4 on-campus jobs that can set you up for success after graduation

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One of the first things that college students should do when they arrive to campus is lock down an on-campus job. It’s a great way to make some extra money, meet new people and even earn better grades.

But beyond these academic and financial benefits, on-campus jobs can also help students build their resumes before they enter the workforce.

Hafeez Lakhani, founder of college counseling firm Lakhani Coaching tells CNBC Make It that the key to finding the right on-campus job is identifying an opportunity that aligns with your long-term professional goals. “The best jobs, in general, are ones that appeal to our larger sense of ambition,” he says. Though, he admits, “these are not always easy to find.”

The secret is to be creative. This means actively networking with various departments on campus and, when necessary, finding alternative funding sources. “Yes, there are a multitude of library, dining hall and administrative jobs for students to fill,” says Lakhani. “But if a student can be creative — by seeking funding through grants, for instance — there is a huge payoff.”

Here are four of the best on-campus jobs for students hoping get a head-start on their peers:

Lab assistant

Lab assistant positions offer students interested in the sciences unparalleled professional experience, not to mention high wages. PayScale estimates that college laboratory assistants make around $14.62 an hour on average.

But Lakhani says that working as a lab assistant is worth more than just a paycheck. “If I’m interested in medicine, for instance, it would be a great idea for me to land a place, paid or unpaid, in a professor’s lab,” he says.

Working in a lab can expose students to a wide range of scientific processes and teach them the importance of diligence and attention to detail. More importantly, working as a lab assistant can help students network with professors which can lead to research opportunities. Getting research published alongside a widely respected professor is one of the best things that students in sciences can achieve during their academic careers.

Radio DJ

Its not easy to launch a career in music but if you have your mind made up, then you are going to have to work hard. One of the easiest ways for students to get experience in the music industry is to get involved with their college radio station.

Most college stations have opportunities for first year students to work behind the scenes in operational roles with pathways to more front-facing positions like DJing.

The key to excelling in this position is to take advantage of every chance you get. Your first solo show may be at an awkward time or you may be assigned a genre that isn’t your favorite, but by embracing every opportunity that is thrown your way, you can turn an on-campus job at the college radio station into some serious professional preparation.

Newspaper ad sales

Another way to think about what on-campus job is best for you is to think about what types of skills you want to master. If you are interested in fields like sales or marketing, the school newspaper may offer the perfect job for you.

This job often includes reaching out to local businesses to sell ad space and working with operational teams to create and adjust strategy. Working in ad sales for the newspaper can be an amazing opportunity to get your hands dirty and make real sales. It also can give students the chance to oversee team goals and budgets.

Potential employers want to hear concrete examples of when you have performed a function that is part of a role so if you want to work in sales, you are going to need examples of when you have made sales. The newspaper will give you plenty of opportunities to do just that.

Endowment office aid

Depending on what college you go to, your school may have a significant endowment fund. One of the best on-campus jobs that students can land is working for the office that manages this fund.

“If a student is interested in finance, why not apply to the office of the university endowment?” Lakhani suggests.

The trick to landing this job is networking. It’s rare for an endowment office to publicize an opening but just like every other department, this team can still take advantage of help with office work and filing. Even if you aren’t making big decisions, connecting with professionals who oversee large sums of money can give students interested in finance valuable exposure.

Continue on to cnbc.com to read the complete article.

Students In The Workplace Keep Industry And Academia On The Cutting Edge

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When college students can spend several months at top international firms like Goldman Sachs, they naturally come away with valuable résumé-building experience. But what’s often left out of the conversation is the value that students inject back into the business.

Joseph Camarda, a managing director in private wealth management at Goldman Sachs in San Francisco, cited this mutually beneficial exchange when explaining why the company has partnered with Drexel University in Philadelphia to place 145 students in cooperative education positions at its U.S. offices since 2014.

“They bring a young, vibrant, innovative mind to the team and that adds a value that we want to use over and over,” he said.

By collaborating with businesses, colleges and universities can deliver on the promise of relevance for career-minded students. From co-ops and internships, to mentoring and research opportunities, they can also invigorate programs on campus and bring value to firms.

