Archive for May, 2019

How Can US Graduates Enroll in UK Higher Education?

May 31st, 2019

BY ANNA CLARKE

The UK is among the top and most desired directions for international students who seek high educational standards and wish to build a successful career. In 2017, the median salaries for male and female professionals who have attained first degree qualifications at the UK higher education institutions were equal to £24,000 and £22,000 respectively. Because of this, the UK is considered a great target destination for recent graduates who want to start their careers on a high note. However, if you are from the US, studying in a different country could be difficult with the enrollment process being the main obstacle to overcome. This guide exists to provide graduates from the US with a step-by-step review of what they need to do to get a place at a top UK university.

Remember the Key Differences in Educational Systems

The UK offers a vastly different educational experience than the US. Remembering the following points could be essential in successful enrolment.

  • Average higher education length: 3 years (UK) vs. 4 years (US).
  • Entry: A-level exams (UK) vs. SAT (US).
  • Curriculum: More focus and less choice (UK) vs. more choice and less specialisation (US).
  • Assessment: Final exams (UK) vs. regular evaluation (US).
  • Grading: Honours and standards (UK) vs. A-F GCPA (US).

Attain the Necessary Finances

Debates rage on about whether the UK is cheaper to study at than the US. According to a recent study, the average tuition rates are in the range of £9,000 (or about $13,000), making the US and the UK similar. However, one huge advantage the UK has over the US is the low-per cent student loans that typically are significantly less expensive to pay off. Before enrolling, make sure whether you qualify for one of these loans and, if yes, find out what steps are needed to attain the finances.

Match Qualifications with Employers’ Expectations

With the UK educational system focusing on specialisation, there is little freedom to choose the courses you want. The implication is that you might want to use a course database (such as UCAS) to familiarise yourself with the features of the courses in your preferred area of expertise and what sort of qualifications are offered post-graduation. The latter is particularly important as some qualifications are only recognised by specific employers. Before making an online application, make sure that your degree will match your career expectations.

Check for Alternative Entry Requirements and Complete the Enrolment Process

Enrolment in the UK is based on A-level exams; the vast majority of the course descriptions you will read will focus on A-level results. It is your responsibility to check whether your SAT results are sufficient to meet the requirements of a specific programme. Usually, the programme website mentions at least one criterion applicable to international students. If not, you could always contact the UK National Information Recognition Centre. The majority of universities offer an option for online enrolment, meaning you would need to have digital certified copies of your documents.

Sort out Your Accommodation

After enrollment is complete, the next step is to check for available accommodation. Most universities offer places on campus or student villages which are usually up to international standards and inexpensive. You may also want to check online communities, namely Casita. These are great for cooperating with fellow international students.

Create a Document Package for Getting a Visa

As a graduate from the US, you will not be required to document your English proficiency. The visa you would need to apply for is a Tier 4 student visa which will enable you to stay in the UK longer than 6 months. While the application process is simple and can be done online, there are a few caveats such as the need to document your ability to finance yourself and providing confirmation of your acceptance. Bank statements are typically enough to confirm your personal finances; the confirmation is issued by the university after the applicant selection process.

Studying abroad is a worthy objective with the UK providing the universities and curricula to significantly boost your future employability. Using the above recommendations, you will be able to navigate the challenging international student landscape and get the degree you have always wanted.

 

Author Bio

Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in freelancing, academic dissertation writing consulting, specialising in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Management.

Some Crucial Steps To Cultivate Academic Excellence in College

May 30th, 2019

By Linda Anderson

Academic excellence matters when it comes to the successful development of young people in society. Success demands talent, but also skills, passion, hard work, maturity, and a positive outlook. In a society where higher education is accessible and, most importantly, well-rounded, it is not difficult at all to get a good education. Students are equally capable of striving for excellence. They have to do their best and produce excellent results. Adults with high levels of education and who are academically successful, so as to speak, have better chances of getting a good job, having a stable income, and they are less dependent on others. These individuals are healthier and happier. The point is that academic excellence is something to strive for. It is the ticket to success. Attaining academic excellence will not be easy but it will be well worth it. This is what students can do to achieve higher grades and superior performance.

