BY SAUSAN RAHMATULLAH
The idea of paying for a U.S. education can be intimidating for many students, but it doesn’t have to be. With proper planning, you can prepare for your education expenses and also find ways to reduce costs. Here are a few tips:
Students need to make an informed decision about which schools to apply to based on their “best fit,” which includes cost. Create a budget to figure out how much you’ll need for tuition, living expenses, food, transportation, books and other expenses. Most universities provide an estimate of these costs on their websites.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EDUCATIONUSA’S SERVICES
Prospective international students are highly encouraged to visit their local EducationUSA office. A network of over 425 international advising centers in 175 countries, EducationUSA is run by the U.S government. The offices hold free seminars about financial aid and other admissions-related topics.. EducationUSA advisers can also assist students with finding the university that best fits their needs, goals and financial situation. If you can’t visit in person, you can get guidance online at: EducationUSA.state.gov.
LOOK FOR SOURCES OF FUNDING
Here are some to consider:
For details, visit: youarewelcomehereusa.org.
OPTIONAL SIDEBAR BOX
BE CREATIVE TO SAVE/EARN MONEY AS A STUDENT
Once you’re accepted to a university, you can look for additional ways to save or earn money for your studies. Here are some examples:
(Sausan Rahmatullah is an EducationUSA adviser in Dhaka, Bangladesh.)
By BRITTANY LOEFFLER
It’s a long debated topic: Is group studying more effective than studying alone?
We’ve all experienced getting together with classmates to study for an upcoming exam and spending the entire time gossiping, talking or joking around. You leave the group without accomplishing anything to get you ready for your exam.
So if people can be too distracting, how can group studying be more effective than studying alone?
Surprisingly, there are benefits to both methods.
The Benefits of Studying Alone
When people think of studying, they picture themselves sitting alone in their bedroom or a quiet library with a book and notes sprawled out on the desk. It isn’t the most fun thing to do, but it’s necessary. The following are some benefits to studying alone.
— Minimal Distractions
When you lock yourself away in your room, there tend to be less distractions than when you are studying in a group or a public place. Nobody is moving around or talking near you. There are literally no distractions.
— Personal Study Environment
Everyone is different, which means everyone learns differently. You may require classical music, a warm, toasty room, and a cup of tea while you study. Someone else may require complete silence, a chilly room, and no snacks at all. Studying alone allows you to set the perfect study environment so you get the most out of studying.
Studying alone also allows you to use the study tactics that are the most effective for your learning style. Some students learn best with flashcards, while others learn best when they reread chapters.—
Study What You Need to Learn
There may be some topics in class that you really need to work on. When you study alone, you’re able to focus on exactly what you need to learn.
The Benefits of Group Studying
When you think of group studying, you may shrug it off because you think you won’t get any studying done. If you’re with motivated people who are focused, however, you may be surprised at just how beneficial group studying can be.
— Prevent Procrastination
How many times have you said you were going to sit down and study but ended up binge-watching Netflix? When you set a date and time to get together with a study group, it prevents you from procrastinating because you know other people are counting on you to be there.
— Retain More Information
When you study in a group, you tend to retain more information. This is because you paraphrase your notes and put the information in your own words rather than reading from a textbook. It’s very similar to teaching the others in your group, which leads to retaining the information better.
— Gain New Insight and Perspective
Have you ever had a hard time grasping a concept for days or weeks? Then, suddenly, someone states the concept in a new way and it finally clicks! This is a major benefit of group studying. Being with other people allows you to gain different insights and perspectives on the material.
Which Is More Effective?
After looking at the benefits or studying alone or in a group, it can be difficult to tell which is more effective. The answer, according to a study conducted by a psychology professor, R. Keith Sawyer, Ph.D., from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, is that group studying is more effective.
“Study groups are so effective because they provide a way for students to make the lecture notes their own,” Sawyer says. “When students hear the voice of the professor and are taking notes, they are so busy writing that it’s hard for them to really absorb the material. What happens in the study-group setting is that students could absorb lecture notes and make them their own.”
OPTIONAL SIDEBAR: How to Form an Effective Study Group
Here are a few things students must do to get the benefits of group studying.
— Limit the Number of People
It’s important to keep your study group to a small number of people. It isn’t a party where you get to socialize. A good number is 3 to 5 students..
