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!

Juggling

Whether you are in high school or college, a freshman or a senior, school involves a good amount of juggling. You have to manage your coursework, activities, friendships, etc. But each requires a different kind of commitment.

I heard an analogy recently that resonated with me. In life, each thing that takes up your time is like a juggler’s ball. But some of the balls you are juggling are glass and others are rubber. If you “drop the ball” and the ball is rubber, it just bounces right back. But if the ball is glass, it shatters and you may never get it back.

As you prioritize the many demands on your time, it is important to determine which of your activities are glass and which are rubber because very different outcomes occur when they are dropped. For example, if you miss dinner with your friends one night, they will still be there the next day, but if you go to dinner to the detriment of the test the next day, you can never get that test day back and that bad grade erased.

So to achieve college success, be sure you figure out which things in your life are rubber balls and which are glass balls. You don’t want to mix them up!

Life is a Sport

From intramural athletics to extracurricular activities to group case study classes and in-class team projects, it seems that everywhere you turn, you’re asked to interact with other students. The truth is, more than ever, life is a team sport. Whether it be in college or the world of work, teamwork is current trend. Given this, recruiters today are looking for candidates with Group Skills for their organizations. It’s one of the Winning Characteristics upon which interviewers make hiring decisions, so you’ll want to be able to prove to them that you are strong in this area.

Extracurriculars are an excellent way to develop and sharpen your Group Skills. They almost always involve teams of students working together over a number of months to complete large, complex projects. The key here is that if you’re going to develop and be able to demonstrate that you have Group Skills, you’ll need to go a step beyond just joining the organization. You’re going to have to actually get involved after you do.
Fortunately, if you pick an activity that you’re genuinely interested in, from theater to student government, you’ll enjoy the experience rather than considering it work. You’ll learn from the interaction with the more experienced members who will be managing the projects. And, if you do a good job, you’ll earn the respect of others in the group, giving yourself the opportunity to take a leadership role in the organization. Leadership is another of the Winning Characteristics.

So, get involved and get a head start toward getting the job you want.

A 4.0 Just Isn’t Enough

Wouldn’t life be great if you could just get a 4.0? You’d graduate with honors and find a long line of recruiters waiting to hire you for your dream job at a dream salary. A 4.0 is a ticket to Easy Street.

Or is it? Anyone who thinks that a 4.0 is enough to get a great job is in for a rude awakening in the interview process. Yes, academic achievement says a lot about intelligence, logic, effort, and organizational skills, all of which are attractive qualities. But recruiters are looking for much more. The best candidates for almost any job display broad range of “Winning Characteristics” including those above and Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Group Skills, and Communication skills. Candidates who have used their college years to build this critical skill set, in addition to getting good grades, have a significant advantage in the job market.

Even in more technical fields such as engineering, accounting, and architecture, employers look for well-rounded employees who can work well with clients and co-workers, take charge of complex projects and produce results. Let’s face it, you won’t see a job ad like this: “looking for a candidate who will sit quietly at a desk, take notes, and complete reading and written assignments, study alone, and correctly answer written questions every six weeks.”

Don’t miss the point here. Good grades are important in the job market. A consistent C student will have difficulty getting interviews while a 3.3 student with a 3.6 in his or her major will get quite a few. But once an interview starts, attention will quickly turn to extracurricular involvement, leadership, and work experiences. A 4.0 is a tremendous achievement, but slightly lower grades coupled with internship experience, a solid list of extracurricular activities and good communication skills will probably be more attractive to a manager with an important job opening.

So work hard to get good grades. But also put effort toward other activities and work experience to make the most of your college experience.

New Habits for a New Year

Before the academic year gets too far along, this is a perfect time to make some “new year resolutions.” What adjustments can you make to make the year really count?

Here are some resolutions to help you Make College Count:

  • I will go to all my classes, even the early ones.
  • I will study between classes.
  • I will learn what resources are in the library and how to find and use them.
  • I will stay away from the television set.
  • I will make a concerted effort to get involved in several extracurricular activities early in the year.
  • I will make my study time count by studying in the quietest, least distracting setting I can find.
  • I will learn as much about the internet as a business tool as I can.
  • I will record all of my assignments and exams in my planner so I can foresee and survive the “crunch times.”
  • I will get to know my professors.
  • I will have a great time socially, but not so great that my college record suffers.
  • I will avoid all-nighters because they create more problems than they solve.
  • I will add at least one meaningful “success story” to my resume every semester.
  • I will learn about the career placement center long before senior year.
  • I will be the first person I know to look for a good summer job.
  • I will read at least one major newspaper or new magazine on a regular basis.
  • I will Make College Count.

College Success – Redefining Leadership

What is leadership? Chances are, you need to redefine your initial thoughts. This video shows that the right kind of leadership can result in college success. Get great advice like this in Making College Count–a great high school graduation graduation gift!

How to Write a Graduation Gift Thank You Note

So you received a graduation gift. Now what? It’s time for the dreaded writing of the graduation gift thank you notes. Here are a few tips and tricks for writing an easy and customizable graduation gift thank you note.

  • Say “thank you”- It may sound silly, but in a graduation gift thank you note, you need to say “thank you.”

Read more

Graduation Gift Thank You Notes

It’s graduation season! Congrats to all those who will be walking across the high school graduation stage this year. As you prepare for this exciting time in your life, you are probably getting several graduation gifts from friends and family members who want to wish you well on your journey to college. While it is great to get tons of towels and photo albums, never forget that receiving the gift is not the end of the story.

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College Success Through Internships

If you think that interns only work in hospitals, you may be missing out on one of the greatest opportunities open to college students.

Internships are available in many fields, from computer science to botany. Some are paid positions; others pay only in experience. Some earn course credit; others do not. Some fall in the school year; others in summer. Some lead to permanent positions after graduation; others do not. Regardless of the particulars, internships provide hands-on experience in real world applications of what you study in class.

Many people think that the most important reason to take an internship is to build a resume. That is a great reason, but far from the only (or the best) one. An internship is a two-way test drive. The employer provides you experience and evaluates your abilities. You provide your talents and evaluate the career.

The chance to work in a field before entering the interview market represents a huge advantage. Two or three years studying law enforcement will teach you a lot about the criminal justice system, but a couple months as a clerk in a sheriff’s office will provide a much more vivid picture of a career as a police officer.

Internships teach a very valuable lesson: theory and practice aren’t always identical. For instance, after an internship in a software company, you may decide you’re more interested in selling than in writing code.

Internships offer tremendous experience. For that reason access to them is highly competitive. If you have any interest in an internship, learn everything you can about the application and selection process well in advance. Apply early and follow up on your applications. And if no internships are offered in your field, consider creating your own. Find an employer that would take you on for a semester, and take the idea to your department head. It can’t hurt.

Your internship might be just what you need to boost your college success!

The Social Media Impact

As I am sure you are aware, social media has an impact on most of us each day. But did you know that colleges, graduate schools, and potential employers are checking up on your social media life to see if they want to grant you admission or employ you?

Whether they do it themselves, or pay professionals to do it, schools and companies are snooping around the internet to see what kind of person you are like. They read your blog, they view your facebook page, they read your twitter, look at your tumbler, and see who is in your google+ circles. When all is said and done, they may know more about you than you know about yourself. And this is how they want it. Read more