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The Secret to Post College Success

The Secret to Post College Success

collegecampusIn a report by Accenture, 49 percent of 2013 and 2014 graduates consider themselves underemployed, while 52 percent reported being employed full-time. Meanwhile, a poll by Gallup shows only 11 percent of business leaders agree that college students are prepared to enter the workforce. While the news may sound bleak, it’s actually an incentive for college graduates to stand out from the crowd and empower their own careers. Take control of your future and stay flexible to opportunities for success. Here are five ways to get started.

Find the Latest Hotspots

Where you live can impact your job search success. Forbes reported that Yuma, Arizona, has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Meanwhile, in 2015, Denver, Colorado, was ranked by Forbes as the No. 1 place for business and careers. The city attracts college graduates for its highly educated labor force, outdoor recreation and promising economic growth. But there’s more to relocating and starting a new life just because of a promising job market. Before you decide to pack up, check out a rental site to explore the community and cost of living.

Learn to Network

An NPR article revealed that up to 80 percent of jobs are unadvertised, yet the majority of college graduates are still looking for positions on job boards and sending out positions. Finding those open positions can feel elusive, but are within reach with the right approach. Networking is the key to long-term job success whether you’re looking for your first position or switching careers.

Attending networking events is good advice, but not the only way to connect. Remember that your college peers are part of your network and joining your alumni organization, staying in touch and helping each other are all ways to build up a viable career network. Create your own network by joining or starting a LinkedIn group and connecting with hiring departments of companies you’re interested in and touching base.

Set Goals

Setting career goals starts in college by continuously building your network. Write out your goals and make a commitment to add 10 or even 20 new contacts to your network every week. Next, research careers you may be interested in and identify what type of experience you need. The more clarity you have about your job goals, the more likely you are to succeed.

Find a Mentor

The Student Career Development Study showed that 37 percent of college students say their parents are their mentors, 21 percent are family or friends and only one percent are someone found in an online marketing group. But if family and friends aren’t actually working in the field of interest, a mentorship can prove ineffective.

Empower your future by finding a mentor through your alumni center, online networking groups on LinkedIn or a former employer. It’s also not unusual to have several mentors depending on your needs. One mentor may shape communication skills while another can help with landing a first internship.

Get Creative About Interning

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employment (NACE), 63 percent of paid interns got a least one job offer, and 41 percent of unpaid interns got at least one job offer. While internships are crucial to college success, they’re not always easy to land in a competitive marketplace.

Get creative about your internships and open up other avenues like part-time jobs, full-time employment over the summer or looking into shadowing programs. Consider designing your own intern-style opportunities with free work. Charlie Hoehn, entrepreneur and author of the book, “Recession Proof Graduate,” strategically offered to do free work to land a dream career and rub elbows with successful entrepreneurs. According to Andrei Zakhareuski, an ESL teacher and BusyTeacher admin, the key to finding the right opportunity lies in being in the right place at the right time. Instead of just emailing your application from your apartment, go to the person or business you’d like to work for and introduce yourself. You’re more likely to be taken seriously once you’ve given employers a face along with your name.

Remember that your success may be contingent on someone’s decisions from time to time, but is still within your control. Stay flexible, look for creative opportunities and keep the momentum of your career moving toward success.

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5 Top Tech Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Could Afford

5 Top Tech Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Could Afford

Cool-Tech-Gadgets-For-StudentsAmericans spend the equivalent of 17 percent of their monthly rent or mortgage payment on technology, according to the American Institute of CPAs. That figure goes up for people who download songs, apps and other products. If your budget is tanking every time a new gadget comes out, you’re not alone. But it could be time to reevaluate your purchases.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go on a gadget strike. There are plenty of tech gadgets that don’t break the bank and give you the functionality you’re looking for. It also doesn’t hurt that these gadgets will give you plenty of street cred with your friends. Here are five tech gadgets you didn’t know you could afford.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Just because the latest, cutting-edge smartphones aren’t cheap doesn’t mean you need to settle for less. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge features a 5.5-inch Quad HD Super Amoled screen and is water- and dust-resistant. While the full retail price is $799.99, you can get it for less. Opt into a payment plan for 24 months at roughly $30 a month from T-Mobile instead of forking over your entire paycheck.