Setting smart goals

In order to alleviate challenges, it is necessary to set smart goals. Goals are meant to ensure structure and guidance throughout the process and to help determine what needs to be accomplished. Students can use goals to create schedules for themselves, get better results, and, undoubtedly, graduate. Writing smart goals is of paramount importance for achieving the desired outcome. Examples of smart goals for college students include:

  • Not procrastinating
  • Doing the necessary reading
  • Taking part in after-school activities
  • Completing an internship
  • Taking on a leadership position

The concept of smart goals is not new. SMART is an acronym and it refers to the following criteria: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-Oriented, Time-Bound. Setting smart goals means to focus one’s time, efforts, and resources in a productive manner. Long-term goals are essential for a successful career. Attention needs to be paid to the fact that setting smart goals is only the first step.

Belief in oneself

Numerous studies have demonstrated that students who believe in themselves work harder to attain positive results and actually achieve academic excellence. When executing a carefully planned approach, there will be obstacles. This is the reason why pupils should make an effort to believe in themselves. Hope in one’s ability to achieve goals leads to success, greater creativity, better problem-solving skills, and absence of depression or anxiety. Speaking of which, students who are depressed may resort to drinking or abusing drugs, according to the mental and behavioral experts at www.inspiremalibu.com . Students believe they need to be perfect, so they constantly worry about grades and competition. They are more than capable of mastering complex content and shaping their future. They are just not aware of this fact. Students who yearn for academic success should build belief in themselves and their efficacy. Challenges, pressures, and anxieties are normal.  What is more, they are good opportunities for discovering hidden aptitudes.

Establishing good study habits

Good study habits should be practiced from the moment that the student enters university. Students can prepare by getting a good understanding of the nature of their assignments, as well as their purposes. This helps develop good study habits. Needless to say, assignments should not be completed at the last minute. It is recommendable to set time aside for working on assignments, dealing with the most pressing ones first. As far reading materials and textbooks are concerned, they need to be accompanied by words. In addition to creating a schedule, students will want to set up a proper learning environment. It is best to have a place without distractions. The dorm room environment tends to be turbulent, so the library represents a better choice.

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.

8 Tips to Raise Your Self-Esteem While in College

May 29th, 2019

BY JANE HURST

You seem to be handling it all. You are getting to your classes and making sure your homework is in on time and your reading is done. Everything seems to be going well, but slowly you realize you missed a few assignments and you are falling behind. Your self-esteem starts to drop and you become depressed. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not worry. This happens to many people while attending college. Here are eight tips to raise your self esteem.

  1. Introduce yourself – Take time early in the semester to introduce yourself to your instructors. This will make a great impression on them and they will be more willing to help you if you are feeling overwhelmed. If you do not understand something in the class, see if you can meet with them during their office hours to discuss what you are having difficulty with. Most professors will take the time to help you get through their class.
    2. Hang out – Take some time away from studying and hang out with people. Everyone needs a break; and, if you are feeling the pressure, you really need one. Take some time off to talk to people outside your dorm. Hang out in the quad or go to a nearby park. Getting away from your books for an hour or so can help you reboot and start over.
    3. Take a class you love – At least once a semester try and take a class that peaks your interest and is fun. You could take a rock-climbing class that will go towards your PE credits, or an art class that you can fit into your requirements. Do something you enjoy and you will feel less stressed about your other classes.
    4. Do not be critical – Even though you feel down in the dumps, do not criticize yourself. You are worthy and strong. “Remember your good values and concentrate on them. While you may think at times you cannot accomplish anything, just remember that you got into college. You accomplished a step that many others have not. You can do this,” says an expert from Arthurmurraywaterfordlakes.com.
    5. Rewards – Reward yourself for little things. Did you get your pages read? Have a candy bar. Did you complete your homework? Take a walk around campus and breathe the fresh air. Small rewards will help you see what you have accomplished. You can reward big things, too. However, right now stick to the small stuff.
    6. Volunteer – Sometimes it is important to step away from what you are doing and help other people. Helping others will make you realize what you have. It will also make you feel good and that will reflect in your grades and studying. Volunteer at a food bank or even a local animal shelter. Animals will give you unconditional love and help boost your spirits.
    7. Journal – Take time to write down how you are feeling and what you might do to help yourself feel better. Are you handing things in late? Write about getting organized. You are more likely to follow through with things that you have written down. Be sure to write down the positive things that happened in the day, even if they are small. When you are feeling depressed, you can look back at these small bits of happiness and boost your confidence.
    8. Smaller classes – Being in a large class can be overwhelming. You probably will not get the one-on-one time with the professor that you may need. Try and take smaller classes. You will be able to talk to your professor and explain what is going wrong. They will be able to sit with you and help you get back on track or offer you resources you may not have know existed. Smaller classes are more personable and welcoming.

