rich Vs. Poor

In the US, about 79% of students born to high-income families get their degrees, and only 11% of those who come from the low-income part of the society. In the year 2010, 55% of the bachelor’s degrees were awarded to those whose family income was above $98,875, and only 9.4% of the bachelor graduates had the family income lower than $33,000.

This data indicates that it’s not race, religion, or gender that have the biggest impact on a person’s ability to receive higher education. In the end, it all boils down to money, so thousands of talented individuals miss out on their chance to progress academically.

Just how many of potentially successful scholars are lost to our world due to the harsh financial imbalance?

A recent survey on the impact of income on test scores indicates that students who come from families with the income per capita lower than $19,999 show better results on test scores when compared to those with income per capita over $30,000 by 2%.

It’s these children who get a chance at the better future due to the inception of numerous scholarship programs as well as more affordable student loans.

Is It All About the Money?

Detailed studies show that test scores are definitely influenced by a variety of factors, and the level of income is only one of them. Some of the factors you also need to consider are:

  • Percentage of rentals as opposed to owner-occupied dwellings
  • Percent of college-educated adults in the community

Surprisingly, it’s the rentals vs. owner-occupied homes that have the highest impact on school test scores, according to the same survey that shows children from low-income families do better on tests. This study shows that the peak of academic achievement comes from communities with the level of owner-occupied housing ranging between 70% and 79%. This might indicate that a sense of stability associated with home is one of the factors that affect a student’s performance deeply.

How Do Scholarships Help?

Nowadays, schools realized the loss of potential caused by financial obstacles. This prompted the creation of numerous scholarship programs. They extend even to the Ivy League, which was the home of the elite for generations.

The opportunities offered by scholarships are truly impressive and hundreds of students seize them to the best of their ability. However, once they do get to the elite schools, they face another kind of problem, namely discrimination.

It appears that colleges, especially those of the highest level, like Harvard and Yale, don’t pay enough attention to the socioeconomic discrepancy of the student body. Therefore, they don’t have effective programs for integrating poor students into their academic community.

While discrimination on the faculty level is not an issue, as students are evaluated based on their academic performance, it’s a different case with the peers. Many of the so-called ‘first generation’ Ivy League students claim feeling inadequate, underprepared, or outright discriminated by their dormmates and classmates.

The good news is that steps are taken to improve the situation, such as the establishment of the Inter-Ivy First Generation College Student Network. Similar organizations pop up in other universities as well. They make the journey to better education for students coming from low-income families much smoother. Most importantly, they help fight the injustice that has prevailed in the education system for so long, turning campuses into hospitable places for every individual, regardless of their bank account.

Victoria is a passionate entrepreneur and marketer. She runs a digital agency and writes for several blogs on the web. She loves sharing knowledge about innovation and technology!

     

College Students Should Take Advantage Of These 13 Resources

October 14th, 2016

By Malia Keirsey

College students are incredibly busy – classes, assignments, essays and papers, friends, part-time jobs, exams, and, once in a while, sleeping and doing laundry. It’s easy to get so caught up in the rigors of every day, and students often miss many of the resources that they can and should take advantage of. They may know they exist, especially if they have attended orientation as a freshman or a new transfer student. But they may not take the time to explore the details of those resources. Here is a list of 13 resources and what students can expect to gain from their use.

  1. Student Discounts

College costs a chunk of change. Anything you can get in terms of a discount will be welcomed by your wallet.

  • Explore the town in which your college resides. You will be amazed how many merchants offer discounts just for showing your student ID – restaurants, retailers, movie theaters, hair salons, dry cleaners, etc.
  • Explore online as well. You may find great discounted prices on textbooks, computers, cell phones, clothing, and more. Start with com for a huge list of national chains and businesses that offer student discounts. This is a great resource.
  • When you go to a store or restaurant, etc., do not be shy. Ask if they have a student discount – you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

 

  1. Academic Advisors

Every student is assigned an academic advisor and usually meets with this individual at least once a year. You may want to meet more often, just to be sure that you are on track with your academic program. Many students fail to continually check on their progress and end up having to do an extra semester or add summer school. This is costly.

In addition to the academic advisor, it is a good idea to establish a relationship with at least one professor in the department of your major field. S/he can act as a mentor as you go through the program and also help to ensure that you are on track to finish the required courses within your four years of undergraduate work.

An additional resource that academic advisors can hook you up with is a tutor if you are really struggling in any of your courses. And they are usually well aware of internships and can provide you with a letter of recommendation.

  1. Career Services

The biggest mistake is for a college student to think that career services are only for 2nd-semester juniors and seniors. Here are the types of resources from this office.

  • If you need a part-time job, they usually have lists of openings, both on and off campus, as well as some online resources if you have some special skills.
  • They can give you valuable projections on the job prospects in your major and expected entry-level salaries. Lots of students change their majors very early on, because of the information they have received from the career services office.
  • This office also has information on internships, and it’s a good idea to check out the possibilities early on. You can even start volunteering with an organization with which you hope to land an internship later on. But first, you have to know that it is there.
  • This office also plans and manages job fairs and provides workshops on resume and CV development.

