The Importance of Early Career Exploration

Candid Career LogoHow did you find yourself in your first job?  Did you take it for the money?  Was it the career your father or mother did?  Or did you simply not have a better idea?

Whatever the reason, it is too big of a decision to take lightly. Far too many students don’t have all the information to make the best choice or the information is hard to come by, boring to review, or even worse, fabricated.  Until now!

CandidCareer.com is the premier provider of career profile videos to educate students on the possibilities.  At Candid Career, we believe that the best career advice comes from the individuals that are actually doing the jobs every day, so that is exactly who we bring to you.  We also believe that young people love video. As video becomes more common for educational purposes, the ability to access honest career information and advice through video becomes essential.  The experience on CandidCareer.com is a convenient and non-intimidating one for students. After all, we know how much time they spend on YouTube!

Candid Career has recently partnered with LEAP (Learning Enrichment and Assistance Program, LLC) to add even more clarification on finding a college major and career path that matches the interests of a student.  CandidCareer.com is now part of the LEAP Fit 2 Flourish program.

For over 50 years, the Birkman Method® has been an industry leader in personality assessment assisting over 3.5 million participants with dialing into their hard wiring. This multi-dimensional tool focuses on measuring usual behaviors, underlying needs, stress behaviors and interests to reveal multiple ingrained personality dimensions. This information combined with a student’s academic profile directs the student in discovering best match, economically safe careers, the college majors that lead to those positions and the schools respected for these majors.

If a student can start college having chosen a major and career path confident needs will be met, interests embraced and stresses avoided then the 4-year graduation rate sky rockets saving thousands in future tuition.

Students take the 45-minute online assessment in the comfort of their home. Once your Birkman and LEAP Student Profile are complete, we marry the two sets of information into best-fit suggestions for the individual student. Families receive via email the full 55 page Birkman® results, the 24 page LEAP Fit 2 Flourish report including 3-5 best fit careers for exploration, 3-5 majors leading to these careers, 3-5 colleges respected for these majors.

Students can take these career suggestions and explore them on CandidCareer.com.  There are multiple search options when browsing through the thousands of videos on the website such as Industry, Career Title, College Major, College Attended, City, and State. Once students have found a career that peaks their interest, learning more is as easy as clicking play.  Industry professionals on the site speak to what they love about their careers and some of the challenges.  Professionals also give advice on how to prepare for their careers, such as college majors, course work and/or internships and training to consider.

CandidCareer.com and LEAP share a passion for helping students graduate on time with a job in a career path that excites them. The future is right around the corner, and those that prepare for success, are more likely to achieve it!

This post was provided by Neilye Garrity, Co-Founder of CandidCareer.com, who was a guest along with Lisa Mader, President of LEAP (Learning Enrichment and Assistance Program, LLC) on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on March 15th, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Hofstra Career Center

‘Would You Rather…?’ A Text Messaging Campaign on a Mission to Help Students Manage Their Money

DoSomething.org LogoWe’ve all done some weird things to make money. My weirdest job? Working at an events company where I would dress in an elf costume, work the popcorn machine, and shuffle snot-nosed kids through the line to meet Santa every holiday season. At an Easter event one spring, I saw the inside of the Easter Bunny costume head, and was never the same. Every time I got a paycheck from that job, it seemed like it was gone in the blink of an eye. I had no idea how to manage, invest, or save my money.

I wasn’t alone in my lack of finance savvy, and the implications of being clueless about money extend much further than the holiday season. Seventy percent of college seniors graduate with student loan debt, averaging $29,400 in 2013,[1] and 36% of recent college graduates are mal-employed[2], meaning they work in positions that don’t require a degree, like on a wait staff or in the service industry. There is a monumental gap between the average college graduate’s debt and their financial ability to pay – and much of it can be attributed to an inability to understand and make tough financial decisions.

For the second year, DoSomething.org, the largest not-for-profit for young people and social change, is combating that issue and informing young people on financial education through a text-messaging experience in partnership with H&R Block Dollars and Sense. The experience, called Would You Rather, uses text messaging to challenge young people to make decisions about how they’d manage their money and provides real world financial tips. Last year, 44,238 young people participated in the campaign, delivering 62,435 tips to their friends.

