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Dorm Room to Board Room: Tips for Starting Your Own Business Post-Grad

June 23, 2020

How many stories have we heard about the success of dorm room startups that gained enough investors to grow and become industry giants? SnapChat, ModCloth, Reddit, and Facebook were all once a college student’s idea that eventually became national brands and widely-successful organizations.

Although it takes a great idea, constant networking, and a lot of hard work, the next story could be about your own business idea. Here are some tips on how you can take your business from the dorm room to the board room and find entrepreneurial success post-graduation.

Establish good finances

No matter how good your idea is, you’ll need money to hire employees, pay for production and marketing, and lease an office space. As a college student, you likely don’t have many financial resources to invest in the company yourself. However, you can rely on family and friend contributions, private investors, or SBA loans to gain starting capital that you will eventually payback. If you make regular payments to these lenders, you’ll build good credit and position your business for success. Just be sure you’re managing and organizing these new finances, so you don’t run into trouble. Consider using an online small business bank so you can access your money and track your business expenses no matter where you are, and hire an accountant to ensure you’re doing everything by the book. Proactivity with your business’s money will help you establish a secure enough financial position to grow your business into a powerful brand.

Learn to market

It’s not enough to have a good offering if you can’t interest customers in it. Work to finetune your marketing skills to engage your audience, and bring in business. If you weren’t a business or advertising major, consider taking an online marketing course to learn how to effectively leverage all avenues of your marketing– including social media, ads, and organic search. Then, put it into practice! Build out your organization’s digital footprint and brand recognition by writing content, publishing advertisements, and spreading the word to potential customers. This will not only result in increased sales but also stronger brand recognition and long-term success.

Network, network, network

Networking isn’t just important for securing a job or internship after college, it can also make or break your business. Oftentimes, who you know is one of the most impactful contributions you can bring to your organization as a business owner. Fortunately, you likely have exposure to many powerful people within your university network, whether it’s professors, the board, alumni, or even the students. Reach out to those on and off your campus for a brainstorming meeting, a marketing focus group, or an investing pitch to grow your network and develop interest in your organization.

Find a mentor

Similar to networking, it’s critical that you find a mentor as a post-grad business owner. Even if you have a million-dollar idea, as an inexperienced businessperson, you need access to established knowledge in the entrepreneurial world to guide your decisions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to business owners who inspire you either by email, phone or LinkedIn. Ask for advice on the market or niche you’re interested in, or how they decided to structure their business. This can open a dialogue that’s mutually beneficial, providing them with fresh perspectives, and you with hard-earned industry wisdom. 

It’s critical that you take these proactive steps to ensure the success of your organization. However, when starting your own business after graduation, it’s also important to enjoy the moment. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and excitement, but remember to take time to reflect on your progress and stay excited about the future of your business as you move beyond college.

Career Other

Considering Freelance: What Recent Grads Should Know

June 17, 2020

How healthy is freelancing in the US?

Freelancing is an area of the economy that is growing steadily year over year. According to the Freelancing in America Study for 2019 that was conducted by Edelman Intelligence for Upwork, there are more than 57 million Americans freelancing. This is over a third of the US workforce, up from 53 million just 6 years ago. The value of freelance work is almost a trillion US dollars, some 5% of GDP.

Of those that said they have undertaken freelance work, 28% consider themselves as full time freelancers up from 17% back in 2014. The most likely group to freelance are those in the younger age brackets, with 53% of 18-22 year olds doing freelance work and 40% of millennials.

So if you are about to graduate, should you be looking for a traditional and comfortable “job” or should you be looking to enter the freelancing market?

What should you be asking yourself before you freelance?

Recent graduates should not simply leap into freelancing, after all there are some real benefits to working with a company, such as health care and pensions. So what else should you be asking:

  • What are your long term career goals? If your long term goal is to one day be the CEO of a company, freelancing may not offer you the career progression you may need.
  • What are you looking to earn? Freelancers on average earn more per hour than non-freelancers, even for non-skilled workers. However, finding very high paying freelance gigs may be a little harder.
  • What is motivating you to work as a freelancer? Many freelancers take this style of work for the flexibility that it offers. So you need to consider your reasons with care.

What can freelancers earn?