– Be Prepared
Come to your study group prepared with notes, questions and topics to look over. Nobody likes wasting time and waiting for you to get yourself together.
— Set a Place, Time and Agenda
Take studying seriously. Pick a place, date and time for when your group will get together to study. It’s also important to have an agenda. What will you be studying and for how long? This will help keep you focused and on topic.
(Brittany Loeffler is a student at Temple University in Philadelphia.)
— From uloop.com, Online Marketplace for Student Life
By KAITLIN HURTADO
The reasons for taking an online college course will vary. You might opt for an online course because it better fits your hectic schedule. It might be your last option when other classes are full or if you need to retake a class. When it comes to taking an online class for the first time, there may be a lot of uncertainty about the workload and schedule. Or you may not understand how it will differ from other courses.
Instead of worrying, prepare yourself for your first online course with these tips:
Kaitlin Hurtado is a student at University of California Irvine.
Excerpted from uloop.com, Online Marketplace for College Life.
(Photo by Martine Savard/Pexels.com)
Pursuing a career in medicine is at the top of many young students’ minds. The industry has many opportunities, it is noble, and the pay is well above average. But what deters most of these dreams is the fact that becoming a medical practitioner takes lots of dedication, is expensive, and not anywhere near the list of the easiest things to do. That is why many opt for the shorter, cheaper, but rewarding career path of being medical assistants.
The Short Path: Becoming a Medical Assistant.
Basically, medical assistants are medical professionals who know a little of everything within the industry. They can diagnose some mild medical problems, perform minor surgeries, attend to outpatients, schedule appointments, file medical records, and any other job that the medical field throws at them. However, MAs do not have any specialty.
As an MA, you will get the chance to work in any medical facility from the smallest facility in a refugee camp to big hospitals in major cities of the world. The good news, in this case, is that with a bachelor’s degree in any field, you can pursue a 2-year course in the medical field and you will be set to start your career in the job. Science degree holders are a little bit privileged in this regard but anyone else can join.
Other people opt to undertake life coaching training and then establish their private coaching practice. With this certification, you can still find your way into the medical field as a therapist or life counselor. That’s if you consider therapy diagnosis of a stressed out, depressed mind.
The Longer Path: Joining Medical School.
The longer path involves spending long hours in class, passing through many steps, and eventually getting your certification. Some of these steps include:
Every year, as a new college admission cycle begins, there’s always a lot of news about rankings. Editors from U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, The Princeton Review, and others have once again begun to provide a parade of ranking guides that presume to reveal the “best values” in education, identify the best “party” schools, or simply quantify the mythical pecking order of colleges.
Before you rush to print out a list of the “best” colleges, though, take a moment to consider the following:
1. Rankings are not science.
The data collection process relies on self-reported information from colleges and universities. While the use of the Common Data Set has helped to standardize the reporting process, institutions are still able to manage the manner in which their data is assembled.
Moreover, editors are able to creatively interpret the information they do (or don’t) receive. For example, if an institution chooses to abstain from submitting data, the editors of at least one publication (U.S. News & World Report) will resort to a formula that creates values for that school based on the values of its presumed peers.
2. Rankings are highly subjective.
Consider, for example, reputation. In the U.S. News & World Report rankings, reputation carries the greatest weight. On the surface, that might make sense — until you come to know how reputation is “measured.”
Each year, U.S. News & World Report sends three ballots to each participating school asking the recipients (president, academic dean, and dean of admission) to rate peer institutions on a scale of 5 to 1. The assumption is that these individuals know higher education better than anyone else and are best positioned to make qualitative assessments.
What do you think? Could you provide such a rating for each of the high schools in your region or province? It’s highly doubtful, just as it is highly doubtful that these three voters can make objective assessments of peer institutions across the country. Consequently, fewer than half respond. Many who do complete the rating form admit they are making educated guesses.
To address some of those concerns, the editors now solicit ratings from selected high school guidance counselors as well. Not surprisingly, the participation rate among all “voters” continues to be very low. That said, what do the rankings really tell you about reputation?
3. Rankings change each year because …?
Change on college campuses is glacial in nature, yet every year the outcome of the rankings changes. Why? At least one ranking guide (U.S. News) admits to changing or “tweaking” its formula each year — further evidence of the subjectivity involved as well as the editors’ need to maintain uncertain outcomes from year to year.
