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Student Life Transition

Common Barriers to Returning to Education and How to Overcome Them

November 10, 2020
Common Barriers to Returning to Education and How to Overcome Them

An increasing number of adults are returning to college, either to complete degrees that they already started or to further their education within a professional field.

While this is an admirable endeavor, it should never be taken lightly. Attending classes — especially as a parent or while still working — is a big commitment that comes with a variety of challenges. Here are a few of the most common barriers to returning to school as well as suggestions for ways to overcome them.

Finances Can Be Tight

Often a return to school is precipitated by bad finances, a languishing work situation, or both. This can make money feel very tight while you’re attending school.

While tight finances are a common challenge, you can address this barrier by:

Work Remains a Priority

If you attend school as an adult, there’s a good chance that you’re also going to work part-time, at the least. You may even have to maintain a full-time work schedule, especially if you don’t want to sacrifice your career momentum.

The need to attend school while still working can feel impossible. However, you can address the barrier of work and school by:

  • Tightening up your expenses and dropping to part-time as a temporary measure.
  • Accepting a longer educational timeline by attending school part-time.
  • Maintaining close communication with bosses and professors as you navigate your work- and class-loads.
  • Using a loan, if absolutely necessary, to help make ends meet — although you should have a plan in place on how you’ll repay the money.

Family Responsibilities Don’t Go Away

As if work and school weren’t already a lot, many adult students also have personal lives — especially families — that require their attention. A spouse may be a support during school, but children, while a blessing, do present an additional sense of responsibility.

If you’re attempting to care for your family while returning to school, you can address this barrier by:

  • Keeping a cloud-based calendar that collects all of your family’s schedules, classes, work hours, and extracurricular events in one place for all to see.
  • Setting distinct boundaries, such as times to work, do homework, and tend to family concerns — and then communicating these clearly to your boss, professors, and dependents.
  • Finding good healthcare for your family, even if you’re in a lower income bracket.
  • Scheduling in time to unplug and focus on family to prevent strained relationships and unwelcome distancing.

Self-Esteem Can Go Out the Window

Finally, with a boss looking over one shoulder and a string of professors peeking over the other, it’s easy to feel a bit over-analyzed at times. This constant flow of feedback, letter grading, and judgment, in general, can do a number on your self-esteem.

It’s important to maintain faith in yourself while you’re juggling so many responsibilities. You can take steps to overcome this barrier by:

  • Taking time to meditate and pray each morning.
  • Staying focused on long-term goals rather than short-term problems.
  • Resisting the need to become overly-involved in the full “college experience.”
  • Setting up lifelines to friends and family members when you need to talk.

Owning Your Return to School

Returning to school can feel daunting. However, if you take steps to maintain healthy finances, properly prioritize work, school, and family, and keep up your self-esteem, you can dominate your time on campus.

The important thing is that you proactively invest yourself in a good adult learning experience. Try to see your return as a good step in the right direction, rather than a challenge or problem that must be overcome. This lays the foundation for a successful, productive, and positive return to school.

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Career Student Life Transition

Is Community College the Right Choice?

November 6, 2020

Growing up, many students and their families are led to believe that attending a four year college or university right after high school is the best decision. They hear that the quality of education will be better, the college experience will be more fun, and that it will look better on their resumes when it is time to make a career choice. But community college shouldn’t be overlooked simply based on the benefits of attending a four-year university.

Here’s why community college may be the right choice for you:

The Cost

Most families and students know that community college does tend to be less costly than a four year college or university. This is often one of the biggest reasons students begin their higher education career at a community college. Classes are a fraction of the cost compared to a four-year university, and it’s a good time to get the general education studies out of the way, or even take classes that simply sound interesting to you, since tuition won’t break the bank.

Credits Earned Can Be Transferred to a Four Year College or University

The classes you take at community college can be applied to your bachelors degree. Many students don’t realize general education classes, like your English and science requirements, are the same at both the community college and university level. Just make sure you’re passing your classes and meeting with your counselor to make sure you are on the right track to transfer your credits. It would also help to begin contacting the university you plan on attending to make sure your junior college credits will transfer and that you are taking classes that are equivalent to what is offered at their institution. 

Associate’s Degree May Be Enough for You

You can earn a degree at community college and be done with higher education, if you want. It’s totally up to you! Lots of students make the decision to pursue career options with just their associate’s degree under their belt. Other options include joining the military or attending a trade school.

Staying Closer to Home for a Bit Longer

Some students are hesitant about leaving the nest so soon after high school that they make the decision to attend a community college that’s close to home. This gives first year college students the opportunity to spend more time with their family and childhood friends, save money on school, and maybe even get a part time job. Attending community college and living at home can be an easier transition for students who are paying for school themselves or aren’t yet sure what they want to study at a four-year university.

If you and your family are trying to decide whether or not community college is a good decision, take these considerations to heart.

