While searching for an internship or post-grad job, you might think a growing company with interesting positions, great pay, top-notch benefits, and a cool office would find hiring to be a breeze in a recession like this. Nope.
SoftWareAdvice.com's CEO Don Fornes says, "we typically sort through about 150 candidates for each hire we make. Only about twelve of those 150 candidates get to a first-round phone interview."
Why so few?
Fornes explains that "It’s not worth our time to interview any more than that. There may be a superstar hidden in the other 138, but it’s not worth our time to dig too deep to find them. Yes, we look at each application, but we do so with an eye for why we should reject the candidate, not why we should hire them."
With that as context, Fornes shares ten screening secrets he uses when reviewing resumes for internships or post-grad jobs:
1. Don’t name your resume, “resume.”
2. Don’t use all lowercase.
3. Don’t write like a robot.
4. Don’t spam hiring managers.
5. Don’t expose your licentious personal life.
6. Don’t talk badly about your former employer.
7. Proofread your resume.
8. Format your resume nicely.
9. PDF your resume.
10. When you get a job, don’t job hop.
Read the full article here. Don Fornes is the CEO of ERP Software Advice, an online resource that reviews ERP and human resources software.
What other tips could you add to this list? Comment and Share Below!
For more advice on how to land a great internship or post-grad job, check out our College to Career Guide.
By: Robin Pendoley, Co-Founder & CEO of Thinking Beyond Borders
It’s a growing trend among high school graduates. Take a minute to learn about it whether it is right for you…
What Is a Gap Year?
A “gap year” is typically a period between completing high school and beginning college. This time can be either a semester or a full year away from traditional classroom studies.
While there are countless reasons to consider a gap year, the most important is that gap year students are generally better prepared for college. Well-structured gap years provide opportunities to develop personal and social maturity, academic focus, and a sense of direction. With studies showing as many as 50% of college freshmen dropping out before graduation, it is clear that opportunities for this type of growth can be crucial.
Beyond preventing dropping out, gap years can help ensure students get the most out of their college years. Recently, an admissions director at a prominent liberal arts college told me that analysis showed gap year students on his campus performing significantly better in the classroom and the college community than those who enrolled on the normal track.
What does a typical gap year look like?
Gap years come in all shapes and sizes. They can include participating in an organized program, working or interning in a field of interest, volunteering with a local or national organization, pursuing athletics, or traveling. This time away from a traditional classroom provides students of all types crucial opportunities to:
- Gain “real world” perspective and direction that give the college years meaning and purpose
- Develop maturity and independence by joining professional communities as a volunteer or employee
- Attain the deep understanding of our local and global society that traditional schooling rarely provides
- Pursue various fields of interest to test or define a career path
Should I consider a gap year?
EVERY high school senior should consider a gap year. The benefits listed above make a good case for it. Yet, many students and families believe there are lots of reasons not to take a gap year. Let’s take a moment to dispel the MYTHS that stop them from taking a look at gap year options:
- They are too expensive – Gap year opportunities range from those that cost the same as a year of college to those that will pay you a stipend and an education award to participate. EVERYONE can afford a gap year.
- They are only for students who aren’t ready for college – Programs and individual options vary greatly, offering opportunities for essential learning and growth for all types of students.
- There is a strong risk that students won’t go back to school – While there is always this risk, experts with decades of experience in the field estimate that 90-95% of gap year students who were on a college track go back to school immediately following their time away from the classroom.
For more information on gap years, please see the following:
Robin Pendoley is Co-Founder & CEO of Thinking Beyond Borders, an educational gap year program.
Want to know more about which leading colleges and universities support gap years? Check out the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the many schools who give students the opportunity to spend a year in international service before their first year at college with their Global Gap Year Fellowship Program.
Headlines are screaming "Black Friday Blowouts" to "Cyber Monday Savings" as millions of shoppers scour malls and online stores on their quest to find the perfect college dorm essential gift. And if you’ve got a college student on your holiday gift list Student Advisor has the ultimate list of products sure to satisfy.
Our team sorted through a myriad of products ranging from portable speakers (the very cool) to disposable underwear (seriously?) and found the coolest gifts. We got our picks of the coolest dorm décor to the latest gadgets to green school supplies all with reviews from other students just like you.
