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college life

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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.

Transition Uncategorized

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.

Transition Uncategorized

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.

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Adulting Uncategorized

Packing Tips for College Move Out Day

May 27, 2020
Packing Tips for College

How bittersweet this time of year is – summer is approaching, meaning no more classes or exams or deadlines, but you have to say goodbye to your friends, professors, clubs and parties. Although this can be a fun time to get distracted and get ready for the warm weather and summer fun again, it’s also a time to make sure you’re prepared to be on time for your flight or ride when moving out of your dorm or apartment.

Between finals, nice weather and saying goodbye to friends, it can be difficult to get everything packed in an organized and timely manner. However, it helps to do a little bit over time, so the whole task never seems too overwhelming. What do you need to do before you leave? Where should you begin? Check out this list!

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Student Life Uncategorized

5 Ways to Stay Focused in College

May 27, 2020

Keeping up with the college life can mean keeping your mind moving in a hundred different directions. Classes, friends, work, activities, student organizations, events — there’s always a lot going on at once, which means there’s always a lot to think about any given time. That can make it tough when it comes time to get things done. Everyone feels scatterbrained and overwhelmed from time to time, but luckily there are some great tips that can help keep you focused. Below, are five:

1. Get into a routine
A great way to stay focused is to be in the habit of staying focused. Sound like a catch-22?  Don’t worry, it’s actually pretty doable—you just have to find a routine that works for you. Figure out how and when you work best.  Even take note of where you seem to concentrate the most effectively.  Are you focused the most in the morning in your room, at night in the library, or after class drinking coffee? Look ahead and set a schedule for yourself so that you always have a time and place to be productive.

2. Eat well, stay hydrated, and sleep
You probably think you don’t need to be reminded to do this; after all, you have to eat, drink water, and sleep to live. However, in college, not everyone does these things properly.  Staying hydrated is good for your overall health, but it also helps improve your concentration. The same goes for eating well. If your throat feels parched or your stomach starts growling at you, your focus is bound to suffer. Have a small, healthy snack before getting to work, and keep water on hand.  And never forget about the importance of sleep! Most college students know the feeling of being in class the morning after a particularly late night. Not catching sufficient Z’s is a sure way to make you feel spacey and unmotivated.

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Career Uncategorized

What Skills Can Students Learn to Appeal to Tech-Savvy Companies?

May 12, 2020

Graduation is approaching and if you haven’t thought about companies you want to work for, now might be the time to start. 

Do you want to work for a progressive company? Do you want to reap the benefits of remote and flexible work? Maybe you’re interested in having advanced technology and an engaging office environment. If this sounds appealing, you should consider adding tech-savvy companies to your list. 

As you can probably guess, it’s not as simple as applying to companies you want to work for. Oftentimes, you have to take steps to make yourself and your application more attractive to specific companies in order to score the position you want. 

Here are some of the top skills you can learn to appeal to tech-savvy companies. 

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has become popular in many companies, as it enables safer storage of company data, along with remote access to company platforms. The popularity of the product means that the field will only continue to grow. 

Even if you don’t want to work directly with cloud computing, showing an employer that you understand how to safely manage your devices and company information will make you a desirable job candidate. You can look for certification courses online, many of which are now offered entirely online through virtual courses. Some of the most popular certifications include AWS and Azure. 

Adding these certificates to your application will separate you from the competition and increase your chances of working for a tech-forward company. 

Automation Testing

With software like robotic process automation (RPA) becoming common in most companies, there will be a need for human involvement to manage and test the platform. 

A common misconception is that automation is out to get jobs, but in reality, software like RPA needs to be monitored consistently to ensure that the technology is performing correctly. This means with growing automation implementations comes the need for more new employees skilled in testing and monitoring automation. 

Working with automation doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be programming or directly monitoring the software, but having a deeper understanding of your role alongside automation can make you a valuable asset to any company. 

Most automation companies have online training courses that end in certification for their programming and managing their product. Not only will they teach you how to manage the software, but some also teach you how to build RPA bots. Some popular options include IQ Bot and IBM’s Build a Bot tutorial. 

Coding

Learning to code is one of the top-ranked hard skills to develop in 2020. Before learning to code, it’s important to decide what programming language is most relevant or interesting to you.

The majority of companies use Python or JavaScript as their primary coding language, yet there are others that are as important, if not more, depending on the job you want. For example, HTML is considered to be a beginner language when learning to program, but it’s essential for anyone building websites or doing website optimization at their company.

Start by determining what programming language is most relevant to your job interests and sign up for classes, online certification programs, or a tutor to improve your skills.

These skills are sure to boost your resume and make you more valuable to any company. Even more importantly, they’re all skills you can learn online, at any point. Adding just one of these skills to your resume is sure to help you land a job at a tech-savvy company!

Student Life Uncategorized

The Best Jobs to Have While You’re in College

May 12, 2020

College is an exciting time of learning, growing, and experiencing your first taste of the “real world”. Unfortunately, a four-year public college can cost over $28,000 each year and a private institution averages over $32,000 a year. 

So, while your studies should be your top priority while you’re in school, it’s not uncommon for many college students to look for some type of employment to start paying off student loan debt, to open a savings account, or just to have some spending money and freedom. 

It’s been reported that about 40% of undergraduates work at least 30 hours a week while in college. That can burn you out quickly if you’re not careful. So, what are some of the best jobs for students, and how can you start preparing now for your future career? 