AMPware Rechargeable Smartphone Case

Although the AMPware case was inspired by dead batteries during Hurricane Katrina, it’s useful when your phone is dead between classes. Pick up the AMPware case for under $80, and keep your phone charged at all times. The concept is an old-school, crank-style generator that is packaged into the modern sophistication of a smartphone case. Crank the handle for about 10 minutes and power up your phone for two hours of regular use.

Divoom Voombox Outdoor

Kick off your next dance party or impromptu jam session with the ultra portable Voombox. With a list price hovering under $80, the Voombox is a compact, wireless Bluetooth device that’s durable enough to use outside. With 12 hours of battery life, you can set this up as a speaker at your next party and let it go through the night. The device is also water-resistant, making it less likely to fry if someone spills their drink or it gets pushed into the pool.

Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse

Wearable tech is all the rage, but it comes at a steep price for monitoring your heart rate and number of steps walked on the Fitbit and Apple Watch. Fortunately, there are other wearable fitness options, like the Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse, which retails for around $20. Track your steps, heart rate and pulse to get motivated to get back in shape. Xiaomi Mi Band also tracks your distance and estimates the calories and grams of fat you burned.

iPad Mini 2

Apple does not have the reputation of being inexpensive or affordable. However, you can pick up an iPad Mini 2 for under $270 and enjoy all the bells and whistles you want from an Apple product. Choose between 16GB and 32GB of space in either silver or space gray. Load it up with your favorite apps, listen to iTunes, watch shows online via Netflix and take photos around campus to create a slideshow.

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Tips for a Successful Start to the School Year

Tips for a Successful Start to the School Year

CollegelifeThe back to school tip lists are rolling out in droves, with most concentrating solely on little scholars and their parents. But newly grownup students are also coming down from summer’s high and filing back into classrooms all over the world, and the back to school transition can be a tough one when it’s entirely your responsibility.

Your first couple of weeks back at college (or in those hallowed halls for the first time) will probably be the hardest but they are also the most crucial. Crush the first month and you set yourself up for success in this and future semesters. Here are just some of the ways you can prepare yourself – mentally, physically and financially – for the most epic school year ever.

Talk (or think) about money

Even if parents are covering 100% of college expenses, it pays to talk money. The cost of higher ed goes beyond tuition and fees. There are books to buy and students still need to eat when they’re living away from home. Cars cost money to maintain and weekend entertainment is probably going to be a part of your budget. Don’t end up in debt before you get the diploma! Make a budget and decide whether or not you’ll work while studying in advance so you don’t have economic stress (now quite common) on top of your school stress.

Look for device deals

Even though taking notes by hand has been shown to increase data retention, a quality tablet is definitely a must-have for both work and play. Carriers like T-Mobile are almost always offering some kind of promotion, whether it’s a back-to-school deal or something like T-Mobile’s current offer of a free year of Netflix when you purchase a Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge.

Optimize your sleep cycle

When summer’s fun ends it can be a real shock to the system. Avoid exhaustion by making a point of getting to bed at a reasonable hour beginning a few weeks before the term starts. You get bonus points – not to mention a better chance of earning those As – if you wake up at a reasonable hour, too.

Adopt new, more organized habits

Use a planner. Set reminders. Pick a spot in your room and create a study zone with everything you need to stay focused. Create a routine. Put study time (and exercise) on your to-do list. Make procrastination impossible with apps like Procraster. Sure, none of this sounds sexy but if you’re completing your assignments on time and pulling great grades, you’ll have plenty of time for the sexy stuff after hours.

Plan ahead to stay safe

You can’t concentrate on your studies when you don’t feel comfortable in your environment so get to know your campus by doing a few daytime walking tours. And get familiar with your school’s safety resources, like how to dial campus security and where to find help at night.

Take advantage of orientation

Whether you’re a returning student or a fresh out of high school freshman, there are usually plenty of activities on campus designed to help you make new friends and get acclimated. Be outgoing. Ask questions. And look into mentorship if this isn’t your first year but you still feel adrift. Mentorship programs can help you get the most out of your major, connect with more classmates and really feel like a part of your college community.

Remember, college life is exciting. There’s so much that’s new – and not just the academics! Jump into the fun stuff feet first but keep in mind that your education should be top priority. Make time for friendships, social events and just plain chilling out, but think in terms of balance. You can make the grade without sacrificing the full college experience with some forethought and a willingness to follow through when it counts.