Check out our "Best of Student Advisor Award Winning" gifts for college students in our digital magazine Student Advisor's Ultimate Dorm Room Essentials
1. Scentsy Warmer
"This is a great product for female AND male students to make any dorm room, messy or clean, smell delicious!"
2. Yogibo Supreme Lounge Bag
"The perfect impromptu chair or mattress for guests!"
3. George Foreman Evolve Grill
"Grilling burgers indoor for my friends has never been easier!"
4. Dropps Laundry Detergent Packets
"Perfect for any college student...they are the perfect amount for each load."
5. Hydros Reusable Filtered Water Bottle
"I wanted to get a water purifier for my mini-fridge but I couldn't find one that would fit. This solves that problem!"
6. iSafe Backpack
"An essential purchase for any woman going to college. Since you need to purchase a backpack anyway, what better than to buy one with a protective device built in."
7. WOWee One Gel Audio Portable Speaker
"I placed the speaker down [on a desk] and the sound instantly transformed. It was truly amazing!"
8. Samsung DualView Digital Camera
"Very sleek and I love how you can see the image on the front of the camera."
9. EcoSmart Solar Charger
"The ability to charge a variety of devices as well as its portability is unparalleled."
10. Design Your Own Lamp by Lamps Plus
"Own your style - you design the lamp you want. Pick a fixture, pattern, colors, and trim of the lamp!"
For more information on these, and many more products, check out StudentAdvisor's FREE College Dorm Essential's Guide.
Got any other CyberMonday Deals college students should know about?
In the spirit of Thanksgiving we want you to meet scholarship winner, Jon Duckworth, from Colorado State University who took the top prize of $2,000 in The Christophers’ Twenty-Third Annual Video Contest for College Students for his film Changing the World: One Molecule at a Time.
The short film chronicles a childhood cancer survivor who has turned his experience with illness into the inspiration to make the world a better place in as many ways as he can.
“Chris’s attitude as displayed in this film is the very definition of the Christopher message,” said Mary Ellen Robinson, vice-president of The Christophers. “Rather than wallow in anger or self-pity, he’s taken the tough hand life dealt him and turned it into something remarkable. He’s truly lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness.”
This unusual scholarship asks entrants to create short films of five minutes or less to convey The Christophers’ message that one person can make a difference. Winning films can be viewed at http://www.christophers.org/videocontest or http://www.youtube.com/thechristophers.
Please write a review of Colorado State University and help other students discover this incredible school.
Know any other inspiring college students? Tell us about them.
1. Google Maps (Free) You will inevitably get lost while studying abroad in a foreign city. Use Google Maps on your iPhone to get where you're going. Enough said. Also, browse the app store for metro maps of your host city, like the London Tube or Metro Paris apps (both $1).
2. XE Currency (Free) This free currency converter has up-to-the-minute exchange rates for 180+ currencies and allows you to select 10 favorites for easy access while studying abroad. To reset the application, simply shake your iPhone with a flick of your wrist a la Harry Potter. And if, God forbid, you should ever enter a dead zone, XE Currency saves the latest figures for offline use.
3. Babelingo ($3.99) This phrasebook offers the best linguistic value: 300 entries in 11 languages for under four dollars. As an added feature, Babelingo will also display any translated phrase in large, easy-to-read type. So if you're too timid to tell that Czech cab driver that you urgently need to visit the nearest pharmacy for some Immodium, just flash him your iPhone. Alternatively, for a more comprehensive translator, download one of Lonely Planet's language specific phrasebooks for $9.99. This phrasebook speaks translated phrases aloud.
4. SitOrSquat (Free) Yes, this app does exactly what its title implies; it's essentially a global toilet database for the traveling germaphobe.
5. Skype (Free) Download this free Skype app to keep in touch with friends and family while studying abroad. With free Skype-to-Skype calls and reasonably priced Skype-to-cell rates, you'll spend less money calling your hometown sweetheart and have a few extra pesos to take that foreign hottie out to dinner.
6. Tweetie ($2.99) With this easy-to-use mobile Twitter app, you can continue to bother your buddies with pithy remarks and witty observations, no matter where you are in the world while studying abroad. You can also upload travel photos, so your great aunt Melba and your pet goldfish can keep tabs on your adventures.