 

Byline:

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.

 

How to Get An Internship : An Example From Software Development

May 28th, 2019

By Emma Bonney

It’s your dream to be a software developer? Then you probably hope to land a software developing internship that would help you gain experience and enhance your skills. But not knowing how to approach this situation can be a problem. Here is what you need to do to get an internship in a software development company.

Start early

Don’t wait until spring to start looking for open positions. The recruiting season for companies specialised in software development from Eastern Europe starts in August/September because they are technology experts who want to make sure that they have time to check all the resumes they receive before choosing their interns. It’s advisable to search for an open position in Eastern Europe because it’s a centre of the tech development world and the opportunities are endless in countless industries. Start looking for internship positions in August, early September or October. Most of the companies end their recruiting process by November or December.

Use your connections

As a college student, you may feel that you don’t have any connection, because you think they should be real adults. Well, this is a misconception, you probably know some alumni who work in teams of software developers at the companies you want to work at. Also, it’s the moment for you to discover LinkedIn, it can help you build a network that facilitates your admission to the internship you want.

Reach the connections you know and who work in the field, it’s easier to ask for help from people you already know. Don’t forget to ask your friends and colleagues if they interned at companies that have dedicated teams of software engineers, they can refer you to the recruiter.

Besides reaching your connections to find out more about possible internship programs you should also use your college’s career affair. There are great chances the companies to be there to recruit students.

Your personal projects are more important than your GPA

Some students are focused only on school because they believe that their grades will bring them success. But the fact is that you should focus on the projects that passion you, the ones that help you improve your skills, and make you happy. The personal projects related to software development solutions look amazing in your resume because they show employers that you are a creative person and you have initiative.

You will notice that if you start focusing on your personal coding projects your grades will not budge even if you spend less time in school. You will acquire knowledge that will help you maintain your good grades, only that you will get it another way than studying in the traditional manner.

Also, if you focus on the things you like you will be more relaxed, and you will be able to retain more information. You will no longer be stressed out about your performance, and this will improve it.

In the IT world, side projects are always an effective way to learn new skills and to build your resume. As a student, you will also find this activity quite rewarding because you will be able to practice on your own the skills you acquired. It’s advisable to do a side project you are passionate about, don’t start one just to build your resume.

A great idea is to do coding work for non-profits, you will work with people who have the same interests, and it will help you understand what you want from your next job. Working together with other people, on a team will prove a fantastic experience.

Always apply for an internship

Keep testing the market, always apply for internships even if you’re not looking for one at the present moment. Popular IT companies like the ones from Eastern Europe give out their internships a year in advance. In the worst-case scenario, you will acquire more interview experience.

Many people apply to jobs only to test the market, you should use the same strategy. If you’ll get an internship with a popular company, it’s no reason not to accept it. You can always change your plans when it comes to your career opportunities. By testing the market, you understand where you stand in terms of your competition.

If you don’t get interviews you should keep improving your skills and resume. Work a little harder and you will have greater chances next time when you apply.

Don’t accept a job before researching the workplace culture

Sometimes it’s not hard to get accepted, it’s challenging to decide what internship is the right one for you. If you are part of a minority group, you should check the company’s culture to understand if you’ll find difficulties working there. Some tech companies can make their employees feel uncomfortable, and this is the last thing you want as an intern.

Other times you don’t have to be part of a minority to feel like your internship is the worst decision you have ever made. This type of experience can deter you from software development completely.

Do research; try to get in touch with employees, and former employees, to find out their opinion. Check if someone from your network has worked at the company and ask them to share their experience

Don’t be afraid to aim high

Sometimes IT students find hard to believe that they will ever be able to get an internship or job at a popular company because they don’t trust their skills and knowledge. Don’t have the misconception that you’ll never be good for that job. Those companies are not looking for geniuses, who spent their entire life coding; they are looking for talented people who are willing to learn new things.

IT companies are looking for people with good soft skills, good developers who can give a fresh perspective to their team. If you work hard, gain experience while working on your personal project, have a decent GPA, and you apply for the internship, you’ll definitely receive an interview invitation. You have a chance to work for a big company you only have to apply.

A bit about myself:

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

 

Working on Campus? Useful Tips for Undergraduate Student Employees

May 24th, 2019

BY SYLVIA KOHL

Gaining experience during your college years is beneficial for students in more way than one. They get practical knowledge of the area they’re working in, they grow professionally, and they learn how to manage their own finances. However, being an undergraduate student employee is not the same as a regular employee.

