Our Design A Better Future scholarship has been going for a few years now. It’s a scholarship awarding five winners $10,000 towards their college tuition. To give a quick overview of the requirements, students must plan, put together, and carry out a project at the school or in their community that betters it in some way. We’ve had students create an invisible cane, start up a music class program for inner-city kids, and create an online social platform for kids with disabilities to come together, specifically during the pandemic.
Needless to say, these kids are amazing! All of them being senior’s in high school. It’s incredible to see them find a problem in the community and take action to fix it or better it in some way.
Today, our 2021 scholarship is due. As submissions have been flooding in, I’ve been reading through their carefully carried out projects. They are submitting pictures, videos, research articles, and more. And with each submission I am again blown away at what these students are capable of!
It’s also interesting to me what they are passionate about. Each project is based on a platform that these students have taken a stance on and are willing to promote and rally together to spread awareness for, for the betterment of their community.
Needless to say, these 17-18 year old kids are amazing. I don’t think we need to worry about our future one bit if they are going to be the leaders of it!
I am excited to announce the winners in a few weeks here on the blog, so stay tuned to learn more about these five winners, if I can bring myself to choose only five! I think they all deserve an award!
We’ve covered on our blog that there are multiple forms of higher education. But I think it might be important to take a step back and ask the question- but what is the purpose of higher education?
Looking at a broad, overall answer, the point of obtaining a higher education beyond high school is to gain the knowledge needed for a profession. It gives you a specialized field of study that later you can boast to potential employers. But, there is also a long list of other reasons we as humans work hard to obtain a higher education. They are (but not limited to):
The social skills that inadvertently come with being in a school setting.
Networking with professors, potential future employers, and peers.
Proving that you can work hard and achieve something that takes hard work.
It helps you meet the needs of your own self-fulfillment, giving you a higher purpose in life.
Learning critical thinking skills, how to adapt to different situations, work with others, and gives you emotional intelligence and resilience.
Studies show that individuals that have attended higher education courses tend to make healthier decisions in their lives.
Other studies have shown that those that have achieved a degree in higher education show more success in their careers. There are less unemployment and job loss.
There are plenty of reasons to obtain higher education from the institution of your choice. Not only are you studying a field that you want to pursue a career in, but you are also gaining relationships, networking, and meeting some of your most basic self-fulfillment needs.
Narrow it down to an area if you can. Decide if it’s important for you to stay close to home or choose a school far away.
Look at schools based on what majors they offer/ what majors they are known for. For example- I graduated with my undergrad from Utah State University because I wanted a degree in Elementary Education. In Utah, USU is very prestigious and well-known for their education program, which was ultimately a big swaying factor in my decision.
Dive into the social aspect/ campus life and decide how important it is for you to attend events, sports, etc. College is about the experience AND the education! And not all college campuses are created equal when it comes to social gatherings.
Talk with current students or past grads about schools you are interested in. Hearing about their experience or opinions can help you make a final decision.
Keep a list of potential options. You may find one school that is everything you want! But the reality is, you still have to apply and become accepted into the school before you can go, in most cases. If you don’t get into your dream school, keep a few others in mind for back up.
Remember that you’re not making a decision based on good vs. bad. You’re deciding between good, better, and best. Whichever school you choose is a great option and can hopefully have you leaving with a great experience and a college degree. It’s hard to make a bad decision when choosing a college!
Pros and cons lists of schools can also be helpful to make a decision. Let us know what school you are choosing to go to in the comments below!
Let’s talk about trade schools vs. universities. What are the differences and which one is better?
A school based around teaching just specific trades, such as nursing, electric work, plumbing, etc. A very niched program.
Typically less expensive Can be easier to get a job because internships happen in the field of work, putting you in direct contact with employers. Can be faster to graduate than the typical 4-year degree.
Your line of work is niched and can be hard to find an occupation outside of your line of study. Typically less social aspect than most universities.
A school where you receive an undergrad, graduate, or doctorate degree.
