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college

  • Articles, College, GirlSpring.com, School

    Deciding What to Study in College

    what to study in college

    Throughout our childhood and into our high school and college years, many of us are asked the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

    In first grade, I probably answered this question with, “I want to be an artist!” because I loved spending hours after school each day creating “masterpieces” using my markers and colored pencils. However, as I started middle school, I soon realized that I was very interested in science. I loved how applicable it was to real life, and the fact that there was so much still to be discovered intrigued me. By the end of middle school, I was pretty confident that I wanted to be a doctor one day. I was fascinated with medicine and loved listening to others and offering advice.

    This didn’t change in high school, and it made choosing a major when applying to college fairly easy for me. I took several STEM courses over my high school years, and I pursued my medical interests through my extracurricular activities (in addition to exploring other areas of interest as well). Although this process was fairly straightforward for me, I can’t say it was the same for some of my peers.

    For many, high school offers a small introduction to the vast array of opportunities out there in the world.

    Most elementary and middle schools only offer the four basic subjects: math, science, social studies, and English. This is good, but very broad. In high school, students have the opportunity to take more specialized courses within each of these subject areas. There are courses like psychology, computer science, economics, and foreign languages. These can give individuals interested in pursuing a college education a better idea of what they might want to study in the future. In addition, through a multitude of clubs and extracurricular opportunities available, high school students can get involved in activities that allow them to further explore and develop their passions. Although high school gives students an opportunity to explore a variety of subject areas and experiences, I feel that it is still tough for some students to be certain of what they want to study in college since high school is mostly a time of exploration.

    Nowadays, most colleges don’t require an individual to commit to the major they list on their application (which I think is great).

    In fact, many colleges don’t require a student to declare a major until the end of their sophomore year. This gives a student time during college to explore their passions and interests and decide accordingly. Some colleges might ask students to simply list broad subject areas they may be interested in studying, which lets students know that they are not committing themselves to something they are interested in at the moment for the entirety of college.

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 80% of college students change their major at least once. With such a high statistic, it is important to realize that many students are unsure of what they would like to study or do with their lives. Most haven’t had the opportunity to truly interact with and understand everything available to them until they’re in college. Today, many people stress the importance of setting goals and developing a detailed life plan from early on. Although this methodology is useful and may be beneficial for some individuals, it is not the best for everyone. Life is about having new experiences and doing things that make one happy. If this is a process that takes time for an individual, it shouldn’t automatically be considered unproductive or bad.

    Students are encouraged to make quick decisions. For many, I feel that it would be more helpful if they slowed down and took time to truly interact with the opportunities available to them. That way, they can make a more educated decision on what they want to study.

    Ultimately, I think it is most important for students to not feel stressed out or feel “behind”

    Just because you haven’t decided what you want to do with your life doesn’t mean you aren’t where you need to be. Each individual is unique, and we all have our own pace in which we go about doing things.

    My recommendation for high school students is as follows: this the time to explore opportunities available to you and chase your passions. When applying to college, reflect on what you enjoyed learning and doing in high school. This could be an indication of what you may be interested in studying. Use your first year of college (as I will also do this upcoming school year!) to decide whether you are enjoying the program you indicated interest in or would like to study something else. Overall, make sure you are finding value and enjoyment in what you are putting your time and effort towards.

    When you’re in high school, it’s always a good idea to keep college in the back of your mind. Here is some college advice geared to upcoming high school freshmen.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Money

    The Importance of Financial Literacy

    importance of financial literacy

    In high school, one of the most useful classes I took was Personal Financial Planning.

    An online, single semester course, PFP was an engaging class that covered a lot of important and relevant material. From learning conceptual information using EVERFI’s financial literacy modules to participating in an online stock market simulation with my classmates, I liked that my teacher used multiple learning tools to help students understand the content.

    I thought my personal finance class was fairly straightforward, and it took a few hours each week to complete the assignments and assessments. The class was well-organized, interesting, and very applicable and useful for my life. Many of my peers who have taken a personal finance class in a traditional classroom setting or online (like me) have also had a positive experience, and they tell me that they definitely felt that the class was worthwhile.

