Archive for the ‘3. Graduate’ Category

…continuing the Milestone Step

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Some students go to college knowing exactly what they want to do. But most don’t. At large state universities it is not uncommon that over 75% percent of freshmen, even those who have declared a major, say they are uncertainCollege Students in stands about their major, and half will change their minds after they declare, sometimes more than once. That is one big reason that only 37% of students graduate in four years.

Colleges and universities have vested interests in students declaring early. Retention rates for declared students are better, and they are more likely to graduate in four years. But college officials also recognize that deciding on a major can be overwhelming, especially when coupled with the fear that a wrong choice will result in added semesters and tuition. Students no longer have the luxury of stumbling into a major or making mistakes, not that they ever did.

This requires thinking ahead. Teenagers are not expected to know what to do with the rest of their lives at age 18, but with coaching they can cover the bases with prudent planning. Some majors have a curriculum that follows a tight sequence of courses. It’s easier to switch out of engineering than it is to take it up  later in the college career.

The biggest mistake students make is failing to research what’s required of the major, and the profession. Nursing may sound attractive because a student “wants to help people,” but nursing students take the same demanding math and science curriculum as premed students, and the work is often technical and not for every kindhearted soul. It is also a similar track with Physical Therapy.

More niche filling additions to the list obviously reflect marketplace trends and student demand, like culinary science/culinology, digital arts and sports communication. At Montclair State University in New Jersey, which offers 300 majors, minors and concentrations, a new fashion studies major has been hugely popular, thanks to the university’s proximity to Manhattan; with Madison Square Garden and Giants Stadium in sight. It also guides the ambitious undergrad toward internship opportunities in a sports industry and event-planning major within its business school.

Still, it’s difficult to predict the employment market. That is why I will encourage students to think “outside the hqdefaultbox”. In other words if the job doesn’t exist…create one.  Many students choose majors they think will lead to jobs, but four years from now freshmen will be applying for jobs that don’t even exist today.

Most employers are looking for transferable skills…the ability to problem solve, work collaboratively, write and speak clearly and think critically. These can be developed in any liberal arts discipline. It makes no sense to “suffer through a major because you think it will lead to employment.

In the final analysis, wherever a teenager goes and does after high school, which I call “Crossing the Gap…Preparing for the Transition”, where they go does not matter as much as what they do when they got there.

The late great business philosopher, Jim Rohn, said this ~“A formal education will make you a living, but self-education will make you a fortune!”  These two college graduates understood that. You can too! 1 (978) 820-1295

How to Ensure That College is a Good Investment

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

All I have left is this tshirtAs the high school Class of 2015 becomes the Class of 2019 as freshmen in college, the College Board continues to support the belief that earning a college degree now is more important than ever before in the global economy. A typical bachelor’s-degree recipient, they claim, earns 80 percent more than a high school graduate during a 40-year career, more than $500,000 over a lifetime. That financial incentive has resulted in an enrollment surge in the past decade for American colleges and universities.

In addition, since 1990, supply and demand and increased Federal Aid loan and grant programs (for the poor) have allowed colleges to continue increasing tuition and fees faster than inflation since 1990. (Grove City College is a prime exception.) This has stretched the budgets of parents with incomes ranging from $100,000 to $350,000 to save even enough to cover one or two years of college costs. In past posts I discussed why college is so expensive.

When the financial bubble burst because of lack of oversight of investment banks in 2008, average college costs in the U.S. consumed some 40 percent of median earnings in the United States, up from less than a quarter of income eight years earlier. baflr23_frank_walts_630Now as students and parents have fallen prey to the student loan scam, debt has surpassed more than $1 trillion, parents are asking what they were getting in return for the high cost of a college degree. While the value of higher education to prepare for a career continues to be the big selling point promoting college, prospective students and their parents are beginning to cast doubt on the return on investment of certain majors and particular colleges.