7. Flight Status ($3.99) Never miss a flight again with this clean and simple flight tracker app. Just enter an airline and flight number and you'll get the latest info on departures, arrivals, and delays.
8. TripIt (Free) Email your itineraries to TripIt and they'll be automatically synced and saved to your iPhone. You can access your reservations and flight information for your entire study abroad trip, even if you're offline!
9. Mobile Fotos - Flickr Browser and Uploader ($2.99) This is the most versatile Flickr app for the iPhone. While it's not free, it does allow you to upload high-res photos tagged with GPS locations, browse video, and create an upload queue so you can upload on the go. You can also integrate this app with your Twitter account.
Any of your study abroad veterans have any advice for students that might be interested in a semester abroad?
Author: Will Nichols – www.studyabroad101.com
Right now, colleges are feeling the pressure as an overwhelming number of eager high school students are submitting their college application essays for early and regular admission. However, due to the vast number that need review and the insufficient number of people to review them, college admissions offices, across the board, are cracking down on the way they weed out the real deals from the fake phonies.
Colleges that have felt the burn of impostures, like Adam Wheeler, who plagiarized his college application essay and scammed his way into two of the nations most prestigious universities, have stated that they will be instituting a more thorough examination of college application essays. Traditional admissions expectations of high class rank and strong recommendations were enough to make the difference between getting into college or getting rejected. But now, some of the nation's most popular colleges reveal that these once important “bonus points”, are not as important as they used to be. Instead, the emphasis is being focused on students' college application essays as well as the difficulty level of applicants' high school classes.
(Source: National Association of College Admissions Counselors.)
Moving forward, college officials have pointed out 8 major changes as to how the admissions process will affect applicants moving forward:
1. Earlier deadlines.
2. Less time per application.
3. Less emphasis on high school class rank
4. Less reliance on recommendations
5. More emphasis on tougher high school courses
6. More emphasis on college application essays
7. More weight placed on the applicant's senior year
8. More overall application examination
Read more about this at US News
Do you think that it is fair for colleges to discount classes that you have taken or how hard you have worked to make it to the top of your class?
For more answers to questions you might have about the college admissions process, check out:
StudentAdvisor's Guide to Navigating College Admissions
When you look around at today’s college campuses, you’ll find majority of students toting around campus texting on their smartphones, talking to their friends, and listening to their iPods simultaneously. Whether they’re posting a picture on Facebook, re-tweeting their favorite celebrity, or simply checking their school emails, it’s obvious that today’s college students are well on their way to becoming the leaders of a technological revolution that is beginning to take over the college curriculum of leading universities from around the nation.
A recent article from The New York Times takes an in-depth look into Northwestern University's use of hand-held devices to help engage with and monitor the actions of students within the classroom. With more than a half-million students using these new devices this fall on several thousand college campuses, including Harvard, the University of Arizona, and Vanderbilt, we wanted to find out more about how this technological revolution is affecting the parents of these technologically advanced students.
In order to keep up with your tech-savvy son or daughter while they are away at college, here are a few tips you want to consider following:
Learn How To Text: According to findings from the Nielsen Company, the average young adult sends and receives 1,630 texts per month. While many parents prefer to call or send an email to their college child, it is clear that a large number of today’s students prefer to communicate via text messaging. If you want to communicate with your child without intruding or encroaching on their day-to-day campus activities, texting will provide you with a fast and easy way to do so. Whether you need to remind your child to call a certain relative, or simply want to say a quick “hello” and “love you”, texting is ideal for any parent with a child in college.
Get On Facebook: Almost every single college student, and a great deal of high school students, log onto Facebook every single day. If you want to stay connected to your child while they are away from home, then you too need to create your very own Facebook profile. Research by Larry D. Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University-Dominguez Hills and author of the new book Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn, show that more than 70 percent of today’s college kids are more than happy to ‘friend’ their parents on Facebook (Our Advice: Ask them to ‘friend’ you before doing so yourself). If you child is up for it, have them help you create your Facebook profile page as a way to let them teach you about something they’re passionate about, which is a great way to connect with them and show them you care.
