The Value of Internships to Recent College Graduates

Internships are an extremely important addition to a college student’s resume-arsenal. An internship can be paid or unpaid and can be a great opportunity to develop industry specific skills, gain real world work experience, test-drive a chosen career path, establish professional network connections and allow a recent college graduate to gain an advantage over their peers by developing character and professional development.

University graduates have spent 4 years learning vast amounts of information across a variety of subjects. They have narrowed their interests to a specific area and been instructed by the top professionals of their field. A veteran college student has learned how to perform certain duties and what will be expected of them as young professionals. An internship allows that same student to put their knowledge into real world application. By spending time in the work environment a student is given the opportunity to develop some quality portfolio additions and participate in events that students without an internship have no access to. College students who are interested in finding a quality internship should evaluate their career goals, and find an internship that can help them achieve those goals. Not all internships are paid, or are with well-known companies, but one should consider the long-term benefits of smaller organizations. At a smaller firm the intern is usually responsible for more duties, but this is an opportunity to DO more. While searching for an internship, a college student should approach employers rather than wait for them to find you. Most organizations have many different prospects for a single internship, but you will have to prove your worth before and after you are given a position.

Completing an internship allows a college student to test drive their chosen career path. Most recent graduates have never actually worked in their field of interest. Internships allow a young professional to experience the everyday life in their future career. The subtle etiquette of a work environment is a big change from campus life and the more experience a person gains the more at ease he or she will be when it comes time to apply for an professional jobs. Applicants that have spent time producing in an office can easily show their value. This value is apparent through quality portfolios, glowing recommendations and the confidence that can be gained through hard work at a paid or unpaid internship.

When planning for an internship it is best to consider the rest of your school load. Many students choose to complete their internships during the summer semesters when their course load is much less. Another method is to plan your internship around classes that are less strenuous on a student schedule. If you still choose to complete your internship during the spring or fall semesters I would suggest informing your professors and internship boss about your full schedule. This shouldn’t be used as an excuse, but instead, a notification that you will have adhere to a strict and regimented work schedule. Another tip, don’t fall behind. Murphy’s Law will ensure that you will inevitably have many deadlines coincide with each other. This problem is compounded to disastrous proportions when you are behind on school and work assignments. This creates a situation of sink or swim. A college student who is taking classes and completing an internship at the same time must reorganize and re-prioritize their life, or fail and waste all the time, money and effort it took to come this far.

Internships open the door for many networking opportunities. The old adage, “it’s not what you know, but who you know,” applies to many job hunting situations. Take this for example; two recent graduates are looking for a job. Student A has superior grade scores, but has not professionally networked at all. Student B has average grade scores, but has spent countless hours participating in clubs, student organizations and volunteered their time in exchange for hands on experience. Student A has to put in applications everywhere in hope that someone will see the value in his or her resume, and mock portfolio. In the mean time, student B gets a phone call from a former internship colleague who has a position available. Student B has an advantage because he or she has already proven their worth to the prospective employer. This situation can work many number of ways, and the hirer doesn’t need to have actually worked with the applicant to see their value. Including these networked professionals as a reference can gain the same results. Interning students also have access to make quality mentors who are more than willing to share their knowledge with interested and worthy young minds. Mentoring opportunities can be found by being genuinely interested in the work being done, and in those who you are working with. Asking relevant questions and performing on task will earn respect from those you cross paths with while in the office. Then engaging those around you with intelligent conversation, but it is important to do more listening, than talking.

A college internship is a valuable source of work experience and portfolio additions. Including a professional internship on your resume is a good way to set yourself apart from other recent graduates. An employer automatically knows the prospective employee has been “battle tested” and will be able to perform basic office duties with practiced ease. This is more evident, in my opinion, with internships at smaller organizations. These internships allow the college student to take on more responsibilities rather than getting coffee and making copies at a larger, better known organizations. Nonprofits organizations and small companies are happy to employee interns. Their small budget makes them a perfect fit for a cheap or free intern. Another characteristic which helps these organizations match well to an internship program is their ability to allow an intern to experience a variety of working situations. These varied tasks enrich a college interns skill set, and professional portfolio.

There are facets to work experience other than job experience and fattening a portfolio. This opportunity to spend quality time in a professional office environment should not be taken lightly. This is an opportunity for a college student to communicate on a personal level with co-workers and superiors. Observing what these professionals actually do, and how they carry themselves is a great way for an intern to transcend from a learner, to a doer. This personal development is invaluable to a young professional. Confidence is gained when you a challenging task is completed through hard work and perseverance. The fact that an employer has entrusted a job of value to an untried worker should weigh heavily on the mind. Take the pressure and use it as motivation. Resist the urge to panic when the work gets tough and the deadlines become short, because this is distracting and can block professional creativity.

