5 Things to Consider When Choosing the Best College For You

Selecting a suitable college for graduation is a stressful activity for many students and their families. Since each student is different in terms of his or her career goals, learning ability and environment, the concept of “right college” differs from scholar to scholar.

What compounds the problem is that university ranking metrics are not always accurate or reliable. Applying to college may be confusing amid the information overload collectively created by every institution that claims to be the best. The tussle between value and cost of education is taxing for every aspiring graduate.

However, there are a few parameters that can help a student in selecting a college that fulfils their career aspirations without being burdened by lifelong debts.

1. Academic environment and infrastructure

Each department in a college performs differently. A college that is prestigious for its law faculty may or may not have a great environment for liberal arts.

If many students are dropping out or unable to complete the course in the department that you are eyeing, then you may be facing a red flag. Speak to current students and find out how much their mentors are engaging with them.

Also, try to get information about teaching style. If it is just lecture, there may not be much learning to do.

2. Student Loans

Next to buying a home, getting a college education is the second biggest expense for an individual in the United States. It is highly recommended that you work out your financial position and calculate your possible debt. A loan may shadow your spending decisions for the rest of your life.

It is advisable to pick a college that offers both quality education and financial freedom, instead of one that offers a prestigious degree but traps you into financial burden for life.

3. Extra Curriculars

Research suggest that an individual is more likely to do well in college and life if he/she is deeply involved in an extra-curricular activity while pursuing graduation. Take time out to find out how active are the college’s activity clubs that you may be interested in.

Relying on the internet alone may not be a good idea to explore the quality of co-curricular activities in a college. Make sure you visit the campus and look around.

4. Career assistance facilities

Your college should have a thriving career services cell that offers career advise, learning opportunities matching student needs and most importantly, access to structured internship and on-the-job training programmes. These facilities should also offer the student a chance to secure financial aid and scholarships to ease the burden of student loans.

5. Alumni Network

It is recommended that prospective students get in touch with the alumni network of a college to get a realistic picture about what may await them in the institution. Social media sites like LinkedIn have already made it easier for potential scholars to learn about alumni network and resources. This method is not only valuable to get information about the college but also a smart way to network with people who may be your reporting managers after placements.

An Introduction to SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a structured planning method that evaluates four elements (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of an organization, project, or individual. SWOT Analysis is a simple but useful framework for analysing your organization’s strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats that you face. It helps you focus on your strengths, minimize threats, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.

There are several ways that SWOT can be used. It can be used to begin strategy formulation, or in a more complex way as a strategy tool. You can also use it to get an understanding of your competitors, which can give you the insights required to create a coherent and successful competitive position.

Strengths

When doing a SWOT analysis, you should only include strengths that your business or yourself possess. Strengths should be competitive advantages uniquely owned by you. A business owner may think about brand equity that sets them apart in the industry, what does it stand for and how their brand engages with their customers.

Weaknesses

This is where you identify weaknesses that you or your business uniquely faces, and focus on the factors that could be a barrier from being competitive. Business owners may consider if their brand stands out in the market and if their customers understand their brand.

Opportunities

Opportunities are ways where you can think through the various ways you can expand your personal or business brand because those opportunities will likely impact your business.

Threats

This is where you should consider the potential threats to your brand or business. As you consider your analysis, be open to the possibilities that exist within a weakness or threat. Recognize that an opportunity can become a threat if everyone else sees the opportunity and plans to take advantage of it as well, thereby increasing your competition.

Better understanding the factors affecting your focus area can put you in a better position for action. This understanding helps as you identify the issues or problems you intend to change, set or reaffirm goals, and create an action plan.

How do you perform a SWOT analysis?

  1. Determine your objective. This is what you want the focus or outcome of this analysis to be.
  2. The best way to plan is visually, and a grid is the most appropriate solution for a SWOT analysis. Draw a large square and then divide it into four smaller squares, labelled “Strengths” inside the top left box, “Weaknesses” inside the top right box, “Opportunities” within the bottom left box, and “Threats” inside the bottom right box.
  3. Brainstorm your strengths and weaknesses. Add factors that affect the objective/focus to the applicable areas. SWOT analyses can be either quantitative or qualitative in nature.
  4. Draw conclusions by analysing the finished SWOT diagram. The outcome of the analysis should help drive your strategic decisions.

Teaching Effectively with the Use of Educational Games

Educational games are one way to create a fun learning environment for students which encourages them to interact and learn more. Such games have certain characteristics that are similar to that of any good lesson plan. They are based on achieving certain objectives, they give the students certain motivation, and they always result in an assessment of some sort.