Whether you are working in mobile website development or walking dogs, the salaries that you can earn through freelancing are often higher. The median salary for unskilled workers that freelance is $20 per hour, higher than the US median salary of $18.80. While for skilled freelancers the median is $28 an hour which is better than 70% of the workforce.

So what can you earn as a freelance mobile website designer or within another role? The following are few figures for expected web development salary and what you can aspire to earn within other areas of the freelance economy from The Balance:

  • Web development: $45 per hour
  • IT and programing: $49 per hour
  • Mobile developer: $50 per hour
  • ERP and CRM software developer: $60 per hour
  • Marketing and sales: $44 per hour
  • Design and product development: $45 per hour

What do you really need to know about freelancing before you start?

Before you jump straight out to earn your freelance developer salary there are a few areas that you need to consider before you get started:

  • Networking: most freelancers do not get their clients from online marketplaces. After previous clients, most freelancers working today get work through networking with friends and family which accounts for 38%, while others rely on professional contacts, 37%.
  • Building a portfolio: showing what you are capable of is vital no matter what area you are going to work within. Clients will want to know that you are going to be able to deliver what they are looking for.
  • Handling multiple projects: as a freelancer you will often find yourself in a situation where you will need to juggle multiple clients and projects. So learning soft skills such as time management and communication are vital to your future earning potential.

Is Freelancing right for you?

If you are looking for work with a huge amount of flexibility and the ability to pick and choose what projects you will work on, then freelancing could be for you. It offers an excellent salary no matter where your skills lay. However, it is not an area in which you will be able to relax and just expect work to come to you. You need to work hard on filling your pipeline to ensure a constant supply of work.

Career Other

5 Must-Know Resume Tips for College Students

June 17, 2020

For those in college or recently graduated, landing that first job can be a daunting experience. Many may be discouraged by their lack of experience, while others worry about problems in their academic record. If your greatest selling point is your education, how can you compete with other applicants?

Here are five must-know resume tips for college students and recent graduates about to enter the job market. 

1. Lead with education.

As you move up in your career, the work experience section of your resume will become more important and should be placed at the top. At this stage in your life, your educational experiences are your greatest strength. By placing them at the top, you can help make up for your limited work experience.

Keep in mind a few things though. Consider leaving out your GPA if it’s below 3.4. It’s not a requirement to include it. Also, because you are a college student with limited work experience, consider including more than just the name of your college and graduation date. Things like relevant coursework, group projects, and even clubs and organizations should all be considered.    

2. Include relevant experience instead of work experience.

Work does not necessarily have to be paid in order to have value. With this in mind, don’t think just because you have no paid work experience that this means there’s nothing for you to mention on your resume. The trick here is to think of the work experience section more as a practical experience section. 

This can involve much more than unpaid internships. Volunteer work can also be included to show the skills and experience you’ve accumulated. Think of opportunities where you had to take on important responsibilities. Were you an officer in those student organizations you joined? What projects did you work on? What events did you help facilitate? 

3. Write a custom cover letter for each job.

As important as resumes are, they alone will not get you an interview offer. Resumes work best when coupled with a cover letter customized to each job you apply for. While it may not seem worth the effort after spending so much time on your resume, one study by a nation-wide resume company, ResumeGo, illustrates that not including a cover letter can be a big mistake.

The results of that study found that applicants with cover letters carefully tailored to each job yielded just over 50% more interviews than those without. Interestingly, applications with generic, cookie-cutter cover letters fared only slightly better than applications with no cover letter. 

4. Take advantage of resume builders.

The rookie mistake college students make is starting their resume writing process off with a blank Word document. Instead, there are resume builders online such as Kickresume and Resume Genius that can really make writing your resume a lot easier while also providing various prebuilt resume templates to work with and pick from.

5. Take advantage of your career counselors.

The career center exists…please, take advantage of what they have to offer! Career counselors are specially trained to help college students strengthen their resumes and prepare them for career success. 

Even if you might not have a strong connection with your assigned counselor, they will likely provide a far more extensive critique of your resume and job documents than any average Joe Schmoe online or resume service. While getting advice online isn’t always the worst idea, know that as a student, you have access to far more reliable resources – so use them!

Even though the job application process can be intimidating, having a good resume is always the solid first step! These tips are sure to get your resume to stand out among the crowd.

Other Transition

7 Activities For Students While Learning Remotely

June 17, 2020

The rapidly-spreading COVID – 19 outbreak is devastating the world and putting billions of people’s lives at stake. Many educational institutions all over the world are being closed to contain the spread of this virus. 

