Archive for October, 2016

ELearning and Your College Success: Do You Need It?

October 31st, 2016

By Tom Jager

The eLearning industry is getting bigger than ever. According to the E-Learning Market Trends & Forecast 2014 – 2016 Report, there’s a universal agreement that the global online learning market will continue growing. The global industry for self-paced eLearning reached $35.6 billion in 2011, and it is expected to reach $51.5 billion by the end of 2016.

Students are continuously being pushed to explore eLearning in addition to the college courses they already take. When you opt for the right course provided by a reputable university, the eLearning method can be just as effective as traditional training. That’s really cool for people who don’t go to college; they can learn whatever they want in their own pace. But, you’re already paying to get that traditional education at college. Why should you engage in eLearning, too?

ELearning for College Students: Why Is It a Problem?

Many colleges are already imposing online courses to their students. Students are encouraged to take courses that are entirely instructed through an online platform, as well as hybrid courses, which include both online lectures and scheduled classroom instructions. According to the information provided by Grand Rapids Community College, more than 4,000 students of this college take online courses each semester.

When an eLearning course is imposed by the college, it has to come with a semester schedule, weekly assignment deadlines, and requirements for discussion engagement. Basically, the requirements are the same with those that come with on-campus courses. So, the promise that you can “learn at your own pace” is not really true. You’ll still have a pile of homework to do, so you’ll end up asking for writing assistance at Proessaywriting and similar services. In other words, online learning is not making your life any easier. Online courses used to be somewhat easier when compared to on-campus curriculums, but the bar has been raised.

There are few other problems with eLearning courses:

  • Not everyone likes the virtual classroom. No matter how hard the instruction tries to connect through videos, articles, and discussion boards, some students feel like they are not getting the learning experience they deserve. A student who’s used to the traditional classroom environment will miss the opportunity to ask questions during the lecture.
  • Some students lack computer literacy. We can’t expect everyone to be tech savvy. The fact that colleges are imposing the need for technological proficiency is problematic. If you don’t have the needed computer skills or you don’t have a stable Internet connection, participating in online classes will be a huge problem.
  • Your schedule is already too busy. You have classes, exams, and assignments to take care of, so an online course can add burden that you simply cannot handle. It would be much different if you weren’t at college. People who don’t study find the motivation to learn even if they have jobs. You’re already studying, so this additional activity is not as intriguing as people assume it is.
  • Online courses have high dropout rates. Regardless of the fact that instructions do their best to make the programs inspiring, the concept of eLearning impairs a student’s self-motivation. Many learners fall behind the curriculum once they enroll in an online course, and they are not motivated enough to catch up.

Why eLearning Is a Good Idea

Online courses do have pitfalls. Maybe you’ll enroll in an eLearning program and you won’t be motivated enough to complete it. But, what if you are? There are tons of benefits this learning style can provide.

  • Online programs cost less. That’s a deciding factor for many institutions to offer such courses to their students. Students can even use massive open online courses to get credits towards their degree. The good news is that these courses are free. Although universities don’t usually accept MOOCs for credit, there are exceptions and this attitude is expected to change in future. Even when you pay for an online course, you pay less. This program does not impose the need for maintaining facilities.
  • Although there’s a timeframe and a curriculum that college students need to follow, online courses are still more flexible than traditional ones. Think about it: if you function better at night, you can learn at night. It’s as simple as that! You’re not tied down to specific lecture hours.
  • Online courses are great for socially anxious Some students cannot fit into classroom discussions. Not because they don’t have any arguments, but because they are anxious about speaking up. An online course eliminates that obstacle. For these students, it’s much easier to write than to speak. Thus, they can take part in discussion boards just like all other students.
  • Research shows that eLearning has faster delivery cycle times when compared to classroom-based instructions. The case studies show that this approach reduces the learning time by at least 25%. Why does that happen? First of all, it doesn’t take any time for the instructor to calm down the classroom before they start presenting the lecture. They don’t get interrupted by questions, comments, and other distractions.

The entire lecture is being represented throughout a single video, presentation, or piece of text. The learner takes that material and sets their own pace. If they are motivated enough, they can speed up the process of learning as much as they are willing to.

  • Online courses contribute towards a cleaner, sustainable environment. Open University published the results of a study that showed distance learning involved 87% less energy and 85% lower emissions of CO2 when compared to full-time studies on campus. Campus site utilization and printed materials come with a huge price for our environment. With each online course you take, you’re saving energy and other resources.

So, do you really need eLearning to succeed at college? If your college instructs you to take online courses, then yes, you definitely need to do that. If you’re free to make your own decision, then you’ll have to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of online classes to see if this format of learning fits your style. Hopefully, the information provided in this article will help you make the decision.

 

Tom Jager is professional blogger. He works at A-writer.  He has degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. You can reach him at G+  or  Facebook.