Adulting Student Life Transition

7 Tips For Living in Your First Off Campus Apartment

November 4, 2020

Making the transition from living on-campus to a nearby apartment brings many responsibilities. While it comes with more independence, it’s worth knowing if your complex is catered to students like yourself, or not. You can have friends over without worrying about dorm hours, or have the freedom to stay in your college town during the holidays or summer when the dorms are closed. However, you need to make sure you take proper responsibilities like paying your bills on time and sticking to your budget so you can enjoy your new apartment lifestyle.

Here are some tips for living in your first off campus apartment:

Have Everything in a Written Contract

When you live in your first off-campus apartment, it’ll most likely be your first opportunity to understand the importance of having everything in a written contract, and before signing it, you should read it through entirely. It also doesn’t hurt to have a parent or another adult read it through too since they most likely have more experience with renting. If you were promised something when you toured the facility or saw something in an advertisement, like a rent adjustment, you need to be certain that it is well-documented in the rent contract. And of course, don’t forget renters insurance.

Keep a Consistent Cleaning Schedule

Living in your first off-campus apartment means that you’re in charge of cleaning it. Whether you live alone or have roommates, you need to make a cleaning schedule and be consistent about making it happen. You don’t have to vacuum every day, but you should make a habit of wiping the kitchen and bathroom counters, taking out the trash, cleaning out the fridge regularly.

Pay All of Your Bills On Time

It might not seem like much, but paying your bills late will affect your credit score and result in late fees. To avoid having late bills, you can set auto-draft payments or simply write bill due dates on a calendar. If you’re collecting money from your roommates to pay the bills, you should start collecting at least a week before the money is due to make sure you have it on time.

Always Lock Your Doors

It’s easy to think that nothing will ever happen especially in your college town, but you should always lock your apartment door even if you’ll just be gone a few minutes. This includes running to your car really quickly or taking out the trash. If you’re uncomfortable with someone in your apartment, such as roommates or guests, you should lock your bedroom door when you aren’t home.

Think Carefully About Your Roommates

If you have roommates, you need to think long and hard about who you choose to live with. Will they be respectful of the complex’s rules? Will they be quiet if you need to study? Will they help clean up in the kitchen? Will they pay their part on time? These are all just a few of the questions you need to think about before agreeing to be roommates with someone. Just because they’re your close friend doesn’t mean they would make an ideal roommate. If you’re going the random roommate route, make sure to vet them thoroughly. Your complex may also have a roommate matching program to find you someone with similar qualities. Make sure you and your roommates each have your own renters insurance policy.

Create a Budget

Now that you’re living off-campus, you’ll be responsible for more expenses, and they can add up quickly. On top of rent and utilities, you need to create a budget for items such as groceries, entertainment, transportation (gas, bus card, subway pass, etc.), and clothing, and stick to it! You need to budget for the entire semester so you aren’t stuck eating sandwiches for the last 3 months of the semester because you spent all of your money the first month. Look into using a budgeting app to simplify the process.

Feel Free to Decorate

The apartment won’t feel like yours without a few personal decorations. Simple decorations like a team banner, throw pillows, picture frames, or movie posters will go a long way in making the place feel like your very own. Since this is your first off-campus apartment, you probably want make sure it feels like your own place, and bringing in decor items that show your personality will help.

Living in your first off-campus apartment is an exciting time full of new adventures! But don’t let the new found freedom get in the way of staying on top of the responsibilities that come along with it. Stick to these tips and you’ll be sure to be successful.

Transition

Graduated College – Now What?

July 15, 2020

2020 has taken a few unexpected turns that are going to hit the history books. As a recent college grad in the midst of a global pandemic and economic rollercoaster, here are some things you need to take care of now that you are a college graduate.

  1. Health insurance – If you are under the age of 26, try to stay on your parents plan. If you are unable to do so, be sure to find a way to get coverage. Life happens and it can happen fast. You don’t don’t want to get stuck with an out of pocket expense of $30,000 for staying in the hospital for a few nights. 
  2. Have a financial plan – Know what your needs are – living expenses add up quickly. If you have family or friends that are willing to have you for an extended period of time, take it – especially if you have student loans coming up. Saving any penny you can will help you be financially stable.
  3. Finding a job – with unemployment up and COVID-19 making a comeback in some states, it can be difficult to find a position in your specific field. You will need to learn how to hone your skills and be open to learning new industries. Do not box yourself in, and you may stumble upon your dream job!
  4. Create a Budget, AND STICK TO IT – It may sound lame, but having a budget will help you stay focused on your financial goals as well as not creating even more debt you may already be in after graduation.

With the state of the economy out of your control, you can make yourself adaptable. By researching some guidelines and making yourself marketable to multiple industries and positions you will learn to stretch and grow. You will get through this and be stronger for it!

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.  

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.

Other Transition

5 Perks of Graduating College in the Winter

May 27, 2020
5 Perks of Graduating College in the Winter

Graduating in December means finishing all your classes and requirements mid-school year, and getting your diploma just in time for the holidays. It might not come with wrapping paper and a bow, but it’s a pretty impressive gift. If you’re a winter grad or are thinking about graduating next winter, take a look at this list of perks that can come with finishing college in December.

