I spoke just last night to a group of high school students and their parents regarding choosing college majors and careers. As part of that presentation, I talked about the importance of preparing now and part of the preparation needed to be addressing their “social image.” I defined their social image as anything from email address to social networks and chat rooms. We talked about the impact on college admissions as well as employment. This is a message I have carried and delivered for the last several years. In fact, one of my blog posts May 2012 was titled Your Image to Others.
Today I opened my iPad, went to CNN to start a little light reading while I ate my lunch and was horrified to read one of the headlines, Sexting Scandals: How They Will Affect Students’ Futures. My heart sank, but it just affirmed that my message was spot on and I hoped that those students and parents last night took the message to heart and answered my Call to Action. You can click the link to read the entire article.
Everything Counts! You can’t go through the technologically driven lives we are faced with afraid to act, respond, and click, but you must “click responsibly.” Clicking includes taking photos, sending messages via email, text or any other social media mode. That little voice of right and wrong or maybe even an “Oooops” needs to be awakened and put on full alert. There is too much at stake.
Whether you follow football or not it is hard to escape the hype of the Super Bowl. I happen to love it. Who’s the best quarterback, the best rookie, the best commercial, the best Super Bowl party food, the best over the top fan attire….I love it all. It expresses a passion. And whether it is a hobby, an ethnic food, team logo wear or the work you do, passion adds to the enjoyment of life and helps us to be the best we can be. It helps us connect with others that have similar interests.
High school students, if you don’t know what your passion is, explore more and find it! Colleges and universities want to know what moves you and why their institution will be a good fit for you.
College students, whether you are applying for an internship or getting ready to graduate and applying for that first “just out of college” job, that potential employer wants to know that you have passion too. Happy employees make for more productive employees. Demonstrate your passion for the company you are looking to embrace.
Even you guys in the workforce, are you demonstrating a passion for your work? If not, why not? Sometimes we still enjoy our work but the balance of life brings us to a place that seems to have diminished that passion. What do you need to do to rekindle it?
Life is a balance. Being the best we can be includes enjoying the work we do, balancing it with spending time with family, friends or activities we enjoy and paying attention to the passions that make us better people. Are you the best you can be?
Are you a high school student presenting yourself to a university market, a college student or adult looking to get in the work force? The question for all of you remains the same. What do you have to offer? There have been lots of articles like this one, “What Employers Look for in Candidates,” in which the author is identifying key elements that almost all employers look for in screening candidates. But interestingly enough, many of these same characteristics apply to college admissions also. They want to know what you bring to the table.
There is a distinct difference between skills and abilities. Do you know the difference? Did you know it is possible to measure abilities and quantify how they can influence job performance? Just as it is important to be able to give concrete examples of tasks or responsibilities and outcomes from a previous job or experience in an interview, it is also important to know what the company’s or college’s expectations are and how your abilities can provide exactly what is needed to ensure a successful fit as an employee or student. Knowing exactly what your measured abilities are and linking them to a job description adds power to your marketability.
What is your personal marketability? To measure your abilities and help you articulate what you have to offer….contact me!
Whether your summer begins May 10th , June 7th or June 21st, the landslide of summer workers/participants will hit in full force. You need to be prepared to submit applications and do interviews before everyone else. So work backwards. Identify your target date for starting work and work backward with your plan. You will need time for interviews, phone calls, application completion, Internet or local searches and networking. That means you start now mapping a summer plan.
There are some terrific web tools for identifying summer employers as well as tips for effective interviews. Here are just a few:
www.quintcareers.com Great for searching College Internship Opportunities
www.getthatgig.com Opportunities for students 16-21 years
www.teenjobsection.com Interactive map of opportunities across the country
www.snagajob.com Getting and making the most of your job
The important thing about starting now is you begin looking at the opportunities. And opportunities do not apply only to work. Opportunities may refer to athletic team participation, experiences or internships. What would you like to do? Are there jobs/opportunities you are particularly interested in doing and things you just would not consider? What transportation barriers exist or what options are available if a good opportunity presents itself? How many hours a day will you be available to work/play/volunteer? Is summer class part of the equation when figuring schedules for work? Different employers will embrace your availability as a summer worker and as a student working to get ahead. Others may find value in your performance and embrace the opportunity that you may be available for the next few seasons. The here and now impacts tomorrow!
By starting your search now, you have some time to explore options and activate a network. Just like business people network to expand and strengthen their own client base, students can network to find great summer opportunities through parents, relatives and family friends. Now is the time to get started!
Imagine how great it feels when you accomplish something you didn’t think you could. Franklin Roosevelt said, ” Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”
The task of searching for colleges, making a choice of career paths or college majors, or even changing direction once you have gone down a path, can be overwhelming. So break it down. Create a calendar with a reasonable end point for making a decision. Work backward creating identified tasks that will lead you to that endpoint. Be sure to have checkpoints so you can measure your progress along the way. Remember, there is satisfaction or “thrill” in creative effort….your plan. There is “Happiness” in the “joy of achievement” and making that decision. So, enjoy the process. Learn, grow, achieve!
Need help breaking it down? Contact me
It’s time. For those of you who are high school seniors or parents of those students, or juniors in the preparation mode, this blog is for you. It’s decision time. Now for seniors or soon for juniors, the same information will apply, so take note.
The previous blog posting was about the 6 Considerations for College Majors. Those are great guides for thinking about where you want to go to school and what you want to study. They help to narrow the field. But now, you’ve sent out those applications and the letters of acceptance are being delivered. How will you choose? Will you fall into the trap of going where your best friend goes, lots of peers or school name recognition? Will you choose because Mom or Dad are promoting because it is their Alma Mater?
