Transitioning from college to a first job can be exciting yet daunting. As you leave your familiar routine of college life behind, you are probably eager about the possibilities that await you, yet you may be apprehensive about trying to adapt to a whole new environment. These emotions are common for recent grads. Just don’t become too overwhelmed by these feelings because your first year on the job is crucial to future success. The following tips will help you stay focused and allow you to make a smooth transition into your first year of work.
Learn the culture. The culture is the unspoken beliefs, customs, and attitudes of a company or organization. To learn the culture, pay attention to your surroundings. Is the management style strict or easy-going? What is the company reward system like? What kinds of employees earn promotions? In order to thrive during your first year, observe how the successful people in the company spend their time and try to emulate them. Organizations want employees who fit and embrace the culture.
Listen more than you talk. In order to make a positive impression on management, don’t come into the organization thinking that you already know everything. If you come into a new position and try to make big contributions before you learn about past actions, you will probably only embarrass yourself. Instead, come into your new position with a willingness to learn. This means mouth shut (except when asking questions) and ears open.
Seek feedback. Most organizations give employee reviews once a year. For new hires, they may give reviews at the three or six month mark. If you want to know how you are faring before your review, don’t be afraid to ask your manager and peers to comment on your performance and provide suggestions for improvement. This shows your manager that you are eager to do your job well.
Volunteer for projects. Perform at the level of the job you want, not the job you have. As you delve into your first year on the job, you want to show management that you have a strong work ethic and that you take initiative. Prove this by volunteering for projects that are outside of your daily tasks. Not only will you show your employer that you are a hard worker, but you will gain experience along the way.
Make your boss look good. If you help your boss succeed, then you will succeed. Keep the communication lines open between you and your boss. Show him/her that you are supportive and helpful. Become an indispensable employee. If you make your boss look good, he/she will remember when it’s time for promotions.
Avoid cliques. Be nice to everyone. Concentrate on performing your job well and try to avoid office politics.
Network. During your first year, meet as many people as you can and learn about their role within the company. These people will become helpful contacts as you continue your journey through the company.
Never stop learning. Just because you graduated from college doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Take advantage of classes that the organization may offer to help you grow professionally and personally.
Don’t expect too much too fast. Many recent grads want premium salaries and think they deserve to move up to managerial positions right away. Don’t expect a raise or a promotion during the first year. You have to pay your dues like everyone else. Concentrate on working hard during your first year to show your boss that you deserve a raise or promotion.
Leaving college life behind and moving into the professional world takes patience and a willingness to learn and adapt. As a recent graduate and a new hire, make sure you understand what it takes to successfully enter a new organization.
From researching possible employment positions to filling out applications, there is a variety of steps involved in obtaining a part-time job. As a high school student who is competing with other teens and adults in the job search, you must be prepared and put your best foot forward. Check out these top 10 job search tips for high school students.
Acquire working papers. In some states, minors must have employment certificates or permits in order to work. Check with the Department of Labor in your state to see if this is a requirement and for more information.
Clean up your social media pages. If you are active on social media, make sure that your pages represent someone who is responsible and hirable. Hiring managers can and do screen potential employees by observing their online presence. Delete any questionable pictures or text from your social media pages before you begin your job search.
Create a high school resume. A resume isn’t just for adults; high school students need a resume too. Providing hiring managers with your resume not only shows that you are serious about obtaining a job, but it also highlights your abilities, education, and experiences. Include your resume when submitting your application for employment.
Secure letters of recommendation or a list of references. Before you begin your job search, be sure to secure references. Ask your teachers, counselors, coaches, etc. if they will be your references or if they would be willing to write letters of recommendation for you. If they agree to be references, let them know that you will be starting the process of searching for a part-time job and that they may be receiving phone calls from hiring managers soon. If they agree to write letters of recommendation for you, provide them with materials they may need, such as a list of your accomplishments and experiences, your transcript, etc.
Utilize a variety of search methods. When searching for a job, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Be sure to use an assortment of resources including:
Apply for many jobs. Don’t just apply for a couple of part-time jobs and cross your fingers that you get one. Apply for as many jobs as possible to increase the likelihood of an offer.
Use a professional email address. When filling out job applications, be sure to use a professional email address. Using a cutesy or risqué email address will make you appear immature and prove that your attention to detail is lacking. Save the cutesy email address for personal use among your family and friends, and keep your professional email address simple and straightforward by using a variation of your first, middle, and last name.