There are many codes of conduct that aren’t taught in a university classroom. Putting yourself in an office environment allows you to learn to coordinate your schedule with others. Things that seem petty, like lunch hours and off days should be scheduled with co-workers and supervisors in mind. Be available for the shifts that no one else wants, because a great impression is made if you make your co-workers and superior’s jobs easier. This keeps you from seeming self-entitled, and shows others in the office that you are here to be a helping hand instead of an obstacle.

College is perfect place to learn self-reliance and independence. An internship is a perfect place to put those qualities to use. During the college years, students mold their intellect. During an internship a student begins molding their characters. A good combination of the two can have a huge impact on the rest of your career. Procrastination during classes may get you through your lessons, but procrastinating in the real world will teach you a lesson! One must find the motivation necessary to focus on the job at hand. If a boss assigns a project then it must be a top priority. Hanging out every night, and then beginning a project one or two days before it’s due will get a passing grade in school, but to an employer, the lack of effort will show. Errors due to lack of preparation, research and proof reading are drastic when it comes to an internship because an honest manager will not give you a letter of recommendation that is undeserved.

Internships can be paid, or unpaid. The vast majority of them are unpaid, and for a reason. Employers see unpaid or low paying internships as a good way to ease the strains on a budget. The term unpaid can be misleading, though. Rewards gleaned while interning can come in the form of money and work experience. Both rewards have value and substance in the real world. Hands on conferences and training sessions can be expensive, and an intern is getting similar results for free. In order to devote the amount of time that is needed to be successful at an internship, sometimes it is necessary to quit all other jobs. Most college students, and recent graduates, are already struggling financially and this is often a sticky situation. If a paid internship can be found, then the previously mentioned burden can be avoided. Paid internships are rare and in a slow economy, highly competitive. Not to worry though, because studies show that unpaid internship tend to be more challenging, and therefore, more enriching.

In conclusion I would like to stress the importance of applying oneself to the tasks given while interning. Good opportunities don’t come along often in life. An internship is a good opportunity that can be very beneficial to one’s future career, but if not taken seriously, can greatly hinder a young professional’s entrance into the work world.

What Motivates Students To Succeed In College?

In college, each student is motivated to succeed by a combination of things. That’s why it makes sense for students to discover and utilize the motivators that effectively push them forward, toward their most important goals. Here are some of the motivators that help students find success.

1. Self-Realization – College is a time when students can discover, become and experience the person they want to be. When they are motivated in this way, they will find college to be a fun and exciting time, a time when they can explore a variety of courses, join interesting clubs, participate in campus activities, meet interesting people, explore their capabilities and identify their passions. As they begin to learn and grow, they will be motivated to push those limits and find the person who resides inside.

2. Personal Satisfaction – Some students take pride in facing the challenges of college and coming through it all having done well. They are motivated internally and get a great deal of personal satisfaction from doing a good job.

3. Challenge – There are students are motivated by a challenge. They see college as a big challenge, one that requires them to fight for success. Students who have the personality, operating style and self-confidence to face and overcome challenges will do well in this environment because they won’t allow themselves to fail.

4. Fear – For some students, fear is a good motivator. These students do well in college because they don’t want to lose their scholarships, don’t want graduate without a job, don’t want to fail out and still have large loan repayments and don’t want to anger or embarrass their families.

5. Joy of Learning – Some students truly love the college environment. They enjoy learning and devour information on subjects that turn them on. They strive to become knowledge experts, thought leaders and information repositories. The need for information motivates them.

6. A Clear Purpose – When students head off to college with a clear and single-minded purpose, they are usually motivated to do well. They see college as a means to an end, one that is important to them. On the other hand, students who enter college with no clear purpose in mind are less likely to perform well. They don’t place a high value on a college education because they don’t see how a college education will help them get where they want to go. It serves no purpose for them.

7. Approval – Many students seek and are motivated by praise, encouragement and recognition for good work. When students are good at something and achieve exceptional results, their status in that environment goes up. When people compliment them, point them out as examples and look up to them, they shine.

8. Life Goals – Students frequently see their college education as a launching pad to their futures. A good education can lead to a good job, money, security and all of the trappings of success. They are motivated to do well because college will help them build a better future.

9. Aid Others – Some students are motivated by the need to help others. To reach their goal, they must perform well in college. A college education will to enable them fulfill their dream of serving others. They know that nurses, teachers, caregivers, counselors and other helpers can only get started with a good education.

Everyone is motivated by something. In fact, most college students are motivated by a combination of factors. Therefore, wise students recognize and utilize their own personal motivators. They understand that motivated students will always perform at a higher level than students who are unmotivated and uninspired.