As Covid-19 demands social distancing, most students are experiencing isolation, away from their schools, colleges, teachers, and classmates. Many student are likely feeling restless while they are at home. Students can take it this as a challenge and engage themselves in activities which can increase their knowledge and boost their personal growth.

So, let’s check out these 7 activities that can help students to make the best of their time during the COVID – 19 outbreak.

Study efficiently at home

During the lockdown, students can focus on their studies at home by revising their old lessons. They can go through the important questions and look for answers. They can also reach out to others for help if needed.

Maintain a routine

Many famous psychologists believe that maintaining a daily routine can help people to maintain good mental health during a crisis. 

Due to the lockdown students are falling out of their routine. As a result, they are having difficulties both physically and mentally. To get out of this situation, students should keep a personal planner to remember upcoming deadlines for projects and exams. They may also schedule a time for important nonacademic activities, such as exercise and video calls with friends

Use modern technology for learning

Students can’t access their school during the lockdown. So, to maintain the standard learning procedure, they may use smartphones or tablets to connect with their teachers/classmates and get enough study materials to learn at home. They can also use online training software on their tablets or phones. Students just need to plug their headphones, concentrate on learning, and forget about anything else for the time being.

Learn a different language

Students could spend their idle time learning a new language during the lockdown period. It will be easier through different apps such as:

  • Duolingo
  • Tandem 
  • Google Translate
  • Language Drops
  • Quizlet
  • Rosetta Stone
  • Memrise
  • Mondly
  • MosaLingua Crea
  • 50Languages
  • HelloTalk

Learning a language is a valuable skill which might create great opportunities for students to grow their career and prepare for life after college.

Work on group projects

Students should join online group studies with their classmates. This way they can improve their knowledge, grow a deep understanding of their lessons, and also be able to reduce the level of anxiety and stress. Students may be able to study in groups and join in constructive discussions via videoconferencing, message boards, and group chats.

Join an online book club

Students may also start an online book club with friends. Via a group video conference call, they may select a few books, choose a story, set a reading time, and discuss the book with friends.

Learn how to cook

Apart from studying, students may learn to cook or start helping their parents to cook. This is a great way to spend time with family and learn something useful. Do not forget, COVID – 19 has negatively affected women in a variety of ways. So, help your mom, sister, and grandma as much as possible. 

Though things are different right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t make accommodations to make things feel normal again. Make use of these tips to get the most out of these strange times.

Author Bio- Patricia Sanders is a financial content writer. She is a regular contributor to debtconsolidationcare.com . She has been praised for her effective financial tips that can be followed easily. Her passion for helping people who are stuck in financial problems has earned her recognition and honor in the industry. Besides writing, she loves to travel and read various books. To get in touch with her (or if you have any questions regarding this article) email her at sanderspatricia29@gmail.com.  

Health Other

Hard Time Sleeping? Here Are a Few Reasons Why

June 11, 2020

Understandably, there will be times in your college career that you have a hard time sleeping – sometimes, you might think pulling an all-nighter is the best way to get ahead with your studying. Other times, you might be consumed with anxiety over a difficult class. Or there could be other reasons you’re chronically having trouble getting quality sleep. Looking at those potential areas of trouble can help you to both improve your health and your concentration, and ultimately help you to do better in school.

Screen Time

As a college student in the digital age, you’re certainly getting a lot of screen time. Maybe you’ve got online homework, carry a smartphone, and you have easy access to other media on streaming services and social platforms. It’s easy to lie in bed at the end of the day and scroll through your phone, but this could be affecting you as you try to fall asleep. Research shows that screen time, especially right before bed, can make it hard for you to fall asleep. In fact, a study shows sleep can be interrupted in direct correlation with how much time you spend with your screen, meaning that 15 minutes of screen time might mean four minutes of less sleep, and so on.

Additionally, if you’re still in your teens or early twenties, your brain is still developing. Research shows your prefrontal cortex – the area in charge of higher reasoning – is still formulating up to age 25. Restorative sleep is vital in promoting a healthy brain, including cognitive function, hormone regulation, and metabolism. Lack of sleep can lead to obesity, depression, and other health issues. Turn off your screens – including your phones, iPads, laptops, desktop computer, and TV – two hours before you go to sleep to help your body understand that it’s time to shut down and get the restorative rest that you need.

