Speedy Degree: Best Tips to Help You Finish Your Program In Record Time Reply

speedy-degree-best-tips-to-help-you-finish-your-program-in-record-timeWhile college can be a great experience, every extra semester you spend taking classes will cost quite a bit of money. This has left many people wondering what they can do to complete their courses and graduate as quickly as possible.

Take One or Two Extra Courses Each Semester

Even though graduation rates are up, many students now take college classes for six or more years. One of the most straightforward ways to reduce the amount of time you spend in college is to add one or two classes to your schedule every semester. Some colleges require students to sign waivers or maintain a certain GPA before taking additional classes.

Test Out of Your Basic Classes

Depending on what institution you have been accepted to, you might have the option of testing out of basic classes. This is especially popular among students who have recently taken advanced classes in high school. Those who complete difficult classes in high school should be able to bypass various college courses by taking a handful of competency tests.

Start an Online Program

Trying to complete college as quickly as possible can be very stressful when taking traditional courses. An online program could save you hours every week by cutting back on how much time you must spend driving to and from class. The work that must be done for these classes can also be completed around your own schedule instead of a rigid schedule set by the school. There are online programs for pretty much any degree out there. There are some for education-related careers, engineering, and science. There are even accelerated msn programs that you can participate in online if you’re wanting to go the healthcare route.

Take Classes Throughout the Year

Summer school used to be something that students dreaded, but off-season classes are an absolute necessity for many college students. The vast majority of colleges and universes offer ongoing courses with as many as six full semesters throughout the year. While it can be stressful, taking classes nonstop could halve your total time spent in school.

Obsessively Organize Your Study Area

With so much work to be done in the next few years, you must become obsessed with organization. Every student needs a very organized study area where they can relax, take a deep breath, and then focus on the task in front of them. This area should be free from distractions and exclusively used to get work done.

In addition to these few tips, you can also speak with your counselor about earning credits with your job. Many companies now offer internship and externship programs to students in exchange for course credits. This could potentially save you thousands over the course of your college career.


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.

Choosing the Right Degree: When it Matters and When it Doesn’t Reply

Confusion , Direction , ArrowPicking the right degree in college can be a difficult decision. After you graduate, you will want to be happy with your decision and be able to get a job in a career field that you enjoy. However, you don’t necessarily have to make the decision right away. Most colleges will want you to declare your major by the end of your second year, so you’ve got some time to explore your options.

Take an aptitude test.

Every college will have an advisor’s office, and I would be surprised to hear if everyone didn’t offer some kind of aptitude test to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Take multiple aptitude tests at your school as well as online to narrow down your choices.

These tests are great for figuring out what careers are right for you right now, but also keep in mind that college is a place to learn and improve all of your skills. So even if the aptitude test doesn’t coincide with what you actually want to do, they are still helpful in giving you suggestions and ideas for determining your future.

Don’t worry about it right away.

Being undecided or undeclared for the first couple of years in college is OK. Not everyone should or does know what they want to do their first years in school. The majority of your first two years in college will be spent on general requirements and prerequisites for your upper division classes anyway. While you want to take the right prerequisites, plan on taking classes that help you explore opportunities and will also steer you in the right direction.

Research career paths.

Career paths are just that: a path towards a career. These paths aren’t exact and you will be able to take multiple roads to get you where you want to be. The majority of students will end up changing their major throughout their first couple of years, and quite a lot of graduates will end up working in jobs that aren’t directly related to their major.

When you are researching career paths, keep this in mind. In other words, research online and talk with people who work in that field and see what they majored in and how they got to be where they are. For entrepreneurs especially, the path to their success will come from a plethora of different backgrounds. LinkedIn is a great place to start – look at professional’s profiles and see where their academic and work experience has taken them.

Talk with your mentors, parents, and teachers.

Your family, mentors, teachers, and school counselors will know a lot about you and have a lot of knowledge about the world. Reaching out to these folk will help give you ideas about what degree is the best for you. Ask them about their past experiences and tell them to be honest about their advice. You’ll learn more than you think when you listen to their nuggets of truth.

Considering graduate school or an advanced degree?

