Posts published in May, 2017
BY SYLVIA KOHL
One of the biggest benefits of traveling as a student, especially internationally, is becoming exposed to the entirely different culture. However, most cultures end up getting filtered by tourist traps and “mainstream” experiences offered by a given area.
If you’re distracted by tourist centers and driven by the behaviors usual in your country (such as selecting cuisine you know from back home), you’ll end up missing out on the enrichment and exposure that travel is intended to bring you.
But at the same time, it’s hard not to be a tourist, because, in most respects, that’s what you are. You have to deliberately resist temptations and sometimes go out of your way to experience international cultures authentically.
Strategies for an Authentic Experience
Use these tips to experience cultures more authentically:
- First, don’t drive everywhere. Don’t take public transportation. Don’t even bike. If you want to make the most of your experience, you have to walk. Walking forces you to slow down and appreciate every inch of the city. You’ll notice more buildings, discover more nooks and crannies, and ultimately meet more people. Even better, you’ll enjoy your time more because you won’t be rushing to cram everything into a packed schedule. Most major cities offer free walking tours, which you can use as a jumping-off point. From there, we recommend you wander around as much as possible; some of the most authentic and surprising experiences will be ones you stumble across unintentionally.
- Don’t make detailed plans. For those same reasons, it’s a good idea to avoid making too many plans. The temptation here is to pack as many items into the limited time of your vacation as possible—after all, you have a finite amount of time, and you may never come back here. However, if you do this, you’ll end up short-changing yourself on destinations you find truly worth visiting, and you’ll stress yourself out to complete the plan, rather than absorbing the culture around you. Feel free to chart out some “must-sees,” but leave wiggle room for things you discover at the moment.
- Talk to natives. One of the simplest and best ways to experience a new culture is to talk to the people who live and breathe that culture every day. Even if you don’t know the language very well, there are other ways to communicate. It won’t take long before you’re able to start seeing the world through their eyes—as long as you’re truly listening. Locals will be able to recommend the best places to eat and visit, and they’ll share tips about how to travel, and about the “hidden gems” that you won’t find with a simple Google search. Talk to strangers—it’s worth it.
- Don’t spend too much time on the big draws. There is always a handful of major attractions in a given city, such as a museum or a historic landmark. Visiting these places can be rewarding, but don’t spend too much time on them. They’re usually geared toward tourists whose only purpose is crossing this item off their lists, so they aren’t valuable opportunities for seeing what a culture is really like.
- Take fewer pictures. It’s tempting to take as many pictures as possible. After all, you may never come back to this location, and you want to be sure you remember it, right? This logic is flawed in a couple of ways, with the most notable being that taking too many pictures can actually impair your memory of the event or location you’re taking pictures of. It also serves as a distraction; are you living in the moment, or trying to come up with the best way to remember this experience in the future? Try to focus on the present as much as possible; you’ll thank yourself later.
- Learn to live like others do. Finally, try to live the way everyone else in the area does. Do they wake up earlier or eat meals at different times? Do they seem to walk slower than usual, or have different customs for daily rituals? Learn by watching those around you, and mimic what they do. If you can – live with someone from the area so you can be even more immersed.
What to Take Away
So why does it matter? Experiencing a culture gives you new perspectives on everything from food and social discourse to fundamental philosophies on life. You may find that people in other countries live life slower and more relaxed (like in Southern Europe), or aren’t as concerned about personal space (like in Egypt), or have different priorities than most people you know in the United States.
Understanding these differences firsthand—rather than just reading about them or passing by them—will help you empathize with others, and may even change how you see the world. That takeaway is far more important for your college career, and for the rest of your life than simply visiting the top tourist traps in the area.
Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn`t stop after years in school and university.
By Branda Winters
The GMAT Exam (Graduate Management Admission Test) is taken mainly by bachelor degree-holders and undergraduate students who are close to graduation. It has three different sections: a quantitative section, a verbal section and an analytical writing assessment. The test aims to assess the abilities that people have in analyzing and solving problems, evaluating data and having logical and critical reasoning.
The GMAT is accepted and required in more than 2100 universities (located in 112 countries) and is used to as one of the metrics in evaluating whether a student should be accepted into a graduate program, usually an MBA program. The exam is the first choice of MBA aspirants, it has a validity of 5 years and it can be taken 5 times a year if you want to study or practice and get a better score.