Here’s how it works:

  • Teen receives a text message like this: “What would you rather do to save $$? A) Share your spring break hotel room w/ your entire extended family OR B) Not go on spring break.”
  • Teen responds: “A”
  • They receive: Hope the bathtub’s comfy!
  • After this and throughout the game, they receive actionable financial tips relevant to the question, such as: “Going on spring break? Create a travel budget so you come back from vacation with happiness and a tan, rather than regret.”

Teens have the opportunity to send this game to friends, compare answers, and share valuable financial tips directly relevant to their lives. Focusing financial education on short term decisions and small behavior changes with big impact is an effective and impactful way to get young people thinking about their financial futures, even beyond holiday shopping.

This post was provided by Farah Sheikh, Education Campaign Specialist at DoSomething.org, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on March 8th, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Fanlala


[1] Institute for College Access & Success’ Project on Student Debt

[2] Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.

What Good Is a Liberal Arts Degree?

Lightbulb over person's face.The colleges that I work with tell me that new students are flocking to get business degrees or specialized undergraduate degrees in nursing, education, engineering, or other majors that “guarantee” a job after graduation. Yet many students enter college without a clear idea of what they want to accomplish in their career, and stress over choosing the right major. As a result, half of all students change their major at least once during their college career, according to Dr. Fritz Grupe of MyMajors.com.

Parents are worried about their children’s choices, too. “What kind of job can you to get with an English Lit major?” is a common reaction.

The fact is that a liberal arts degree remains an excellent path to success, according to statistics published by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2010 and 2011, graduates with degrees in the humanities or social science actually had average salaries that were higher than those for science and math graduates. It is true that those with engineering and professional or pre-professional degrees made more right out of college, but this margin does not appear to hold up over time.

According to the Census Bureau numbers, by age 56 to 60 the humanities and social science graduates made about $2,000 more a year than the professional and pre-professional graduates.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what the average salary is if you can’t find a job. So what is the story for liberal arts majors? It turns out that even in the middle of this awful economy and job market, recent liberal arts graduates had an unemployment rate of just 5.2%, far below the national average for workers overall. This means that almost 19 out of every 20 graduates were able to find work. And this advantage appears to extend later in your career. In the same period, workers 41 to 50 years old with liberal arts degrees had an unemployment rate of just 3.5 percent, which is only slightly higher than those with professional or pre-professional degrees.

The fact is that our nation’s businesses – large and small – depend on a steady crop of young workers who are needed not for the facts that they learned in college, but rather the skills. Companies need employees with a strong work ethic, the ability to conduct research and analysis of information, problem solving ability, leadership and teamwork skills, and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively both verbally and in writing. These are the very skills that a liberal arts degree is design to teach.

Alfred Poor, Ph.D. is a speaker and a writer, and is the author of “7 Success Secrets That Every College Student Needs to Know!” He speaks to high school, college, and corporate audiences about the importance of career skills for young employees’ success at work.

He is dedicated to delivering practical information that you can put to use right away. You can contact him on Twitter at @AlfredPoor, on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/alfredpoor, on Google+ at google.com/+AlfredPoor, or through his website at www.alfredpoorspeaker.com.

This post was provided by Alfred Poor, Professional Speaker and writer, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on March 1st, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Airik Lopez

On a Budget? 10 Ways to Save Money at College

professorsMost every student wants to get the most bang for the buck at college.  And who can blame them?  With the price of college running at more than double the rate of inflation, every dollar counts.  And it’s not just the standing costs – tuition and fees, and room and board – it’s the recurring day-to-day costs that can leave a hole in your pocket.  No worries.   You’ll save real money if you follow our top 10 tips: 

1.  Think about flying the coop.  Many students who start college living in the dorms wind up finishing college living in the dorms.  But in many cases, dorms are overpriced and tether you to a meal plan that also could be overpriced.  By your second, and surely third year you should be considering other living arrangements:  apartments, fraternities and sororities, special interest housing arrangements, and other locally-available alternatives.  Not only can you save a bundle, you can customize your living arrangement to the way you want it.

