Posts published in October, 2018

7 Tips for Saving Money While Attending College


It feels like everything costs a ton of money. Students notoriously don’t have a ton of money to spend. Getting an education is both expensive and time consuming, leaving little free time to work a well paying job and keeping costs high in every other area of life. The sharing economy is a saving grace for many students who need to have their needs met in an unconventional way.

  1. Make Money Driving

If you have a car, you can use that car to make money. Join an app based ride sharing service, or sign up to deliveries (like for food) if you’d rather not lug passengers around. You can turn your availability on when you have time, and turn it off when you don’t. It’s a manageable side hustle, especially when you live near a university and many students don’t have the time to stop for food or the means to own a car.

  1. Rent Cars for Cheap

Apps like Maven and Turo allow people who don’t have cars but don’t want to utilize cab style ride sharing services to eliminate the middle men and directly rent cars from members of their community. You pay a fee and take the car. It’s relatively inexpensive for anyone over the age of 25, where younger students may have to pay a tad bit more. These apps make it easier to rent a car you can use to drive home and stay with your family for the weekend.

  1. Monetize Your Parking Spot

If you have more parking spots than you need, someone else might want to make use of the spare. If you live in or near a big city or a short ride from an airport, people will be willing to lease your parking spot from you. Try listing it on a community sharing site like Parkhound. This is an easy way to make money – all you have to do is lend out a slab of concrete you don’t have much use for.

  1. Get Free Textbooks

Textbooks are a huge expensive for so many students. A lot of the time, they’re almost as much as a months’ rent and you’ll only need to use them two or three times. Open Textbook Library utilizes the power of the sharing economy to provide digital access to current textbooks that contain the information students need to study and pass their classes. Even if you don’t use the sharing economy for anything else, Open Textbook Library is a lifesaver.

  1. Get Your Furniture for Cheap

Furnishing a dorm room or an apartment can be expensive – especially if you opt for all new furniture. Even lesser quality furniture from big box stores is still more expensive than buying secondhand high quality furniture. Check online community marketplaces for free or cheap furniture. You might even find someone who wants to trade – maybe they’re going from one mattress size to another and you can swap bedframes.

  1. Exchange Tutoring

There is something of a natural sharing economy that takes place inside most educational institutions. Sometimes, students publicly express it. Other times, it happens through circumstance. You’re really great at math and terrible with literature. Someone else is a literary genius with some serious math comprehension problems. Sit down and teach each other. It’s a one for one exchange where everyone gets the help they need.

  1. Dog Walking Apps

Dog walking apps are sharing economy based, and they make student’s lives better in an unpredictable way. By singing up as a dog walker, you’re getting three benefits. You’re making money, you’re getting exercise, and you’re interacting with dogs. Most students can’t keep dogs, so they miss out on the benefits of owning one. Studies show that dogs reduce stress in college students. You win from every angle when you join the sharing economy as a dogwalker.

The sharing economy is here to stay, and it helps young people earn or save money in countless ways. Even with the schedule of a busy student, there’s always a way to make the most of what the sharing economy has to offer.

Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource with information about businesses in the UK. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.



6 Ways to Hone Your Writing Skills While Still in College



According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, good writing skills are of paramount importance.  The survey results indicate that 80 percent of employers listed good literary capabilities as one of the most important candidate attributes. This means that simply having a College degree won’t get a job applicant any closer to landing a job without strong writing capabilities. Therefore, students should place an additional effort in mastering the art of crafting compelling textual content. For all of those that need some extra help in developing their writing skills, here are 6 easy ways to sharpen up your pen.

Readers make good writers

Spend a lot of time reading various types of content like poems, news, blogs, novels, etc. Not only will reading extend your vocabulary and give you the chance to improve your spelling, it can also help you develop your own style. Furthermore, reading different types of content reveals techniques regarding sentence structure, tone, and wording. You will be able to separate informative writing style from entertaining or promotional materials, which will allow you to use that insight for your own written assignments.

Follow the protocol

Writing is a process and as such it is best managed when separated into different stages. The first stage is Prewriting and it includes gathering research material, creating an outline, and arranging the content before you start writing. The second stage involves writing down your thoughts, modifying the text, and writing it all again and again until you are satisfied. The second stage repeats several times and each time you finish writing, Revision, the third stage kicks in to let you know if you should move on or start drafting again. The final stage is editing, and this is where you fix all the spelling issues, grammar, wording, etc.