So, how can you prepare for this exam? Whether you already took it or you are going to do it for the first time, there are some strategies that you can choose to improve your evaluation and increase your chances of being admitted into a graduate school.
- Obtain a Business and/or Management Certification. By doing one of these programs or courses, you’ll start to familiarize yourself more with business terminology and get yourself in the mindset of the GMAT exam. This is going to give you a big advantage, not only in the exam but also in the Business or Management Program that you’ll start studying if you’re looking to do an MBA.
- It sounds too “cliché”, but practice is going to give you a lot of improvement. Spend some time focused on just doing GMAT practice exams, and try to imitate the setting by using a chair and a table in a quiet place. Time the test so that it will be exactly the same as when you take it. Every practice is going to show you where you need to improve. Take extra time to practice these topics, but don’t stop practicing the entire test: we don’t want you to forget about the sections where you are excellent!
- Practice some reading comprehension. The exam is going to test your level of reading comprehension, so practice by reading and extracting main ideas and details. It is going to help you to have a summary of the readings to look for the right answers to comprehension questions.
You can also practice by looking for hidden information in some readings, as the test hides information a lot of times in the “Data sufficiency” section. Sometimes you’ll feel that you need more than one statement to answer a question, but if you read really carefully, you’ll realize you’ll have the answer in only one statement.
Practicing reading comprehension is also going to help you to resolve the “problem solving” section. One advice: check the answer choices before solving the problems. Sometimes you can find interesting facts in there that can help you to finish faster.
Another strategy is to read the newspaper on a daily basis and really try to think about the content that you are reading. Analyze it as if it was a reading comprehension text on an exam. This will get you more and more comfortable with the reading comprehension section.
- Practice some critical reasoning. Don’t focus too much on what you know about a topic. You need to evaluate if the conclusion of an argument seems to be true or not, before choosing an answer to the questions in this section. It will be good to study the types of misleading notions that the exam tends to insert. It will also be good to learn to recognize the key elements of an argument: evidence, conclusion and assumptions. This will help you to identify if a conclusion strengthens the argument or not.
- Practice some analytical writing. Remember you’ll have to work with the time limits, and you can’t forget that. Follow the process: brainstorm, outline, write and revise. Be clear, simple and specific when writing your points of view.
- Study some grammar for the “sentence correction” section. Sometimes it is more difficult for native speakers to identify mistakes in the sentences as they don’t study grammar rules as much as English learners do. A good way to improve your grammar skills is to get a TESOL / TEFL certification and spend some time teaching ESL learners. When you teach grammar, you will be forced to really understand nuances that you might not have realized before. If you practice sentence correction exercises without studying grammar rules, you won’t get to the real reason for the mistakes. But if you teach sentence structure and correction, you will learn about your students’ mistakes and your own.
Bio: Branda Winters is an MBA student at the University of Houston and a passionate writer. She enjoys helping her fellow friends on the hard path of getting admitted to an MBA program.
BY NEIGHAN WHITE
It is finally here. Your freshman year of college. You are in store for the best year of your academic life!
It is a whole new world for you. Independence from your parents, new friends and experiences. You are finally the only one you have to look to for your decisions. You are the only one responsible for you.
That may sound a little scary as well as exhilarating. Your feelings about this step are probably all over the place. But the one thing that is sure, you will come out of this with life lessons that are priceless.
- Let it flow
There are going to be freshman parties galore, and you have to put on some tough skin to go with the flow. Be careful who you choose as your friends, everyone is not a friend.
Nobody cares about what happened the day before in college. Your peers care that finally they are on their own and can do what they want, within reason.
Those keg parties are going to happen and if you are not a drinker, it’s okay to get yourself a red cup and put some water in it. Who knew? Young ladies, and some young males need to watch their cup.
You don’t want to be a victim of roofies (it is slang for a drug that knocks you out) the brand name is Rohypnol and it is used by frats to render their victims helpless to rape them.
- You own chores
You are about to learn how to do your own laundry, and if you don’t want crappy dorm food all of the time, you are going to have to cook. This is a time to reflect on just how much your mom and dad did for you. Call them, tell them how much you miss them, they will be floored by your consideration. But hey, you are growing up.
The best thing about your laundry is that if you don’t want to wash your jeans, you will not come back to the dorm and find that your mom has washed them and have them smelling like flowers.
