Why should you go to college?

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You have a high school diploma and may be wondering if it is really necessary to attend college....if you look at earning comparisons between employees who have earned a college degree vs. those who enter the job market with only a high school diploma in hand the difference is clear. (These numbers are for employment in the United States only - you will have to look at information in your native country to see if the same statistics are true or not.)

Take a look at this graph:

"Hamilton Project research shows that 23- to 25-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees make $12,000 more than high school graduates but by age 50, the gap has grown to $46,500 (Figure 1)"

So is it worth the investment and time to attend college? 

"Using average earnings for 18- and 19-year-olds and 20- and 21-year-olds with high school degrees (including those working part-time or not at all), Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney of Brookings’ Hamilton Project calculate an opportunity cost of $54,000 for a four-year degree. In this brief, we take a rather narrow view of the value of a college degree, focusing on the earnings premium. However, there are many non-monetary benefits of schooling which are harder to measure but no less important. Research suggests that additional education improves overall wellbeing by affecting things like job satisfaction, health, marriage, parenting, trust, and social interaction. Additionally, there are social benefits to education, such as reduced crime rates and higher political participation."(Source: http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2013/05/08-should-everyone-go-to-college-owen-sawhill)

What to major in?

What program to major in is important to consider. Of course future earnings are one thing to consider...but equally important is choosing a degree program that matches your interests and passion. Are you a 'numbers person' good at math? Do you prefer to work with people, providing human services that improve understanding of one's mind? Are you a great communicator and want to learn to help others in this area? Do you like to investigate how things work and want to learn how to solve problems by creating more efficient systems?  These are just some questions to ask yourself as you try to find what you want to study. The beauty of life however, is that you can study one thing and end up doing something else. Your degree is a stepping stone, not the final step!

Take a look at this article to find what degrees will lead you to a better chance of getting a job:

Want to earn a degree that could lead to career opportunities? Check out these six degrees with solid employment odds.

By Lisa Manterfield (education.yahoo.net)

Degree #1 - Bachelor's in Business Administration
Do you see yourself in a leadership role? Maybe you're looking to prep for a career that will allow you to use your planning, communication, and problem-solving skills, too. If so, a degree in business administration might be the in-demand choice for you.

According to Andrea Koncz, NACE's employment information manager, it's a very versatile degree. What's more, the major's coursework reflects this versatility. It usually includes classes in business strategy, accounting, and operations management, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Employment Odds: According to "Hard Times," recent business administration and management majors reported a low unemployment rate of 8.1 percent. And this figure doesn't come as a surprise, with the "Job Outlook 2012" listing business as the most sought-after broad degree category among respondents.

Why? "The specific skills from these programs translate to many different fields," explains Koncz.Potential Career: According to the Department of Labor, a bachelor's degree in business (or a related field) is generally required to prepare to pursue a career as a financial analyst.

Degree #2 - Bachelor's in Accounting

Are you attentive, detail-oriented, and into numbers? If you're interested in the challenge of collecting and analyzing financial information, and maybe even one day predicting future financial trends, an accounting degree could be a good - potentially employer-friendly - option for you.

If you do opt for an accounting program, know that you might take commonly offered courses such as accounting information systems, business law, and auditing, according to the College Board, an organization of colleges and universities that administers tests such as the SAT.

Employment Odds: "Job Outlook 2012" reported that accounting was the second most sought-after bachelor's degree among employers. In fact, "Hard Times" found that accounting grads had the second lowest unemployment rate among business majors, at only 6.8 percent.

Why are accounting grads so in-demand? One reason, according to Koncz, is that accounting programs often help develop analytical skills, which can be valuable in other fields besides accounting.

Potential Career: Your career options as a grad in this major could include accountant and auditor, with the U.S. Department of Labor noting that a bachelor's in accounting is required to pursue most positions.

Degree #3 - Bachelor's in Computer Science

If you're a tech whiz who loves tinkering with computers, a degree in computer science might be a good choice for you. And that's fortunate, since it's a top choice among employers as well.

If you decide to go after this degree, you'll likely "learn about computer systems and the way humans and computers interact from a scientific perspective," according to the College Board. And depending on the area of computer science you're interested in, your program could include classes such as software engineering, mathematics for computer science, and artificial intelligence, says the College Board.