The one time when you will want to have a definite idea of what you want to major in is if you plan on going into a specified career. For example, if you want to go to medical school you will have to major in a small number of specific degrees to have the knowledge and prerequisites to pass the MCATs and get into a medical school.

There are certain advanced degrees that don’t absolutely require a degree in the same field to get into, though. An MBA for example will typically take any bachelor degree graduate as long as they pass the required entrance exams and show an aptitude to succeed in their program through the admissions essay and qualified experience.

Keep an open mind.

More than anything keep an open mind as you never know what kinds of opportunities will present themselves and what you might be interested in. Take classes that help you both explore your interests and things you don’t know are your interests yet. Never been in a school play but always wanted to? Take an acting class as one of your liberal arts requirements and see what you think. College isn’t only about preparing for a career, it’s also about experiencing things you never have before.

Top of the Class: Why Diversity Matters in Your Classroom 1

top-of-the-class-why-diversity-matters-in-your-kids-classroomLearning the importance of diversity should be a part of every child’s education. There are several ways that diversity could benefit your students’ experience. Here are a few of the main reasons why diversity matters in your kid’s classroom and what you can do to encourage more.

Cultural Awareness

If your classroom is full of kids from other cultural backgrounds, they will have a better opportunity to learn about the world. Learning about different languages, traditions, and other important cultural aspects can shape any child’s mind for the better. And what better way to learn than from their friends in the classroom?

Sensitivity toward Others

Diversity also teaches children how to be more sensitive toward others. Some cultures and religions are known to have certain rules of etiquette that may be different than yours and your child’s, and learning about these rules and how to respect them will foster a better sense of compassion toward other people.

Better Preparedness for a Higher Education

Being exposed to a diverse school setting at an early age can help make your child more prepared to earn a degree in higher education in the future. Your child will have the chance to learn new life skills from people of different backgrounds, which can be especially useful when the time comes to start applying for colleges.

Improved Social Life

Children in diverse school settings have a better chance of making a variety of new friends. Having a strong network of friends will enable your son or daughter to learn better communication and problem-solving skills and can even boost your child’s self-esteem.

Sharper Creative Thinking Skills

Those with a masters in higher education will often say creative thinking skills can be improved when in a diverse environment. Your child will be able to look at problems from different angles and perspectives and come up with more effective solutions. Diversity will teach your child how to draw upon different influences to solve problems and not just view these issues through a single-focus lens.

Combatting Cultural Stereotypes

All too often, people tend to adopt stereotypical views of different cultures, and these negative beliefs can create animosity among different groups. If your child is able to learn about other cultures from an early age, they will be less likely to adopt these stereotypical views later on.

Start by Learning Diversity Yourself

The first step to successful diversity in your classroom begins with you. Learn about various cultures and points of view, particularly those that belong to your individual students. Knowing their holidays, beliefs, and values will give you a well of knowledge to pull from and help students find out these things for themselves. Encourage students to ask each other questions about their values.

Appreciate Individuality and Cultivate Respect

Knowing is only half the battle. You must foster a spirit of acceptance and individuality in your classroom. Encourage your students to be proud of their individual values and cultures, but to accept others’ as valuable as well. This means forbidding judgmental remarks and, as appropriate, gearing your lessons toward multiculturalism as needed. As you plan your curriculum, add perspectives from other cultures into your teachings; celebrate your students’ traditions and allow them to explain aspects of it that are important to them. This will give an ongoing reminder to your students that everyone comes from diverse circumstances, and that diversity is something to be proud of and embrace.

Being in a diverse school setting can help your students. Having the ability to understand people of different backgrounds while learning new life skills can be used to build a brighter future filled with tolerance and understanding.


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.

Saving For School: It’s Never Too Early To Prepare For the Future Reply

Few things can be as heartbreaking for a family as the inability to pay for school. Saving for school, which may seem far off in the future, takes a backseat to the immediate household priorities and bills. Finally, the day arrives when teenagers must decide next steps or parents must seek better employment. At this point, the future arrives, but no one has prepared for it.