Stress

College has its fun and joyful experiences and is a time to make new connections with your peers, and maybe even enjoy a social gathering or two. But there’s also a lot of stress – you may be living away from home for the first time, and there may be stress associated with living in close quarters with people you don’t really know well (and maybe aren’t compatible with). You may have been excited to start your college courses and have added on one too many classes. You may be changing your eating habits, exercise habits, and overall routine. All of it is a disruption, and it’s natural that you may face some disruption in your sleep as well.

A few tips can help you to manage the stress that can lead to sleep disruption. Take an honest look at your class schedule – you may be interested in that 300-level course in philosophy, but do you need to take it this semester? While your university experience is a time to explore different academic areas, work with your advisor to ensure you’re first getting the required courses in and not overloading yourself with classes, especially as you’re adjusting to college life. Make sure you have some healthy time just for you. Look into your college’s extracurricular offerings such as yoga and meditation classes for an extra way to relax– the time spent will pay off in better sleep and, therefore, a clearer mind.

Diet

It’s super easy to rely on pizza deliveries and junk food, especially when you’re stressed and short of time – but a poor diet, even for resilient young people, can actually increase your stress and therefore make it harder to sleep. While you may feel invincible in your twenties, a poor diet can have a long term impact on your health, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Think of it like starting a savings account – you may not have much in there to begin with, but it all adds up the older you get.

Take advantage of your college’s meal plan. Hit the salad bar and take advantage of the healthier offerings like vegetables, whole grain offerings, and fresh fruit. Or, if you’re on your own for meals and short of time, grab the pre-made salads and healthy meals from the grocery store. Additionally, stay away from the Red Bull and caffeine-boosters, to pull those all-nighters (which are terrible sleep interrupters anyway). And while you may have plenty of opportunities to socialize after hours, lay off the alcohol, which despite being a depressant, can actually cause you to lose quality sleep.

Remember, your college also may have free opportunities to see a counselor if your insomnia, stress, or alcohol use become problematic. Remember that you’ve made a major life change by starting your college career, and seeking additional help to adjust may be just the extra hand you need to sleep easier.

Career Other

Self-Management Tools To Boost Your Personal Growth

June 5, 2020

The world around you cannot enhance your personal growth; only you can. The person who has the most to do with your personal growth is you. Self-management is the focus of personal growth coaching, and the application of these strategies has deep implications in the achievement of your goals. If you are interested in self-managing all the aspects of yourself, here is a guide to self-management for personal growth.

Attendance Tracking for Personal Growth

The best thing about the technological revolution we experience today is the app market that offers a full range of solutions for personal growth. A simple search on the app store reveals a host of the to-do list, reminder, file storage apps, and more that will help you manage the most valuable commodity on earth, time. For students, business owners, and managers, there is a wide range of apps that are developed with all new and cool features that make work easier. With the right app, you can improve your daily performance and that of your employees.

There’s an app for everything nowadays. For example, the employee attendance tracker app is good because it allows you to get everything done faster. 

Self-Management Skills for your Personal Growth

It is easy to underestimate the little decision you make in a day and the implications they have in your personal growth. Everyone seems to be consumed with studying, household chores, and work-related tasks. By applying these self-management skills and proper use of your time, you’ll be able to perform tasks with the highest efficiency.

  1. Practice positivity every day

The benefits of thinking positive thoughts daily are well established. Whether you want to achieve something you haven’t done before or you are working on your new year resolutions, a positive mindset will keep you going when things get tough. Unfortunately, the real obstacle to practicing positivity is the fact that the human brain is hard-wired to focus on threats and negativity. So how can you tap into the power of positivity? Here are some tips:

  • Learn to identify negative talk
  • Train your brain to focus on the positive
  • Remember to take time to appreciate what you are grateful for
  1. Cultivate self-awareness

Are you using the limited time you have to work on your personal growth and development, or are you running around in circles? Are you confident and aware of who you are? Self-awareness is a skill that allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, your triggers, and motivators.  It places a deep emphasis on your inner world, thoughts, and emotions. Here is what you can do to enjoy the tremendous benefits of self-awareness:

  • Create a personal space to connect with your inner self
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Pay attention
  • Process your thoughts into a journal
  • Ask for feedback and gain different perspectives
  1. Stress management