Ashley Inman, a human resources expert who has worked with college interns in several industries, recalled one intern at a construction firm who developed an app for the company to better track inventory — a strategic innovation that helped streamline sales.

“Organizations can get stuck in their ways,” she said. “The value that the students bring is a fresh perspective.”

It’s part of the reason Goldman values its partnership with the university today — 13 years after the co-op relationship began with just a few students in the company’s Philadelphia office. A number of graduates since that time have gone on to work for Goldman full-time.

“The work ethic of these students is just phenomenal,” Camarda said. “It shows up every day.”

Real-Life Reciprocity

Students, in turn, bring valuable perspectives back to campus with them – including “bottom-line” urgency that can sometimes be lacking in academia, said Inman, who sits on the talent acquisition panel of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Strong and meaningful links to industry can inform curricula and programming on campus – helping to make sure academic offerings remain relevant to the needs of industry and students seeking jobs.

Higher education, however, has typically struggled to create and maintain those links, leading to a skills gap that leaves companies with jobs they can’t fill and students who can’t get jobs.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Is college the only path? Picking the education that’s best for you

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Is college the best choice for you?

For generations, high school students like you have been told that a college degree is the route to success and financial security.But it’s not the only way to go: in fact, while it may seem like all your friends are heading off to college, a large number of high school graduates—about 30 percent—don’t take the college path.

Finding happiness and success in your career should start with evaluating your goals, personality and interests because—luckily—you have options.

With costs rising, college can be a huge investment, and like any good investment you need to understand the risk, costs and potential value you can gain. Explore these higher education paths—and some tips for calculating the return on investment (ROI) of your education:

Depending on your course of study, a vocational training program can pay for itself within eight months of graduation—far quicker than a four-year degree. Lynnette Khalfani-Cox

A four-year college:

A four-year college degree is the most common—and one of the most lucrative—routes to take after high school. But even with a four-year degree, much of your ROI depends on what you choose to study: before picking a major, think about how much money you’ll need to fork over and the salary you can expect after you graduate.

Many online tools or apps, like the JA Build Your Future app from Junior Achievement USA, or College Scorecard from the US Department of Education, can give you a good idea of the ROI on your college degree. They factor in average debt, starting salary information, and more, and work with community colleges, as well as four-year colleges and universities.

  • Tuition: According to the College Board, the total in-state cost of attendance at a public four-year college averages $25,290 per year. At a private, nonprofit university, the cost is almost double that—$50,900 annually. That means the overall price tag is roughly $100,000-$200,000. Not surprisingly, 65 percent of college grads earning four-year degrees in 2017 ended up with student loans; their average amount of college debt topped $29,650.
  • Salary: The upside of paying higher tuition at a four-year school is that you’ll likely end up making more money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median earnings for college grads with a four-year college degree is $61,724 annually. And salaries can go even higher, depending on the career you choose. People with advanced degrees typically earn bigger salaries—$1,512 weekly, or $78,624 yearly. Then again, advanced degrees also translate into extra tuition—another cost that you’ll need to factor into your ROI calculation. To avoid that extra cost, consider a bachelor’s degree with high earning potential for recent graduates like chemical or electrical engineering, which report salaries in the $70,000 – $75,000 range for recent grads.

Community college:

The National Center on Education Statistics shows that almost twice as many people attend two-year community colleges as those who attend four-year colleges and universities. At a community college, you can earn an associate’s degree after taking coursework in a general major—like business, biology, or communications—or in a specific vocational field, like nursing, criminal justice, or early childhood education. This coursework can prepare you for a bunch of careers, including medical assistant, police officer, oil and gas operator, or software or website developer.

