Archive for the 'Degrees' Category

Finishing What You Start: How to Navigate the World of College Transfer Credits

Apr. 5th 2013

Historically, transfer students wind up ignored when gathering statistics. They almost always get lumped in with other demographics instead. A recent study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center finally glimpsed into the world of the oft-overlooked transfers, noting that they make up one-third of the entire student population. Part-time students are only slightly more likely to transfer than their full-time peers, at a rate of 33.9% to 32.6%.

The most surprising finding completely dismantled common assumptions about how and why students transfer their credits from one institution to the other. Most tend to think this happens from two-year schools to four-year, but trends reveal otherwise. A surprising 51.9% move from four-year schools to two-year, while 37.6% of total two-year transfer students transition from two-year to two-year. Compare that to 41.2% from two-year to four-year. Across the board, the students most likely to transfer are in their second year of school.

NSCRC’s study did not explore why students decide to transfer from one school to another, but they are not difficult to glean. Cost, obviously, and finding a more suitable program (including switching majors) both stand as the experts’ most common choices. But moving because of life changes, like caring for an ailing relative or personal health reasons, might also compel some to switch.

Amy Tran is a former journalism student now working as a content manager for a dotcom. She moved from University of Houston to Boston University after her second semester to cut back on her stress levels. For her, “getting the transfer paperwork completed was a bit of a hassle, but not much more so than what you go through when you first enroll in college.”

“I attended a two-day orientation at BU during the summer before I officially moved there and began classes. That was mainly to take ID photos and tour the campus. It was school-sanctioned. We were there during ‘Fish Camp,’ [a slang term for freshman orientation, mainly associated with Texas A&M University] but just in our own group as transfer students,” she says.

Her experiences should reassure anyone thinking about moving from school to school: “It was a surprisingly easy transition.”

 

The Variables

Policies regarding credit transfers vary from school to school, obviously. Almost all of them limit the number that students can move, typically no more than two years’ worth of classes, or 180 credit hours for four-year colleges and 80 for two-year. Some might not make the cut because the new institution does not offer an equivalent course, but in these instances many schools accept them as electives.

“I think this is the most important part of transferring, and probably the most challenging: finding out where you stand in terms of credits towards your degree and major,” Tran says. “If you know you’re going to transfer, I advise not taking any major-specific courses until you’re at your final school because a lot of schools want you to complete all your major-specific classes at their institution.”

“This means if you’re a journalism student and you take a few journalism classes at your old school, they may not count towards your journalism major when you’re at your new one, so you’d have to take those classes all over again,” she warns. “Really talk to your advisors at both schools to get that sorted out. Basic classes are much easier to transfer. Just stay organized and have your paperwork and forms together.”

One of the most painless ways to transfer credits is to take Advanced Placement (AP) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests while in high school. Colleges and universities do vary somewhat when it comes to the minimum scores they will accept. But almost all of them will take passing scores thanks to core curriculum standards. However, students need to check and see just how many AP and CLEP credits their desired schools will allow them to transfer in — most have a maximum amount.

Students moving between public community colleges and other two-year institutions or towards four-year schools should explore any arrangements made where the four-year accepts every credit earned at the two-year. Blinn College and Texas A&M University, for example, have such an agreement. Enrollees in certain programs at the community college can transfer every single one of their credit hours directly into the university after two years. This arrangement can be found in most states, however, and will usually include moves between four-year and four-year institutions as well.

Transferring from one public school to another within the same state should be comparatively painless thanks to core curricula. However, the destination institutions still usually cap how many credits can be brought in at a time, even with equivalences. More specialized, higher-level classes might wind up rejected as well. Schools want students graduating after displaying competency in their chosen fields, and the courses at others might not line up in the exacting way they want.

Moving from Texas to Massachusetts also meant she had to receive certain vaccinations because of state laws. “Look into state requirements for things like immunizations and health checkups if you’re switching to a school in another state,” Tran says.

Depending on a school’s relationship with the Armed Forces, military service can transfer over as college credit as well. All branches keep running transcripts of what training translates to what kind of higher education courses, with each one adapting their own system.

For individuals taking extended breaks between semesters, the transferring process might prove a mite more challenging, though in no way impossible. College credits do not have an official “expiration date.” But some schools will still restrict transfers on the basis of time lapsed, usually after 10 years. They might also limit the number based on whether or not the classes were completed at a two-year or four-year institution; grades might also impact their decision, with the cutoff usually at nothing below a C.

Restricting transferred credit is a particularly prevalent practice in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields (STEM), especially medicine. Because the skills and requirements in STEM evolve and change as new research emerges, schools want their students to enter the workforce with updated knowledge — crucial in situations where peoples’ health and safety is at stake. The visual arts and many of the humanities and liberal arts do not change nearly as rapidly as these industries, so students devoted to them will likely prove more fortunate when returning from a prolonged higher education absence.

International schools’ credits prove the most challenging. Acceptance hinges on whether or not the United States recognizes the accrediting bodies who approved schools in the original nation. In the case of countries where English is not the primary language, students are almost always required to send their transcripts in it.

“The earlier you transfer, the easier the experience will be,” advises Tran, and her tips apply to every transfer student demographic. “One of my friends at BU transferred in after her sophomore year, and she had to make up a lot of credits because quite a few of them didn’t transfer. I had the same issue as well, but at a much smaller scale before I only spent one year at my previous school.”

“To make up for this, I overloaded on classes one semester and also stayed for a summer term once. My friend had to overload for two semesters and stay for two summers to make up the credits so that she would still graduate on time,” she says.

These possible setbacks ought not discourage students from transferring, of course. But before committing to a specific school or program, students will have to commit themselves to some intensive research first. Because there is not one universal standard to which transfer students and their credits are held, it will require some e-mails and phone calls to suss out the most appropriate transitions.

Websites such as CollegeTransfer.net and u.select provide an essential service for transfer students as well. There, they plug in their current schools, courses, and programs as well as the desired schools, courses, and programs. The tool then returns information about which credits will transfer over and which ones won’t. Although these resources certainly save time, they still does not replace directly contacting schools about their credit transferring policy.

 

The Problem with Equivalencies

Regardless of whether or not transfer credits come from AP exams or an international college, the major problem with moving from one campus to another is almost always equivalencies.

“Faculty at every institution spend a daunting amount of time deciding on which of their own classes and programs to approve,” says Dr. Andrew Flagel, senior vice president for students and enrollment at Brandeis University, senior vice president for students and enrollment at Brandeis University. “Colleges and universities take the approval of degrees as one of their most important activities, and each institution delineates what courses in particular combinations constitute the right work to be given the corresponding degree. In other words, the school puts their name on every diploma, and is verifying that the student has completed the work appropriate to that degree.”

At the root of the problem is whether schools are comparing apples to apples.

“With each institution crafting distinct courses and pathways to degree, getting those to align can be enormously challenging,” says Flagel. “Even the assumption that a basic English or Math course might be the same at two different institutions can be wrong — the course may appropriately prepare student for upper level courses at one institution, but be entirely insufficient at another.”