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3 Types of Subscriptions to Help You Get Through College

3 Types of Subscriptions to Help You Get Through College

studentlaptopFrom shave kits to beauty products there are subscription services out there for just about anything. But, as you try to prioritize your limited resources, which ones do you need for the next school year? Whether you’re in your first or last year of college, here are the best monthly subscription services for college students:

School First

While there are a lot of fun subscription services out there, the most important are the ones that help you with school. With Microsoft Office 365 University you get all the tools you need to succeed while at college, including PowerPoint, Word and Excel. All the essential word-processing and presentation programs are available as part of this four year subscription service.

Another helpful subscription is Adobe’s Creative Cloud. This provides you with Photoshop, Illustrator and many other premier graphic design tools. With these two subscriptions, you have all the tools you need for college. For a special deal on Adobe’s Creative Cloud, check out OnTheHub, which has many exclusive offers for students and teachers.

But all that computer time can be hard on your eyes. It’s important to wear your contacts or glasses on those late night homework stints. Luckily, Vision Direct has a subscription for contacts, so you’ll never be without the eyewear you need.

Snackables

Snacks don’t always have to be junk food, like potato chips and soda. Instead, Graze Box offers over 90 different snacks delivered directly to your door every month. With four- and eight-snack options, you get a variety of healthy snacks. Choose between super seeds, aromatic broths, fruit, nuts, seeds or even something with a bit of chocolate mixed in. Graze Box makes sure you never want for the snacks you need while doing lab time or sitting through a long lecture.

A similar alternative to Graze Box is NatureBox, which delivers organic and healthy snacks directly to your door. While NatureBox has a monthly subscription option, it also has an option for three and six months subscriptions to help cut down on costs.

Brew Subscriptions

For those mornings that you just need an extra kick to wake up, Mistobox has you covered. While many college students usually drink coffee on the cheap, Mistobox delivers quality coffee directly to your door every month. Get the taste and quality you want at the price you can afford. With Mistobox, you don’t have to sacrifice your standards to get the morning brew you need.

Another brew subscription is only for the 21 and over club. Craft Beer Club delivers award-winning beers every month to your doorstep. This subscription service delivers four different styles of beer to your door. This is a great service if you’re looking to explore new beers because Craft Beer Club handpicks microbrews from around the country. And if you have more worldly tastes, The International Beer Club can send you beers each month from two different international breweries. While this is a great way of discovering new beers, please drink responsibly.

While these are some of the best subscription services out there for college students, honorable mentions should be dished out to both Spotify for providing stellar and unlimited music selections and Netflix for those late night movie marathons.

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See New York City Art This Summer Without Breaking the Bank

See New York City Art This Summer Without Breaking the Bank

botanicalgardenA summer trip to New York City offers theater and art students a way to experience galleries, shows and performances. Most students are unable to splurge on many expensive New York City activities, but there are still opportunities to experience the city’s culture on a student budget. If you are eager to witness your classroom instruction coming alive, consider these budget-savvy options:

Museum of Modern Art: Manhattan

If you want to experience modern art, you are in for a treat. On Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., admission to MoMA is absolutely free. If you want to take a look at the sculpture garden, it is free every morning from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. If you can’t make these limited hours, student prices are only $14.

Brooklyn Academy of Music: Brooklyn

Are you interested in listening to jazz or experimental music? On select Fridays and Saturdays from September to May, the Brooklyn Academy of Music offers free concerts to the public.

New York Botanical Gardens: Bronx

From May through November, more than a dozen of Frida Kahlo’s drawings and paintings will be on display in the New York Botanical Gardens. The solo exhibition will highlight how the outdoors and nature affected her work. You don’t have to pay full price to see her acclaimed art, either. With a student ID, art students only pay $18 for admission.

Broadway: New York City

Although you may think that a Broadway show is out of your price range, there are plenty of summer deals. For example, students are offered the option to watch a matinee on Wednesdays and Fridays at a discounted price. And for popular shows like “The Book of Mormon” that frequently sell out, standing room tickets are available for $27.

Small Art Galleries: Around Town

A well-known secret in New York City is that many of the art galleries around town are either free to peruse or only have a $20 entry fee. These galleries give you a chance to see different types of art and how small galleries operate.

David Zwirner Gallery: Soho

The David Zwirner gallery is extremely popular and often has long lines outside of its exhibitions. One of the gallery’s major themes is infinity, as seen by Yayoi Kusama’s infinity rooms that were featured last year. The gallery also hosts mainstream artists.