Know About The Newest Fads: With all of today’s technological advancements, our world is constantly changing, and so are the products in it; from the Palm Pilot came the Blackberry, and from the iPhone came today’s newest fad, the iPad. Within its first eight months, Apple sold a whopping 8.25 million iPads, and many college students are jumping at the chance to get their hands on one of these up-and-coming product. From apps that allow students to rent or buy their textbooks, to apps that help them create flashcards for their next exam, there are an astounding number of both iPhone and iPad applications that have been created with the college student in mind. To make sure that both you and your child know about all of these remarkable apps, we recommend checking out The Daily Beast’s list of the 14 Best iPhone Apps for the college student that will help ease the pain of returning to the collegiate grind.
Do you have more advice for parents who are looking to stay ‘plugged in’ with their college child? Comment & share below!
To learn more about how you can keep up with you tech-savvy child while they’re away at college, check out these articles from Newsweek Education’s list of ‘Student Tech Trends’.
Does this sound like a familiar story to you? According to this CNN article, 85% of college seniors planned to move back home with their parents after graduation last May, a significant increase from 67% in 2006. The buzz in the Twittersphere confirms that this is something many college students can identify with:
David Morrison, founder of Twentysomething, the company that conducted the study, told CNN that these days, there is "almost an expectation that kids will move back home, there is no stigma attached. The thought now is to move home for 6-12 months but in reality those young adults will be home for a year and a half or longer. Even if they have jobs, they are living at home."
It's no doubt that high unemployment for recent grads is a factor. 15% of young adults ages 20-24 are without a job, forcing them to return back to their parents' homes after earning their degree.
But is that all bad? I moved home after graduating and stayed for two years. As a result, I was able to pay off a significant amount of debt, and save enough money to buy my first home at the age of 25.
Parents, would you welcome your child back with open arms? Would you maintain the same rules you had with them when they were in high school?
Students, anyone have a story about how moving home was a great move for you? Or was it an insufferable experience after graduating?
Let us know by leaving a comment!
In today's continuously evolving world, college curriculum is no longer solely defined by the traditional courses of accounting and philosophy, but rather by innovative classes and unorthodox subject matter. Students are now being exposed to more diverse and unique course offerings which can be found in leading universities around the nation, giving today’s students a truly unforgettable college experience.
No matter what student personality you may possess, colleges all around the world now offer progressive courses for every type of learner. The following is a list of what we found to be the 12 quirkiest and most unusual college classes that have been offered at today’s top universities.
1. TAXI DRIVER YOGA: LaGuardia Community College's Taxi School covers the rules of the road for the New York City's thousands of cabbies. Along with programs on driver-applicant training, the school also offers a taxi driver yoga class to help with student's physical discomfort from sitting for 12 hours.
2. STUPIDITY: The ‘Stupidity’ course at Occidental College was created to critically engage the field of psychology through the work of Nietzsche, Deleuze, and Ronell. This radical course examines it at depth from literary, social and philosophical perspectives.
3. SUPER SMASH BROTHERS MELEE THEORY AND PRACTICE: As part of Oberlin College’s psychical education department, this elective course teaches students about virtual combat techniques through the use of game play via The Super Smash Brothers Melee for the Nintendo Game Cube.
4. ALIEN MICROECONOMICS: At the University of North Carolina at Greensboro students can enroll in this web-based course in which they are required to play an alien-themed video game to learn the course curriculum. With the reading material, examinations, and homework built into the game itself, students pass the course by completing a number of interactive tasks, and therefore beating the game.
5. ELVISH, THE LANGUAGE OF "LORD OF THE RINGS": This University of Wisconsin course, which was taught by the world’s foremost expert on this language, allowed super fans of the series a chance to learn the Elvish language from a real expert.
6. THE LIVING AND UN-DEAD: AN INQUIRY INTO ZOMBIES IN CINEMA AND LITERATURE: While you might often feel like a zombie stumbling to your early morning classes, this University of Mississippi course takes a deeper look at what is so fascinating and horrifying about these brain-craving monsters.
7. ATLANTIC WORLD-AGE OF PIRACY: Johnny Depp’s racy character of Jack Sparrow has gotten many students interested in learning more about the pirating arts, and this course offers Arizona State students the opportunity to take an in-depth look at real-life lives of pirates.
