MCAT Prep: How to Rock Your Exam 1

The MCAT or the Medical College Admission Test is a computer-based, multiple-choice, standardized examination which all medical school applicants have to take in order to get into medical school.

If you’re currently trying to get into the med school of your choice, it is your responsibility to score as high as possible. The evaluation is the most important method for college committees to evaluate whether or not to accept someone into med school.

Scoring a 31 or higher on the MCAT may seem difficult to attain, but with the right MCAT prep, you’ll be rocking the MCAT in no time.

Study with an MCAT Prep Book

Surely you’ve seen those ridiculously thick prep books at your University bookstore. Most are printed by companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review. These prep books generally are a bit more explanatory than textbooks, containing practice tests as well as real-life applications.

Use Internet Resources

The internet takes MCAT prep to the next level. It’s refreshing to know that every subject that the MCAT covered is written about in detail somewhere in a video or a website on the internet.

However, at times is difficult to locate the correct information, making you waste hours of precious studying time looking for the right materials. It is best to go to a trustworthy source that you know has clear information for your studying needs.

Enroll in an MCAT Prep Class

MCAT prep classes generally meet once a week and offer you a chance to learn the material in a classroom setting. With the benefit of a proficient instructor, interested classmates, and a consistent schedule, your MCAT studies will be enriched by taking a prep course from Altius MCAT Prep or a similar provider.

Find an MCAT Coach

A personal MCAT coach or tutor can help you work through the harder topics as you study. Perhaps you keep scoring 10s at Verbal Reasoning and Biological Science, but have a solid 6 in Physical Sciences. An MCAT physical sciences coach will help you bring up your score on that subject.

However you prepare for your MCAT, it is up to you to get the highest score possible. Taking time to invest in your preparation will set you miles ahead when test day arrives. Dig in now and study harder by getting prep books, utilizing internet resources, enrolling in study classes, and investing a coach.

While the preparation process can be costly and challenging, it will all be worth it the day you receive your medical school acceptance letter.


About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Can A Career in Engineering Be Fun? 5 Interesting Jobs for Graduates Reply

When it comes to “fun” college majors, degrees in art, PE or theatre often tend to come to mind—but not usually engineering. Engineers are often portrayed as serious men and women squinting at blueprints and crunching numbers. However, engineering encompasses many different fields, and some people are surprised to learn that engineers can actually find extremely interesting work and have enviably fulfilling careers.

On top of the possibilities for exciting work, engineering can be a stable and lucrative career path, offering graduates the best of both worlds. Overall, engineering employment is expected to grow by approximately 4% from 2014 to 2024—with some engineering specialties growing much faster than this. If you’ve ever thought about a career in engineering, here are 4 interesting jobs engineering students can pursue after finishing their degrees.

1. Roller Coaster Engineer

Ever wonder who creates those stunning roller coasters at Disneyland or Six Flags? These machines are truly a feat of engineering, and they require a great deal of precision to ensure their safety as well as the thrill factor.

There are several types of engineers that work on amusement park rides, but ride engineers (a specialty within the mechanical engineering field) are responsible for working with designers to ensure that the rides are built to be functional and safe. For specialty theme-based rides, this can take engineers as long as 3 to 5 years to complete a single ride.

Fun Fact: Roller coaster engineers who work for Disneyland are known as Imagineers, and their jobs are about as creative as you can get in this in-demand STEM field.

What’s required: Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, licensure

Average Salary: $88,190

2. Bioengineer

You don’t have to engineer buildings or machines as an engineer; you can engineer plants and animals instead. Bioengineers are responsible for advances in fields like food production and healthcare. Growing new skin and organs, creating genetically engineered plants to be safe for human consumption, and designing artificial joints are all projects bioengineers have been responsible for. This exciting and innovative career path is a great option for people with natural curiosity and a scientific mind.

What’s required: Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering, or engineering with study in Biology; advanced degrees helpful

Average Salary: $91,760

3. Civil Engineer

“Civil engineering” may sound like one of the most boring jobs in the world, but it doesn’t have to be. Not only are civil engineers essential to global infrastructure, they often get to work on exciting and interesting projects. For example, some of the biggest civil engineering projects in the world have been lavish airports built on artificial islands. The Kansai International Airport in Japan contains a 40 foot seawall and cost $31.9 billion to build.

Civil engineers also work on projects like highways, bridges, and other essential projects that allow us to travel, work, and live. It’s one of the most important jobs to our economy, and demand for civil engineers continues to grow.