- Be true to yourself
There is nothing like a fake person trying to be something they are not. You can see straight through them. College is not the place to act like you are in high school, it is time to find out who you are and what your belief system consists of.
This time of your life is about you. Focus on finding your voice in everything. Debate everything. Disagree with folks that you would normally not disagree with, like the cute girl or the buff guy.
Get in their asses about what you think is right or wrong. If they start acting like bullies, ask them, “What? You think this is high school?” It is the one question that halts a college bully in their tracks.
They know themselves that this is a growing period and they don’t want to seem like little kids. Although, some college students take longer to get to this point than others.
- Respect your RA
If you are like most freshmen, you live in a dorm. At first this may seem like a dream come true. Here you have this big building housing up to 300-400 students at a time that are milling around the halls looking for the next party. After a few hangovers this will get old.
There on the property is your residential advisor. This is the person that polices the building to make sure you are all safe, and acting within normal limits of college students.
She/or he may let some parties develop and give you space to have fun. But when they show up and say it is over. It is over. You could lose your place in the dorm if your disrespect the one person that has your wellbeing in mind.
They may be the one that saves your butt when you are late with a paper or need an aspirin or some good advice.
- College Parties and Late Papers
There is no denying it, you will be partying a few times in your freshman year, and with that comes late work. If you find yourself in this dilemma, it is okay to get help from other college students (preferably the elder ones) to help you get your work done. Don’t make it a habit, but it is good to know they can help you.
This is only a few of the fun times that you can look forward to in your freshman year, and if you are just finishing up and going into your sophomore year, take the lessons learned with you and share them with your incoming freshies.
About the author:
Neighthan White is a writer and an undergraduate specialist in education sciences. In his late twenties, he is a regular member of Montessori techniques for children under 10 seminars, a blog editor at Mastergrades.com, a volunteer at Education without Borders and LDS, a startup inventor, a language learner, a writer and a happy husband.
By Danika McClure
For many students who are just out of high school, college is a time where they can experience the freedoms that young adulthood has to offer, while also making new friends, taking challenging courses, and exploring their future career options.
However, the college experience is rapidly starting to look quite different. A growing number of students are older, returning to school part time, and their rate of enrollment is growing even faster than students of traditional college age.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students aged 25 and older accounted for roughly 40 percent of all college and graduate students in the year 2009. By the year 2020, that number is expected to rise by at least three percent with over 9.6 million non-traditional students heading to college.
Additionally, students over the age of 35, who accounted for 17 percent of all college and graduate students in 2009, are expected to comprise 19 percent of the graduation total by the year 2020.
Why the sudden spike in college enrollment?
The reasons are numerous, but many older students have realized that in order to progress in their careers, they need to sharpen their current skill sets to better meet the needs of an increasingly technology oriented workspace. In some cases, older students are gaining expertise in order to launch a second career, to take their new career in a slightly different direction, or to gain the skillsets to turn their hobbies into a sustainable business.
Regardless of their reasons for returning to school, however, older students face different challenges when it comes to affording a college education.
Many younger students have the benefit of financial savings and support from their parents, as well as access to scholarships, grants, and the FAFSA. In most cases, younger students haven’t invested years or decades into their career.
For older adults, however, there are a number of financial factors to consider before going back to school.
“If you are talking about changing careers and going back to school to change careers, you have to run the numbers on it and determine the break-even point–how many years would it take you to get ahead compared to if you stay in your career,” investment director Joe Jennings tells CNBC.
For those who are considering leaving the workplace altogether, that calculation is especially important, as they will have to consider the income they will forego in addition to the cost of tuition.
For those who are continuing in their current career trajectory, hoping to building on their skills in order to advance their earning potential, there are a number of financial options available. Many employers are willing to sponsor your educational journey if you take certain classes to build your skillsets.
Older students can also look into scholarships that are not based on financial need or written specifically for students of a particular age. The FAFSA is also an option available for students of any age. Similarly, tax credits such as the Lifetime Learning Credit are available for students who meet certain income criteria.
Regardless of how older adults choose to pay for college, the benefits of returning to school are significant. Higher education can be a way to rejuvenate a stagnant career, or even a way for older adults to make a drastic life change–perhaps in a more fulfilling direction.