How do you react to stress? It is important to practice stress management techniques. Stress management techniques can increase the happiness and satisfaction you feel in your life. You should not wait until stress damages your mental, physical, and psychological health, as well as the relationship, productivity, and quality of life. Try these simple techniques to relieve stress:

  • Identify the cause
  • Positive self-talk
  • Try stress-busting activities like reading, art, socializing and more
  • Review your lifestyle and eat healthily
  1. Responsibility

Do you take ownership of the success and failure in your personal life? Taking responsibility allows you to choose how you respond to the challenges you face in life. It is a step closer to become self-managed. The problem is that many people will never master the skill of taking responsibility for their actions. Here are some of the strategies to take responsibility:

  • Ask for feedback
  • Re-engage people
  • Stop blaming
  • Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings
  1. Be productive

It might seem easy to grow yourself on a personal level. But it is not. It doesn’t matter what you read or the technique you use, the only way to boost personal growth is to become more productive. What do highly productive and successful people have in common? Here are tips to become more productive:

  • Focus on the important task
  • Cultivate deep work
  • Avoid distractions
  • Take breaks
  • Eliminate efficiencies

Your Turn

Everyone wants to grow on a personal level. Whether that means adding a degree or becoming a better father, there’s a lot you can do when you master self-management. That’s how people manage to get things done.

Author’s BIO: Lori Wade is a journalist from Louisville. She is a content writer who has experience in small editions, Lori is now engaged in news and conceptual articles on the topic of business. If you are interested in an entrepreneur or lifestyle, you can find her on Twitter & LinkedIn. She has good experience and knowledge in the field.  

Adulting Other

5 Major Spending Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

June 5, 2020

As a college student, socialization can come with the unfortunate downside of being fairly expensive. Going to bars and clubs, shopping for an outfit for a night out, or even just ordering food with friends can all be costs that add up quickly.

In order to save more money on a tight budget, read on for common spending mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

Not Planning

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to avoid overspending. By having a set idea of what you need ahead of time, you are placing a limit on what you can and cannot buy. This can be beneficial, as it helps you set your mind on what exactly you need to avoid distractions. As a smart shopper, take the time to create a shopping list and a strict budget that’s associated with it.

Taking on Fees

Many spending sprees can be bogged down by hidden transactional fees. Credit cards often have excessive interest rates associated with them if not paid off in time. Similarly, paying directly from your bank account puts you at risk for paying overdraft fees if you aren’t keeping a close eye on your spending.

One way to avoid this is to pay in cash, which also helps prevent overspending. If you’re someone more inclined to pay with a credit card, make sure you are aware of all the fees associated with the card you’re using. Similarly, if you’re in favor of using a debit card, find an account that has overdraft alternatives in order to avoid even more additional costs. Ultimately, this can keep you from taking on unnecessary fees if you do happen to spend more than what’s in your bank account.

Making Extra Purchases

Even with a budget and shopping list in place, there’s still a chance you might overspend on things that you don’t necessarily need. When shopping, it’s important to avoid impulse purchases and only focus on the list of items you’re planning to buy. Always stick to the plan you came in with, and if possible, avoid spending too much time looking at the smaller items available in the checkout aisle of many stores, which are designed to grab your attention, but probably aren’t the best for your budget. 

Not Finding Alternatives

The shopping world is forever changing, due to sites like Amazon, along with other websites that offer coupon and discount codes for a variety of internet stores. There is an abundance of money-saving alternatives available for the savvy shopper. Therefore, it’s important to take your time when shopping, both online and offline. After all, the first item you find may be convenient, but also might not be the most cost-effective to buy. Spending extra time looking for alternatives could be what saves you more money than expected.

Indecisiveness

On the flip side of this, taking too much time to shop can hinder your ability to save money. This is because most discounts are offered for a limited time only. While there is value in taking time to shop around and find deals, it shouldn’t be done in excess. Instead, pick a few items, compare their prices and the coupons available, and go with the most cost-effective option.

Before your next shopping trip or spending spree, make sure to plan ahead, and be ready to look for deals that will help you save money and avoid some common spending mistakes!

Other Transition

10 Things Nobody Tells You About Life After College

June 1, 2020

College is all fun and games until you graduate and find out what really happens. Without any doubt, post-graduation life is not as carefree as college. Star-eyed graduates expect their dream jobs to fall in their lap as they set foot into the real world. However, the truth is that the adult-world has more challenges than anyone prepares students for. 