What’s At Stake

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with college degrees earn almost twice as much income per week as workers without one. A college degree also cuts the probability of unemployment in half. Over a lifetime, these gaps add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings gains. From this wider perspective, school is a low-risk investment in the future. It is all but guaranteed to pay off. School does not pay off when you do not go, and takes much longer to pay off when you owe astronomical student loans.

saving-for-schoolWhy Saving Early is Critical

Scores of uninformed people believe financial aid will cover all their school costs. They do not understand how the Application for Federal Student Aid works. The FAFSA application factors household income, household size, household assets and debts, and family members in school with their combined costs. This information generates a Student Aid Report, setting an estimated family contribution based on scaled standards. If the government determines you can afford to contribute X Amount of dollars to school costs, then schools will deduct X Amount from grants they offer you and suggest student loans for the rest. Without savings, student loans add up or college is not affordable.

Tips on Saving Early

As early as you can, invest in an IRA, 529 Plan or other tax-deferred savings product you prefer. Pay off or minimize household debt. Refinance and consolidate debts to lower payments. Then, put the interest and principal savings aside for school. A local financial institution like Union State Bank can help you explore your options. Encourage part-time jobs for teens aiming to go to school and try one yourself, for savings income only. Lastly, make saving a fun family project, and encourage all to chip in on little things to lower bills and conserve resources.

As the costs of higher education rise every year, preparing early is essential. As soon as parents can afford to begin and children can contribute, saving for school must be a family affair. Doing so can mean the difference between future stability and generational wealth, or underemployment at best and poverty at worst.


Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys tennis and spending time with her family. Kara recommends looking into diplomacy programs for more information on degrees that can help save the world.


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.

5 Ways to Make Your Scholarship Essay Stand Out Reply

unique-2032274_960_720When applying for scholarships, one of the things that you’re likely to be asked to do is to write your college application essay. This is uniform for all the people looking for scholarships and in order to be picked, you have to make yours stand out from the rest. For you to come off as unique, you need to strike the judges as memorable and effective. This may seem like quite a lot of pressure, but worry not. We have come up with five tips that you can follow when you write your college application essay. Follow them to the letter, and you will edge closer to impressing the members of the scholarship committee.

  1. Show Them, Do Not Just Tell

When most people write essays, they hardly pay attention to painting pictures with words. For scholarship essays, doing away with this is a very serious mistake that will leave one mile behind. The reason this has so much gravity is that the mental pictures that a writer paints are a vital tool in capturing the attention of readers. No one on the planet, including judges of the scholarship committee, enjoys reading essays that are dry and have nothing but statements and facts. To achieve this alluring aura in your essay, pay attention to narratives, pacing, and imagery among many other things.

It’s an already proven fact that people like reading texts that are laced with a significant amount of depth and emotion. Expressions, stories, and words that open you up to them in a way that they can gaze into your soul is what can set the difference between your essay and millions of others. One of the best tips we can offer you to get this spot on is to give everything a personal touch. In the place of telling judges about how you overcame adversity, you should show it to them in form of a story. Find a situation or better still, a scene that relates to your story and gives it to them at full throttle. Be sure to appeal to their senses so that they can be in your shoes. When experiencing what you did and feeling what you felt, they are less likely not to pick you ahead of others. A word of caution, however, you should always stay right on the topic you have been given and try as much as you can to never stray far from your point.

  1. Get to The Point

pexels-photo-259009All good essays have some similar characteristics, meaningful and clear points being one of them. For example, after you’ve written and read your essay, ask yourself this question: “So what?” You’re supposed to answer yourself at full length about what you learned and all the things that your writing put across. It’s an additional plus for you if your essay did elicit some emotions.

On the other hand, if the emotions it kindled did not drive the reader to a specific conclusion or realization, it will be of little use to you. For instance, if the master plan of your scholarship essay entails proving that you are worthy of the money because you have a certain trait, you have no other option but to make this the center point of your essay. If the essay you’re writing has a question prompting it, it goes without saying that you must answer it and also remove all doubts as to why your answer holds some significance.

The final tip we will give to you about getting to the point is to avoid writing phrases that indicate that you’re about to make your point. A good example of such phrases includes stating “in conclusion.” The reason behind us emphasizing on this is that if you have written effectively, your essay will itself lead the reader to the point that you are trying to drive home. This, in turn, counters the essence of announcing the place where you put your main point across.