What’s required: A bachelor’s degree in civil engineering

Average salary: $89,730

4. Aerospace Engineer

Just about every kid has big dreams of becoming an astronaut, but what most 8-year-olds don’t recognize is how many smart and talented people are needed to support those astronauts in getting them out of Earth’s atmosphere and into space. Space engineers work with the latest, most expensive technology, and are responsible for astronauts’ and public safety while trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe. A knowledge of physics and mathematics are some of the most important skills in a space engineer’s toolkit, and they have to be extremely precise to be successful in the field.

What’s required: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, physics, or other related field, master’s degree in astronautical engineering or similar, PhD helpful

Average salary: $107,000

Find Your Calling

No matter what your interests, you’re likely to find an interesting career path within the broad field of engineering. However, becoming an engineer requires dedication and rigorous coursework, so you should think carefully about what subjects interest you before you decide to pursue a career in engineering—it’s a long haul through the coursework if you don’t enjoy what you’re studying. If you find your calling, however, you might be able to make an excellent salary while doing fulfilling work. What could be better?


Ryan Ayers has been a consultant for over five years within multiple industries including information technology, medical devices and logistics. Many clients call him the BizTech Guru. He is a freelance writer on the side and lover of all things related to business, technology, innovation and the LA Clippers. Read more from Ryan: @TheBizTechGuru


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

4 Ways Small Colleges Can Attract More Diverse Applicants Reply

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While every school strives to have as much enrollment as they reasonably can, that goes double for small colleges. Large universities attract a greater percentage of state and federal funding, forcing many smaller colleges to rely more heavily on tuition and fees to make up the difference. In a perfect world, this would mean a diverse student body with people from all walks of life, but it does exclude people that are socioeconomically disadvantaged by its very nature.

For that reason, it can be difficult to attract applicants to a smaller school that are truly diverse, but far from impossible. Here are four ways small colleges can embrace diversity and create a more eclectic student body.

Offer Scholarships of Different Kinds

As Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid.” Everyone has a talent to offer, no matter what background they come from, so by creating scholarships for potential students from all walks of life, you attract students from every background.

You could give a scholarship to people majoring in a very specific field, or offer one to those who have gone through an ESL program, such as those at the Interactive College Of Technology, and passed the TOEFL exam, for starters.

Conduct Community Outreach

For many students, an education at a small college may seem out of reach due to the perception of high fees and strict admission requirements. As a result, some may feel that they simply are not “good enough” to be a member of a smaller school. By creating programs that bring the college to the students, even as young as elementary school, you create an attachment within the child that makes them grow up wanting to attend your college.

Offer Something for Free

When Texas A&M University—Commerce in Commerce, TX wanted to boost enrollment in their graduate courses, they did something that many schools would frown upon: offer free tuition. This wasn’t open to everyone—just those who were primary and secondary teachers—but enough people took them up on it that it shifted the demographics of the classes dramatically, creating a new crop of students from all over the area eager to learn, and many of whom graduated.

Change the Local Culture

With the advent of social media, everyone is becoming more conscious of their reputation, colleges included. Use this to your advantage by creating a distinct culture that appeals to a wide variety of students, such as “going green” or offering unusual extracurricular activities. You may not have the powerhouse football team in a larger school, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an identity that attracts people from all over the place.

It’s easy for a smaller school to feel intimidated by the massive enrollment numbers and varied student body of larger, division one colleges, but there’s nothing besides the numbers that a smaller school can’t emulate. By capitalizing on your assets and bringing the experience to students’ doorsteps, you can generate a steady flow of students from every corner of the world that are eager to join your ranks.


Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can follow her on twitter and LinkedIn.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Five Ways to Increase Your Job Prospects While in College Reply

Most college students get out of college to face the harsh reality that getting a job isn’t as easy as they had thought.

Contrary to the notion they’ve been brought up with — to “go to college, get good grades and get a job” — they realize the hard way that it isn’t so easy, and that they need to do more than just get good grades in college to get a job. Don’t despair, though. Doing the following five things will significantly increase your job prospects as a college student:

Brush Up on Your Interpersonal Skills: Many college students, especially in this social media age, lack interpersonal skills. Interestingly, though, research shows that 60 percent of employers aren’t hiring applicants due to lack of interpersonal skills. Add not making a good first impression to the mix and most college job applications are dead on arrival.