Know when to stop

Sometimes it’s difficult to start writing or move on to the next topic that your writing assignment should cover. Writer’s block happens even to the most prominent of writers and it’s nothing to be afraid of. The experts from EssayOnTime recommend that in such cases you should take a pause, go out and spends some time just clearing your thoughts before you head back to work.

Lose distractions

Some people can’t work unless they eliminate all the distractions that keep them away from focusing. Find a place where you’ll be on your own without a smartphone or anything else to turn you away from your task. When you’re alone with your work it will be easier to concentrate and create a valuable textual content.

Use writing tools

There are dozens of useful online and offline tools that you could use in order to improve your writing skills. Proofreading tools like Hemingwayapp or Grammarly will help you fix any writing mistakes and allow you to improve the readability of your content. In time you will learn to fix those mistakes yourself.

Audience feedback

Have some friends or siblings read your work and provide some constructive feedback. It will help you see those issues that perhaps you weren’t able to see by yourself. Moreover, they could create a spark that would fire up your inspiration further.


It takes a lot of time and effort to master any skill, the same goes with writing. The important part is to keep improving your abilities no matter the pace of your progress. Writing is an essential part of everyday life which nobody should neglect.

Serena Dorf is an enthusiastic content writer in Los Angeles. She is thirsty for knowledge and is always on the lookout for amazing writing tips to share with her readers. In her free time, she is reading classic American literature and learning Swedish. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter.


Future Employers Want more Than Good Grades


There’s no denying the importance of receiving good grades in school. Prior to graduation, most students worry what their future employers will think about their grades. However, once they’ve found a stable job, many students are surprised to learn that their employers don’t care what grades they received in school.

The Truth About Employers and Grades

The understanding that the best jobs go to students with the highest grades begins in undergraduate and graduate school. Many students feel that if they haven’t achieved a higher than average GPA, they’ll be stuck with a less than average career. However, the truth is a little more multifaceted than that. Read on to understand the connection between good grades and getting a great job.


  1. Employers Look for Good Grades and Sharp Skills

Yes, it’s a good idea to shoot for the best grades possible, but it’s also important to note the immediate distinction between a degreed applicant and someone without a degree. The grades you receive determine your class standing and overall academic performance, but in most cases, having a degree is enough for employers. The degree is what sets you apart and what many employers use as the standard for their new hires. Your degree will be able to prove to employees that you spent your time learning what you needed to know in order to effectively do your job.

Moreover, your degree speaks to the experience you gained in school, ensuring that you have honed your time management practices, analytical skills, and communication skills. If you find that you are lacking in one or more of these skills, now is your chance to supplement your degree with essential negotiation training. Many schools and community centers offer certifications in these important life skills and are an excellent opportunity for you to bolster your resume.


  1. Companies Want Their New Hires to be Well-Rounded

The workplace and school are very different environments. While you may have gone above and beyond in school, you’ll soon find that what your employers expect of you is much different than what your former professors expected. It’s true that higher grades point to a students proficiency at taking tests, studying, and completing school-related projects, but this doesn’t hold the same relevance in the working world.

Yes, employers may initially use grades to filter out the right applicants, but it isn’t the only way employers choose their new hires. Many employers realize that the most viable candidate isn’t always someone whose only strength is in achieving high grades. So while it is important to continue to strive for better grades, you should make it a point to take every opportunity to become a more well-rounded individual. Try volunteering your time, traveling, and learning new skills to ensure you are more than a one-dimensional applicant to employers.


  1. Employers Want Applicants with Work Experience

In addition to focusing on growing your skillset and partaking in extracurricular activities, now is the opportune time to gain real-life experience. Search for internships and work-study programs that you can easily fit into your schedule. Graduates that have on-the-job experience to bolster their resume are more likely to get the jobs they want, without necessarily having to have top-tier grades.

Ideally, you’ll be able to find an internship that is within your major. By putting the lessons you’re learning in the classroom to use in the real world, you’ll quickly get a taste of what life will be like after you graduate. Moreover, working as an intern allows you to network and build connections that you can later use to help find a job after graduation. For many graduates, their college internships do turn into their next career opportunity.

Ultimately, students need to focus on both their grades and their goals for the future. While it’s true that a bad grade here or there won’t prevent you from getting your dream job, it is equally as important for you to stay focused and dedicated to developing into a well-rounded student and future employee. Keep these three things in mind as you continue to work hard in school.

Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She has a passion for advanced learning, reading, and health and fitness. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on education, learning, health, fitness and yoga. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones around or can be found at the local climbing gym or doing yoga.


5 Best Ways to Learn Java for Students


“Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.” When Steve Jobs said it years ago, he proved to be a true visionary once again.

Well, it’s hard to argue with that! Programming is thriving these days more than ever, and the trend is only expected to grow. According to in the US, there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer sciences over the next 10 years. Programming skills will soon become a standard requirement for a higher level professional in any industry, just as the PC user skills are nowadays.

So even if you are not an IT student, but rather a future scientist, sales manager or marketing strategist, getting comfortable with coding is just a great idea.

First, choose a language. Java is a good choice because it is the most popular and widely applicable one. If you are in doubt, please take a look at TIOBE or PYPL programming language ratings…or just ask one of your developer friends. Besides, Java is easy to learn.

The next question is what is the proper way to learn Java. All sorts of programming courses and universities, academies, tutorials and books are readily available both online and offline. How to pick those that work best for you? Programming is all about practice. Team up with a tutor willing to set practical tasks for you and provide feedback, and you are well on your way. Interactive online courses are a good alternative, and here is a list of our select few:


  • CodeGym is a Java Core course 80% based on practice. CodeGym is divided into 40 levels. Each level includes about 15-30 practical tasks, 10-20 Java lectures and some motivation articles to cheer students up.

This site is really useful for beginners and intermediate Java Students. You go through the course and collect the “dark matter”, by solving the exercises. You level up your character while boosting your Java skills.

CodeGym comes with an advanced code verification system. Think of it as a tutor who is there for you to check your exercises and offer recommendations if anything goes wrong. The validator is lightning fast: it only takes seconds to get your code checked.

The lectures are fun, sprinkled with humor and with amusing characters guiding you through the course. It is built around an interactive story of the GalaxyRush spaceship where a young robot Amigo (you) is learning how to code with the help from his teachers.


  • CodeCademy is an online interactive platform that offers coding classes in 12 different programming languages including Java. Their basic Java course fits absolute beginners and has many practical exercises with a high quality code validation.


On CodeCademy you’ve got short theory explanation and instructions on the left side of the page and a coding task on the right. Write the code, push “Run” and in a moment you will get the answer and comments about your solution.


CodeCademy has only one Java course for now. It is a good one if you want to try Java.



  • Coursera. The world’s largest educational online platform with hundreds of Java courses available. Worth checking: Java Programming: Solving Problems with Software and other courses by the Duke University for beginners and University of California courses for intermediate students. These will have you covered on the major intermediate topics in software development.


  • Udacity also provides a basics Java Programming course to learn Syntax and Functions. It’s free and aimed at absolute beginners in programming. Like CodeCademy, it covers the main Java concepts such as methods, conditions, and loops, plus an intro to the workings of IDE IntelliJ IDEA.


  • CodinGame. Working through the CodinGame problems is an enjoyable way to improve your programming skills. This site targets people who already know the basics of programming language (Java and 22 others) and also has hardcore challenges for expert developers.

CodinGame has the browser-based IDE that lets you code and compile in the same window and you can see the game changing in real time in your screen’s left corner. It is not a traditional practical online course. Even more: it is not an online course at all but challenge exercises tied to real games. After solving them you get visual feedback, a small change in this game.

Bio – John Selawsky, a senior Java developer and Java tutor at Learning Tree International programming courses. His idols are Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak. John believes that the future lies in the development of technologies that are changing the world.

How Modern Teaching Methods Are Benefit College Students?


Education plays an important role in the economy of any country across the globe. Not only does the country with an educated population increases the potential and productivity of a nation, but it also produces skilled labor that can effectively undertake difficult tasks with ease due to enhanced critical thinking and literacy. The World Bank considers education as the primary tool for future developments in various communities and social settlements across the world, and it has been dedicatedly working to improve education-related activities since 1998. This also entails various forms of learning funded by world governments and approved by the Educational Global Practice.  From 2011 to 2016 more than $10 million have been invested to improve educational facilities. In this post, we would like to share with you how modern-day teaching methods have improved over the years and their evident benefits for the college students who acquire them.