  1. Always Come Out Swinging

For this particular topic, we would like to challenge you to ask any avid book reader what makes them know that a book has the potential to be a good read. We could challenge you further by telling you that we already know the answer they more likely than not will give you. Good books are defined by how brilliant they are at captivating the reader with the first few pages!

You could also go right ahead and imagine that you have to choose only one book among hundreds of thousands. Being perfectly honest to yourself, wouldn’t you settle for the book that grabbed your attention in an instance? Likewise, the scholarship judges are in a similar situation shortlisting just a few among millions of essays. The same way the mind-blowing start to that one book made you choose it over all other books, an essay with a great start will get priority over the others.

Bearing this in mind, you should strive to do things differently from others in your approach to writing an essay. For instance, instead of diving straight to your place of residence and where you were born, you should make things more interesting. You could start by skipping to the interesting bit of your story, then afterward finding a way to explain your origin and introducing yourself in other parts of the essay. This will give you almost a fool proof way of standing out from the rest of the applicants by leaving the judges in need for more of what you have to offer.

In a nutshell, the whole idea behind all this is that after reading the first paragraph, they should be in awe of what they have just taken in. Once this is done, you have an easier task ahead because you will only be required to back up the creativity and energy you have started with in the remaining part of the essay. Do all this and make sure that your essay is informative and interesting, and it will definitely be memorable.

  1. Follow All the Guidelines

More likely than not, you will not have met with your judges when you write this essay. It is, therefore, difficult to know what they prefer and what criteria they use to single out good applicants from the rest. One thing that could help you get a whiff of what they expect is the guidelines that they provide for the essay. The guidelines are your only avenue of getting to know your audience, so you should read them inside and out in order to know intimately the instructions that are emphasized on.

Go ahead and look at what they mention first. If it is about length, be sure not to write even a letter less or more than the indicated number. Take note of the things they put in bold and also any recommendations they give and see to it that what they require has been taken care of in your essay. You should also take interest in reading deeper into the given directions and modify your tone of writing accordingly.

The other important reason as to why you must know the instructions by heart is to prevent yourself from veering off the right direction. It’s no surprise that a lot of times, the essays are hardly read once the judges notice that the instructions haven’t been adhered to. If by any chance you are thinking about bending some or even one of the rules, don’t. If you want to stand out and also have the best of chances to succeed, make sure you aren’t disqualified because of a technical error.

  1. Take the Road That’s Less Traveled

You will find that most of the essay queries have a feel of having relatively obvious answers. Once you have read a question and find that the answer has come to you too quickly, it is wise to remember that it has occurred easily to others too. To curb this, set aside the first ideas that come to you. If the essay feels like an easy one to you then choose a different direction.light-bulbs-1125016_960_720

Dare to do something that’s different or even strange as compared to others. You can even decide to go with the opposite of the first reaction you had regarding the topic. This might have a challenging ring to it, but it also has a brighter side to its every aspect. This is that the judges will be bound to consider you before the others because your essay comes off as more interesting compared to the rest that just has basic answers.

As mentioned earlier, the first thought that comes to you when thinking of what to write may also occur to all the other students required to write the same essay. If your plan is to stand out, then you’ll have to dig deeper and think of an alternative, usually more challenging, ways to do the essay. The easy route is full of travelers but the road less traveled is like that because it presents many obstacles and challenges.

Conclusion

All that having been said, we would like to let you know that it is indeed possible to stand out once you follow the above-stated tips. These are the best tips you will get on how to write your college application essay. Finally, we would like to know how effective you have found this article. Leave us a comment.


Lori Wade is a freelance content writer who is interested in a wide range of spheres from education and online marketing to entrepreneurship. She is also an aspiring tutor striving to bring education to another level like we all do. Lori is used to handling many writing orders at the same time and as she likes sharing her ideas and experience, she decided to write a great article for you to show how multiple tasks should be dealt with. If you are interested in writing, you can find her on Twitter or Google+ or find her in other social media. Read and take over Lori’s useful insights!