5 things that will help land a software engineer job after graduation

October 28th, 2016

By: Elisabeth Jackson

While the tech industry is in constant need for new talent, there is no getting around the fact that a Bachelor’s degree isn’t enough to land you a software engineer position. The National Center for Education Statistics tracked that 11.6% more Americans in the 25-29 age range hold a

Bachelor’s compared to those in 1995. Meaning, a Bachelor’s degree is quickly becoming the new normal for job requirements; not the outlier. I have found that these are the main factors to understanding how to stand out in a sea of degree holding twenty somethings:

 Start Applying What You Have Learned Now:

A large percentage of graduates are still unemployed, and it’s not just because of the competition. Employers like that you have a degree, but they need to know you can actually do the job. Meaning, can you apply your knowledge to real world problems outside of the classroom? Think of your degree like a prerequisite: it prepares you for the workforce, but doesn’t have a yellow brick road for you. One example for my fellow web developers is to start using the knowledge you have gained and challenging yourself outside the classrooms. Start doing passion projects, getting involved with hackathons, and even looking into certifications that test how you handle real world problems. I promise you — the fact that you have a degree in communications doesn’t automatically disqualify you from getting a job as a programmer at Google.

 Start Working On Your People Skills:

95% of employers say they look for employees whose skills translate into out of the box thinking and innovation. That isn’t something that can be taught in a certain degree program, but is indeed something that can be learned intentionally. Employers want to work with someone who can communicate well, can lead, and isn’t for lack of better word, a jerk. In fact, Silicon Valley is   starting to look for more graduates with a Liberal Arts degree as opposed to the standard tech education. Utilize this time to work on your people skills, work ethic, and time manageability.

 Continue to Keep Learning (Even Outside the Classroom):

Industries change, and therefore it is inevitable that you will need to change with it. It is never too late to learn a new skill; even when out of college. While Master programs are available, YouTube and Google are also wonderful teachers when you are learning on the job. If you’re looking for a more ‘official’ root, certifications are another great way to not only showcase your  willingness to learn something new, but also to add to your training in your resume when you have little experience. An example would be looking into the PHP certification or the JavaScript certification from CancanIT would be helpful in showing your dedication to the craft (despite lack of experience). Keep in mind, certifications are by no means the make or break for you getting a job, but they certainly don’t hurt. I have a certification in Inbound Marketing from Hubspot, and will be getting certified for my web development knowledge later this year. So far, the additional learning I invested in has only helped me while on the job.

 Take Classes Outside Your Major:

No matter what your future career is in, you will always need to know how to make money right?

Signing up for a few business courses in Economics, Management and even Statistics can give you the foundation you need in order to advocate for yourself when you do business on your own, or understand the way a company works while you are an employee. Another great discipline to study is acting. I was lucky enough to have a flexible schedule in school to take a few acting courses, and my speaking and communication ability skyrocketed. Acting in itself is the art of human behavior, and what better place to put that knowledge to use than when looking for a job?

 Build Your Professional Network:

Jobs come from relationships above anything else. Internships, meet ups with industry professionals, and speaker series are great avenues to building up your professional networks.

For web professionals, you can even find and connect with some of your favorites on Twitter or their own blog. I used to go to alumni pages of my program’s website and connect with alumni who have noted they are employed. The great advantage that students have is that most professionals love to talk about their career journey. Ask questions, see if you can meet them for coffee somewhere to pick their brain; start making those initial steps to get to know a person who has been there. Nurturing those relationships will only help you when you graduate. I was fast tracked through the application process of my current job because of a contact I made in my freshman year!

Earning your degree is already an incredible feat to be proud of, but in order to succeed in the tech world you need to be proactive in gaining contacts, experience and additional learning will help you earn the credibility necessary to land you a job much sooner.

Elisabeth Jackson is a freelance content writer with a background in technology and marketing. Before she wrote for a living, she was an post graduate mentor and advocate for college seniors. You can view more of her writings and work on her website

What Is GPA and How To Raise It Quickly?

October 27th, 2016

By Patrick Cole

Your GPA, or Grade Point Average takes all the courses you’ve attended, notes how well you did in each as well as how many points it is worth and based on that works out how well you’re doing. For different countries, it is generally worked out differently. In the US it’s based on a 4 point scale, with the 4 being the highest.

Your GPA is a very important score. When you’re in high school it is, along with your test scores and your extra-curricular activities, a vital part of deciding what college you’ll be able to go to. For that reason it’s vital that you keep it as high as possible, so as to give yourself as many opportunities as possible. After all, somebody with high grades can decide to become a bum, if they so choose. A person with low grades, however, will struggle to get a high-flying career.

The obvious question then is, what can you do to pump up your GPA?

Actually go to class

This one’s pretty straightforward. Go to class! Listen to the professors. Get your money’s worth. Sure, the material is also in the books, but the great thing about classes is that the teachers and professors cover the topics in their own way. That means that they will give you a different perspective, which will make it far more likely that you’ll actually be able to grasp the material.