Employment Odds: Computer and information science ranked number three on NACE's "Job Outlook 2012" list of most in-demand broad category degrees. One reason for this, Koncz says, is that computer science programs teach a very specific technical skill set, which is unique to fast-growing fields such as computer systems analysis.
Want more data? According to "Hard Times," the unemployment rate for new grads in this field was 7.8 percent, and the report predicts that "computer majors are likely to bounce back strongly as the recovery proceeds."
Potential Career: Ever consider computer programming as a career? If so, you'll want to remember this: A good number of computer programmers have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, though some employers may consider candidates with an associate's degree.

Degree #4 - Bachelor's in Psychology
If you're intrigued by what makes people tick, and you enjoy helping others, one major to consider is psychology, which is in demand, say the studies.
In fact, within the field of psychology, you'll discover a broad range of specialties and topics, such as social psychology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, personality, and research methods, according to the College Board.
Employment Odds: "Job Outlook 2012" reported psychology as the second most in-demand liberal arts major. That trend was also reflected in "Hard Times," with recent graduates in psychology showing a relatively low unemployment rate of 7.3 percent.
What gives for this unemployment rate? It could have something to do with the fact that nearly half of recent graduates work in the fields of health care and education, according to the "Hard Times" report, which also labeled these industries as either stable or growing.
Potential Career: If you're interested in a career in social work, this could be a great option for you. Why? Because the U.S. Department of Labor notes that most direct-service social workers are required to have a bachelor's degree in social work, or a related field like psychology or sociology.

Degree #5 - Bachelor's in Communications
If you love to research, write, and speak with other people, a communications degree could lead to career options in a wide range of industries for you.
Communications can cover everything from television production to the Internet, according to the College Board, which notes that commonly offered business communications classes might include public relations writing, media analysis and criticism, and public speaking.
Employment Odds: "Hard Times" reported that recent communications grads had a low unemployment rate of 7.3 percent.
This low figure could be in relation to the skills that could be acquired through a communications degree program, such as verbal communication, critical thinking, and research. The best part? Some of these skills are among the top attributes sought by employers, according to the "Job Outlook 2012" Report.
Potential Career: The U.S. Department of Labor notes that public relations specialists generally need a bachelor's degree, and that employers often want applicants who have studied communications, public relations, English, journalism, or business.

Degree #6 - Bachelor's in Engineering
If you're fascinated with how things work, whether it's a light bulb, auto part, or suspension bridge, you might find your calling studying engineering. And good news: Studies suggest that it's a degree that is popular with employers.
The courses you'll take will vary depending on the field of engineering you choose. For example, the College Board says that civil engineering majors often take typical courses in dynamics, environmental awareness for engineers, and thermodynamics.
Employment Odds: According to "Job Outlook 2012," engineering was the second most sought-after broad category major. And the "Hard Times" report reflects this, noting that new engineering grads experienced a low unemployment rate of 7.5 percent.
And with teamwork and problem solving skills important to employers, according to the NACE report, it's no wonder this degree is in demand. Especially since the College Board notes that as a civil engineering major, "you'll solve a problem with a group or compare ideas with other students after working a problem out on your own."
Potential Career: The U.S. Department of Labor notes that there are a variety of engineering careers out there, including biomedical, mechanical, civil, and more. And as you probably assume, education requirements differ depending on the field. For example, civil engineers need a "bachelor's degree in civil engineering or one of its specialties," says the Department of Labor.

Adjusting to a New Culture for School

source: IVN.us

You have made the choice to accept admission to a college or university in the U.S.  You may be excited, anxious and curious what it will be like to be among mostly American students in and out of the classroom. 

These are very common feelings, and you can prepare by reading books such as, Excuse Me, Can You Repeat That? (available online from various worldwide booksellers) or talking to friends who have already experienced going to school in the U.S.  You will hear stories of success and difficulties. Each person's experience is unique. There are however some commonalities for most in the form of adjustment or adaptation stages - and they occur for most people who immerse themselves in a new culture. The final stage, when you finally feel comfortable in your new surroundings WILL happen....so put away any negative feelings and get excited for your new experience. Once you arrive, there will be many people around to help you along the way. International Student Offices are available to provide you with assistance. Reach out to that office if you are feeling confused and they will point you in the proper direction. Also, new student orientation programs will provide you with a strong foundation of knowledge to help guide you.

