Posts published in March, 2019

Starting a Successful Business in College – On a Limited Budget


The number of successful businesses started by college students in their parent’s garages is sometimes s strong enough motive for many to start their own businesses – starting from college. You may have a great business idea, but you don’t have money. What do you do? Starting a company from 0 and with almost as many finances is not a talent with which you are born, is a learned skill. However, jumpstarting your own business before you even finish college might be facilitated by school networks and resources, even when the budget is tight. Keep reading below for a little guidance and smart tips to use on the way.

Create a customer base

You may have an idea, but before starting your business per se, you should research the market and see if your idea might be of use to anybody. In other words, you should create a customer base before putting money and efforts into your idea. To find out how the market will react to your enterprise, products and services, you need to sell and test a product in the market. Measure how much success your prototype has and this will offer you a better idea on your customer base. Having sales before having a successful business is a thing that most small entrepreneurs should look forward to, but so many, unfortunately, neglect.

Tempt potential clients with an inexpensive prototype

If you want to test how successful your product or service will be locally and not only, you have to create an inexpensive prototype and test how the market reacts. Having the actual final product in hand helps for sure, but in most of the cases, this is not feasible or even essential. You want your audience to understand the simple logic behind the product or service. Most of them will be able to understand how it is supposed to work and how it might come in handy. Expose some key features they might help you differentiate your product from your competitors’, several photos of how the product is supposed to look in the sale stage, these will be enough to your customer base.

Hire affordable branding services

You will, of course, have to put some efforts in branding. This will help you build an enterprise that will be easy to recognize in the market by the visuals alone. The logo, the motto, the colors, these will all matter, ultimately. But since you’re a student with not that much money to spend on branding efforts, you should look into affordable and reliable branding tools. The specialists at Tailor Brands automated branding tools explain that you should search for tools that are able to deliver state-of-the-art, customizable logo services at affordable rates.

You will be tempted by these tools more when you find out that the whole process takes under five minutes and the results, as those who already tried such tools say, quite impressive, quality-wise. Remember that your branding efforts should be consistent enough to help you create a strong brand image on the local market and to allow you in the future to compete with your bigger competitors.

Use crowdfunding to fund product development

In the product development phase, you might feel the lack of appropriate finances more than until now. Given the fact that you already have some feedback from your customer base, and you have already tested the market readiness, you can start a crowdfunding campaign. Inform your fellow students and also your professors. They may be interested in contributing to developing a great product and helping a small college student-owned enterprise start off.

Before you start your Kickstarter campaign, make sure that you handle the following.

  • Read the Kickstarter rules and make sure that you fully understand them. Get accustomed to the requirements and check if you meet those as you go.
  • Have a business plan already designed before you launch your Kickstarter campaign. In fact, the crowdfunding part should be mentioned in your business plan.
  • Get an editor to review your business plan before launching. They should also review your website content and make sure that it is error-free, as well as your crowdfunding project.
  • Create a presentation video. If you want to boost your funding chances, try to create a presentation video for your idea. People will feel more engaged and tempted to contribute to your goal. See if any colleagues of yours have the necessary experience to help you with this.
  • Have a plan B. While funding is highly possible through platforms like Kickstarter, there is no guarantee that yours will have the anticipated success. Have a plan B, just in case. Your safety net plan could be anything, from a college fundraising event to borrowing money from your relatives.

A bit about myself:

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

College Majors that Won’t be Replaced by Automation  



With new advances in the field of AI (artificial intelligence) coming about every single day, people around the world are rightfully concerned about whether AI can one day replace human workers in different occupations. While it’s true that jobs such as carpenters, telemarketers, and bank tellers are at risk, many other occupations are safe from the robots. This article will highlight five of those career paths. It will also reveal college majors that high school and college students should consider if they want a job where they won’t get replaced by technological advances.

Creative Endeavors (Dance, Visual Arts, Creative Writing, etc)

While technology has enabled photographers to make their pictures better, allowed independent musicians to make music that rivals their peers on major labels, and let first-time authors bypass the gatekeepers in the publishing industry to publish their books, some AI experts have wondered whether computers can actually create art themselves. The good news for those aspiring artists is that the creative output of computers has been less than stellar. Yes, computers can “draw a picture of a tree”. But what machines lack is imagination, creativity, and the improvisational skills that the average artist possesses. So if you want to go to art school, major in dance, or read and write great books, your livelihood will probably not be replaced by AI.