Your degree requires courses from a vast majority of subjects, giving you experience in many different areas. You have a broad sense of your area of study, which can open up job opportunities in various positions, not just one niched area. A big social aspect on a university campus.
Is hard to graduate early or faster because of credit requirements. Can be hard to choose your occupation because a degree can be so broad. You don’t walk away with a new set skill, you walk away with a degree.
So which one is better?
A university may be a great option for one person, while a trade school is the better route for someone else. Both types of schools come with pros and cons, even more than I’ve written here. A great way to decide which type of school is best for you is to reach out to trusted mentors or school counselors to help you make your final decision.
What type of school have you chosen to attend, trade school or university?
As you students prepare for graduation, job interviews, college applications, and more, one common thing will come up that you will need- Letters of recommendation.
What is a letter of recommendation? It’s when a teacher or mentor writes a letter to advocate for you as you apply for whatever it is you’re trying to get into. Obtaining these letters can be as easy as contacting trusted teachers and mentors asking for a letter. However, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Consider what you need the letter for- is it to get into college? Is it for a scholarship? To get into a specific group, club, or program?
Utilize this in who you ask for a letter from. For example: If you’re applying for a business school at your University, talk to past teachers in subjects related to business. Economics, finance, business, etc.
One of our past scholarship winners came to us asking for a letter of recommendation for a similar scholarship geared towards college students. Keep your letters similar to what you are needing them for.
Ask for letters from teachers and mentors that know you well and will have plenty of positive points to talk about for you.
Let them know what you need the letter for, giving them some background on what the letter is for/ who their audience is can help them in writing it.
Give them plenty of time to get the letter to you, they may not have time the night before to get it done for you!
Asking for letters of recommendation doesn’t have to be daunting and can help your application be taken to the next level. Good luck!
Today we will be covering video call interview tips. Virtual meetings are the new normal, so why not embrace video calling? Whether it’s Zoom, Google Hangouts, Teams, Skype, or another video chat platform, these tips are sure to help you in your interview.
Test out your wifi connection before the call!
Pick your spot for your video call before the interview. Test it out to make sure it’s a plain background. A plain, blank wall is best! Take down any decoration if needed.
Make sure you know how to join the video call before it begins, the day before if possible.
Be on time!
Be honest with the host if your wifi or video platform is having problems or if you have questions about how to use it.
Verify the links to the interview and verify how to join the room, who will send the link, etc.
If possible, use a microphone of sorts for the interview. This can be on your headphones, or just a microphone plugged into your computer. It will give better sound and the interviewer can hear you better.
Sit somewhere you can plug your computer into a power source, or have a fully charged computer before your interview. Don’t let low battery tank your interview!
Dress professionally- even your pants! I know the popular thing right now is pj’s on the bottom, dress shirt on the top. But what if an emergency happens or they ask you to grab something that’s not right next to you and you are wearing sweats when you stand up?
COVID has made some crazy times for all of us. Because we are trying to be more socially distant in all that we do, many interviews for jobs or schools have been adapted to phone or video call interviews to stay a little safer. Here are our tips for having a successful phone interview!
Plan to be in a quiet area with no distractions during the interview. You should treat it just like a regular interview and not be browsing the grocery store or driving in the car when they call.
Test out your phone connection before the call. You may decide to do the interview in a quiet room in your basement, but it may have bad cell service and the call may be dropped or hard to hear. Avoid this by calling your parents or grandparents for a quick check-in, they’ll appreciate it and you’ll be able to get a feel for where your connection is best!
Keep a notepad and pen for notes you might need to take during the interview.
Avoid using speakerphone if possible. It can be low-quality sound on their end. If you need hands-free calling, consider using headphones with a microphone instead.
Make a note for if you need to call them, or if they will be calling you. It’s more common than you’d think to miss an interview because of miscommunication of who will be calling whom.
Stay calm and speak clearly!
Have you had a phone interview for school or a new job yet? What other tips would you add?