Not to be underestimated – Community college is not the ugly stepsister of university

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Every year, millions of students around the world put in constant effort, energy, and man hours into ensuring that their academic record remains at its utmost best. Throughout the calendar year, students work tirelessly on assignments, group assessments, and exam revision, often at the expense of other aspects of life such as sleep, hobbies and quality time with loved ones. Regardless of if you are a student from a wealthy family or a student from a medium to low income background, the choice to go to either community college or university does not automatically make you better or worse than any other student.

Some students can manage to seamlessly do it all, earning perfect grades while maintaining a quality of work that is second to none, while others spend hours upon hours perfecting various aspects of their work (including skills like academic writing, copy editing) to keep their grades high. Regardless of which way a student tends to go about their studies, one thing remains true: taking on a degree in higher education is one of the most challenging and rewarding things that a person can do for themselves and their future (i.e. if that is what they want).

Unfortunately, there seems to be an unfair consensus that community colleges are not as good as universities. This unfounded opinion is simply that – an opinion forged on nothing more than personal affliction. Universities like Harvard and Brown pride themselves on their experience and commitment to excellence (and so they should) but their status as the most prestigious of even the Ivy League universities does not necessarily make them better for all students.

The American higher education system was not built to be exclusive, but it is a fact of life that universities cost more money than community colleges. This is for many reasons, but most commonly it is that the universities think of themselves as having more resources, more opportunities, and more of a reputation in being consistently successful. This is not altogether true, but there are some parts that do ring truer than others.

For example, having more expensive fees for students allows universities to invest in more resources. However, do not mistake this fact to mean that more resources automatically means they are better resources; while the money and selection that goes into choosing resources at universities is indeed incredible, colleges have the advantage in that they choose resources more carefully, making the most of the ones that they do select.

Not only are community colleges often cheaper than universities – meaning that they offer students more financial freedom and give more opportunity to students otherwise unable to study further – but they are also often physically smaller. While community college amounts to 33% of higher education students in the US alone, the campuses and schools themselves often are considerably smaller in scale than most of the big universities.

The advantage in this is that students who enroll in community college often get a more up-close-and-personal experience, effectively forging them into some of the strongest and most well-rounded graduates in the world. Community college is no joke, and it is time that the world began taking community colleges more seriously.

Preparing for a life on campus in Australia

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A university degree is generally considered the pathway to a prosperous future in most societies. Thanks to recent research, it is possible to attach a hypothetical figure to the value of higher education, at least in an Australian context. Given the kind of financial support available to students, it would be fair to say that this country is one of the best in the world in terms of the opportunities it offers for future advancement. If you are a student trying to make a decision between taking up a job or enrolling for a university course, it is a no-brainer.

Nonetheless, it is important to make a realistic assessment of the challenges you will face along the way. The sobering reality is that on an average, one out of every three students who sign up for a four-year university programme fail to go the distance. Fortunately, the Australian system insulates students from the burden of repayment until they reach a certain earning capacity. Still, it pays to go into the programme well prepared for the challenges in store, if only to make the most of the opportunity.

If you are one of the thousands of students contemplating the university life, here are three things you want to plan for.

  • Time constraints: The one thing you can say with certainty about university life is that you are going to be constantly running a race against time. Lectures and assignments are certainly going to take away the best part of your day. In addition, if you also plan to work by the side, like over 60 percent of university students in Australia, you need to be prepared for an extremely hectic life.

What that means is that you are in for a seven day week, with insufficient time to even get a good night’s sleep occasionally. Assuredly, that is not as difficult as it sounds as long as you are prepared for the challenge. There are millions of fellow students across the world, who are doing precisely that and millions more who have been there, done that.

  • Writing the essay: Most university courses require you to present an essay with the objective of assessing your understanding of the subject and your ability to communicate them. The idea is a sound one, especially since communication is perhaps the most important ‘soft skill’ you will require at any stage in post-student life.

Unfortunately, writing a structured essay is not something that comes naturally to many of us. Even if it does, it is uncertain whether you will have the luxury of time. Fortunately, paper writing services are available at affordable costs, so it is by no means an insurmountable challenge.

