Lifeguard or Law Clerk?

How should you spend your summer break?

There are many factors you’ll need to consider to make the right choice as to how to best utilize your precious summer months. A good decision is critical as it can become a major advantage when you start to interview for your “real job” during your senior year.

Making the assumption that you’re going to attempt to make a few bucks over the break, you should consider your financial need as well as possible work options related to your field of study. You’ll also want to look at each potential job’s rate of pay, schedule requirements, work environment, and the opportunity for future employment it may provide.

Two good rules of thumb are: Read more

Don’t wait until it’s too late

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start looking for a good high school graduation gift for the high school senior in your life. Now is the time to begin thinking who you will be giving high school graduation gifts to. As I talked about in the last post, making a list now may save you some heartache later.

If you start early, you won’t make the mistake of getting your high school graduate a bad gift. You don’t want to be the person who gives the photo album (we have digital cameras and therefore have digital photo albums—your gift will swiftly tossed into the trash), a laundry bag, or a book designed for children that won’t help us any in our next step (and we will probably get a couple of copies of this one, so you are not alone if you have made this mistake before).

Making College Count is not outdated (the new version is out now) as a photo album may be, is useful, but less boring than a laundry bag, and infinitely more valuable than a children’s book. Making College Count makes a great high school graduation gift because it provides tips and tricks for achieving college success.

So this year, don’t wait until the last minute to make the list of who you need to get high school graduation gifts for, and while you are at it, get them something that will help them in college and beyond—Making College Count.

Even the Worst Job Can Help With Success After College

What’s the worst possible job? Waiting tables in a smoky dive? Sweeping floors in a loud, dirty factory? Gutting hogs in a slaughterhouse? There are plenty of candidates for this dubious distinction.

Sad but true, summer jobs are notoriously rotten. Unless you’ve had the foresight and good fortune to line up a good paying summer job in your chosen field, you may be dreading the approaching summer job grind. But for many students, a summer job is a financial necessity, even if the job itself is less than perfect.

Like everything else in life, a summer job is what you make of it. You can get much more than a paycheck out of any job, even on the assembly line. Every job provides opportunities to exhibit how driven you are (Effort), how well you along with the customers and co-workers (Group Skills), and how you can solve problems with the initiative and innovative ideas (Entrepreneurship). These three Winning Characteristics are important attributes that future employers will seek and reward. Read more

Appealing to Tired Eyes

Here’s a college tip: If you have the chance to work for a professor during your academic career, go for it. Professors are a great source of knowledge, professional contacts, and career help.

And you’ll also learn a big lesson about test-taking. Read more

Are Honor Societies Really Such an Honor?

What’s this in your mailbox? An embossed invitation to attend a meeting of Nu Xi Nu, the acclaimed honorary society for pre-vet majors. You know it’s acclaimed, because it says so on the invitation. You read on and see that you’re not only invited to attend, but have been elected a member of the group. Hot dang, Greek letters to put on your resume.

You dig further in the envelope and find an order form for Nu Xi Nu sportswear, letterhead, and even a slid 12 karat gold membership pin, emblazoned with a genuine simulated opal. Not bad for $68.50 plus postage and handling. Read more

Avoid the Dreaded Social Section

It’s not your fault, you’re only human. Humans are social creatures, naturally drawn to other humans for comfort, camaraderie, and amusement. So it’s only natural that you’re drawn to the social center of the library.

Every library has one. You know where it is. Everybody knows where it is, and that’s the problem. It’s the section of the library where you go to make sure you don’t miss anything. It’s the dreaded social section. Read more

The Real Cost of College Part 2

So you know how much you and/or your family can spend on college and you know about scholarship opportunities at the schools you are considering. That’s it…right? Wrong! The price of college is not tuition alone, and if you don’t plan accordingly, your dream school could end up discarded from your list like last night’s smelly left-overs.