Most of the tasks that a physician performs in their work could be automated by machines. But what a robot can’t do is make difficult decisions about patient care, have a good bedside manner, or deal with the complexities of human psychology. Plus, there could be legal consequences if a machine makes an error that costs a patient their life. For all of these reasons, pre-med students can rest easy knowing that their future profession is safe from automation.

Technology has certainly changed how many of us learn new skills. With the proliferation of online courses and even online college degrees, some people fear that robots could teach children in school in the next few decades. But education majors need not worry so much. Investopedia reports that schools will always need humans to teach and answer the questions of students. This need is so strong that many school districts across the country are trying to figure out how to recruit teachers. So if you’re an education major at your college, you won’t have to worry about machines taking over your job when you graduate.


Social Work/Psychology

When technology eliminates many occupations, displaced workers will need a lot of compassionate support. For this reason alone, therapists and social workers will be in demand. Machines can’t beat humans when it comes to empathy, complex social interactions, and intuition. Therapists have these skills and qualities, so their work will be even more valuable in the coming decades. Social work and clinical psychology students can approach their studies knowing that their work will help a lot of people whose very livelihood got taken over by machines.


Kinesiology/Exercise Science

Bernard Marr of Forbes stated that people with higher-than-average physical skills may survive the automation of America’s workforce. Marr says that as humans, we love to see athletes perform amazing physical feats. This will probably not change in the coming years as machines become able to do more and more things. Even if scientists created robots that could play basketball, football, or soccer, we would still want to see humans perform physical feats on the field that we couldn’t do. Kinesiology and exercise science majors can enter a field where they could help amazing athletes do their thing on the field or court without worrying about their jobs disappearing due to technological advances.

Byline:  Brett Clawson is a writer and entrepreneur with a degree in Business Management. He enjoys researching emerging business trends and sharing their impact on business and the industry as a whole. He believes that the best way to influence others and share his knowledge with the world is through his writing.



In-State vs Out of State: Which College is Right for Me?



Graduating high school and heading off to college is an exciting life milestone. But you have myriad choices ahead of you as graduation approaches — what are you going to do with the rest of your life?

While some choose to enroll in a trade school or take a gap year to travel, for about 69 percent of high school grads, a four-year college or university is the logical next step. Once you’ve narrowed down your top choices, however, you still have more decisions to make: Should you apply to an in-state school or one that’s out of state?

Different Types of Higher Learning

As you slog through college applications, you may be overwhelmed by your choices. Furthermore, you might feel pressured to apply to the same school as your best friend, or to your parents’ alma mater. Ultimately, your college choice should be about what’s best for you rather than your loved ones.

If you’re looking for an educational opportunity that focuses on real-world skills rather than academic learning, you may want to consider trade school. Also called vocational schools, trade schools provide hands-on training in a particular field, such as nursing, automotive technology, and cosmetology. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Resource Center, around 9 million people were enrolled in a trade school in 2017.

But that number pales in comparison to the more than 18 million students attending traditional college, in both the private and public sectors.

In-State Benefits and Pitfalls

When it comes to deciding what colleges to apply to, cost is often a major decision factor. No matter if your top school choices are public or private, tuition is much higher if you’re not an in-state resident.

Location is another factor to consider: You may find that the adjustment into freshman year is easier if you’re close to home. And if your first apartment is just a short drive from your parents’ home, you can save money on laundry while checking in from time to time, giving your parents peace of mind. You may also want to stay close to your support system, especially during stressful times like midterms and finals.

Another benefit to attending an in-state school is knowing what you’re getting in to, especially if your top choice in-state school is close to your childhood home. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to visit the campus often and determine if it’s a good fit, and to get to know your way around. You’ll also have firsthand knowledge of what you can expect weather-wise and will likely already have the appropriate clothes for the weather.

Choosing an Out-of-State School

But what if the idea of adventuring into the unknown is just what you’re looking for during your higher-learning journey? In that case, an out-of-state school might be the way to go.