In response, many colleges, like Lafayette, and High Point University are focusing even more on the outcomes of their students and are putting in place programs to better prepare their undergraduates for the job market. In an extensive survey of college leaders, conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education in the fall of 2014, six in 10 of them reported an increase in discussions about job preparation for their graduates in just the past three years. The survey, completed by some 800 vice presidents, deans and directors at two-year and four year colleges, focused on their attitudes about the value of their degrees, strategies to measure the outcomes of their graduates, and what skills higher education should provide to students.

President Obama used the annual address to announce new higher-education proposals, proposals that did not bring joy to college cropped-money-pic-2.jpg
administrators who wanted more federal dollars for student aid. But on this night, the president was not to announce any new federal investment in higher education. Instead, he said his administration would release a new ‘College Scorecard’ that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criterion: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.

Now there would be a government tool (and additional layers of costly, redundant bureaucracy) that would turn college into a product to compare in the same way consumers size up cars or televisions in Consumer Reports. The more things that change, the more they stay the same. Everyone wants to protect what they have, particularly if what they have is a cash cow.

Working with students with college aspirations, we show them the value of following steps that will lead to the outcomes they want. One of those steps is helping them discover what they want and another to help them understand the financial ramifications of those decisions.

Success Next xitWhile colleges and universities attempt to redefine their approaches to measuring student outcomes after graduation, we show families how to do their own due diligence in measuring the merits of colleges by asking good questions and applying good old, albeit rare, critical thinking.

It all starts with a complimentary “get acquainted” no obligation conversation with us at (978) 820-1295. Simple postgraduate surveys are not enough for many prospective parents and students to. But there are proven methods to prepare students for the job market and measure their success long after graduation.

Good News for the Undergraduate

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

     For 25 years I have been encouraging college students to take full advantage of their college’s advising services. (Get your free gift below,) This includes teacher mentoring, internships and the Career Planning Services office. One does not have to look very far to learn that many college graduates are leaving college with student loans and little job prospects much less any related to their chosen major.

     Yes, on the surface it does not bode well for the current undergrad. However, there are steps that both the student and the college can take to brighten that outcome. I was very encouraged recently when I saw the attention given to sophomores at some colleges during the annual ritual of newly minted college freshman saying “good bye” to parents.     

     It is encouraging to see more and more colleges taking their role as advisors more proactively. For instance look at Lafayette College’s website.They are not hesitating to open their books to prospective students with information as to what past graduates have been able to accomplish.

     If you are a recent graduate or parent, and considering to do something new, here are two resources I can confidently recommend. They can work with you wherever you call home. 🙂

    1. Kim Meninger, MBA, a very intuitive Executive Coach and Career Strategist. Take your first step here.

    2. Joanne Meehl Career Services offers terrific tips on her Blog and one on one counseling.

         If you are a college student, how much research into the advising and internship options have you done? If little, start to familiarize yourself with the career services office, even if you are a freshman. By the way, one student who took the matter of interning VERY seriously has turned her experience into a business. Meet Lauren Berger, the InternQueen.

     Once the freshman year has been successfully navigated and you know what is expected academically, it is now time to really get serious and think about why you are in college.

     The passing of Steve Jobs reminded me of his 2005 graduation talk to Stanford graduates. It is without a doubt, one of the finest commencement speeches ever delivered in history! Here are the transcript and video of his life changing message. Think about what he said. For me, it was one of the most insightful and spiritually aware statements of purpose I have ever heard. Let me know what you think?

     Speaking of “insightful” if you have done the self-assessment called “Do What You Are” with us, do not forget that is a rich resource of career descriptions and academic concentrations that are matched up to your individual natural strengths and innate characteristics that will comprise your personality for your lifetime on this planet we call Earth!

     It is literally at your fingertips for years to come. Take advantage of that. If you have not “bookmarked” the link, I will send you the link. In addition, if you have any questions regarding your choice of major, send me an email ~ help@SmartCollegePlanning.org

     Finally, all undergrads (or grads) that complete our undergraduate survey here by July 15, 2017 (in celebration of our 25th Anniversary) my gift to you will be the book The Secret to Getting a Job After College. We look forward to hearing about how you are doing.

Generations

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

beloit prof imagesFifteen years ago two professors at Beloit College in Wisconsin published a list of observations they determined to be characteristic of the entering freshman that would be graduating in 2002.  It went viral soon after that and became a greatly anticipated annual event in certain academic circles. It is funny, it is eye-opening and it is scary!