Possible Adjustment Issues for International Students

Source: http://www.wright-counseling.com/Diversity/InternationalStudentAdjustment.htm

What is cultural adaptation?

Adaptation to a new culture (sometimes referred to as “culture shock” ) has four stages. They are not fixed and you may find yourself at different stages at once.   
  • Honeymoon stage in the beginning, when you are excited by the novelty of the situation and you know little of how things work in the new culture.
  • Disenchantment stage when you face the realities of the new culture.
  • Beginning resolution stage when you try new behaviors in order to fit into the culture
  • Effective functioning stage when you becomes comfortable in the new culture (Ryan & Twibell, 2000).

Attending a Career Fair in the United States? You Need to Read This!


Sounds easy, right? Well it can be if you approach the career fair prepared and confidently. Being prepared will bring you confidence….
Step 1.  Have some business cards or ‘calling cards’ printed. No need to create anything fancy, but they should be professional.  Visit Staples or an online business card company. Make sure to include your name, academic degree status/area of study, address, phone number, email address and LinkedIn contact information. You shouldn’t have a company name on it – if you are still a student, it is fine to include the college or university you are attending. (Take a look at Sample Business Cards
Step 2.  Create a professional résumé. Make sure at least two people have reviewed it for errors – grammar and organizational. If possible, have a career counselor look at it. Print out several copies to hand out to prospective employers.  (Take a look at Purdue OWL’s Résumé Workshop)
Step 3.  Check out the layout of the fair and where each company you are interested in will be stationed. This will allow you to make the most of your time as you won’t be wandering around looking for the companies you want to approach.
Step 4. Research the companies – who they are, what positions they have open, what their culture is, and what they do. Don’t meet the representative from a company without knowing some information about them. This will allow you to ask questions that are not topical in nature, but deeper and more probing. Prepare questions. Don’t be caught off guard!
  • When you meet the representative – shake their hand, look at them in the eyes and smile.  Nonverbal communication is as important as what you will say.
  • Create a credibility statement. What’s this you ask?
Create a pitch about yourself that provides an employer with three skills you have that they would deem desirable.  Don’t share them unless asked and relevant. Remember, they have your résumé, so when they meet you, they want to hear narratives that support what they can read about you.
When you choose these skills to describe what you can do, create a narrative that describes when you used them.
For example: “I am a great leader, I take initiative when I work in groups to organize and keep everyone on task. This past semester I worked with a group of four peers to create a blog for a project. When we first met, I asked everyone to express what skills they had to help create the blog. After that, I created a timeline for us to follow to make sure we would be ready to launch the blog by the deadline. I then created a Google document so we could all share our work. Although we all worked as a team, I took the lead in making sure we worked efficiently. The blog was a success – it was a great learning experience for all of us. *”If you’d like to see the blog, I ‘d be happy to email you the link.”
*Follow up with an action step if it seems appropriate.
Step 6.  Craft your pitch carefully and make sure it responds to what is being asked.  Listen carefully.  Don’t be too aggressive, but exude confidence and professionalism. Usually one of the skill narratives you have prepared will be suitable as a response – but make sure you choose the correct one at the right time.
Step 7.  Shake their hand, look at them directly in the eyes and smile. Leave with a promise to stay in touch and follow up. Give them a copy of your résumé and your business card. Email them or write them a hand written note stating how nice it was to meet them.
Good Luck!
P.S. Although the steps described above are used in the U. S., most can be used when greeting a representative from a global company as well. Take into consideration the culture and language of the company representatives.

American Idioms

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Have you every watched an American film or television show with a group of Americans who laughed out loud at something that was just said...but you had no idea what was so funny?

It was most likely because an idiom was used that you had no idea how to translate. Translation just doesn't work for idioms because they don't mean what the words are - but what the group of words mean to locals. Every language has them - but you already know that!

Example of sentences filled with idioms - see the list below to find out what the idioms used here mean:
You may be thinking that idioms are all greek to you and continue to be a doubting Thomas ...saying to yourself, "I can't possibly learn them all." That may be true - but learning a few to begin with is a piece of cake. If you find it difficult, many are in the same boat.  At the end of the list of idioms below are more sentences that combine additional idioms.  See if you can understand them!

I won't beat around the bush, (yes this is an idiom meaning, get right to the point) understanding and using American idioms isn't easy for people who speak English as a second language! You will be amazed at how many are really quite similar in many languages.