There are a lot of things you need to be focused at the same time, and if you add your job to it, your life can get pretty hectic. In this article, we bring you tips on how to find a job that fulfills you and doesn’t negatively impact your other student activities.

Determine what you want

 Not all students have the same amount of free time on their hands. Thinking you can work four hours per day just because your friends work that much will not bring you any good. Focus on your own situation and see how many hours per week you can actually work. Also, ask yourself what type of job would you like to have. Do you want a job which will help you expand your knowledge from college or you want something completely unrelated to your studies? For instance, if you’re studying marketing, would you like to have a part-time job in a marketing agency or in the marketing department of a big corporation? Knowing what you want will help you achieve your goals in your professional life.

Know when to quit

 It’s inevitable that you will have to quit your job eventually, especially during student years. It can be due to an increase in student activities, new job opportunity or you simply got tired of doing that particular job. The biggest mistake students make to continue working because they are focused on the money they earn. But, working somewhere you don’t feel motivated will have a substantial impact on your overall student life. Quitting a job is never a pleasant experience, and it will never be. However, when you decide to quit, it’s vital you do it the right way to stay professional and not harm your reputation as an undergraduate student employee. You should take a look at several resignation letter samples to deliver a good one to your boss and make your few last days as enjoyable as possible.

Track your time

 Every student has numerous activities, from attending classes, studying to other student activities such as visiting events related to your studies. When you add your job to that list, you barely have time to see your friends and family. However, by tracking time, you will become more efficient and productive. Time management helps you find the time for other things that make you happy while having that healthy feeling of control. There are plenty of tools that can help you track your time and make sure you don’t forget any of your activities. One of the most effective time tracking methods for students who often have unpredictable schedules is calendar editable. This type of calendar is created on a weekly basis to make student’s plans easier to track and execute.

Ask for advice

 Most of the times, we tend to neglect the fact that our job choice significantly impacts the rest of our life. Asking someone you trust or talking to somebody at your college for help can save you a lot of time which you would probably spend wandering from one place to another. People who have been working for a while now can help you understand this world much better and give you a piece of advice that will significantly help you with your job search.

When you are looking for a job, keep in mind that you should find something that helps you develop your skills and learn new things. In the end, when you find a job you like, you will not feel the burden of going to work every day. Instead, it will be a joyful experience for you, as it should be.

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.

 

 

Best Tips on How to Find Cheap Student Flights

May 23rd, 2019

BY LINDA ANDERSON

Travelling as a student often comes with a major constraint of money. From transport to stay to food to sightseeing entry costs, money is a huge factor when it comes to travel. If you are looking to get yourself a good hotel or book airport parking for your car, all it takes is a little smart planning to reduce and sometimes even, eliminate a lot of your expenses during your vacation. But one of the biggest expenses of any travel plan is the flight fares. Use these life hacks to find yourself cheaper flights when you are booking your next trip.

 

Go incognito

Most sites use cookies to help them serve you better and in turn, expose your browser data to the web server. You will often see that once you have searched about a particular destination, ads related to the place start popping up on your social media. It is often seen that travel sites get hold of your data, not only promote, but also to increase your fares since you are already contemplating the trip. In order to avoid having your information stored in cookies and used by websites, use your browser on the incognito mode.

 

Avoid the peak season

Flight fares are at their highest during several times of the year such as school vacations, holidays, as well as during the best season to travel. Going home for the holidays is definitely something every student looks forward to, but if you can manage to avoid this seasonal rush, you will get cheaper tickets for sure! Similarly make use of the shoulder season to travel, for cheaper flights and other vacation expenses.

 

Look for cheaper airports

If you are travelling from or visiting a place with multiple airports, look into the flight prices to and from all the different airports that cater to the locations of choice. You might be surprised to how much the price varies depending on the airports you choose. Other than the flight, several other expenses vary too. For example, if your location is San Francisco and the flight fares are the same, SFO parking might just be a tad cheaper than OAK parking, saving you some good bucks there!

 

Learn to travel light

Most budget airlines charge extra fare per kg of cabin baggage. Check the baggage weight limits and pack light to avoid paying exorbitant prices for extra luggage weight. Make the best use of your hand baggage weight limits to distribute your luggage more efficiently, and thus avoid paying extra baggage charges.

