Tag: education

5 Degrees that Pay Off

When considering where to go to college and what to study, you need to consider your end goal. What career do you want to end up in? Is money an important thing for you? Figuring out how to balance your interests with a livable wage is one of the biggest things to think about when deciding what course of study you want to take in college. Here are a few options that pay well that you may not have considered.

Computer Science

If you enjoy working with computers and easily learn new programs and applications, you should consider a degree in computer science. In general, this field is associated with computers and computational systems, but you also have the option of specializing in areas such as programming, digital system design, or artificial intelligence. This type of degree is also considered the first step toward a career in software development. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the demand for software developers will increase by over 20 percent by the end of 2022.

Accounting

If you enjoy solving complex problems, crunching numbers, and doing general math, you will find a virtually limitless number of career options after obtaining your accounting degree. Since there is always a high demand for accountants in essentially all fields, from retail stores to law firms, you will always be able to earn a lucrative income. Additionally, if you continue your education in the future, you can secure a job as a financial analyst or adviser. If you have a good aptitude for math, it is almost impossible to go wrong with such a degree. Because this degree goes hand in hand with business, it also offers the opportunity to branch out from the accounting field. Many of today’s executives began as accountants before they were promoted to their current position.

Petroleum Engineering

Engineering has always been a high-paying field, but you can expect to do particularly well if you obtain a degree in petroleum engineering. Engineers in this field design and develop methods for extracting natural gas and oil from beneath the Earth’s surface. This work is highly scientific and usually requires an in-depth understanding of geology, physics, mathematics, and chemistry. The BLS anticipates a 26 percent growth in the demand for petroleum engineers through 2022. This growth rate is significantly higher than the average growth rate for other occupations.

Information Technology

Although it is somewhat similar to computer science, information technology focuses specifically on how data is stored and transmitted within a computer system. Those with a degree in information technology often secure jobs as IT managers, business intelligence specialists, or web application developers, all of which are found at the highest end of the computer field pay scale.

Nursing

Qualified workers are always needed in the healthcare field, and the demand for nursing assistants and registered nurses is expected to continue increasing for the next several years. Depending on the kind of work in which you are interested, it may be possible to break into the field of nursing with an associate’s degree. However, keep in mind that the higher your education, the more earning potential you will have in this field. Although a nursing assistant with an associate’s degree only makes approximately $25,000 annually, it is a good stepping stone job to hold as you are completing your bachelor’s degree, at which point you can become a registered nurse.

The career path you select should reflect your passions and interests, but it is certainly a good idea to choose one that also brings you financial security. Ultimately, choosing your career path with care improves your odds of securing a good position with a lucrative salary.

How Can I Understand Politics? Tips for Teens

Today’s political landscape is combative, to say the least. Members of all political parties, all tout their opinions and solutions as definitive and deliberately speak out against those of other politicians and individuals. Those same political parties also fight amongst themselves about major issues. This has created a political atmosphere of confusion and finger-pointing, which can make it very difficult to understand what is actually going on.

Advocating your political position is commendable enough, but this very process of advocating is what makes understanding politics nearly impossible for many teens. Moreover, there are more ways than ever before for teens to invest their time today, and partially because of the mentioned overwhelming nature of politics, it’s common for young adults to turn their attention elsewhere to something they do understand or to just parrot the beliefs of the parents or friends.

But that’s not to say that learning about politics is impossible for teens who wish to do so—or even for those who think they might like to know a little bit more about the functions of government. Let’s take a look at some tips that are sure to make the process as easy and straightforward as possible!

 

Review the Basics

The loudest and most vocal political advocates—those who let everyone else know how they feel—usually focus on the hot-button topics, the things that are most likely to rile others up and provoke an argument or emotional reaction. But that isn’t where you need to start if you want to understand how things work.

The best way to figure out what is going on is to figure out how everything works. Do you know how our government functions? Do you understand the different branches of the government and what the responsibilities of each of them are? Do you know what the different levels of government are? If you can’t answer yes to these questions, it might be a good idea to start there before you move on to the current issues.

Start with Local Level Politics

The intensity of today’s presidential and congressional elections is certainly interesting, but it isn’t indicative of everything that is occurring politically, especially what is happening at the local and state levels. If you feel overwhelmed by the national level politics, it is okay to start small. By following local level politics, you can develop your understanding of how politicians respond to issues and challenges, as well as how they campaign generally.

Moreover, studying local level politics is also important in that it provides instantaneous and irrefutable feedback as to how effective (or ineffective) a politician’s particular maneuver is; this feedback comes in the form of responses from the local populace. When keeping up with local politics, it is also important to keep up with the local political news. This can give your experience understanding how politics is reported and how to form your own opinions, instead of relying on your parents.