It can be a money saver.
If you’re graduating early, that’s one less semester’s worth of fees and costs that spring up between classes. Dealing with student loan payments after college is tough, and this can help cut some of those costs you’ll be faced with.

Continue Reading

Other Transition

Helpful Advice When Applying to College

April 29, 2020

The college application process is an exciting time. This is an opportunity for high school students to figure out where they are going to go next. There are a number of hurdles that high school students must cross and one of them is the college application process. There are a few tips that students need to keep in mind as they are applying to college.

Know the Deadlines

This is at the very top of the list when thinking about 10 Tips When Applying to College. It is critical for everyone to remember that college is competitive and schools receive thousands of applications from qualified applicants every year. They are not going to bend the rules just because one person missed the deadline. Make sure to know the deadlines and get all of the materials in on time. Furthermore, when a student misses a deadline, this shows a lack of maturity, preparedness, and time management skills. Know the deadlines and get everything in on time.

Read the Instructions Carefully

Not every college application is going to be the same. There are going to be some differences from school to school. Particularly when it comes to essay prompts, it is important for students to read the instructions carefully. If students submit an essay that doesn’t address the prompt at the top of the page, this is not going to look good for the school. Therefore, every student must read the instructions along with each individual application. While this might sound like a lot of work, it is important to put the best foot forward.

Proofread All Submissions

Students have plenty of time to complete their college applications. Therefore, there is plenty of time to proofread. Spelling and grammar mistakes on college applications exude a sense of carelessness. This does not reflect well on the applicant. It is helpful to get another set of eyes on every essay. Sometimes, it is hard for students to pick up mistakes in their own work. Having someone else read it is a good idea. This way, all spelling and grammar mistakes are caught before they reach the desk of the committee.

Think About Recommendations Carefully

One of the most important parts of every college application is the letters of recommendation section. This is an opportunity for the committee to get to know each applicant on a personal level. Think about who is going to present the applicant in the best light possible. Try to get letters of recommendation from different areas including academics, athletics, and other extracurriculars. Each letter should show a different side of the student. Not much is going to come from three letters that all say the same thing about the student. Try to create a well-rounded picture with the letters of recommendation.

Tips for Applying to College

These are a handful of the most important tips that everyone needs to remember during the college application process. Keeping these tips in mind will set up every student to be successful in the future.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Other Transition

The Top College Towns of 2020

April 22, 2020

Choosing a college is no small feat. There are a ton of factors that come into play, from academic programs to athletics. One factor that definitely shouldn’t be overlooked is location. The town or city a school is located in can play a big part in both your college experience not to mention your life and work after graduation.

When making our choices, we considered several factors, including student life and culture, available recreational activities, nearby attractions, and availability of high-speed internet and other college necessities. Here are our picks:

1. Gainesville, FL

Gainesville houses the University of Florida, known for its research programs, athletics, and parties. Gainesville was, at one time, one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, thanks in part to its excellent climate, beautiful landscape, and large number of entertainment options. 

When it comes to living in Gainesville, there’s plenty to do, including several state parks and museums to check out, and the Gainesville Raceway is a popular spot. The town also has a growing startup culture, so if building businesses is your thing, you’ll be in good company once you graduate.

2. Berkeley, CA

Located across the Bay from San Francisco, Berkeley has a long reputation as a great place to live. The weather is beautiful, the atmosphere is electric, and creativity and activism are everywhere. The University of California is regularly ranked as one of the best in the country, and the area has a rich history dating back to the late ‘60s and the hippy movement. What more could you want in a college town?

Berkeley also has another major advantage: it’s situated only an hour or so away from Silicon Valley. This makes it an ideal candidate for folks in the tech space, as well as potential founders looking to fund startups.

3. Boulder, CO

Boulder has a reputation as one of the best places to live in the US, with gorgeous surroundings, excellent art and food cultures, and the popular University of Colorado providing a backdrop. Like Berkeley, Boulder has a bit of a hippy past, and between that and the beautiful natural landscape make it an ideal spot for adventurous students and adults alike.

There’s a ton to do in Boulder, especially if you like outdoor activities. The entire area is surrounded by nature preserves, recreational land, and climbable mountains. The city also regularly makes lists of the best places to live in the US, including “Happiest City,” “Brainiest City,” and “Best City to Raise an Outdoor Kid.”

4. Athens, GA

Home of the University of Georgia, Athens rounds out the list of best college towns. Unlike some of the other towns on the list, rent in Athens actually falls below the national average, making it an affordable town both during school and after graduation. Music is a big part of the culture, with several national acts, including R.E.M. and Widespread Panic, coming out of Athens. The University of Georgia is home to the Georgia Bulldogs, and their games are a big part of life in Athens.

One downside to living in Athens is that you may have a harder time finding reliably fast internet here, especially if you’re living in the more outlying areas. If that’s the case for you, there are rural internet options available that might help.

These four college towns have something for almost everyone, whether you’re a football fan itching to get on down to Georgia or a budding software engineer looking to make it big in Silicon Valley. Just don’t forget to squeeze in some studying and secure your college renters insurance upon move in!