 

  1. Entertainment

Every campus has opportunities for some forms of entertainment – concerts, plays and musicals, athletic events, movies, guest speakers, etc. Because these are free or pretty low cost, you should take advantage of them. Large universities usually get some pretty big name entertainment so keep your eye on the school calendar – events will always be publicized.

  1. Financial Aid Advisors

Just because you have been awarded your grants/loans for the year doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use this resource at other times. This office is permanently on campus for a reason – to offer resources all the time. Here are some of those:

  • You may qualify for some scholarship money that you weren’t aware of. Or you may have declared a major and now be eligible because of the field you have chosen.
  • These advisors can steer you in the direction of loans with the lowest interest rates and that will have long-term loan forgiveness and/or re-financing options.
  • They can answer any questions you have about your loans
  • Most of these offices have personal finance assistance. If you are a student who must design and function with a tight budget, and if you don’t have budgeting experience, these advisors can show you how it’s done.

 

  1. Join Some Clubs/Organizations

Even as a new freshman, you should take advantage of campus clubs and organizations. Find the equivalent of organizations you participated in secondary school. If you like to write, see how you can get involved in the campus newspaper, for example. If you were involved in plays or musicals, seek out those campus groups. If you join early on, you will most likely have leadership roles by the time you are an upperclassman, and these things look great on a resume.

  1. Academic Labs

Free help is available if you take advantage of it. Most campuses have labs where students can go and get assistance with coursework. If you are struggling in any course, take the initiative to locate help and get it. Staying current on assignments and mastering skills and concepts mean better grades, and your GPA will be important to you. There are online resources for help as well:

  • Online Study Groups: There is no lack of sites that offer participation in one or more study groups. Do a quick search, find one that fits your needs, and join.
  • If you are struggling with writing assignments, there are lots of online writing resources that can give you tips and guides, that can review and edit your work, and that can assist you in meeting deadlines when you are overwhelmed.

 

  1. Professors

 

One of the biggest myths about professors is that they are not too approachable. Most professors, in fact, have office hours and you can make an appointment to meet with them. Sometimes, communicating with professors when you are struggling in their classes can make a huge difference. They will be willing to give you tips and strategies, career advice, and even point you in the direction of capable students and/or study groups. Having a good relationship with a few professors in your major field also means that you can use them as references down the line.

  1. Fellow Students

One of the best things about college life is interacting and developing friendships with others who come from many diverse backgrounds. If you only stick with the same types of students who were you friends in secondary school, you are missing out on developing a much wider view of this world. Learning to relate to a variety of ethnic and socio-economic groups will serve you well when you enter the world of work.

  1. Fitness Resources

Your need to “move.” Sitting in class, eating and snacking, and then spending your evenings at your computer means you are becoming sedentary. You will gain weight and get out of shape. If there is a fitness center on campus, find it and use it. Get a buddy to go with you – it motivates you. Participate in intramural sports. If there is no campus fitness center, see if there is a local one that gives discounts to students.

  1. Resident Assistant

Another myth. That resident assistant exists to “police” the dorm and comes down on you if you are too noisy. This person can actually be a great resource. Suppose you want to throw a floor party – s/he will help plan and execute it. Suppose you are having roommate issues – the resident assistant has seen it all before and will be able to give advice. If the resident assistant cannot solve your problems, they will now where to go for that help.

  1. Health Services

Most every student knows where the health clinic is. If you have a terrible cold or the stomach flu, here is where you will go. But health services also include counseling services. If you are homesick; if you are stressed; if you are having relationship issues, there is no shame in reaching out to the counseling services that are available. Much better to do that than to ignore such issues until you reach a crisis point.

  1. Finding that Perfect Spot

The library is often full of others you know who will distract you; the computer labs are noisy; your roommate is entertaining a significant other or playing video games with friends. All in all, there are times when you just need to find a spot to chill or to study, especially at exam time. Look for spots where you can be more by yourself. It might be a local coffee shop; it could be in more specialized libraries (law and medicine are good options), or an open building that has empty classrooms. Once you find your spot, don’t publicize it. Use it when you have the need.

Your Job? – Take Some Initiative

Resources are not just going to come calling on you. You have to seek and find. A college is a complex place, and that complexity can sometimes be an issue. If you know where to go to find what you need, you have taken the proactive steps that will help you navigate these four years more successfully.

Bio:

Malia Keirsey is an enthusiastic writer and guest contributor. She has finished the University of Chicago with master’s degree in Sociology. Now she’s working as freelance web designer and blogger. Her main topics of interest are writing, digital marketing and education. Follow @MaliaKeirsey on Twitter.

 

 

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A Simple Path to Keeping A College Journal

October 13th, 2016

By Pat Fredshaw

College is an amazing time.  You’ll make new friends, push your boundaries, and learn things that you’ll help you for years and years after you’ve graduated.  It’s also a place that can force you to face more stresses than you’ve ever had to before and that in turn can get your mind spinning in ways that inhibit your happiness and productivity.