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 Keys to Succeeding in a US College as an ESL Student 1

4-keys-to-succeeding-in-a-us-college-as-an-esl-studentThe United States has been a melting pot of cultures since it began more than 200 years ago. People have been coming to the US to find their fortune or to receive an education that may not be available in their own country.

Today, there are more than 180 different languages spoken in American schools and students who speak English as a second language are a growing percentage of school populations, especially at the college level. These four tips can help ESL students not only achieve their educational goals, but also allow them to find greater success in their academic endeavors.

1. Watch Television

Although most people look at television as a distraction when it comes to education, it can actually help improve language skills in ESL students. Watching television in English for 30 minutes each day can help train the ear to understand the nuances of the English language. It may help to watch with Closed Captions which are designed for deaf viewers. The words that are spoken will appear on the screen helping the student connect the spoken word with the written word.

2. Interact with Other Students

The best way to develop language skills is to learn from the people who actually speak the language. Find someone who is bilingual who can speak in both English and the student’s native language. Encourage both students to use English as much as possible to help the ESL student better understand the words. One suggestion is to find a study partner whose first language is English but who may also understand the student’s native language.

3. Perfection is Not Necessary

In some cultures, not being able to do something perfectly suggests failure. When it comes to learning the English language, it is important for ESL students to understand that they will not be able to speak, read or write English perfectly immediately. It takes time to develop an understanding of any language, but English is one of the most complicated.

Add the fact that many areas of the country have their own dialect or slang and it is easy to see how difficult learning the language may be for others. ESL students need to recognize that it will take much practice to perfect their understanding and that they should not give up simply because they are not perfect at it right away.

4. Set Milestones

One key to achieving education success is through goal-setting. However, it is also important to break those goals down into steps. These steps, or milestones, can be as simple as finishing a conversational English course online or watching 30 minutes of English television each day for one month. As the student achieves those milestones, they move closer to completing their goal. This process can be used for any academic endeavor, regardless of whether you are enrolled in a master of healthcare informatics program or your standard MBA degree.

ESL students have the added pressure of learning a new language on top of their already rigorous college studies. These four tips can help them develop a better understanding of the language and improve their ability to learn.


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.

Your Scholarship Application Checklist Reply

By: Francine Fluetsch

When it comes to finances, applying to college can be stressful for college students. Loans can deter students from shooting for schools that are a bit out of their price range, as they hope to avoid future student debt.

However, there is a free way to finance your college years: apply for scholarships. There are hundreds of them out there, and you are bound to find a few that you could qualify for — it will just take some digging.

Filling out scholarship applications on top of college applications sounds like a drag, and is definitely a lot of work, but if you can push through, it will be worth it when you land that scholarship that will send you to your dream school. Keep in mind that these applications and the stress that comes with them will only last a short few months, but your college education will give you the future you deserve for years and years to come.

Since you are going to have to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to researching scholarships that fit you, this article will serve to ease the rest of the scholarship application process by giving you a general checklist to follow as you are about to apply to scholarships and also to reference when in the middle of the process.

  1. Letter of recommendation

Not every scholarship application is going to require a letter of recommendation, but it is always better to be over prepared than to not bother getting a letter of recommendation and then realizing you need one when it’s too late to request one.

Try to obtain letters from two trusted people, just to be safe. Ask a teacher who knows you and your achievements well, a supervisor at a job or volunteer position, a coach, or someone in the professional world whom you know quite well (but don’t use family members with your same last name). Supply the person or two that you ask with a “brag sheet” where you list all of your accomplishments and why you are a fit for the said scholarship you are applying to.

This step is the first one for a reason: do it in advance! You can’t go up to your teacher and say, “Would you mind writing me a letter of rec? I need it for an application that is due tomorrow.” Chances are, they will not fulfill your last minute request, and you will be the one who suffers for it.

Give your person at least a month to write your letter, so they have time to think about what to say, and you have time to make sure that they finish before you start stressing about the deadline.

  1. Transcripts

Scholarships are usually awarded to those who excel in school, meaning you’ll have to supply your transcript to prove you are worthy of the reward. However, you can’t just log on to your high school’s website and print out the transcript listed there — you need an official copy. To get your official transcript, you have to go through the Registrar’s office or talk to your counselor.