Though older generations are beginning to re-enroll in college in drastic numbers, many worry about the transition of returning to school in an environment that is primarily marketed and geared towards young people. But older students who have returned to school have spoken out, offering advice for those returning to college.
“I was anxious about going to school with kids one-quarter to one-half my age,” writes Sarah Kelly, a 50-year-old woman who returned to college at age 47. However, she later realized her fears were unfounded. “I worried for nothing. The kids were gracious and respectful. A lot of them called me mom. I was their surrogate mom away from home. I was flattered when they asked me for advice. I was gratified that they accepted me into their lives.”
Kelly’s experience is not unlike many other older students who have returned to school.
“While I did find myself in the minority, I did not find myself alone,” Eric Simpson writes for The Huffington Post. “While the weight of the student body population are much younger than me, nobody really seems to care.”
Simpson also goes on to say that he was much more prepared to receive a quality college education than he was when he first chose to go to college right out of high school.
“This time around I feel oddly more receptive to the whole process, more aware of what I am learning and why. I am surprised at how exciting and stimulating an education can be. But I’m also far more directed in my purpose. I have become what my peers in high school used to disdainfully call ‘a straight arrow’.”
Non-traditional enrollment has become one of the foremost trends on today’s college campuses. Older students are returning to school in order to revive a stagnant career, to gain new skills, or to transition into other fields entirely. For these students, higher education has become a pathway to a meaningful career opportunities, new experiences, and lifelong learning.
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
BY DAVID GUTIERREZ
Unemployment rates seem to be going down bit by bit, but all young professionals seeking jobs today quickly find out that having a degree is a significant advantage. Surveys indicate that having at least some level of college indication increases your chances of employment. Therefore, succeeding in class is imperative for your future, and efficient note taking can help you achieve this goal.
Why Note Taking Matters
The world today is overflowing with information, which makes it hard to keep track of the most relevant facts. In essence, note taking is the process of organizing the flow of information and condensing it in a way that makes it comprehensible.
If developed and utilized properly, this skill can help you:
- Organize information presented in class to improve memorization.
- Understand the topic better.
- Develop stronger arguments.
- Advance in essay writing.
- Revise material more easily.
The most important advantage of taking notes for a student is that writing something down makes it easier to remember. This fact is the reason why despite the ease of using gadgets to record lectures, written notes remain one of the best learning instruments. Therefore, finding deals on school supplies is as important for a college student as searching for useful mobile apps that will help collate and revise notes.
Tips for Identifying Relevant Information
The most common mistake that people make when taking notes is trying to write down every single word. This approach takes too much time and concentration and prevents you from focusing on the lecture. As a result, you can miss out important material.
To become a master of excellent note taking you need to understand what kind of information you need to write down. Good lecturers make this task easier by providing important cues that signify the relevance of the data.
Things to look for during note taking are:
- Emphasis (both by tone of voice and word signals, e.g. ‘pay attention to’, ‘take note of’)
- Summaries and descriptions of objects/topics (usually presented at the beginning and end of class)
- Visual cues (PowerPoint slides or notes on the blackboard)
How to Take Notes: 3 Simple Techniques
As every person is unique, it’s natural to develop an individual method for note taking. In fact, it’s strongly recommended to create your own system of abbreviations and signs. However, you can also learn several tricks from the recognized note taking techniques and adapt them for yourself.
This system requires you to write down the lecture word for word, or as close as you can and analyze it after class to ‘seed out’ most relevant information. To work with notes based on the Cornell system, split the pages of your notebook in two parts (2.5” and 6”). Then, follow the 5-R process:
- Record the lecture in the wider part of the sheet.
- Reduce the ideas (1 summary sentence for every paragraph).
- Recite the information.
- Reflect on your understanding of the information and correct the notes whenever necessary.
- Review your notes several times.
This technique will work for those who have an inclination for memorizing visual schemes better than large portions of text. Start with writing down the main idea of the lecture in the middle of the page.
Then, circle it and write down the next idea near it. Connect them in a way that will allow you to understand the relationship between the two. Repeat it with every new fact.
This technique will provide you a graphical representation of the lecture, a unique image that would be easy for you to understand.
Question and Prompt System
This type of note taking requires you to write down the questions based on the information you hear and add a few prompts that will remind you of the correct answers. It’s similar to writing an outline for an essay and can be utilized when you are working with reading materials for a paper.