For instance, if you were born post 1995, having a chat seldom involved talking. Java has never been just a cup of coffee; the US has always imposed economic sanctions against Iran; you never attended a concert in a smoke filled arena and rights of passage had more to do with when you got your own cell phone or Skype account than getting a drivers license or car.millennials 2

The list that will characterize the high school Class of 2014 (that will graduate college in 2018) has not been released yet, but if it will be as terrifying as last years ….YIKES!

What an interesting sociological study of the ever changing generational changes.

As a student of a certain era, I look back and reminisce from time to time. It is fun to do that isn’t it? I know that social scientists have put labels on various populations since the twenties.

In what year were you born? How well do you fit within that period of that time?

  1. 1928 to 1945 ~ The Silent Generation (Some might say the greatest.)
  2. 1946 to 1964 ~ The Baby Boom Generation
  3. 1965 to 1980 ~ Generation X
  4. 1981 to 2002 ~ The Millennial Generation

Now, it may be easy to place yourself into one of those chronologically but if you want to know how you truly fit in a particular generation, I suggest you take the 14 question POP quiz below. 🙂

I took it and found it uncannily accurate. Find out for yourself here.

Presently, all of our students are part of the Millennial Generation and most (but not all) of their parents are Generation X. Holy coffin nails Batman! None of them were alive when JFK was killed. Do they even know what JFK was planning on doing as President? How much have they learned about history in AP History?  I hope more than I think based on the annual survey below.

Are you ready for this?  Of course you are. Let me know what you think you could add to the list.

 

Crossing the Gap ~ Preparing for the transition

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Bridging the GapIn the post WW II era of the early 50’s there were approximately 3 million college students; now there are 20 million. A college degree which used to be seen as a luxury, something which would, in a lifetime, enrich and enlighten….is now seen as a ticket to a bigger paycheck. Colleges, supported by the College Board and politicians in the District of Columbia, continue to say that a Bachelor degree is worth over 1.3 million dollars more in earnings than a high school diploma. Look at the report published by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Work Force.

Students walking in winter  But now we hear that the undergraduate degree is not enough and that an increasing number of graduates are unemployed or underemployed. If that is true, why is it true? 

  1. Are employers raising the proverbial bar for advancement or even entry level jobs within the organization?
  2. Is it because colleges are graduating students with little more knowledge or critical thinking skills than they had in high school ?
  3. Or is it because college graduates are not prepared to enter the work force because they have had little or no substantive work experience while they were college students?

Many would blame the “economy”.  Yes, we hear a lot in the news about jobs being scarce because of the “great recession”. But we are not told why. I suggest it is because our Keynesian economic system, based on fiat currency and debt, has been subtlety used to manipulate trends of “booms and bust” in the economy since 1913 and was accelerated in 1971 when the dollar was taken off the gold standard. Currently, there is statistical evidence that the graduating college and high school class of 2013 continue to face dim job prospects. It is one of the symptoms of the excess borrowing and inflationary spending.

Despite that reality check, there is good news for the undergraduates here. 🙂

Internship opps Newly minted college graduates (and parents) have made significant down payments on their futures in terms of both time and money, and they typically have a considerable burden of debt right out of the gate. If that graduate did not investigate the career services department beginning in the freshman year (preferably when they were still in high school) he or she may have missed getting the internship or co-op experience needed to optimize employment prospects.

If you are an undergraduate now or thinking about going to college, look around your community. Is there something you see that is being done (legally) 🙂 by someone that not only looks interesting but enjoyable and …dare I say fun? Though you may not be able to tell at first, are they earning an income that supports their life style?

Take an honest assessment of your natural strengths and innate characteristics. (If you have done that work with me already, return to the computer where you have made it a favorite.) Research that work that looks like fun and learn what it will take to do it. By the way, did you know that the best definition of “work” is NOT in the dictionary? Here it is.

Work (wurk) n ‘something you do when you would rather be doing something else’

Is that a Utopian ideal? Not necessarily.