If you are offered communication classes in college, especially nonverbal communication classes, be sure to enrol in them. Join groups that allow you to be more social. It’ll help you in the very near future.

Gather Job Experience While in College: Many college students are familiar with the catch-22 situation of getting a job after college: As a fresh graduate you apply to companies expressing your interest in getting a job. They ask you how many years of job experience you have. You tell them you have none and they say they need at least a year or two of job experience to hire you. You can’t get hired with no job experience, yet you need job experience to get hired.

The solution to this is simple: while still in college, start to build up on your job experience. Doing part-time jobs, volunteer jobs, etc, slowly and gradually build up experience. When you get out of college and you are able to boast of two years of job experience you slowly accumulated, you just significantly increasedphase out your prospects of getting hired.

Identify Job Trends and Align Your College Education Accordingly: For some college students, by the time they are out of college their job prospects would have diminished significantly. This is because jobs related to what they studied have been phased out. For example, while many jobs have already been replaced by computers, even more will be soon — these include: insurance underwriters, bank tellers, financial analysts and even construction workers. On the other hand, some jobs in some fields (e.g. IT) are struggling to get people and will be available for a considerable long time. According to this compilation of cyber security statistics, for example, there will be an estimated 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs by 2021 — up from about 1 million in 2016. In other words, if your college education aligns with cyber security, your employment is pretty much automatic.

Try to Get a Certification: Being certified will significantly increase your job prospects as well as your potential compensation. This especially applies in certain fields. For example, in the accounting field getting a CPA will automatically make you more appealing to prospective employers. It will increase your potential compensation, too. Same goes for getting an MBA in the business field. While having just a degree can still help you get hired, getting a certification will double your chances.

Work Towards an Advanced Degree: Getting a Masters or a PhD will certainly require some extra time, but it is well worth its weight in gold. You can’t get into a lot of management level positions without having an advanced degree. At the same time, a lot of entry level jobs now require you to have at least a Master’s degree before they hire you. Now, what many college students don’t know is that if you want to get an advanced degree, work starts in college. If your grades are consistently poor in college, you could kill your chances of getting an advanced degree. If your grades are consistently good, however, you could get a scholarship.


John Stevens is the founder and CEO of Hosting Facts.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Learning About Finance 101: 15 Lessons Every Student Needs to Know 1

People say that money makes the world go ‘round and with good reason. But that also makes finances one of the most troublesome topics out there. A “rule of thumb” is that you learn about finances as you go, meaning that you learn by growing up and making mistakes that you might regret making in the first place. That’s why nobody really bothers to give you heads up. However, the sooner you learn about finances the better. Therefore, here are a few lessons every 20-year-old needs to know about finances.

Create a budget plan

Having a budget plan is the essential basic when learning about finance. It gives you insight on how much money you actually own, which you later break down on how much you have to spend and where. That way, you’ll be able to spend your budget accordingly and cover all the essentials, maybe even have a little saved up at the end of the month.

Try to cut costs

Every 20-something is careless, especially when it comes to finances. If you try to cut costs as much as possible, you will be able to save that money for something more important. Ask yourself, do you really have to buy frivolous things just to stay trendy or can you spend that money more wisely and buy things that you actually do need?

Avoid debt

Debt is one of the worst enemies of your financial plans. Young adults that get their hands on credit cards don’t really care where they swipe them and or why, as long as they pay the monthly minimum, everything will be fine. It won’t, actually. What you may not know is that the longer it takes to pay off your debt the more money you’ll waste on interest rates that feed the banks. If you can’t avoid debt altogether, then at least try to regulate your spending and pay it off as soon as you can.

Credit score

A lot of adults don’t know much about the personal credit score, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be either. A credit score determines your creditworthiness. That means that lenders take your credit score into consideration when you’re looking for a loan. A bad credit score results in loans being denied or being charged extra-high interest rates by the lenders.

Read your credit report

Learning about finance means that you’re aware of your financial status. You could be paying your bills on time, making sure there’s no outstanding debt on your credit cards and still have a bad credit score because of a simple mistake in your credit report. That’s why you need read it regularly, because that way, you can spot if there is in fact a mistake or if someone else is using your social security number making you a victim of an identity theft.

Personal insurance

Insurance is one of the key elements in finance. Everything you have built up until now or everything you’re trying to build could be compromised by a simple accident. Investing in personal insurance is always a good way to protect yourself, as well as your assets in case something goes terribly wrong. That’s why you should always consider insurance as part of your financial planning.

