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Girl studies for post-graduate degree with head in her books

Applying for a Post-Graduate Degree

When we get to the end of our studies, many of us are at a loss as to the next steps in our careers and our lives. At this stage, it can be tempting to apply for a post-graduate degree.

After all, more time spent at college seems like fun!

But it is vital to go into post-graduate study for the right reasons. It is important to make measured decisions and not act on impulse or whim. At the end of the day, you will be investing a lot of time and—more importantly—money in the program. And some may question if a college degree is worth the effort.

Read on for useful tips to bear in mind when contemplating to apply for post-graduate study.

Don’t rush into it

First of all, you should think about whether heading straight back into studying is the right option for you. Maybe you should take a year out to relax and earn some cash before embarking on your next challenge.

Contrary to what you might think, many employers look favorably upon those who have removed themselves from their comfort zone to work and travel abroad. It demonstrates a certain quality of independence most employers will value.

Also, don’t simply go into post-graduate study because you want to stall your entrance into the ‘real world’. You should think carefully about whether the course you intend to enrol in is going to help you with your career down the line.

Rather than undertake a post-graduate degree because you’re unsure of the next step to take, you should ask yourself: will it be worth my time and money? Where will this course get me?

On that note, if you haven’t already, make some goals and objectives.

What are your goals with a post-graduate degree?

Before making any major life decision, it is always a good idea to set out some targets and goals.

In this case, some questions to get you started could include: what are you trying to achieve from your move into post-graduate study? What do you hope to get out of it? How will this course further your career ambitions—if at all?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to consider why you are thinking about a post-graduate degree. You should also reflect on whether you could achieve your career goals via other means.

Of course, some professions require a master’s degree or higher level of academic qualification. But others—such as journalism, business, finance and marketing—offer industry-standard qualifications at a fraction of the cost of a post-graduate degree. For this reason, think about how you can get better value for money.

Earn while you learn

Making money while studying is, for most of us, the only feasible way to fund a post-graduate degree. Therefore, it is crucial to consider if your chosen mode of study is compatible with part-time work. If not, you may struggle financially, making your degree more stressful than it needs to be.

Many post-graduate degrees offer the option of part-time study. Opting for this route will ensure you get the most out of your degree without compromising your ability to make ends meet.

Why not take a job in a café, bar or restaurant? Hospitality work can be a fun way to make new friends. You could even meet influential figures who might help you out.

Weigh up the rewards of a post-graduate degree

Think about what this course is going to do for you.

Will it help you obtain skills in employability? Or do you already possess those skills? Is the cost of the degree going to be outweighed by potential future earnings? Will you be able to pay back your loans?

All the above questions are vital when you consider a post-graduate degree. Think about their answers sensibly to avoid disappointment or a difficult financial situation later on.

Remember: be realistic about what post-graduate study is; it’s not a golden ticket to employment!

Be ready for a challenge

After you have deliberated on all of the above, if you still think a post-graduate degree is right for you, be ready to embrace a challenge.

Post-graduate study is much harder than undergraduate.

You will be expected to do more reading and researching than ever before. If you think this workload will be too tough, perhaps post-graduate study is not for you.

Think carefully about whether you are willing to devote a whole new year of your life to intense study. Post-grads are expected to explore their subjects in comprehensive depth and detail. Be prepared for this and bring your A game!

So, before you fill out that application form, consider the above tips to ensure you make an informed decision.

 

College Experience

How to Learn More from Your College Experience

College isn’t just a stepping stone towards the start of a fulfilling career, it can be one of the most exciting times of your life. During your time there, you’re given multiple opportunities to cultivate a deeper understanding of an area of study as well as explore additional interests, meet interesting new people, and get to know yourself a little bit more—but you need to actually take those opportunities in order to make the most out of college.