  • Tuition: Community colleges are usually a lot less expensive than four-year schools: according to the College Board the total cost of attendance at a public, two-year community college averages $17,580 per year for in-district commuter students. That includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, and transportation costs. Overall, that works out to $35,160 for a two-year associate’s degree. That’s about $66,000 less than what you would spend on in-state tuition and fees at a four-year public college.
  • Salary: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that people with a two-year degree earn a median salary of $825 a week or $42,900 annually. And while this salary might limit your ability to live in some quickly growing cities, there are a number of cities where you can live comfortably on less than 50,000 per year.
  • For some jobs requiring a two-year degree, the payoff is even higher. Air traffic controllers make a median income of $122,410, while dental hygienists average $72,910 and paralegals make $49,500.

Vocational training:

Vocational training, sometimes called technical training programs or trade schools, might be a good option if you prefer working with your hands, want to avoid a desk job, and only want to take training and instruction that is directly related to your future career. These programs commonly lead students into careers in hands-on trades like construction, metal work, masonry, and photography.

  • Tuition: The average cost for a vocational training program is $33,000 over a two year period, but many students can complete their vocational schooling in less than two years—especially those that enroll full-time in a trade school.
  • Salary: Salaries for hands-on trades vary widely, but jobs like installation, maintenance, and repair have median earnings of $950 a week, or $49,400 annually. With that kind of salary, your vocational training will pay for itself in just 8 months after your work start date.

Continue onto JP Morgan Chase to read the complete article.

How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter From Scratch in 30 Minutes

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You know enough to regularly update you resume—so if you find a job posting you’re interested in, you’re halfway through the application process.The other half, of course, is your cover letter. If you have some time and are just rusty, you can make a game plan to write a draft, then take a break, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

But if you see the deadline to apply is just 30 minutes away, you don’t have any time to spare. Here’s how to write a cover letter that will bolster your application—in just half an hour. (And if you need to revamp your resume or prep for interview in the same amount time, look here and here.)

Minutes 1 Through 10: Write Down Your Main Points

Maybe it’s just me, but I often struggle the most on the opening line of a cover letter. I know I shouldn’t lead with “My name is…,” and I want something that’ll grab the hiring manager’s attention. But my quest for the perfect beginning can lead me to spend 15 minutes (or more) typing and deleting the same line over and over. (And at that rate, my 30-minute cover letter would be all of two sentences.)

So, skip the intro if need be, and just start writing about why you’re a great fit for the open position. Don’t stress about the very best way to phrase your current responsibilities. Just write down your main points.

Need a prompt? Answer these questions: What do you find most exciting (or interesting) about the position? What relevant experience do you have? What would you bring to the role (and/or company) that’s unique to you?

Definitely make sure to have your resume and the job description open or printed out next to you. That way you can glance over at both and make sure you’re highlighting the right experience.

Minutes 10 Through 20: Add in Examples

OK, so you’ve written out all of reasons why you’re perfect for the job. Now it’s time to make sure you’re on the same page as the hiring manager. How so? Go back to that job description.

Re-read what the position calls for. Did you mention the experience and skills they’ll be screening for? To connect the dots in a way that’s clear—but wouldn’t be confused with a laundry list—add in an example or two.

If the job calls for people skills, swap out the line that reads, “I have excellent people skills” with a line that explains how in previous roles you’ve managed relationships with board members, which taught you about working with opinionated stakeholders. Does the position call for someone with sales experience? An anecdote about how you’ve been in sales since you set up your first lemonade stand when you were seven years old is memorable.

Continue onto Muse to read the complete article.

Want To Land A Job After A Parenting Gap? 10 Mistakes To Avoid

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As much as you may want to believe that quitting your job to parent won’t affect your career long term, the unfortunate reality is that landing a job after a gap can be a challenge. You may have to learn new skills to stay current and the longer you have been out of work, the harder it can be. You will also be competing against applicants who haven’t left the marketplace and other parents looking to restart. According to Après Group, a career platform connecting employers with parents returning to the workforce, there are more than three million women in the U.S. with college or advanced degrees looking to get back in.

So how do you make yourself more marketable, boost your profile and get the job you want? Lauren Smith Brody, author and founder of Fifth Trimester Consulting, which helps workplaces improve their culture for new parents, and Jennifer Gefsky, the cofounder of Après, share their advice on how to avoid common mistakes and land an amazing job.