Insurance bonds

Understanding surety bonds is also one of the important financial elements. You may ask what is a surety bond? Simply put, it’s an insurance bond that guarantees that all agreed upon obligations will be met. For example, if you’re in the construction business and you promise to build a house under certain standards in the agreed-upon amount of time; if you fail to deliver on your promise, then claims can be made against you.

This is important to know because if you’re planning on starting your own business then you may be obligated to obtain a surety bond by the government. On the other hand, you need to know about bonds if you procure services from such companies and make sure you can recover your losses if they fail to deliver as promised.

Retirement plans

Here’s the kicker: you need to start saving now if you want to have enough money to spend when you’re old and retired. The irony may bring tears to your eyes, but the reality is what it is. Nevertheless, understanding retirement plans is essential when you’re learning about finance, because social security won’t be enough to secure a good retirement and you’ll need either an individual retirement account (IRA) or an employer sponsored plan 401(k) to get you settled.

Investments

If you save enough money, you might consider investing it in some way to turn a profit. Understanding how and where to invest is important if you want to have stable finances. For instance, you may choose to invest in the stock market and buy a few shares of some company. Each year you will be paid dividends on the company’s shares you own which you can allocate to your savings account or reinvest them on same terms to grow your profits, which is called a compound interest or compounding.

Understanding the risk

It’s important to know that each investment is a risk. How risky will your investments be depends on you, but you’re always at risk of losing all of your assets. For example, a bank goes bankrupt and you lose your savings, a company goes bankrupt and you lose your shares and so on and so forth.

Liquidity

Another important aspect of investments is understanding liquidity. Liquidity is how fast you can turn your asset into money. How liquid are your assets depends on what you’ve invested in. Therefore, if you invested in a piece of real estate, such as a house, it will take time before you liquefy a property into cash. Only cash, gold and stocks are liquid on their own.

Inflation

Money loses value over time, because as the population grows, more money is printed and it essentially loses value. Just remember that your parents bought a house when they were young, for a significantly smaller price than you’d have to pay for the same house today. What you have now, may be worth less tomorrow.

Have an emergency fund

Emergency funds are essential to have outside your regular finance plan. You never know if something may go bad and being prepared just in case, puts you one step ahead of the danger. Emergency funds come in handy if you’re between jobs or if you need to access the money right away.

Understand taxes

Taxes are those pesky fees you simply have to pay unless you want to get stuck in a perpetual cycle of debt for the rest of your life. Education doesn’t teach us about taxation in most cases, but don’t let that stop you from learning about it as soon as possible. After all, it’s sometimes about 40% of your overall income that goes to taxes and that’s not an amount you can neglect.

Always have a long term plan

This may be the most important lesson you need to learn. Having a long term plan for the future will give you an opportunity to prepare accordingly. As a 20-year-old, you may not think that planning is relevant at your age. However, it’s never too early to formulate a plan. Planning for college, family, buying a car or a property will give you time to prepare, so you won’t have to improvise once you’ve made a decision.

Finance can be a dull and difficult topic but, be that as it may, it’s still very important and you can’t really avoid it. It’s better to learn early on, than it’s to find yourself in a difficult position with no knowledge on how to sort it out.


Emma Miller is a marketer and a writer from Sydney. Her focus is digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at Bizzmark blog and a mother of two.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Tech for Teaching: 5 Awesome Electronic Tools for Educators Reply

Learning is often an unpleasant experience for kids, from elementary school right up through high school graduation. Traditional classroom instruction is tedious. Ironically, this is even truer for gifted students. But today’s generation of students identifies more than any previous generation with technology. Odds are that half your class by junior high school will have their own smartphone and selection of apps. You can make classes more interesting for students by introducing useful tools for educators. At the same time, you’ll make the teaching experience easier on yourself.

Project Management

You can start treating homework or class assignments as formalized projects. Depending on the age of your students, productivity software like spreadsheets, desktop publishing, graphics programs, video editing, file sharing, and more can help them become more engaged. Some of these programs are available via the cloud, or offered as special student editions at low cost or for free. The hands-on nature of using apps is an immersive experience that encourages participation and so makes classroom management easier.