The most common games used by teachers in the learning process are:

  • Card games
  • Board games
  • Role-playing games
  • Trivia games
  • Relay races
  • Bingo
  • Puzzles
  • Quiz ‘bowls’

Schools that use games as part of the educational process have seen some advantages including being able to foster cooperative competition among students. The score keeping aspect and winning conditions motivate all the students who participate and also provide a good opportunity to assess their performance. At the same time, it makes them cooperate with each other despite the competition. It could be the good fundament for being cool essay writer.

Educational games have also been an avenue for students to gain intrinsic motivation. As opposed to simply doing something because they were instructed to do so, participating in a game gives a student a worthy challenge, which when coupled with the curiosity, fantasy and control serves as motivation. While playing games, students have motivation from within themselves.

Finally, unlike other educative tools which offer later rewards, games offer immediate rewards. Students can win and receive point as well as feedback immediately the game is finished. For some students, this may feel more real than expecting a reward in the future for present academic performance.

At the same time, some teachers are reluctant to use games as an educative tool. This is because:

  • They may not be able to choose an appropriate game for the whole class
  • They are not sure how students will handle the competitive aspect of the game
  • There may be students with learning disabilities who cannot participate
  • There could be a common trend of the same students winning each time
  • Students may fear public humiliation and do not want to participate
  • In games that involve timing, students may rush to finish as opposed to taking the time to understand the game.

To make games more useful as instructional tools, some considerations need to be made by any teacher who is willing to adopt this method.

They should focus on learning as opposed to winning to ensure the student is educated and not just entertained. The teacher, therefore, has to make sure that learning something earns the competitors a few points. In addition to this, teams should be assigned on a random basis each time to avoid bias and prevent incidents of cheating. Where students may not be able to handle competition, the teacher should have them compete not against each other but a given standard. Finally, to avoid cases where a student is embarrassed the teacher should announce only the high scores without emphasizing on the ones that failed.

In this way, games can be not only a source of fun but also a learning experience.

The Increase in Students’ Use of Online Essay Writing Services

 

Increasingly, university students are using online service providers to complete their assignments. Students who pay for essay writing services are not only in breach of university plagiarism regulations, but may also face charges including fraudulent conduct.

A recent private investigation revealed that essay writing services offered by MyMaster, a Chinese website, represent only the tip of the iceberg. David Caruso of the University of Adelaide says students who engage the services of the likes of MyMaster may fall foul of laws in relations to dishonesty and deception. Students are evidently engaging in something that can be described as misleading and, if caught, jeopardise their relationship with their university. Such conduct is much more substantial that mere essay help. Offences of fraud and forgery both carry heavy penalties in most jurisdictions.

Despite the fact that businesses such as MyMaster are facilitating large-scale academic misconduct, fraud and cheating, the authorities have limited scope to shut down their operations. The balance between consumer and competition protection and fraud grossly inhibit the authorities’ ability to take action.

Universities are also limited in scope with respect to their ability to bring an action in fraud against businesses such as MyMaster. This is chiefly because their is no direct relationship between a university and an essay writing service. Whilst these business are facilitating academic misconduct and potentially fraud, they themselves aren’t doing anything wrong. These business are often upfront about the services that they provide and it is the students who are technically solely responsible. Faced with an accusation of fraud or other illegal activity, MyMaster is likely to claim that they have done nothing wrong.

In addition to the legal consequences, students may also expose themselves to the wrath of a university, armed with its academic conduct protocols and plagiarism detection technology. Many universities have imposed severe penalties against students who have be proven to have engaged the services of ‘ghost writing’ businesses.

Several higher education watchdogs and government agencies have started to investigate allegations that students are engaging the services of online businesses to write assignments. Bizarrely, alongside advertisements for services such as cleaning and carpentry, now lies advertisements for made to order essays. Many writers are setting out pricing schedules based on word limits and indiscriminately enabling students to pay their way through higher education assessments. Writers experienced in topics ranging from science literature reviews to commerce and health industry diplomas are able to be found easily on the internet.

This is something that is very disturbing for society as a whole. Nobody would want to visit a doctor who had paid their way through their degree. The Australian Skills Quality Authority have said that they are aware of the issue. The nature of the internet is such that this problem is likely to continue to grow and, from a legal perspective, their is little the authorities or academic institutions can do to remedy it.

Top 5 Skills Syracuse Students Can Learn to Boost Their Resumes

What do the employers look for in a potential CV? Certainly they would check your college/university grades and valid certifications in respect to their trade. But then, they would also look for certain skills that could establish you as a productive and reliable candidate for their business operations. These skills are applicable regardless of the position you are applying for. A candidate’s potential is not only gauged by the marks he scored during his college exams. The employers would also try to find out how he would fare as a “performer” or “leader” or “negotiator” or “team worker” and so on.