Gagosian Gallery: Manhattan

This gallery boasts a global reach with locations in Los Angeles, London, Paris and Rome. Andy Warhol, Damon Hierst and Richard Serra represent a small sample of the artists featured in this contemporary and modern art gallery.

Sean Kelly Gallery: Midtown

Robert Mapplethorpe and Marina Abramović are two famous contemporary artists the Sean Kelly Gallery features in its space. If you gravitate toward unconventional and international art, you will love perusing this gallery.

SummerStage: All 5 Burroughs

For over 30 years, SummerStage has been New York’s premiere concert series. There are over 100 highly-accessible and free performances that include bands from around the world, kid-friendly events, and theatrical and dance productions.

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2014-2015 CheapScholar Presentations: Year In Review

2014-2015 CheapScholar Presentations: Year In Review

It has been a very busy and exciting year for CheapScholar.org. For those that don’t know, CheapScholar.org was “born” in January of 2010 as I took my passion for educating families and students about the financial aspect of the college experience to an entirely different level – the web. Since that time, CheapScholar has reached hundreds of thousands of visitors, provided support in the form of scholarships, delivered up 822 informative articles, and traveled the countryside providing Paying For College and Professional Development presentations for high schools, foundations, corporations, and organizations. I truly enjoy volunteering my time and expertise on this endeavor!

The following list of presentations (and pictures) represent just how busy the 2014 -2015 academic year has been. I appreciate the loyalty of our readers, the invitations from various groups to provide informative, engaging presentations, and all of our followers that stay connected via social media. I look forward to another great year!

Paying For College/Financial Literacy Events

October 3rdOIC of Clark County – Paying For College Presentation

October 29thCollege 101 at Springfield High School – Paying For College Presentation

November 6thGreenon High School – Paying For College Presentation

November 10thCollege Apps Course at Springfield High School – Paying For College Presentation

November 13th – Paying For College Presentation for area guidance counselors – Springfield Foundation

November 18thCatholic Central High School – Paying For College Presentation

December 11thNorthwestern High School – Paying For College Presentation

January 7thCedar Cliff High School – Paying For College Presentation

January 21stLondon High School – Paying For College Presentation

February 4thSpringfield CTC – FAFSA Filing Workshop & Paying For College Presentation

February 8thTolles CTC – College Goal Sunday FAFSA Filing Event

February 11thTecumseh High School – Paying For College Presentation

March 10thOhio Attorney General’s Office – Teen Advisory Board – Paying For College Presentation

March 11thOhio Attorney General’s Office – Teen Advisory Board – Paying For College Presentation

March 18thHilliard High Schools – Paying For College Presentation

April 8thWittenberg University (Witt Commit Series) – Student Financial Literacy Presentation

April 9thTemple University (Financial Literacy Month) – Student Financial Literacy Presentation

May 21stCollege Apps Course at Springfield High School – Paying For College Presentation

 

Professional Development Presentations

May 29th – Keys To Successful Financial Literacy – Webinar hosted by Account Control Technologies

September 28th-30thWilliams and Fudge National Receivables Conference, Charlotte N.C. Understanding Financial Aid (for Non-Financial Aid People) & Social Media & Student Financial Services – Reaching Your Audience

March 21st -24thNational Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) Student Financial Services Conference, Atlanta GA. – Understanding Financial Aid (for Non-Financial Aid People)

April 9thTemple University – Student Financial Literacy – Making An Impact On Your Campus

May 17th – 19thMichigan Association of Student Financial Services Administrators (MASFSA) Spring Conference, Traverse City MI. – Understanding Financial Aid (for Non-Financial Aid People); Student Financial Literacy & Social Media – Making An Impact On Your Campus; Moderator, Social Media Roundtable Presentation

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How Gaming Can Change the College Experience

How Gaming Can Change the College Experience

chemblasterYou may have heard someone talk about the power of play, but chances are you didn’t associate that phrase with higher ed. New research is showing that when people treat life more like a game – and incorporate games into their daily lives, too – they can accomplish more for less. For the college student, that might mean more credits accruing with less time studying and (more importantly) less tuition paid because you’re earning your degree on time or even early. It’s called gamification, and it’s the newest strategy universities are employing to boost student interest, engagement and grades.

Researchers have known for some time that games can have a positive impact on learning in K-12 classrooms with higher ed students largely left out of educational studies. But today’ college kids are the original digital natives so it only makes sense that more schools are looking for ways to use games to motivate students and even teach them.