Students should come into the transfer with their eyes wide open — and realize that colleges and universities want students to be best prepared for upper level courses and life after graduation.

 

A Different Approach

Some higher ed institutions, like Thomas Edison State College, take a more open strategy when it comes to accepting transfer students.

“Thomas Edison State College has one of the most flexible transfer credit policies in the country,” says David Hoftiezer, Director of Admissions. “First, we accept credit regardless of age, meaning ‘credits do not expire.’ Often institutions will not accept credit that is more than 10 years old. Institutions should be more flexible when it comes to the acceptance of transfer credit. Colleges often limit the amount of credit you can transfer, Thomas Edison State College does not.”

He believes that “being very liberal and flexible” are necessary qualities when dealing with transfer students. “Many institutions will not accept credit more than 10 years old. This roadblock could be easily removed,” Hoftiezer says.

Excelsior College also features an open program for transfer students looking for more flexibility and fewer migraines. It recognizes the usual credits from other schools, the military, and AP and CLEP tests. Students who display competency via portfolios, corporate training and experience, qualified certifications, industry training, and classes offered at partner organizations may receive credits for their efforts as well.

These flexible, comparatively open strategies acknowledge experience and know-how gleaned outside the classroom. As a bonus, it makes higher education more accessible to returning students, no matter how much time elapses between leaving school and going back for more. Not every program necessarily benefits from no credit transfer regulation whatsoever, like healthcare. But schools could still afford a little broadening of their standards to help ease student transitions from one institution to another.

“Unfortunately, the most typical route, whether a student is traditional or non-traditional, is that the student must first gain admissions, and in many cases even deposit, before finding out what credits will transfer,” says Flagel. “Even if a student knows what credits will transfer, that often does not include how those credits will apply to a particular major, or what process a student may need to follow in order to have a course count for a specific equivalency.”

Students ought not be swayed from transferring if they feel it the right decision. But they do need to understand the reality. “I often suggest that transferring should be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint,” says Flagel. “It is rare to find institutions that offer easy transfer credit processes – even those with robust articulations can often be very complicated.”

“My advice is to have patience with the process. Higher education is only just now learning to adapt to the reality that the majority of students seeking baccalaureate degrees transfer at some point before obtaining that degree,” he adds. “I suspect these processes will get easier and more efficient, but that the challenges … indicate that it’s unlikely to feel intuitive to prospective transfer students.”

 

How to Get It Done

In spite of the myriad variables in the credit transferring process, it’s actually one of the least migraine-inducing rounds of paperwork a student will experience in their college careers. They should still keep a few things in mind while undertaking the move from one school to another.

  • Research: Research everything. This means scanning a potential school’s website or contacting their admissions department with questions about what they will and will not accept. They can answer anything regarding course equivalencies, “expiration dates,” the maximum number allowed, and any other variable. Researching also turns up possible programming options that could very well save money, but still get accepted by their desired destinations once the student decides to transfer out.
  • Know what “expires” and what doesn’t: Some schools will not accept credits over 10 years old, and for more dynamic disciplines — like medicine — the cutoff might be even sooner than that. “Expiration dates” should not be a concern for students transferring directly from one college to another. But those taking longer breaks from higher education need to research which schools will or will not recognize the credits they’ve accumulated so far.
  • If transferring from an international school, send everything in English: Every American school is going to ask this of international students transferring from an institution where English is not the primary language.
  • Transfer in state, if possible: Many situations will require a student to move out of state, of course. But staying within a state’s public college system maximizes the amount of time and money saved. Thanks to core curriculum and other agreements, it is much, much easier to transfer credits between state schools than from one state to another; mostly because it is much, much more likely that they’ll accept most of the credits involved.
  • Check for any special arrangements between two-year and four-year schools: Like transferring within the state, other programs linking two-year institutions to four-year also prove far smoother than most other arrangements. Some will accept two full years’ worth of classes and apply them to a four-year degree. But students will have to research their options before enrolling at one particular school.
  • Look for scholarships: Scholarships for transfer students defray some of the costs associated with moving between schools. Any research regimen should include searching for funding. Contacting the admissions office of the desired destination might yield more options than an Internet search. It should be noted that some students might lose scholarships in the transition if the money is attached to a specific school or major. So they will need to check whether or not their benefactors might pull the funding should they transfer as well.
  • Consider AP, CLEP, and state- or industry-specific training options: As one example, members of The University System of Ohio accept some accredited professional certificate programs for credit. CLEP and AP exams provide a far cheaper option than enrolling in a college course, and pretty much every two-year and four-year school across the country will accept them. Though the maximum amount schools will accept varies, so read up.

Hoftiezer offers up some very straightforward advice for students transferring schools with years between classes.

“You will need to get ‘re-acclimated’ to school and the learning environment,” he says. “Success breeds success, so take it ‘one step at a time.’ Take one course … get used to being back in school and build from there.”

Transferring college credit, even after a long absence from the classroom, is not nearly as difficult or intimidating as it might initially appear. The process requires some degree of research and a few piles of paperwork, but still proves well worth the effort.

Posted by Staff Writers | in Degrees | No Comments »

Innovators Wanted: A Hard Look at the Self-Designed Degree

Feb. 12th 2013

Choosing a major is one of the most difficult decisions a college student has to make; it will likely affect their college experience, as well as future job prospects and career satisfaction. For some students, though, not being limited to the specific majors offered at their schools makes the choice much clearer. Self-designed degrees are offered at dozens of colleges across the country, allowing students to combine disciplines and explore new ways of looking at topics.

The idea of individualized degree programs began to be implemented in the 1960s and 1970s, and has grown to be a great option for certain students. More than 100 schools offer some kind of self-designed program, including New York University, North Carolina State University, University of Maryland, and University of Connecticut, just to name a few. The program names vary between institutions, but may be anything from Individualized Major Plan to Interdisciplinary Studies to Self-Designed major. Indiana University-Bloomington started an annual conference for universities providing individualized major programs in 2009 with a network of about 50 colleges across the nation that offer these self-designed degrees

Untraditional majors let students explore their true passions and forge careers in areas that don’t interest many people or fit neatly into one program. One of the most famous examples of an untraditional major that a student created is that of Will Shortz, editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle. In 1974, he graduated from Indiana University with the world’s only degree in enigmatology, the study of puzzles.

Online students aren’t left out of these opportunities. Oregon State, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin-Superior, Drexel University, and many others offer individualized degrees online.

Calling Independent Learners

Many traditional college students find designing a degree difficult because they like to be told exactly what classes to take and in what order. Self-designed majors are for more independent thinkers, who may actually benefit from being able to complete coursework whenever they choose.

Online courses also allow more adult learners to complete a degree. Instead of trying to imagine how disciplines relate and figure out what they’re passionate about fresh out of high school, adult learners have the benefit of time and work experience. They can then create a degree with a mature perspective on how they can use it and complete it while still working full-time.

Self-designed degrees, whether online or on-campus, aren’t a good fit for everyone. Students choosing to create their own degree path have to think creatively about how disciplines connect and must have a clear idea of what they want their studies to look like.