Printing 3D Objects

A 3D printer is now available as affordable desktop devices. While the high temperatures involved make them inappropriate for young children, they are endlessly fascinating for older kids. The printers utilize various 3D design programs to create digital files that the printer software translates into 3D objects, usually by fusing together layers of plastic filament. You can create anything from historical landmarks to molecules at scale. It gives kids a chance to explore such concepts as computer-aided drawing, design and review processes, and real-life STEM applications, not to mention history, art, biology, and anything else you can prepare models for. The fun and fascination of creating solid objects enables them to better understand and retain what you’re trying to teach.

Website Portals

You might also consider setting up a classroom page of your own. This can be done as cheaply as a few dollars a month. Students can access it to stay informed and become more engaged. For example, you could post test results, upcoming exams, lessons, current study assignments, and other topics related to your curriculum or the school in general. Making important information available online will free you from answering a lot of questions and repeating notices and instructions. Kids and parents can login from home to check homework assignments, prepare for the next day’s lesson, get feedback, and more.

Teach Typing

Handwriting may be dead, but keyboards aren’t. Children who are expert at texting will find that actual typing is important to good communication skills in an adult world of emails, reports, proposals, and other demands for the written word. Learning to type at an early age will become a life-long habit. With software and the internet, typing can be a part of learning English. There are a number of applications for teaching typing to children by making it fun. When they learn to type, you can start asking for digital files via email rather than paperwork. This will save you from the clutter and filing chores of hard copies.

eLearning

There are any number of online training courses on many subjects for children of every age. E-learning modules can incorporate gamification or technologies like VR (virtual reality) or AR (augmented reality) to make lessons interactive. Kids can learn at their own pace, save their progress, and log in again the next day to continue from the same point. Automated testing can also enable you to evaluate their learning progress in real time and tabulate individual or classroom scores on a variety of subjects. With each student immersed in their own online lessons, you’ll have more time on your hands and a lot more peace and quiet.

Any technology that illustrates or demonstrates classroom lessons is an invaluable teaching aid. It also allows children to gain real-life experiences and skills. Best of all, project and productivity tools can help to document and streamline your own management efforts.


Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

7 Tips for Building Your Learning Strategy the Right Way Reply

 

When you begin your college studies, you need a clear plan of development. Otherwise, you’ll lose yourself somewhere along all those options and opportunities.

From the moment you set a clear direction, you’ll be able to develop a learning strategy that lets you go through your studies as quickly and as effectively as possible. When should you do this? From the very first day of your studies.

According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, many university students fail to use common learning strategies even when they know how effective those methods are. The researchers identified the need for training on different learning strategies, so each student could identify a method that works for them.

Let’s do some of that training today, shall we? We’ll give you 7 effective tips for building your learning strategy the right way.

1.     Start with Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

So you have a paper to write or exams to take, and you focus on those goals. That’s great. But how are those goals aligned with your overall strategy? Are you taking the right classes?

It’s important to make a plan that leads you to a certain big goal. According to that plan, you can start planning for the year, the term, the month, and the day. When you’re focused on your big long-term goals, you will start taking the right courses and learning the right skills. Your entire educational journey will gain purpose.

2.     Set Progressive Milestones

A certain goal, such as “get an A in philosophy” is too general. How exactly will you get there? You’ll have few milestones along the way: you’ll go to classes, complete projects, become part of discussions, learn progressively, and take exams. You must specify all progressive milestones that get you to a goal.

For example, start making lists of all books, articles, and studies you have to read for your major. Turn them into milestones. Include all papers you have to write for different courses in your calendar. Turn them into milestones. Then, set smaller milestones for each of those papers: research, planning, writing, proofreading.

 

3.     Explore Better Learning Techniques

Are you used to the good-old style of reading and trying to remember everything you read just before an exam? This approach may get you a passing grade, but it’s not effective. You usually forget most of the things you thought you knew. Instead of learning, you’re just memorizing.

It’s time to start exploring better ways for analyzing and understanding the material. Understanding is the key. Some of the most effective methods include distributed practice, concept mapping, self-testing, summarization, and collaborative learning. Concept mapping, for example, enables you to connect your previous knowledge with the concepts you’re currently mastering. That’s a good way to keep information in your long-term memory.

Experiment with different learning techniques and find the one that works for you the most. Reading and memorizing is definitely not the right choice.

4.     Identify Your Weak Spots

When you determine your weaknesses, you’ll know where to start from in order to improve your learning strategy. Are you bad at note-taking? Do you lack memory skills? Is writing or critical thinking your weakness? Whatever the weak spot is, you have to identify it and make a plan for improving that aspect of studying.