4. Apples and Oranges.
While many colleges and universities may look alike on the surface, they are often very different with regard to programs, instructional styles, cultures, values, and aspirations — another reason why trying to rank them is a daunting, if not impossible, task.
5. Be discriminating.
The definitions of “best” are essentially editorial opinions dressed up in pseudo-facts. Contrived to sell magazines, they might not — and, in fact, should not — be the beginning point for your college selection process. Don’t become blinded by these definitions of the “best.”
You need to arrive at your own definition of the best that is rooted in your needs, interests and learning style.
Frankly, the rankings phenomenon has grown wearisome. The notion that all of America’s best colleges can be ranked in any context (“party schools,” “academic reputation,” etc.) is foolhardy. It makes too many assumptions about people and places, cultures and values, quality and — believe it or not — fit.
Among other things, rankings promote a destination orientation and an obsessive approach to getting into highly ranked colleges. Where the student might be headed becomes more important than what is to be accomplished or why that goal might be important or how the institution might best serve the student. When blinded by the power and prestige that rankings bestow upon a few colleges or universities, it’s easy to lose sight of one’s values and priorities as well as the full range of opportunities that exist.
Keep rankings in perspective as you proceed with college planning. Resist the temptation to obsess on a set of numbers. Instead, focus on developing a list of colleges based on who you are, why you want to go to college and what you want to accomplish during your undergraduate years. And don’t lose sight of how you like to learn. Stay student-centered, and you will discover the colleges that are truly best for you.
Peter Van Buskirk, former dean of admission at Franklin & Marshall College, is Director of Student Advocacy at Revolution Prep. Read his blog at: www.revolutionprep.com/resources.
Summer days can be the “dog days” of the college application process. This is especially true for rising high school seniors who have identified the schools they will apply to and are struggling to get started on their essay assignments!
If this sounds like you, the good news is you recognize the need to be thinking and acting upon your college applications in a timely manner. That recognition, however, doesn’t lessen your anxiety or the nights of fitful sleep or the extended periods of time you spend staring at an unresponsive keyboard. The words and the important messages your essays (or personal statements) convey will not materialize out of thin air.
To help you get started in the essay writing process, here are a few suggestions that can help you work through the creative blues:
Resist the temptation to buy the “best college essays” book.
It will only contribute to the “paralysis by analysis” you are experiencing. The essays you will find in those books are not only well written, but they also fit the context of someone else’s life story. The genius for your essay rests within you, not within an essay someone else has written. Focus on your own story.
Identify key themes and/or messages you want to convey.
Are there two or three things you want to make sure the readers of your application know about you? In answering this question, go beyond the obvious. Don’t restate information that can be found elsewhere in your application. This is your opportunity to provide insight and interpretation.
Reflect on your most memorable life experiences.
How have they shaped you? A group of students just returned from a two-week tour of Europe with great pictures and wonderful stories. Two years from now, when they begin writing their college applications, they should reflect less on where they went and what they saw — and more on how some aspect of the experience changed them.
Find the story within the story.
Quite often, metaphors are effective in framing key messages in college application essays. If you have identified themes or messages to be explained in your application, think about moments of revelation that speak to the bigger picture: What were you feeling at the time? How did you react? What has been the impact of that experience on how you see yourself in the world?
Reveal — don’t tell.
It is best not to recite the facts of your life. Instead, take the reader between the lines to understand you, as a thinking person, better. Not long ago, a college professor asked me to remind college applicants that U.S. colleges value diversity of thought in their classrooms. The essay is your opportunity to reveal that element of diversity that can be found uniquely within you.
Keep a pen/pencil and paper beside your bed.
You might wrack your brain all day trying to come up with clever ideas, but invariably the best stuff emerges in those hazy, subconscious moments just before you drift off to sleep! If you can, push back the sleep long enough to jot down your new inspirations.
Read — a lot!
Quite often, essay writers are limited in their ability to understand their place in the world in which they live. Break out of that shell by reading news stories and editorials. Better yet, read books that make you think. It’s not too late, and biographies are great sources! I have found increasing inspiration from the life stories of people who have risen from relative obscurity to make significant contributions as thinkers and doers.
Take advantage of the time you give yourself by starting early.
Resist the temptation to write a college essay in a single draft. Good writing — and editing — is a process. Manage it well to your advantage!