“Generally, these students need to be self-starters who can take considerable initiative,” says David Smith, Deputy Assistant Dean of Student Academic Affairs at University of Michigan, where they offer an Individual Concentration Program on campus. “They need to be able to see connections between disparate courses and articulate well how they fit together to help accomplish their respective plan of study. They will need to be able to knock on doors of faculty members and willing to engage in conversations about their ideas. Overall, they need to be passionate about asking questions and learning.”

Getting Started

To help discover suitable candidates, most schools require potential students to submit proposals, goals, and other paperwork for their degree. Advisors can then determine if a student’s degree will delve deeply enough into the student’s desired topics and if the student has put enough thought into this degree in the short- and long-term.

Certain careers may not lend themselves to self-designed degrees. Karolyn Redoute, a senior advisor at University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education, points out that any field where you need a certification to become employed won’t lend itself well to an individualized degree.

“A student who wanted to be an engineer, for example, could not really pursue this kind of degree, as the student would need to spend all his or her undergraduate study in Engineering to be certified as an engineer,” she explains.

Similarly, those wanting to become Certified Public Accountants need a large number of accounting and business courses before taking the CPA exam, so they would need to focus on those areas during college. Teachers who don’t want to earn alternative certification may also want to rethink an individualized degree. The education-to-career path is laid out clearly for these kinds of fields, so there is little room for creativity.

Potential Pitfalls

Self-designed degree earners might have some explaining to do. Hiring managers don’t necessarily understand the benefits of an individualized degree. Since most of these degrees are one-of-a-kind, employers may not know what they’re looking at, and they sometimes have pre-conceived notions about them.

“One possible career pitfall is that employers often have misconceptions about what a self-designed degree entails,” says Ashleigh Stubblefield, an academic advisor with Oregon State University’s Liberal Studies program. “They often believe students have used previous course work to cobble together a degree or have used a self-designed degree as the easiest or fastest way to graduate.”

She also says, that most self-designed graduates are well-equipped to explain their studies since they have had to write essays on the theme of their degrees. All the prep work for getting a degree plan accepted prepares students to tell future employers exactly what they’ve learned through their education. Smith agrees; the degree can create opportunities to show off in interviews.

“This often can become a good question for the student to address because the student now can take time to explain in more detail how and why they designed their individual program of study,” he says.

A Degree with Unique Advantages

For every potential downside of these individualized degrees, there is a potential benefit. Savvy employers and post-grad admissions boards understand the advantages. Because of the kind of student that gravitates toward these degrees, completing a degree you designed shows passion and innovation.

“From my perspective, the career benefits of an Individual Concentration are the motivation and commitment demonstrated by these students,” Smith says. “In most cases, these students are very dedicated to the subject they are studying and exhibit the drive and motivation that employers are often seeking from prospective applicants.”

This deep interest and study of a subject from unique angles can actually be great preparation for grad school, law school, or med school. In grad school, where research is a core focus, the ability to look at a topic from multiple disciplines is a boon. For those hoping to continue on to law school or medical school, as long as they take appropriate classes to prepare for entrance exams, a self-designed degree can show admissions boards that students have the focus and drive necessary to excel in post-grad studies.

While other degrees may pigeonhole a person into one field or career, self-designed degrees can turn into self-designed careers. Smith, Redoute, and Stubblefield have seen students from their programs go onto a wide variety of careers — with major media organizations, NGOs in Egypt, ambassadors in foreign countries, restaurants, park systems, just to name a few. Many innovative degrees allow students to jump on a growing trend before schools have had a chance to come up with an official program for that field of study, giving them the chance to become leaders and experts before others catch on. Students have graduated with degrees in subjects like Food and Culture, Global Health and Poverty, and Environmental Ethics when you wouldn’t find these combinations of studies in any degree program catalog.

“Often students who do individualized degrees are bellwethers for what is going on in the culture,” Redoute says. “Students here were focusing on ‘green business’ before it became a catch phrase and the trends in understanding local food movements and global health issues, for instance.”

For self-starters and innovators, individualized degrees can be fulfilling and give students a boost above the competition, but keep in mind they aren’t for everyone. They require hard work, the ability to see the big picture, both in coursework and in the career world, and a serious focus, but can be worth the risk. If instead you want to follow a well established career path or have a four-year plan laid out for you, you’d be better off going with a traditional degree.

Posted by Staff Writers | in Degrees | No Comments »

10 Countries Outsourcing College Education

Aug. 8th 2012

As our world becomes increasingly connected through technology, the economy, and shared culture, it should come as no surprise that many aspects of college education have gone global. Students and schools are reaching out to other nations, with many sending record numbers of students abroad or even outsourcing grading and teaching through online programs. We’ve collected just a few countries here that rely heavily on other nations for higher education support, making them among the top outsourcers of college education in the world.

  1. China:

    While Chinese colleges are attracting more international students than ever before, the country is still the leader in sending students abroad. Between 1978 and 2010, more than 1.9 million Chinese students left their home country to attend college. 2010 was a record year for Chinese students studying in the U.S., with a 30% increase from prior years, though the U.S. is certainly not the only country where Chinese students choose to matriculate. While studying abroad isn’t generally a bad thing, for China it hasn’t been all good news. Of the almost 2 million students it has sent overseas for education, just 632,000 have returned home after graduation to work in China, prompting the nation to create incentives to keep students at home and to improve college education in order to counter this large brain drain.

  2. The United States:

    During the 2010-2011 school year, more than 270,000 American students studied abroad, and while study abroad programs have grown, less than 1% of American students will get some part of their education in another country. So why is the U.S. making this list? Because colleges in the U.S. are keeping American students right where they are but outsourcing many aspects of the higher education experience overseas. Foreign companies now build online courses, do grading, and even teach a number of college programs at online and traditional schools around the nation, something that’s raised the ire of a number of students and educators. Regardless, it’s a tide that doesn’t look to be stemming anytime soon, as outsourced programs and educational resources are generally cheaper and have not, as of yet, proven to lower the quality of the education students receive.

  3. India:

    Over the past few decades, India has become an amazingly powerful economic force and has built a few outstanding universities, especially those focusing on STEM topics and business. The opportunities offered by India’s colleges and economy haven’t stopped students from going abroad for their college in droves, however. There are more than 103,000 Indian students studying in the U.S. alone, with tens of thousands of others choosing countries like the U.K. and Australia. Education experts say that this outsourcing of higher education isn’t likely to slow anytime soon. A growing affluent class in India (despite the crippling poverty that affects most) has made overseas education more attainable, and top-quality colleges and universities in India are still scarce, making study abroad a desirable aspiration for many bright students.

  4. South Korea:

    Last school year, South Korea sent more than 73,000 students to the U.S. for study and 32,000 more to other nations around the world, making it one of the largest senders of study abroad students in the world. (If elementary and high school students are included, it far outpaces even China, which has a population 27 times larger than that of South Korea.) While South Korea boasts some incredibly high-tech and high-quality universities, many students head to international destinations to brush up on their English or to pursue job opportunities abroad, but the vast majority do it for the prestige, and it’s almost expected for many top students in this education-obsessed nation. Yet South Korea isn’t sitting idly by and letting students walk out the door: it wants to become a major player in international education and a major destination for international students. They are making progress by developing a number of high-quality distance learning options for students, and the dropping value of the Won has made study abroad more financially difficult for students. But it is likely that study abroad will remain the top choice of many students for years to come.