This is how to learn more from your college experience:

Drop by events and seminars on campus

Guest speakers are always invited to college campuses, and a majority of the time they talk about some pretty thought-provoking topics! Whether a speaker is giving a lecture or an informative seminar about a social cause, you will unquestionably walk away from their event having learned something new and enlightening. Professors often offer extra credit for attending seminars as well, giving you the chance to boost your grade, too.

Study abroad if you have the chance

You can read a thousand books on a different country and come to learn everything about it, but doing so can never compare to the enriching experience of actually living there. Not only do you get to embrace a different culture when studying abroad, you can learn a new language, become more open-minded to another society, and even leave with a pen pal or two. Furthermore, living in a different country forces you to be independent and adapt to unexpected challenges, which can be very rewarding for your personal development.

Take classes you’re curious about

Besides dedicating most of your time to major studies, take classes that ignite your curiosity or simply sound fun. College is a time of self-exploration and discovery, and doing so through classes outside your major is a great start. You never know what might become a favorite new passion or an area of study that perfectly complements your major. Who knows, you might even switch to an entirely different major!

Talk to professors during office hours

A professor can be one of the coolest people you meet during college. You would be surprised at what life knowledge they can share besides helping you out with last week’s lecture. These people were once students like you and can offer insight on how to tackle the college years and even direct you to possible internships and professional opportunities. If you’re beginning to network, start with building the foundation of it with your professors.

Interact with different groups of people outside your social circle

Your main social circle shouldn’t be the only group of people you hang out with during college. Don’t be afraid to become friends with foreign exchange students, join campus groups who share your same interests, and network with classmates – these are individuals who can become your lifelong friends, teach you important lessons, or help you take steps forward in your career.

Act responsibly

Parties are going to be a big thing in college, and they may become events you attend every other weekend or so. Have fun by all means! But act responsibly and aware during your time at one. Watch your alcohol intake if you’ll be drinking, be cautious when exposed to drugs, and keep an eye out for your friends if you get separated. What matters the most at a party is the fact that you are safe, comfortable, and having a great time! By acting responsibly during a party, you learn how to take care of yourself, watch out for your friends, and develop good judgment skills.

During college, you will meet an incredible diversity of people and learn about their different backgrounds, be given endless opportunities to learn more about this world, and come closer to knowing who you are. At the end of the day, you are the one who determines whether or not college can be an amazing experience – so make it count!

Further reading: Exploring Campus

Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer, currently writing on behalf of Ohio Addiction Recovery Center. He’s written a variety of education, travel, health, and lifestyle articles to share his experiences with the world. In his free time, you can find him playing his guitar or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.
Type of Learner

What Type of Learner Are You?

Have you ever tried to process a new piece of information but find that you simply can’t get a grasp on understanding it? You may need to approach it with a different method.

Everyone learns differently—some people will want things shown to them, while other people need information written down. Some people like to listen to explanations while others will need to physically study it in order to soak it in. Schools tend to apply different methods of teaching during classes in order to accommodate all kinds of learners, but when you’re studying at home, it may be beneficial for you to figure out what type of learner you are and apply it to your personal work.

Reader/writer

Reading and writing is a combo that makes up a very traditional style of learning. If you are a reading or writing type of learner, then you will be able to learn best by reading text and rewriting it. For example, if you were learning a language, you would find it easiest to study the vocabulary by reading the words on a page, then copying them out yourself.

Visual

Graphs, infographics and dioramas are a visual learner’s bread and butter. It helps this type of learner to see the information in context and be able to visualize it in their mind. If you are a visual learner, then you’ll find colors helpful. When trying to remember a point, you will try to form an image of it in your head. When learning a language, creating charts and maps to link vocabulary and learn conjugations is hugely helpful to visual learners.

Auditory

Auditory learners will flourish when they are able to listen to information in order to learn it. If you’re an auditory type of learner, you will be a whizz at learning in lectures and will find podcasts incredibly useful. Auditory learners tend to process information by repeating it to themselves either out loud or in their heads. They will be the ones to be able to commit language to memory by listening to others speak it.