Augmented Learning

Perhaps is rightly the most popular and on-demand format of modern-day teaching methods that are increasingly gaining popularity among many educators and pupils across the planet. Augmented learning offers students a conducive and cohesive learning environment that adapts to their needs and requirements. The learning and teaching method emphasizes stimulation through experiences and discovery. Mostly all augmented learning practices utilize rich media and the aid of technological gadgets and tools such as games, graphics, images, puzzles, visual tools, etc. It is with the interaction of such factors in the learning environment which may also lead augmented learning to be labeled as interactive learning.

What are the benefits?

This type of learning offers various forms of engagement and interaction for the students that are tailor-made to suit their own particular set of requirements. As such interactive and augmented learning offers the following benefits:

  • Students are more motivated to attend their classroom sessions and are less bored.
  • Interactive classes can offer avid forms of engagement during the learning process with the help of augmented reality and virtual reality applications and tools.
  • Students are able to grasp even the most challenging concepts with ease and at a much swifter pace.
  • Learning can be catered towards specific child needs and thus it is highly customizable and can be personalized as well.
  • The learning method boosts the student’s creativity and curiosity factor making them more open towards acquiring knowledge and information that is shared with them.

Distance Learning

This has become a widely used mean to acquire learning for many students that are located in remote places and localities where it is extremely hard to travel for them to a local or nearby educational institution. In the UK alone, we find students nowadays acquiring distance education and learning through online correspondence courses that can entail various subjects and topics while some of them also offer specializations in particular fields of study and specific areas of interest. It is considered as one of the most popular forms of modern teaching methods where students can acquire online education and one of the most widely used platforms is known as MOOCs (massive open online courses). Majority of these learning methods are conducted using the World Wide Web or other types of network technologies and thus they are commonly referred to as distributed learning or e-learning.

What are the benefits?

As a new and reformed form of modern teaching method, distance learning can offer students the following benefits:

  • Students are empowered to set their studies and learning schedules to their own pace and understanding.
  • It removes geographical and traveling barriers, and no matter wherever you are situated, you can always continue your education with the help of the internet.
  • Students can acquire diversity in skills and courses offered as compared to full-time degrees.
  • It is also less costly and inexpensive when compared to full-time educational learning opportunities.
  • Students can acquire learning and education for postgraduate and professional level courses as well.
  • The quality of learning and education offered is quite high and the standards are well maintained.
  • Students are also allowed to engage with other students during online classroom sessions.
  • Students can plan their learning regimens along with their other daily chores and duties without any hassle due to the flexibility offered by distance learning.

Spaced Learning

This is a more advanced form of learning in which highly condensed and concentrated form of information and knowledge is shared with students in a particular format that was developed by Dr. Paul Kelley, a neuroscientist who was investigating at that time regarding the methods of long-term memory retention. The method of learning involves the teacher bombarding students with highly saturated content that is repeated at least three times with a 10-minute break in between where students are distracted by the use of a physical activity and involvement. This method has been effectively reviewed by many news reporting activists and major international journalism including The Economists, The Independent, and The Sunday Times with each reporting it as a successful method for empowering students to get prepared for their national exams in much less time without the use of any traditionally known teaching method.

What are the benefits?

While spaced learning may be misunderstood by some as being unstable for some unknown reasons, the majority of the intellectual community across the globe has termed it as a highly successful approach towards modern day teaching methods. It offers students the following benefits:

  • Enabling students to plan ahead of their schedule and meet deadlines
  • Allowing students to retrieve the information that they have learned during the day
  • Encouraging students to revise and revisit previously mastered concepts
  • Providing students with valuable relief time and mental relaxation
  • Empowering students to engage with difficult concepts and assimilate knowledge

We hope that this post was able to offer you some deeper understandings regarding how modern-day teaching methods are benefiting students and enhancing their learning curves. With the progress in technology and means of communication as we have observed over the past decade, we all are very excited regarding the future possibilities and prospects concerning the evolution of education as we speak.
Author Bio:

Garret Jacobs is an educationist who has offered her professional tutorship services for reputable universities across the UK. In his free time, he likes to write and offer coursework writing service and consultation for higher education students.