So, what are the top skills your prospective employers will wish to see in you? Read below to know more.

Communication skills

Regardless of your industry & job designation, you would need to articulate your thoughts, ideas and opinions in the most conceivable manner. Thus, employers highly value candidates with excellent communication skills. It includes verbal & written communication as well as listening skills. Employers will check how clear & concise you can be with your points before an audience.

Leadership skills

Hiring managers often tend to look for potential managers or team leaders while hiring & training fresh grads. The attributes that would be leverage your position here are- ability to motivate co-workers, assignment & delegation of tasks, organizational skills, balanced equation with team members and so on. Leadership skills are a big thing in heightening your prospects of promotion.

Bilingual/multilingual skills

Language skills are one of the most important skills to ensure a high competitive edge to your CV. People who are fluent in more than one language can cater to a wider group of people in various markets. Ambitious entrepreneurs usually have plans to foray in international markets and hence look for bilingual or multilingual employees. Moreover, grads acquainted in more than one language are also considered to be more intelligent compared to those only limited to mother tongue. Research has shown that bilingual folks have more grey matter and better cognitive abilities. Among the different foreign languages Spanish is the most highly valued language by US employers, you would get audio programs today enacted by native Spanish speakers to help you with in authentic learning of the language.

Ability to work in a team

Employees would often need to work in a team to complete a project. Now, no two people are same and they are likely to have differences while working together. But a true team worker knows how to get the work done with due respect to the unique temperament and attitude of each team member. The attributes that are most treasured here are- ability to collaborate, cooperate, conflict management, acknowledge the work of other members, flexibility etc.

Negotiation & persuasion

You will encounter different types of people in your career and most of them won’t share your specific thoughts or temperament. There would be stubborn clients, finicky managers, oversmart coworkers and many more. But when you have decided to get on the field, you must make sure to get the job done. It will require smart negotiation & persuasion skills on your part which will compel others to agree to your ideas.

Finally, employers also expect a positive approach and confident attitude from their employees.

Dos and Don’ts of Paper Writing Every Undergrad Should Know

Research papers are a mandatory aspect of all college coursework – and most importantly, they carry big grades. Therefore, you should always be careful while preparing and presenting your paper to your professor. Mistakes are not uncommon if this is your first brush with an academic paper. Writing a paper is a tough job and new undergrads are often clueless on where and how to proceed. But don’t sweat, the post below offers a guide on the dos and don’ts of writing a research paper that every Syracuse undergrad should know.

THE DO’S

Choose a focused topic

The topic you choose plays a major role in determining how you are going to fare with your paper. Choose a topic that is focused and compact. For example, if you want to work on religion, it’s better that you settle with a specific religion rather than World Religion in general. Moreover, make sure you are personally enthusiastic about the topic.

Divide and organize your work

Writing a paper is an elaborate journey and you will get lost midway if you don’t follow a structured routine. Students generally get 3 months to complete a research paper. You should allot the first 1 and half month in deciding the topic, carrying research and gathering the literary sources. The remaining time can be used for writing the paper.

Prepare an outline

After you are done with the research and have collected all literary sources, it’s time to write the paper. Start with an overall outline on the whole paper. Think about your thesis statement. This is the main idea behind your entire paper in one sentence. Then, chalk out the table of contents. Summarize what you will write for the introduction. The thesis statement should go in the “introduction” part. Later, jot down the points you will highlight in the paper body. Note down the case studies you will include in your presentation. Finally, write a brief conclusion, which you will expand on in the final paper.

Get professional help

If you are lagging behind the deadline, a common ailment is to get professional writing help. Seasoned, professional writers know a thing or two about research and paper writing, so they can guide you to complete your paper.

THE DON’TS

Choosing a broad topic

You only get 3 months to write your paper. In such a brief time, it’s almost impossible to cover a topic with a wider scope.

Adding new data in the conclusion

This is another mistake you should be careful about while writing a paper. Do not add new data in your conclusion that you have not discussed in the paper body. Remember, your conclusion is the summarization of everything you have talked about throughout the paper. Thus, adding new data will make no sense and would only confuse the reader.

Forgetting citations

You have to be clear about what sources you use in your facts and arguments. Your professor wants to see the proof or validity behind the statements in your paper. So, don’t exclude citations. Also, ensure you place citations on those particular pages where you have stated the respective facts or points.

Plagiarism

Your paper should be 100% original. You can definitely consult sources but don’t ever include excerpts from some book or article that are uncited. If you include them, specify them as excerpts and also provide the corresponding source citations.

Writing a paper is something that every undergrad has to do. It’s not an overly big challenge as long as you ensure that you’re organized, smart and sincere.