And that’s why incorporating a journal into your day-to-day collegiate life is a great way to assist you in organizing your thoughts, overcoming obstacles, or to simply prioritize on paper what your values are so you can stay focused on what matters.

However, while it’s one thing to thing about starting a journal, it’s another to actually get started with it.  So if you need a little help getting going, have no fear.  Here’s a series of steps to bringing journaling into your life when you’re in college.

Find Yourself The Right Journal

Journaling is a very personal thing, so finding the proper journal or journals that inspire you to write is crucial.  You want a journal that’s not only a place to record your innermost thoughts, but also one that sparks you to do so.   One that excites you and visually reflects who you are so that you’ll be all the more motivated to stick with your new journaling habit.

With almost countless styles and designs out there, including plenty of inexpensive journals that you can design yourself, you should have no problem finding a journal that matches what you’re looking for.

Figuring Out Want You Want To Write

Being in college, you should have plenty of stimuli to work from and you could very well want multiple journals to help organize your varying thoughts and moods.  Each journal will then serve its own purpose which should make your writings as therapeutic and constructive as possible.  Here are some examples of things you can write about while you’re away at school:

  • Your life prior to college – While it might seem strange to focus on things that happened before you got to school, doing so can help you better understand who you are and help keep you grounded as you take in more and more college life experiences.  And when things start to feel a little too crazy or overwhelming, your writings in this will be something that you can go back to and reflect up to improve your level of calmness and feeling one with yourself.
  • Things You Feel Fortunate To Have – With thousands of students around you it can be really easy to feel insecure or even unlucky, and writing about the stuff you’re grateful for can help you keep a healthy sense of perspective and your mood elevated.  This shifts your mind to focusing on what makes you happy, thus knocking out worrying or troubling thoughts which can drain your energy and interfere with your schoolwork and social life.
  • Your Ideas – You can have cool and brilliant things bouncing around your head all day long, but if you don’t write them down it’s real easy for them to slip out of your mind forever.  Journaling about your ideas is not only an awesome way to get those flashes of brilliance down on paper but tapping into your mind’s creative side without having to filter anything is also an amazing way to release tension and generate a sense of calm.
  • Root Out Your Worries – Although there are sites like Essay Supply that are one of the best writing sites for help, between research papers, exams, labs, and just the stresses of dealing with life and other students, it’s pretty easy for nagging, worrying thoughts to sneak into your subconscious to start creating all sorts of disruptive havoc.  Thanks to journaling, though, you can stop worrisome thoughts from spiraling through your mind by getting them out in the open on paper.  This allows you to objectively look at what’s bothering you in a clear, calm light which can have a tremendous benefit for your sense of well-being.
  • Make Your Dreams Realer –  By creating a college journal for your goals and dreams, you take them from just being abstractions flowing in and out of your mind and make them much more concrete.  This lets you focus your power and intention on them so you can take serious steps toward achieving them.  Even better, once you accomplish what you’ve set out to do, you can look back at your journal to see where the road to success all began.

No Judgement

A key aspect of journaling is to just let the thoughts and words flow.  The last thing you want to do is to stifle yourself which will only spike your anxiety and defeat a major purpose of journaling in the first place.  Put on some relaxing music if it helps you.  Shut off any distractions.  Breath deep.  Remember, journaling is a tool for getting in touch with yourself and is for you and you only.  You might sometimes be stunned at what you put onto paper and other times you’ll be amazed, but as long as you’re not blocking yourself you’ll find you have plenty of insightful, uplifting moments.

Pat Fredshaw is a freelance writer and contributing blogger from Oakland who works for Essay Supply and writes her own book. Her articles related to such areas as blogging, psychology, personal growth, and education.

 

 

 

5 Solutions Sudden Student Financial Problems

October 12th, 2016

BY DAVID GUTIERREZ

Most people find themselves neck-deep in sudden money problems at least a couple of times in their lives – and students, with their traditionally precarious financial situation, find themselves in a pinch more often than average. So, how to get yourself out of the dire straits once you land there? Here are five possible solutions.

1.    Cut Back on Expenses

The first thing you should think about if you want to get out of the pit soon enough is making adjustments when it comes to your expenses. If you already keep track of your expenses and incomes, good – you will have a starting point. If not, start doing so immediately. Try to remember all of the more or less important expenses of the recent past. Think about all the things you usually tend to spend money on. Then go through them point by point and ask yourself if you can eliminate each, or at least severely reduce it.

Make use of your status as a student – most colleges provide a lot of not immediately obvious bonuses to their students: free access to gyms, swimming pools, libraries and suchlike. Many businesses provide discounts and special offers if you can prove you are a student – it can help you save on food, clothing, electronics and much more.

2.    Short Term Loans

Usually short term loans tend to have a rather dubious reputation due to lenders often charging exorbitant interests and making use of the debtor’s extreme situation in other ways. However, not all lenders are the same – if you look hard enough, you can find short term loans provided on reasonable terms and giving you an opportunity to deal with the problem that forced you to borrow money in the first place before repaying the debt at your own pace. Show your student ID and you have a high chance of getting a preferential treatment.