How to promote integrity and combat plagiarism in the college classroom

In this era of misinformation and untruths, plagiarism has become a significant problem, abetted by a surge in options for students to cut corners, including growing numbers of online essay-writing services (“paper mills” or “essay mills”) and increasing online content from which to cut and paste.
Picture of Lisa Boutin-Vitela
Lisa Boutin-Vitela

Whether they entirely cut-and-pasted from one source with no or few alternations, used a combination of short cut-and-pasted sections from multiple sources, or copied from a source and then modified by replacing words with synonyms, students are claiming someone else’s writing and ideas as their own and not providing attribution.

Recent data about plagiarism and paper mills is concerning. There are more than 1,000 paper mills in existence. Students can easily request ghostwriters or connect with paper mills.

The percentage of students who admit to cheating ranges between 50 percent and 90 percent (the percentage varies in different studies). A recent study of 24 leading UK universities documents a dramatic 30 percent increase in academic misconduct cases between 2014-15 and 2016-17.

Picture of Julie Trager
Julie Trager

So, what can college instructors do? In our own visual and cultural studies courses at Cerritos College, we have found that insisting on a culture of integrity in the classroom has helped to curtail incidents of plagiarism. Because we prioritize academic integrity in our classrooms, our students come to value honesty. Near semester’s end, few students dare to plagiarize. Throughout our courses, we encourage self-expression and students come to appreciate their voices being heard.

To achieve this, we have changed the design of our assignments to increase student confidence in their writing through practice and feedback. Instead of assigning one substantial research project, we divide it into smaller tasks over the course of the semester, enabling students to develop their own ideas through multiple low-stakes assignments. We build towards a final research paper through preliminary assignments, such as an annotated bibliography, outline and thesis statement, and rough draft so students receive feedback and refine their writing, research and citation skills.

We require students to submit each assignment through the plagiarism-detection software Turnitin. This software includes built-in grading features and automatic grammar, spelling and style-checking features, so students can receive feedback more quickly and we can streamline our grading processes.

With full-time California community college instructors teaching five classes each semester, the automatic checks provided by plagiarism-detection software help provide more feedback to students. Students become more informed and confident writers by reviewing their similarity score (their similarity to available online content), grammatical and spelling errors, as well as individualized feedback from the instructor.

We conduct in-class writing workshops, critiquing assignments and discussing as a class how to synthesize research into original analysis and how to give credit to research sources. These workshops are helpful in developing writing skills since the desire to plagiarize often comes out of insecurity and lack of writing skills. These workshops hold students accountable for the originality of their writing not only by us but also by their peers. This technique does not focus on penalizing but rather on instructing how to write responsibly and ethically.

Despite these efforts, a few students still submit written assignments created by copying portions of Wikipedia articles, blog posts and freely available online essays. Living in a culture that blurs fiction and truth, these students are often unaware of the illegality of their actions or do not feel shamed by cheating because of contemporary society’s lack of ethical standards. We work individually with these students.

First-time plagiarism usually results in zero points on the assignment and the opportunity to make up points through a rewrite. For repeat offenders, the plagiarism-detection software makes it easier to track and document their plagiarism. At Cerritos College, our options following an incident of plagiarism include: reprimand, a grade reduction, requiring that the work by redone, or referral to the Office of Judicial Affairs.

We emphasize the importance of original writing to help students develop confidence and personal integrity because these traits can help them no matter their academic or career goals. In a world where these traits seem to be in short supply, these lessons are more essential than ever.


Lisa Boutin-Vitela is assistant professor and Julie Trager is professor in the Art and Design department at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California. Trager and Boutin-Vitela are partners in starting the “Let’s Write and Turn It On” campus-wide initiative to emphasize the importance of integrity, writing and technology at Cerritos College.

How Should You Evaluate the Value of Online Courses?


Many colleges and universities now offer online courses, either as part of their normal curriculum, or as free classes available to the public. Sites like Coursera and edX bundle many of these classes together, making it easy to find information on almost any topic you can imagine.

But as a student, how can you tell which of these courses are worth taking, and which ones to avoid?

Strengths and Weaknesses of Online Courses

First, you should be aware of the inherent strengths and weaknesses of online courses in general:

  • Most students who gravitate toward online courses do so because of their convenience. Many don’t have set hours—instead you can watch lectures and do homework at your own pace, so long as you’re available to take exams.
  • Online courses are oftentimes (though not always) less expensive than in-person courses. This makes them a viable alternative for students trying to save money, or graduate with less debt.
  • Social opportunities. Unfortunately, online classes also have fewer opportunities for social interactions. That means you won’t have access to as many study groups, or the interactive discussions you might otherwise have in class.
  • Individual help. Online courses sometimes involve dozens, if not hundreds of people. That means your professor won’t have the time or inclination to give you one-on-one help. If you get stuck on a given subject, you might be on your own.

