Top 7 Mistakes to Avoid when Trying to Choose a College

UPDATED!  Watch our Podcast Episode of this blog post!

limit-selecting-a-college

limit-selecting-a-college

Choosing a college can indeed be difficult, but the right school for you can be a major proponent of success in your classwork and overall enjoyment of your college years.  Today’s tips have to do with methods to NOT use when selecting a college!

  1. Mom And Dad Want (Or Don’t Want) Me To

Just because your Dad, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, and his father went to the school (oh yeah, your Great Grandfather’s Grandfather was a founding board member also…), doesn’t mean that The School is right for YOU!  It isn’t necessarily wrong to honor and enjoy legacy, but be sure to choose the school that fits you and your future career goals best!

On the flip side, choosing a specific school because your parents don’t want you to go there is also not a good reason… you are going to College, not Middle School.

  1. Neglecting To Visit The School

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Visiting schools is extremely important.  College is so much more than classes.  You will want to get a feel for campus and the student body.  Go and check out the school to see if you will thrive in the environments and enjoy the resources on campus.

  1. Sports Teams Only

College athletics can be an excellent way to enjoy the school.  Whether playing or watching, many good times are available through sports in college.  But, don’t forget about your schoolwork all together!  Plus clubs and other extracurricular activities may be more important to you than sports.

  1. Location Only

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Like sports only, choosing a college only based off of location is not a great plan.  Yeah OK, you love snow skiing and you want to go to Colorado University.  But, you currently live in Mississippi; consider the plane ticket or long drive home every holiday or summer before you go packing your gloves and ski pants.

  1. Cost Only

Cost is a very important aspect of choosing a school.  Often times, students do not put enough time into considering cost.  But, to consider cost only may be a grave mistake.  Choosing the most expensive school thinking it is the best or the cheapest school to save money will truly limit you in all of your many options.

  1. Following Suzy Or Johnny Q. If Everyone Jumps Off A Bridge

I Could Save HOW MUCH on college?!?

Yeah, Suzy or Johnny may be SUPER CUTE!! But, again, College not Middle School.  Choose a school that fits your future goals and your personal desires for your time in college.  Plus, you know what they say, ‘there are always more Suzies and Johnnies in the college sea…’  Something like that at least…

  1. Neglecting Necessary Due Diligence

This may be the top mistake of all students.  Students just do not put enough time into choosing a school.  Consider many different schools at first even if you don’t apply there.  Look into campus life, clubs available, majors offered, and all other aspects of the school before writing one off or even selecting another.  Be confident about your selection so that you can be confident from the first day of class until graduation day.

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Top 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a College Major

Now updated with the College Career Success Podcast!

UPDATE: Video and Audio Podcast below.

Podcast Audio

 

What should I study in college? How should I choose a college major?  While seemingly docile, these questions are wolves in sheep’s clothing!  Having to choose a major at the age of 18 which will become your career for the next several decades of your life can be extremely difficult and stressful.  But never fear, College Career Success is here!!  OK, lame; I know.  Nonetheless, below are 5 tips to consider when choosing your (first, second, or third) college major.

  1. Engagement- will I be engaged, passionate, and fulfilled?

No, we are not talking about engagement to your dream boyfriend or girlfriend!  You are, on the other hand, to be engaged to your future career in college.  Whether you realize it or not, your MAJOR in college becomes your CAREER in life (typically).  You will want to select a major (career) that you will be excited about today, tomorrow, and in 10 years.  Choose something that you are passionate about – something that drives you – something that gives you purpose and fulfillment.  It is common among all of us that when we feel like we are contributing to the betterment of our community and world, we are more fulfilled (happy, satisfied, less stressed, …you get it).

  1. Earning potential – (HINT! The most possible is not always correct for you)

I Could Save HOW MUCH on college?!?

When you graduate, likely you will be left with little to no to negative amounts of money to your name.  But, you have a college degree that can (hopefully) earn you some money!  That is… if your degree carries Earning Potential.  Three basic things to be said about Earning Potential:

  1. Choose a degree that has it!

This may seem obvious, but there are some degrees that have little Earning Potential and/or a narrow window for potential.  Carefully consider your future financial goals after college and use information available about your potential major (career) to determine if its Earning Potential matches your goals.