3.    Negotiate with Your Current Lenders

If you are already in debt, another priority goes to contacting your lenders. You may believe them to be ungodly bloodsuckers out to make you suffer, but in the long run, it is in their best interests to keep you financially afloat so that you can keep on making your payments. Quite often, they will be ready to tweak the conditions a bit, lowering the interest rate or extending the terms. Don’t wait until you get severely behind the payment schedule before contacting them – in this case the lender really won’t be eager to meet you halfway.

4.    Sell Clutter

Every person accumulates an enormous amount of what is, when all is said and done, useless trash that doesn’t add anything to one’s life. The problem is in identifying what things belong to this category. Ask yourself: have I used this item at least once over the last year? Do I really need it? If not, go ahead and sell it. Use eBay, Craigslist or a less well-known Decluttr to find buyers – you will be amazed how many people will be willing to buy what you want to get rid of. Or just plain run a sale aimed at other students at your dorm.

5.    Use Any Legal Opportunity to Get Money

If your current income isn’t enough to get you out of the woods, consider getting additional part-time jobs or trying your hand at one of many online methods of earning: freelance writing, taking surveys, hedge betting and so on. Most of these methods won’t get you much (at least not over a short period of time), but in your situation every little bit counts.

The most important thing to do when you find yourself in a personal financial crisis is to avoid panic and depression. If you maintain positive mental attitude and clear thinking, you will be able to get back on track – perhaps not immediately, but soon enough!

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.

 

5 Ways to Deal with Fatigue for Busy Students

October 11th, 2016

By Dante Munnis

College can be the right place to face fatigue. It is there that you might feel overwhelmed by so many classes to attend, books to read, and assignments to write.

But while is expected that you feel tired quite often, it is not like you have to be like this for your entire college’s years.

All you have to do is to understand what might be causing it and start fighting against it.

You might need to change some of your habits and make some sacrifices. But rest assured that it will all pay off in the end.

# 1 – Sleep more

Yes. You need to sleep more to combat your fatigue. It is understandable that you feel like not having the time to rest. There is so much to do and not enough hours in a day. So you grab another cup of coffee and keep your eyes open for as long as you can until you fall asleep on your books – so you can be close to it and start again in the morning.

But the truth is that it won’t do you any good. If your body is asking to sleep, your brain will shut down for business, and it will not absorb any new information. Meaning that, except if you are doing something very mechanical (which you probably are not), you will not be able to learn anything. You are just wasting your time.

Plus, your brain only processes what you have learned while you are asleep. So if you do not sleep, it won’t have a chance to do it. As a consequence, during your exam, you will not remember what you have studied precisely because your brain has not stored it. You have just wasted your time again.

# 2 – Eat well

Eating healthy can be a challenge to college students. And this applies in particular among those living in the campus or anywhere away from the family home for the first time. It is much easier (and cheaper) to open a couple of cans, boil some noodles, or get a burger at the nearest diner.

But it also means that your body might be suffering from a lack of nutrients. And that what you are calling fatigue is caused by your body crying for vitamins and minerals. That is to say that a balanced diet can help you to improve your study performance and the quality of your life as a whole.

So make sure that you find a way to cook your own meals (it can be as cheap as buying a takeout). Buy groceries with your classmates so not avoid waste. Cooking will also give you the break you need to rest your mind while you are studying.

# 3 – Deal with the stress

Another important thing to highlight here is that you will have to learn to deal with stress in college. If you are a freshman, it is OK to think that the world is coming to an end. But from the second year and beyond, you will have to realise that this is how things are in college.

You will have to accept that school is over and that your workload has increased. And that your professors expect much more from you compared to your school’s teachers. Assignments will be more complex and frequent, and classed will be more demanding.

When you accept this scenario as a reality, you will start minimising the effects of it in your mind. It will be of no surprise anymore so that you can get prepared. And more exams you do, more used you will be to them. You will get to know the system and what your teachers are expecting from you. So calm down, because you will see things much clearly over the time.

# 4 – Check your health

If you are doing your best and cannot see why you are feeling fatigue, maybe it is time for you to look for medical assistance.

Sometimes, fatigue can be caused by a physical condition, such as thyroid problems or anaemia. It could also be a symptom of anxiety or depression. These and many other reasons can only be detected by a qualified doctor so that a full check-up could help you in it.

But do not worry, most of these conditions can be overcome with medication, diet, and psychological support. So it is more about you identifying them as soon as possible, so you can learn what you have to do to get back on your feet.

# 5 – Plan better

Ultimately, your fatigue could be caused by a lack of organisational skills and procrastination. You might be wasting time focusing on tasks that are not as important as you think, or doing research that does not take you anywhere.

So start by creating a study plan. Then, stick to it. Find out all your classes’ timetables and assignments’ due dates. Get everything time lined so you know when you have to do what and what are your priorities.

And forget about leaving anything to the last minute. Make of studying every day a habit, so you will not feel overwhelmed by trying to read hundreds of pages just before an exam, for example. It certainly is a recipe for fatigue and for low grades.