If you have the option to take an in-person course for the same time and monetary costs, it’s likely worth it. Otherwise, you’ll have to balance the time and cost savings with the necessary sacrifices associated with online classes.

Authority and Certification

Next, consider the authority and certification of the offering party of each online course. If you’re taking an online class through your main university, you shouldn’t have to worry about this. Otherwise, you’ll need to do some due diligence.

Start by investigating the university or organization offering the course. If you recognize the name, that’s a good sign. Otherwise, look for online reviews and how prestigious or accomplished the university is. It shouldn’t take long before you have a clear indication of the organization’s value.

Next, consider whether the online course is certified by a third-party organization. For example, Quality Matters (QM) certifies online courses for their course design, and since 2006 has certified more than 6,000 individual courses.

You may also want to evaluate the lecturer or professor associated with each course. A quick Google search should help you verify the authority’s credentials, and whether they’re truly an expert on the subject. You may also be able to find samples of their public speaking or educational abilities.

Cost and Value

Even if a course appears to be offered by a high authority and a prestigious organization, that doesn’t mean it’s worth the cost. Free courses are tempting, since you might think the cost is zero, but you also have to consider how many hours you’ll spend watching videos, taking quizzes, and studying. The total cost of an online course will be the total monetary price and the total number of hours you’re going to spend on it.

There are many factors to consider here. Having a degree, or a professional certification will, on average, net you a higher average salary over the course of your lifetime. If you aren’t getting a formal degree or certification, the ultimate value of the course may be lower. You may also consider practical skills you take away from the course—for example, if you become skilled in repairing bicycles, you may not only have more job opportunities at bike repair shops, but you’ll save money on your own bike maintenance in the future.

Syllabi, Coursework, and Opportunities

If you have access to the syllabus and coursework for the class before you sign up to take it, look it over. You’ll get a better sense for the time demands of the course, and what types of things you’ll learn along the way. Depending on the course, you may also be able to find specific opportunities that may be available to you after taking the course. For example, the course description may imply that you’ll be able to get an entry-level position in a specific field after taking it, or may direct you to more advanced learning opportunities when you’re finished. These possibilities should add to your evaluation of the course’s prospective return on investment (ROI).

You won’t always have the opportunity to delve into the details of an online course before you start taking it, but it’s crucial to take those critical steps when you’re able. Online classes aren’t always worth the cost or time to take them, but they can also be incredibly valuable opportunities to progress your education. Learn to tell the difference, and you’ll never walk away disappointed.

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.


Job Market For IT Students: Finding Web Design & Development Jobs


 It’s no surprise the website design and development are flourishing job markets currently. According to the United States Department of Labor, the field is growing by 15 percent each year since 2016 — which is faster than average.

And that makes sense, considering the increasingly stronger emphasis on online businesses. Global e-commerce sales are projected to reach $4.5 trillion by the year 2021. That’s more than a 246 percent increase.

What’s more, 71 percent of small businesses understand the importance of having a professional website. This proves the importance of a digital presence and demonstrates that the need for website designers and developers exists.

 Ultimately, website designers and web developers score great jobs — whether they are agency-related, in-house roles or freelance opportunities — because they continually hone their skills and learn the latest trends.

One of the best tricks an aspiring web designer can employ is practice, practice, practice. Whether they’ve been in the industry for 5 minutes or 25 years, top designers are always creating.

So, if you’re also hoping to break into this arena, take the time to build your portfolio — even if they’re just mock websites. Play with new techniques, create faux website redesigns, and ensure you are continually building upon your skills.

In addition to constant practice, the best designers and developers are always learning about the latest trends. There are tons of websites that compile the best website and app designs, complete with analyses of each element and case study-like insights into its effectiveness.

Plus, new trends, techniques, strategies, coding languages, and hosting platform are always emerging. The top experts learn these tactics before they are mainstream, and know how to incorporate them into their projects from the get-go.

Great web designers and developers also learn how every design element, strategy, layout and placement can influence conversions and website traffic — and by understanding this, they can better ensure the success of their client’s brands.