What’s more, often it’s the teachers in charge of the testing. By going to class, you’ll get a pretty good indication what they think matters. That will make it easier to study the material that you need to.

Sleep enough

It’s such a simple thing and it makes such a huge difference. It is hugely important for memory. It helps to both make it easier to concentrate and focus as well as lay down the memory afterwards. That means you need to get a good night’s sleep both before and after a class.

So get a good sleep rhythm going, where you generally go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time. If you do this effectively, it will be much easier to both go to sleep and get up. It will become a natural rhythm that your body expects.

When you don’t know, ask

Sure, it’s scary to ask questions. After all, it’s better to have people think you’re an idiot than open your mouth and prove it, right? The thing is, in the long run the only person whose opinion matters in that classroom is the teacher. And they’re going to think you’re far stupider when you don’t know something on the test than when you ask a rather obvious question.

So don’t be embarrassed. Your future is more important than that.

This goes double as in most classes what you’re learning next class builds on what was covered this class. That means that if you don’t know what’s going on today, you’re going to struggle even more the next time. So ask the question. Don’t want to do that in front of everybody? Then approach the professor afterwards.

Hang out with high GPA people

Just hanging out with smart people is already going to make a difference. They discuss strategies which will make studying easier. They’ll make you work harder in order to keep up with them. Heck, sometimes they will just say something that will open up an entirely new world for you.

So befriend the smart people. You’ll get new strategies, new ideas and new habits that will all positively affect your GPA.

It doesn’t end there, either. The smart people have a good shot at making it big later on in life. That means that they won’t just benefit you in terms of your GPA. They’ll benefit you in terms of life in general, as it’s always useful to know people in high places. That is particularly true if you’re looking for a job.

Create or join a study group

Even better than just hanging out with people that are smart is to join a study group with smart people. Here you’re not just talking. Here you’re actually discussing your courses and the material being covered and that’s sure to give you a leg up.

In fact, study groups help in many ways

  • Just by going you’re committing yourself to several hours of study.
  • They will teach you new study habits as you discuss how to get ready for exams, write essays or retain information.
  • They offer you different perspectives, thereby giving you a more rounded understanding of the course material and teacher expectations.
  • They can be very useful if you do have to miss a class or if you didn’t understand something the teacher said.

Really, study groups are full of upsides. The only way there can be any downsides is if you find one where people are less focused than you are. So, make sure you find a good one with people who are at least as eager to get good grades as you are.

Last words

As you might have noticed, there are no simple tricks that will immediately boost your grades. That’s because GPA, as the name implies, are an average, which means that as you collect more grades, each individual grade will have less of an impact.

For that reason, you’ve got to stay with it and aim to have high grades right from the beginning. In that case, even if you do get a bad grade later on, all these other grades will act as buffers keeping your GPA high and your opportunities many.

Of course, it also works the other way around. Once you’ve got a lot of bad grades, you’re going to struggle to raise your GPA. So don’t let that happen. Give yourself breathing space by hitting the ground running. Then you’ll be in a great position to take a few bumps if life happens to get in the way.

And trust me, life always gets in the way.

Patrick Cole is a passionate writer and contributor to several websites. Loves to write about education and self-realization. You can connect with him via Twitter

 

Top 10 Tips to Make Freshman Year A Piece of Cake

October 26th, 2016

By Steve Mehler

You’re unpacked; you’ve met your roommate; you have your schedule, and you’ve been through freshman orientation. You think you’re good to go. Well, you’ve made it through your first month. Now, let’s talk about the rest of your year. You’re in for a roller coaster ride – just embrace it. By May, the roller coaster will turn into one of those nice little boat rides. To help you along, here are 10 hacks, that may at least may the roller coaster less extreme.

 

  1. Go to Class

I know. This is a boring hack, and everybody else says it. The argument is that you will miss important stuff if you don’t go. Well, that is somewhat true, even though you can get a fellow student’s notes. In fact, there are instances of two students alternating days of attendance and making it through a large class. Here’s the more important things.

  • No matter how boring a class may be, attendance might be taken. Some professors do have attendance policies, and you need to find that out up front. Attendance may be a part of a final semester grade.
  • If the class is relatively small, your absences will be noticed. Professors are human, and some of them take your excessive absence personally. Being present, asking questions, and participating in discussions does impress. And sometimes that good feeling a prof has about you gives you the benefit of the doubt when essays and papers are graded.

 

  1. The Freshman 15 is a Fact

You will spend more time in passive activity in college. The requirements for reading, research, and writing assignments are stiff. Add to that the fact that mom is no longer cooking relatively well-rounded meals for you. The soda and snack machines are convenient all night long, and there are doughnuts and other “fat” foods at every breakfast in the cafeteria.

Okay. Go to the grocery store and get some healthy, low-fat stuff for snacks. Get a microwave. Make popcorn. Get nuts, raisins, granola bars. And start getting exercise, even in small ways. Walk, ride a bike, take the stairs, hit the campus gym.