8. THE LUCIFER EFFECT: UNDERSTANDING HOW GOOD PEOPLE TURN EVIL: This lecture-based course offered to the students of MIT thoroughly examines the question: how can good people do bad things?
9. THE SCIENCE OF HARRY POTTER: Unicorns and magical spells might not be real, but this course at Frostburg State University is focused upon the magical happenings of the Harry Potter series through a scientific lens, applying physics to things like Quidditch.
10. THE SIMPSONS AND PHILOSOPHY: At UC Berkeley, students are given the chance to examine the Simpsons as more than just a source of entertainment. This course aims to show the deeper philosophical issues under all those "d’ohs."
11. THE BEATLES: Die-hard Beatles fans at UCLA can learn everything there is to know about the infamous band in this course through the examination of the life and music of the Beatles within social and historical context of the 1960s.
12. TREE CLIMBING: For students at Cornell University who never learned to climb a tree as a child can enroll in this inventive course where that can receive college-level education in this unorthodox subject.
Which one of these unique courses would you want to enroll in? Comment & share below!
To see more information on these crazy courses, along with even more unconventional college classes, check out Fox News’ list of The 11 Wackiest College Courses of Fall 2009
If you’re considering majoring in human resources, you’ll need to know there's more to landing that all-important first job in human resources than just the degree.
Most HR professionals have at least a bachelor’s degree. While some make their way into HR via other fields, many of them majored or minored in human resources, labor relations or personnel administration. Those interested in senior management or executive-level roles often elect to pursue graduate education, such as a master’s degree in human resource development. In either case, HR professionals at every level can gain advanced skills and a competitive edge through continuing professional education and specialized human resources training, such as an online HR certificate program.
There are a variety of career specialties that fall under the HR umbrella. Examples of job titles and salary ranges* include:
- Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialists: $34,960 – $86,540
- Compensation and Benefits Managers: $50,590 – $148,390
- Employment, Recruitment and Placement Specialists: $28,370 – $87,060
- Training and Development Specialists: $30,120 – $85,860
- Training and Development Managers: $49,560 – $146,820
- Human Resources and Labor Relations Specialists: $27,360 – $94,470
- Human Resources Managers: $58,490 – $164,270
Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree, here are 5 ways you can break into the business and land your first job:
- Start Your Search With Entry-Level Positions: Obviously, before you can work your way up the HR ladder, you first need to get your foot in the door. A realistic place to start is an entry-level HR assistant or administrator role. While you may have to take on some fairly routine administrative duties, you’ll gain critical HR experience that will prepare you for higher-level jobs.
- Gain Relevant Work Experience: In addition to entry-level jobs, you can seek out an HR internship while earning your degree or contact temp agencies to see if they have any HR placements. These are great ways to acquire practical experience in the HR field, and can potentially lead to full-time job offers. At the very least, working in the field gives you concrete experience to discuss in an HR job interview.
- Seek Work in Recruitment: Another path to a corporate HR career is through a recruiting job with a search firm or placement agency. You can parlay sales, account management or business development experience into a recruiting position, and then apply your recruiting skills to land a job within an organization’s HR department.
- Additional Human Resources Training: If your degree is in a field other than HR or if you’re seeking advanced credentials to set your résumé apart, you can enroll in a continuing education program to enhance your HR expertise. Consider an online certificate program from a reputable university, which will help you gain valuable knowledge and skills, gain valuable insights from industry experts and prepare for career-boosting HR certification.
- Network, Network, Network: Connecting with professionals who are currently working in the HR field is an excellent way to learn about internship opportunities and job openings. Join an HR industry organization, such as the Society for Human Resources Management, and attend local chapter events to expand your professional network. If you pursue professional human resources training, reach out to your instructors and fellow classmates.
Through work experience, human resources training and networking, you can increase your odds of landing a sought-after HR job after graduation.
Claudia Vandermilt is from Villanova University Online.
Have you entered our college review contest yet? Each month, one winner is chosen at random to receive a $250 gift card. The StudentAdvisor.com judges also award an additional winner with a $250 gift card for the "Best in Class" review from all entries submitted during the month.