Finally, search for inspiration anywhere and everywhere. Design is a creative industry and combines visual beauty with strategic information to captivate consumers and achieve a specific business growth goal. Professionals who are always on the lookout for how they can improve will ensure their client’s business improve simultaneously.

Annabel Monaghan is a writer with a passion for education and edtech. She writes education and career articles for The College Puzzle with the aim of providing useful information for students and young professionals. If you have any questions, please feel free to email her at 



New Tool To Help You Get College Financial Aid (FAFSA Completion)

Financial Aid from ECS

New Tool for FAFSA Completion
Advocates hope new myStudentAid mobile app will mean more applicants finish the FAFSA. (Inside Higher Ed, Oct. 3)

Related Education Commission of the States Resource: Simplification May Not Be So Simple: Gauging state alignment with the FAFSA

How International Students Can Come To USA Colleges

By Anton Lucanus

Despite competition from improved colleges in Southeast and East Asia, the US is still an attractive study prospect for international students.

Every year, over a million immigrants are granted permanent residence in the US, according to Department of Homeland Security numbers. It works out to 328 immigrants for every 100,000 people living in the US.

Young people, from less developed countries, in particular, are competing to get a foothold in the American education system, which they believe is the passport to a successful life. As former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, once said, “In America, with education and hard work, it really does not matter where you come from; it matters only where you are going.”

According to the Institute of International Education headquartered in New York, around 583,000 international students enrolled in American colleges and universities during 2006-2007. The admission numbers increased over the years, and the year 2015-2016 was the first time that admissions topped one million students.

However, 2017 admissions of international students showed that the US is losing its popularity among the world’s students. Only 400,000 international students received US visas in 2017, which amounted to a 17% drop in admission from 2016, and a significant 40% drop from 2015.

Many reasons are attributed to this decline. One of the biggest hindrances is the current US administration’s immigration policies, which is turning the American Dream into an “American Nightmare.” Visa applications are being scrutinized and combed over minutely and international students are compelled to leave the US after graduation because work visas are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. Many US colleges believe that these restrictive policies are making education in the US unattractive to students around the world.

Hence, the increase of improved colleges in Southeast Asia and East Asia.

However, there is hope yet to overcome this seemingly insurmountable barrier. It’s called PassRight, an organization focused on disrupting the current US visa process through transparency and efficiency, serving as a dashboard for visa applicants. As PassRight CTO , Gal Talmor, said, “With PassRight, you can see the whole case: You have access and guidance to the correct forms, documents, and questionnaires. You can follow the steps, backtrack, move things around, and feel confident in the decision-making process. Transparency of the process makes it easier and more empowering.”

The visa process aside, US colleges are becoming too costly for many international students, with colleges increasing their tuition to make up for drastic budget cuts from state funds for local students. On the flip side, more colleges in countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia in Southeast Asia and South Korea in East Asia, are increasing their international student enrolment. However, when it comes to International students in the US, the problem is not just the price but the eligibility for applying for a work visa. According to Liran Rosenfeld, CEO of PassRight, the only way for foreign graduates to get a work visa is the H-1B lottery. That’s not a safe route to pay off student loans. What if you’re not selected in the lottery? What’s next? According to Rosenfeld, the only other option is the O-1 Visa for those who are extraordinary. The criteria for O-1 visa is related to students who are doing more than just to study. The important thing is to know what the O-1 criteria are, in order to try and achieve those.

PassRight considered the O-1 Visa company is helping students understand what to do in order to qualify for the O-1 Visa by the time they graduate and ready for their OPT year. The OPT is the last chance to work hard and try to get eligibility for the O-1. StudentIt appears these Asian colleges are doubling down on efforts to woo international students disenchanted with western college procedures. Along with low tuition and low living costs, these Asian countries are adapting their education systems to attract larger numbers of international students. For instance, Malaysia is making the visa process easier with the aim of increasing its international student population to 200,000 by 2020, while Japan is aiming for a 60% increase in international students, hoping to enroll 300,000 by 2020.

Despite the blossoming conveniences and improved global rankings of Southeast Asian colleges closer to home, the US still holds allure as the golden Land of Opportunity for many international students. For instance, over the past year, the number of Nepalese students studying in the US has shown a phenomenal increase of 18%. Nepal now ranks 12th among top 25 countries sending students to the US for higher education.

Former US President Barack Obama once said, “When we study together, we learn together, we work together and we prosper together.”

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