 

  1. Dorm Life

There will be people awake 24 hours a day in your dorm. There will always be others playing video games, hanging out and chilling in each other’s rooms, Things can get noisy when you are trying to sleep or study. Here are some other adjustments:

  • Clothes don’t wash themselves, and dorm machines are not like home. Wash in cold and dry on low until you have a better idea of how they do.
  • Buy a good set of ear plugs for studying and sleeping.
  • If you and your roommate pull all-nighters on different nights, consider a sleep mask. And each of you get small lamps to use, rather than the overhead lights.
  • You are living in a small space. This means clutter is intensely magnified. Get storage organizers and a good-sized trashcan. Agree with your roommate on a time each week to clean – you’ll both feel better and you won’t be irritated with each other.

 

  1. Get Some Alone Time

Find a quiet place somewhere – a place you can go to get away from the noise and from your roommate occasionally. Of course, the library is a possibility, but there may be a coffee shop or quiet student lounge somewhere else on campus. This is not necessarily just for quiet study – sometimes you just need to be alone.

 

  1. Join Clubs and Feel Free to Quit

Join as many clubs as you think you might be interested in and participate in activities. And quit those clubs if they turn out not to be enjoyable. You should experiment but do not feel any obligation to stick with something you don’t like – it’s not worth your time. By the end of your first semester, you should be settled into those few clubs/activities you like.

 

  1. Procrastination – It’s Kind of a College Thing

You get all sorts of advice about how to stay organized, and most of it is pretty good – get a calendar, set up timelines for long-range assignments, organize your class notes every night, ad nauseam. Some of this advice you will follow, and you may find tools and apps to help. But the inevitable will happen. You will have procrastinated and find yourself in trouble. Usually, it’s a major paper. It’s a good idea to plan in advance for this – you will need to use an essay writing service, and you will want a reputable one. So, at the beginning of the semester, research and read reviews of essay writing services, so you have one “in your pocket” in case such an emergency happens. The Boy Scout Motto does apply here.

 

  1. Get to Know Your Professors

Professors have office hours. Use them. If you are having an issue with an assignment; if you want approval for a paper topic; if you just want to earn a few “brownie points” and show your interest in the course, make an appointment with each of your professors at least once. You want them to know you, to recognize your face and to associate the face with the name, especially if the class is a large one. Getting good advice and leaving an impression that the course is important to you is a good thing.

 

  1. Hook into Resources

There are lots of resources on campus – there may be a fitness center; there are academic labs and tutoring centers; the health clinic, counselors, the career services office, etc. Even if you do not ever use one of these, you need to know what exists if you should have the need.

 

  1. Don’t Cling to Your High School Friends

You can stay in touch in so many ways – email, texts, phone calls, and Skype, etc. it’s good to stay in touch, but do not keep this from reaching out to the great diversity that is now in your new environment. You have the chance to open up your “world view,” and this is great preparation for the world of work you will one day enter.

 

  1. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Mom is right. Your health is connected to your diet. Make it a point to eat a couple of servings of fruits and veggies every day. You know there are some that you like. Eat a salad for lunch; microwave a frozen package of steamed vegetables that you like. If you are on a meal plan, put a couple of pieces of fruit in your book bag – you have already paid for them.

You really can turn that roller coaster into a boat ride. It may take some time, but use these 10 hacks and it will happen faster.

Steven Mehler is an experienced writer, blogger, SEO specialist and social psychologist that works as an editor at a local newspaper and a freelance writer. Steven also runs his own content agency and is writing a book. He has a long-term experience in writing articles based on blogging, marketing, SEO and social psychology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Useful Tech Gadgets For All College Students

October 25th, 2016

BY Robert Parmer

The ‘holy grail’ of college tech gadgets is still certainly the laptop. But many pieces of important student hardware build upon the basics like smartphones and computers.

Whether for them, or against them, tech gadgets are the new norm for college level students. Some people may question if these tech wonders are must have items for success or a distraction to students.

However, these arguments don’t really hold much credibility any longer. Technology has taken hold of the education system, as online and hybrid learning styles are now very common.

The following gadgets are useful for students with face-paced schedules and lives. Some of these are inexpensive, some may require using a savings calculator to afford, but they are useful in a plethora of ways.

Tablet/E-Reader

We all know this to be true: textbooks are bulky and heavy. The contemporary textbook is no longer in large printed text format, as digital versions are widely common. In many cases a digital version of all or the majority of college students’ books can be purchased. The practicalities of digital text now certainly outweigh an armful of printed text.

External Hard Drive

Sure, thumb drives are good for quick data transfer and small to medium sized projects, but with an external hard drive no project is too large to keep on hand!

Owning either a traditional or solid state hard drive gives students added flexibility and cancels out data sharing limitations. You’ll also be able to regularly backup your laptop, which will help prevent any student’s worst nightmare: losing everything if your computer crashes.