Out-of-state schools tend to be much more expensive, but the additional cost may be worth it if the school is the right fit. Some schools even give an edge to out-of-state students, and data indicates that schools across the U.S. are accepting more students from out of state than ever before.

What’s more, you may be eligible for an out-of-state tuition waiver, or you can take part in a reciprocity agreement program at a school in a neighboring state. The Midwest Student Exchange, the New England Regional Student Program, and the Western Undergraduate Exchange are three of these reciprocity programs.

If you’re making an interstate move for college, you’ll need to plan efficiently and pack only the essentials, such as linens, towels, and local weather-appropriate clothing. As you’ll likely be living in a dorm your freshman year, you won’t have much space to work with, so pack light. You can always pick up dorm essentials from a local shop once you arrive at your out-of-state school.

Cutting College Costs

No matter which school you ultimately attend, there are numerous ways to save money during your college years. Bring as many essentials with you as possible from the outset, whether you’re going to be living in a dorm or your first apartment. And when shopping for household items, including dishware and bedding, don’t overlook thrift shops and second-hand stores, which carry a variety of gently used items at budget-friendly prices.

Eating out is one of the biggest drains of your bank account, no matter what school you’re attending. Financial experts claim that college students spend about $11 billion per year on snacks, beverages, and fast food. Cook at home in your apartment as often as possible in order to cut back on food spending, and consider buying your favorite snacks and drinks in bulk.

Final Thoughts

While exact figures vary between specific schools, a public, in-state university is your top option if you’re looking to save money on tuition. Enrolling in an in-state school also means that you have more friends and family to rely on if things get stressful.

However, if your dream college is several states away, don’t let distance stop you from achieving your goals. There are many reasons why an out-of-state school might be the best choice for you, from particular educational programs to lower tuition costs thanks to an exchange waiver. It also might be worth it if the company or industry you ultimately want to work for has a strong recruitment presence in a different state.

Ultimately the choice is up to you to decide. After all, finances and affordability are just one of many factors to consider when attending school. When it comes to making the decision on where to attend college, balance is key.



Bio: Jori Hamilton is a writer from the Northwest who is passionate about education and social justice issues. You can follow her on Twitter @HamiltonJori


Bacterial Infections: How to protect your health  in college


During college, we’re mostly focused on so many activities that we forget to take care of ourselves. From classes, exams, studying, other activities to spending quality time with friends and family, most students are simply not paying attention to their health. And who can blame them? College life can be pretty stressful, exhausting, frustrating and fast-paced.

But, in your last few years of studying right before you start pursuing a great career, it’s vital to focus on your health as well. So, how can you protect your health in college and prevent bacterial infections to fully enjoy your last years as a student?

Healthy eating

Taking care of your health should always start with your nutrition. Your body needs to be strong to fight those numerous bacteria and viruses that can’t wait to attack your body. So, the stronger and healthier you are, the lower are the chances of getting ill or catching bacteria. Make sure you eat as healthily as possible. Include more fruits and vegetables in your daily meals. Also, avoid junk food as much as you can. Sure, it might seem like a great option to save time and go eat at that fast food restaurant near the campus but it will negatively affect your health.

The best way to ensure you eat healthy food is to prepare your meals ahead. This will also save you some money and you can use it for activities which will make you feel better, such as gym, going to see a great movie with friends or sit outside on a bench, drink coffee and read a book.

Proper treatment

 Unfortunately, many students will ignore their fatigue, cold or even temperature so they will not go see a doctor or take adequate medicine. You might think that it’s unnecessary or a total waste of time to focus on your health when your schedule is already so booked. But, if you’re experiencing any of these mentioned symptoms, it means your body is weak right now. Moreover, it will be even weaker after a virus or bacteria is done with it.

Luckily, there are plenty of helpful medicines that can help you get better. For instance, with an Azithral 500 dosage, you can cure different types of infections caused by various bacteria. If you’re unsure of the nature of your health issue, you can always consult a doctor or pharmacist to get the best care for yourself.

Physical exercise

 The same way your body needs healthy food to stay strong, it also needs to be active. Physical activity is what will prevent many health issues and problems to occur later in your life. Student years are the perfect period to start making these healthy decisions. If you’re not into sport or outdoor activities, try to walk more often or even ride a bicycle whenever you can. Our body needs at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity of moderate intensity. This minimum will lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep your body weight at a healthy level.