Peter Van Buskirk, former dean of admission at Franklin & Marshall College, is the Director of Student Advocacy at Revolution Prep. To see his admissions blog and webinars, go to: www.revolutionprep.com/resources.
By Allie Caton
Working on campus is a great opportunity for college students to get some extra pocket money or to start saving up to pay off loans. At most universities, there is a multitude of on-campus jobs that require little to no experience. Many are available to international students. Working in the library, in the dining hall, or in an administrative office can give you valuable experience about what it means to work a job before you are launched into the “real” job market.
On-campus jobs are perfect for students with busy lives. If you’re on the fence about getting one, here are a few reasons why you should strongly consider it.
Because on-campus jobs are part of the university, bosses are more understanding of academic conflicts. You are able to choose your hours each semester based on your academic schedule rather than your manager trying to work out your hours each week. It provides stability that won’t interfere with your studies and flexibility to adjust to academic conflicts. On-campus jobs are much more forgiving if you have to miss a shift to cram for an exam.
Some on-campus jobs will even allow you to study and do homework on the job (depending on the job and if your manager is OK with it).
The convenience of an on-campus job is unmatched. Having your job right by your dorm is something you don’t even realize will be useful until you don’t have it anymore. Having your home, job, and school all in the same area cuts down on commute time and transportation costs. It’s really the best situation that you can get.
Working on campus also means you are more engaged in your school. You are an active participant in the inner workings of the university, not just a student. It’s a great way to meet other students that you wouldn’t normally meet in your classes or clubs. It’s also a great way to connect with administration members who can provide awesome opportunities to learn about how your university runs.
Like any job, an on-campus job is another position to add to your resume. It shows that you are able to balance work and academics, which is always a plus for employers. By having an on-campus job you are showing interest in your university and a willingness to put effort into your school.
Working your on-campus job probably won’t directly relate to what you want to do after graduation, but you will still get valuable experience about what it means to be employed. If you excel at your job, your bosses will be happy to help you with references for future jobs.
This is an obvious one, but having an on-campus job means MONEY. And who doesn’t want some extra money? By having an on-campus job, you can crawl your way out of the poor college student stereotype and treat yourself to something special every once in a while or put your money away in savings. Either way, having a steady income is extremely helpful and will make you feel more secure in your financials.
On-campus jobs are great first jobs and can help teach you about budgeting your income and how to handle your money wisely.
Many schools offer a work-study program, which is a need-based program that allows students to work off their college tuition. This is an awesome way to gain experience while paying off college at the same time. If you think that you could qualify for the work-study program at your school, strongly consider applying. Work-study payment comes either in the form of a paycheck or a direct deposit toward your tuition. Check out the specifics of your university’s work-study qualifications and payments before applying.
5. Real-world Values
On-campus jobs are perfect practice for a “real world” job. On-campus jobs are somewhat of a hybrid between being a student and being a full-time employee of an organization. This puts on-campus jobs in a unique position as an in-between step. In some ways, these jobs can be a training ground for a post-graduation job. An on-campus job will teach you how to take instruction, effectively communicate with your employer, connect with coworkers, address clients, and multitask. These are all essential skills that you will be grateful for when you enter the job market.
An on-campus job is a great way to build up your resume, make some money and gain real-world experience. Make the most of your on-campus job. Don’t slack off just because your boss is flexible or you can easily blame an absence on class. Work hard and you will reap the benefits that an on-campus job can supply.
From uloop.com, Online Marketplace for College Life
By PATRICIA RODRIGUEZ-DIAZ
Living in a college residence hall next year? It’s a good bet you will have an RA, or resident assistant, assigned to your building or floor. This is someone you should definitely get to know. He or she is usually an upperclassman who lives in one of the dorm rooms and is there to enforce the rules but also to help the residents with whatever they need.
An RA is someone you can talk to if you’re homesick or having roommate problems. He or she can also answer any questions you have about college life.
I was lucky to serve as an RA for two years at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., which has students from more than 50 countries. I talked with a lot of students who were far from home and at times had trouble adjusting to life in a dorm room. Here are some of the survival tips I shared:
Don’t Just Shout. Talk It Out
Even if you knew your roommate beforehand, living with him (or her) will be completely different. You could move in with a stranger and have it be the best living situation ever. Or you could live with your best friend of 10 years and have it be the worst.
