Posts Tagged ‘college education’

Managing Your Time on Campus

Monday, October 6th, 2014
Time Management too much to do?

Time Management too much to do?

Given all of the academic, extracurricular and social pursuits offered at college, the fact that there are 24 hours in a day becomes more and more inconvenient. The fact that we have to sleep for a lot of them is equally annoying. Regardless of how difficult managing your time becomes, don’t go looking for the answer at the bottom of a 5-hour energy bottle. There are ways to increase your productivity and be more efficient at organizing your social time. And by that I don’t mean ‘fun with rules.’ To hell with the rules, just break them under a strategically organized work-fun relationship.

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Do I Need a Tutor?

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Teenage boy using personal computerYes. Yes you do. At some point in your college career you will hit the academic wall, be it via essays, research papers or a problem set that’s giving you more problems than you need right now. The liberal arts education is supposed to push you into unchartered territory and force you out of your one or two subject comfort zones. Ultimately, there should be no sense of impending dignity loss in asking for help.

I took a science credit my first semester of freshman year, which actually turned out to be hardcore math. I had been hoping to prolong my math distributional requirement until they (“the man”) forced me to take it. But my Breakfast Club-esque attitude to calculus was broken by deceptive course content propaganda. Needless to say, I found myself in a bit of a pickle with all of these numbers strewn about the page. Bob, Sarah and Duncan were trying to navigate there way around town because Google Maps had conveniently stopped working. The question was slightly different to that, but you get the gist: math characters asking me to calculate something. (more…)

State School vs. Private College

Monday, July 23rd, 2012
College Education

College Education

As you come to the end of your high school career you begin to face a lot of choices and new responsibilities.  If you decide on attending a college, and I sincerely hope you do, there is a wealth of amazing schools across the country that you will be able to choose from.  Colleges and universities range in size, location, curriculum, philosophy, and overall atmosphere.  One of the big divisions is between state schools and private schools.

State schools are partially funded and tied to the infrastructure of the state they serve and call their home. These schools tend to have large campuses and accordingly serve a large number of students.  State schools are all part of a network of colleges that make up a state’s educational system and are generally comprehensive in their course offerings and curricula.  Most state schools are universities, meaning they offer graduate programs as well as significant research facilities and programs.  Many of these schools are where the nation’s top-flight athletic programs are found, and so teams and sporting events feature strongly in the life of the campus.

On the other end of the spectrum exist private colleges and universities.  These set of schools have no ties to the state or local governments they exist in and were founded and run by a group of private individuals.  These private schools were often founded with a particular mission in mind, and are also sometimes merely colleges and not universities. Colleges only offer undergraduate degrees and do not generally have any graduate departments. Private schools tend to be smaller in size and student population, while there are some exceptions to this.  All of the Ivy League schools are private, though this does mean that all private institutions are more elite than state schools, far from it.  The real question to ask yourself when making a choice between a state and private college is “what am I looking for in my college experience?”

State schools often have a unique kind of school spirit that extended from their athletic fields to all aspects of campus life.  The size and diversity of a campus of a state school, the volume of course offerings, the variety of student life, and the chance to be near leading research in a field of interest all lure people to state schoolsState schools can feel like small cities and provide an excitement and intellectual and social energy that are perfect for many people.  Also, state schools, in so far as they are partially subsidized by the state they inhabit can be cheaper – especially if you are a resident of that state.  Going to University of Michigan when you live in Michigan, or SUNY Binghampton when you live in New York, is a great option because you are receiving a top-flight education at a fraction of the price.

On the other hand, private colleges can offer an intimacy and immediacy of attention hard to find at large state schools.  If many state schools feel like cities, private schools feel like villages.  There is a real ownership over your academic and student life at private colleges.  So much of the school’s life is generated by the small group of peers and teachers interacting with each other every day. At a state school, especially in your first couple of years, you will find yourself interacting with teaching assistants, and often only getting contact with professors in lecture settings.  Private colleges place you in the classroom with a professor more often than not for all four years. This promises a kind of academic focus and access not found at a larger state school.  Of course, this comes with a price. Private colleges tend to be more expensive.

At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with either type of school but its important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of both kinds of institutions and experiences.  You give up and gain something by making either choice and its important to be fully informed.

How to Pay for College

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

What are options for me to pay for College? How can I help myself?

Cost of college

Cost of college

One of the most daunting aspects of a college education facing students and parents in today’s economic climate is the cost.  College is expensive any way you slice it, and with unemployment being what it is, it feels like a large waste of money.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Unemployment rates for people with college degrees are half what they are for students who did not complete high school. A college education is still an essential key to success and opportunity.

Your ability to pay for college starts in high school.  If you commit to studying hard and getting grades you will drastically improve you chances of paying for college. Many financial aid offices award scholarships and aid to students in need based on their merit and achievement in high school.  A stellar transcript makes you an attractive candidate to any college and they will do what they can to allow you to attend.  Getting the grades you need in high school may mean sacrificing a few Friday nights out with friends to stay in and study, but in the long term you will be richly rewarded.

Another option you have to pay for college is student loans.  While many people balk at he predicament of taking on debt at a young age, this shouldn’t deter you from taking out a student loanYour college education is an investment in your future. Congress also just voted on keeping the interest rates on college loans at their present lower rates. This is a huge victory for education and statement about the value of a college education.

The U.S. education system is also specifically attuned to keep our country competitive in specialized fields in the years ahead. Specifically, colleges and universities want to ensure that the U.S. is still training many of its students for careers in Math and Science and so if these are fields that especially interest you, an even stronger chance of finding financial aid could be possible.

However, whatever course of study interests you and ends up directing your college search, one of the most vital things you can do to help yourself is start early.  Start looking around for the colleges that offer you the best of what you are looking to study, and then begin to understand the ways you can find help to subsidize that education.  Often time, the issue of paying for college can feel so large because it seems so abstract.  Make the problem smaller – find the school you want to attend and then figure out how people have paid to go their in the past.

Lastly, one of the great strengths of the system of higher education in the U.S. is the sheer number of quality universities that exist in this country.  There are many colleges, with many different financial aid options, that will provide you with a top-flight education.  Don’t get locked into any single idea, as there are wonderful options.  In addition to the incredible network of local and state schools, there are many small colleges that you may of never heard of, that will be perfect for you and able to give you the financial help you need to attend.

Assessing the Importance of College

Friday, December 16th, 2011

As everyone knows, 2011 is a trying time for the economy. The business sector of the country is experiencing little to no growth, the market is low, and, as a result, unemployment is soaring. It’s a daunting time for anyone, with a college degree or not, to enter the job market.

In many ways, the culture of unemployment has created a backlash against getting a college education. Many recent college graduates, like many others, are struggling to find jobs, and feel as if they wasted four years of time and tuition. While this frustration is understandable, it is also mislead and misplaced.

College is a time when a student is expected to devote themselves fully to their intellectual and personal development. College is four years all about you. After being immersed in this environment and getting a college degree, it can be stark and shocking to struggle out in the “real world”. However, this does not mean getting a college degree was not worth it, far from it.

In the highly competitive job market of 2011, a college degree is essential to securing serious employment – the kind of employment that can grow and expand into a fulfilling and lucrative career. At this point, there are many candidates saturating the market and competing for a limited number of opportunities and a college degree is often the base level of training expected for potential hires.

Now, of course, this is not true for EVERY field. If you want to pursue something more vocational, like being a chef, apprenticing or enrolling in a training program may make more sense than pursuing a college degree. However, if you are serious about a career in any major field of business, science, law, communications, or the arts you’ll need a college degree.