Portable Smartphone Charger

Busy student schedules oftentimes equate to a lot of racing from class to class, and there’s not always an outlet handy. Luckily, portable phone chargers are available to buy pretty much everywhere and they are increasingly affordable. No matter how busy your day may be, keeping a backup portable charger means never worrying about your phone dying at an inconvenient time.

Digital Notebook

Digital versions of the old-school pen and notebook are widely available and highly functional. The technology behind digital notebooks has gotten to the point where sensitivity of touch with a digital pen on a screen completely replicates hand written pages.

And if you can’t leave ‘analog’ school supplies behind but want a digital copy of handwritten notes, Evernote’s Moleskine notebooks are a perfect compromise!

Noise Canceling Headphones, and Ear Plugs

Many students let stress build up and fail to recognize that physical side effects of stress exist.

An Ohio University’s Online Nursing points out that there are truly repercussions associated with stress

“Common symptoms of chronic stress include:

 

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Lack of motivation
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in sex drive
  • Anger or irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping

Left untreated, chronic stress can also exacerbate the symptoms of other chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.”

Noise canceling headphones help combat stress in public studying environments, such as libraries and coffeehouses.

Also, sleep is oftentimes diminished while attending college. Noise canceling ear plugs help alleviate stress by channeling longer more restful nights. Deeper sleep is more restful sleep.

VR Headset

Virtual reality is one of the most promising forms of modern tech. Virtual learning is truly the future for higher education. Both virtual reality and VR gadgets and apps are becoming increasingly useful for those taking advanced or graduate level courses.

For example, consider the benefits for medical students! Materials that are expensive and hard to come by could be replicated within VR and associated apps. It’s possible to explore human anatomy without using an actual cadaver!

Mobile WiFi Hotspot

Most smartphones have the capability of creating a mobile wifi hotspot for students’ laptops and tablets. Other portable WiFi devices are also available through major cell phone carriers. For this reason an unlimited data plan for college students who don’t want limitations is actually a very fantastic idea, if slight extra cost is affordable.

Imagine how a versatile studying environments would amplify productivity! Working on homework poolside, or in a place that is surrounded by nature actually boosts mood and sparks creativity, and it’s all possible with these modern tech wonders!

Robert Parmer is a freelance web writer and student of Boise State University. Outside of writing whenever he has spare time, Robert enjoys creating and recording music, caring for his pet cat, and commuting by bicycle whenever possible. Follow him on Twitter @robparmer

 

 

 

10 Ways to Managing Your Course Load

October 24th, 2016

By Jane Hurst

Managing a heavy course load can be difficult, but it can be done. You don’t have to let it stress you out, and you can make great grades, no matter how much you have on your plate at any given time. In order to manage your course load, there are certain habits that you should start getting into in order to make sure that you get everything done without taking on more stress than you can handle.

  1. Supplement Your Learning – When there are so many different sources of information out there, it is crazy not to take advantage of them. Don’t just use the materials given by your professors. Think outside of the box, and find information sources that will help to supplement your learning and give you an edge that those who don’t use these sources don’t have.
  2. Stay One Step Ahead – It is a good idea to be a step ahead of your professors. Read the chapters before lectures, so you have a good idea of what will be going on, and you will get in some extra studying. Now, the lectures will be more like reviews instead of introductions to new ideas.
  3. Take Plenty of Notes – All students know that it is important to take lots of notes. But, not all students take notes the right way. Be sure to take notes both during and after lectures. The notes you take during the lecture will get the ideas into your head, and later notes will help you to expand on those ideas.
  4. Work Hard – You really do need to bring your A-game when you are managing a heavy course load. Always be sure to get assignments completed at least a few days before they are due. That way, you won’t end up stressing out because you have to cram in order to get things done.
  5. Practice Makes Perfect – When you learn new things, try to put your new-found knowledge to use in everyday situations. Practice really does make perfect, and the more you use your knowledge, the better you are going to be at it. Look at your textbooks for the chapter review sections you can use to test yourself, re-do old exams, etc.
  6. Learn how to Relax – In order to be able to study and learn, you need to be relaxed. Take some time for yourself. Read books, articles, etc. that have nothing to do with what you are studying. Some cool sites to check out during your rest and relaxation periods include BuzzFeed, Prettymotors, and Upworthy and Cracked.
  7. Don’t Overextend Yourself – Many students have the tendency to stretch themselves way too thin, and they end up getting stressed out because they have taken on more than they can handle. Don’t do this to yourself. If you don’t think you can handle a heavy course load, cut back on the classes you are taking.
  8. Find Out the Core of the Problem – If you are having trouble keeping up with your course load, you need to figure out why. It may be that you are not dividing up your time properly for each course. Once you know what the problem is, you can work on ways to eliminate it.
  9. Fix the Problem – Solving the problem mentioned above is often easier said than done. It may be that you have to lighten your course load a bit in order to be able to excel in your studies. This doesn’t mean that you can’t handle the work. It just means that you are smart enough to know what you need to do in order to get the best grades.
  10. Get Organized – This is a pretty obvious tip, but an important one. Set aside certain times each day for study, recreation, rest, etc. The better organized you are, the better you are going to be able to handle a heavy course load.