The key to making it work is communication. If there’s a problem, ALWAYS talk it out with your roommate first. If you still have problems after talking, look to your RA for help — especially if you think you need to change rooms or roommates.
Make Your Room Represent YOU
Your dorm room isn’t just the place where you sleep or study. It’s your home. Make it as YOU as it can be. Show your personality. Put up the posters your mom never let you put up at home. Add a rug or colorful pillows. Do whatever you can to make your room a comfortable place so you’ll feel right at home.
A Clean Room Is a Happy Room
Cleanliness is important. Whether you share a space with one person or seven, you should have a cleaning schedule. Don’t fall into a situation where one person is always cleaning up after the others just because that person is a neat freak. Establish a schedule that can be followed by everyone so that your room or suite is always clean.
Keep in mind that if your room is a mess when you leave at the end of the semester, you may be charged a cleaning fee.
Snack Time Is the Best Time
Some colleges have dining 24 hours a day, while others offer no food after midnight. Have snacks on hand because you will get hungry during those late-night homework adventures. You don’t always have to eat ramen noodles! Try healthier snacks such as granola bars, fruit and yogurt. Watch out for that Freshman 15! (And remember that the Freshman 15 — gaining 15 pounds — doesn’t apply only to freshman.)
Be Open to Differences
College is the place to expand your horizons and get to know about other cultures. One of the great things about living in a residence hall is that you’ll probably meet people from other countries who were raised differently than you were. You may see students who dress in a different manner or eat different foods.
Don’t dismiss people based on their differences. Instead, try to get to know these students and learn something new. You never know. That guy or girl down the hall might turn out to be one of those lifelong friends from college that people are always talking about!
(Dorm-room photo by James Woodson/Thinkstock)
By JILL BARSHAY
“Choose your friends wisely” may not only be good parental advice but also a way to do better in college, a research study finds.
A trio of researchers put that advice to the test at Berea College, a small liberal arts school in Kentucky, by looking at how much friends actually influence study habits and grades. They found that students who befriended studious peers spent more hours studying themselves and posted higher grades during their freshman year.
“It’s no fun to study by yourself,” said Nirav Mehta, an economist at the University of Western Ontario and one of the study’s authors, explaining the intuition behind the study. “If you want to goof off, and your friends are at the library, then you’re going to go to the library, too.”
Of course, it’s possible that studious people gravitate toward other studious people. They might have hit the books and racked up as many A’s no matter who their friends were. So the researchers checked to see if randomly assigned roommates also have a positive influence on study habits and grades. They found almost identical results: students who were assigned a studious roommate freshman year also studied more each day and had higher grade-point averages.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true, the researchers found. If you have friends and roommates who don’t study a lot, you’re likely to get dragged down by their poor habits, studying less and earning lower grades. It’s important to clarify that having smart friends isn’t as important as having studious friends in this study. The researchers didn’t find that friends’ grades mattered. What influenced a student’s college grades was his or her friends’ high school study habits. To be sure, students with higher grades tend to have better study habits, so studious friends are also likely to be smart ones.
The study, “Time-use and Academic Peer Effects in College,” is a working paper, meaning it hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but it was circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research in October 2018.
So should we encourage parents to meddle and pick their kids friends in college?
“This is one outcome — GPA. There are other things in life,” said Mehta, who nostalgically admits to selecting studious friends when he was in college. “We were a crew of dorks,” he said. “It was great.”
— Excerpted from The Hechinger Report
By Valerie Pierce and Cheryl Rilly
Taking AP (or Advanced Placement) classes in high school can help you prepare for college-level courses and earn credit toward a college degree. Are they worth the extra work and stress? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide:
PRO: AP coursework prepares students better for the rigors of a college classroom
PRO: Selective schools EXPECT that you will have taken them.
CON: GPA rules! That’s particularly true for less selective schools as well as for many scholarships. APs are not a factor at these schools. An ‘A’ is an ‘A.’
PRO: AP courses are smaller, cheaper and, most students say “a whole lot easier” than the equivalent college course. Load up.
CON: If you get AP credit, you’ll end up taking upper-level classes as a college freshman before you have gotten used to the pace of college coursework.
THE JURY’S OUT: Does admissions look more favorably at a ‘B’ in an AP class than an ‘A’ in a regular class? Ask 50 admissions officers and you’ll get 50 different answers! Your best bet: Take the AP class and work your tail off to get an ‘A.’