    Personal finance is important and useful

    I feel that in high school, certain courses that students take aren’t as easily applicable to daily life. For example, calculus isn’t something most individuals in the real-world use on a day-to-day basis. However, personal finance is definitely important. Through this class, I learned many useful skills, including how to create a budget, the basics of filing taxes, how to deal with student debt, and even what factors to consider when buying my own vehicle someday. As myself and many other students my age go off to college or other post-secondary opportunities soon, these skills will become more and more useful. I think all high schoolers need to be taught personal finance in some sort of school setting because these are real-life skills that will come in handy in the future. Nowadays, many young people make unwise financial decisions and have to deal with the consequences—sometimes for the rest of their lives. Many times, this happens simply because they didn’t fully understand what they were getting themselves into. Having an understanding (even if it’s just a very simple, basic understanding) of financial concepts and ideas before graduating high school would be so helpful and beneficial for success in the real world.

    Schools are starting to make personal finance a requirement

    Although taking a personal finance class wasn’t a graduation requirement for me personally, my high school very recently made it a requirement for students beginning next year. This isn’t a change just in my high school; in fact, many high schools across the nation are requiring students to take a personal finance classes, and the U.S. Treasury has recently called for mandatory financial literacy courses for college students because of concerns regarding student debt. It’s really no wonder that such high significance has been given to financial education for high school and college students in recent years; currently, U.S. student debt is at a record high of more than $1.5 trillion. There has been a lot of concern that students and families are taking on debt without realizing the long-term impact it could have.

    Thinking about college

    With college tuition and related expenses currently at exceptionally high rates (and only rising year-to-year), it is important for families to really consider their finances and think through the implications of debt before making college and other educational decisions. Having a good understanding of debt and its effects will only make it easier for students to have productive conversations with their families about important topics like this, and it may allow students to view a situation from multiple perspectives and make an educated decision with their family that takes multiple factors, including prestige, finances, resources available, etc, into consideration.

    When making a college decision a few months ago, I had a lot to consider, and I think having a good understanding of personal finance really helped me see my options from multiple perspectives. I was able to think beyond just the next four years and really consider how I wanted my life to look in the long-run.

    Personal finance was a high-impact class that was both simple and interesting. Even if your high school doesn’t require students to take it, I still recommend that you take the class if it is offered to you. If you are not able to take personal finance as a class through your school, I would encourage you to look into online options such as EVERFI and just go through the modules during your free time. These courses are usually very easy to understand and don’t require very much time or effort. I was able to get a better understanding of many important financial concepts and topics, and I definitely think I am better prepared for college and life in general because I took a personal finance class.

  • Articles, College, School

    The Final Pages of your High School Chapter

    The Final Pages of your High School Chapter

    High school seems like it lasts a lifetime. And then, in the blink of an eye, it’s over.

    Before you realize it, you’ll be cheering on your team at the last home football game, hardly registering the fleeting experience due to the overpowering noise from the bleachers and marching band.

    Soon after, you’ll be adding the finishing touches to your makeup, preparing to slip into your last prom dress.

    Although it may seem like a relief, in a few short months, you’ll be walking into harshly lit hallways and classrooms for the final time. You never realize how much you’ll miss the rooms that had the supernatural ability to make five minutes seem like a full hour.

    Speaking from personal experience, it’s easy to wish away the final days of high school. It’s easy to see everything from a negative perspective– too much homework, too many responsibilities, too little sleep.

    Don’t fall victim to that mindset like I did.

    Enjoy the time you have left with your friends; although you may spend eight or more hours with them now, soon, you will all be dispersed throughout the country, living different lives.

    If you’re involved in sports, give your full effort without taking the game too seriously. Some of my favorite memories began with goofing around with my best friends at track practice. This will also be the last time someone forces you to exercise… take advantage of that.

    Go all-out during spirit weeks and pep rallies. You’re not going to remember how silly you looked, you’re going to remember how much fun you had doing it. Don’t dull your high school experience by worrying about what others think.

