College Success: Making College Count

It sounds simple enough, but what does it mean?

It’s all about making your college experience a launching pad to help take you where you want to go. I’ll grant you that this might sound a little lofty, but when you boil it all down, that’s really why you’re here.

There “where you want to go” part is, for many students, one of the most challenging pieces of the entire puzzle. It should be. It’s incredibly difficult to decide what you want to do for 50 hours a week for the next 40 years before you actually go do it.

Choosing a direction is not impossible though – and you will have to do it eventually. So do the homework now and make a decision. If you do, you’ll be in a much better position to make a plan and actually begin making it a reality. If you just can’t sort it out, keep working at it. Go to the library. Get on the Web. Talk to professors about areas of interest. Be creative, and find ways to talk to people who work full-time in the field. Remember, you’ll have to make a decision at some point. Doing it sooner, not later, can offer some significant advantages.

Regardless of the field you choose (and even if you still don’t know exactly what that is), this weekly feature can help get you “where you want to go.” It will look at college in a way you may not have seen before – through the eyes of a future interviewer. Whether you plan to go to work or to grad school, the recruiter evaluating you will be looking for specific traits in deciding whether or not you’ll get the nod. Making College Count will familiarize you with these “Winning Characteristics” and help you to make a plan to develop them. It will put you in a position to prove that you deserve the opportunity the recruiter has to offer.

Advice for College Parents

So your child is going to college. Commence worry about everything from how to pay for it to will my child be able to adjust to the new environment and work load. Whether you went to college yourself or not, it is a new and different world out there, and chances are unless you are a college professor or have older children already in college, you don’t know what you or your child can expect. How in the world will you know what your student is going through and how to advise them when they call and ask for help?

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For Your College Search Process, Don’t Panic

Embarking on your college search can be scary, so here is some advice on handling it:

  • Don’t Panic- All you geeky types will be familiar with Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which tells us, “don’t panic.” The same is true whether your are traveling the galaxy or applying to college. There are so many great schools out there just waiting to be discovered and if push comes to shove and you don’t like the choice you make the first time, you can transfer.

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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.”

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Graduation Prep

Chances are you’ve already purchased/rented your cap and gown and are getting ready to send out your graduation invitations. You may even be planning graduation parties and are looking forward to some graduation gifts. Or you may be the friend of a soon-to-be graduate. You could be the one receiving the graduation invitation, throwing the graduation party or the one having to purchase the graduation gifts.

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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!

High School Graduation Gift Alternatives

It’s high school graduation gift season! You are probably the kind of person who wants to get your graduate a gift they will enjoy instead of an ill-thought-out gift card. So I have compiled a list of great high school graduation gifts I would like to receive that are a bit outside the box.

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How Much to Spend on a High School Graduation Gift

You are looking to give a high school graduation gift, but have no idea where to start.  You don’t even know how much to spend on a high school graduation gift.  Sure it’s the thought that counts when it comes to giving a gift, but you want to give something meaningful too.  As I wrote about in Not Again Part 1 and 2, you may want to go with some not-so-common gift ideas, but even so, how much do you spend?  I’ve broken it down by degree of relationship here. 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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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