Tag Archives: student success

Make the most out of your college campus visits

College Guide Most prospective college students and their parents want to make college campus visits before deciding to apply.

And that is good strategy, a right of passage in many ways.

The guidelines in my book, The New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out, and Get a Job shows you how to narrow your choices so that you are not travelling all over the country to visit several schools.

One of my daughters visited 23 college campuses and enrolled in the first one she visited!  There is no need for you to do that.  Read the book and narrow your choices to perhaps ten schools. You may have more or less, but use ten as a benchmark.

When you visit a school try to spend more than the time allotted by the admission office. If you can, arrange to spend a night is a residence hall.  If you can, arrange to sit in on one first year class and one upper level class. Try, if you can, to meet with a professor in your major (if you have one).

Read bulletin boards and pick up a copy of the college newspaper. Forget about being shy and talk to students in the cafeteria, in the library, wherever you can.

Make sure you stop by the registrar’s office and get a copy of the catalog.  Don’t forget to meet someone in the financial aid office.  Pick up forms if they are available. Stop by the career counseling center and speak with someone about what career counseling you can expect from your first year through your senior year.

Be your own investigator and advocate.

Early College Acceptance Programs

If you have already picked your top choice for college or university, you may want to think about early college acceptance programs.

If you have read and followed the guidelines in my book, The New College Guide:  How to Get In, Get Out, and Get a Job, you may already know early college acceptance programs exist at most schools and the programs have advantages and disadvantages.

Some early acceptance programs include:

  • Early Action (EA) – You submit an application before November 1st,  notified of a decision by December 15.  However, if you receive an acceptance, it is not binding that you attend this school. You have until May 1st school of your decision and you are free to apply to other schools.
  • Early Decision (ED) – You submit an application by November 1st and will be notified of a decision by December 15th.  However, if you receive an acceptance, it is binding that you attend this school.  You may not apply to other schools.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Early Acceptance Programs

  • If you know for sure where you want to enroll and have done your homework and know that you have a very good chance of being accepted, then you should seriously consider applying as an ED candidate.  If you are accepted, this will save you time and anxiety for the rest for your senior year.  If you have done your homework,, you know you can afford to attend this school and that your academic and financial needs will be met.
  • If you are somewhat certain that you want to attend a particular school and you know you have a good chance of being accepted, then go ahead and apply as an EA candidate.  If you are accepted, you still have the opportunity to apply to other schools and compare financial aid awards.  But you have time, until May 1st to make a final decision.

College Guide
I seriously believe that after reading my book, you will choose one of these options.

Good luck.

Some college behavior still protected by privacy

In these days when it seems nothing is private,  college students still have a right of privacy in some matters.

You should be aware of two federal laws which protect your privacy:

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health, Information, Portability, and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

  • FERPA laws prevent colleges and universities from releasing information about academic or disciplinary matters to anyone, including parents, without the consent of the student.
  • HIPAA prevents health care providers from releasing information to anyone, including parents, about a student’s health record.

Colleges and universities are allowed to give out public information that is available online.  Some schools will provide information, especially if drugs or alcohol are involved.  But each school has its own published set of rules and you and your parents should be aware of the guidelines before you enroll on campus.

Many parents are annoyed that even though they are paying the bill, they don’t have access to their child’s academic or health records.

It was at the graduation ceremony for my second daughter, when she received a number of academic awards, that my husband and I were first made aware of how smart she was and how successful her college career had been.  I was proud of her, of course, but I admit that I felt annoyed that up to that point, we had not received any formal notification from the school about her grades or progress.

These laws have as many supporters as they do detractors.  I guess I fall into the latter category.  But the laws are the laws.  I urge you and your parents to know what they are so you won’t be either surprised or disappointed.

Beware of Advertising for Credit Cards

A few years ago Sallie Mae conducted a survey of college students and the use of credit cards.

The results may, or may not, surprise you.

  • The overwhelming majority of college students had at least one credit card and about 1/3 paid their tuition using a credit card.
  • The average debt ranged from $1,000 to $7,000. The overwhelming majority of undergraduates indicated they needed more education on managing their money and would have taken a money  management course either in high school or in college if it were offered.