  5. Japan:

    The number of Japanese students studying abroad has declined a bit in recent years but still holds among the top 10 in the world. While the U.S. and other English-speaking countries are still big draws for Japanese students, more and more are turning to their Asian neighbors for study abroad opportunities. In recent years, China has become a popular destination, due to its close proximity to the island nation and the economic ties the two share. Today, almost equal numbers of Japanese students choose China and the U.S. for foreign study, looking to improve their Mandarin while working on a degree. While Japanese students may be keen to study abroad, it may not help them in the job market once they return home. Many young, internationally educated Japanese grads are finding it hard to get jobs with Japanese companies, which seem reluctant to tap into the experiences and expertise of these globally minded students. Some suggest that this may be holding back companies in the banking, electronics, and automotive industries, as they are missing out on some of the best international talent.

  6. Taiwan:

    This small island nation doesn’t have any reservations about sending students abroad. The government has pledged $5 million dollars to send 116 students to the world’s top universities and research facilities between 2013 and 2016. The move was spawned by government concerns that not enough Taiwanese students were matriculating at top educational institutions in the U.S. and Europe. The program is an addition to a current scholarship program sponsored by the government that encourages overseas study, which may be a big part of the reason that there are currently more than 28,000 Taiwanese students in the U.S. alone, many pursuing post-baccalaureate education.

  7. Saudi Arabia:

    The number of students from Saudi Arabia in the U.S. has increased 28% from prior years to 12,661, largely due to scholarships and incentives from the Saudi government, and has also grown in the U.K. and Canada. Yet English-speaking nations aren’t the only destinations this Middle Eastern nation has set its sights on. It has recently announced plans to send more students to China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea for post-graduate studies in science and technology fields with the goal of filling growing gaps in the Saudi job market. Currently, about half of Saudi students studying abroad receive government assistance covering the cost of their foreign degree programs, and the new Asian-focused program will offer an additional 25,000 more scholarships to students in STEM fields.

  8. Vietnam:

    Since 2000, the Vietnamese government has been funding study abroad for top students, sending more than 2,598 people to foreign universities tuition-free during that time. While the program has been put on hold for the time being due to budgetary concerns, the number of Vietnamese students studying abroad hasn’t slowed. In fact, in the U.S. alone it has increased by 46%, with 12,823 students currently pursuing a degree at an American educational institution. Part of the drive to send students abroad is to help staff the nation’s hospitals, universities, and industries with highly trained professionals, something that is a bit of a challenge for a nation that has few top-notch higher educational facilities domestically. In 2010, the government announced plans to send 1,000 students abroad for Ph.D. training in France, Australia, the U.S., the U.K., China, Thailand, and Japan. Studying abroad is a growing trend from Vietnamese families, who see it as the optimal choice for higher education, and with numbers increasing every year, it could soon rank among the top nations for sending students overseas for college.

  9. Brazil:

    South America, even economically booming Brazil, has traditionally sent few students overseas for study, but the past few years have demonstrated that there could be some major changes in this trend. In 2011, the Brazilian government announced plans to offer 75,000 scholarships for local students to study abroad through 2014, with the private sector sponsoring another 25,000. The move is one of necessity, as the nation simply can’t find enough skilled researchers, engineers, and highly-skilled workers to maintain its current rate of growth. An educational exchange program, announced by President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in 2011, is also helping to motivate both American and Brazilian students to choose study abroad. Currently, only about 8,700 Brazilian students study in the U.S., but these plans will likely boost those numbers.

  10. Germany:

    Germany is both one of the most popular destinations for foreign students and one of the biggest senders of students abroad. The country is home to some of Europe’s premier educational institutions, but that doesn’t mean that students don’t want to seek out an education somewhere else. Each year, around 102,000 of Germany’s students pursue their education outside of their home country, a number that makes it the fourth largest exporter of students in the world. Study abroad for German students isn’t the result of a lack of educational opportunities at home, however; in fact, it’s just the opposite. Germany offers students the same financial support whether they choose to study at home or at any university in the European Union’s 27 member states, which means many students choose universities that are close by but which still offer cultural and linguistic differences that can be an asset in the competitive job market.

Posted by Staff Writers | in Degrees, Education | No Comments »

12 Surprising Benefits of the Boomerang Effect

Jul. 16th 2012

When you hear the word “boomerang,” you might think of the fun you had playing with the Nerf version in the ’80s. Or you might have a flashback from the scene in Mad Max 2 where a guy gets a frontal lobotomy with a steel one. Whether you usually lean toward seeing a half-full or half-empty glass may determine how you see the latest iteration of the boomerang: young adults returning home to live with their parents after college graduation. To help you look on the bright side of things, here are 12 benefits of moving back in with Mom and Dad that you may not have considered.

  1. Living with others is better for your health:Both single parents and adult children can enjoy better health by not living alone. Although researchers cannot say with certainty whether it’s due to the isolation and lack of social contact, the eating and sleeping habits particular to people that live alone, or some other factor, many studies have shown that mental health is worse for people who live by themselves. For example, those that live with someone else are less likely to take antidepressants, and for seniors, their risk of heart disease could be as much as half that of people who live alone.
  2. The stigma of boomeranging is gone:One of the silver linings in the cloud of the poor economy is that moving back home has become the norm. Whereas boomeranging was once so frowned upon that very few people found the rewards worth the social disgrace, nearly one-third of young adults are doing it now and more than half know a friend who has done so. Because it is so helpful financially and because it was a silly cultural quirk in the first place, this enlightened viewpoint is a positive development.
  3. Eating home-cooked meals can reduce your risk of cancer:As a college student, you probably ate out 90% of the time or more. But now that you’re back at home, you’ll have access to home-cooked food that not only will be tasty and free, it can lower your risk of cancer. According to Rachel Brandeis of the American Dietetic Association, “The more you eat in, the more you can control and the healthier your plate is going to be. I wish people would think that when they are eating, they could be lowering their cancer risk.”
  4. The parent-child relationship can be strengthened:Mark Twain once said, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” A recent study by the Pew Research Center found more boomerang kids said their relationship with their parents had improved as a result of moving back home. After four years apart, it could be a perfect time for parents to see first-hand the maturation a child has gone through and establish a new, adult relationship that is less authoritarian and more friendly.
  5. More help around the house:Instead of focusing on the negative, Mom and Dad should look at returning adult offspring as a blessing in disguise. Since they hold all the cards, parents can make help with chores like laundry, grocery shopping, weed pulling, and lawn mowing part of the “lease agreement.” According to the Pew study, helping with chores is something nearly all boomerang kids claim to do, so if yours is not pitching in, tell him or her to get with the program.
  6. Living at home lets grads be pickier about jobs:According to Beni Towers Kawakita, a career center advisor at Illinois State University, “Many of our students are from the Chicago area, and with the cost of living being higher, they want to be doing jobs that they’re going to really be enjoying.” Living at home can ease the financial burden, which then lessens the urgency for graduates to take the first job that comes along and wait for one they will truly enjoy.
  7. Grads can get job-hunting help:Presumably you’re looking for a job if you’ve moved back home. If so, and if you have a poor memory or underwhelming writing skills, enlist your parents for help recalling accomplishments and participation in clubs, teams, and groups that can buff up a resume. And before you send off that personal statement, take advantage of the one or two additional sets of eyes you now have access to for help with editing.
  8. Increased ability to start saving for retirement:The average student loan debt for college graduates is now more than $25,000, meaning boomerangers are typically concerned with paying off loans before saving. A 2012 survey found that people ages 18-34 are the least likely group of Americans to save for retirement, with over half saying they are not contributing to a 401(k) or IRA. But any financial advisor will stress in no uncertain terms the importance of starting to save early, and any savings a boomeranger can afford to put away thanks to living at home are extremely important.
  9. Gain material for explaining an employment gap:Living at home frees you up to have time to volunteer, do freelance work, or take classes. But you could also demonstrate to a potential boss how living with your parents helped you cooperate with others (with whom you may not have a great relationship) and taught you the value of teamwork or discipline. With the right approach, living at home could become an experience that strongly impresses a potential employer.
  10. Family meals ease stress:Being unemployed with an uncertain future is an extremely stressful place to be. Moving back home provides a setting that has been shown to lower stress. A 2008 study at Brigham Young University found that working moms who ate supper with their families were able to lower stress and tension. Although the effect was less pronounced for dads, the evidence is there that the quiet conversation and emotional bonding that happens around the dinner table can be like soup for the soul.
Posted by Staff Writers | in Degrees, Education | No Comments »