Keep an open mind. Don’t limit yourself to a certain type of job. You may be set on finding a retail job but if you only apply to those types of jobs, you could be missing out on a great opportunity that you didn’t even realize existed.
Expect an instant interview. If you are filling out or dropping off a job application in person, always be prepared for an instant interview in case the hiring manager can meet with you right away. Dress appropriately and make sure you have practiced answering sample interview questions beforehand. Be sure to bring materials that the hiring manager may need, such as your driver’s license, Social Security card, resume, letter of recommendation, or a list of references.
Follow up. You should always follow up when searching for a job. If you meet with a hiring manager in person, be sure to send a thank you note to express your appreciation for the interview. If you submit an online application, you may call after 7-10 days to check on the status of your application.
For more information about working a part-time job as a high school student, check out Benefits of Working a Part-Time Job in High School and How to Balance High School and a Part-Time Job.
You’ve heard the old adage, “work smarter, not harder.” It may seem cliché, but applying this concept to your studies will make you a more productive student. Studying too hard and cramming the night before a test actually defeats the purpose. While making good grades is important, the main goal of your studying endeavors should be to learn and retain information. To do this, you must develop effective study skills and learning strategies. Here are ten ways to study smarter, not harder.
Utilize your syllabus for each class. Your teachers and professors give you syllabi for a reason: they want you to be aware of the work to expect so you can plan accordingly. As soon as you receive your syllabi at the start of each semester, make notes in your planner or app. Record paper and project due dates, exam dates, important instructions, etc. By planning ahead, you will give yourself more time to complete assignments and study for tests.
Take effective lecture notes. If you try to write or type verbatim on topics discussed during a lecture, you are working too hard. Take more effective notes by using abbreviations and symbols. Listen for signal words and phrases so you will know when key ideas are being introduced. These phrases may include:
Leave blank space in your notes so you can go back and fill in more information after the lecture is over. Try to organize and review your notes right after class while the information is still fresh on your mind. Doing so will help you better retain the information for future projects and exams.
Read to learn. If you are taking a full course load, completing reading assignments for each of those classes may seem overwhelming. Instead of reading every single word (which you aren’t going to remember anyway), you should read to learn. Scan chapter headings, introductions, and summaries. Highlight keywords and definitions. Search the text for the main points and take notes or write summaries about them.
Put the study content in your own words. As you are studying and reading course material, don’t just memorize the information. Your goal should be to be able to explain in your own words the main ideas and concepts of the content that you are studying. If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it well enough.
Create study tools. Create outlines, timelines, charts, graphs, and flashcards from your lecture notes and reading materials. As you create these study tools, you will probably find that writing or typing the content helps you memorize the information easier. Review these study tools on a regular basis when you have extra time between classes.
Test yourself. By testing yourself, you will become more actively involved in the learning process. This learning strategy will prepare you for exams because you will be retrieving reviewed course material from your memory. Use the study tools that you create to test yourself. Make up your own test questions. Practice writing essays and summaries for possible essay questions.
Participate in study groups. If you are the type of student who learns better when discussing topics, then start a study group. Discussing course content with other students should help clarify information, as well as, solidify the info in your brain for easy recollection.
Use technology. If you are tech savvy, you should find that utilizing apps and other technology will allow you to study smarter. There are a multitude of apps for making studying easier. Here are just a few examples:
Avoid marathon study sessions. Studies suggest that students learn better when they study smaller amounts of information over longer periods of time. You should be reviewing your study content in short and frequent sessions. Don’t wait until the night before an exam to start cramming all the material into a six-hour study session; the night before should be saved for reviewing only.
Meet with your teacher or professor. If you come across a concept during your studies that you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher or professor for clarification. If he or she doesn’t have time to meet with you after class, set up an appointment to discuss the topic at hand.
Why study so hard when studying smarter requires much less effort? Modify your routine to include these strategies in order to be more productive in your studies and schoolwork.
Confronting your college professor may seem intimidating, but if you are unhappy with a grade or experiencing other problems with your professor then it’s time to set up an appointment to discuss your issues. Be sure to utilize these tips for politely confronting your college professor.
Visit your professor during office hours or a scheduled appointment. You probably aren’t going to get very far if you try to talk to your professor immediately before or after class. Your professor has a busy schedule, and he needs to stick to it. Instead, drop by to see him during his regular office hours or send him an email to request an appointment. Your professor will be able to devote more attention to the issues you wish to discuss if you confront him at the appropriate time.