       If you are a whiz in math or science that does not mean you should be an engineer, mathematician or doctor. Your peers, relatives and teachers may say so, and they may be right. But I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of adults I know who are now self-employed with time freedom to spend doing things they never dreamed they could do and spend time with their families all while writing their own paycheck. The work they are doing may even be unrelated to what their college major was. Learn from the learning curve of adults and college students like these who have walked the path ahead of you and changed their destinies…by focusing on doing, not wishing.

     If you cannot find your dream job why not create one! As a matter of fact, forget about a job for a moment. After all, did you know that  JOB is an acronym for “Just Over Broke”. Jim Rohn, the late great business philosopher  and mentor for millions of successful entrepreneurs said, “Formal education can help make you a living, but self-education will make you a fortune.”  

       He was a master with words and ‘walked the talk’ by doing. We ALL have the ability to change, but as Jim Rohn said in another memorable quote, If you really want to do something, you will find a way; if you don’t you will find an excuse.”   If you would like some help or simply assurance that you are on the right track, give us a call. No more excuses. 🙂

Eric Goodhart ~ (978) 820-1295

 

What is College For?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

As we enter the second semester of the academic year, millions of high school students are anxiously awaiting college acceptance letters. Some have heard already from those colleges. The students who applied in a college’s ED, EA or rolling admissions program. But the most competitive colleges will not make their final decisions until late March for the RA pool of applications.

Other than those students who were accepted in December in an ED program, all other students will have until May 1 to make their final decisions. Before that deadline it is the colleges that will be nervous. That is, who will say “Yes, I am accepting your acceptance” back to them! In the college ratings game made popular by US News & Reports, the higher the yield the higher the ranking.

Yes, it is an exciting time. But let’s step back a minute and consider this. What is college for anyway? Is it REALLY worth the expense? Colleges will tell you it is an investment. But in financial jargon an “investment” is made in anticipation of an outcome greater than the time or money put into it.  Is that what the outcome is in the majority of cases?

In May of 2011, the Pew Research Center released surveys that indicate that 57% of Americans feel that universities in the US fail to provide good value for the money spent. College has always been expensive but in the last 21 years I have seen an escalation of costs that are way out of proportion with income, with one significant exception. Parents view college price tags with a wary eye, as they should. According to the survey only 35% of the American adult public said colleges were doing a “good” job in terms of providing value to students; 42% said “only fair” and 15% said “poor”.  In the same survey, however, 84% of recent college graduates said college had been a good investment; only 7% said it had not been.

Why the disparity in belief? Is that because young people don’t want to admit the four years plus they spent in college was money (more often a parent’s money) not well spent?  What I sense some of them saying is that the benefits they received are intangible, immeasurable and not connected to what a particular degree ‘got’ them.

Hopefully, as teenagers mature through their twenties they develop a fair amount of critical thinking and social networking skills. They will benefit greatly from learning as much, if not more, outside the classroom as in it. That is why I put a great deal of emphasis on understanding the nature and depth of academic and career advising at each college they are considering. The student who is pro-active in pursuing internships as an undergraduate often has an advantage amongst his peers following graduation.

Call us at Programs for Education for a complimentary ‘get acquainted’ conversation. Learn how you and your children can get the best return on investment from their college experience.

 

Learning is a Life Long Activity

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

JFKMany of us remember the inspiring words delivered by our 35th President, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” The Peace Corps was just one of JFK’s dreams that is still carried on by not only college graduates but altruistic older adults as well.

Another dream JFK had, woke up many independent thinkers of    his generation. Like President Lincoln before him, he wanted to return our currency system to the control of the US government, not a central bank controlled by international bankers. This would require changing the way the  private Federal Reserve did business or eliminating it altogether. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Following his tragic death many changes took place.  One may come as a shock to you. It was the scheme by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations to promote and fund the women’s ‘liberation’ movement. As a strong supporter of women, I thought that was a good thing. But there were ulterior motives behind what appeared to be a noble effort by the financial backers of the women’s lib movement.