Those who are currently not physically active should start working out slowly. Pushing your body to limits it can’t perform at the moment can result in severe injury. Also, try to choose an activity that makes you happy. It can be walking, cycling, jogging, weekend hiking, gym, swimming or anything else.

Taking care of yourself is not that hard at all. The problem is we’re not used to making those healthy choices for ourselves so all of this might seem overwhelming. However, if you replace that one hour of television with a gym, you will not lose your precious time. Decide which habits are good for you and keep them, and get rid of the ones that are bad for your health.

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



Study Strategies Every Successful Student Should Know


Studying during exam sessions can be overwhelming and tedious. There is a lot of studying material which you need to go through and keep in mind which can take you to a meltdown. Sometimes, due to the stress which students experience, they might no matter how hard they might try to learn, it just feels impossible. However, there are a few studying tips that will make studying seems less a dreadful chore and will help you focus more on your tasks.

Make notes

Making notes is the best way to help your brain concentrate on the most important information you need to learn. Especially when you have a large studying material to learn, you might get lost in all the knowledge your brain receives and will make you mix-up everything that you have learned. However, by making notes with the most essential paragraphs not only that it will help you keep in mind the most important information, but it is also an efficient revision method as you will read the whole study material to extract the main ideas from it.

Allow yourself some breaks

During the exam sessions, many students tend to neglect their own health. Not only that studying continuously for several hours without taking any break will make you feel extremely tired and affect your overall wellbeing, but after some time, your mind will lose its capability of focusing on the information. Taking often breaks can help your mind to regain its focus. Moreover, stress and anxiety during the exam sessions can become a real problem. you need to find stress relieve methods such as practicing meditation or yoga, exercising, or the natural approach of CBD oil for being able to relax for a little bit.

Study in a study group

Studying in a group can be extremely effective for you. By studying together with your friends, you will be more motivated to focus on the studying material in order to keep up with your studying group. Moreover, teamwork has always been proved to be more efficient and productive than the individual one. As you and your friends can share ideas and information which can be useful for you to keep in mind what you are studying, it will seem less difficult for you to prepare for your exams.

Eliminate distractions

When studying, the best way to make sure that you stay focused on what you need to revise is to eliminate distractions. A text, social media notification, a call, or an interesting movie on the TV can completely ruin your focus for studying. You need to find a quiet room where no one can disturb you while studying and turn off any device which can become a distraction.

Create your own test questions

Once you are done studying, you need to make sure that you have learned the most important information from your studying material. By creating your own test questions and then answering  them without looking in any book or notes, you will make sure that you are well-prepared for your exams.


By line for Linda Anderson

I’m a writer and musician residing in Boise, ID in the United States, although I spent a small amount of time (about three years) living in the UK growing up, due to my father’s occupation. I graduated from the College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Business and a focus in marketing in 2014.


Student Guide to Most Popular Programming Languages

 By  Sebastian Miller

With the increasing digitization of essential services, the demand for individuals with intense knowledge of computer programming keeps growing.  From app development, computer programming, database administration to website development, programming skills come in handy in multiple computer-related careers.  To excel as a programmer, you have to master the most popular programming languages. This article explores some of these popular programming languages to help aspiring programmers and students writing academic term papers in this topic.

If you want to succeed in software development, you need to learn the best coding languages. These languages come in handy whether you want to specialize in a particular career or carve a niche as a master coder. Keep reading.

  1. Python

It comes as no surprise that you will find Python in every list of the best coding languages. It is one of the fastest growing programming languages in the world and developers in multiple industries vouch for it. The high-level programming language is easy to get started with and expert coders can use it for higher-level programming such as machine learning and data analysis.

It is the most user-friendly programming language with clear and intuitive syntax. Python boasts a variety of applications that make it a versatile, powerful. From scientific computing, mathematics to engineering, Python is a condign language every aspiring programmer must learn.