  1. Consider the Earning Potential at the time of GRADUATION!

In conjunction with the first point, consider also the timing of Earning Potential.  If you desire to be an airline pilot because there is currently (when you enter college) a shortage of pilots and wages are high, be sure to consider the change in the industry from now until graduation (at least 4 years later).  Things like market/industry fluctuation, governmental legislation, new technology, and competition can all change the Earning Potential of a career.  Obviously, you cannot predict the future, so do not get overly anxious about this one.  But, take time to consider the possible positive or negative effects time will have on the Earning Potential of your selected major (career) options.

  1. Some say ‘more money, more problems

If there is one wrong way to look at Earning Potential, it is probably the idea of finding the major (career) that has the absolute HIGHEST Earning Potential.  Your career should be so much more than just money.  Personal satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy found engaging with family members and friends are all things that no amount of money can ever buy.  If you select a major (career) simply based on the HIGHEST Earning Potential, most likely that major (career) will not be a good fit for you.  Most of our grandparents would all tell us that money, in the end, is not what is most valuable in life.  Although you want to be sure that your major (career) will be able to support you financially after graduation, consider joy and satisfaction in life as well.

  1. Time commitment – what will my work life look like?

Time commitment plays a large part of finding a good ‘work/life balance’.  Consider people that are already in your major (career).  Interview or shadow a professional in that field.  How much time are they spending at work or handling issues/tasks from work.  Take a look at your personal goals for your life in the future.  Do you want to have a family with kids or be able to travel a lot?  How much time will you need outside of work?  Ultimately, consider the time requirements of your selected majors (careers) and how that matches your personal life goals.

  1. Flexibility – how much can I change or shift during my career?

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These days, people change jobs…  a lot.  This is a good thing for the employee most of the time.  You can shift to a role or company that better fits you.  You can try new things and learn a lot of different things.  So, how flexible are your potential majors (careers).  Consider if you desire a career that will give you flexibility and then evaluate your selected majors (careers).

  1. Job availability – will there be jobs available when I graduate?

This goes along with the timing of Earning Potential.  The timing of job availability is something very practical to consider.  Currently (when you enter college), there may be a shortage of oil engineers and many jobs are available.  But, when you graduate 4 (or more for some …) years later, will the situation be the same?  Again, you cannot predict the future.  But, consider how many jobs are needed in the country/world.  Consider how many people will be graduating with similar degrees and skills alongside of you.  Do your best to ensure that there will be a job waiting for you when you graduate!

Hopefully, these 5 tips have been useful.  And, if you didn’t get it, let the point be made that your MAJOR becomes your CAREER!  Choose your major carefully as best as you can and may your career be fulfilling and engaging such that the world is a better place thanks to your contribution!

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7 College Must Do’s

This post is all about squeezing the most out of your college years.  Live it up, be productive, get great grades, make friends, share in new experiences, begin your career!  Here at College Career Success we want you to enjoy college and […]

Watch our Podcast for this post:

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This post is all about squeezing the most out of your college years.  Live it up, be productive, get great grades, make friends, share in new experiences, begin your career!  Here at College Career Success we want you to enjoy college and be successful during and afterward.

First off, you are in college to get an education.  Be sure to understand that the goal of your time and money during these years is to earn a degree that will give you the skills and knowledge to go on to an exciting and fulfilling career.  Even if that sounds boring today, do your future self a solid and work hard in your classes.  The effort you put into college will most certainly give you a boost early in your career.  But, college is not all about books and tests; you will certainly want to have some fun too.  With that said, let’s look a some things that will help you both enjoy college and kill it in the classroom!

1. Put Yourself Out There

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Your freshman year can be very exciting, but college can be also intimidating.  Everything is new and different.  After you get acquainted with your surroundings in the first few weeks, begin to take some deliberate steps to get out there on the proverbial dance floor.  Start small by making a decision to show up to a information meeting about a new club or even simply visiting a new building on campus.  Choose small steps that you can take to continually grow in your confidence as a member of the community.  Before long, you will feel like you have been there for your entire life.  Being confident of yourself within your surroundings will help your social life flourish as well as your grades.

2. Go To Tutoring

Most colleges have free tutoring available for a lot of freshman courses and yet often not many students use this resource.  You can either spend two days trying to figure out a chemistry problem on your own, or you can go to tutoring and learn it in 30 minutes.  Tutoring is a HUGE help and can save you a ton of studying time.  Plus, you will truly learn the material better.  Use the resources available to you to get the most out of your study time and be better prepared for you classes.