30 Great LinkedIn Groups for Psychology Students

Jun. 14th 2012

Eventually, (almost) all psychology majors must stare down the reality of finding themselves a job, hopefully one relating back to the mental health industry, since that’s what their degrees are in. But contending with an unstable economy offers up a treacherous challenge to scoring an entry to their dream careers, so harnessing whatever resources they can to snag opportunities stands as an integral edge above the competition. Those with LinkedIn skills will definitely want to take advantage of the myriad groups available for networking with fellow students as well as professionals. No matter their area of interest, there likely exists more than a few social networkers with much to share, and more importantly, possessing integral information about the internships and jobs currently available.

  1. Links for Shrinks – For Therapists, Psychologists, Coaches:

    Like the title straight-up says, this extremely useful LinkedIn Group offers up networking opportunities for mental health professionals. In particular, they trade online resources with one another, ask questions about improving their digital presence, attend webinars, and more.

  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers:

    Whether learning about CBT in class or hoping to someday apply it in a professional setting, Ohhad H.’s network of well over 5,000 members acts as an excellent supplement, brimming with information and resources for sharing and consideration. Consider it a must when wanting to learn more about the popular, effective strategy for alleviating many serious mental illnesses.

  3. Students and Recent Grads:

    A great group for any student, really, not just those majoring in psychology and seeking a career in mental health services. Despite its broad-as-Taft nature, hitting up this wildly popular group will prove valuable assistance when learning how to navigate the painfully narrow job and internship market in a downtrodden economic climate.

  4. The Psychology of Creativity:

    Read up on both academic and less-than-academic perspectives regarding the unique factors shaping the creative mind. It may not update as frequently as some of the more active groups listed here, but what it has to share still piques curiosity and — ostensibly — further inquiry.

  5. The Clinical Psychology Network:

    Although it seeks to bring together clinical psychology professionals and students from the OC and LA areas, pretty much any participant from anywhere can learn more than a few things about the field here. For those who do live in the region, however, the regular meetings and internship and job postings might prove of interest.

  6. The Psychology Network:

    One of LinkedIn’s most massive groups dedicated to psychology professionals (and those seeking to become professionals someday) boasts almost 24,000 members exchanging the latest research and trading questions, answers, and theories. However, one must ask permission before joining.

  7. Psychologists, coach, psychotherapists and counselors:

    A straightforward name for a straightforward group with a straightforward modus operandi. With more than 24,700 participants, students eager to talk with established pros about anything and everything relating to the eponymous positions will likely find answers to even some of their more offbeat questions.

  8. United States Mental Health Professionals:

    Psychology majors and recent graduates hoping to practice in the United States should head here for in-depth information about the legalities and restrictions that apply to their careers. Some of the talks regarding theories and treatment strategies transcend national barriers, of course.

  9. SIOP – The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology:

    If designing and executing studies about the unique psychology of office and corporate environments seems the right career fit, SIOP’s official group makes for essential participation. It’s especially useful when discovering how to apply research into real-life settings.

  10. Global Psychology Network:

    Because of this members-only group’s international bent, anyone who joins gains a wonderfully diverse education in the different psychological perspectives and approaches out there. Global Psychology Network also boasts 20 subgroups allowing members from different regions to discuss specific issues related to their practices.

  11. Forensic Psychology:

    Psychological professionals working in forensics gather here to talk business, making it an ideal stop for students considering that particular path. In the description, the group even mentions posting internship sites, so that’s definitely something right there.

  12. Psychology Students Network:

    Unlike most of the other networks listed here, this one specifically targets psychology majors hoping to connect with others who may share their experiences. It also makes it much, much easier to exchange valuable postings about job openings, internships, scholarships and plenty of other career kickstarters.

  13. Jungian (Analytical) Psychology:

    Whether looking into someday applying Jungian principles to a mental health practice or wanting some help on a research assignment, this group should have a student’s wishes covered. It largely emphasizes his theories regarding dreams, archetypes, and personality, which majors will inevitably encounter.

  14. Counseling Psychology Early Professionals:

    Perfect for graduates and soon-to-be graduates looking to network and pick up detailed, personalized advice about starting a counseling career. Both seasoned pros and newbies call this group home, so members gain some nice, well-rounded insight when participating in discussions.

  15. School Psychology:

    With bullying standing as a major social issue these days, no doubt many passionate psychology majors think it a potentially rewarding application of their studies. Here, they can learn everything they can about the field by asking questions and lurking in the talk threads.

  16. Aviation Psychology:

    Aviation psychology remains a largely overlooked niche within the broader industry, but will likely intrigue many students hoping to merge their love of technology with that aimed at the social sciences. They turn their attention toward the unique mental health needs of both pilots and flight crews, helping employers forge the best strategies for meeting and addressing them.

  17. Psi Chi – The International Honor Society in Psychology:

    Both current students and alumni network on Psi Chi’s official LinkedIn presence, which brings together graduates and undergraduates from around the world for general discussions about psychology. As honor students, they represent some of the most promising minds who might someday propel the practice toward exciting new places.

  18. Sports Psychology Professionals Network:

    Ron Artest’s public thanking of his psychiatrist after winning an NBA championship brought the comparatively obscure study of sports psychology to the public’s attention. Aspirant careerists or students simply exploring their options can tune in here for talks from patients (or the parents of patients) and professionals alike.