Students and alumni aren't the only people who can enter, however. If you're the parent of a college student, you can review your child's college from your own perspective, helping those parents who are just starting the process of identifying colleges with their child.
Today we announce the winners of our college review contest for the month of October!
Current Student Kenny R.'s review of New York's Fashion Institute of Technology has been chosen as StudentAdvisor's "Best In Class" review for the month of October. According to the StudentAdvisor judges, "Kenny's review conveyed such candid honesty about what it's like to be a guy at one of the country's most prestigious fashion schools, so he deserves this recognition for helping prospective students - especially men - really get a feel for FIT."
From Ken's review:
You are essentially giving up a traditional college experience for something that is more akin to starting work- No green lawns, sports teams, inviting facilities, or incredibly friendly faces here. With the workload you probably have, friends will be few and far between unless you're studying the same major.
The second review, which was chosen at random, was from Casey D., a current student at University at Buffalo. Casey felt that the weather was really the worst thing about her experience so far at Univresity at Buffalo, and highly suggested that students bring extra warm clothes and be prepared to handle low temperatures for the majority of the school year.
Thanks to Ken and Casey for being such an important members of our community!
Do YOU want to enter for a chance to win? Write a review about a college you have experience with and help students make the right choice about which college is best for them.
An opportunity to study abroad can be the adventure of a lifetime, where your learning experience extends out to the world beyond the college campus. There are many reasons why you may consider studying abroad, though for every reason you come up with, you may find a reason not to. Deciding to study abroad may take a full semester's worth of thinking.
Will Nichols, avid traveler and writer for Abroad101.com, a study abroad review website, has studied economic development in Buenos Aires, worked for a headhunting firm in Madrid, and politely feigned his enjoyment of a boiled caterpillar sandwich in Burkina Faso. He has traveled to 47 countries on 5 continents, and knows a thing, or 9, about why you should study abroad:
- See the world while earning college credit
- Improve your language skills
- Break your routine
- Meet new people
- Educate yourself about foreign culture
- Educate foreigners about your own culture
- Add value to yourself and increase your marketability
- Return home with a new perspective on your own country and culture
- Gain a new perspective on yourself
For Will's elaborations on these 9 reasons and more on studying abroad, stay tuned for StudentAdvisor's Guide to Study Abroad, coming out soon!
Have you studied in another country? What was your experience like? Would you recommend it to other students?
Everyone prepares for the SAT in different ways. Some people invest in one-on-one tutoring while others take free practice tests online. We spoke with Akil Bello, co-founder of Bell Curves, about what students can do to prepare for the SAT the best way for them.
The ACT surpassed the SAT in number of test takers this year. Why do you think that is? Should students take both?
The number of ACT test-takers has increased in part because, as Mark Twain once put it "there are three kids of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." The comparison between ACT and SAT test-takers is not completely apples to apples and is therefore deceptive (more states use the ACT as a graduation requirement than use the SAT), Also, more students have access to the information that the ACT is a viable competitor; many traditionally thought the only option for applying to college was to take the SAT and are now realizing they can choose to take the ACT instead or in addition.
I am not a proponent of students taking both tests. They are fairly different tests and there is little gained in having to split your focus onto two different tests. My advice would be to take a practice test with each and decide as early as possible which test to focus on and then prepare as well as possible for that test.
How far in advance should a student start studying?
Theoretically in the the womb. Test-specific prep should be the icing on the educational cake. It should be teaching students to apply knowledge they already have to a new format. If a student has been developing his reading skills and critical thinking skills over the course of his entire life than test prep takes very little time. I've blogged a bit about this at www.blog.bellcurves.com.
To more directly answer the question the amount of time required depends on the student's current level of preparation, academic background, and comfort level with standardized exams the amount of time it takes to prepare will vary. I would say most students to make a reasonable improvement will need at least 2 months to prepare, assuming they are putting in at least 5 hours a week learning the content on the exam and taking at least one practice test timed every 2-3 weeks.
For students unable to spend a lot of money in tutoring or test prep courses, what is the next best resource - online or off - that they can turn to?
There are many online prep services that have been created in the past few years and they vary in quality. You have to test them and determine if they offer value to you. Consider the following when looking at the online programs:
- Clarity of instruction - does the explanatory content make sense to you or are they speaking in science nerd terms that you don't get.