Making that “Deep Dish” Decision needs to be well grounded in your best interests. After all, you’ve spent years deciding whether you prefer deep dish or thin and crispy pizza and whether you like meat lovers toppings or vegetarian. Buying a $200,000 education is a bit more involved that a $20 pizza. So devote the time necessary to get it right. Where do you believe you culturally fit in, socially have opportunities, geographically have independence and manageability, athletically have an opportunity to live out your sports dream or participate in university events, financially can be educated without incurring unreasonable student debt, and academically above all else – where can you get the program that will serve you best? When it comes down to the final decision, dig deep into the universities offerings of majors to ensure there is a good fit. When you make a college visit, look at the buildings, the technology and even the methods of course delivery to ensure it is right for you. Just because an institution offers a major in business doesn’t mean it offers the area of specialty that is right for you.
So for each college you receive an “Acceptance” look deeper and compare them carefully. Your homework done now will pay off big in securing a four-year, on-time degree in a major you will enjoy and a career path grounded in “Deep Dish” Decision Making.
There are plenty of opportunities to read up on college rankings. U.S. News, Princeton Review, TIME, Yahoo and the list goes on for those who provide annual updates of the best in the Nation. However, it is important to recognize that the terms of measuring the “best” are different for each of the groups analyzing the data.
Some of the rankings published are based on graduation rates, faculty resources, and student retention while others are based on student selectivity and alumni giving. There are lots of combinations and criteria used so it’s important to understand why an organization identifies an institution as #1. If you use rankings as a guide for creating a list of colleges of interest, are you considering the ranking criteria for those institutions? Even more important, are those the same criteria that are important to you?
Making sure you get a good fit college experience is grounded in making sure you do your homework and address your own rankings of colleges and universities. Along with using the criteria of those published in high profile media, have you considered your own desires for social preferences, cultural experiences, geographic location, academic opportunity, athletic opportunity and financial impact?
Just like the statement, “apples to apples” it is important to evaluate your list of colleges and universities with a similar ranking system so that you thoroughly compare all of your opportunities and desires. This is important both on the front end of the process of college search and on the back end at the time you are making a decision and there are multiple acceptance letters to be considered. Will you let emotions drive your decision, or will you evaluate one more time?
This week we have a Guest Blog written by Mike Dailey, owner of College Authority in Connecticut. Mike has 25 years of experience working with families and college funding strategies. He has spoken at many high schools and brings great insight to the college process. While he is based in Connecticut, the Internet makes business anywhere a reality. I hope you will enjoy his perspective and expertise!
Financial aid is a critical piece of paying for college for most families, and even if it is not, why are you spending unnecessary dollars? Unfortunately, paying for college can be an extremely complex and convoluted process with colleges having different financial aid forms and filing deadlines. On top of that, there are formulas used to determine a family’s eligibility for federal aid and a college’s need based financial aid and non-need aid, scholarships and grants. Colleges typically do not explain how the formulas are derived but they can easily be determined college by college if you know how to look up their aid statistics. Knowing this information puts the family in the driver’s seat to understand their aid eligibility and to appeal their aid package if they feel they have been shorted.
Between now and January, seniors will be submitting applications and financial paperwork will need to be filed with your institutions of choice. Have you considered these questions:
- How to make college affordable regardless of our income level
- How to maximize our family’s eligibility for college financial aid
- What are the little known funding sources available even if we don’t qualify for need based aid
- What to do we do if the value of our 529 college savings plan is down by 25-40%
- How do we pay for college without sacrificing our retirement
- How do we pay for college even if I lose my job in the next 12 months
- How do we determine exactly how much money we’ll need to pay for college expenses
- Are there colleges that offer the best shot of getting a good financial aid package
- Is it possible to attend an expensive private university for less than the cost of a state college
Feel free to email us for a complimentary phone consultation by visiting our website: collegeauthorityct.com
I want to say a special Thanks to Mike for sharing some of his expertise and taking the time to provide some very important questions for consideration.
This is a really critical time for juniors and seniors in high school who are college bound. Juniors need to be actively engaged in a plan and a process of managing timelines of tests and prep programs, exploring options and building their “Full Student Package.” Seniors, you are applying to colleges and universities. So, for all of you, I encourage you to visit the CollegeWeekLive website and explore colleges and universities that are part of the site. As a site member, they provide great tools for students and parents as well as virtual tours, live chats and tons of information. It’s free so sign up today!
The clock ticks and calendar waits for no one. Don’t miss an opportunity! Capitalize on your options. Need help understanding options and clarifying direction? Contact me.
Just like Realtors promote, “Location – Location – Location” when buying or selling property, when you are working an application for college admissions, the motto is “Contact – Contact – Contact.” That way you continue to build value in you as an applicant and potential student in the institution.
Building value begins in middle school when you establish grades that set your track for high school courses. In high school, you create value through grades, activities, service, and leadership. But as an applicant, all of those things are already done or in motion, but you can’t quit. Establishing contact with someone in an admissions office is important in securing your best opportunity. So make contact, get a name, number and email. Check back with that individual to see if there is other information needed, where they are in the process, or to update them on a recent accomplishment. The important factor is to maintain contact. Build your value with them by demonstrating that you are an authentic candidate and not just one of the thousands who apply as a backup.
Build your value. Contact – Contact – Contact, this is not the time to be shy!