  19. Evolutionary Psychology:

    Splice a little Darwin into psychology lessons — or receive some awesomely informative extracurricular reading — and discover how biology plays a major role in the development of the mind over millennia. Owner Michael Sandifer encourages anyone, not just students and professionals, to participate in the ongoing discussions.

  20. Society for Neuroscience:

    Psychology studies obviously involve inquiries into brain structure and chemistry, but those hoping to explore the bizarre, essential organ in more intimate detail might want to pay neuroscientists a little visit. Society for Neuroscience’s LinkedIn group hosts almost 12,000 participants, so it’s probably safe to assume it might be a good start.

  21. SIPPA (Students of the International Positive Psychology Association):

    Up-and-coming mental health professionals interested in the core tenets of positive psychology who belong to one of the official organizations promoting it gather at this LinkedIn group. Students can also use it to meet up with professional mentors who will help them learn and grow in the popular field.

  22. American Psychological Association of Graduate Students:

    Every psychology major will encounter the ever-looming APA at some point, and the organization has taken advantage of LinkedIn for graduate student outreach. As with many other pre-professional groups, this one nurtures research help, internships, job-hunting, networking, and many more hallmarks of “making it” in psychology.

  23. Child Psychology Collective:

    Though its activity may experience a more sluggish pace compared to some of the other groups on this list, Child Psychology Collective still exists as a great online network. Obviously, its main goal revolves around talking all things related to childhood psychology and development, mostly theory and practice.

  24. Music Psychology:

    Dedicated to the academic welding of the arts and sciences — which doesn’t happen nearly enough! — this small but mighty group challenges participants and lurkers alike to consider the mind behind the music. Stress sits upon “research, performance, or creation,” so expect an eclectic mix of content.

  25. Media Psychology and Social Change:

    All the social sciences crash land into one another at Media Psychology and Social Change, which brings together professionals and students to explore the relationship between both phenomena. Social media and other digital realms in particular form the crux of their focus.

  26. Economic Psychology & Behavioural Economics:

    Researchers whose oeuvre involves dissecting the cognitive processes behind why people make the financial decisions they do gather here to trade their findings, ask questions, provide answers, compare, and contrast. As a bonus for students, professionals hailing from relevant organizations abound, providing an excellent, diverse networking opportunity.

  27. Internet Psychology:

    Psychology majors who love themselves some new media have an entire inchoate field synthesizing their passions — one they stand poised to completely revolutionize since the core subject hasn’t exactly been around very long. Join up with this group to follow what’s been done, what’s currently being done, and what needs to be done to offer up a broader look at how the Internet impacts the mind.

  28. PsychologyLinked:

    Elizabeta Kostadinovska-Boshevska’s networking group holds a pretty simple aim; just meet, greet, and chit-chat with professionals around the psychology sector. “Knowledge and best practices” are the name of the game here, so students about to hit the job market can learn what’s current before launching.

  29. Mental Health Networking:

    Professionals from across the psychology industry, no matter their title, consult Mental Health Networking when looking to share ideas and insights with one another. For students, this means a goodly slice of perspective regarding what they might encounter once they apply their classes to real-life scenarios.

  30. National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology:

    This nonprofit’s LinkedIn group carries over its desire to promote global mental health by encouraging greater communication and collaboration between recognized psychology professionals. Special outreach is available for students and anyone else hoping to earn the necessary credentials, too, so the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology definitely warrants consideration.

Posted by Staff Writers | in Degrees, Resources | No Comments »

12 Hottest STEM Fields for New Grads

Jun. 12th 2012

While the job market as a whole is going through a bit of a rough patch, many of the careers that are still hiring and are in great need of qualified professionals are STEM-related. These fields not only offer new grads a better chance at finding work right out of college, but also provide ample opportunities for careers that are rewarding both financially and professionally. Of course, not all STEM careers are created equal and some are experiencing especially promising booms that can make them a solid choice for years to come. Here, we list some of these hot STEM fields, all of which should be seeing some serious growth in the coming year and beyond.

  1. Information Technology.

    One of the hottest tech fields right now is IT, though all computer technology and systems fields are experiencing steady growth. By 2020, the BLS expects IT jobs to grow by 22%, which means a whopping 758,800 new jobs. This increase is being driven by the need for software, security, and better network infrastructure at nearly every company big and small. One rapidly expanding area of IT is in healthcare, where professionals are needed to build and maintain new digital systems for patient data management.

  2. Biomedical Engineering

    If you have an interest in biology, medicine, and research, then this is probably one of your best bets for finding rewarding and steady employment. Biomedical engineering is one of the fastest growing careers not only in STEM but in the U.S. as a whole. By 2012, the BLS expects it to grow by a jaw-dropping 62%, which means about 9,700 more jobs nationwide. What’s causing the exponential rise? An aging population, greater demand for medical research, and increased public awareness of biomedical engineering advances.

  3. Data Management.

    In our information-driven society, data is king. That’s why any data-centric job, from data mining to database administrator to data scientist, will see steady growth in the coming years. Need some numbers to put that into perspective? Database administrators can expect to see a 36% increase in jobs and data scientists are expected to have a shortfall of somewhere between 140,000 and 190,000 candidates by 2018. The demand is driven by the exponential rise in data that companies are now dealing with, a rate that rose by 30% just between 1999 and 2002, and continues to rise today. Those who are numbers focused, detail-oriented, and have a wide range of tech skills will find ample opportunities available in organizing, protecting, and understanding all kinds of data.

  4. Software Publishing and Development.

    A solid choice for a post-college career in a tech field is software publishing and development. The BLS projects growth of 35% in software publishing over the next decade, a rate of growth that outpaces that of many others on this list, even healthcare. The growth is spurred on by a variety of factors, including the need for specialized software for corporate needs, updating computer systems, and even the demands of increasingly popular mobile devices. Because there is such a wide range of opportunities, computer science majors and programming enthusiasts should see little difficulty in finding secure employment throughout the U.S.

  5. Medicine and Healthcare.

    From doctors to lab techs to medical scientists, there will be enormous growth in the healthcare field over the next few years. How much? The BLS projects growth of 29% by 2020, which amounts to thousands of new jobs across the U.S. Some of the biggest gains will be seen in nursing, medical assistants, laboratory technicians, paramedics, and in all aspects of medical research, especially those that require specialized knowledge in fields like biotechnology and biochemistry. No matter what aspect of medicine or healthcare you’re interested in, jobs should be fairly plentiful nationwide.

  6. Computer Systems.

    If you love computers then you’re in luck! Jobs for computer systems engineers and analysts will be booming throughout the next decade. Take computer systems analysts, for example. The BLS expects this field to have a growth of 22% by 2020, a much faster than average rate of growth, and other computer systems fields like computer systems administrators are also seeing rapid growth (28%). This fast-growing field often requires students to learn about more than just the technical aspects of building and maintaining a computer system, and those who hope to pursue this field as a career should also take care to learn about a wide range of business practices and requirements.

