Archive for Pat OBrien

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.

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!

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!

Ads You’ll Never See for Jobs After College

JOB ADVERTISEMENTS YOU’LL NEVER SEE FOR JOBS AFTER COLLEGE

Wanted: One-Dimensional Student. Successful applicant will sit in uncomfortable desk and take notes. Compensation based entirely on monthly essay exams and pop quizzes.

Wanted: Computer Pro. Must have over 500 hours playing Call of Duty in the last year. PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox experience also desired, but not required.

Wanted: Intramural Sports Star. Must be able to fit at least seven intramural events into every week, even if academics must be sacrificed. Applicant to provide all necessary equipment.

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Study at the right time for college success

IT’S SIMPLY A QUESTION OF WHEN

If you’re one of the rare breed who gets great grades without studying, you’re either very gifted or you’re attending a school that’s too easy for you. But for us “regular” people, studying is a key ingredient in college success. Good study habits have an obvious impact on grades, but also affect how much free time you have to enjoy the non-academic side of college. Effective studying will make a major difference in the quality of job you end up with after graduation.

An important piece of the puzzle is when to study. Let’s start with when not to study. Studying all night is never the right choice. College is probably the only environment where it is accepted, even trendy, to stay up all night when trying to get something important done. When the sales executive has a big client meeting the next day, does she stay up all night to prepare? Of course not. Star athletes don’t stay up all night before big competitions. People need sleep, even college students. It’s just not productive to trade sleep for study time. Read more

If it’s news, it’s for you

You need more to read. That’s right, the thousand pages per week your instructors lay on you isn’t enough.

Some of the most valuable reading you can do doesn’t appear on any of your syllabi. You’ll find it instead on the local newsstand. Being conversant in the news of the day can be a big advantage when you interview for internships or full-time jobs. It is a way to show your college success both inside and outside the classroom.  Interviewers will be impressed with someone who knows what’s going on in a particular industry, and the world in general.

Say you’re interviewing for a job as the manager of a clothing store. When you ask if recent economic upheavals in Asia have affected the cost and availability of merchandise, you’ll stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, not being in touch with the news can be a major minus on the interview score sheet. If a real estate recruiter says, “Pretty incredible interest rate situation we’re in, huh?” you’d better have some idea whether rates are high or low these days (they’re low).

You don’t have time to read more than one or two periodicals, so be choosy. For general interest fields such as journalism or public service, consider the New York Times. Business students can’t go wrong with reading the Wall Street Journal a couple times a week. If you’re headed to a more specialized field, such as education, venture to the library to read journals in your field. Don’t forget the internet is a great source of news. Many publishers offer on-line versions of their papers and magazines, often at no charge.

And for the reading-adverse, there’s always the national news on TV. Better yet, National Public Radio is one of the truly premier sources for news. It covers business, politics, and international news extremely well, plus it hits social issues in more depth than almost any other media. Your campus station may even broadcast NPR news in the morning or evening. If so, take advantage of it.

So download a podcast, pick up a paper, or tune in to the evening news on TV. Wherever you find your news, absorb as much as you can—it can lead to success in college and beyond.

Write ‘Til You’re Right

It’s approaching final exam season, so let’s talk essay exam tips.  In life, many people say “less is more.” But not when you’re answering essay questions.

Let’s take a look inside the grading process. On a multiple choice or short answer test, you start with 100% and lose points with each question that you miss. You might even say that instead of grading, the professor is “downgrading” your exam. On an essay test, on the other hand, you’re starting at zero, and you can only earn points by putting ink on paper. Every piece of relevant information that you provide adds to the value of your answer and ultimately your grade. Read more

When It Comes To College Success, Four Says More

Maybe you’re a freshman with no idea where your academic interests lie. Or a sophomore planning to change majors. Or a junior thinking about dropping some classes because they cut into practice time for your new band. Or a senior with a serious case of indecision. Whatever your situation, you may be considering adding a fifth year to your program.

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