Go to the meeting fully prepared. If you need to talk to your professor about your grades, be sure to take all your graded papers, tests, etc. with you. Make a list of the items you would like to discuss or any questions you may have.
Be polite. Remember: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. You can’t yell and curse at your professor and then expect him to help you. To effectively confront your professor, you have to be polite. Use kind words to explain your situation and be aware of your tone of voice and body language.
Listen. Once you have kindly addressed the issues you are having with the professor, let him talk. Listen to why he gave you the grade that he did. Or why he doesn’t give make-up exams. Try to gain a clear understanding of his stated reasons. Once the two of you understand each other, you can work together to come up with a solution.
Be prepared to do work. If you are confronting your professor about a grade, he probably isn’t going to immediately change your grade (unless it was a grading mistake on his part). Instead, he’ll probably offer suggestions for improvement or offer extra credit options. Let your professor know that you are willing to put forth the extra effort required. If you are convinced that the work you already submitted deserves a better grade, your professor may be open to the idea of getting feedback from another professor. Just be ready to improve upon your work if your professor’s colleague agrees with the grade already given.
Most professors are willing to work with you on grades and classroom problems as long as you are genuinely interested in learning and doing well in class. However, if you leave a meeting with your professor with no resolution, you may want to speak with your professor’s department chair. While department chairs are extremely reluctant to change grades since professors have considerable freedom in the classroom, he/she may be able to intervene if you strongly believe that you are being treated unfairly by your professor.
Because the campus visit is so crucial to choosing a college, you should try to visit the schools on your list before applications are due so that you will have some knowledge about your options. (If you wait until you have already been accepted to make the visits, you may find that you are not satisfied with your options.)
Once those college acceptance letters start coming in, you have a big decision to make: which college should you choose? If you have trouble making that decision, you may need to revisit your top schools of interest. Here’s what you should do when visiting campuses post-acceptance.
Weigh the pros and cons. Weighing the pros and cons of each school will help you make a decision. Since you have already been accepted to the schools, you really need to pay attention to the details you might have missed during your first visit. Making a list for each school will help you keep details organized. Compare and contrast the following for each school that you revisit:
Stay the night. Since you may not have had time to stay overnight at all the schools on your pre-acceptance list, now is a good time to make those overnight visits. You can’t really know whether or not a school is for you until you spend the night on campus. You need to know what it’s like to stay in a dorm. Do you like the dorm rooms? What about the bathrooms? You also need to know what the campus is like at night. Do you feel safe walking on campus after dark? How many students are out and about? What is the social scene like at night? Overnight visits are a fun way to get an inside perspective from current students too. If the school is in session during your visit, walk around your dorm during the evening and ask the students any questions you may have.
Decide where you feel most comfortable. When you revisit the schools, which one just feels right? It may not be the most prestigious or the most expensive, but that’s okay. If you aren’t comfortable at the school, chances are you won’t stay. Choose the one that has the academic and extracurricular programs that you want and the one where you feel at ease.
Visiting colleges post-acceptance is a little different than visiting pre-acceptance. During the first visits, you don’t know for sure where you will be accepted, so you are just gathering information about different colleges that interest you. During the post-acceptance visits, you know that you can attend the schools, so you are trying to pick the one that accommodates your needs the best. For more information about campus visits, read Making the Most of the Campus Visit.
In college, you don’t have much disposable income, so it’s imperative that you find ways to reduce your outgoing expenses. The average student will waste thousands of dollars during college. Are you making these money-wasting mistakes?
1. Buying new textbooks. Brand new textbooks cost a fortune. Don’t make this rookie mistake. Instead, save money by buying used, renting, sharing with a friend, or going digital. You’ll save hundreds of dollars over the semesters.
2. Eating out too often. Fifteen bucks for a pizza. Eight bucks for Chinese takeout. Two dollars at the vending machine. It all adds up pretty quickly and before you know it, you’ve spent $200 in one month just on fast food. Stop wasting your money on eating out too often. If you have a meal plan, eat most of your meals on campus. If you don’t have a meal plan, start cooking your meals at home. Stop the visits to the vending machines and buy your snacks at the grocery store.