Tuition ≠ cost of attending college. (For those of you having trouble recognizing that symbol, it is the does not equal sign). College costs far more than what the fliers advertise. So as you are researching where you would like to attend, don’t forget to look at the hidden costs of college. While many schools quote you a tuition that sounds reasonable, how much are the fees? Read more

The Real Cost of College Success Part 1

College success is not achieved overnight, and part of preparing is the college search itself. While you are looking at the college websites or maybe even making a few visits, sit down with your parents and talk about the cost of college.

You may be fortunate enough to have parents who will pay for college for you, or pay for much of the cost. Or you may know you will take on student loans to pay for your education. Whatever the case is, have a solid number in mind and direct your search accordingly. While an expensive private school in a far-away land may sound ideal, if there is another, equally great school closer by that fits in your price range, don’t even look at the one you know there is no way you will ever afford. You will just be miserable later when you are faced with the reality of a top-choice school on your list that you cannot attend. But be aware of scholarships and financial aid. Is the school you are researching known for being generous with the scholarship or aid dollars? Are they need based or need blind? Do you even know what merit verses need-based scholarships are? Well, now is the time to get ahead of the curve and discover the real cost of college.

Start the college search off on the right foot and you pave the way to college success!

Meet your Professor Face to Face

Yeah right. You’re going to give up a free hour to walk all the way across campus to talk to Professor Thickglasses during his office hours? Very funny.

If you could get students to be honest on this subject, you’d find that most fall somewhere between intimidated and afraid when it comes to attending office hours. And there are some reasonable explanations for these feelings. For starters, Professor Thickglasses is a national expert o the subject area and you know next to nothing about it.

Sure, it makes sense to be a bit intimidated, but it really makes a lot more sense to tromp across campus and take advantage of the opportunity that office hours presents. There are many good reasons to visit old Thickglasses. First of all, he can help you better understand the class material. Swing by, introduce yourself, and ask a couple questions, before you’re totally lost. Professors teach because they enjoy sharing their knowledge. A sincere question from you shows interest and initiative, not ignorance.

Beyond clearing up academic issues, you can also develop a positive relationship with your instructor. Yes, professors have been scientifically proven to be actual human beings. Even those who are not dynamic in the classroom can be pretty darn interesting on a face-to-face basis. Getting to know a prof can have other significant benefits. First off, you may earn yourself a bit of “benefit of the doubt.” Thickglasses might be more inclined to toss you an extra point or two if your grade is on the border between A and B.

Maybe more importantly, professors have great connections and contacts. Many act as as consultants in their off-time. Thickglasses may be able to steer you to a former student, client or colleague who could help you find a job, internship or research position. If nothing else, you can always use a solid letter of recommendation.

Go ahead. Go see Thickglasses.

Does College Choice Affect College Success?

Senior year of high school is supposed to be fun, and it will be, but you are probably thinking about college too. The decision is not looming yet, but it is on your radar. You know you have to get applications done before winter break, but you wonder if your choice of where to apply (and ultimately attend) will affect your success in college.

Of course, your college choice will affect your college success, but maybe not in the ways you would think. If you want to be a meteorologist and the school that you go to does not have one class in meteorology, then that is a problem. You set a goal as defining college success as setting up yourself for a career in meteorology, but no matter what your grades or extracurricular activities look like, you are hurting yourself in terms of your long-term career goals. But generally, it does not matter where you go, but rather what you do while you are there (and I would even add what you do with your degree when you get out).

I know it is easier said than done, but many who have gone before you have done it and so can you. Take some time to evaluate what you want out of college and make a list of those criteria. Don’t apply to schools that won’t allow you to meet those goals for a college environment, even if that means you and your boyfriend/girlfriend have to go to different schools. You may even have to sit down with your parents and explain that you cannot go to the school they would choose for you because it is your choice and you need to be happy with it.

If you work hard and follow the advice in “Making College Count” you can achieve college success wherever you choose to go. And there are successful graduates from every college in the nation. So the pressure is off—make your list and fill out your applications. No matter where you go, whether a big state school or a small private school, you can achieve college success!