Finding a Part-Time Job

There are plenty of part-time job opportunities that won’t force you to take too much time away from your studies. Some of the highest-paying jobs are actually more “gig-based” like nannying/babysitting, dog walking, or tutoring. You can choose to take on these jobs as it works for your schedule, which means you won’t have to miss something important in school in order to work. 

If you want a more structured, hourly position that ensures a certain amount of pay each week, some of the best options for college students include the following: 

  • Bank teller
  • Barista
  • Cashier
  • Bookkeeper
  • Warehouse worker
  • Medical receptionist

There are even some temporary job opportunities if you’re having a slow semester or you need some extra cash. The U.S. Postal Service, for example, hires “casual workers” twice a year for 90 days during peak mail periods. 

Use different resources for finding a job including LinkedIn, your local newspapers, and job sites like Monster.com. You might think there aren’t any active part-time opportunities available, but they’re out there if you’re diligent in your search! You can even check out flyers or advertisements posted around campus for companies that might be hiring and looking specifically for college students. 

Starting Your Own Business

Do you want to bring in some money but you don’t want to work for someone else? College can be a great time to start your own business. Many college students who have skills in things like graphic design or writing take on freelance jobs. It’s a great way to make money on a per-gig basis, and it can also help to boost your resume and build your career while you’re still in school if you provide consistent work to reputable clients. 

The more you network and build your client base, the easier it will be for you to grow your business. You can even start a service-based business in your collegiate town, such as a cleaning company, a pet-sitting business, or landscaping. 

If you get enough regular clients, that can lead to positive marketing opportunities and people sharing strong reviews. When you graduate, you’ll already have established a strong business, and you may be able to expand it to different locations. 

Kickstarting Your Career

Most people go to college to learn more about the career path they have chosen, but there’s no rule that says you can’t kickstart that career in college. If you know what your passion is, you can make the transition to life after college easier on yourself by having a career-focused mind now. 

One great way to do that is to sign up for an internship. Internships allow you to work for whatever industry you’re interested in and get hands-on, real-world experience that you simply can’t get in a classroom. For example, if you want to go into the marketing field or work in developing content marketing strategies for companies, interning at a content marketing agency can help you to hone in on skills like social media, analytics/data, personalized content, and design, which you can use to boost your resume and land a job faster after you graduate. 

Internships are also a great way to make connections and network with people already in the business world. College grads often make the mistake of presenting themselves only online when they’re looking for jobs instead of going out into the world and networking with people. While searching for jobs online has its place, there’s nothing like face-to-face interaction for someone to think positively of you and to connect you with the right people. 

If you’re knee-deep in your studies but you also want to start making money, you have several options depending on how much you want to work. Whether you decide to be your own boss, work a part-time job, or intern somewhere that may clear a path for a brighter future, making money while you’re still in college can end up saving you a lot of extra financial stress once you graduate.

Transition Uncategorized

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.

Transition Uncategorized

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!

Transition Uncategorized

Home Away From Home: Completing a Long Distance Campus Move

April 22, 2020

Long-distance moves are already stressful and exhausting, but when your destination is a college campus with a new dorm, a full class load, and an entirely new social circle, it can feel downright overwhelming. Here are a few tips and suggestions to keep in mind as you prepare to leave the familiar comforts of the well-known behind and launch into the geographically distant academic adventures that lie ahead.

Go Into Things Healthy

It’s a good idea to take some time before your big move to ensure that you’re in tip-top physical, mental, and emotional shape as you go through the rigors of a larger move. A few suggestions for ways to do this include:

  • Getting a checkup.
  • Sleeping well in the days and weeks leading up to the move.
  • Eating healthy food.
  • Exercising.
  • Meditating and/or praying on a daily basis.

If you can pursue health and wellness in the lead up to your move, you’ll be able to weather the drama and chaos much easier.

Pack Smart

When it comes to your move you may think you’re on your own. After all, none of your friends or family are likely coming with you to live on campus. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ask friends and family for help

Pull the classic “if you come and help me pack I’ll get everyone pizza at the end of the day” pitch. This turns the event into less work for yourself as well as a fun opportunity for everyone to hang out one last time before you leave.

Plan Your Trip

Before you ever hop in the car or turn the key, make sure to carefully plan out your trip. What route will you take? Do you need to stop along the way to rest? Are you giving yourself plenty of time to get there even if you’re held up by a minor issue like traffic or an extra rest stop visit? Taking the time to plan things out can make everything more peaceful as you go.

Set Your Expectations

When you arrive on campus you’ll likely be exhausted and overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to set your expectations ahead of time. Try to time your arrival so that you have enough time to unpack and then crash and get some rest. In addition, take time before you arrive on campus to associate yourself with several of the classic college concerns of any student, such as choosing classes, looking for extracurricular activities, nailing down financial aid, and understanding where all of the on-campus sports and exercise equipment is.

In addition, if you’re living in a dorm, associate yourself with some of the wiser considerations when it comes to moving in with a roommate. For instance, make sure to create a roommate agreement, discuss appropriate decor, and define boundaries. Before you do any of that, though, remember to be patient and strive to create a good relationship at your initial meeting.

Making It a Smooth Move

If you take the time to foster your health, inform yourself, recruit help, and plan ahead you’ll be able to make a cross-country college move much easier on your mind, body, and soul. When the big day comes, instead of feeling overwhelmed and scrambling, you’ll feel empowered and ready to embrace the adventure that lies ahead.

Remember that renters insurance and tuition insurance are musts when going away to college! GradGuard offers both so you can have even more peace of mind when going through this transitional time.

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.