- Type of instruction - is it text based or video based? Do you prefer interactive learning platforms (java or flashbased) or static lecture/book style (video or text). I've seen sites that use "video" but its only the video of someone's hand working out the problem with a pencil and talking to you.. not what I would want to watch for hours.
- Quality of materials - how ACT/SATish are the practice problems. If a student thinks the questions are not like the test than don't use that site. Its often difficulty to get the right "feel" and "flavor" when creating practice ACT/SAT materials.
If you choose books and offline materials I would purchase a preparation book and a practice book. A preparation book will include strategies, formulas, rules, and advice necessary for the test. The practice book I would recommend is the College Board's Official SAT Study Guide 2nd edition, which contains 10 practice SATs from the creator of the SAT.
If you had to choose one thing for a student to do to score well on the SAT, what would that be?
Learn to pace themselves appropriately. Most students don't realize that you don't need to answer every question correctly to get a great score. On the SAT, to get a 600 in the Math section you only need to get about 2/3 of the available points, if you skip the last 1/3 of the questions.
What is Bell Curves and how can you help students prepare for standardized tests?
Bell Curves is a test preparation company that provides resources to help individuals and organizations understand and prepare for standardized tests. We work with students, schools and organizations to provide courses and tutoring for students, information and assistance for organizations trying to set up their own program, and workshops for parents and students.
We help students by offering free workshops to inform them about how to prepare, courses to help them get prepared, and tutoring if they choose to prepare one-on-one.
College admissions departments will be under lots of pressure in the coming months. Early decision deadlines have already passed, and the need for a qualified, well-rounded, and unique student body has admission reps scouring every single application for the "it" factor. Or so you're led to believe.
Have you seen this article from the Daily Beast? Though it was first published in January of 2009, I often talk to parents & students about "Dirty Secrets of College Admissions". Because so many people spend countless hours putting together the best application they can, it's important to know that sometimes, if you're not admitted, it's not because of anything you did or didn't do.
Let me give you a example.
"...if my favorite sports team was in a slump, it affected who made the cut. If the [Pittsburgh] Steelers lost a game and I read your file the next morning, chances were you weren’t getting in. Where I could have been nice, I just didn’t go out of my way — I was a lot less charitable. Those are things that you, the applicant, have no control over. Which makes it all the more funny — the frenzy that parents and students work themselves into around getting in." -Current admissions officer, state university in the Northeast
And that's not the only example of how something arbitrary can dictate a very real and important decision in a student's life. Though much of the article is hard hitting tough love, there are a few pieces of advice to heed in case the admissions representative is feeling reasonable that day:
- Don’t send in every newspaper clipping of your son on the high school honor role. That’s redundant if he has submitted his transcript.
- Don't send out several letters of recommendation. Send three or four max. Admissions offices don't want to see eight. They get the feeling you're trying to justify something.
- If you're a parent, do not call the admissions officer repeatedly for information or to try to extract information from them. "That’s almost always an automatic rejection," says an admissions officer from an Ivy League university.
- Don't send poetry. That rarely works. A high school senior is probably not Shakespeare, so poetry is not going to help.
What is your reaction to this article? Does it make you feel anxious about applying to a college or are you embracing the fact that some things are just out of your control?
iTunes announced earlier this week that Oxford and Open University in the UK and Rice University in Texas have all added free digital e-books to the lectures, lab demonstrations, and other materials available on iTunes U, Apple's educational area in its iTunes Store.
iTunes U had not offered e-books before now, so if more schools adopt this way of distributing their materials, it could be a viable way of saving students money and moving higher education further into the digital realm.
From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Rice published 18 of the most popular textbooks from Connexions, its open-education project, including titles on business and computing. That content was already available for free, but Joel Thierstein, executive director of Connexions, said its inclusion on iTunes U was still a big deal. “It’s a way for institutions to become familiar with open-education textbooks without having to find our site,” he said.
Do you have an e-reader? Or do you prefer the "old fashioned" paper books? What are your thoughts on textbooks becoming digital? Let us know in the comments!
Four Loko has been getting a lot of press in the past week. This relatively new beverage on the market contains up to 12% alcohol per can, and has been pinpointed as the reason dozens of college students have been hospitalized across the country.