 

Look for student discounts

Like in restaurants and stores, there are discounts you can avail on flights as well, simply by virtue of being a student. There are several websites which can actually help you book your tickets for cheap if you can provide them with proof that you are currently a student. Even your school might have such tie ups which you can avail. Make the best use of your student discount to book your next tickets and save up quite a bit of money.

It is a wrong conception that travelling requires a lot of money and hence, a student has to wait to be employed to travel well. A little bit of planning goes a long way in making your travel cheaper and more efficient.

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.

Ways Students Can Improve Their Academic Writing Skills

May 22nd, 2019

By Gloria Watson

Essay writing can be a daunting task that many students do not look forward to because it is a complicated process that requires inspiration, creativity, and good knowledge. However, writing is one of the most important skills for success in higher education. Needless to say, writing ability is also one of the highly prized skills by employers. An academic essay should provide a solid and debatable thesis that is supported by relevant evidence and have content that is clearly and precisely expressed.

Very few people have the ability to write effortlessly and perfectly while most of us must sweat over the process of revision, drafting, and redrafting until we get it right. To improve essay writing, students often need to practice and to learn how to apply new things to create content that is more readable and interesting. The good news is that writing skills can be learned and improved with practice and by learning the most important basics of writing. Check out these great essay tips and techniques that will improve your academic writing skills.

Research your topic

Some academic subjects will require you to write essays about topics that are part of common knowledge. However, you will also most probably be asked to write an academic paper on a subject that you are still not familiar with. Either way, deep research is the very first step you need to start with before drafting your ideas. With so much information potentially available at your fingerprints, it is important to find a way to research your topic in a thoughtful and comprehensive way. Use keywords to find sources that have the information you need and once you have found them, you can start organizing your information into a logical way. You should start by looking up general information about the topic and then narrow your research with more specific questions you want to get the answer for. Spending a lot of time on research will help you deepen your understanding of the subject; thus the ideas will flow more easily once you start creating the content of your essay.

Set up a drafted version of your entire essay

The most professional content writers suggest that creating a full outline from start to finish is the best way to organize your writing. A draft is a rough sketch of your future piece of writing which will help you elaborate on the main points of your essay. In the first draft of your writing, you start transferring the ideas you have created while doing research which will help you stay focused on the most important knowledge you want to pinpoint in your essay. This will help you control the web of your thoughts and help you stay focused on what you have planned on writing about. Writing an essay without creating an outline first will not only take longer but can also make your essay coherently weaker.

Focus on the clarity of thoughts

Clarity is perhaps one of the most important qualities of an excellent essay. Obviously, it means making your content easy to understand by anyone who reads it. if the reader is struggling to understand your point, they will instantly lose their interest in continuing reading your essay and will have lower respect for the content you have created. The secret to creating a well-flowing essay is to form well thought out sentences and paragraphs. Writing with clarity requires you to know exactly what you want to say.  Secondly, it is crucial to know who your targeted audience is. The better you know your audience, the more clearly you can communicate to them because you customize your vocabulary and writing structure according to the level of understanding of your readers. For better clarity of the content, professional content writers advice novice writers to define unfamiliar words especially if the essay focuses on a particular subject.

Get a second opinion

Just because something sounds good and understandable to your ears, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your essay is coherent. Since you already know what you wanted to say, the content might sound extremely logical and coherent to you, but not to someone else. It is always wise to ask for a second opinion before submitting your essay for someone else to confirm its validity. Also, even the most experienced writers can make grammar mistakes that they accidentally overlook, a good editor will make sure that your essay is clean and free from any grammatical mistakes and easy to understand.

Byline: – Gloria Watson ’24 grew up in Texas and graduated from University of Texas. Nowadays, she’s a freelance writer whose aim to write article on computers and school education today.

 

Effective Ways to Promote Your On-Campus Event

May 21st, 2019

By Emma Bonney

College campuses are always full of events, whether it’s a concert, a film screening or a nationally acclaimed speaker. When you’re planning a campus event, getting people to attend can sometimes be more difficult than coordination the event altogether. So, what are the most effective ways you can get people to hear about the event and spark their interest to participate?

Social Media

Social media is probably one of the most effective ways to advertise an event. Create an event on Facebook and share it with everybody on campus. Invite people to the event and ask them to invite their friends as well. Instagram and Twitter are also a good way to promote the event, although it has to be done in a more creative way. You can share the poster of the event on Instagram or even go a bit further and share stories from the whole planning process. This will attract people’s curiosity and convince them to attend.