Kinesthetic

A more tactile approach is favoured by kinesthetic learners when studying. This type of learner will enjoy reading the information aloud, acting through problems and practical work. A kinesthetic learner tends to prefer picking up a language by conversing with native speakers.

Don’t try to punish yourself by studying in “traditional” ways. Everybody learns differently and at different paces, so try different methods to find one that works for you.

Further reading: Writing an Essay: The Process

 

College Degree to be Successful

Do You Need a College Degree to be Successful?

With potential loan debts and tuition costs rising every year, it’s no wonder half the millennial population is asking: do you need a college degree to be successful? The answer isn’t simple. There is no definitive proof that a degree can secure you the job of your dreams or lead to the ultimate “success” (especially because success is in the eye of the beholder). One person’s idea of being successful may be different to another’s. But, for now, lets assume that it means you have effectively climbed to the top of your field and earn a reasonably high salary.

A career prerequisite

Before considering whether you wish to attend college, you may want to reflect on what you have a real passion for. This is almost always the thing you will excel at. From there, you should surmise whether a degree is necessary in order to enter this vocation. For many industries, a degree isn’t a prerequisite for an entry-level position. In such circumstances, some students may feel a degree would simply postpone any possible opportunities. However, a degree may be an absolute must for certain fields—the obvious ones being medicine, the sciences, engineering and architecture.

Having realistic expectations is important at this stage of your decision-making. This is not to say don’t aim high, but be honest with yourself about what you can achieve. If your objectives are ambitious, devise a plausible plan that will make your dreams a reality. You may aspire to be a professional swimmer, but you should appreciate that this profession may be slightly out of reach. Instead, becoming the best swimming instructor in the region may be more achievable. Identifying a suitable location with a gap in the market may facilitate you founding a swimming school, which could even lead to a franchise.

What’s it worth?

There are various elements that can determine the value of your college degree: the amount you will ultimately pay to attend, your desired career path and your post-graduation living situation—each can contribute to its worth. One way to determine whether your college costs will stack up against your potential income is to use the Major ROI tool on the Discover Student Loans’ website. The website covers the potential average salary for different subject majors. For industries with six figure salaries, you can afford to pay for a more expensive institution. If the rewards are low, you may wish to consider a more economic method for achieving your goals.

Let’s not forget that financial aid is still available in the form of scholarships for those who need help with offsetting the cost of a college degree. Community colleges and state universities are also options that shouldn’t be cast aside. Both can provide quality educational courses for people with a subject or occupation in mind.

Pro college degree

  • Shows passion and dedication to the field you are applying for.
  • Prepares individuals for the workplace by developing independence, introducing important connections and improving social skills.
  • Provides resources that students can tap into for in-depth insight into various topics—experienced lecturers stand as a fountain of knowledge and expertise.
  • A college degree has become the standard for which many candidates are measured—mostly due to the imbalance of the job-to-candidate ratio.
  • According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2016, earning potential and educational attainment are directly related; lower earners had completed fewer levels of academia in every category.

Pro no college degree

  • Free from debt and tuition fees.
  • Internship and apprenticeship programs can introduce young people into the workplace—securing such a position doesn’t necessarily require a college degree to be successful.
  • Fostering ambition and making valuable business connections is possible via websites such as LinkedIn and Quora.
  • Online courses and certifications provide useful self-educational tools, providing knowledge needed for the workplace or specific industry.
  • The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey 2017 reported that business owners without a four-year degree far outnumber those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

What the experts say

Several famous personalities have managed to prosper without the help of a college degree; Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Coco Chanel and Steve Jobs, to name a few. This adheres with the data produced by the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey from 2017. It found that entrepreneurs who didn’t finish or attend college outnumbered those with higher-level degrees across both genders and every age group apart from the over 65s. However, all business owners who had skipped higher level education all shared common personality traits: each had a distinct attitude of independence, determination, a great idea and the willingness to take risks.