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

5 College Interview Questions and The Answers (Part 2)

October 21st, 2016

By Patrick Cole

In the last article we dealt with some of the more common questions. Here we’re going to look at a few more – particularly the more tricky ones. Before we start, however, let me again remind you that you shouldn’t get too stressed out about the interview.

You see, the interview at a university is not just supposed to find out if you’re a good fit for them, it’s also supposed to convince you that they’re the right fit for you. And that means they’re not going to ask difficult questions or be horribly unfair to you. Hopefully that will take some of the weight off your shoulders.

Have you been a leader or demonstrated leadership qualities

This is a question that often comes up. Universities like leaders. Leaders are more likely to make a mark for themselves and earn accolades. And accolades reflect well on the university that nurtured this rising star.

For that reason, sit down and think a moment about where you might have demonstrated leadership skills. This could be in sports, or if you were valedictorian. It can also be in a club, in a charity, or even in some group that you’ve created yourself.

Now, to really score well on this one, make sure you talk about some of the difficulties of leadership. What was it about leading people that you didn’t realize beforehand but understand now? Is there something that you would do differently with the knowledge you have? You see, if you can demonstrate what you’ve learned you don’t just show leadership capacities, you show that you can grow. And that is real leadership material.

If you could have done one thing differently in high school what would it be?

Some people take this question as an opportunity to spit venom and slander people. They’ll talk about how they wouldn’t have made a friend, how they regret certain a certain choice or how they’d lament their fate.

That is not the point of this question. Instead, what you’re trying to do here is to demonstrate how much you’ve learned since you started high school and how that wisdom would make you make better choices.

In effect, this question is once again exploring whether you’ve got the ability to learn and grow. If you can demonstrate you can do that, you’re well on your way to nailing it.

Tell me a challenge you overcame

This question is very similar to the one above. It again offers two paths for you to choose. The first one is to dwell on the challenge and how hard it was. The second path is all about how you overcame that challenge and managed to make yourself better as a person.

The first path is pessimistic, while the second one is optimistic. When you look at it like that, it isn’t hard to figure out which one you should choose.

Now, that’s not to say you should downplay the challenge. Give its due. Just make sure that the interviewer understands that the challenge has been overcome and is largely behind you.

Also, this is not the best place to speak about love lost. Yes, that’s very important, but that’s more something you want to discuss with friends and family. The interviewer doesn’t really want to know that somebody doesn’t love you anymore.

What three adjectives best describe you

Okay, the first thing you need to know when heading into this question is what is an adjective. If you don’t, you’re going to look slightly silly. An adjective are words like ‘intelligent’, ‘hardworking’, ‘passionate’ and so forth.

This is a good question to talk over with your friends, family and your favorite teacher. You see, the point of the question isn’t that you find the best adjectives you can come up with. It is that the person you’re talking to actually thinks there is some basis for them. If you say you’re meticulous, while your hair is slovenly and you’ve got ketchup on your collar, that isn’t going to impress anybody.

Accuracy is key.

How do you define “success”?

You could roll out a dictionary definition and hope that satisfies them. If you do that, however, then you’re wasting a fantastic opportunity to impress the interviewer. You see, this isn’t a question for textbook definitions. This is a question where you demonstrate character.

What do I mean with that? I mean that everybody has a different idea of success. Some people want money. Some people want fame. Some people want something truly worthwhile. To score the most ‘points’ on this question, the last one is what the interviewer is looking for.

An answer like, “helping make the world a little bit more equal” or “creating something that makes the world better” are good places to start. Obviously, you’ll have to expand on it. Maybe sit down and write out an answer, or get a custom writing job done where you work together with somebody. The goal is to demonstrate that you’re not just thinking about yourself. The world (and universities) can always use more people who think less about themselves.

What do you want to get out of the college experience?

They’re asking you to tell them about what you want to learn and how you want to grow. Your plan might be to break the beer bong record, but that’s something that you might not want to take into the interview with you.

Demonstrate that you’re thinking about the future and how this university can help you get there and you’ll be doing well with this question.

What is the most important thing you learned in high school

You could talk about the theory of relativity, or iambic pentameter. If you can pull it off and really explain why it is indeed the most important thing that you learned, then you’re no doubt going to impress the interview. After all, in so doing you demonstrate a fantastic understanding of an important theory and thereby show you’re miles ahead of your potential classmates.

You don’t have to go down that route, however. You can also talk about values, which is really what the question is about. So you can discuss community, friendship, hard work, discipline, organization or similar ideas. You don’t even have to restrict yourself to one.

If you find it really hard to choose one, then talk about two, or even three. Of course, in the end you should probably choose one as the most important. That, however, doesn’t erase what you said about the other concepts.