3. Join A Club

Clubs in college are a great way to try different things and meet new people.  There are often all different types of clubs from scuba diving to basket weaving or even underwater basket weaving.  Often times, if you stay in a club for a long time, some of your best friends in college can come through these groups.  Join a club or several and get connected while doing things you love!

4. Talk To Your TAs and Professors

Most professors truly want to help their students learn.  Talking to your professor after class or during office hours is again an often under used resource.  Professors and Teaching Assistants (TAs) can help you out when you are stuck on assignments or point you in the right direction if you are lost.  Professors are often willing to help with homework, assignments, and have been known to give hints on upcoming tests!  Also, your professor is a great resource to connecting with the professional world outside of the University.  Ask them about internships and recommendations for work!

5. Try Something New

Similar to joining a club, there are always opportunities on a college campus to try something new even if for just a few hours.  Check out the events listings on campus.  Looks for signs and posters.  Go to a salsa dancing night or a try your hand at painting.  Gather some of your friends to gain some new experiences.  Who knows, you may just be the next Picasso!

6. Study With A Friend Or Group

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Let’s face it; studying can be boring and tedious sometimes.  Liven up your study time by studying with a friend or a small group from class.  Studying with other people can be extremely helpful.  You can compare notes to be sure that you didn’t miss anything.  You can discuss the course material to get a different viewpoint or understanding of the material.  And, you can help each other stay on task.  Plus, it is just more fun to have a friend.  This is especially helpful when studying for a test or completing a difficult homework set.  WARNING!  As great as it is to study with others, be very careful about who you choose to study with.  You will want a study partner that is serious about the course and willing to bring their own input to the session.  Don’t study with someone who just wants you to put in the work for them!  Ultimately, a good study partner can be an invaluable help, but choose wisely.

7. Take A Weird (Awesome) Class

Lastly, along the lines of new experiences, did you know there are whole classes devoted to new and/or awesome things?  There are climbing classes, music theory and volleyball classes, meditation and astronomy classes.  Find an awesome class and be awesome for a few hours a week.

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5 Reasons Applying To College Without Knowing Your Admissions Counselor Is A HUGE MISTAKE! (With Bonus PRO TIPS)

Show of hands please… how many think that colleges do not have a personal connection with students during the admissions process? Well, you are mostly correct if you do not utilize this one resource available to every student at every college!

I am talking about the admissions counselor of course.  This counselor’s entire job is to connect with you during the admission process!  They work hard to help students complete the process and match the college or university with amazing potential.  Below are some specific reasons why you should never neglect to connect with your admissions counselor when completing your college applications.

1. Answer Your Questions

On the most basic (but still extremely helpful!) level, your counselor can answer your questions about the school or the application.  If you have a question about how to complete your application or where you should submit your transcripts, your counselor can help!  They can also help you find people on campus that you may need to talk to like the financial aid office.

2. Point You In The Right Direction

One of the many parts of a counselor’s job is to recruit students that are an excellent match for the school.  Let’s face it; not every student is a good match sometimes simply based on personal preferences.  Your counselor can help determine your fit at the university and steer you in the right direction (sometimes this may be to another school!).  They will be happy to talk with you about majors, college strengths and weakness, and the lifestyle of the surrounding community.

3. Give You Crucial Advice

If you have a good relationship with your counselor, they will be much more willing to help you out even further!  After hearing some of your personal experiences, they can help suggest topics for essays or ways to boost your application.  Sometimes, your counselor may even have some tricks up their sleeve such as talking to a specific professor or other little known resources.

4. Help Solve Problems

Are your test scores lost?  Are you having trouble getting that third letter of recommendation?  Did your online application suddenly crash?  Do you have trouble sleeping at night?  You need… THE NEW AND IMPROVED ADMISSIONS COUNSELOR!!

Ok, so maybe they can’t help rock you to sleep each night.  But, if you are having issues that are causing you to loose sleep, call up your counselor to see if they can lend a hand (or a pillow).

5. Handle Special Circumstances

In some cases, there are special circumstances to be considered during admissions.  For example, maybe you had surgery and a long recovery period during your sophomore year in high school that dramatically affected your grades.  Now, your overall GPA has suffered because of that year.  These are the types of special situations that you will want to discuss with your counselor.  They can help you determine the best way to handle this, and be an excellent advocate for you beyond your GPA.