Jacqueline Gold, founder of the Ann Summers adult retail empire is another example of a self-made businesswoman, who climbed her way to the top without a degree. “I was acutely aware when I started Ann Summers Party Plan that I had no formal business training, but what started out as a disadvantage actually turned into one of my biggest advantages. I had to rely entirely on listening to customer feedback, which led to the rapid growth of Party Plan turning over £86,000 in its first year.” While Gold believes that college is undeniably beneficial, she also champions those that follow alternative paths. “I’m excited that there are individuals that want to do something different and create their own career and get straight in to the work place.”

On the topic, Chuck Runyon—co-founder of the 24-hour gym chain Anytime Fitness—commented: “If you want to get out of college and try to hustle, it still requires a great deal of capacity.” Runyon decided to leave college after he identified a gap in the market for a gym that was always open, one whose equipment focused solely on what was most frequently used by members. “I want to make it clear: you have to work every bit as hard, if not harder.”

The brain behind Microsoft, Bill Gates, agreed with Runyon’s sentiments. In a blog post in 2015, Gates said, “Although I dropped out of college and got lucky pursuing a career in software, getting a degree is a much surer path to success.” While the majority of successful entrepreneurs show that college degrees aren’t the only way to succeed in life, none seem to show a dislike for higher education, either.

Whether you decide to get a college degree or jump straight into work, it is clear that the key to succeed in life is to aim high, work your hardest, take risks, stretch your creativity, and—no matter what—follow your dreams.

Further reading: Free Courses to Boost Your Resume

Time-Management Tips for College Students

Six Helpful Time-Management Tips for College Students

College students are forever sprinting through their packed schedules, getting assignments done, meeting family and social commitments, working part-time and lots more. While they have the freedom and flexibility of college life by their side, it’s essential for them to be able to manage their time well.

If you’re going to be starting college soon, or are already overwhelmed by the buzz, here are six helpful time-management tips for college students.

  1. Use the Priority Matrix

It’s difficult to accomplish anything when you have too much to do in too little time. The best way out is to think about your priorities, identify the important ones, and approach them one-by-one.

Use Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle. List all to-do activities and categorize them into any one of these four:

  • Important and urgent
  • Important but not urgent
  • Not Important but urgent
  • Not Important and not urgent

Categorizing your tasks this way will help you identify ones you need to focus on and ones you need to ignore.

  1. Avoid procrastination

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing tasks, and we’re all guilty of doing this—especially for things we think are going to be unpleasant or difficult. While you’re technically setting yourself up for more stress by putting off a tough chore for later (because you’ll eventually have to get it done and you could be underestimating the time or effort that the task needs) procrastination also makes you unproductive!

Called the Zeigarnik Effect, the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about something that you pursued and left incomplete can keep you from accomplishing other tasks that you undertake. To avoid this, try this helpful time-management tip: break up your to-do list into smaller actionable items and refrain from jumping to another task until you complete the one you started off with.

  1. Join a study group

Joining a study group in college has numerous advantages and is brilliant in aiding time-management. By learning with other students, you can try out different learning methods and see which suits you best, fill in learning gaps by comparing notes, and break the monotony of studying alone.

Most importantly, joining a study group can help you manage your time effectively by serving as a motivator to stick to your study schedule. Also, since you’ll be committed to spending a certain amount of time studying, you’ll cover your syllabus quickly and efficiently.

  1. Use technology

There are several apps out there that can help you juggle through family and social commitments, work and coursework!

  • To-do list apps like Listastic, 2Do, and EpicWin are digital list trackers with varying features that can help you manage your time effectively.
  • With productivity apps like Evernote, you can keep your notes and ideas in one place; Remember the Milk helps you set up multiple-platform reminders, and 30/30 lets you understand how long you take to do things.
  • RescueTime and AutoSMS can help you reduce on-screen time, while stickK.com can keep you motivated to achieve goals.
  • Online calendars can help you collaborate on projects easily.
  1. Learn to say no

Saying “yes” can be crucial to success—but so is saying “no”. If you’re constantly saying yes to all ideas, opportunities and tasks that come your way, you’re not valuing your time or managing it correctly.