Wrapping it up

Fatigue in college is often caused either by our own bad habits, medical conditions, or stress. And there is nothing wrong in feeling like this. College is an opportunity to mature, so it is all about personal growth as well.

But you have your goals, so do not let it take over you. See how you can change these habits or look for professional support, if you need it. Just do not let fatigue destroy your dreams.

BIO: Dante Munnis is a blogger and idea maker from Stockholm who is interested in self-development, web related topics and success issues. Currently he is working on his own project of college application essay writing service to help students achieve their goals.

6 Tips For Choosing The Right College

October 10th, 2016

Johnathan Emmen

Where do you want to go to college? If you are a recent high college graduate or a high college senior, you’ve probably heard that question from guidance counselors, well-meaning relatives, and certainly your parents and friends. In many cases, the question is only intended to launch a bit of small talk. On the other hand, where you decide to go to college can have a long reaching impact on your future. So, how do you decide? You can start by following these tips.

 

1.    Identify Colleges That Complement Your Personality

 

You might be tempted to pick a college that seems ‘fun’, or that is a party college. Maybe you are attracted to colleges that are near beaches or specific tourist attractions. While there is nothing wrong with looking into colleges that you think you will enjoy, you should balance that out by taking your personality and temperament into consideration. Ask yourself, will that party environment be fun for you during midterms?

On the other hand, you might be attracted to colleges that push academic rigor above all else. There is no shame in acknowledging that an extremely intense, academic environment might push you towards burnout. Look for a college that will be a good fit for four years, not one that will be fun for a month or so.

 

2.    Verify The Quality of The Program That Interests You

 

If you know your major, take the time to vet out that program at the colleges you are considering. For example, if you are interested in engineering, your uncle might insist that his Alma Mater is an amazing choice for you. What he may not realize is that the college he attended isn’t the same anymore. So, do  your own investigating. Look into graduation rates, employment prospects etc. Find out where their graduates are getting jobs, and whether or not those jobs are closely related to student’s majors.

 

3.    Small or Large: Know What is The Best Fit For You

 

Before you narrow down your choices, it is a good idea to know whether or not a large or small college is the best fit for you. If you attend a larger college, you will probably find that there is more to do. Also, if you participate in athletics at an elite level, a large college might be appealing to you because of its athletic programs. You may also have an easier time finding academic or writing help. On the other hand, large campuses can be intimidating, and you might feel a little lost in the crowd. In that case, a smaller college might be a good fit.

 

4.    Visit For a Few Days to Get The Feel of Things

 

Don’t dismiss a college or add it to your short list without paying a visit. However, if you do visit a campus, try to stay for a few days. Take the official tour. You’ll learn a lot by doing so. Then, spend the rest of your time exploring on your own, and talking to current students. You will get some different insights than you would by relying only on the information you get during the college sponsored tour. Finally, spend a day off of campus exploring the surrounding community.

 

5.    Be Wary of For-Profit Colleges

 

If you stay up late at night, you’ve probably seen commercials advertising colleges that seem almost too good to be true. These commercials promise guaranteed job placement. They claim that you can finish their programs in a fraction of the time that you would at other colleges. In many cases, these ads target minorities specifically. Unfortunately, in most cases these are for profit colleges that charge astronomical tuition rates, fudge their job placement stats, and often have dubious accreditation. Attend one of these colleges and you might find that you have the diploma that has no value, and no ability to transfer your credits to a credible university.

 

6.    Is Your Major Set in Stone?

Are you certain about your major? Do you, at the very least, know the academic area that interests you the most? If you don’t, that’s okay. Many students don’t know for at least a year or two. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time to decide. After all, you are making an important choice. At the same time, if you are  unsure, you might consider spending a year or two at a community or junior college. The cost will be significantly lower. You can save money, and get your general ed requirements out of the way at the same time.

 

Conclusion

Choosing the right college is possibly the most important choice of your life. Take the time to explore your options so that you find a college that is the ideal fit for your financial, academic, and social needs. Remember to keep an open mind as well. The perfect college for you might be one that isn’t even on your radar yet.

Jonathan Emmen is a passionate blogger and a regular contributor for different educational and entertainment blogs. He is eager to share his experience with young people.

 

Student Resources for Giving Good Classroom Presentations

October 7th, 2016

BY JANE HURST

As a student, you are going to be giving a number of presentations throughout your college life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that you are automatically going to be a great presenter. In fact, it can take many years and a lot of presentations to get really good at it, and even then, many students just don’t master the skill of giving great presentations. There are some things everyone needs to know if they are going to give great presentations. Here are some tips and resources to help you.