  1. JavaScript

To say that JavaScript is a popular programming language is an understatement. Over the years, it has become almost an essential tool for anyone with an interest in coding and for many good reasons. Stack Overflow’s 2018 Developer Survey ranked JavaScript as the most popular language with programmers for the 6th year in a row.

70% of respondents in this survey said they have used the coding language. It is an essential to front-end web development with most popular apps such as Facebook and Twitter to Gmail and YouTube using JavaScript for web page development and dynamic display of content. This is one of the friendliest programming languages for beginners owing to its forgiving, flexible syntax and multi-browser compatibility.

  1. C/C++

They say old is gold and in coding, you only have to look at C/C++ programming language to believe this. Developed in the 1970s, C has an influence in the computer programming landscape yet it requires a lot of learning to master. It is popular with coders because it allows them to get deeper into computer’s inner workings. It is thus the first choice in developing specialized high-performance applications.  The Linux operating system uses C as its foundation.

  1. Ruby

Ruby is a dynamic open source programming language whose main selling strength is its simplicity. The scripting language is popular with web developers with developers leveraging the popular and effective Ruby on Rails web application framework.  For a beginner, Ruby’s friendliest and most helpful user communities come in handy while the straightforward syntax makes it easy to use.

Some of the most popular tech companies have built apps on Ruby on Rails  including Twitter, Airbnb, Bloomberg, Shopify. Other popular apps built on the platform include Twitch, SoundCloud, Hulu, Zendesk, Square and GitHub.

  1. C#

C Sharp is a general-purpose and object-oriented language. It is built on the foundations of the more popular C and originated from Microsoft as part of its .NET framework. It is the prominent programming language used in building software native to Microsoft platforms. Owing to the fact that its syntax is similar to C-derived languages such as C++, coding experts will find this language easy to pick up.

If you have used any of the other C family languages, this is a step up coding language to build cross-platform apps.  If you want to branch into VR development, you should consider learning C# which is a versatile tool in developing 3D and 2D video games.

  1. Java

The rise of Java has everything to do with the popularity of mobile devices in modern society. If you want to excel as an app developer on Android, you need to learn Java. This condign language also helps in building desktop applications and as a backend programming language for the web.  Its popularity comes from its stability which is crucial in building large systems.

Other popular programming languages worth mention include shell script, TypeScript, PHP, Rust, Swift among others.  You can now pick a coding language suitable for back end or Front-end web development, game development, Systems programming, Mobile development or any other purpose. If you have a programming paper and just searched “someone to help with my papers” find a reliable writing service to learn more about these programming languages.

Author Bio

 Sebastian Miller is a former Calling Lake School science teacher. After 4 years of teaching, he decided to become a freelance writer. In Sebastian’s opinion, math is the core of all science and his goal is to enlighten as many schoolers as possible through writing

Digital Support for College Students Who Are Not Very Tech Savvy

           BY SOPHIA SANCHEZ                               

College can be an intellectually stimulating time, or a time of great anxiety, depending on the academic, emotional, and social well-being of the student. Many students who have not been prepared for the higher level of academic challenges might find it difficult to cope, especially if they have moved out of the comfort of home, and close circle of friends. This is especially true of first generation college students who might hesitate to walk into a faculty member’s room or ask a classmate for advice. Friends and family members might offer some pointers, but, those who don’t have this option, need help in negotiating everyday academic expectations set by faculty. Timely help can mitigate the stress in a college student’s life, especially a newbie’s, while also helping them adjust to their new ecosystem.

Student loans add up to a phenomenal $1.5 trillion(44 million borrowers); it’s astonishing and heartrending, all the more so, as it involves some of the brightest minds in our society. College affordability is becoming a problem and students come out of college with huge debts to be repaid. It’s worse if they leave college halfway through, and are burdened with debt. This makes helping the college student finish on time, and with good grades, all the more critical. After almost a decade of low employment levels, and insipid hikes in salaries, things are a tad better; however, students still need all the help they can get to compete with their peers while reining in their expenses.

Using technology

In the last two decades the use of  technology has become widespread in educational institutions. It could be as inane as looking up a word’s meaning or as enjoyable as an AR/VR immersive experience. The fillip comes from the widespread belief, that technology can level the field of opportunity for students. As devices become more powerful we have started using technology even in our everyday lives. Annotating digital essays, and Instagram driven scavenger hunts on campus, show us how very technologically driven a student’s everyday life can be.