  7. Pharmaceuticals.

    There’s big money to be made in the pharmaceuticals industry, and that may be part of what’s driving the demand for new researchers into diseases, vaccines, and drug treatments. Researchers in this field can expect job growth of about 36%, much faster than average. Of course, there is also plenty of job opportunity at the tail end of the process as well, distributing drugs as a pharmacist. The BLS expects jobs in pharmacies to grow by 25% in the coming years, making just about any career with drug development or distribution a solid choice.

  8. Environmental Science.

    These days consumers and businesses alike are much more conscious when it comes to sustainability and that’s good for environmental scientists. These professionals use their expertise to help protect the environment in a variety of ways, and it’s currently a field that’s seeing some pretty steady growth. By 2020, environmental science jobs are expected to grow about 19%, meaning there will be about 16,700 new jobs opening up in the coming eight years. That’s not too shabby, and better than many other industries. Of course, environmental scientists get the additional benefit of being able to brag about quite literally saving the world.

  9. Biochemistry and Biophysics.

    The life sciences are projected to see a huge rise in employment opportunities over the coming decade, with some of the hottest fields being biochem and biophysics. The research done by these intrepid STEM experts will play a big role in extending and improving the quality of human life. In both the public and private sectors, work for biochemists and biophysicists is projected to increase by 30%, meaning more than 7,700 new jobs will be opening up in the coming years.

  10. Business and Financial Analysis.

    While the recession may have taken a toll on many financial and business-related careers, those that make use of mathematics for analysis aren’t projected to see much job loss in the coming years. In fact, a strong trend of growth is expected in all math-related occupations, which the BLS expects to expand by 17%. Much of this growth comes from analyst positions driven by the need of businesses to make sense and use of raw data, and both business and financial analysts can expect an increase of around 22% by 2020. While this might not seem like an especially STEM-focused field, it often requires a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and technological systems.

  11. Commodities Engineering.

    These degrees aren’t just in demand; they also pay exceptionally well and offer some of the highest post-college salaries of any STEM careers (petroleum engineers make an average of $86,220 starting salary). While greener, cleaner energy has seen a surge in recent years, there isn’t going to be any shortage of demand for traditional energy sources over the next decade, driving the demand for these positions. Expect growth in these engineering fields to be about 17%, with much of the growth being focused on petroleum rather than on mining and geological engineering.

  12. Forensic Science.

    Those who want to figure out the mysteries behind murders and come up with their own snappy CSI-worthy one-liners may just be in luck. Forensics is a growing field, though it’s still highly competitive. More schools are adding forensics programs and job growth is expected to be good, about a 19% growth in coming years. Yet students in this hot field should be aware that while growth is expected, it’s a small field that amounts to only 2,400 new jobs over the next decade. Of course, that fact is unlikely to sway many from this ever more popular field that blends police work with science.

Posted by Staff Writers | in Career, Degrees | No Comments »

10 Reasons Why Online Education is Better

Mar. 18th 2011

Thinking about an online program to get your degree — either as a new or a returning student — but still need some convincing? We have the top 10 reasons why getting your degree online is better than taking classes at a traditional campus.

1. You can study in your underwear. No need to worry about the fashion parade and keeping up with all the latest trends.

2. You don’t have to worry about annoying dorm mates. Need we say more?

3. No teachers will call on you in class, putting you on the spot to answer questions. Instead, you can answer discussion questions and problems from the distance of your keyboard — saving you anxiety and perhaps embarrassment.

4. You don’t have to lug around a gazillion, back-breaking books. Your home office is your classroom, and it lives where you do.

5. You don’t have to make up an excuse when you’re late to class. For that matter, you don’t ever have to worry about being late, as you take online classes on your own schedule.

6. You don’t have to pretend to listen during lectures. Online “lectures” often include written notes or video podcasts that you can read or watch on your own time frame during the week — when you’re really ready for them.

7. You can take tests in front of the T.V. Or participate in discussion or read lecture notes or study. Wherever your laptop can go, your class can go.

8. You can “attend” class when you’re ready. Most online courses require students to contribute to participatory discussions or to turn in assignments by a specific deadline (usually weekly), but when you complete the requirements during the week is up to you. So you don’t have to worry about being in class from 10 to 11 a.m. every Monday, for example, but rather, you can have class at any time of the day during the week that suits your schedule. That means greater flexibility for your social life or anything else you want to do.

9. You can work while you attend school. And we don’t mean a part-time job at the Burger Master that you squeeze in between classes. You can hold a full-time, professional position on any shift. Because of the flexibility of the classes, you can work any time you like and take classes any time you like. Who says you have to be a broke student?

10. If you have a family, you don’t need to worry about hiring a babysitter. The flexibility of class scheduling allows you to either schedule classes at a time when your child is in school or can spend time with other family members, or allows you to stay home with your child while you study. No need to worry about irresponsible and unreliable sitters anymore.

If you haven’t been back to school for a while, you may enjoy these back to school resources as a refresher.

All images are courtesy of Chris Magher.

Posted by maria magher | in Degrees, Education | No Comments »

Best Paying Jobs in 2011

Jan. 6th 2011

We recently compiled research on some of the best paying jobs for 2011 and the highest paying degrees for 2011.

Best paying jobs.

Jobs Sorted By Median Annual Salary

Job Title Median Annual Salary
Chief executives $155,195.98
Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers $123,228.48
Engineering managers $118,314.24
Computer and information systems managers $108,512.80
Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates $107,604.00
Materials scientists $103,491.24
Petroleum engineers $103,200.00
Aerospace engineers $103,181.12
Computer hardware engineers $97,314.92
Marketing managers $97,083.94
Computer software engineers, systems software $89,503.81
Sales managers $89,347.50
Nuclear engineers $87,380.80
General and operations managers $86,200.00
Chemical engineers $85,813.00
Natural sciences managers $85,407.32
Computer software engineers, applications $85,249.22
Actuaries $82,964.91
Education administrators, elementary and secondary school $82,877.04
Financial managers $82,264.82

Best paying degrees.

Best Paying Associate Degrees

Degree Name Median Salary Return on Investment
Nuclear Engineering $75,649.60 31,797%
Medicine $67,639.94 26,073%
Information Technology $51,083.46 19,547%
Electrical Engineering $53,472.30 19,213%
Mechanical Engineering $46,766.16 18,284%
Engineering Technology $48,621.13 17,699%
Electronics $48,672.63 17,010%
Accounting $50,286.62 16,049%
Dentistry $43,857.00 15,977%
Architecture $44,881.36 15,796%

Best Paying Bachelor Degrees

Degree Name Median Salary Return on Investment
Aerospace Engineering $103,181.12 1,869%
Aviation $123,228.48 1,845%
Computer Engineering $101,710.99 1,778%
Nuclear Engineering $87,380.80 1,725%
Business Administration $102,455.84 1,604%
Engineering $89,913.98 1,582%
Information Technology $85,080.13 1,438%
Electrical Engineering $81,091.60 1,434%
Chemistry $75,265.39 1,334%
Business $85,813.68 1,304%

Best Paying Master Degrees

Degree Name Median Salary Return on Investment
Geology $74,785.88 871%
Nursing $70,491.21 800%
Public Health $60,046.64 680%
Business Administration $64,925.28 679%
Biology $59,237.40 612%
Medicine $57,854.62 593%
Business $65,127.40 589%
Physical Therapy $54,987.16 589%
Economics $75,416.06 578%
Civil Engineering $59,394.00 570%

Best Paying Doctorate Degrees

Degree Name Median Salary Return on Investment
Dentistry $94,397.60 877%
Optometry $92,270.60 654%
Law $101,400.00 577%
Veterinary Medicine $71,049.34 548%
Medicine $98,399.47 466%
Posted by Staff Writers | in Career, Degrees | No Comments »

Top 10 graduate student blogs

Sep. 23rd 2010

1. AMS Graduate Student Blog

This blog from the American Mathematical Society is written by and for math grad students. Contributors attend schools all over the country, and posts discuss the ins and outs of grad-school life, including fellowship applications, scholarship, school selection, and more.