PRO TIPS:

1. Don’t Make Mom Call – Is your Mom going to college or you?  Your admissions counselor is not going to be happy (or impressed) with you if Mom has to do all of the communication.

2. Ask About Special Programs – These counselors are smart, and they know a lot about the college.  Ask if they know of any special programs that have scholarships or any thing particular for your potential majors.

3. Get Personal – I don’t mean asking them inappropriate personal questions!  Instead, talk with your counselor about the experiences you’ve had in high school such as extra-curricular activities, sports, leadership positions, community service, etc.  They can help you know how to incorporate these into you application.

 

Top 7 Mistakes to Avoid when Trying to Choose a College

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6 Ways to Make Money in College

A great post here from College Mate… Offset the cost of college by making money!

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Most of us know all too well, the financial struggles of college life. This is a time when students are forced to scrape by on very little. Some of us even work full-time jobs while attending college, just to make ends meet.

But aside from getting a traditional 9 to 5, what else can you do to earn some extra cash? Here are six tips to get you started!

1. Freelancing

Many skills like writing, graphic designing, and social media management can be done on a freelance basis to make extra cash. Even better, the hours are great because you set them! Most people’s freelance jobs are their hobbies, so it doesn’t really feel like work.

If you have excellent command of the English language, why not offer to proofread or edityour classmates’ work? There is always someone somewhere on campus willing to pay to make sure their paper is error…

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How To Find A Mentor In College

A while back, we discussed the benefits of having a mentor while you are working through college.  Be sure to check out this post, 6 Reasons to Find a Mentor in College, if you haven’t read it yet.  Maybe you are now convinced that a mentor is a good thing for you, so how do you find a mentor?  We will cover this very topic today.

Having a mentor is very helpful, but finding one (and the right one) can sometimes be difficult.  Below are our best tips to finding a college mentor.

1.  BE PATIENT – This is important because it can take some time to find one.  Don’t stop looking for a good mentor even if it takes a few years!

2.  LOOK EVERYWHERE – A mentor can be found in many places in and around a college campus; here are some of the best places to look…

  • Professional Organizations – joining professional organizations on campus (or off campus) will allow you to talk with established professionals in your field of study.  You can ask someone that you connect with to meet up with you regularly.  Some of these organizations even have mentorship programs
  • Your Professors – your professors are professionals too! Profs make excellent mentors because they well understand and care about students.
  • Mentorship Programs – many universities and colleges have mentorship programs available.  Simple seek them out and sign up to begin!
  • Co-workers or Employers – Did you do an internship where you connected well with a boss or more experienced co-worker?  Ask them to continue mentoring you during and beyond your internship.

3.  FIND A CONNECTION – when looking, find someone that you connect with.  A clear channel of communication is crucial to a beneficial mentoring relationship.  Choose someone that is understanding, insightful, and able to challenge you to achieve your goals

4.  ASK – when you think you’ve found a great potential, now comes the scary part!  You will have to ask them to mentor you.  But, do not be shy; most people love to help and offer advice!  This indeed can be a challenging step, so take some deep breaths and know that the benefit of a mentor far outweighs the momentary affliction of asking!

5. SCHEDULE – The scary part is over, and your mentor has agreed!  Now all that is left is to set a meeting schedule and location.  Be upfront with your mentor and make time for their schedule.  Suggest some times and dates.  Once agreed upon, be sure to send your mentor a friendly reminder a day or so before the meeting… if at all possible, make it easy for him/her to be your mentor instead of a burden.

And that’s it!  Finding a mentor is as easy as that, but it may just be the most fruitful relationship you make in college.

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College Advice: Roommates

Roommates are a very common unknown heading into college. Lets hear from A Quirky Twist on how to make the most of your time with your roommate!

A Quirky Twist

MuIV2JN

Hi and welcome to A Quirky Twist’s college advice for freshmen! Today’s advice is on another highly searched topic amongst incoming college students and that is roommates. Whether you went random, were best friends, acquaintances, or met online, I have advice for you. Just remember every roommate relationship is different and yours might not be the same as your friends or neighbors. Again a disclaimer these are just suggestions I have on roommate relationships and not strict rules you need to follow. So with that I have 5 tips on roommates in college.

  1. CONTACT THEM OVER THE SUMMER

No, you don’t need to become best friends, or know every little thing about each other before meeting (it’s not bad if you do); however, you both need to figure out some of each other’s expectations before getting to campus. This way you both don’t show up with a fridge, microwave, printer…

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