If necessary, take an online course or get a tutor to help you overcome that challenge.

5.     Ask Away!

You’re not a superhuman. You can’t understand every single concept from a single class. Whenever you have questions about something your professor is talking about, ask away. That’s what the professor is there for: to clarify all issues for their students.

How will this help you with your learning strategy? Well, it’s the most effective way to get information and explanations that help you learn the concepts. You won’t have to go through online resources and do a lot of learning to understand; you’ll just ask the professor.

6.     Master the Art of Time Management

Marion Livingston, a professional tutor at AU BestEssays, explains: “Students have more time than they realize. However, most of them are used to wasting it. They don’t bother attending all classes. They don’t start working on their projects soon enough. They don’t start studying early enough. They waste all this time, and all of the sudden they find themselves burning the midnight oil and not achieving the results they expect. With proper time management, they can make their lives easier.”

How do you learn the skill of proper time management? Just use your Google Calendar. You have 24 hours a day, just like the most successful students in your class do. Will you waste them or will you use them effectively? Plan how to get the most out of every day you have.

7.     Be a Proactive Student

College is not only about studying. It’s also about various student activities, which help you reveal new interests and contribute towards the campus community. Be a proactive student! Get involved in campus activities and meet more people. They will motivate you to grow your learning strategy in the right direction.

Are you ready to start defining your reasons for learning and growing towards a specific goal? It’s time to develop a learning strategy. Such an approach will make you a really successful student!


Lynn Adamsen is a freelance writer and editor from Edinburgh who has helped individuals and businesses with their writing challenges for almost a decade now. Now she is taking full advantage of the web copywriting course. Feel free to get in touch with her at @lynn_adamsen.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

 

Getting a Good Education: Why Parents Should Encourage Their Kids to Go to College Reply

High school is approaching a rapid end for your child, and it is time to have that serious talk about what their future plans are. While your child may be considering a job in the local market, it may not be in their best interests to halt their educational momentum. They have always had pretty decent grades, and this will tend to mean they will do well in college also: if they apply themselves. With that in mind, it will be in your child’s best interests to explain to them why pursuing college now is going to help them out in the long term.

What College Has to Offer

When your child was in high school, they were introduced to a general education that was not very skill oriented or specific enough around which to build a meaningful career. In college, they will take courses that move them beyond basic applications of math, science and other key subjects that are central to modern practical and industrial applications. In many cases, a career path can be more easily fortified by a specific college-based curriculum than by simply working jobs that require little to no skills.

Wages Increase with Education

It is unlikely that your child fully grasps the value of having a college degree. Even if they only go as far as an associate’s degree or some niche technical degree, this can translate to a huge increase in wage earnings over their lifetime. In fact, the more in-demand their degree program happens to be, the more they will tend to earn. This makes good sense; since, as with any other system of supply and demand, those who are in demand simply stand to be the most prized for their desperately needed skills. It is important your child starts to see themselves as one whose skills and education should make them part of the in-demand crowd.

Choosing a College

Part of going to college is choosing the right learning institution for achieving your child’s long term educational goals. They may find that what they are interested in is being offered through an online degree, at a regional campus that is run by an organization like College America. Such learning institutions are often able to help students find the career paths that are currently in demand: including degree programs geared for careers in business, healthcare and information technology.

Exposure Matters

Something important that your child needs to understand is that college is an opportunity that opens them up to more than simply earning a degree. Your child will be in contact with professional educators who, in many cases, are thought leaders that help to define the direction of the fields that students like your child are heading into. This is especially true at research-based universities that push their instructors to publish or perish. Often these instructors will take a liking to certain students and want to groom them for high level research in a given field of study. These once in a lifetime opportunities are priceless. They make it possible for someone learning about a field to get their name attached to groundbreaking research; thus, making that student far more desirable and attractive to large corporations who need first-hand, cutting-edge, innovative thinkers on staff.

College is a time when your child will mature as a person. It is also a time when their insights into how they fit into the ever evolving global economy will start to take shape. Since college will give your child new experiences, a higher education and rare opportunities they will not find anywhere else, the decision to go to college is one your child should think about long and hard. This decision should be made with an informed perspective about what a college education can do for them.


Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Connect with her on Google+and (@LizzieWeakley).