Improve Your Studies by Taking Notes Effectively
Every student should know how to take notes in an efficient manner as this makes studying, in general, a much easier task. It will help you make sense of the lectures and understand the topic better. Reviewing notes also helps you prepare for exams as this saves you from re-reading huge and complicated academic texts.
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.
By Amira Smith
In the job market of the 21st century, there’s no road map to guarantee success. The faceless nature of the recruitment system means that graduates are required to use all of their skills and cunning to build out their own route.
The hardest part of all of this is undoubtedly getting the ball rolling after graduation. It’s easy to become bogged down in self-pity and despair, but if you’re willing to make one or two small alterations to your routine, you might find the right opportunity is waiting for right around the corner.
In the face of some serious competition, turning ourselves into a self-sufficient digital PR agency is a must. With a little organization and by following the three steps below, it won’t be long before your career hits the freeway.
Find a Part-Time Job
It’s natural after four years of studying a certain subject to want to find a job that relates to it in some way – after all, it’s why we spend thousands of dollars on tuition fees in the first place, right?
In a competitive job market, however, opportunities can sometimes be few and far between, leaving us stuck in a state of limbo that can actually damage our chances of finding full-time employment.
Times like these require us to put ourselves in an employer’s shoes. Between two college graduates with similar qualifications, would you rather employ someone that has shown that they’re used to the grind of nine to five, or someone that has sat at home waiting for an opportunity to fall into their lap?
From a personal point of view, it makes sense to earn some extra pocket money that will help us get used to the realities of working life. Living in the real world costs money and the sooner we get used to that after the college, the better.
Think About Your Brand
The notion of thinking about ourselves as a brand is an alien concept to a lot of us, but thanks to the invention of social media, the way that we present ourselves online can have both a positive and negative impact on us finding employment.
All that means is that it’s time to hide certain photos, delete any inappropriate content, and to make sure there’s some correlation to your online presence across different platforms.
Of course, the industry that you go into can have a big impact on the importance of all this, but a profile picture of you sitting in a shopping trolley will set the alarm bells ringing for any recruiter.
Use the Phone
If there’s one thing Millennials and Generation Z hate to do, it’s to speak to people directly. Growing up in a world of emojis and emails means we’re often much more comfortable making first contact with an employer over the web.
As you imagine, if everyone has this approach, it’s always going to be hard to stand out. That’s why sometimes it’s best to take a leaf out of Marty McFly’s book and to step back into the future. The good old fashioned telephone can help you get in contact directly with an employer, giving you the platform to sell yourself directly.
Bio: Amira Smith is a photographer and recent college graduate, who still cherishes her life in the college. She writes short novels and devotes her time to helping animal shelter in her hometown.
7 Useful iPhone apps for foreign students
Being a student is hard, everybody knows it, but being a student in a foreign country is extra hard. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make it easier for yourself including letting the technology to help you out. There are loads of apps that can make your stay in a foreign country a lot more comfortable.
- Chored – If your University days are anything like mine, you will end up living with a load of people who have never had to wash a plate up in their lives. This can cause animosity that doesn’t need to happen. With this app chores and bills can be split between housemates to make sure everything is fair and equal.
- Trello – You have enough to think about navigating a new country without having to stress out about organising your coursework and everyday tasks. Trello helps you create to do lists, forward plan and goal set so that nothing slips your mind.
- RefMe – Referencing can be a nightmare, especially when you change educational establishments. Different establishments and countries accept a different system of referencing and you will be marked down if you get it wrong. With this app you can just scan the barcode of the book you want to reference, tell it what system and it will churn out the reference for you.
For further referencing guidelines try this.
- MealBoard – Eating well is so important, especially for students. This app will help you plan and stick to a healthy diet to fuel your body and mind, which will ultimately help with your studies. For extra meal ideas for students try BBC GoodFood.
- Spotify – If you need to study in the library but like to be in your own little bubble Spotify can help. For just £9.99 a month you can stream unlimited amounts of music to your phone. It also has loads of study friendly playlists ready to go so just stick your headphones in and block out the world.
- Sleep if you can – This is great for those people who struggle to get up in the morning, which is basically every student that ever lived. Instead of setting an alarm and having it let you snooze over and over again until you have missed a whole morning of lectures, this app doesn’t let you switch the alarm off until you have completed a task. Usually it is to get up and take a photo of something. The reason it works is that most people once they have gotten up and done something are less likely to climb back into bed. It is the initial getting out of bed that’s the problem.