Email

When trying to find an effective way to advertise something through email, think about the newsletters that you receive from your favorite subscriptions. You would not even open the email or read the content if it was not something that caught your interest. Try to create the content of the email based on that idea. Put together an informative text about the main theme of the event and advertise your event in the end. This will make sure to get people’s attention and will not make the email seem like spam. Then, send it to everybody on campus and ask them to further invite their friends by forwarding the emails to them.

Flyers

Although they are one of the oldest forms of advertising, this does not mean that flyers are less effective. Eye-catching flyer designs will attract people and spark their curiosity. Don’t put too much information on it. Just the highlights of the event, the date and time and one or two important ideas. Leave flyers in the most frequented places on campus, such as cafeteria, dorms or library. Ask friends to spread them around and don’t forget about bulletin boards. Another effective way to make sure they reach your audience is to also send flyers in the mail.

College Newspaper or Website

If your college has a newspaper or a website, discuss with the editor and ask if they can post a short article or description of the event. It can either be a short O&A session with the speaker or a short story about the overall event. You can write a short text explaining the reason you thought about putting together the event, what your experience has been so far and what you plan on accomplishing with this. Don’t forget to include the date and time of the event, contact information if necessary and any other important info. You can also choose to go a simpler way and just have the flyer or poster of the event un in the newspaper or on the website.

Word of Mouth

Perhaps one of the most effective ways to attract people’s attention is to have other people talk about the event. Make sure you spread the word about it through friends, classmates and even teachers. Tell people about the event and make sure to encourage them to tell their friends also. If people are talking about it, this means the information is going to reach more students and bring more attendees. Make sure to also ask people to share the event on social media or invite their friends. Although not literally, this counts as word of mouth too.

Send Invitations

If you plan on inviting the professors and faculty members too, it would look more professional if done through a printed invitation, instead of an email. Just like the flyers, make sure to include the important information on the invitation, as well as the name of the person it’s handed to. A nice touch is to handwrite the name, as it will look more personal and thoughtful. Make sure someone from the organizing team is handing down the invitations, so they can answer any questions the professors might have. Tell them about the importance of the event and why their presence would be valuable.

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.

Academic Excellence isn’t Everything: Using College for Growth, not Grades

May 20th, 2019

BY ANTON LUCANUS

 Anyone that has been a student at some point in their lives can attest to the fact that it is an experience that is unparalleled by any other. The information that you learn and (hopefully) maintain during your time at college ultimately proves to be the building blocks of your future career path, it is important for you to realise that university is essentially a stepping stone into the trajectory path towards your career. There is a lot of advice that is almost certainly going to come your way from all angles throughout your academic years. However, the single most important piece of advice you will ever get as a student is precisely that: to treat university as the learning curve it is. University will give you the academic tools to move into your desired career path, but it is but it does not provide you with all the experience you need to make it when you reach the point of entering the workforce in your chosen field.C

 University and college is an experience that is both challenging and exhilarating. Its unique nature is something that is at once a testament to the power of intellect and the chaos of humanity. For many students, the years spent at university are some of – if not the – most high-pressure years of their entire lives. There is so much that is riding on the successes and failures of the experience, and students are so immersed in it that they often treat their experience as a student as the be all and end all of life as they know it. Now of course dedication is a trait to be admired. But it is also important that students realise that university is not the be all and end all. In fact, university is a stepping stone, a pivotal point in the trajectory towards one’s career. Designed as the biggest and longest learning curve there is, university works so well because it provides students with the knowledge and the basic tools to establish a foothold in their respective industries.

Figuring out how to tap into that potential

Whether that means  improving writing skills to help you get through the high-pressure periods in the semester as you work hard on all fronts, or investing in therapy sessions to help you keep calm and sound mentally (or any other manner of coping mechanisms), do them. Because it is always better to take care of yourself, while taking care of your health, than it is to sit in the back of a classroom uninspired, waiting until class ends so you can go the next classroom and do the same, for three years. Great minds are as such because they are driven to succeed, to make a lasting, profound difference. And university is just the first stepping stone – but it is also the biggest. So, make adequate use of your time as a student. Go above and beyond. This is the time for you to show everyone what you are made of. This is the moment in time that shapes other key aspects of professional development. Make sure that you are involved in every aspect of the experience – not just the classes themselves.