There's a reason they call it "blackout in a can." Four Loko is an alcohol-laced energy drink, and though previous attempts at such a product have floundered, the manufacturers of Four Loko have gone all out - each 24 oz. can is equivalent to:
- 5 (FIVE!) beers
- a can of Red Bull
- a shot of espresso
If that's not unnerving enough, this thread at FARK.com showcases people's love for the $2 price tag and quick-acting effects.
So how can you broach a conversation with your kid about the dangers of this drink? Beth Fredericks, M.Ed, StudentAdvisor's resident parent expert, offer this advice:
- Email the news to your child and ask if she’s heard about these drinks. Tell her you’re not “lecturing”, but that you’re thinking about her and wanted to pass it on. Not only for her, but in case she happens to be with other kids who might be drinking it. *Read below and use some variation on these themes to write a sample email.
- Your student is coming home for Thanksgiving soon, and it’s a good time to engage her in a conversation about how it’s going.
- Welcome her home first. Coming home for the first time Freshman year or coming home to celebrate the first holiday is always a somewhat tense reunion. First, do no harm. Get a hug, ask her for her dirty laundry, and don’t make a face if she calls her friends next. Get on her schedule – “How about I take you out to breakfast tomorrow morning?” and use that time to catch up.
- Don't interrogate. It can be tempting to let loose with a stream of questions, especially if you're anxious. "Is there a lot of drugs and alcohol? Are you partying alot? Do you drink these type of Red Bull drinks?" This is almost certain to make your college student feel defensive and produce tension the minute she walks in the door. Ask one question at a time and her the opportunity to answer before you ask another.
- Respect your teenager's views. It's important to acknowledge your college students emerging opinions. Try just listening and then while acknowledging her view, gently put forth your own. Tell her what you’ve heard about these new alcohol/energy drinks. Has she ever had one?
- Maintain your family values. What’s been most the message in your family about drugs and alcohol all along? Health, safety, personal reputation and character. Focusing on these things shows that you're concerned about your student’s well-being, not just about your "rules."
Are you nervous about talking to your kid about Four Loco because it might put ideas in her head? Or do you look forward to having the conversation so that you know she's well informed?
One thing the StudentAdvisor team has high aspirations for is to level the playing field between the traditional college experience and going to college online. After taking one course last spring, I can tell you first-hand how inaccurate the perceptions of online classes are.
In my first few weeks taking an online class at Kaplan University, I had already learned so much – not just about the subject matter (Intro to Web Development), but about what it’s truly like to be an online student.
Prior to beginning the class, I had heard many of the benefits and challenges to expect, but never had anyone prepared me for the level of interaction I experienced (Myth #1). The graded requirements for my class overall involved participation in a weekly hour-long seminar and chat session, a weekly project, and ongoing participation in our discussion forum. Additionally, my professor held office hours on many days of the week, and made himself fully available via phone, IM, email, and Skype.
Now, the discussion board is not to be underestimated – I had a hard time understanding the requirements at first:
- I must log into the class discussion board at least 3 separate days throughout the week and post something each time.
- On one of those days, I must post my answer to the professor’s weekly question about the material we’re learning. This involves much thought and analysis, and it took some time to compile a clear, meaningful response that might help other members of the class. You can’t just recite what the textbook says; for a full grade, you must apply it to your experiences to really show that you’re grasping the topic.
- I must respond to 2 of my classmates throughout the week for a complete grade. At first, my classmates would respond with a quick sentence congratulating each other on a well-thought out post, but soon enough, polite debates began over some of the material, and questions were asked of each other, similar to a normal discussion that would be held in any brick-and-mortar classroom (Myth #2). The advantage to the discussion board is that you get to write and rewrite your answers before posting them.
Remembering to participate on 3 separate dates was challenging at first; I had to keep track of when I had logged in and posted something, and I can imagine it would be easy to forget this part and then scramble the last 3 days of the Unit week to fulfill the requirements.
For just this one class, I spent at least 3-4 hours a week on the project and participation; doing well is not effortless (Myth #3). I cannot imagine working full time and going back to school full time online - my hat is off to those of you that can juggle your priorities to make it work!