2.  Tame the costs of books.  With the average student spending over $600 a semester on textbooks, this is a natural place to trim your expenses.  Many colleges have made it easy, too.  Professors are required to post reading lists months in advance of the start of classes, and alternative buying arrangements are often available on the college-bookstore- or course webpage.  Things to consider: do you want new or used, do you want print or e-, do you need the current edition or will the previous one do just fine, do you want to own the book or would a semester-long rental be adequate?   Figure out what’s best for each course you’re taking and you can save hundreds of dollars a year.

5-Star Tip:  For all book modalities (print, e-, and rentals), check out the aggregators (sometimes called meta-sites):  these are websites that compare the prices of many other bookselling websites.  Two we especially like are www.CheapestTextbooks.com and www.BigWords.com   (others include www.BestPriceBooks.com, www.CampusBooks.com, www.textbooks.com, and, for rentals, www.chegg.com and www.textbookrentals.com).

3.  Buy academic-priced software.   If you’re wedded to Microsoft Office (which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and a number of other programs), you’ll be pleased to learn that Microsoft offers a special discount for college students:  4 years of “cloud-based” Office for about $20 a year (click here, you need your campus e-mail address to order).   For those watching their pennies, Apache’s OpenOffice and the open source LibreOffice, are downloadable for 100% free (can’t beat that).  If you’re expecting to do heavy graphics, search for Adobe Creative Suite at a student price (search the web or check your campus computer store – they’re likely to know about this and other student-priced software).

4.  Get a cheaper device.  Many students starting college lunge at the most expensive devices possible:  a fancy, full-sized tablet or one of the new, and expensive, Ultrabook notebooks.   In many cases, though, you can make do with much less:  a mini tablet, a less powerful (and less expensive) notebook, or sometimes a mere e-reader.  One  notebook we especially like (compact, good processor, long battery life) is the Asus Vivo Book X202E (or S200E)–make sure you get the 3rd generation Intel chip;  in tablets, the Microsoft Surface 10.6″ 32GB is an especially good deal right now.

5.  Get some apps.  If you’re one of the 100-million or so people worldwide who own an iPhone, you’ll want to get some apps especially tailored to college (most of them will set you back a buck or two or three).  Some we like include:
iStudiezPro (organizing your schedule)
PocketList (to-do lists)
EverNote (notetaking)
Wikipanion (Wikipedia)
MentalCase and FlashCard++ (flashcards)
Chegg (study help)
Graphing Calculator (just like the handheld model, and includes screenshots)
The Chemical Touch (periodic table)
Instapaper (stores web pages)
iTranslator (translations for your language courses)
Dictionary.com (lots of words you don’t know)
BlackboardLearn (hooks up with your school’s course management and grade reporting system)
My GPACalculator (includes “what if” scenarios so you can fantasize about getting an A in that killer statistics course).

6.  Take advantage of e-services.   Try Amazon and eBay for just about any merchandise (Amazon often offers special shipping discounts for students);  Priceline, Hotwire, and Fly.com for airline tickets;  Netflix for movies;  and Pandora for music. 

Extra Pointer: skip a trip.  Travel, especially airline travel, can be very expensive, especially if you want to travel at peak times.  If you’re a little short on cash – and don’t have terribly magnanimous parents – consider foregoing the trip home for Thanksgiving.  You’ll see your parents in just three weeks for Christmas, so save your $500 and tell your parents to freeze the pumpkin pie.

7.  Check your car insurance.  Especially if you live in a big, freeway-laden city, car insurance can be super-expensive.  Try to stay under your parent’s policy, if you’re of appropriate age.  If not, ask your insurance agent for “Student” or “Good Grades” Discount (that is, assuming you have good grades).   Also, if you’re only driving a few miles per day, make sure your policy is rating as “pleasure” driving;  your rate will be cheaper.

On the Web.  Be sure to check out web-based insurance companies, for example, 21st Century, Geico, and USAA (if you have a military background).  They’re likely to be cheaper than in-person agents.

8.  Use the facilities.  No, not those facilities.  We’re thinking about the recreational and academic services you paid for as part of your student fees:   Olympic-sized swimming pools, Apple-endowed computer labs – not to mention the free tutoring service, writing center, and math lab.  And, if you’re not feeling up to par, or college isn’t turning out to be quite as happy as you expected, be sure to check out the university health service or counseling center.  You’ve already paid for them, too.

