Category: Urban Ed Written by Britney Spear, Regional Content Editor
Getting a college degree is a great accomplishment. But, what's mainly on most graduate's minds is what lies in store for them once they've walked across the stage.
For colleges across the country, the gap between their graduates and the workers that employers are looking for has steadily widened. Yet, a few schools might be on track to change that trend.
One possible solution: spiders.
Before you jump out of your seat in urgency, let me explain. Not creepy crawlers, but rather the ones that sort through search engines, reading thousands of online "help wanted" ads. This system of checking jobs in real time gives students an edge because they know what to expect before entering the real world. It's a faster alternative compared to the two year delay on the federal government’s tracking of labor trends.
More and more colleges and universities are using this technology to update their catalogs to better reflect the current job market. They are just as quickly cutting out programs that do not serve the best interest of students.
The mounting debt of a college education can leave graduates penniless. It’s much worse when you’re without a job, or one that pays well.
Higher education plays a key role in economic recovery. When schools prepare students for employment after graduation, more graduates get jobs. The rising cost of college makes it even more imperative that institutions prove the relevancy of a degree.
For years, colleges have relied on out of date data to track federal labor. Institutions must update their practices. Too many students are graduating college and either struggling to find work or taking up jobs far below their level. One cause for this dilemma is that companies can’t find people who are skilled in the areas they are looking for.
Students are not alone on the chopping block. Schools are being held to a new standard. If they fail to prepare graduates, institutions could lose out on their reputation and future enrollment.
Read any college’s or university’s mission statement, and in one shape or another, it alludes to getting students ready for real life outside the classroom. It is refreshing to find that some are taking the words of their vision and turning them a reality.
Follow Britney Spear on Twitter @missbritneysp
Last Updated on Monday, 25 February 2013 07:00
Category: Urban Ed Written by Ashley Wiersma, insidehighered
Would having more time really make a difference in our productivity? Most of us would say yes – more hours would mean we could get more work done. However, productivity blogger, Scott H. Young, argues that focus rather than time dictates our output. Just turning off the phone, laptop, internet or locking yourself away for hours isn’t enough to maintain your focus. The key to staying focused is energy. Focus requires willpower, which in turn requires energy. The more energy a person has, the more willpower, and the longer one can maintain focus on a difficult task.
The solution, then, is to preserve energy, not "manage time". Young has several suggestions to do so:
View time off as sacred. Young suggests taking evenings and one weekend day off. You may not be able to take that much time away, but make sure that you set aside at least some time every week to do activities unrelated to your work and guard that time carefully.
Never sacrifice sleep! If you skimp one hour a night to study, you need two additional hours of sleep to make up for it.
Constrain your working hours. Work in smaller, intense chunks of time rather than working nonstop all day.
In addition to maintaining energy, we also need to give ourselves the best chance to stay focused by eliminating time-wasting distractions. Switching between tasks too frequently (constantly checking Facebook, Twitter, texts, and email are the usual culprits) destroys our workflow. Productivity experts admonish us to think about only one thing at a time, but we often have trouble with that. If you find distracting thoughts intruding on your work time, take a minute to write them down to get them off your mind, and if they’re important, schedule time to think about or act on them later. There are also a number of apps that will boost your willpower and therefore help you reserve energy for more important tasks:
Self-Control: An open-source app for Macs to help you avoid distracting websites while you work for a set period of time. This works well with the Pomodoro Technique.
Focus Writer: Provides a distraction-free writing environment that is Mac, Windows, and Linux compatible.
Anti-Social: This Mac app turns off social media sites and requires a reboot to return to turn it off. There is a free trial available and a registered version for $15.
StayFocused: This Google Chrome extension limits the time you can spend on websites you typically find distracting. You can choose which sites and even specific in-page content and media to limit.
Time Out: Another Mac app that reminds you to take breaks periodically – stretch, rest your eyes, switch tasks – and is also customizable.
Last Updated on Monday, 18 February 2013 11:46
Category: Urban Ed Written by Arthur C. Brooks, startribune
Much is being written about the preposterously high cost of college. The median inflation-adjusted household income fell by 7 percent between 2006 and 2011, while the average real tuition at public four-year colleges increased by over 18 percent. College tuition has increased at twice the rate of health care costs over the past 25 years.