- Moovit – If you are studying abroad it is unlikely that you will be buying a car in your new country. That means you will be using public transport. Now public transport is great but we all know it that it can also be awful because of the traffic and accidents. Moovit helps you track public transport and plan the fastest route as well alerting you to any issues.
One thing that is important to remember if you are moving abroad for more than very short while is you phone carrier. It may not be the best option to stay with your current provider unless they over excellent roaming deals. If you do need to change provider but you have an iPhone you may need to get it unlocked with http://whytheluckystiff.net/iphone-8-unlock. This is because most networks lock their handset to their network.
Most importantly make sure you enjoy the experience, being in a foreign county might by daunting but it could also be the experience of a lifetime so embrace it.
Rachel is a mother of 2 beautiful boys. She loves to hike and write about travelling, education and business. She is a Content Manager at VPN Compass – a leading portal on VPN services and internet.
BY KATE LARSON
If you’re thinking about what your major should be in college or if you’re thinking about switching your majors, then this is the article for you. You may be struggling to figure out what kind of career you’re going to have that you will enjoy, but will also allow you to travel the world. You definitely shouldn’t have to choose between seeing the rest of the world and the career that you love. That’s why we’re going to go through some of the top college majors that allow you to travel the world down below. Good luck!
First up, we have a major that makes you think more of Indiana Jones that an actual career. However, archaeology is a fantastic career choice if you enjoy ancient cultures and seeing new places. Sure, you’re going to spend a lot of the time in the lab and in the office. But archaeologists also get the chance to travel to exotic places to uncover and study ancient cultures. It’s good for you to have both a Master’s & Ph.D. in archeology, in addition to field work experience, if you want to make it in this career field.
- International Business (Consultancy)
Consultancy is one of those career fields that’s just vague enough to cover all sorts of jobs. Companies are going to hire consultants in any number of fields to solve some specific problems clients are facing. Most of the time, you’ll be able to get into consultancy with a degree in International Business. The great part about this job is that if your company’s clients are around the world, you may eventually be able to travel to those places on the company’s dime.
As a photographer, especially for events like weddings, you are going to get the chance to travel all over. If you’re a destination wedding photographer, the couple will fly you out to wherever their wedding is to take photos. Or if you’re a landscape photographer, you can travel to some seriously awesome places. You could even combine this with a career in travel journalism if you also have a love for writing.
- English as a Second Language
Another great option for traveling the world is teaching English as a second language (ESL). ESL teachers are in high demand throughout the world, so a major in this is going to give you some awesome opportunities to travel abroad and teach English. Many students will take teaching internships during university and afterwards in places like China, Colombia, and Mexico.
- International Relations (Foreign Service Worker)
If you really want to travel around, then a degree in International Relations or International Politics is great for you. With that kind of major, you can work for the State Department as a Foreign Service Worker. There are plenty of career choices with this department and depending on your embassy of choice, you could spend some time in some really cool locations.
All of these majors are great for those of you who want to combine your career with your love of travel. Which are you going to choose?
Bio: Kate Larson is a college student and aspiring blogger, who takes care about the
environment and personal well-being. She enjoys travelling and reading, as well as writing
BY KEVIN FABER
How College Student Entrepreneurs Can Improve Their Small Business Marketing Efforts
College is understandably a time when finances are tight. Your personal budget may be heavily focused on paying tuition, buying books and living on a meager income while you attend classes on a part-time or full-time schedule. If you have decided to start your own business while in college, you may have great plans to enjoy significant profits from your venture. Marketing is one of the most important factors that can ultimately determine your level of profitability and success. However, marketing can be expensive, and you may be wondering what you can do to improve your small business marketing efforts. With a closer look, you will see that there are cost-effective solutions available to help your business grow.
Develop Your Marketing Budget
A first step to take when exploring small business marketing on a dime is to establish your budget. Depending on the size of your venture and the ability for you to raise capital, you may be working with as little as a few hundred dollars. While this can seem nominal and even impossible to work with, Internet marketing can effectively be used to help you generate the results you desire with minimal capital.