9.  Travel on their dime.  Wanna see the world?  Consider the study abroad program.  Many colleges have special scholarships or stipends to enable students to do research abroad or to take courses at “sister” universities.  This can be a wonderful opportunity to improve your language skills, to do research in countries where the materials to be studied actually exist, and to take courses at colleges where they actually specialize in what you’re interested in.

10.  Drop early.  Many students procrastinate about everything, including dropping a course they know they’re doing bad in and will never finish.  At schools at which you’re paying by the course (or credit hour), you’ll get a much bigger refund if you drop in an early week of the semester.  So bail, and save.

If you liked the tips in this article, you’ll love the 837 tips in the new book, The Secrets of College Success: Over 800 Tips, Techniques, and Strategies Revealed.  Write professors Lynn F Jacobs and Jeremy S Hyman with questions or blog ideas at jeremy@professorsguide.com.  And follow them on Twitter @professorsguide

This article was provided by Jeremy S Hyman, co-author of The Secrets of College Success: Over 800 Tips, Techniques, and Strategies Revealed, 2nd Edition, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on August 7th, 2013.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

© 2013 Professors’ Guide LLC.  All rights reserved. 

Community Support for Local Scholarships

aauwSince 1881, AAUW (formerly known as the American Association of University Women) has been the nation’s leading voice promoting education and equity for women and girls. We have a nationwide network of nearly 100,000 members, 1,000 branches, and 500 college/university institution partners.

AAUW’s voice makes a difference on critical women’s and civil rights issues — briefing policy-makers, spearheading coalitions, and impacting the world through international initiatives and partnerships. All women members of AAUW are also members of the International Federation of University Women.

The Morgan Hill Branch of AAUW was chartered in 1981 and has over 150 members. It is one of 165 branches in California.

Scholarships
AAUW-Morgan Hill’s highly successful Wildflower Run enables AAUW-Morgan Hill to generously support AAUW programs at the national, state, and local levels.  We would like to thank our sponsors and the Morgan Hill community for the support that you give our run, enabling us, in turn, to give back scholarships to our community.   AAUW Funds is a group of funds, managed by AAUW nationally, providing educational opportunities and equity for women and girls through research and support of fellowship and grants programs.

Tech Trek is an AAUW-California program that sends middle school girls to attend a summer math/science camp.  Morgan Hill is one of the most active branches in California in this program.  Each summer, we send seven girls from local public middle schools to a one-week camp at Stanford University.  We also have local branch members who participate as Tech Trek directors at the state and camp levels.

High School Scholarships.  AAUW-Morgan Hill annually awards three $1000 scholarships to young women graduating from local public high schools.

Community College Scholarships.  AAUW-Morgan Hill annually awards three $1000 scholarships to women currently attending a community college.

These scholarships help inspire many women to pursue higher education degrees, and provide unique opportunities. If you are interested in knowing more about AAUW, their website address is:  aauw.org.  Do look for a branch near you.

Source:  aauw-morganhill.org.

This post was provided by Peggy Martin, the CFO for the Morgan Hill Branch of the AAUW, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on August 24th, 2013.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

College Financial Planner: Why You Should Work With One

How much of your income & assets can you afford to use to pay for college?

Parents concerned about providing their children an opportunity to receive a quality college education without placing their own financial future at risk will greatly increase their odds of success by working with a professional college financial planner. Not to be confused with a traditional financial planner, a college planner is well-versed in helping families navigate their way through the college years without tripping the financial land mines that so many families trip on a routine basis, causing them to unnecessarily over-spend by tens of thousands of dollars.

College financial planners operate from a perspective of taking care of Mom and Dad’s finances first, ensuring that they are not going to over-spend nor over-obligate themselves to too many college loans. The last thing that Mom and Dad need as they get though the college years and start looking for the light at the end of the tunnel leading to retirement is a mountain of debt standing in their way. It’s a simple question but it’s very important that you determine the answer before you start planning for college: How much of your income and how many of your assets can you afford to use to pay for college?

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