Ballooning student debt, an impending college bubble, and a return on the bachelor's degree that is flat or falling -- all these things scream out for entrepreneurial solutions.
One idea gaining currency is the $10,000 college degree -- the so-called 10K-B.A. -- which apparently was inspired by a challenge to educators from Bill Gates, and has recently led to efforts to make it a reality by governors in Texas, Florida and Wisconsin.
Most 10K-B.A. proposals rethink the costliest part of higher education -- traditional classroom teaching. This means a reliance on online and distance-learning alternatives. Predictably, this has stimulated antibodies to unconventional modes of learning.
University of Phoenix®College Degrees for the Real World. Online and Campus. Start Anytime. Phoenix.edu
As Darryl Tippens, provost of Pepperdine University, put it, "No PowerPoint presentation or elegant online lecture can make up for the surprise, the frisson, the spontaneous give-and-take of a spirited, open-ended dialogue with another person." And what happens when you excise those frissons? In the words of the president of one university faculty association, "You're going to be awarding degrees that are worthless to people."
I disagree. I possess a 10K-B.A., which I got in 1994. And it was the most important intellectual and career move I ever made.
After high school, I spent an unedifying year in college. Next came what my parents affectionately called my "gap decade," during which I made my living as a musician. By my late 20s I was ready to return to school. But I was living in Spain, had a thin bank account, and no desire for a mountain of student loans.
Fortunately, there was a solution -- an institution called Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J. This is a virtual college with no residence requirements. It banks credits acquired through inexpensive correspondence courses from any accredited college or university in America.
I took classes by mail from the University of Washington, the University of Wyoming, and other schools with the lowest-priced correspondence courses I could find. My degree required the same number of credits and type of classes that any student at a traditional university would take. I took the same exams as in-person students. But I never met a teacher, and to this day have never laid eyes on my beloved alma mater.
And the whole degree cost me about $10,000 in today's dollars.
Back in the United States, I followed the 10K-B.A. with a 5K-M.A. at a local university while working full time, and then endured the standard penury of being a full-time doctoral fellow in a residential Ph.D. program. The final tally for a guy in his 30s supporting a family: three degrees, zero debt.
Did I earn a worthless degree? Hardly. My undergraduate years may have been bereft of frissons, but I wound up as a tenured professor at Syracuse University. I now am president of a Washington research organization.
Not surprisingly, my college experience has occasionally been the target of ridicule. It is true that I am no Harvard Man. But my 10K-B.A. is what made higher education possible for me, and it changed the course of my life. More people should have this opportunity, in a society that is suffering from falling economic and social mobility.
The 10K-B.A. is exactly the kind of innovation we would expect in an industry that is showing every indication of a bubble that is about to burst, as Thomas K. Lindsay of the Texas Public Policy Foundation shows in a new report titled, "Anatomy of a Revolution? The Rise of the $10,000 Bachelor's Degree." When tuition skyrockets and returns on education stagnate, we can expect a flight to value, especially by people who have no choice but to make a cost-effective college investment.
In the end, however, the case for the 10K-B.A. is primarily moral, not financial. The entrepreneurs who see a way for millions to go to college affordably are the ones who understand the American dream.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 February 2013 11:55
Category: Urban Ed Written by Matthew C. Keegan
You’ve been told, “College will be over before you know it, so enjoy it while it lasts.” While this mantra certainly offers some truth, it does not take into account those lonely, dark times at night when you wrestle with a term paper or simply wonder if your major is right for you. In some ways college is an endurance test and those that endure shall be rewarded with a degree. Read on for some timely survival tips for struggling college students.
1. Get refocused. Your present challenge is just that: a challenge. And, as challenges come, you can meet each one and overcome them gradually. Have a mindset of “this too shall pass” and you’ll be able to see beyond the present discomfort.
2. Study as you. Cramming for tests may yield a good grade for you, but it will do little to help you retain information. Instead, review your notes after each class and rewrite them if that helps you to retain your information. When it comes to studying for a big test, you’ll have the bulk of the preparation done, enabling you to get a good night’s rest before your next test.