Remember that Nothing is Black and White

Politicians on both sides of the aisle like to speak dramatically and take powerful stances on issues, but the reality is that nothing is definite in politics; the same thing is true for opinions issued by non-politicians. Grand gestures, responses to the latest problems, and more can change in no time at all, and to be sure, these things are likely to change over a multiyear period. Take every political statement and opinion with a grain of salt.

5 Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt

Let’s have a moment of real talk real quick. Student debt is absolutely crippling young people in this country. Up-and-coming members of the workforce suffer from massive amounts of debt that will keep them from truly relaxing for decades upon graduation—constantly struggling and worrying about making that next payment. What’s worse – while a chapter 13 can help you avoid a foreclosure or repossession (Want A Fresh Start, LLC), student loans are not bankruptible. They’re not going away.

We’ve compiled the best strategies for avoiding debt—you know debt, it’s the kind of crippling thing that makes a grown man cry himself to sleep every night.

1- Look for Alternative Education Options

The easiest and most effective way to avoid debt, at least of the student loan variety, is to just not go to college in the first place. I went to college, so maybe that’s why I’m a little bit jaded. So let me preface this by saying – I believe in the importance of education! Education is the single most important investment you can make in yourself. However, it is simply not the case that a 4-year degree from a liberal arts university is the only or even the best kind of education for you.

If you’re going to spend money on educating yourself, the education MUST come with useful, marketable skills in the workplace. If you’re passionate about history, philosophy, or lesbian dance theory – I’m very happy for you. A library card is free. Unless you know almost for certain what you want to do as a career, then college may just be a waste of time and money if you’re going just to go, and have no real sense of direction as to what to do with your degree once you actually graduate with mountains of debt and no job prospects (CBS News).

When deciding between a trade school, a traditional university degree, or self-teaching the skills you need, it’s important to follow the opportunities, rather than your passions. Passion is definitely an asset, but it’s entirely possible there is no marketplace value for the thing you are passionate about. Look at the unemployment statistics, growth prospects, and average earnings for each degree, certificate, or program. Research the jobs you think you want to train yourself for. You don’t need to do something you hate, but you need to have a realistic understanding of the opportunities available. Chances are high that the avenue you pursue doesn’t require a PHD in lesbian dance theory.

2- Scholarships

I didn’t apply for scholarships, and boy, what a regret that was. Perhaps if I had been a more diligent student, then maybe I would have looked at all of the dozens of scholarships my university offered, not to mention the several that the state offered in part of its education funding. Sure, I got by with my Pell grants and federal loans, but dang, I wish I could go back and apply for any of the literally hundreds of scholarships available to pretty much every single person who goes to school because there are one easy way to avoid debt.

3- Fellowship Aids

These are almost the same thing as grants and scholarships, but mostly come from the universities themselves. I know that the MFA and MBA programs that my university offered supported students by providing grants to all students enrolled to help stipend their tuition costs. Every school is different, so the one you may want to go to might not offer any fellowship grants to its students, so it might be wise to look into schools that do to avoid serious debt.

4- Student Teaching and Interning

Being provided with your own class and canvas to teach is perhaps one of the best ways for education students to step into the role of the master and begin to hone their craft of teaching. That, and it also helps that most universities offer teaching positions for most of their graduate students as a way to help pay for their tuition, pay for their books, and provides stipends for them to live on while they go to school and immerse themselves in whatever they’re majoring in. Similar programs exist for other professional degrees like healthcare, where you can sign up to work for a specific hospital or clinic for a number of years, and in return they furnish partial or whole tuition reimbursement.

5- Work Your Ass Off

Somehow in our culture we’ve become allergic to work – especially college students. Some young people think they are owed a “college experience” – which pretty much means getting wasted six nights a week at a frat party and waking up in the tub of an unattractive stranger. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. The truth is, students who work at least 20 hours a week actually see a slight bump in GPA, and typically report higher levels of satisfaction with their educational experience despite higher levels of stress (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Besides that, having some work experience under your belt when you graduate will have a more significant impact on your job placement than your GPA.

So there you have it. Some pretty self-explanatory options, but all almost certain ways to help you avoid going in debt to go to college.

Six Study Tips to Ace Your Next ACT

If you are planning on taking the ACT (American College Testing) for your college entrance, you’ll want to be ready ahead of time rather than going into the testing blind. Knowing the sections of the test and what is expected is important for college admission, and having a jump start is always a good idea when going from high school to college. Taking the ACT is one way to prepare for the changes that occur with higher education.

This test is divided into four mandatory sections with multiple choice questions, which include English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science tests. Also included is an optional Writing section for a total of five different sections. With these test subdivisions, it is fairly easy to structure study sessions that incorporate each area, as breakdowns for each test are given through study tips for acing the ACT. Here are six that should help.

Start Sooner than Later

Test preparation takes time and a three to six month period for study should be sufficient for most students. In order to ace the test, a full six months should probably be considered to understand the intricacies of the test as well as study for the individual sections. Learning to navigate the test(s) in general is an accomplishment in itself.