Military Veterans Need a College Success Plan

The Veteran’s Administration is providing additional funding to encourage more veteran’s to attend college. This is a great financial commitment but many veterans are intimidated by the thought of attending college. Most veterans fall into the adult learner category because most of them are over 24. Sitting in a class with much younger students can seem awkward. Some veterans have graduated from high school and they have right into the armed services. There was no time to think about college. One way that a veteran can prepare for college is by having a college success plan.

A college success plan is a set of activities that a veteran can use to improve their chances of graduating from college. Just the thought of submitting a college application can cause some veterans anxiety. It may not be fun to sit in classes where the students view you as an outsider. This is one reason why it is important to have a college success plan. Veterans need time to adjust to college life. They must work on their own perceptions that they are not ready to enroll in college. There is no need to be fearful about the amount of work that will be required for each veteran. Colleges have many resources such as advisors, tutors and counselors who can make the adjustment to college life a lot easier. You can call a local college to determine the different types of services that they offer.

One of the important things that a veteran can do is to work on study skills. This is one area where students of all ages have difficulty. Each veteran can benefit from learning how to study prior to starting first year classes. For example a good study habit is taking time to read all chapters before classes start. The chapters should be read several days before a class begins. It’s important to get your mind ready to absorb the information you are studying. By studying early you eliminate the stress of needing more time to read your textbook. When you are listening to a lecture the important facts from your textbook will be familiar. If there is something that you don’t understand don’t be afraid to talk to your instructor.

Planning to manage your time is a vital element of a veteran’s college success. Veterans who learn how to manage their time have much greater success. The management of your time will help you to set priorities for your week. Getting control of your time will enable you to do an accurate time management schedule. It is far better to plan your test preparation than to wait until the last second. If you have a plan to study several hours you can also put time in your schedule to enjoy yourself. You will experience less stress because you have a road map to meet all of your assignment deadlines.

Veterans should get ready for every test early. Students who have success on their tests know that starting test preparation early yields good results. Take time to clear up any missing information in your notes. Use 3 x 5 cards to memorize important facts. You can have a stack of cards for each class. Then set aside some time each day to memorize your 3 x 5 cards and important facts presented by the instructor. This is just one way to organize your study sessions. Recognize that you are in control of the amount of knowledge that you obtain each day.

Veterans need to spend time getting to know what the instructors require for each class. An important place to start is reading the syllabus. The syllabus is a guide to the important topics that your teacher is discussing. Compare notes with other students who are in your class. Creating time to form groups with other students is beneficial. Organizing a study group can be a very easy way to get to know people in your classes. During each session you can find out information that is missing from your notes.

It’s important for each veteran to take time to identify which classes are interesting during the first semester of attending college classes. You can position yourself for success during your first semester just by dedicating yourself to learning and eliminating distractions. The fact that you have decided to go to college is a great accomplishment. More veterans need to take advantage of this opportunity. This country needs more veterans who will use their minds to improve the global competitiveness of this country.

Traditionally A College Feeling

It’s what we do to kick off the game; it’s what we do between quarters, at half time, on third down conversions, and when touchdowns are made; it’s what we do that makes us proud of our college and our team. It sets us apart from all others in our league and gives us a unique branding of who we are and all that we represent. It’s called tradition, (a state of mind, a state of inner being and outward display of emotional spirit) or simply put “pride and joy”!

Whether you display your devotion to a college team by the apparel you sport or the gear you accumulate over time, one matter of certainty is that every fan is bound to know, at best, a handful of the many traditions upheld on campus or in the football stadium. From adrenaline rushes to hair raising goose bumps, from moments of solitude and silence to moments of deafening chants and stadium rumbles, there isn’t a college campus or college stadium anywhere where you won’t find a student body or fan base steadfast and enthusiastically involved.

Speaking of stadium rumbles, this calls to mind a Metallica favorite. The Hokies of Virginia Tech are known for their “Enter Sandman” explosive entrance on to the football field as the crowd jumps up and down the moment the music fills the air, causing a rumble effect throughout the stadium. If you are a college sports fanatic and haven’t visited Lane Stadium for this experience, make it a bucket list item. School mascots representative of live animals escort their team to the field like Uga, the bulldog from the University of Georgia and Ralphie, the enormous buffalo from the University of Colorado. Warriors like Tommy Trojan and the Travelers from the University of Southern California and Chief Osceola riding in on a beautiful Appaloosa with a flaming spear take center stage to commence their performance on the field.