  1. Practice First – Before you give your presentation, practice, practice again, and then practice some more. That way, you will be completely sure that you have plenty of materials and activities prepared for the time you are allotted. Be sure to allow time for questions, which can take up a lot more time than you may think.
  2. Prepare Notes – While you don’t need to have a book prepared, it is wise to have notes with you. Any good speaker knows they need to have notes to keep them on track. Make sure your notes have key definitions, solved problems, analogies, examples, and proofs. Practice what you are going to say so you give the best presentation possible.
  3. Highlight What You are Speaking About – Make sure that you highlight your words. Use contrast or call-outs, arrows, bullet points, etc. to show the audience what you are speaking about when showing the various slides. Bold type and contrasting colors also work well when there is a lot of text.
  4. Check Out the Classroom – Before you give your presentation, check out the classroom you will be speaking in. Get to know the layout, figure out the best place to stand, how easy it will be to move around, etc. Also be sure to find out if the classroom has audio-visual equipment, or if you will have to supply your own.
  5. Use Visuals – Even though it is important to have a lot of slides in a presentation to keep the audience from becoming bored, it is important that the slides actually communicate what you are talking about. Make sure that you talk about each slide (about five minutes per slide should work), and be engaging to other students.
  6. Don’t Talk Too Much – It is important that you keep the verbosity to a minimum. Make one point per slides, plus a couple of sup-points if it is absolutely necessary. Don’t be afraid to use less talk and more visual represenation, and keep the actual speaking to a minimum.
  7. Smile – If you go into a presentation with a dull look on your face, it is going to end up being a dull presentation. “Give your audience frequent smiles, and show them that you have some personality. This is going to keep them more interested in what you have to say,” suggests Dr. Navid Rahmani from Dental Center.

Resources

The following are a few terrific resources that will help anyone to give an effective presentation.

  • Giving Effective Class Presentations – This website has loads of great information on giving presentations, and there is lots to read about how to overcome anxiety and give an effective presentation.
  • Make Your Presentation More Dynamic – Check out the article on ten ways to make your presenation more dynamic. These tips will really help you to become a more effective speaker.
  • Online Resources Every Presenter Should See – This site is a must-see for anyone who is giving presentations. Here you will find loads of resources that will help you to give the best presentations you have ever given.
  • Practice Tips for Effective Presentation Handouts – Here you will find a great article about the best practice tips for effective presentation handouts, including benefits for both the presenter and the audience members.

Byline:

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. Follow Jane on Twitter.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

October 6th, 2016

BY LUISA BRENTON

As a student, you’ve got to write a lot of different essays and writing assignments, which all have different requirements and expectations. To get the best grade possible, it is important that you understand these differences and make use of them as best you can. In this way, you don’t spend time barking up the wrong tree.

Now, it would be great if we could deal with each and every essay expectations. That would make for a rather unwieldy blog post. So, instead, here we’re going to look at one of the most popular forms, which is the compare and contrast essay.

Recognizing the compare and contrast essay

Often they’re not actually that hard to spot. Some will even have the word ‘compare’ and ‘contrast’ in the title. For example, you might have ‘compare two romantic poets and explore the differences between them’ or ‘contrast the first and the Second World War and the political reasons for them’. Other words that you might see are such words as ‘differences’, ‘similarities’ or other words like that.

But it doesn’t always work out that easily. Sometimes you’re going to find questions that are far more subtle. For example, ‘take a major literary theme and explore how Virginia Wolfe and F Scott Fitzgerald dealt with them’ or ‘How does liberty evolve from the 15th to the 16th century?’

Yet, the idea though they might not use the words ‘compare’ and ‘contrast’ you can still find it between the lines.

Representing differences and similarities visually

When you’ve been asked to discuss the similarities or differences between two things (or three) then the best thing you can do is draw a Venn diagram. You know the one I’m talking about – where you draw as many circles as there are concepts (e.g. first world war and second world war) where they each overlap all the other circles?

Then you write the differences in the areas where the circles don’t overlap and the similarities in the areas where they do. In this way, you’ll have an easy time of knowing what the differences and similarities are.

Of course, don’t get carried away. Remember that you’re writing for a specific class, which means that you’re supposed to write about areas that fit within the structure thereof.

One trick that might work if you’re struggling to know what’s relevant is to include another circle in your diagram so that you can write those things that fall within the scope of the class inside of that circle and those that don’t outside of it.

Note that this strategy works a lot better if you’re only asked to compare two things, as when you’re asked to compare more it can get very confusing very quickly as there are just too many circles.

Decide what to write about

The next thing that you’ll need to decide on is what you’re going to include in your essay. The first things to focus on is what is absolutely essential to the argument you’re going to make. These points will need to be included no matter what.

If that alone does not fill up your essay, however, then it’s time to pull out a point system. Give things a score from one to five (or ten, if you’ve got a lot of topics and need the extra differentiation).

Things to base your score on:

  • Is it relevant to the class?
  • Is it interesting and informative?
  • Does it fit into the argument that you’re going to make or is it a tangent?
  • Is it a topic that the teacher or professor seems particularly interested in?
  • How obvious is it? (The more obvious, the less the need to include it)

Time to formulate your structure

The first thing that you want to do at this point is formulated your thesis. You probably already had a central argument outline above (otherwise you would have struggled to complete the last section) but now it’s time to put it down in words.

Don’t skip this part! Often you can realize where you’re making errors in your reasoning simply by writing down what you’re trying to argue. Also, always answer the most important question of all about your thesis and that is ‘why should I care about this particular question? Why is it relevant?’ That question will need to be answered somewhere in your essay.