3. Not using resources on campus. Most colleges have mandatory fees beyond the basic cost of tuition. These fees, such as campus center fees, health service fees, technology fees, etc., provide a complete range of student services that support the academic environment. Since you are already paying for these services, make sure that you utilize them. Use the campus fitness center instead of paying for a membership at an off-site gym. When you are sick, be sure to visit the health services center on campus instead of paying a co-pay for a visit to a private physician’s office. Having computer issues? Visit the technology service center on campus for assistance with hardware and software instead of taking your computer to an off-site computer repair shop. Research any other mandatory fees at your college and be sure to use the services as not to waste further money.
4. Skipping classes. How many times have you skipped college classes (or plan on skipping once you enroll)? You do realize that is your money (or your parents’ money) going down the drain, right? Why even bother going to college at all if you aren’t going to put forth the effort to attend classes and soak up as much information as possible? Stop being lazy and go to class! You are paying for it after all.
5. Withdrawing from classes after the drop date. The drop deadline for full-time courses is typically two weeks following the course start date (although this will vary among schools). This should give you ample time to know if you want to stay enrolled in the class. If you stop attending the class and fail to drop within the refund deadline, you will forfeit a portion of the money you spent on tuition. Don’t waste this money by making sure you drop any unwanted classes by the refund deadline.
6. Failing classes. If you skip classes and choose not to study for them, chances are pretty high that you will fail some courses during your college career. This is a complete waste of money because not only will you not have a chance for a refund (as you do if you withdraw before drop date mentioned above) but if the course is required for your major, then you will have to take the class again. And pay for it again. If you find that you are having trouble in a course, consider getting a tutor.
7. Overspending on dorm décor. Of course you want to make your home away from home cozy, comfortable, and stylish, but that doesn’t mean that you need to spend big bucks on your décor. Stay away from expensive stores and opt for furnishings from Walmart, Amazon, or Dormco.
8. Using credit cards. On average, college students rack up $3,000 to $5,000 in credit card bills by the time they graduate. Add interest payments to those figures, and you’re looking at a whole lot of money wasted. Stop using your credit card(s) for items you don’t need; use it for emergency circumstances only. Get in the habit of shopping with cash only. Check out more tips for avoiding credit card woes.
9. Visiting expensive spring break destinations. Who said spring break destinations had to be at some faraway, tropical location? Go against the norm and stop wasting money (that you probably don’t have) on a trip to Cancun. Once you graduate and obtain a full-time job with a decent salary, you will have plenty of time to enjoy a tropical vacation. For now, opt for cheaper spring break destinations, like going on a camping trip with friends, going home to visit your family, or staying in your city to do volunteer work for your community.
10. Missing out on student deals. Stop wasting money paying full price and break out your student ID. From deals on computers to deals on travel, college students have it made when it comes to discounts. When you need to make a purchase, do a little research to see if you can get a discount with your student ID; you could save quite a bit of money over your four years of college. As a college student, you are also eligible for the Student Advantage Discount Card and Amazon Student, both of which could save you money throughout college.
Remember that a penny saved is a penny earned. Stop making these money-wasting mistakes. Your bank account will thank you.
In March 2014, College Board announced that a redesigned SAT will be available beginning spring 2016. According to the president of the College Board, these changes stem from standardized tests having become “far too disconnected from the work of our high schools.” The new SAT will more closely reflect the real work of school and career. Here is an overview of the key changes for the redesigned 2016 SAT.
While the current SAT is only offered in print, the redesigned SAT will be offered in print and in digital format (at selected locations). In addition, the layout of the redesigned exam will feature questions that emphasize in-depth analysis of content instead of focusing on broad range topics and content.
The Essay, which has been required since 2005, will become optional on the redesigned SAT (although some school districts and colleges will still require it). Currently, on the required Essay, students have 25 minutes to write a persuasive essay in response to a prompt, and the accuracy of the information is not tested. With the new optional Essay, students will have 50 minutes to read a passage and analyze the ways its author used evidence, reasoning, and stylistic elements to build an argument. The accuracy of the information on the optional Essay will be tested.
Instead of focusing on a wide variety of math topics, the 2016 SAT will focus on three areas:
The test will sample from additional topics in math, but it will keep a strong focus on these three areas listed.
Another change to the Math segment involves the use of calculators. Differing from the current policy where calculator use is permitted for all math sections, the redesigned SAT will no longer permit calculators for every section.
Reading and Writing
The Critical Reading section and the Writing section on the current SAT will be combined into the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section on the redesigned SAT. The current Critical Reading section has two question types: sentence completion and passage-based questions. The new Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section will no longer feature sentence completions. Instead, this new section will focus on:
For the 2016 SAT, the guessing penalty, in which points are deducted for incorrect answers, will be eliminated. Furthermore, the exam will once again be scored on a 1600-point scale, instead of the current 2400-point scale. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section and the Math section will each be scored on an 800-point scale. The Essay section will receive a separate score.