When assignments are to be submitted and a student needs help with polishing and editing their work, writing centers can be used. Many are student-run under the aegis of a professor, with slots lasting 30-60 mins long. Frequently this could be an online writing lab where students can upload their documents and hear back from seniors who go through their work, and give constructive comments about improving overall writing standard.

Extra academic support is frequently required when students are transitioning from high school to college. Writing assignments, especially the academic essay, can be quite challenging. Many students might come from schools where there wasn’t a great emphasis on writing standards. If peers are burdened by assignment submissions and cannot help, it’s smart to get some homework help. An affordable subscription might give students access to academic writing, which might get ideas and essay structure flowing smoothly, thus paving the way to writing confidently. As professors evaluate students on their ability to write well, reading high quality essays and papers at one’s convenience is a sure shot way to enhance one’s writing abilities.

Some students might require help with courses they have taken, where they lag behind in having a solid foundation to the course. Courses designed to help students learn in easily mastered increments can bring them up to speed, rather efficiently. Others might require some digital hand holding to get them on par with peers. There may be yet others who are eager to go ahead on their own. Many of the online university courses are free and can be accessed directly or via private course providers like Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, edX, etc.

Establishing connections

There is no doubt that preparing and going away to college has its highs and lows. In a new campus, the constant onslaught of ‘new’ can be emotionally draining on students. With few friends to let off steam with, students might end up stressed, leading to poor class participation and even poorer emotional wellbeing. In such situations social media can do its bit.

From staying in touch with friends and family back home, connecting with roommates even before moving into a dorm, to contributing virtually on an academic group project, social media can be quite an effective tool. Although digital friends are  often listed under the ‘cons’ of social media, as digital natives, students find it easier to befriend new people virtually; right from finding seniors, to extended-never-met-before family members.  Once a comfort has been established virtually, it might be easier for students to meet in the real world with the accompanying emotional satisfaction. This ability to help students connect is definitely social media’s ‘pro’.


Students need all the support they can get, to ensure they stay and have a fulfilling time in college, growing into well rounded independent individuals. Digital support, often being affordable, gives students the freedom to use it at their discretion and convenience, helping them get comfortable in college.


Author Bio: Sophia is a newbie online ESL/EFL instructor. She is a passionate educator and blogs about education on her personal blog. She found her true calling — teaching — while she was juggling writing and a 9-5 desk job. When Sophia is not busy earning a living, she volunteers as a social worker. Her active online presence demonstrates her strong belief in the power of networking.


The Unseen Reason Working-class Students Drop Out From College

It’s one of the most frustrating facts in education: Compared with peers from middle- and upper-class families, students from working-class families—those who are low-income or the first in their families to attend college—struggle to achieve in college. Even the most highly qualified working-class students receive lower GPAs and drop out more often than their middle- and upper-class peers. Since education is a powerful engine of social mobility, this persistent achievement gap means that the American dream remains out of reach for far too many working-class students.

What’s going on? To explain these dismal outcomes, policymakers often point to what working-class students lack. Many face real obstacles in terms of academic skills such as writing or math, and may need additional tutoring because they attended low quality high schools. Many also struggle with meeting their basic needs while in school: Recent surveys have found that 9 percent of college students in the U.S. do not have reliable housing, and, remarkably, half report anxiety about getting enough food.

Yet even when universities address these challenges, social class achievement gaps persist. As one survey found, even if you take prior academic preparation into account, you’ll still see achievement gaps. Similarly prepared students from different backgrounds fare differently after they reach the college gates. It’s clear that something deeper is also at work, and that something happens during college.

We’ve spent years studying this phenomenon, and our research has identified an additional obstacle for working-class students that is often unseen, but plays a key role in fueling these disparities: a cultural mismatch between working-class students and the schools they attend. Many of these students report feeling like their college or university is not set up for students “like them,” or feeling like they are guests in someone else’s house. These experiences reflect a critical insight, one that colleges need to take into account if they want to help narrow America’s social class opportunity gap.