Build an Email Distribution List
One of the best forms of email marketing to consider when funds are limited is an email marketing campaign. It costs little to no money to send out an email to your target audience, but the results can be substantial. As a first step, however, you must find an effective way to obtain an email distribution list. Some will purchase a list, and this option may be available to you depending on who your target audience is. However, buying a list can cost money, and spamming people who did not opt-in to your emails is bad practice that can ultimately hurt your business. It is best to build an email distribution list over time. Capture contact information at the point of sale by asking customers if they want to opt in to receive newsletters and promotional offers from you. You can also capture additional leads by creating an opt-in feature on your home page.
Set Up a Drip Marketing Campaign
Now that you have developed an effective way to capture leads and to grow your email distribution list over time, you may want to take a closer look at drip marketing campaigns. This type of marketing is appropriately named because the email messages can be scheduled to go out to your leads at regular intervals or when your customers take specific steps. You can create a series of email messages up-front, and you can review drip campaign examples to give you some wonderful ideas that can spark your creativity. You can also use an automated software program to help you to manage distribution of your emails. For example, you can send out a specific automated message to new subscribers after that subscribe to your email distribution list or if they have put items in a shopping cart but never finalized their order. You can also send out regular marketing messages to all members of your distribution list each week or two.
Analyze and Refine Your Results
As with any other type of marketing, it is important that you analyze your results periodically, and analysis may help you to refine your drip marketing efforts. For example, if you notice that your email sent after a customer places items in a shopping cart but fails to make a purchase is not effective, you may need to adjust the wording of that message or even alter the meaning of your content to generate better results.
As a college student, funds are limited, and so is time. With a drip email marketing campaign, you can easily invest some time and effort in your campaign during summer, winter or spring break. Then, you can enjoy the cost-effective results for months to come.
Kevin Faber has experience starting his own business from the ground up and he is passionate about helping others achieve their goals. His background is in finance/investing.
BY JANE HURST
Just because you are still in school and not ready to take on that full-time career yet, it doesn’t mean that you can’t start networking now. In fact, now is the best time to start meeting people in your chosen field. Getting to know the right people now is going to go a long way in helping you find employment in your field after you graduate. But, there is a lot more to networking than just meeting new people.
- Request an Informational Interview – Is there a particular professor, employer, etc. who you really admire, and whose brain you would love to pick for a little while? If so, ask them if you can meet with them for an informational interview. This can be in person, via email, or on the telephone. Find out as much as you can about what it is that they do, and what it took for them to get where they are now.
- Get to Know the Faculty – Don’t just reach out to your professors. Get to know other faculty and staff members as well. For instance, if there is a professor or other staff member in your department that you think could help you with career advice, getting an internship, etc., send them an email and ask if you can meet with them to take about your career goals.
- Go to Networking Events – If there are any networking events at your school, go to them whenever possible. But, don’t just go to them as a casual observer. Dress for success. Bring along your resumes while you’re at it. There are a lot of people who attend these functions, and you just might end up meeting the one person who can help you with your career after graduation.
- Do an Internship – There are so many reasons to do internships. For starters, you get a lot of valuable on the job experience. Even if you don’t end up with a job at the end of the internship, you will likely have gained experience, and made a lot of connections that can lead to other career opportunities. Don’t turn down unpaid internships that you might find through career matchmaking services.
- Talk to Your Parents’ Friends – Your parents have lots of friends who are all in different lines of work. Not only are these people valuable sources of information about their various careers, they are also great contacts to have. How many times have you heard about someone getting a job because the boss was a friend to their parents? It could be you one of these days.
- Take Part in Class – While this may seem like a no-brainer, you may not realize just how important this really is. Taking part in class not only helps you learn, it also gets you noticed by your professors. Make sure that you get to know them, and even ask to attend office hour sessions. Your professors have the connections that could help you to land that dream career one day.
- Take Advantage of Being a Student – When you want to talk to people in your area of interest, make sure that you tell them you are a student, and that you are just looking for advice. Once they know that you aren’t going to be trying to get an interview for a job before you even graduate, they will be more willing to help you. Depending on who you speak with, you could even wind up with a great mentor.
- Use LinkedIn – Making connections isn’t enough. You need to be able to stay connected with these people, so they don’t forget you. A great way to do this is by using LinkedIn. Just make sure that you update your profile regularly. Otherwise, you are going to grow boring, and they may forget about you all together.
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.