Mistake #1: Sending Out Your Resume Too Soon

Once the decision is made go back to work, the instinct is to immediately start applying for jobs. Don’t. Start by taking steps to make yourself relevant in the current market. “ You can’t go into an interview and say, “I haven’t worked in five or ten years, but here I am!” says Jennifer Gefsky. Do an internship, take an online course, or update your tech skills first. “I’m a huge fan of taking an in-person class and just being around people other than your social networks at home,” reveals Gefsky. “It’s putting yourself in a different world. It’s getting yourself ready to go.”

Mistake #2: Only Applying For Part-Time Openings

Part-time jobs can seem like a less jarring way to ease back into the workforce, however, Gefsky advises against limiting your search: To close off that majority of available jobs is a mistake. You will be excluding potentially great jobs that might ultimately be able to offer part-time down the road, but maybe aren’t going to offer it for a new employee.

Mistake #3: Not Leveraging Social Media

“The number one piece of advice I give people who have been out for a period of time is get on LinkedIn as soon as possible,” says Gefsky. Not only should you update your profile to include relevant skills, classes or internships, Gefsky suggests writing short articles on topics related to the career you want. This will build up your digital presence, personal brand, and show your expertise. “That advice surprises a lot of people because they think, ‘I’m not a writer!’  But that’s the amazing thing about LinkedIn, you can publish articles on your page,” says Gefsky. “Then, when people look you up, it’s, ‘Oh, wow, this person is totally up to speed on what’s going on in our industry.’”

Mistake #4: Not Asking For Help

Once you have established your digital presence and updated your skills and resume, you are ready to network. The key is to leverage all of the relationships you have. “There are all kinds of things we can learn from our personal relationships that apply to work,” explains Brody. Her advice? Ask a friend currently in the workforce to run through a mock interview with you or find out what qualities they look for with new employees. Even if they are in a different industry you can gain valuable insight and direction.

Mistake #5: Discounting The Skills You Learned As A Full-Time Parent

It’s easy to see your work life and home life as two totally separate arenas, but the skills learned in parenthood can definitely be a boost to any career.  “You are probably better than ever at managing your time, your budget, your goals. You pivot more quickly between tasks. You know what’s worth saying yes to, and what’s not. Feel that empowerment when you enter into negotiations,” advises Brody. Also any volunteer work you did around your child—helping to organize events for school, leading committees, etc. Those should be added to your resume too. They can provide examples of your leadership, organization, finance, and management skills.

Mistake #6: Only Submitting Your Resume Online  

One way to get noticed by recruiters who might overlook applicants with parenting gaps is to ask friends, family, or former co-workers to hand-deliver your resume to higher ups or their company’s HR reps.  “It’s very hard to submit your resume and get noticed, especially when you’re competing against people who haven’t had a break,” says Gefsky. “The way you’re going to get hired is by people who know you. Networking is critical.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

This is the most important career skill to master in 2019

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Chances are, no matter what your job title is, in the coming year you’ll have a series of conversations that are important for your career. Whether you’re being interviewed for a new position, discussing a promotion, or pitching an important project, high-stakes discussions await you in the months to come.

To ace these exchanges, you must master one crucial skill: the ability to handle Q&A, the impromptu questions and answers that are at the heart of every interview. Studies show that those who think on their feet and respond without hesitation come across as leaders who project a certain charisma. In fact, the same research indicates that this quickness of mind is rated as being even more important as a barometer of your mental smarts than IQ is.

Here are the four fundamentals that will help you answer any question with grace.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

To begin, prepare for these impromptu exchanges. While we think of answering questions as a totally spontaneous act, you can and must get ready for these conversations. Sure, you can’t anticipate ALL the questions you might be asked, but you can take a stab at preparing a list of questions and answers. This holds for job interviews, performance reviews, client meetings, and presentations that have a Q&A component.

I have coached everyone from individuals who were applying to med and law schools, to executives going for their next big job. In each case, we spent hours writing down questions, preparing answers, and role playing Q&A. The result has been a series of success stories. Candidates got what they wanted: law school, medical school, acceptance into grad school, or a CEO position.