Once you are on campus you will notice a number of signs letting you know that “something” is free if you sign up for a particular credit card.  Please remember that nothing is free.

College GuideMy book, The New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out, and Get a Job carefully guides you and your parents about the best ways to meet college expenses.

You know how much of your bills will be met by savings, your borrowing, your parents’ borrowing, your financial aid from the federal and state governments, and the institutional aid from your school.

I urge you throughout the book to work, if you can, to meet your daily living expenses. This pay-as-you-go plan will help you to better manage your time and finances and is a good lesson for later life.

So please don’t be tempted to add some plastic to your wallet.  Credit card debt is one of the things you don’t want to take with you after graduation.

Time Management and College Success

Time management and college success go together like peanut butter and jelly.

One of the biggest adjustments to college is the wise use of time.

Good time management is one the biggest reasons for college success, especially in the first year.  Bad time management skills can railroad your first semester.

College is not like high school where a bell rang to move you from one class to another.  You have an individual schedule and may have hours between classes.  No one will tell you what to do and when. You may have joined a few clubs or organizations. You may have decided to work on-campus. All of these things will force you to make choices about how you spend your time.

During your first week of class, you will be given a list of books to read and papers to write.  You may look at the deadlines and think they are too far away to worry about them.  A few weeks roll by and all of a sudden it’s Thanksgiving and you go home and realize that you have three papers all due within three weeks.

It is exactly this kind of poor planning that will result in many late nights and compromised grades.

The New College GuideTime Management Suggestions

  • Divide your day or week up to include all of the activities that are an important part of college.  But be certain that first and foremost you are spending the most time on carefully calculating all you need to do in each class to get the grades you want.
  • Meet with your academic advisor and with staff in the counseling or student services department if you are having difficulty completing all of your assignments.  Many school have tutors (free) that can help you navigate the first semester and learn how to properly manage you time to include both academics and social activities.

We can help you with our new book, The New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out & Get a Job.

How to Get a Job at Google

Maybe Google values skills you learn in college,  not necessarily the college degree itself.

I know anyone reading this blog knows Google but perhaps you may not have considered what is required to work for the tech giant.

In an article published on April 19, 2014,  New York Times writer Thomas Friedman shares some of his conversation with Mr. Laszlo Bock, who is in charge of all hiring at Google.  (They hire about 100 new people each week.)

Mr. Bock stresses the importance of creating value with what you know.  He cautions that having a college degree does not guarantee that you will have the skills or traits to do any job.

The first thing Google looks for in a new hire is general cognitive ability or the ability to learn new things and solve problems.  Having the ability to understand and apply information is essential.  A solid liberal arts education will help.

The New College GuideIn compiling your resume, Mr. Bock recommends framing your strengths by demonstrating that what you have accomplished will create value.  Be explicit about the thought process behind why you did something.

College is a huge investment of time and money and you should think long and hard about what you are getting in return. Make sure, Mr. Bock recommends, that you are learning the skills that will be valued in today’s workplace.

In my book, The New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out & Get a Job, I talk about skills college students should develop in college and how to find colleges or universities that will help you develop those skills.

What are college graduate job skills?

One tends to read quite a bit, these days, about college graduate job skills (or the lack thereof).

Let me be very clear:  I do not believe you should enroll in college just to get a job.  

Neither should your major be a subject in which you have little or no interest only because the job prospects are good. College is much more.  It is a time to explore your interests and discover new talents. It’s a time to make life-long friendships.

The unemployment rate for college graduates was 3.8% last year. (High school graduates had an unemployment re of 7.4 %.)  But in a collaborative report between The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace, published in March of 2013, about 50% of 700 employers who participated in the study said they had trouble finding qualified college graduates to fill positions in their company. 

According to the employers in the study, college graduates need to have the following skills:

  • Good written and oral communication skills
  • Adaptability
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities
  • Ability to solve problems
  • Ability to collaborate
  • Flexibility
  • Knowing how retrieve and use information in a workplace situation.