The private banks that own the Federal and State tax exempt  Federal Reserve (watch that superb documentary) needed more citizens to pay taxes. More  money they printed (out of thin air) and loaned with interest to Congress needed to be paid back. In the 1950’s it was rare that a mother would have a full-time job outside the home. One parent’s income would cover most family needs. In time, because of increased government borrowing and the resulting devaluation of the dollar, it  became necessary for both parents to be working to pay the bills for basic goods and services. It was a strategy that has had a subtle negative short and long term effect on many families. As a Rockefeller family member said to Aaron Russo, it was designed to do just that.     1040 Tax Form

Most college students don’t know that the Internal Revenue Service is a de facto government agency. It is simply the collection agency for the private international bankers that own the Fed. Not a dime of the Federal income tax paid to the IRS goes to the US government. It all goes to the interest on the debt incurred by our Congress that borrowed the fiat currency to pay for various programs; perpetual wars and covert intelligence activities around the globe.

In July, 1944 the world’s leaders met in Bretton Woods, NH  to set the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency backed by gold and silver. In 1971 President Nixon, without consulting with other member nations, severed (“temporarily”) that agreement to link the value of the dollar to gold. The ‘golden age’ and credibility of the US dollar was over. This action was not a temporary measure; the global markets were flooded with fiat money which has increased over the years, leading to massive borrowing to fund the aforementioned questionable activities. For example, just the fraudulent war in Afghanistan costs the US 300 million dollars a day! And do not ignore the even more astronomical other costs of war.

If you have read this far, you may be asking “what can we do?” Most college economics courses are taught by professors who teach the Keynesian economic system and ignore teaching the Austrian theory, the crux of which is common sense. The fractional reserve fiat system on which our banking system is based has created a credit culture of borrowers and spenders (personal and institutions) drowning in debt. Fortunately, there is a solution! But it requires the opening of our hearts and minds and to be aware of our own cognitive dissonance. If that common, albeit limited way of thinking is not recognized, it will be very hard, if not impossible, to “see the big picture” let alone change it for the better.

 

Real World Preparation

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Anyone who has ever been on a job interview will tell you, one of the first questions an interviewer will ask is; “What kind of experience have you had that has prepared you for the position?”

If you are a recent college graduate and aspire to be employed (for example) as a financial analyst for  a growing international company like this one, will you be able to say …”Yes, thank you for asking. The two summers, while in college, working for Bain & Company in Boston inspired my decision to work for a company that has strong growth potential not only in the North American market but internationally as well.”

Having already done research into the company to which you seek employment, you go on to say…”I earned my BA in International Business with an emphasis on economic policy. I am also fluent in both German and Mandarin Chinese, countries in which you do business. The work I did in a collaborative team environment was to analyze the financial reports of companies to determine the areas of strength and weaknesses. We then would make proposals to make the necessary changes to replace the weaknesses with vital improvements for the short and long term.”

Or will you be saying to a future employer, (because you did not take advantage of any substantive internships during college) “Well, I managed the Trading Post Snack Bar at Camp Tip-A-Canoe in Vermont for two summers. At the end of the summer I  showed a profit of at least $94.25 from the sale of all the cookies and candy sold to the campers.”

Listen up! It is not too late. There is good news for the current undergraduate here. Internships provide short-term practical experience for students and recent graduates. They may be located anywhere in the world. Check with you college career services office. In fact, a college student should know what that office does starting in the freshman year. Though many internships will be done in the summer following the junior year, the ambitious student will research and apply for one before the end of the sophomore year.

Take a look at what one enterprising student did. She saw a need and filled it! She is now known as the Intern Queen. Learn from her. By the way, you can probably guess what her personality archetype is, can’t you?

According to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers reported that, on average, more that 3 out of 5 hires had internship experience. Many employers hire directly from their internship programs.

Career counselors, books, and other resources can be helpful in the application and interview process. In fact, if you are an undergraduate or even out of college and still not sure the direction you wish to take, call us at (978) 820-1295. Let’s discuss the options that will save you time and aggravation.

A History Lesson

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

“You cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created the problem.”