So if you’re heading for a job interview this year–or any other critical conversation–begin by prepping.

Don’t rush to answer

Next, take your time answering. You’ll come across as more confident if you do. Listen to the entire question. If you rush to formulate your answer while the speaker is still talking, you may ignore part of what they’re saying. The result: You’ll answer the question you think they’ve asked, instead of answering the actual question.

Rushing can also cause you to interrupt the speaker—who may be contemplating the second part of her question. That will make you seem rude and panicky.

You’ll present yourself as a confident, thoughtful leader if you wait for the full question to be asked and then pause to reflect on your answer. Even if you have the answer in your mind, that pause will suggest that you are taking the question seriously and judging that it deserves a thoughtful answer.

But just because you are pausing doesn’t mean you have to fill in the silence with words like, “That’s a good question.” You’re not there to evaluate questions, you’re there to answer them. (And, hey, what about the other questions: Are they bad questions in comparison?)

Structure your response

Third, carefully structure your response. If you want to sound smart and quick on your feet, organize your answer and include the following components.

  • Begin with a segue from the question. For example, you might open with “That’s something I think a lot about,” or “Yes, I’d be glad to tell you about my qualifications for the job.”
  • Then state your point. Every answer should have a one-sentence message that’s presented clearly and with conviction. For example you might say, “I believe I have the credentials to be successful in this role.”
  • Give two to four proof points. These reasons support your message.
  • End with a call to action. This might be telling the interviewer you are excited about the opportunity being discussed and look forward to hearing from them. You also might ask what the next steps are. When preparing your answers in advance, use this structure so you will come across as clear and confident.

Ask questions

Finally, take a proactive approach and ask questions. For example, in a job interview, ask your future employer about the position or the culture of the company. These questions will show you’re engaged and have been an active listener. There are tons of great questions to ask. Giving the other person a chance to share her experience and expectations conveys your emotional intelligence–and keenness for the position.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

What Your Resume Should Look Like in 2019

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woman looking at computer financial documents

Resumes get a bad rap. We write them begrudgingly, usually during periods of transition, or tumult. We fiddle with phrasing and format, agonizing over how to craft our qualifications into the best resume possible. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

For smart job seekers, resumes are an opportunity — to make a case for their candidacy, to get the salary they’ve earned, and to convince any hiring manager she would be crazy not to hire them.

Yahoo MONEY teamed up with Dana Leavy-Detrick, founder of Brooklyn Resume Studio, to help you become one of those job seekers. Here’s how to write the perfect resume — and a free resume template that you can download and use for your next job interview.

Resume sample-Yahoo MONEY

(Resume design courtesy of Dana Leavy-Detrick; click here for a free downloadable template)

[1] The Best Resume Format

When it comes to resume format and design, opt for a clean layout. A recent study from the job site Ladders found that resumes with so-called F-pattern and E-pattern layouts, which mimic how our eyes tend to scan web pages, hold a recruiter’s attention for longer than those aligned down the center, or from right to left.

There is no one specific “best” font for resumes. You should use the same font style throughout, Leavy-Detrick says, but play with different weights and sizes to draw a recruiter’s eye to key parts of your resume. Sans serif fonts usually work best — Franklin Gothic, Calibri, and Avenir (the last of which we used for the attached template) are three of Leavy-Detrick’s favorites.

[2] Make Your Resume Stand Out

If you’re applying for an investment banking job, a hot-pink resume probably won’t do you any favors. But subtle pops of color, like the orange used here, will work for just about everyone.

“It’s very minimal, and gives a bit of a design element,” Leavy-Detrick says.

If you do use color, “Use it sparingly,” she warns. “Stick to one color, and one color that’s going to print well.”

[3] Add a Skills Section in Your Resume

Lead with the good stuff. The top of your resume should include “critical keywords and a quick snapshot of your core strengths,” Leavy-Detrick says.