  • Support Structures: It is quite possible that somewhere during the course of university life, you experience a feeling of alienation, especially if the course looks difficult. The problem is particularly common among first-generation students. Therefore, before you embark on the programme ensure that you have your support structures in place. For instance, you can get in touch with students associations, if any, at the universities on your target list and have a network in place even before setting foot in campus.

Early childhood education and development is crucial to the further success of students

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Education is something that is absolutely necessary for the advancement of society. Governments attempt to intervene and take control of education as a means of creating a well-educated society with critical thinking skills. Having a proper academic education can set students up for success in their later years in higher education. Academic education is important, but it is also important to gain an education in other areas. Often times students and people focus their education efforts in one specific area whether it’s academic professional or technical learning where both are considered important. It’s often stereotyped that students are either good at math and science or reading and writing, but truly many students can excel in many subject areas if they are given the opportunity and right teachers. Teachers are incredibly important to the success of students throughout their educational careers.

For some students their education may start at the traditional age of five-years-old when they enter into a kindergarten classroom at a public or private school. This is the first time for many students to be fully immersed in an academic socialization setting. Although this is the first time for many students gaining an academic education, for some they may have attended a child development center or another PreK institution that allowed them to grow as students from a young age. Early childhood development and education is crucial to the success of students as they age and grow into adults. Early intervention of STEM and young reading programs can help students get ahead. The more a child learns before kindergarten can set them up for academic success. All child centers may differ based on tuition and teaching techniques or styles. For example some child development centers may begin from infants all the way up to five-year-olds in PreK. These centers often have many teachers with varying state licenced ratios with multiple classrooms and lesson plans to teach the kids. The more teachers and more classrooms the better because students can be separated into smaller classes. Infant classrooms generally range from 6-weeks-old to a year. Toddler classrooms generally consist of 1-year-olds whereas young PreK classrooms take students at two-years-old and keep them until they are 3-years-old. The 3-5 age group are in regular PreK classrooms. The separation of ages allows for more development in the classroom rather than having the students all together all at once. The students are able to interact with students that are their age and gain crucial socialization skills that will help their cognitive development. As students interact with other students of their own age their curiosity allows them develop communication skills that allow them to demonstrate verbal and nonverbally their wants and needs to others. With properly trained teachers in the classroom there to assist and redirect behaviors, it can be a great way for young toddlers and children to gain an upper hand before attending Kindergarten. Students are able to gain an education from the teacher’s lesson plans, but also learn at a licensed center that may have everything from early-childhood care to developing skills in STEM, reading, and writing and editing services.

Finding financial security in college for improved quality of life

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College represents many freedoms that you didn’t have in high school. However, for most students, it presents a pretty strong limitation: money. It’s not uncommon for students to struggle to make ends meet.

In fact, a 2015 study from Ohio State University showed that 70 percent of students were stressed about their finances. These were the students who were relying on loans, scholarships, and savings to make ends meet. Their primary concern is not having enough money to pay for their schooling and their monthly expenses.

Another survey from LendEDU revealed a shocking amount of ignorance on the part of college students when it comes to money. Forty-three percent said they don’t know the difference between a debit and a credit card.

What’s more, 51 percent learned nothing about finances in high school, and 43 percent reported not tracking their spending. Unsurprisingly, 58 percent said that they hadn’t saved a dime.

Financial knowledge is very powerful. Savings during college may seem impossible, but it can be achieved. If you’re successful, it will set you up for greater success in everything you do.

With the right budgeting tips, any college student can change the struggling stereotype.

The principle of buying used instead of new items may be foreign to some students who previously had everything they needed. However, it’s an excellent tactic for saving thousands per year.

Start with your textbooks. You can get textbooks for up to 90 percent cheaper when you buy them used from stores like Half.com, Amazon, or a used text bookstore in your town. You can also rent them from a site like Chegg.

You also don’t need a brand-new laptop. A gently used or certified refurbished computer will meet your needs for much less. Look for a used option and apply discounts that your college offers to new students.

Clothing, shoes, furniture, small appliances, and other necessities may also be purchased used. Head to a local thrift store and scour the shelves for quality products that will meet your needs.