The necessity of branching out to reach your full potential

However, more than that, college cannot give students everything they need to succeed professionally. This is the mistake made most often by students. So engrossed in academic excellence, many students make the mistake of giving their entire being to their school work. This becomes a problem because school can only provide you so much. There is a lot of self-imposed work to be done too. When you have time, volunteer or intern at companies that specialise in your professional interests. Whether you’re studying to become a personal injury attorney or a literary professor, this is incredible important. Go out of your way to network, attending events and seminars that can help you establish a rapport and a reputation while you are still a student – this can (and often goes) prove to be priceless. While higher education is one of the most challenging experiences you are ever bound to go through, it is also so important to keep in mind that this unique experience is stressful. So, asking for help when you are struggling is sometimes not only recommended, but necessary, in every sense of the word.

At the end of the day…

College and University is a truly unique experience for any individual who decides to expand their academic and intellectual horizons. And every single student who has been a higher education student knows all too well that there is what seems at times like a limitless influx of advice that is offered from every conceivable angle. While most pieces of advice are helpful in their own way, there are some that stick out more than others, that seem to click for most (if not all) students. And the advice to treat university as the stepping stone into one’s career is perhaps the single best piece of advice that any student can and will ever get. At its core, university of course gives students the knowledge and the tools to begin figuring things out professionally. But students must ultimately do more than simply attend their classes if they want to excel academically and adequately prepare themselves for their future as an industry professional. It is about so much more than classes; it is also about interning, networking, and doing everything you can to not only flourish, but positively thrive.

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 share the lessons learnt throughout his degree and to guide current students to achieve personal and educational fulfilment during college life.

Federal Student Loans vs Private Loans: Things to Keep in Mind

May 17th, 2019

BY KIRSTIAN KRISYK

With the costs of education being higher than ever and continuing to grow, few students have an opportunity to fully pay their way through college or even have their parents do it for them. If you don’t want your parents to go broke for your sake or to take a reverse mortgage on their house to pay for your degree, you have to think about ways of finding extra resources. And one of the most obvious ways to do it is a student loan. However, there is a question: what is better, a private or a federal loan? The answer, as usual, is: it depends on your situation. So let’s take a closer look.

The main difference

Federal loans are funded by the government and have strictly fixed terms and conditions: what you can use the money for, what your interest rates are when you have to start making payments. Usually, they come with a grace period, postponing your first payments until after you graduate.

Private loans are funded by private organizations (banks, credit unions, even schools themselves) and can have a wide variety of conditions. Most of them are more expensive than federal ones, and many have you start paying them off while you are still in school.

Why not just choose a federal loan, then?

At a glance, it may seem that federal loans are better by any measure – and normally you should look for them before applying for a private loan. However, it is not as clear-cut as this. Firstly, federal loans come with a cap and are often just not enough to cover the tuition costs, forcing you to look for other sources. You can take only a limited number of them. Finally, they strictly limit what you can spend the money on – normally it is just tuition and education-related expenses, and your definition of this term may differ from that of the lender. This is where private loans can help you scrape up the necessary cash to cover the expenses not included in your federal loan – e.g., relocation to your first place of work or living costs.

What to keep in mind

Be careful when determining the terms of repayment

Federal loans allow you to choose very extended repayment periods, up to 30 years. This way you will have to pay only a small amount every year, compared to a shorter repayment, but you should remember that you will pay much more over the lifetime of your loan. Thus, if you believe you can afford it, you should try to choose a shorter term.

Take your starting salary into account

Don’t take on debt that is more than your expected first year’s salary. Calculate how long it will take you to repay it and try to make it 10 years or less.

Start with federal loans

Federal loans usually offer better and more lenient terms than private ones but are limited. Start looking for available options among them, and only move on to private loans after you maximize your federal loans.

Shop around

In order to find out the exact rate you are going to get from each lender, you will have to apply for a loan. The advertised price may come hand in hand with additional conditions that make it unacceptable in your case. Get in touch with a number of lenders before settling for any of them.

A student loan can give you the means of getting an education of your dreams – but if you do it wrong, you can end up with more debt than you can handle.

BY LINE–Kristian Krisyk had been working in the field of web design for 7 years before becoming an entrepreneur in 2014 in design and marketing. His professional interests and hobbies defined major topics of his articles. These days Kristian runs his business and looks for new development opportunities. Follow him @KristianKrisyk or contact at kristian.krisyk@gmail.com