Hard skills, tangible attributes that can easily be measured, take precedence here, so highlight them accordingly. If you’re in a tech-driven field, software and programming expertise is what employers want to see on your resume. If you’re in a creative industry, design and communication skills might be your best bet.

[4] Make a Resume That Shows Impact

To prove you’re worth a hiring manager’s time, highlight recent examples of what you bring to the table. Statistics that build upon your skills section are most impactful — bonus points if they show a track record of growth, revenue, and profitability, Leavy-Detrick says.

If you’re drawing a blank, she suggests adding resume skills that can help solve a “problem area” for the company you’re applying to.

“Impact doesn’t always have to be measured by metrics,” she says. “Cultural improvements, special projects, customer growth … anything that showed success can work.”

[5] What to Leave Off a Resume

Be discerning with the content—don’t list salary requirements, use tables or columns, or tick off every job you’ve ever had. The same goes for social media profiles. Unless your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds are relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s probably best to leave those off your resume.

“Only include them if they add value in some way,” Leavy-Detrick says. “If you have zero followers, you may not want to advertise that.”

Continue on to Yahoo MONEY to read the complete article.

Guillaume to Lead The Crimson’s 146th Guard

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Kristine E. Guillaume ’20 will lead the newly elected 146th Guard of The Harvard Crimson, the organization’s President announced on Monday. Guillaume is the first black woman to serve as President of The Crimson in the paper’s 145-year history.

Guillaume, a joint African American Studies and History and Literature concentrator, is currently one of The Crimson’s Central Administration reporters. In that capacity, she interviewed two successive University Presidents — Drew G. Faust and Lawrence S. Bacow — and worked as part of the reporting team that covered Harvard’s 2018 presidential search.

She is also one of three Chairs of The Crimson’s Diversity and Inclusivity committee, responsible for formulating and overseeing initiatives meant to make the paper more diverse and welcoming to students from all backgrounds. Guillaume, who lives in Lowell House, will begin as President on Jan. 1, 2019.

“I have the utmost confidence in the 146th Guard’s ability to carry on our proud mission of covering and informing Harvard and its affiliates,” current Crimson President Derek G. Xiao ’19 said. “I could not be more excited to see the direction the next President, Managing Editor, and Business Manager will take The Crimson in 2019.”

News writer and designer Angela N. Fu ’20 will serve as Managing Editor, overseeing the production of The Crimson’s daily newspaper, magazine, arts, and sports sections, and blog. Fu, a Government concentrator and Dunster House resident who hails from Birmingham, Ala., currently serves as a Faculty of Arts and Sciences Administration reporter. In that role, she interviewed two successive FAS Deans — Michael D. Smith and Claudine Gay — and helped report on the presidential search along with Guillaume. She also led The Crimson’s Design Board comp for two semesters.

Fu was one of two reporters who broke a story revealing that star Economics professor Roland G. Fryer, Jr. was being investigated separately by Harvard and the state of Massachusetts over allegations of sexual harassment. She faced down a threatened lawsuit to report the piece, which later earned “Honorable Mention” for Associated Collegiate Press 2018 Story of the Year.

Next year’s Business Manager will be Charlie B. Zhu ’20, an Applied Math and Economics concentrator and resident of Winthrop House from Warren, N.J. He will take the helm of The Crimson’s finances and operations after serving this year as a Director of Staff Development for the Business Board. Prior to that, he worked as an Advertising Associate.

Continue onto The Harvard Crimson to read the full article.

How Diversity Officers Change Corporate Culture

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Diversity executive

By 2045, people of color will make up the majority of the U.S. population.

That demographic shift, predicted by the U.S. Census Bureau, is one reason why companies are starting to take workplace diversity, inclusion and equity more seriously.

In corporate America, this has manifested in part through the proliferation of chief diversity officers, who are charged with creating policies and climates supportive of workers from an array of backgrounds.

As of 2012, 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies had diversity executives, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“It’s becoming standard across companies,” says Allison Scott, chief research officer at the Kapor Center, which aims to increase diversity in the technology and entrepreneurship sectors. “I think that’s a promising and important sign.”