College GuideThe New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out, and Get a Job recommends:

  • Be your own advocate.
  • Go through the list of employable skills as you progress from your first to last year.
  • Be certain you are the graduate that future employers need and want.

The College Corporate Connection; or lack thereof

The college-corporate connection isn’t always a tight one, especially when it comes to views of employment following graduation.

A recent blog published by Intead outlined the differences between what college presidents think is important in getting a job after graduation and what employers believe is important.

Among the findings:

  • College presidents believe that a school’s reputation, a graduate’s internships, major, GPA, and employment during college were the most important factors.
  • Employers believe that internships, employment during college, college major, volunteer experiences and extracurricular activities were important when evaluating a potential employee.  College GPA and reputation came in last. 
  • Headlines stress how many college graduates are looking for jobs while living in their parents’ basements.  But that is only part of the story.  Employers have jobs that they cannot fill because college graduates do not have the necessary skills.
  • Increasingly corporations are partnering with colleges and universities to meet their future workforce needs to comprar cialis sin receta.  For example, IBM has created the Academic Initiative, and is working with colleges and universities to develop curricula that will help college graduates develop data skills needed to meet “Big Blue’s” future workforce needs.  Georgetown University, Northwestern University, the National University of Singapore and the University of Missouri are all participating schools.

The New College GuideThe New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out and Get a Job recommends:

  • Meeting with staff in your school’s career counseling office to learn of any corporate partnerships.
  • Also get a list of all internships and off-site work opportunities.  
  • Be your own advocate and plot your own employment experience while in college.
  • You now know this is important to future employees.

Is the return on college investment all about your college major?

Is the return on college investment all about one’s college major?

Plenty of newspaper and magazine pieces are being published these days about some aspect of the return on a college investment (ROI).

Often the information focuses on college costs.  But increasingly information linking ROI and college majors is taking center stage.  

A recent report by the Pew Research Center revealed a significant number of graduating students wished they had selected a different major.  And only one in three students who took a recent ACT college assessment test intended to major in a subject that was a good fit for their strengths and preferences.

Recently, Doug Belkin, a writer for The Wall Street Journal, convened a group of experts to discuss the importance of selecting the right college major. The following is some of the advice outlined in Mr. Belkin’s article.

  • No major can guarantee a well- paying job after graduation.
  • If students change majors frequently, they will probably not be able to graduate in four years.
  • Colleges and universities should invest early in assisting students with undecided majors to narrow their choices.
  • College is not just about ROI. It’s about learning and growing intellectually and academically.  You cannot put a price on that.

College GuideThe New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out, and Get a Job recommends:

  • Don’t worry if you do not have a declared major when you begin your college education.  Many of the best schools in the country do not allow students to declare a major until the end of the first or second year.
  • Don’t select a major based on a good starting salary. It will not work. You will be unhappy and life is not about spending your day being unhappy.

Author’s note: I graduated from college with a degree to teach high school.  I realized after student teaching that this is not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  So I became a college administrator and I was very, very happy with that decision.

Important College Enrollment Statistics You Want to Know

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, college enrollment has declined in the U.S. for the past two years.  

In 2011, total higher education enrollment was 20.5 million students. In 2012, the number was 19.9 million, a decline of almost 700,000 students.

Last year the decline in enrollment by region was:

  • -0.3% in the Northeast
  • -0.9% in the South
  • -.0 7% in the West
  • -2.6% in the Midwest

The college enrollment statistics are both bad news and good news.

What do these college enrollment figures mean for you?  

If you have on your list colleges and universities located in the Midwest, you may have a better chance of admission given the decline last year in that region of the country.

The New College GuideThe New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out, and Get a Job recommends:

  • Contact the admission office for each of the schools on your list and ask to get the number of applicants, admitted and enrolled students for the past three years.
  • Also request the average SAT scores and GPAs for the entering class for the past three years.  Do not rely only on guide books. You will get only partial information.
  • Become your own investigator and dig deeper into a school’s enrollment picture.
  • You may be surprised at what you learn.