As sociologist Pierre Bourdieu observed, culture is a key mechanism for creating social class inequality—taken-for-granted cues and behaviors that may have nothing to do with people’s actual abilities, but become part of our institutional standards and get defined as merit. In higher education, for example, our research shows that universities tend to rely on standards of merit that reflect independent values, leading educators to assume that students should pave their own paths, be independent thinkers, challenge norms and rules, and feel comfortable expressing their personal preferences.

Decades of research in the social sciences shows that people from working-class communities tend to prioritize a different set of values, including being socially responsive, adjusting to others, and being part of a group — values of interdependence. They do so, in part, because they have fewer material resources than people raised in middle- and upper-class contexts, and therefore have less choice, influence, and control over their lives. Without an economic safety net, they are often socialized to follow the rules and attend to others’ needs and interests. While middle- and upper-class families tend to raise their children with the promise that the “world is your oyster,” many working-class families are built around a different reality: “You can’t always get what you want.”

These divergent values can guide students’ experiences in college. When asked why they’re motivated to attend college, students from middle- and upper-class backgrounds tend to focus on goals that reflect universities’ standards of independence, such as exploring personal passions or making a mark on the world. By contrast, our research has found that working-class students more often focus on goals that reflect standards of interdependence, such as helping their families or giving back to their communities. They often enter educational settings with little experience focusing on themselves and exploring personal passions, and are instead more prepared to focus on others and contribute to a group. When working-class students don’t promote their individual interests like their middle-class peers have learned to do, they often get viewed as lesser or deficient.

This cultural mismatch between the university culture of independence and working-class norms of interdependence is consequential. In a series of experiments, we have found that exposing students to the university’s cultural standard of independence (e.g., pave your own path) can increase working-class students’ stress, reduce their sense of belonging and undermine performance. The college culture of independence can further undermine working-class students’ opportunity to succeed because it encourages students to take a narrow focus on individual responsibility. As a result, when facing setbacks, working-class students tend to believe that they—and they alone—are responsible, thinking, “I just don’t have what it takes” or “I must not be smart enough.” The emphasis on independence may also discourage them from seeking tutoring or mentoring, thinking that they need to figure things out on their own. In that sense, the university’s emphasis on independence can not only lead working-class students to be labeled deficient, but also create the very “deficiencies” that are so often assumed to characterize them.

What can policymakers and educators do to address social class gaps in students’ academic outcomes? The very idea of institution-student cultural mismatch contains the solution: when universities incorporate interdependence along with independence into their cultures, working-class students benefit. In our studies, we find that doing something as simple as revising a university welcome messageto include concepts of interdependence (e.g., be part of a community) leads working-class students to perform just as well as their socioeconomically advantaged peers on an academic task. Universities should therefore consider changing their websites, orientation materials and student guidebooks to incorporate the value of interdependence.

Another simple fix is to promote more group learning. In ongoing research led by Andrea Dittmann, we are finding that asking students to work together interdependently on a problem-solving task can lead groups of working-class students to outperform groups of their socioeconomically advantaged peers. Universities should therefore emphasize the value of working in groups; promote a community of peers who can navigate college together; and connect all students to the support of advisors or mentors.

The fact that changing the university culture can close—or even reverse—social class achievement gaps challenges the idea that working-class students are deficient. Instead, it suggests that many students do not reach their potential because the university culture is, in fact, not set up for students like them.

In our research with Stanford University research scientist MarYam Hamedani, we’ve found that it can be transformational to teach working-class students this critical lesson: Their setbacks in college are not because of their individual deficiencies, but instead due to contextual factors such as differences in preparation. In one orientation program designed to convey this message, a working-class student discussed how his background—going to a less rigorous high school and not having college-educated parents—led him to have a difficult time adjusting to college and making the right decisions for his future career. From this student’s story, incoming students learn that this student’s challenges aren’t because he is individually deficient or incapable, but because he comes from a different social class context. In our intervention studies, we’ve shown that simply being offered this lesson increases working-class students’ willingness to seek help and improves their grades throughout college. And further, all students can benefit from incorporating more contextual ways of thinking in college.