Last words

Here is a final piece of advice for you to consider. A lot of people spend a lot of time on what they’re going to say. That’s not the only thing that matters, however. You should also focus on how you’re going to say it.

The goal in any interview is to come over as relaxed, calm and with a clear idea of what you’re trying to get across. You see, even the smartest professors aren’t going to remember what you said word for word. Instead, what they remember is the gist of what you said as well as the way you said it.

For that reason, even if your concepts aren’t all that complicated and your ideas aren’t all that advanced, if you manage to say them with conviction and manage to get your ideas across clearly and succinctly, you’re going to probably do better than somebody who constantly loses their train of thought and won’t meet the interviewer’s eye.

So don’t just focus on content, make sure you’ve got the presentation down as well. The best way to do that is to practice a few times with people you trust. Set up a camera and run through these questions a few times.

It might sound like a lot of work, but you’ll thank yourself for taking the time when you’re sitting across from the interviewer.

: Patrick Cole is a passionate writer and contributor to several websites. Loves to write about education and self-realization. You can connect with him via Twitter

 

15 College Interview Questions and Suggested Answers (Part 1)

October 20th, 2016

By Patrick Cole

Of course you’re nervous. You’ve got an interview at a great university and you really don’t want to mess it up. The first thing you should know is that the university’s questions aren’t meant to trick you. You see, the university isn’t just trying to find out if you’re a good fit for them, they’re also trying to show you that they’re a good fit for you. And they don’t do that by being mean.

For that reason, don’t assume they’re out to get you. Don’t think that the idea is to make your life miserable and to trap you into making some sort of negative admission. That’s not what it’s about. It’s a conversation where you’re trying to get a feel for each other. Just like a first date, I guess. You’re both hopeful. You’re both there to see if it might be something more.

Just don’t bring flowers.

Tell me something about yourself

Man, what a question to start off with! Where do you start? How long are you supposed to talk? How can you summarize yourself in a few sentences?

And yet, the question – and it’s cousin ‘tell me something unique about yourself’ aren’t half as nasty as you might take it to be. They’re not asking for a life summary. They’re not asking for a biography in brief. They’re asking for ‘something’ not ‘everything’. So tell them something. Pick out something that you feel is important in your life.

Did you go on an Elvis tour last year and really feel that you connected with his legend? Are you a star ping pong player and like to practice for hours? Do you dream of joining Elon Musk on his mission to Mars?

Try to find something that’s special about yourself and that will make you more memorable. Then talk about it with gusto and you’ve answered this question correctly.

Why are you interested in our college?

There is a wrong answer to this question and it’s where you tell them that it’s all about because the university is prestigious and you want to make a lot of money. That’s a bit like telling somebody on a first date you want to date them because doing so will make other people think you’re cool.

It might be true, but that’s something you leave between the lines.

Instead, talk about spiritual and intellectual growth. Talk about some aspect of the college that really impressed you. It could be a specific program. It could be a specific feature that the college has. Are you really impressed with a specific faculty and its achievements? Well that’s a good thing to talk about, then.

This is your opportunity to show how much you know about the university. So use it to that end.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This is a question that leaves many people floundering. How can you talk about a weakness without appearing weak? It isn’t as difficult as you may think. You see, the point here is not actually to talk about a weakness at all.

Instead, you first tell them a few of your strengths, while not blowing your own horn too much. Then you tell them about a weakness that you’ve got. Maybe you can get too single-minded. Maybe you’ve got a stubborn streak.

That done, you turn it around and say how you’ve turned that weakness into a strength. The single-mindedness has gotten you through hard periods by letting you get things done when others couldn’t. The stubbornness is the reason you got a GPA of 4.0.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

Sure, you’re young. You don’t feel you’ve achieved that much. I get it. I used to struggle with this question as well. Then I realized the structure of the sentence. It’s not asking if the world would be proud of your achievement. It asks what you’re proud of.

And there has to be something that you’re proud of, at least inside.

Now note the ‘inside’. We’re not looking for you to think about what other people would say is your proudest achievement, we’re talking about what you think is your proudest achievement. This is your chance to show character and maturity. Sure, you can talk about winning that essay prize, or how you wrote that awesome cover letter that got you employed.

Those aren’t your only options, though. You could also talk about how you took care of your mom and your brother while she was sick, while still maintaining your grades. Or you could talk about how you started a club in high school and it grew to become quite the phenomenon.

Who in your life has most influenced you?

This is your moment to demonstrate that you know that nobody is an island and that you can’t go through life alone. We’ve all had important people in our lives, be it our teachers, our parents, a friend, or a family member. This is where you give them the credit that they’re due.

But that’s not all you should do.

You should also use this moment to talk about what you learned from them and how important those lessons are for. Now, don’t let that mean that you should talk about yourself. Talk about the lesson instead. The fact that you’ve learned the lesson will reflect well on you.

What will you contribute to our campus community?