With this, just like the first step, make sure to give yourself plenty of time, since these orders don’t get filled nearly as quickly as they should. I remember when I was applying to colleges and my request for my transcripts somehow got lost, and luckily I checked back with enough time or I might have lost my spot at UC Santa Cruz. Don’t let a timing issue be the reason you don’t get a scholarship; make sure to plan ahead and order more transcripts than you need.

  1. Cover letter

Scholarship committees want to know about you and why you are a good fit for them, so your cover letter is your chance to make yourself stand out and to highlight all of your attributes for why you deserve their money. Make sure you are not simply creating one cover letter and using it to apply for different scholarships. A lot of the time, they have specific things they want to see, so you need to go through and personalize each cover letter to the scholarship you are applying for.

Double check you are sending each letter to the right place to avoid an embarrassing mix-up! Also, make sure to have another pair of eyes look at your cover letter before you send it, so you can avoid any spelling or grammatical mistakes that you didn’t catch during your proofreading round.

  1. Essay

Scholarship applications include many steps but organizations aren’t just going to give their money out to any random person. Half of the process is seeing if you were diligent and determined enough to give it your all through the application steps, so keep your eye on the prize and bust that essay out!

Like the cover letter, you want to make sure you personalize your essay towards the scholarship you are applying for. The scholarship essay evaluators have seen it all and will know if you are giving them a generic essay that you sent to other scholarships as well.

Get your essay done early so you can show it to one of your teachers and ask for some notes on it. This seems like a daunting task, but your teachers want you to do well and have been at this for a while, so they might know what necessary tweaks you should make to help you get that scholarship.

  1. Photo

Some applications will ask you to include a small photo of yourself, and while it might seem silly to mention it, this does not mean that you can send a selfie to them. Make sure to send a professional picture (like your senior yearbook photo) that shows your college-ready side. You should try to make an impression and stand out, not have them laugh at your lack of seriousness when they receive an Instagram photo of you.

This checklist should get you through the bulk of any scholarship application, but remember to read all instructions carefully and include everything and anything that they require. Good luck scoring that money!


Visit uloop.com for more college news and to search for off-campus housing, scholarships, tutors near campus, jobs for college students, and more.


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.

Top Three Tips to Improve your AWA Score Reply

I’m going to do something bold here: I’m not going to include one of the most common–if not the most common–essay writing tips. And that is organization. Surely, you contend, that must be one of the top three tips. Arguably so. But it is also the one that many GRE students internalize and obsess over, often to the exclusion of other, arguably, more important aspects.

Additionally, most of us (let’s be honest: practically all of us) have had the five-paragraph structure hammered into our heads long before we were able to legally drive a car. The AWA, though, has its own rules, which many are aware of, stuff that can impress the graders (just writing a standard paragraph essay isn’t one of them). The following three tips will shed insights into what the graders are looking for.

  1. Read real sample essays

Both essays are graded from 0.0 to a 6.0. A zero score essentially means that you decided to fall asleep, your forehead pressed on the keyboard, a torrent of gibberish appearing on the screen. A 6.0 is a well-crafted essay, full of analysis, nuanced thinking, specific examples, and stylistic, sophisticated writing. There’s even a specific rubric describing exactly what each 1-point increment on the six-point scale means.

But I would recommend skipping this part. Interpreting the descriptions of those scores is too subjective. Really, what does “stylistic, sophisticated writing” mean to the GRE grader?

Well, to get that answer all you have to do is read the sample essays of actual student responses. This can be found online or in the GRE ETS Official Guide. You’ll get to see the kind of response that merits a ‘2’, a ‘4’, and a ‘6’. Below each response, the GRE graders themselves have given an analysis of the essay: what it did well, and what it could do better. When you go to write your own practice essay, you’ll already know what the GRE graders are looking for–and aren’t looking for.

  1. Work on sentence construction

One thing the graders love is logical flow. Your sentences should have key transition words (“for example,” “however,” “therefore,” etc.) that allow you to persuasively make your point. When you lack that logical flow, even if you have the right ideas coursing through your brain, your writing becomes muddled, and the test graders become confused.