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

Becoming an Academic: 4 Scholarly Ways to Pursue a High-Quality Education Reply

Many laymen think scholars just discuss issues the rest of the world does not care about. But the truth is that they direct the course of mankind. If a scholar has a good idea, other professors will include it in their syllabuses and teach it to young minds. If you are interested in becoming a scholar, there are a few things you can do.

Do Not Be a Clone

You may have been influenced by robust scholars in your field. But if you are just regurgitating everything they say, people are not going to take you seriously. In fact, your dissertation will have to prove that you can contribute original content to your field. Further, reading different scholars will diversify the way you think and help you to come up with new ideas.

Scholarship is Something You Do, Not Something You Are

If you want to be a scholar just for the prestige of having a title before your name, you are probably in it for the wrong reason. A scholar is somebody who regularly practices scholarship. This means you will have to write in peer-reviewed journals on a regular basis. Practice thinking about your field and prepare to really consume yourself in it. A good place to start is to read a lot of good books or even to start a blog.

Learn to Handle Criticism

Many people struggle with handling criticism. But that is what scholarship is about. If you submit something to a peer-reviewed journal, you can expect other academics to pick it apart. If you cannot handle that, this will be an aspect of emotional maturity you need to develop.

You will also have to deal with laymen picking your ideas apart. Since the advent of the internet, many scholars are doomed to respond to the popular-level nonsense that emerges online. You will have to discern the best way to spend your time. Typically, other scholars should receive most of your attention.

Choose a Credentialed University

Some students choose third-tier schools for their doctorates because they do not have time or money. But academics will not take you seriously if you have an unaccredited doctorate. Fortunately, there are plenty of online programs from high-quality universities. If your field is library science, pursue an online library science degree.

If you are interested in becoming a scholar, then your influence could direct the course of human history. But this also means you will have to consign yourself to the life of the academic. You will spend your spare time reading and writing. That will be more of a public service than anything else.


Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

How to Thrive in College Programs Geared to STEM Disciplines Reply

STEM careers count among the hottest and best-paying jobs around. A sampling of salaries for engineers on the Glassdoor website shows that the average salary for people working in this STEM field is just above $76,000 per year. It is salaries like these that make these fields attractive to incoming college students. If you’re entering a STEM-related degree program in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, here are a couple of tips to help you thrive in your new college environment.

Prep Courses

Most STEM fields require a foundation in the sciences and in mathematics. The early years of your education should be spent taking coursework in fields like biology, trigonometry, or geometry, (depending upon the demands of your program). If you aren’t sure which of these prep courses you should take for your major, be sure to talk to your guidance counselor or refer to your college catalog.

Specialized Knowledge

According the University of Illinois at Chicago website, regulations may play a role in how software like mobile apps for the medical field gets developed (or not). There can be issues pertaining to unclear regulations or privacy laws. If you’d like to use your STEM career to go into a specific field such as this, it might also be helpful to take coursework that deals with ethics or law in your future field. This specialized knowledge can help you define a career niche as well as help you make decisions about future internships.

Non-STEM Options

If you’re interested in a STEM career, but aren’t sure if you actually want to work in a STEM job, say as an engineer or a computer programmer, it’s possible to work in positions that support these types of jobs. For example, Ohio University offers a Master in Engineering Management.

This field of study builds on an engineer’s education and adds coursework in project management, communication, and engineering process improvement. This is just an example. Chances are there is a management or support position in your STEM field of interest. When you are looking at your STEM field, think about taking coursework that would support a STEM job. These skills allow you to work in your STEM field, but in a different capacity.

Soft Skills

A lack of STEM skills isn’t the only reason people don’t get jobs post-college. These graduates often lack communication, critical-thinking, or even creative skills. (In other words, they need more soft skills). While it’s important for you to get a solid foundation in math and science, don’t completely overlook classes like speech and debate, creative writing, or even art. Having these skills could mean the difference between getting a job after you graduate or not.

People who pursue STEM degrees position themselves to get good jobs and good incomes once they graduate. If you’ve committed yourself to getting a STEM degree, be sure to take coursework in both basic math and science—as they relate to your field—as well as classes in disciplines that teach you soft skills.

Additionally, if you know you want to work in a STEM field, it’s often helpful to know which one specifically in order to build the skills necessary to work within the regulations of that industry. Finally, remember that not all STEM-field jobs require you to have degrees in engineering or math. You might find a job in a support position. Be sure to take some classes that deal with these positions as well.


About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.