This is happening now largely because mobile and technology advancements have finally made gamification in education possible. Most students will have access to some form of device with mobile processing capabilities advanced enough to handle today’s games. And these are the same students for whom hitting the books frequently means firing up a tablet. Whether bringing games into the higher ed experience is about creating titles or tracking student habits to gamify learning, more and more colleges are getting on board.

Penn State, for instance, created the Education Gaming Commons to both research the power of games to positively impact the student experience and to build educational games from scratch. One such game, ChemBlaster, teaches some of the basics of chemistry by turning tedious memorization into a more engaging and exhilarating experience that has the potential to keep students coming back for more study time.

This kind of play with a purpose may actually be doing double duty when it comes to helping students conquer college. Science is finding that gaming itself, whether educational or not, can have a positive impact on learning. A German study found that participants who played video games for just a half hour per day had more gray matter in the regions of the brain associated with the formation of memories and strategic planning. Fast-paced, action-packed games were in some cases even better than educational titles at boosting brain power because these types of games promoted faster learning and better data retention in some people.

Outside of the brain case, gamification in education can work wonders for a few very obvious reasons. First, if something is fun people will do it again and again. Staring at the periodic table will put you to sleep. Harnessing your growing knowledge of the period table to kick butt at a bubble shooter is anything but boring. Second, gamification can get a student’s competitive juices flowing, whether that means competing against oneself to rack up points or competing socially against fellow students. In either case the motivation is there to study a little longer and work a little harder.

Don’t expect that tomorrow’s students will be playing their way to degrees, however. Games are still very much seen as an add-on to a more traditional college experience – albeit an add-on that can speed your progress from the freshman 15 to Pomp and Circumstance. That said, the lecture, exercise and test progression that has defined coursework for hundreds of years may finally be evolving. And that in turn may make college easier, faster and cheaper for some as well as just plain more accessible for others.

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Graduates – 5 Tips on How to Write an Effective Resume

Graduates – 5 Tips on How to Write an Effective Resume

interviewWe all want that job. It’s great if you get to the interview stage for one job opportunity, but do you find that you’re not getting there as often as you should be? Perhaps it’s your resume that’s holding you back. You have the experience, yes, but are you conveying this effectively? Research indicates that it takes an average of six seconds for recruiters to decide if you’re right for the job or not, just based on your resume! You’ll need one that will make you stand out. Here’s five tips on effective resume writing.

1. Seek Professional Advice

If you’re really struggling to determine your career objective and find the exact job you’re after, this is often conveyed in your resume. Approach a career counselor for help at your college or university. Most tertiary institutions will guide you on the right path to finding your ideal career, meaning you can expertly tailor your resume towards the specific position you’re aiming for.

2. Make Your Name Stand Out

A lot of people make the mistake of heading their resume with ‘Resume’. Don’t! Your name should go at the top in a bolded print along with your contact details, in a standard print. Include one address, one phone number and one email address. You can also choose to put your qualification next to your name, for example, ‘Ann Smith B.Sc.’

3. Decide if You Will Include an Objective

Recruiters are divided on this – some like to see an objective, others don’t. While it may show you have a real purpose, it can also mean you are narrowing your chances by limiting yourself to that one goal. You can decide for yourself if you’d like to include one, but experts say you should only do it if the objective is not a generic one.

4. Have the Right Number of Pages

Your experience should be reflected by the length and formatting of your resume. If you’ve had several years’ experience, keep it to two pages if possible, three maximum. Some recruiters feel that if you’re in your twenties, your resume should only be one page long as you surely don’t have enough experience to justify adding a valuable second page. However, if you’ve interned and worked hard all through college, embrace that second page!

5. Layout is Important!

Don’t add so much information to the point of overcrowding the page – it’s exhausting to read. Use white space to draw the reader’s eye to specific information that you feel is important. Make it a pleasure to read – add bullets, italics and bold fonts to highlight certain accomplishments. Include keywords from the job posting as some recruiters use software to sift through resumes – you don’t want yours to be missed.

The bottom line? You’re selling yourself in just two pages. You must mould your resume into what the recruiters want to see. Something in your resume needs to make you stand out against other candidates – whether it be an achievement, or simply in the way the resume is formatted. Small things can sometimes make a big impact.

Today’s guest article is provided by Francis Benjamin. He is a recent graduate of Evocca College where he studied website development. When Benjamin is not helping his friends succeed in finding jobs after college, you can find him diligently glued to the twitter tips provided by his alma mater (Evocca).

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