Others may rub their hands for good luck on significant tokens or symbolic structures prior to leaving the team’s tunnel or stepping foot on the field of play, like Clemson University’s Howard’s Rock and the University of Maryland’s Terrapin. Infamous arm motions like that of the University of Florida’s notorious gator chomp and hand gestures symbolizing bullhorns for the South Florida Bulls and Texas Longhorns, or the outburst of chants such as, “We Are… Marshall” or “Let’s Go… Tigers”! And then there’s a bit of history to be noted in things like the “Ramblin’ Wreck” of Georgia Tech and the “Sooner Schooner” of Oklahoma. Regardless of what any college or university embraces with tradition, those values interject a deeper inward feeling of pride and spirited exuberance.

Invariably, acts of traditions are not limited to fight songs, sporting school colors, game day chants, body motions, team spirit cheers, and scoring rituals, but they are certain to be learned by newcomers and carried out faithfully game by game, year after year, and decades to come. Many times over, countless traditions seem to have been magically, or accidentally, whimmed up on the spur of the moment with no real reason or purpose in mind. They may have just begun as an unintentional moment of joyous expression, even sometimes perpetrated as a joke of sorts. Be it coincidence or persistence, these college feelings happen to have all the right stuff that dwells in the hearts and minds of students and parents, fans and spectators, players and coaches, staff and faculty members to the point where you might hear one say, “The color orange is in my blood” or “I bleed purple”. You can’t get any closer to the heart than that.

College Application Strategies: Conquering The College Application Process

First and foremost, watch your deadlines carefully: the importance of applying to colleges early

Each application is stamped with a date that it was received in the admissions office. It is to your advantage to have your application complete in the admissions office as soon as the institution is poised to receive applications for the up and coming class. I emphasize that the application package is to be completed as soon as possible with the help of your guidance office. You the student, and your parents have to make sure that the institution has received your application, your essays, your SAT/ACT scores, your letters of recommendations, and any other supporting documents ASAP. It is your responsibility to check with the admissions office to make sure that your application is complete. Don’t assume that your application is complete until you have checked on it yourself.

Colleges and universities will read those completed applications that they received first. It will benefit you to be in the first group of applications that will be considered for admissions. Towards the end of the applicant pool, the institutions will become a little more selective which lessens your chance for admissions especially if your profile is not extremely strong for that year’s applicant pool. The admissions process comes down to the strength and depth of the applicant pool for that particular year. It is not personal but a numbers game.

I cannot over emphasize the importance of submitting your application way before the expressed deadline. “The early bird gets the worm” is a saying that is appropriate for the admissions process.

The importance of a good and relevant essay: make sure that your essay is well written

By this time of the year, (fall) you should have your essay done and looked over by your English teacher. Your personal essay is your chance to put your application front and center. You can make your application come alive provided that you have written a good essay. Your essay needs to be well written and relevant. It should be an extension of you. It also should be about you or something that is very important to you. It should shed a light on you as the college admissions candidate. It can make or break your chance for admissions. Don’t confuse your personal essay with the short essays that you may have to write for some college applications.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: make sure that you apply to at least two (2) safety schools

My pet peeve is the lack of consideration of safety schools because most you will think and spend a lot of time researching your reach school and schools within your profile but not spend much time on the schools that you will most likely attend. When you apply to schools, make sure that you have a serious conversation with your parents about paying for school or schools on your list. You want to have a good idea of what schools you and your parents can afford to pay for with a little help or no help at all. I implore you to seriously have this talk with your parents because you don’t want to scramble to find a school that you can afford in May of your senior year. A school or schools that you can get in to and afford to attend is the most important school on your list.

You should apply to at least two safety schools, two schools within your profile and at least two schools that are your pie in the sky (if you get in and get enough financial aid, you will attend). In order to determine your safety schools, you and your parents should get an estimated Expected Family Contribution figure prior to applying to colleges.

Take advantage of any situation that will set your application aside from the general pool: emphasize any part of your profile that will give you a leg up on the current pool of applicants

Finally, before you apply to college, you and your parents should sit down and brainstorm about any circumstances that may give you a leg up in the admissions process. I also suggest that you sit down with your guidance counselor and go over any thing that you do to maximize your acceptance chances. Keep in that any unique situation that can help you get in to schools that you may consider a long shot because of your academic profile, may also land you a great financial aid package. These unique situations or talents can be anything from sports, performing arts, special abilities, race, and family situations. You should play any card that God has given you to advance your future. Don’t be afraid to use the race card even if you only have a small percentage of the minority race in you (you may be ΒΌ Indian for an example). The selective colleges and universities will always try to recruit talented minorities to their campus because they want to have a diverse campus. One of my sons benefited from the situations mentioned above (sports and race).

Conquering the college application process is easy if you work closely with your guidance counselor and the information on my website below.