Of course, it can be difficult to tell your best friend that you can’t accompany them to the party they were looking forward to attending, or tell your professor that you can’t review their manuscript as you have to study for an exam. However, being honest about your commitments and schedules will help them understand your situation, and most of all, will help you achieve the more important tasks effectively.

Remember K.I.S.S.—Keep It Simple and Short! Be assertive and communicate your answer clearly, but also be respectful of others.

  1. Get rid of clutter

Clutter in your bag, on your desk, or in your wardrobe can build up stress, cause you to waste time looking for things you need, and make you unorganized. In addition to this, mental clutter can reduce decision-making skills and give way to procrastination.

Use the SPACE approach to help with time-management and do away with clutter:

  • Sort: Group belongings into categories
  • Purge: Do away with broken and useless items in each category
  • Assign: Give sorted items a permanent place to be stationed in
  • Containerize: Storage containers, bins, and shelves can make organizing stuff much easier
  • Equalize: Spend some time once each day or each week to go through your belongings, to purge, and to return items to their dedicated space

You now know what you need to do to stay on top of your assignments, work schedule and other commitments. Get started on implementing these six time-management tips for college students and you’re sure to see a positive change!

Author Bio:

Korie a full-time writer currently working with Only hangers and usually writes about living and lifestyle, she likes getting perspective on various topics of interest, which range from bullet journaling to creating the perfect terrarium!

 

Job After College

How to Land a Job after College

While graduation seems like it’s a long time away, before you know it you’ll be launched into the world of work. With thousands of students graduating across the country it can feel like a mad scramble to get a job after college. In the wise words of The Hitchhikers’ Guide to The Galaxy: “don’t panic”. With just a little time and effort, you too can join the ranks of working Americans with your very own job. We’ve collected some advice that you may find useful in your job search.

Figure out what your dream job is

Do you have any specific interests? Are there any skills you have that you want to be able to use in a future career? Try and figure out where you want to be in 10 years time and use that as your goal. Maybe you want to be a writer, a lawyer or a marine biologist. Pick out skills or experience that you’ll need to achieve this goal and work towards it in your search for a job after college.

Don’t worry about landing your dream job to begin with

This nugget of advice may seem contradictory to the previous, but it’s true. Very few people find themselves with their ideal job as the first one they get. Instead, apply for jobs with similar elements to your dream role, and use it to work on your transferrable skills. Employers may be nervous about hiring a graduate who doesn’t have much experience, so try and use your first job after college to show future employers that you are a reliable worker. You could try to enter the industry you eventually want to end up in, but don’t be discouraged if you have to start at the very bottom of the ladder.

Utilise your assets

We live in a world of endless technological possibilities—why are you stuck using emails and phone calls to try and get yourself a job? With social media, there are hundreds of employers looking to hire. LinkedIn allows you to showcase your skills while applying for jobs. You could even create your own website to properly advertise yourself on. Take charge of your personal branding so that people can reach out to you, or see what you’re made of when they’re considering hiring you.

Network your ass off to land a job after college

Who is doing what you want to do? Find people with your ideal job and reach out to them. Try not to be creepy or annoying—instead, contribute to their conversations on Twitter, or respond positively to their work. There are plenty of networking events and career fairs you could attend in order to meet like-minded people. Be confident, introduce yourself and let them know you’re available.

Don’t give up on your dreams

There is always going to be that one person who gets the perfect job after college having sent out just one application. Whether you send out one, 10 or 100 applications, don’t lose hope that you’re going to get to where you need. Take care of your mental health during your job search—take breaks when you need to and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just make sure you keep that end goal in sight.

Further reading: Nail a Successful Job Interview