People often advise students on how to survive college and reach the finish line, but how many people tell you the next step after you cross it? 

Here are 10 things no one tells you about life after college:  

  1. Getting Your Dream Job Is Not Easy

Not to scare you, but getting your dream job right out of college is not easy. You are competing against thousands of other applicants who graduated with you and possess the same knowledge and expertise. 

Wanted to work in Fantasy Sports Software Development? There is a high chance that it may not happen for a few years or at all. We recommend you stay adaptive and flexible; get what you can and work for the rest.  

  1. Post-Graduation Depression Is Real

Between all your bills, college loans, and societal pressure, it is very easy to succumb to depression. But you got to trust yourself and hang on. There is so much left out there in the world for you to explore and experience. Don’t give up without righting for what you really want!

  1. It’s Time To Update Your Closet

What do you mean I can’t be in my sweatpants all the time? Time to buy a perfect blazer, and maybe a couple of new button-down shirts as well. You got to look the part to get the part. 

  1. People Will Ask You About Your Job… Pretty Much All The Time

It’s not really the worst thing on the planet, but it will undoubtedly feel like it when you are constantly asked about your job. Your friends and family will ask this question every time you meet, and new people won’t spare you either. 

  1. Hanging Out With Friends Requires Planning And Effort

Seeing your friends frequently is one of the best parts of college, hands down. But once college is over, people scatter to different parts of the globe and hardly see each other. Once all your college friends find jobs and get busy with work, you will need a lot of planning to hang out. 

  1. A Workday Is Longer Than A School Day

Even a jam-packed day at school will seem shorter than a workday. Even a typical day at work can drain you, so be prepared to be exhausted by the end. 

  1. Summer Vacation? What’s That?

Remember your college spring break or summer vacation? Unless you become a teacher, those are almost non-existent after graduation. Consider going on a big trip right after graduation before you start a new job instead. 

  1. College Does Not Teach Anything About Personal Finance

If you are a finance graduate, this may not apply to you, but for others, it’s a different story. The debit/card cycles are never-ending, and you will feel trapped. Be careful about how you spend money!

  1. Brace Yourself For More Parental Expectations

Finishing college means you are an adult, which naturally comes with a lot of family expectations. Prepare yourself for questions regarding work, living space, marriage, etc. 

  1. The Real World Does Not Care About Your GPA

It’s true! No one cares about your GPA in the real world, and it hardly matters when landing the right job. On the other hand, your skills and networking capabilities will take you a long way.

It is ok to be unsure about what to expect after graduation, but we hope these 10 tips gave you some idea. Welcome to the other side!

Bio: Nouman Ali provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. His educational background in the technical field and business studies helps him in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development and digital marketing. He occasionally writes articles for Dynamologic Solutions.

Other Transition

Do Standardized Tests Measure Educational Quality?

May 28, 2020

Standardized tests play a key role in today’s education system. They can take the form of aptitude tests that measure scholastic readiness or achievement tests that measure subject-specific knowledge. But how well do standardized tests measure educational quality?

Arguments in Favor of Standardized Tests

There are various arguments in favor of standardized tests. Here are the main reasons why they are good for measuring educational quality.

Standardized Tests Enable Consistent Assessment

Every teacher grades pupils differently. When college admissions committees only see overall grade point averages, nuances between teachers with higher and lower expectations are lost. So, standardized testing can act as a balancing force. Standardized tests can provide colleges with objective data with which they can compare prospective candidates.

Standardized Tests Prepare Students for College

If students attend high schools that do not offer advanced placement courses or a large number of extracurricular activities, standardized testing can enable students to set themselves apart from their high schools. Tests like the ACT and SAT give students the chance to show they are smart and motivated, so they will not be judged on their high schools when applying for college. And passing some specific standardized tests is required to gain entry to some degree programs. For instance, passing the Law School Admission Test is vital for prospective law school students. As for LSAT dates and deadlines, the test is held four times a year, in February, June, September or October, and December, and the registration deadline is about one month before the test date.

If students are enrolled in highly competitive high schools, standardized testing can also be beneficial. That is because it enables students to show they are intelligent and qualified, even if being in a class of many high-achieving students prevents them from being top of their classes.