That done, it’s time to create a structure. Return to your Venn diagram and take the pieces that you’ve ranked highest (as well as those that you decided are central to the question and your argument) and put them in order.

Make sure you start out with a whopper of an argument – something that’s engaging and interesting so that you draw in the reader. Take your second strongest argument and put it right at the end (this is important due to the peak and end effect, which states that we remember the end of things better than what comes in the middle).

Start writing

Now you’ve got everything worked out, all you’ve got to do is fill in the gaps. Now remember to use clear paragraphs and well-defined sentences. Also, remember to focus on good transitions, so that people can spot when you’re moving on from one area to another.

Now, if this is a struggle, don’t stress out too much. There are plenty of tools available to help you online – from other websites that deal with this kind of thing in more detail, to services that can help you with the process (check out the best sites for writing help).

And remember, if you’re struggling at this point, that doesn’t mean you always will. Essay writing (actually all writing) is something that you get better at over time, particularly if you pay attention to what your professors and teachers are saying and not just the grades they give you.

So with those thoughts, you should be much better prepared to deal with the contrast and comparison essay.  Let me know how it goes.

Luisa Brenton is an ex-marketer, present writer, and a future professor at the Chicago University. She has been working as an educational blogger for top websites.You can contact her on Twitter.

 

Common Myths Surrounding Online Education.

October 5th, 2016

Common Myths Surrounding Online Education.

By Danika McClure 

 

  • Online degrees have come a long way in recent years, and while popularity has risen continuously, myths and misconceptions continue to exist. Below, we explore some of the most Online courses are not an easier alternative to traditional classrooms

 

 

For quite some time, online courses have been incorrectly viewed as an easier alternative to traditional college courses. While it’s apparent that online courses might have a greater degree of flexibility, many students and professors agree that courses delivered in an online format might be more challenging and more time consuming–especially for those who balance work and school.

 

“I’m not gonna tell anyone that it was easy. It was definitely hard. It takes a lot of discipline and sacrifice,” notes former Northeastern University student, Michelle Tolin, who graduated from the university’s Online Master of Science in Taxation program in 2012. “I had to get my family on board, knowing that coming home and flipping on the TV wasn’t going to be an option after work.”

 

Tolin’s experience echoes that of many busy working professionals who use online education as a means of advancing their career. For dedicated students who are able to juggle multiple responsibilities, online learning is a great option. Those looking to seek an easy alternative won’t find it in an accredited online course.

 

  1. Online course credits are not accepted or respected by employers

 

A decade ago, students, educators and employers viewed online education skeptically. Now that colleges and universities have begun introducing their own online degree programs, skepticism surrounding online degrees has been resolved and replaced with acceptance. Some employers even consider online degrees to be an advantage in the workplace, as it shows that the candidates are able to juggle multiple responsibilities and commitments while earning their degree.

 

The quality of online education has advanced greatly in recent years. So long as your school of choice is accredited, has an established reputation, and you display the skills necessary to get the job done, students should see no difference in the treatment of their degree.

 

  1. Only unqualified professors teach online courses

 

Over the years, the growth of Massive Open Online Courses and other examples of online classes boasting hundreds of thousands of students, questions have arisen about faculty and the quality of teaching in online courses.

 

Staff and faculty will change depending on the school you attend. Some universities will have dedicated online professors, while other schools’ online programs are taught by the same faculty present in an in-person setting. Arizona State University, a university acclaimed for its innovative online degree programs, is one such school whose quality faculty teach both in-person and online.

 

“Students enrolled online through Arizona State University have the opportunity to learn from some of the best and brightest in their fields, as our online courses are taught by the same internationally recognized and award-winning faculty members who teach in our on-ground programs.”

 

According to eLearners, this practice has been adopted by many schools, noting that at least 34 percent of college faculty have experience teaching online courses, a number that is rapidly growing. Furthermore, they note that experienced teachers are just as likely to be teaching online as those with less than 10 years of experience.

 

  1. There is no personal attention given from the instructor

 

Many students are wary of taking online courses because they worry that they will have fewer opportunities to communicate with their professor or classmates in an online setting. Many suggest, however, that this fear is unfounded, with students finding they actually feel more connected to their professors than they did in a traditional classroom.

 

In an online setting, most professors log in to check on students daily, looking to answer questions, concerns about assignments, and are typically able respond to students in a timely manner. Additionally, the online setting provides means for students to discuss problems with their peers if the professor isn’t readily available. While online courses are individually oriented, collaboration is frequent and encouraged.

 

  1. All online courses are self-paced

 

Online courses are often praised for their flexibility, as they allow working students and parents the opportunity to fit their coursework around their busy lives. However, this does not mean that online courses are self paced–in fact, for most online courses, the opposite is true.

Many online courses follow a course schedule that features regular due dates, test days, and deadlines, just like your average traditional course. Students enrolled in online courses can expect more flexibility than one would normally have in a traditional course, but regular participation and adherence to deadlines is important in both the online and face-to-face environment.

 

With the number of degree options available to students, choosing a degree path has become more complicated than ever. Not only do students have the option of choosing between small town colleges and Ivy Leagues, they also have the option to take these courses in person or online.