3. Make diet and rest a priority. You’re a 19- to 23-year-old college student and you’re feeling invincible. You can stay up late, get up early and live on Cheerios and peanut butter crackers if you had to. Such a lifestyle is a recipe for disaster, something that can bring on poor health and cause you much anxiety. Prioritize your personal health by eating right and getting enough rest.
4. Ask for you help. Yes, you have to swallow your pride from time to time and admit that you can’t do or know everything. Welcome to the human race! Make that appointment with a professor to receive clarity about an assignment or sign up for peer tutoring if your Advanced Calculus class is giving you fits. Talk with a college counselor if your feelings of being overwhelmed or low self worth just won’t go away.
5. Pace yourself. Just as you should study as you go, your entire approach to college should be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint. You can reach your goals provided that you work on each goal step by step. If you’re finding yourself partying too much or simply losing focus, pull back and concentrate on what matters most.
6. Tap your resources. Besides the help you can get from a professor or a peer tutor, there are many other resources on campus for your assistance. If you’re feeling sick or are having trouble coping, visit your college infirmary or wellness center for an evaluation. If you’re stuck or overwhelmed by an assignment, your library/media center can help. For downtime, your college may give you access to video games, movies and other entertainment perks — take advantage of these!
7. Schedule your classes wisely. It has been said that “Thursday is the new Friday” when it comes to scheduling classes. While it is true that fewer classes are available on some days of the week, you may find that your schedule has room for the Friday class. Instead of cramming your schedule with classes on four days, spread them out to five to relieve the studying pressure especially for mid-term and final exams.
8. Learn to get along. You are not going to like everyone you meet on campus nor will they like you. You don’t need to pretend that everyone is your friend or grovel to fit in. What you can learn is how to get along with diverse groups of people. Soon, you’ll learn that the differences you have with people are usually small. Learning to get along with others while in college will set you up for success in a very diverse workplace.
9. Practice your networking skills. Four years of college will soon yield 40 or more years of work. Some of the people you meet in college will stay connected with you far beyond college. Understand that every person you meet is a possible connection to a new job. You’re that to them as well. Make networking an essential part of your college experience.
10. Study abroad and internships. There are two resume enhancing matters you should consider before you hit your junior year: a semester for studying abroad and an internship, preferably between your junior and senior year. Studying abroad will expose you to another culture and prepare you for global work. An internship will give you hands-on experience. Doing both will give you the exposure you need to become a standout job candidate after graduation.
Your college years are going by fast and can leave with you a lasting impression. Make that impression a good one and you’ll build a foundation that will provide a launching pad for your career.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 16:54
Category: Urban Ed Written by Reid Kanaley, LA Times
College acceptance letters are starting to arrive, and families now must figure out how to pay the tuition. Here are some sites that offer guidance to the world of financial aid:
•The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A relatively new federal agency, the bureau has a beta site on college finances. One of the bureau's goals is to make students' borrowing costs clearer. Near the top of the page is a college-prep timeline showing the steps from researching schools to repaying college debt. Along the way, one presumably gets an education.
•Federal student aid. The first step in requesting federal aid for school is to fill out the Federal Application for Student Aid. You have to do it only once a year, no matter how many colleges you apply to. And the earlier the better. As soon as you file the electronic form, you'll see what is likely to be a shocking ballpark number for the education expenses you're expected to pay out of pocket.
•U.S. News & World Report college roundup. The section on paying for an education is meant to explain some of the terminology and procedures that students and families will encounter. Take note of the "overlooked ways to pay for college," which include getting an early start on college savings accounts called 529 plans and digging around for otherwise-overlooked community sources of scholarship money.
•College Board. This group, which runs the SAT college-entrance examination system, also offers advice on financing your higher education. This page includes a link to the board's scholarship-search service. Many scholarships have obscure criteria, so how would you even find all the ones that might fit you? Fill out a questionnaire that can help match students to what the board says is $6 billion available in scholarships through 2,200 programs.
Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 01:59
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!
- Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy, pension cuts (2)
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network among lowest priced health plans on Michigan’s ACA health insurance marketplace (1)
- WIGS 4 KIDS HOSTS TENTH ANNIVERSARY FUNDRAISING GALA (6)
- Charles Barkley ‘Agrees’ With GZ Verdict, Says ‘Black People Are Racist Too’ (2)
- Why France’s lens is focused on Detroit (1)