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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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.

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

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!

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!