To avoid this, go back to the basics: sentence construction. What is the difference between an independent and a dependent clause? What transition words most effectively link ideas within–and between–sentences?

This is the kind of logical organization that gets overlooked in favor of holistic organization: intro, three body paragraphs, and conclusion. But as long as you have a clear topic sentence for your paragraph, and your ideas logically flow from that first sentence and end with a clear statement of your point at the end of the paragraph, it isn’t that big of a deal whether you write two body paragraphs or four body paragraphs. (Though make sure you do have a clear intro and a conclusion–neither of which, by the way, has to be more than a few sentences.)

  1. Don’t time every practice essay

When learning a new skill, or even refining an old one, you have to practice or develop it under non-stressful conditions. Otherwise, it is difficult for such learning to take root. However, many mistakenly assume that it is always a bad idea to write the AWA essays without having a time limit. Unless, the essay is two days off and there really isn’t much time for “learning to take root,” begin without a timer. (I’d recommend at least 30-days to prep for the GRE–check out this helpful GRE study guide.)

For example, if you’ve been practicing clause construction by writing simple example sentences (“Because I gave myself plenty of time to prep for the GRE, I felt prepared. Nonetheless, I arrived 15 minutes late to the test center”), you’ll want to give yourself time to apply what you’ve learned about clauses when writing a practice essay. Or, if you’re just learning how to identify logical fallacies in the Argument essay, you’ll want to give yourself time to identify these fallacies and express them logically. Conversely, starting the timer will put you in a “flight or fight” mode and you are likely to fall back into your old habits (which for many is to write whatever comes to mind).

Once you’ve noticed improvements in your writing, give yourself a “soft” time limit. Keep practicing until you are writing comfortably within this time limit. Then put a slightly more aggressive time limit in place, until you are finally down to the allowed time. Your final score will thank you.


Chris Lele is the GRE Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 8 million views.


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.

Words and Phrases to Take Off of Your Resume for Next Semester Reply

By: Francine Fluetsch, Uloop

As we begin to enjoy our winter break, we start to find that we might have more time on our hands than we know what to do with. Sure, this is your time to relax and do nothing for some of the days, but it’s also a good idea to use some of your time away from school to get some work done.

Young smiling man holding his resume applying for a job

Young smiling man holding his resume applying for a job

A great place to start would be tidying up your resume for next semester. Maybe you want to get it ready for an internship, a new job, get it ready for graduation, you name it!

Now, “tidying” seems like such a broad term, so where should you start? Well, once you have all the content that you want on there, it’s time to go through the editing process. You want to make every word count, and exchange some words that employers just don’t want to see on there.

Let’s look at some examples so you’ll be able to avoid these wordy mistakes and, as a result, make your resume the best that it can be.

Clichés:

Think about it: hiring managers have to look at hundreds of resumes, so they will start to see patterns of common things that potential employees like to put on their resumes to supposedly “stand out.”

The problem is, if you are using clichéd job terms like “I’m a hard worker,” you are putting down what hundreds of other people are, and by doing so, aren’t standing out.

Instead of putting the words “I’m a hard worker,” show this! It’s the same thing that we writers are told again and again — you need to show, not tell.

I found some helpful guidance in this article by Rachel Gillett. She quotes Mary Lorenz, a corporate communications manager at CareerBuilder, who sheds a bit more light on this subject.

“Anyone can say they are ‘best of breed,’ a ‘go-getter,’ a ‘hard worker,’ or a ‘strategic thinker,” making these terms unoriginal, and ultimately, hindering you more than they will help you.

Lorenz continues, “Employers want to know what makes the job seekers unique, and how they will add value to the specific organization for which they’re applying.”

This again is alluding to the fact that you need to demonstrate your worth, not just write a clichéd sentence about it.

Superfluous words:

My partner was taking an online career class, and they discussed how when you are writing your resume, you should always use active verbs when describing yourself and your experiences. I’d never really thought about it before, but it makes a lot of sense. It gets to the point of what you have accomplished, and doesn’t cloud your resume or confuse the hiring manager about what your previous positions actually entailed.

Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Résumé Strategists, says that superfluous words like “responsible for,” “oversight of,” and “duties included,” unnecessarily complicate and hide your experience. To avoid this, she too suggests the use of active verbs.

Ex: Replace: “Responsible for training interns” with “Train interns.”

This will save room on your resume, so you can pack everything in, and will show hiring managers exactly what you want to show them.

Team player:

Business Insider and Forbes both agree that this cliché has got to go. Obviously you need to be a team player, or you won’t get the job, but you need to show your team playing ability, not just type those words and call it good.

An article in Forbes, by Nick DeSantis, suggests the following.

“If your intention is to communicate how well you work with others, giving examples of your roles within collaborative projects will be far more impressionable on a resume.”

Again, showing, and not telling, will help you land the job and look more impressive.

Self-motivated:

Everyone likes to put that they are self-motivated on their resume (guilty as charged), but what weight does that hold? In order to receive a job, this quality should be a guarantee, not a resume booster. What I’m saying is, you want to use the space on your resume to highlight your initiative and work ethic, rather than just saying you are self-motivated. It won’t help you stand out and it is not specific enough or defining in any way. The more you know, right?

Proactive:

The Forbes article also recommends taking the word “proactive” out of your resume. Being proactive is great, but highlighting it to your potential employer doesn’t do all that much because, like being “self- motivated,” this should be a no brainer, and will be a quality that everyone who lands a job will have, thus making it pointless to attach on your resume.

These are just a few examples on what to avoid on your resume when you are polishing it. Bottom line, you need to be specific, give examples, be unique, and think like a hiring manager to avoid clichés. Good luck!


Visit uloop.com for more college news and to search for off-campus housing, tutors near campus, jobs for college students, and more.


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 Surprising Degrees That Can Launch Your Career into Upper Management Reply

4-surprising-degrees-that-can-launch-your-career-into-upper-managementSo you are eyeing a career in upper management. You want to be the boss, call the shots, and lead a company to success. While a business degree might be a more straightforward option, there are a number of other, lesser-known degrees that can launch a career into upper management at a high rate.

1. English

The skills learned when acquiring an English degree are some of the most crucial for business success and can even put you on the fast track towards upper management positions. For example, English majors learn how to speak and write well, as well as debate and negotiate—all things upper-level managers have to be able to do well. They also know how to present themselves in the best possible light and think critically, which makes them valued members of a company and puts them in a much better position to be promoted to upper management. English majors also have to be able to communicate well, especially with the written word, which makes them prime candidates for management and leadership positions who have to complete written tasks when managing their teams and employees.

2. Public Administration

Public administration is essentially the public sector version of the business degree. It teaches many of the same things, from economics and law to leadership skills. Your upper management dreams might not be found in the business world, but in the public sector, where you could work for and manage a municipality. While you can find jobs with a bachelor’s degree in this field, a master’s degree opens many more options, and online master’s degree in public administration programs can provide a higher level of flexibility for working professionals. Public administration careers are in demand, and they really are a great place to combine business background with further education and knowledge.

3. Human Resources

HR professionals can become top executives within their company. Since management is really all about managing people, a degree in human resource management might be a good fit for many people-oriented individuals. In this field, you will oversee the hiring of new staff, manage issues with existing staff, and consult with other executives on company planning and policy. HR managers are also expected to enjoy faster than average job growth in the coming years per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

4. Accounting

While business majors take accounting and finance classes, a more in-depth option is available if you want to become an executive financial manager. Financial managers often get a seat at the same table as the CEO during meetings and play a direct role in an organization’s success. Responsibilities might include directing investments, planning out a company’s long-term financial prospects, creating reports and making financial recommendations to other executive managers.

Getting into an upper management position can take a few years or more of hard work and working your way up the corporate ladder, and having a strong educational experience behind you can help you along tremendously. If you want your career to include time spent in upper management, it is important to remember to prepare before you start your career. Choose a career that has growth opportunities for the future, or start with a job that will give you experience to get jobs that have growth opportunities. Unexpected things happen in a career all the time, but it can be nice to have a tentative future plan, with room for changes. Above we discussed four careers that can help provide you with the skills and background that are necessary and sought out for in upper level management positions.


Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2 or Facebook.


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.