Arguments Against Standardized Tests

Opponents of standardized tests typically say the test promotes a teaching-to-the-exam study method, meaning students only learn-and-repeat what is required by the curriculum. The opponents say that undermines students’ abilities to innovate and critically think. They, therefore, believe that standardized tests are not the best way of measuring student performance.

Teaching to the Test

Standardized testing means the main focus is on obtaining high grades. That means teachers feel compelled to teach students solely so that they can pass the tests. And in some schools, teachers spend less time teaching the arts and social sciences because they feel it is more important to prepare students for standardized tests in areas like math and English. That can lead to a less-rounded education for students.

Multiple Choice Tests

Standardized tests consist of multiple-choice questions or open-ended questions, and some feature both. Opponents of standardized tests that only use the multiple-choice format say the tests are too simplistic and do not reflect accurate student intelligence. On the other hand, tests that feature open-ended questions enable students to show their knowledge and apply critical thinking, often through extended responses.

Final Thoughts

Standardized tests are good because they are quantifiable and enable comparisons. But, as noted above, there is a negative side to standardized testing. There are other measures that can show how well schools and students are performing, such as graduation rates, enrollments in advanced placements and other college prep courses, and college remediation rates for recent high school graduates.

So, do standardized tests measure educational quality? Yes, they do. However, if they are used as the sole source of measuring educational quality, they are not wholly reliable. Standardized tests should be just one of many measures that are used to evaluate students’ abilities and their readiness for college or a career.

Career Other

8 Opportunities to Take Advantage of at Your First Job Out of College

May 28, 2020

So, you’ve finished college. Welcome to the real world! Your first job out of college is more than just a paycheck. It’s an opportunity for growth and stepping stones towards the future you’ve always dreamed of. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your new job.

Be Smart with Your Paid-Time Off

Make sure you know the difference between your company’s sick leave, vacation, and paid-time-off policies so that you can get the most of your time away from the office. Even if you don’t get sick often, you can still take advantage of your sick days if you ever find yourself in a funk and just need a break. And while some companies let you roll your PTO over into the next year, others might not, so make sure you read the fine print before booking your next getaway.

Get Life Insurance

Take advantage of any life insurance your company offers. Funeral costs can really add up, so it’s best to be prepared. Plus, if you invest in life insurance early on, your investment can be used for other things. Some life insurance policies have cash value, which means you can use the money like a savings account in case you find yourself in need of an extra push on a rainy day.

Don’t Do it For the Money

Let’s face it: you’re probably not going to be raking in your dream salary when it comes to your first job after college. Instead of focusing on how much (or little) you’re making, look at your first post-college job as an opportunity to grow through new experiences. Find things to motivate you throughout the day that aren’t based on money. You’ll be more likely to open yourself up to opportunities that you may have otherwise turned down, which can help you open valuable professional doors down the line.

Health and Wellness

Health benefits can go beyond health insurance. Many companies offer perks such as gym memberships, counseling services, or discounts on services like massages. Doing what you can to balance both your physical and mental wellbeing is a simple way to get the most out of your job, while also taking care of yourself.

Network

Whether you’re just shy or like to play lone-wolf, it’s time to realize how vital building relationships can be. Every single person you meet will know something you don’t, and networking is the ultimate way to tap into that potential. Take the time to get to know people, and show genuine curiosity. Then take it one step further by branching out of who you would normally interact with to expand your network. Just remember that this is a two-way street, so remember to be authentic and don’t expect any favors.

Switch Up Your Commute

Save money and the planet by taking advantage of alternate commuter options. Some companies offer public transportation packages. Instead of driving, you can use the extra time to unwind or focus on the sights along the way or gather your thoughts before work. If that isn’t an option for you, consider looking into carpooling or ride-sharing. Carpooling can save you money and time. It’s also a great way to curb vehicle maintenance costs by prolonging the life of your car.

Employee Assistance Programs

Many companies offer programs that are designed to help employees in a crisis. These programs could range anywhere from substance abuse help, legal counsel referrals, or financial counseling. There are even some with help for things like daycare, veterinary services, and other personal or work-related problems.

Be Upfront

At the end of the day, one of the best things you can do is be upfront in the hiring process. Stay in touch with your human resources department, and let them know that you’re interested in benefits. They’ll appreciate the honesty, and be more than happy to do what they can to help you stay healthy.