However, having a chief diversity officer on the payroll is not a panacea, researchers say.

“That all sounds good and well, but in the past there wasn’t as much accountability for it,” says Kisha Jones, assistant professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University. “You could get an A for effort for attempting the different practices but not have to show how change happens.”

Still, the presence of a diversity executive in the C-suite is one sign job seekers should look for when assessing whether a company is equipped to hire and retain diverse workers and effectively market to the heterogeneous customer base of the future.

Learn more about what these officers do and other signs to look for when evaluating a company’s commitment to diversity.

Duties and Conditions for Success

The work of diversity officers, also known as equal opportunity professionals, cuts across departmental boundaries. They influence hiring, training and company cultural practices that relate to three “big buckets,” explains Archie Ervin, vice president and chief diversity officer at the Georgia Institute of Technology and president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Continue on to US News to read the complete article.

Looking for 7 Million Scholarships? This site can help

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TFS-Scholarship

Brie Belz estimates she applied to about 50 scholarships when she was preparing to go to college — and her hard work paid off. The junior biochemistry major at Washington and Lee University received enough scholarship funding to not only pay for her college education but also to allow her to study abroad in Nepal and Scotland and to visit four other foreign countries while abroad.

“It feels amazing to have these opportunities and know I’ll graduate debt-free,” Belz said. “I think the big thing is the awareness, that there is this resource at your disposal. I don’t know if I would’ve found these scholarships on my own.”

Belz used a couple of websites while looking for scholarships, but her main source was TFS Scholarships, which provides free access, to more than 7 million scholarships totaling more than $41 billion.

‘We can offer this to everybody’

TFS Scholarships — originally Tuition Funding Sources — was founded in 1987 by Richard Sorensen, whose father had been the principal at an inner-city high school and saw the challenges students faced in funding their education. It was also around the time when computers were becoming mainstream, primarily in schools and businesses, Sorensen said. After expressing a desire to get involved in the technology business, Sorensen’s father told him that many parents thought counselors were helping students find scholarships, but they didn’t always have time to do that. Sorensen’s father said if he could come up with a scholarship database, every school in the country would want it.

‘Trying to find as many scholarships as possible’

Belz found out about TFS Scholarships during her junior year of high school through her mother, who works for Wells Fargo and knew about the site. “I was in the process of applying for schools and seeing how expensive it was,” Belz said. “I went on a frenzy of trying to find as many scholarships as possible.”

Brie received a full ride through her university; a keynote scholarship from the National Space Club and Foundation; a scholarship through Wells Fargo as the child of a team member; and a scholarship from the Better Business Bureau. In addition to majoring in biochemistry, Belz is minoring in poverty and human capability studies and is on the pre-medicine track to become a doctor. She was inspired to help people after seeing how a double lung transplant improved the quality of life for her late cousin, who was born cystic fibrosis.

Not only have the scholarships helped her pay for college, study abroad, and set the path toward medical school, they have also improved Belz’s confidence as she spoke at a National Space Club and Foundation dinner for 2,000 people and interviewed for her university’s scholarship, she said. “Going into the interview for the school scholarship, I had a huge amount of confidence because I knew I was capable of doing these things and portraying myself the best I could be,” Belz said. “That would be a huge determinant in getting the full ride to my school.”

About seven years ago, Scholarships was in need of a new sponsor. Wells Fargo stepped in and allowed TFS Scholarships to provide free and open access to everyone. “We especially like the fact that we’re with Wells Fargo so we can offer this to everybody,” Sorensen said. “We previously would have schools call and beg for it.”

Advice for students

As students begin searching for scholarships, Sorensen advises putting themselves out there and looking for any applicable scholarships, even if they are small, adding, “There are plenty of scholarships. The ones who don’t get scholarships apply for one or two big national awards, don’t get it, and say, ‘Well I tried.’”

Belz agreed. “It’s very easy to say, ‘I don’t want to write a bunch of essays’ and put it off,” she said. “I recommend setting time aside to do it, like two hours a day or a Saturday, which I did. It’s important to have something you’re passionate about and convey it because that’s the most important thing. They want to be inspired and hear why that money is crucial to you.”