That quote has been attributed to Albert Einstein. I am not sure in what context he said that, but when it comes to the current escalation of student and parent debt, there could be a lesson to be learned. One does not have to look far to recognize that there is a problem. To solve the problem, therefore, we must NOT rely on the same thinking by the people (or institutions) that created the problem.

When the world was getting back on its’ feet following World War II there was huge expansion in the US economy.  As in WWI, the nation was not subject to the civilian genocide and property destruction in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. We were seen as the leader of the western world.

In fact, in July of 1944, 760 delegates from 44 countries met in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire at the            Mt Washington Hotel to set monetary policy for the “civilized” world. The delegates agreed upon a monetary policy that set the US dollar (backed by gold and silver), as the standard for world currency. From that event came the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the system of exchange rate management was set up.

That system stayed in place until the country overspent during the “guns and butter” decade of the 60’s. The decision was made to take the dollar off the gold  standard in 1971. Watch this short historic video when President Nixon announced that action. That marked a significant issuance of fiat currency (money created out of thin air) by the Federal Reserve, a devaluation of the dollar and ever-increasing debt.

I know it may be a fantasy of mine, but I suggest that we teach basic money management in every high school. Many students who major in economics in U.S. colleges do not even understand the exponential value of money. Nor do they know as much as this bright 12 year old has already learned in Canada. I once interviewed a graduate of Harvard for a management position I had. He majored in Economics and when I asked him if he could explain the “Rule of 72” as it relates to money, he did not know what I was talking about!

The problem is that we are a society that does not save, we spend. Saving, not spending grows the economy. This is not what we are taught in school. Believing that a college education is a right (or even a necessity) is putting our kids into debt. If college is the next milestone step in a teenager’s life, he or she should understand how that financial decision will impact his or her future. So many college graduates have the rule of 72 working against them rather than for them. Over the last 25 years I have watched college costs escalate at higher than the rate of inflation. As the federal and state governments made more grants and loans available for colleges to use to fill a family’s financial need, the faster college costs went up.

The ONLY college that saw the insanity of what the governments were doing  and did something about it, was Grove City College in Pennsylvania. But they had to go all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States to fight and maintain their independence! Unbelievable. Only two other colleges to my knowledge followed their example and the principles of sound economics.

Pop Quiz! Name those two colleges and I will send you in US currency what a dollar is worth in gold.

Therefore, in order to get out of this looming debt crisis, we have to teach our kids real financial literacy beyond how to balance a check book and not rely on government for solutions to an economic challenge including paying for college.

You Want to be a Doctor?

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Do you have a student or are you a student with aspirations to be a Doctor of Medicine? With all the talk about health care issues and challenges, our basic western system of Allopathic medicine continues to frustrate both the patient and caregiver. My strong suggestion to aspiring doctors and nurses is to read this well-written book before entering a field that is getting more purblind in understanding true wellness and based on scientific methods that have proven to be inadequate when it comes to curing …much less preventing disease.

My philosophy of placing more emphasis on prevention of disease than treatment of symptoms (watch the 3 short videos ASAP) is making more sense as costs become more unmanageable. It is all about the “ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.” Particularly when the “cure” is simply designed to manage the symptoms with questionable drugs and not address the real cause of disease. Now, with Codex Alimentarius, it will be illegal for a physician to practice proven alternative therapies to heal the body and/or prevent the disease in the first place. Eric Goodhart

Confused Docs

Future Docs Are Confused, Too

 

Struggling to understand the national debate over health care? You’re not alone — your future doctor may well be baffled, too.

A study published in the September issue of Academic Medicine found that nearly half of all medical students believe they have been inadequately educated about the “practice of medicine” — especially related to medical economics.

“Our patients expect us to understand the system,” said Matthew M. Davis, one of the researchers and an associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan’s medical school. “If we don’t, that can result in poor patient care. And if we don’t expect doctors to understand the health care system, who is going to?”

The study, by Davis and two colleagues at Michigan, examined tens of thousands of survey responses from medical students about the extent and perceived quality of their training in an array of curricular areas, including clinical care and decision-making and the practice of medicine — with the latter including health care systems, managed care, and practice management, among other areas.    (more…)