If you can’t find a used option on certain items, use discount codes to get them for cheap. These savings will add up quickly.

On average, a commercially-prepared meal costs about $13. On the other hand, the average meal prepared at home costs just $4. You’re saving more than 75 percent simply by cooking at home. That’s a lot of money to put in your savings account.

It’s also a great way to stay healthy and avoid gaining the “Freshman 15.” You’ll typically use fewer oils, sugars, and preservatives when cooking at home.

Try to avoid the temptation of unhealthy processed and sugary foods when you’re busy. Too much can harm both your physical health and cognitive thinking. It’ll be much easier to process the information given when you’re eating healthy.

Unless you’re commuting from out of town, you probably don’t need a car while at school. Most college towns are set up with students in mind, including close proximity between housing and campus and extensive public transportation costing less than a dollar a day.

Vehicles are expensive to own, drive, and maintain. You have to pay for your payment, car insurance, gas, oil changes, tire rotations, unexpected repairs, and more. You could be spending several thousand per year on your vehicle, which is money that could be saved for future use.

It’s nice to have a washer and dryer on site and your own bedroom, but those amenities always cost extra. When you’re trying to save money, housing costs eat a huge chunk of your monthly savings.

Finding a better place to live requires research. You’ll probably have to live with someone else, and you may not be as close to campus. However, don’t forget that the experiences you have in this new house can be the best of your life. It’s not always about having the nicest stuff, but about bonding with people and saving money, and more affordable housing can offer both.

Saving while in college is certainly difficult, but the rewards are incredible. Not only will you have cash when starting your new career, but you’ll have beat the statistics, since two-thirds of U.S. citizens have saved very little or nothing at all.

Be wise with your spending, and invest where you can for greater financial peace.

Figuring it out – Three steps to master studying and starting a business

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If you have ever had the inspired thought, “I should start my own tech company or even my own baby products warehouse!”, then you have already begun the thinking process well before most people – in some cases, you are more ahead than others will ever be. Starting a business is not a priority for everyone, but for those that do appeal to the idea of being their own boss, having educational knowledge as well as real-time experience makes all the difference.

Actively making the decision to invest years into one’s education can often prove to be a stroke of genius in regard to your future career path. It is true that it is not always education that gets an individual the furthest they can go professionally, but for some it can mean the difference between being successful in their careers and excelling well beyond expectations. For those that are bold enough to take on starting a business while still in school, there are three key concepts that can make the journey more worthwhile, and just generally easier all around.

  1.     To truly excel and grow, you need to step out of your comfort zone

The biggest show of this first concept is simply taking the first steps to launch your business when you are a student. Being a student is immensely tiring and is often a sheer time suck. A lot of individuals inch out of their comfort zone simply by enrolling in a degree…that action alone is already a bold move for many.

But actively putting in the time and work to start a business when you are studying is extremely courageous. Not only are you putting in effort to improving your future, but you are stepping ahead of your fellow classmates and giving yourself invaluable experience in the industry at the same time as studying, instead of waiting until you have your degree safely tucked into your belt.

  1.     Have a strategy to balance your studies with your business

The biggest mistake that you can make is putting too much energy into your business with no real plan in mind, while subsequently not making enough effort with your studies. It is incredibly valuable to have begun forging a reputation for yourself in the industry, as well as a professional portfolio, so early on, but do not forget that experience will get you far, but your degree will take you to the top quite often.

Of course, it does not always work this way, but having a skill set and knowledge that has come from the education system that is specifically and solely designed to make you the best version of yourself you can be, is an asset that is more valuable than you can possibly imagine.

  1.     Connections are worth their weight in solid gold

Having a business as a young and driven entrepreneur and student is all well and good, but the true marker of your success in your first business is who you end up connecting with throughout the experience.

Connecting with like-minded individuals or titans of industry can prove to be an immensely valuable skill. In most industries, it is not necessarily about what you know, but who you know. Networking with industry-driven professionals is your best friend, and communication with your target customer base is your greatest strength. The connections from both within the industry and from the individuals you want to reach in that consumer-market are what will give you the most feedback and the most support. Embrace it and use it to your advantage.