Five tips for winning scholarship applications

  1. Apply for smaller scholarships that may be easier to obtain.
  2. Customize your essay to meet the criteria and set yourself apart.
  3. Submit scholarship applications early and don’t wait until the due date.
  4. Follow your passion and apply for scholarships that fit your interest.
  5. Increase your submission rate and treat applying for scholarships like a part-time job.

Source: Richard Sorensen, president, TFS Scholarships

Which Coding Language Should You Learn?

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It’s a great time to learn how to code. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your career and become a developer, leverage a new skill in your current job, or just better understand what the developers on your team are up to, there has never been a better time to get into programming.

There’s been an explosion of coding boot camps and online resources to help you get started. But it’s a double-edged sword: with near-unlimited resources, countless different languages—and a rabbit hole of passionate voices debating which are the easiest to learn, best to help you get a job, and so on—where do you start?

The best way to learn to code is to stop endlessly analyzing what to learn and just start. So, with a giant disclaimer that these aren’t all of the languages you could consider learning to start your coding journey, here are a few languages you can learn.

JavaScript

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Think of the difference between dynamic, automatically updating Gmail account and your old static Hotmail, which needed to be reloaded to see new messages. That fundamental change was thanks to JavaScript. And, as one of the most popular languages out there, it’s still bringing websites to life in new, exciting ways. It has a ton of resources and tools available to help you use it effectively, and it opens you up to a ton of software engineering jobs. It can basically do everything, and if you’re going to be a full stack developer, you simply can’t avoid it.

Ruby

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Ruby was specifically designed by its inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto to make programmers happy, and it’s delivered upon that objective: Ruby is accessible and reads like English, allowing new programmers to focus right away on the fundamental concepts and logic, rather than basic syntax. Even beginners can start building right away. The teachers at the Flatiron School find Ruby to be extremely effective at helping students learn how to think like programmers, break problems down, express themselves technically, abstract ideas, and work together with other programmers. (The Flatiron Co-founder Avi is a little obsessed with it, too.)

Python

Great for: budding data scientists

There’s a massive amount of data out there. Companies that harness it can create better products and understand their businesses better; companies that don’t lose their competitive edge and get left behind. But while at its core, data science may be similar to your high school stats class, with so much data (hundreds of millions of records), your old spreadsheet is the wrong tool for the job. That’s where code comes in. The R language is super specific to statistics, whereas Python is a general-purpose language that happens to have great tooling available to make it a perfect language for data science. It’s actually similar to Ruby in a lot of ways: easy to read, forgiving for beginners, and there’s a passionate community around it, devoted to creating and improving the tooling to make Python even more powerful.

Swift

Great for: mobile developers, developers breaking out of their comfort zone

For beginners hoping to get into mobile app development, now is the perfect time to dive into Swift. It’s new enough that there is a lot of energy and excitement around it. Each year, Apple holds their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where Apple engineers discuss the intricacies of Swift along with all the new and exciting features (don’t be surprised if it inspires you to try implementing all the new concepts into your own apps). But it’s also been around long enough that the early kinks have been worked out, and the open source community has grown significantly. If you’re already a programmer, learning Swift is a way to get out of your comfort zone—the constraints iOS puts on your code forces you to, as Apple would say, “think different.”

Still not sure where to start? That’s OK! There’s really no correct first language to learn. The important thing is to consider what you’re excited to build, what language will help you do that, and then to just start learning!

In the end, this is why schools like Flatiron School doesn’t focus on teaching one specific technology. It wants you to learn how to learn—the only coding skill that will be never become obsolete. You don’t see Fortran or ColdFusion developers anymore. Similarly, you probably won’t be a Ruby or JavaScript developer in 10 years. Eventually, you will need to know more than one language if you want to have an awesome career and build amazing things. If you become skilled at learning languages, you’ll be ready to keep pace with technology as it changes.

Source: This piece was originally published by WeWork, which provides companies with the space, technology, and services they need to success.