Sure, the relationship is a bit unequal. The university is an establishment with thousands of people working there and decades (if not centuries) of history. Still, that doesn’t mean it all has to be a one way street. It isn’t just about what they can do for you. It’s also about what you can do for them.

No, ‘pay tuition’ is not the right answer to this question.

Instead, dream a little. Talk about all the clubs that you’re considering joining. Discuss how you’d like to make a difference. After all, they’re not going to ask you to sign a contract. They’re just having a conversation.

What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?

Like the question above, they’re not asking you to be realistic or even pessimistic. The right answer is not, “stuck in middle management up to my eyeballs in debt because I couldn’t stop myself from buying that sports car that I couldn’t afford.”

Instead, say where you’d like to be. What’s the dream? What do you see as your perfect life? Even better, what do you think the university would see as your perfect life? Again, nobody is asking you to sign a contract, so be playful, be optimistic and use this opportunity to show your commitment to making the world a better place.

Recommend a good book to me

This question is trying to demonstrate if you’ve got some cultural awareness. Have you actually read books outside of your curriculum? Can you put yourself in the shoes of a university administrator and decide on something that would interest them?

And finally and most importantly: Can you actually explain why you think this book is a good choice for the interviewer to read? This is where you show your capacity to reason, construct an argument and defend a position – all vital skills when you go into a university.

Intermezzo

So that covers the first eight questions of this series. Be sure to check in with the next installment where we’ll cover the rest of the important questions that you could expect and what they’re really asking. In the meantime, think about the underlying concepts explored here.

Their goal is to get a glimpse at your character and your dreams. They know you haven’t lived sixty years, travelled to the moon and won a Noble Prize. That’s not the point. So don’t be afraid to talk about what moves and motivates you. That’s what the interview is really about.

: About the author: Patrick Cole is a passionate writer and contributor to several websites. Loves to write about education and self-realization. You can connect with him via Twitter

 

Not Enough Time For Everything Needed in College: Use 80/20 Rule

October 19th, 2016

BY MELISSA BURNS

The Rule of 80/20 was coined by an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1906, and since that time it has helped thousands of people manage their lives more efficiently. Also known as the Pareto principle, today it’s one of the most popular techniques used by successful people. The secret of its efficiency lies in the fact that applying this rule can help you achieve the best results with minimal effort.

It’s a dream come true for any student who has so much to do and only 24 hours in the day. Using the 80/20 Rule will enable you to boost your productivity and generally change your life to become a healthier and happier person. You just need to find the 20% of actions that yield 80% of results.

10 Original Ways to Apply the 80/20 Rule

  1. Rearrange your study schedule.
    Studying is a complicated process that consists of dozens tasks, such as reading books, studying news in scientific journals, interviewing sources, compiling notes, etc. Write down a list of every task you complete to prepare a particular project and choose which provide most information/best results. Eliminate the least efficient tasks and simplify your study process as a whole.
  2. Increase the income from your website.
    Running your own website offers great opportunities for every student. You can make money off it through affiliate programs, like Amazon’s or through ads if you have a blog. Whatever you choose, you need to make your page popular, which means filling it with great value. You can create top-quality content with the 80/20 Rule. Offer 80% of reliable information and 20% of personal input, and your readers will appreciate your posts much more.
  3. Waste less time online.
    Create a log of your online activities. Which of them are most rewarding? Mercilessly cut out 80% of the stuff that has no real value and you’ll free up a huge amount of time. Then, apply the same principle to your daily schedule and you’ll free even more hours to spend on doing the things that bring you 80% of your happiness.
  4. Sort your relationships.
    Assess how much time and energy you invest in every relationship in your life. Then think how much joy each of them brings you. Be honest with yourself and weed out the people who monopolize your time without making you happy in return.
  5. Improve your eating habits.
    What are 20% of the foods you eat 80% of the time? Are they healthy? Analyzing your diet using this principle and adjusting it accordingly will help make your meal plan better, without the stress that comes from cutting off the ‘bad’ foods entirely.
  6. Become a better person.
    Identify 20% of your qualities that are responsible for 80% of your success. Now, focus on improving those and developing them to become even better. This application of the 80/20 Rule will help students who can’t decide on which career they should choose.
  7. Make your life less stressful.
    Analyze your life as a whole and find 20% of things that cause the majority of your stress. It can be relationships, beliefs, habits, or even the lack of knowledge on some subjects. This list would be a roadmap to improving your life and becoming a happier person in general.
  8. Get rid of the unnecessary stuff.
    The 80/20 Rule is perfect for spring cleaning everything, from your closet to your hard drive. Take a toll of all the things you surround yourself with and remove the 80% you don’t really use. You can sell them making some extra money or just give them away to charity. With your house/wardrobe/table/computer de-cluttered, you’ll find it easier to focus and work. This kind of analysis will also help you choose the right kind of stuff to buy in the future.Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she  is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented.

     

Internet And Common App Have Huge Impact On Admissions

October 18th, 2016

The Atlantic, 10.17.16
How the Internet wrecked college admissions