Just like any language, idioms or slang expressions, are used all the time by fluent speakers of a language. An idiom is defined by dictionary.com as:


  [id-ee-uhm]  Show IPA
an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, as kick the bucket  or hang one's head,  or from the general grammatical rules of a language,as the table round  for the round table,  and that is not a constituent of a larger expression of likecharacteristics.
a language, dialect, or style of speaking peculiar to a people.
a construction or expression of one language whose parts correspond to elements in another language but whose total structure or meaning is not matched in the same way in the second language.

Now that you know what an idiom is....it is time to learn some. 

I can't possibly list them all - there are literally hundreds. So with the help of this great website, I will expose you to a few....take a look at all of them and you will be 'in the know'!

From the idiom.com website - here is a short list of idioms that begin with the letters 'A' and 'B'...

A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush: 
Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might lose everything.

A Blessing In Disguise: 
Something good that isn't recognized at first.

A Chip On Your Shoulder: 
Being upset for something that happened in the past.

A Dime A Dozen: 
Anything that is common and easy to get.

A Doubting Thomas: 
A skeptic who needs physical or personal evidence in order to believe something.

A Drop in the Bucket: 
A very small part of something big or whole.

A Fool And His Money Are Easily Parted: 
It's easy for a foolish person to lose his/her money.

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand: 
Everyone involved must unify and function together or it will not work out.

A Leopard Can't Change His Spots: 
You cannot change who you are.

A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned: 
By not spending money, you are saving money (little by little).

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words: 
A visual presentation is far more descriptive than words.

A Piece of Cake: 
A task that can be accomplished very easily.

A Slap on the Wrist: 
A very mild punishment.

A Taste Of Your Own Medicine: 
When you are mistreated the same way you mistreat others.

A Toss-Up: 
A result that is still unclear and can go either way.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words: 
It's better to actually do something than just talk about it.

Add Fuel To The Fire: 
Whenever something is done to make a bad situation even worse than it is.

Against The Clock: 
Rushed and short on time.

All Bark And No Bite: 
When someone is threatening and/or aggressive but not willing to engage in a fight.

All Greek to me:
Meaning less and incomprehensible like someone who cannot read, speak, or understand any of the Greek language would be.


All In The Same Boat: 
When everyone is facing the same challenges.

An Arm And A Leg: 
Very expensive. A large amount of money.

An Axe To Grind: 
To have a dispute with someone.

Apple of My Eye: 
Someone who is cherished above all others.

                                                      As High As A Kite: 
                                                     Anything that is high up in the sky.

                                                         At The Drop Of A Hat: 
                                                         Willing to do something immediately.


Back Seat Driver: 
People who criticize from the sidelines, much like someone giving unwanted advice from the back seat of a vehicle to the driver.

Back To Square One: 
Having to start all over again.

Back To The Drawing Board: 
When an attempt fails and it's time to start all over.

Baker's Dozen: 

Barking Up The Wrong Tree: 
A mistake made in something you are trying to achieve.

Beat A Dead Horse: 
To force an issue that has already ended.

Beating Around The Bush: 
Avoiding the main topic. Not speaking directly about the issue.

Bend Over Backwards: 
Do whatever it takes to help. Willing to do anything.

Between A Rock And A Hard Place: 
Stuck between two very bad options.

Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: 
To take on a task that is way to big.

Bite Your Tongue: 
To avoid talking.

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: 
The family bond is closer than anything else.

Blue Moon: 
A rare event or occurance. 

Break A Leg: 
A superstitious way to say 'good luck' without saying 'good luck', but rather the opposite.

Buy A Lemon: 

To purchase a vehicle that constantly gives problems or stops running after you drive it away.

The next step is to listen for them being used and then use them yourself. Compose a few sentences using them - for example - just using the idioms above that begin with 'A' and 'B',  I composed these sentences:

1. Actions speak louder than words, so bite your tongue and stop adding fuel to the fire. 

2. I bought off more than I could chew so I went back to the drawing board and went back to square one.

3. Once in a blue moon I find myself between a rock and a hard place. 

4. We are all in the same boat, when we buy a new car, we don't want a lemon but a car that works like it is supposed to.

5. I will bend over backwards for my good friends because they are the apple of my eye. I might even pick up a baker's dozen of muffins to bring to them.

I could go on and on...but I will let you play with these..break a leg while you do!