Practice Questions

To orient yourself to the kinds of questions asked on the ACT, you’ll want to actually access the practice questions and familiarize yourself with the structure, format, question types, question difficulty, and time limits involved with each test section. There are practice questions as well as preparation guides for the overall test that can be of significant help in preparing for the exam.

Understand the Structure

One of the most important aspects of the ACT is understanding how the test is structured and how to maneuver through it. As in the previous tip, you’ll want to examine how the test questions are configured in order to pinpoint the right multiple choice answers. There are, again, explanations through online guides and prep materials for this process. For example, the ACT English questions appear to be formatted in a confusing manner, and finding the immediate answer can present problems, so the fastest way to complete the answers is to skim through the reading passage to understand the content and context of the passage. From there, go back through any underlined sentences that will help determine final answers.

Eliminate the Obvious

Another effective tip with the ACT is eliminating the obviously wrong answers within any of the test divisions. You always want to look for answers that are blatantly wrong and quickly discard them. To find the correct answer, you want to be very precise about what makes the answer the right one. For example, if you are looking at questions in the English and Reading sections, you want to find evidence that supports an answer selection. The key is if you don’t find the evidence, eliminate the answer choice.

Monitor Time

This aspect of the test is critical, as certain time limits are placed on each test section. Pacing your time is important as you don’t want to linger over one question while there are easier ones to answer. Spending too much time on any question can harm your score. If you are completely puzzled or stymied over one question, move on. Answering easier questions should always take priority. If there is enough time left, go back to the tricky ones. Again, going through ACT practice questions will help you to learn how to pace yourself for each test section.

Know the Content

Within each of the test areas, there will obviously be questions that are less difficult because of the content being familiar and more easily understood. Any subject area that presents problems should be examined for weaknesses. For example, within the Math section, it would be wise to know formulas that relate to algebra and geometry as well as conversions for basic math problems that involve percentages, fractional parts, decimals, etc. The same is true of the English section that requires reading comprehension ability, grammar, and punctuation expertise. Say you’re college plans are focused on getting a degree in business management, which would mean you should probably concentrate on problem solving, critical thinking and number crunching. These general areas will likely appear in some form or fashion in the corresponding test sections.

Taking the ACT involves advanced planning and preparation, particularly if you want to ace the test and present impressive scores to a prestigious college or university, or apply for a scholarship or other higher education financing. Test anxiety and apprehension can be alleviated when the right information and tips are incorporated in an overall strategy to tackle and ace a test like the ACT.

What to Practice to Ace Your Driving Test

Learning how to drive is a milestone in most teenager’s lives. You may also be an adult looking to improve your skills and secure that first license too. To gain any license, you must practice driving on a regular basis. Get to know the skills you’ll need to practice in order to ace that driving test.

Pay Attention to Speed Limits

Speed-limit signs dot the roadway in various locations. You must always be aware of the posted limit so you can drive at a safe speed. Be aware that some signs are difficult to see or might be missing altogether. It’s your job to know if you’re driving in a residential, school, or industrial area. These areas have specific limits that are consistent in any city. With this speed-limit knowledge in mind, you’ll be able to pass your driving test even if the signs are difficult to see.


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Parallel-Parking Skills

The traditional parallel parking test is still part of the industry. You may not perform this maneuver on a daily basis, but it helps to have mastered the technique when you do need to slide between cars. Practice this skill with cones or other tall obstacles in an open, parking lot. Pull up to the cones as if they were the bumpers of two cars and maneuver the car into the space. Perform this activity numerous times until you can complete it without much thought.

Here is a video with some tips:

Merging with Style

Merging into traffic with every vehicle moving at a slightly different speed is a skill that must be practiced several times. It’s possible to avoid most accidents when you know which cars are close or far away. Many people have accidents because they simply forget to check their blind spots. Turn your head to see the cars around you because relying on your mirrors only gives you part of the story.

Stopping

Many people fail driving tests because they do not stop properly. Practice smooth braking, and make sure you come to a complete stop at all stop signs and red lights, even if you are making a right turn on red. you MUST come to a complete stop or you will fail! Stop with enough distance form the cars in front of you, or else you might be thought of as a tailgater — and FAIL.

Freeway Entrances and Exits

According to car accident attorneys, another accident-prone area involves freeway transitions. Learn to accelerate to the proper speed as you enter the freeway. Ideally, you should slide easily into traffic without causing other drivers to slow down or speed up. Practice freeway exits as well. You’ll need to slow down at a constant rate in order to stop neatly at the end of the pathway.

Most states require you to practice driving in both day and nighttime scenarios. Driving tests, however, don’t normally have a nighttime exam. Don’t overlook the nighttime skills because they’re just as important as daytime knowledge. Safe driving in any situation should be your goal.

Now go ace your driving test!