Together, this work suggests that policymakers, educators and practitioners will have greater success promoting the achievement of working-class students if they take a hard look at the cultures of universities themselves. Bridging resource and skill gaps is a necessary first step to helping these students achieve, but if we truly want to level the playing field, we must expand the culture of higher education to include interdependence as well as independence. That’s the best way to ensure that working-class students are neither labeled—nor rendered—deficient by the university culture, and to make the American dream more accessible to those who need it the most.

Nicole Stephens is associate professor of Management and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Sarah Townsend  is the Kenneth King Stonier Assistant Professor of Business Administration at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.

Establishing a Strong Support System at College

Establishing a strong support system at university


Whether you are a student at college or university, higher education is one of the most challenging things that any individual can put themselves through. Without a doubt, being a student in college or university is a unique experience, allowing you to grow in ways you never thought were even possible. However, there will be moments of struggle and that is why having a reliable support system that genuinely cares about you and wants to help you succeed is more important than you could possibly imagine. This is especially true if you have moved away from home to attend college or university.

Finding your clique on campus

The first notable difference any student will notice is that unlike high school, you will not see familiar faces throughout the day. If you happen to notice someone who is in all of your classes, you should reach out to them as potential study mates. However, if there are no such students, you might find that it is exceptionally hard to build connections because everyone else is in a different faculty.

However, if you are outgoing and able to make friends easily, it is important to cultivate those relationships, so you have someone to depend on, rather than realising in your darkest moments that there is no one to reach out to.

Joining a club or community or talking to a counsellor

If you are not as outgoing, an on-campus adviser might be able to point you in the direction of a suitable community club or activity you could thrive in.

From the on-campus gym or a student-run club, it is possible to find a niche to call your own. As they say, birds of a feather flock together and when you have like-minded people, it would be easier to form bonds and a support system. It would also help you build your portfolio or resume, especially if it allows you to showcase your skills.

Self-support is more important than soldiering on

Achieving academic excellence is important, it is true, but more than that it is important to take care of yourself first. You can retake classes. You can defer college or university for a semester, even a year if you want to. But your mental health and whole wellbeing is something that you should be prioritising before everything else – including academic success. Achieving perfect grade point averages means nothing if you do not have a firm handle on your mental state at the end of it all. Make a point to constantly prioritise you – even if it means dropping classes while you do so.

There will be struggles no matter which path you take

It does not necessarily matter what it is that you want to do once you graduate. Whether you want to become a diesel mechanic, an IT security member, an author, a doctor, or even the owner of a digital marketing agency, at the end of the day the academic journey to get there is going to have its highs and lows.

Sometimes the lows come in the form of a course you cannot seem to grasp, or an assessment block that is impending, and sometimes the lows come from feeling isolated and lonely, even detached, from everyone around you. First and foremost, understanding that these moments of struggle are just that – moments. As with the best moments, they will pass…even if it feels like an eternity before they do. What can often end up spelling out the fundamental difference between students who overcome struggle and those who do not, is the support system (or lack thereof) that they build during their time as a student in higher education.

You are who you surround yourself with

The single most valuable advice anyone can ever give you as a student is to create a support system for yourself that you would happily suggest for another person to have. Forging a strong and reliable support system while you are at university is the key to getting through even the roughest of patches. It goes without saying that the idea of being alone when struggling is a sad one, and it is definitely not one to be taken lightly. It is true when people say that you are a reflection of the ten, even twenty individuals you cherish the most. The first step to finding out who you are is surrounding yourself with people that you genuinely like, and that have your best interests at heart. At college or university, this means surrounding yourself with people who are going to help you study, keep you afloat when you struggle, and celebrate your wins with you – and vice versa. Anything else is secondary.

During your years in higher education, you are going to experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. This is the nature of college and/or university, it is the natural progression of the experience. Moments of struggle can be incredibly difficult to surpass, particularly if you have never experienced this type of struggle before. More than anything else, having a stable, loving support system during your time as a student is the central puzzle piece that will get you from here to graduation and beyond. The most important thing, at the end of any day, is feeling like you can get through the school year. Taking it one step at a time, without needing to rush, is a skill, and it takes time to master it. Allow yourself the time to practice. After all, practice makes perfect, right? And in the meantime, spend time with the support system you have created for yourself. You chose them for a reason. Do not take them for granted, and they will never take you for granted in return. It’s a genuine win-win.


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