 

Online learning has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, yet despite this, myths and misconceptions still remain prevalent in the education sphere. Many of these rumors are best addressed by recognizing that online education is neither better nor worse than traditional learning, but a different means of learning that will benefit some learners better than others.
Danika McClure 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

TENETS OF GREEK LIFE: Recreating the Brand

October 4th, 2016

By Johnathan Kellz

 

The Greek Life is a phrase used to describe all Greek Letter Organizations. In a college setting, to live the life, you accept the tenets of the life by being a member of a sorority or fraternity.

Anyone who lives The Greek Life understands the principals or pillars of the life: leadership, scholarship, philanthropy, and fellowship (sisterhood / brotherhood). However, I put to you that another dimension exists, that there are tenets to The Greek Life as well. Precepts and doctrines are introduced during recruitment, instilled during rush, and cemented over your scholastic career.

In time past, living The Greek Life did not stop at graduation. Networking in and away from a personal legacy was significant but the practice is fading for many. We are now living in a world post 2008 and perhaps it is time to change the brand. Perhaps it is time to make The Greek Life more sought after much longer after commencement ceremonies.

There can be an economic boon of embracing and supporting a person’s affiliation with The Greek Life as well as the hosting college by embracing The Tenets of Greek Life.

 

PRIDE

In order to have any positive impact on an organization, there first needs to be pride in that organization. This tenet of The Greek Life occurs the moment you are pledged. Even before initiation, a sense of pride is present as your very specific legacy begins.

  • Pride in the sense of community
  • Pride in the philanthropic causes your house supports
  • Pride in your brothers and sisters
  • Pride of traditions and rituals
  • Pride in your leadership or in your leaders who give you something to strive for
  • Pride in academic achievement due to the support you receive from your fraternity or sorority
  • Pride in your legacy

Whatever it is about being part of something bigger than you are, which instills a sense of pride, will drive enduring success.

How does pride drive enduring success? Think WOMM (word of mouth marketing) otherwise known as Viral Marketing.  Theresa Howard wrote a USA Today article in 2005 about Viral Advertising, she wrote that “It’s a marketing strategy that involves creating an online message that’s novel or entertaining enough to prompt consumers to pass it on to others — spreading the message across the Web like a virus…”

If you live The Greek Life in a way that you can be proud of, broadcast it. Bringing the spotlight to the positivity of living the life will recruit the public and alumni to support your college and your house.

RESPONSIBILITY

Every student living The Greek Life owns a responsibility to their house and later, their chapter. This tenet, to be effective, should be life long and exist under a very large umbrella. Under this cover a member should always be aware of their actions and how they reflect upon their house, college, and legacy.

Only if pride exists can this tenet be long lasting. Only if you are responsibly committed to your legacy and what it stands for, can your pride be sustained.

Where is your responsibility and how does it endure in the following scenarios?

  • Perception of the member through the legacy of The Greek Life
  • Supporting the brand
  • Alumni continuing to support the chapter, house, and institution
  • Perpetual philanthropic involvement
  • Support of brothers or sisters

The Greek Life, in order to become a banner that people recognize and respect rather than smile upon as a pleasant memory or entitlement must surpass the great time had while initially participating in the life, yes? The Greek Life is a privilege and was treated as such since recruitment.

We are all living commercials for something. In recreating the brand you can put an exclamation point on it. In college, after or whenever you are advertising the success The Greek Life afforded you, wear the colors, a pin, or anything that sends the message. Own rather than rock the gear from the Stanford Bookstore. For your house, consider Something Greek and proudly display the letters if you can or the words when you cannot. I believe you would find the appropriate symbol to convey your pride.

PERDURABILITY

This tenet involves a commitment to keep your chapter viable and everlasting as personalities, national focus, trends, and fads, all change. The chapter must be perdurable.

How you keep your house and chapter in the public eye and weighted for consideration when listed on a resume exists not only through your actions (as they are intangible) but through tangible accomplishments that can be displayed with pride.

What you do has to be quantifiable and comparable to have resounding strength. What you have accomplished may have seriously positive community impact through its philanthropic focus but

  • How did it occur and what was your role in it?
  • How was your involvement specifically impactful?
  • How did the support system to your house by your alma mata make a difference?

Adding your role and its specific numerical contribution is better. Adding the exact steps you created, lead, or took part in as well as how the program changed in success because of it is near perfect. People are attracted to numbers and visuals.

Commitment

It is truly a new world. It will be completely in your control in the short run.

In, arguably, of all times before you, never before have your predecessors stepped forward and shouted as effectively as yours “make a difference”.

The last tenet is both simple and completely logical. If you commit to the tenets of the Greek Life, you are committing to your legacy and a greater good. Commitment to recreating the brand will cause an economic boon surrounding The Greek Life and what it newly represents.

About the Author:

Jonathan is freelance web developer with a love for everything Internet, education and environment. When he is not busy helping people with their websites, he loves to travel, spend time with his dog and watching baseball. You can reach him through his personal site at SEOJO.ca.