Students are given 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the current SAT. College Board predicts that the length of the redesigned SAT will be about three hours, with an additional 50 minutes for the Essay section; however, precise timing will not be finalized until further research is completed.
College Board is partnering with Khan Academy to provide students with free test preparation materials for the redesigned SAT. This test prep material should be ready to launch in spring 2015. Please visit collegeboard.org for further information regarding the 2016 SAT redesign, as they will continue to provide updates until the changes take effect.
While taking college courses during the summer months doesn’t sound like an ideal break, at least it will get you closer to graduation. If you need financial aid for the summer semester, make sure you:
1. Have filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can fill out the FAFSA for free at fafsa.ed.gov. (Don’t forget to register for a PIN number in order to file the FAFSA online.) Be sure to select the correct school year for which you are applying for financial aid. Because the FAFSA is on an academic schedule from July 1, 20XX to June 30, 20XX, you will need to check with your school to verify which school year application you should complete for the summer session(s). For most schools, student aid eligibility for the summer will follow the academic year; however, at some schools, the academic year begins with the summer semester.
2. Contact your school’s financial aid office to see if you need to fill out another form just for summer semester, such as a Summer Intent Form or a Summer Financial Aid Application.
3. Find out the deadline by which you should have all forms turned into your school’s financial aid department. The later you submit your FAFSA and/or summer application, the later your funds will be available. For most schools, if you file a late FAFSA application, you will be expected to pay your own expenses and wait until your funds arrive to be reimbursed.
4. Talk with a financial aid administrator at your school to see what types of financial aid are available for the summer. Grant funding is usually limited, and some schools do not even offer university grants during the summer semester. Federal Work-Study availabilty for the summer will also vary among schools.
5. Find out how many credit hours you must take during the summer in order to qualify for financial aid. Most schools require that you be enrolled at least half time in order to be eligible for summer financial aid.
If you drop hours or do not initiate course participation at any time during the summer semester, your aid may be adjusted and you may receive a bill, so be sure to notify the financial aid office if you decide to cancel your summer aid application. If you have any specific questions pertaining to financial aid awards for the summer semester, please contact the financial aid office at your school.
Prom is an event that many students look forward to years before they can actually attend. It is a time to dress up, hang out with friends, and dance the night away. Here are some tips to make prom night as fun as possible.
Choose your date wisely. Whether you go with your current boyfriend or girlfriend, someone you are crushing on, or just a friend, make sure you pick someone with whom you are comfortable and with whom you can have fun. You don’t want to be so nervous around your prom date that you can’t have a good time.
Plan ahead. Order flowers and make dinner/limo reservations in advance. If you wait until the last minute, you may not get to eat at that swanky restaurant or ride in that massive limo.
Rest before the big night. Having fun on prom night takes a lot of energy. With all the dancing you will be doing, you need to make sure that you get a good night’s sleep before prom and maybe even take a nap the day of prom. If you talked your parents into extending curfew on prom night, you will need all the sleep you can get beforehand.
Eat. With all the preparation that goes along with the prom, you could be so busy that you forget to eat. Try not to be so preoccupied with washing your car or styling your hair that you forget to nourish yourself. Eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you will have enough energy to enjoy yourself at the dance.
Take pictures. While this may not be the most fun part of the night, at least it will make your mom happy. Organize a place for all your friends to meet before prom so you can take group pictures. Hopefully, you will want to remember this night forever so try to take pictures throughout the night as well.
Dance. Don’t be a wall flower on prom night. Get up and dance! If you aren’t into your date enough to slow dance, don’t let that stop you from having fun. Pull your friends onto the floor and dance in a circle.
Hang out with your friends. Make post-prom plans with your friends. Find out if anyone is having an after-prom party complete with sodas, snacks, and music. Or see if your friends want to join you and your date for a round of miniature golf or a game of bowling. Some schools even coordinate post-prom activities so students can have a safe place to continue enjoying the night.
Keep it safe. Don’t do anything you will regret, such as drink and drive. You want your prom to be a night to remember, not a night to forget.
Prom night is a time to create lasting memories with your classmates. Try not to stress out too much about your dress, tux, hair, car, etc. and just have fun!