2. PhD Studies in Human Rights

A group of students contribute to this blog about studying human rights. There are in-depth discussions about new research and publications, developments in the field, and more.

3. JD Law Students Blog

Students at Vermont Law School maintain this blog about their experiences in pursuing their law degrees. The students are in different phases of completing their degrees, so there are insights about all stages and aspects of the experience.

4. July Dream

This business major just graduated and is now learning to navigate the corporate world. There is plenty to guide and inspire in previous posts, and newer posts will give grad students a hint of what to expect post-graduation.

5. Restless Med Student

Learn all about the ups and downs of medical school through the personal experiences of this UCLA med student. Follow along with the rotations, internships, and personal reflections to learn what medical school is really like.

6. My PhD Blog

Malene Charlotte Larsen is a PhD candidate in communications at Aalborg University in Denmark. Her work looks at social networking and Internet communications, and she share her experiences as a student and with her research.

7. New Kid on the Hallway

A former medieval historian leaves academia to go to law school, and she shares her experiences on this blog. Her posts explore not just law school life, but also maintaining balance in her personal life, which includes her husband.

8. PhD Blog (dot) Net

Author Andy Coverdale is a PhD student living in the UK and studying student learning, higher education, and “the social web.” His blog talks about his experiences as a student and details his research efforts.

9. Defying Gravity

This blog is written by a fourth-year medical student. Posts explore the daily life and responsibilities of a med student, as well as the triumphs and frustrations.

10. Ms-PhD

This blog talks about the process of applying to grad school, from letters of recommendation to statement of purpose to test scores. There is a lot of practical advice here!

Posted by maria magher | in Degrees, Education | 1 Comment »

Online homeschool courses and resources

Jul. 9th 2010

You can’t be a super parent. Maybe you’ve decided to take on homeschooling your child, but between the demands of being a full-time parent, tending to your home, and now educating your child, you may not have the time or the energy to devote to developing a comprehensive and rigorous curriculum. Luckily, there are numerous resources to help.

Here’s a roundup of some of the top online courses for homeschoolers, as well as some helpful resources:

The Grace Academy
Find a complete curriculum from elementary school through high school with the program, including multimedia courses, lesson plans, and placement testing to ensure that your child is meeting benchmarks. Annual tuition is $2,595, but there is currently a special for early enrollment for $1,695.

Forest Trail Academy
Parents and students can choose among a number of programs: diploma, online courses, individual courses, homeschool, dual credit, and preparation for standardized tests. Parents can choose between Christian and secular options for courses. Tuition varies from $675.00 to $2,195.00 per year, depending on grade level. Classes can also be taken on an individual basis, or as part of a part-time or summer program. Tuition is $350 per class.

k12
k12 offers courses in the K-8 curriculum, high school, and summer courses. There are also textbook recommendations, links for public and private online schools, and more. Tuition varies according to whether one class is being purchased, an entire course, and if there are multiple classes/courses being purchased (which qualified for a discount).

Homeschool Central
Parents and students can find options for free online homeschool courses, or can access resources to design and follow a curriculum at home. There are even message boards and support groups so that parents and students can get one-on-one help for individual issues/concerns.

Learning by Grace
There are 150 PreK-12 online courses available, either with the aid of an online instructor or without one. Courses have a Christian learning focus. The academy also has a “socialization” center, which allows students to interact with one another in a safe online environment. There is also free placement testing.

CLASS Homeschools
This Christian-based curriculum offers achievement testing, transcripts and cumulative records, opportunity for parent comments, required subjects for student level, additional support where needed to meet educational needs, and alternate courses. Tuition varies by plans, and there are payment options and assistance available.

Universal Class
Homeschoolers and adult learns can benefit from the courses offered here. The courses are instructor-led and self-paced, and students have six months to finish a course with the initial purchase. Renewing a subscription will allow continued access to the same course. There are a wide variety of courses. Homeschooling courses include core subjects in addition to animal studies, computer basics, environmental issues and more. Continuing education courses include subjects such as alternative medicine, arts and photography, entrepreneurship, parenting and family, and more. Tuition is by course, and classes range from $50 and up.

The Potter School
Here’s another Christian-focused homeschool program. The curriculum prepares students in grades 6-12 for rigorous work at the college level, and the classes are even up to par to prepare students to take advanced placement exams. There are even courses open for parent enrollment. Tuition varies according to program and number of classes taken.

The Keystone School
Students can choose to enroll full-time to earn a high-school diploma or part-time to supplement traditional or homeschool coursework. There are courses for middle-school and high-school students, as well as advanced courses and credit-recovery courses. Placement testing is also available. Tuition is charged by program or course, and according to whether the courses are taken online or through correspondence.

The Cambridge Academy
This licensed and accredited private school offers interactive multimedia courses with all lesson material included. There are programs for homeschoolers, those seeking their high-school diplomas, and those seeking college-prep courses. Courses are available from kindergarten through grade 12. Tuition varies according to program, but discounts and payment plans are available.

The Jubilee Academy
There are 150 multimedia rich courses available for preK-12 homeschoolers from this online Christian curriculum. There is a socialization center for children to interact with other online homeschoolers, and the program is accredited. Tuition costs $795 for the year, but discounts and payment plans are available.

New Hope Online Homeschooling and Resource Center
The homeschooling program includes support from teachers and counselors, extra tutoring where needed, the creation of a student portfolio, parent monitoring, a socialization center, discussion boards, and more. The curriculum covers kindergarten through 12th grade. Tuition varies according to program.

Global Student Network
The homeschool curriculum is for grades 2-12 and has many courses aligned to national content standards. Students have access to outside resources, including libraries, museums and other educational sites. A yearly license costs $625 and includes unlimited access to unlimited courses.

Homeschool Science Academy
Advance high-school classes and free seminars are available for a range of science disciplines, including biology and chemistry. There is a variable fee for the online courses, but the seminars are free.

Beginning Homeschooling: EHO Lite
This support site offers a number of resources to parents who are either thinking of homeschooling their children or who have just started on the journey. Find information on curriculum, resources, links, support, and more.

Posted by maria magher | in Degrees, Education | No Comments »