    High school is a whirlwind of stress and emotions, but somewhere in between all of that mess, lifelong memories were made. Don’t take the time you have left for granted– live in the moment. Spend that extra hour with your childhood friends.  Dominate the dance floor at prom. Attend every sporting event that you possibly can, and don’t be afraid to cheer at the top of your lungs.

    These are the final pages of this chapter of your life. Make the most of them.

    Check out this letter from a college student to a high school senior. And remember you’re only in high school once!

    Even though you may be starting your senior year, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance to grow and change. Here’s some advice on how to your own person in high school

  • Articles, College, GirlSpring.com, School

    Is College Right for You?

    college

    Why College is Not for Everyone

    Nowadays, society has created the idea that a college degree is an essential part of becoming successful. However, many people do not realize that college is not the ideal path for everyone. It is a huge financial commitment with no guarantee that your degree will be useful by the time you enter the work force. The Idaho Department of Labor found that the average bachelor’s degree in the United States is estimated to cost about $127,000. Not to mention the fact that scholarships and grants have become extremely competitive, and many people end up with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans that take years to pay off. Furthermore, Idaho researchers found that around 20% of students who take out loans owe more than $50,000 by the end of their undergraduate programs.

     

    What many high school students fail to realize is that college is not necessarily the best option for everyone. According to the Institute of Educational Statistics, about 40% of students attending a four-year college drop out before finishing their degree. If you have been a below-average student throughout your prior educational years, then what makes you think that college is the time and place to turn everything around? Doing poorly in secondary education, regardless of the reasons, does not guarantee that you will do any better in college. College is a serious investment for most people, and dropping out is like lighting thousands of dollars on fire and saying “oh well”.

     

    College is hard, very time-consuming, and almost every type of degree is competitive.

     

    While a lot of jobs require employees to have certain degrees, there are also many skill-based opportunities to make a significant amount of income. Trade schools are two-year programs that are a great option for people who have come to the conclusion that college is not the best path for them. If you think about it, attending trade school is a way to jumpstart a career because you will start earning an income years before any of your other peers do. According to an infographic from Entrepreneur, when comparing workers with a trade school certificate to workers with a bachelor’s degree, the people who chose to attend trade school made a median of only $1,347/year less than those who have a four-year college degree. So, just because you attend college does not necessarily guarantee you will be making more than your peers who chose alternative career paths.

     

    Be honest with yourself. What are your skills? Are you going to be able to afford tuition? Will the potential job you get after college allow you to pay off your loans?

     

    People are talented in different ways. Some people love school and working in an office or medical setting. Others may prefer cosmetics or working with their hands.

     

    Don’t be ashamed to do something different while saving time and money.

  • Articles, College

    Birmingham-Southern’s Mary Beth Yaegar

    Mary Yaegar art

    GirlSpring has a ton of connections with our friends at Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, and we think it’s a great school! We’ve had many wonderful interns, have had the school president speak at our events, and appreciate the overall congeniality of the faculty.

    Mary Beth Yaegar, an art major, shares why she chose Birmingham-Southern. Who knows, it might be the perfect school for you!

    When she’s not starring in videos, Mary is making art, which just happens to be her major! Check out some of her awesome collages below.

    PS – they would make and unique excellent gifts!

  • College, Lifestyle, Travel

    Simple Tips For A Hassle-free Asian Gap Year

    Gap Year Travel

    Simple Tips For A Hassle-free Asian Gap Year

    In 2016, Malia Obama, daughter of then-president Barack Obama, decided that she would take a gap year before attending Harvard University in the fall of the following year as a member of the Class of 2021. Over recent years, taking a gap year after graduating from high school has become increasingly popular among Americans, with approximately 40,000 teens engaging in the practice every year. While destinations such as Australia, New Zealand and Peru remain hot favorites among adventurous youngsters looking to explore the world before settling down in college, there is one destination that possesses a mystical appeal like none other: Asia. Traveling to such a far-off destination may initially seem harrowing for a teen girl, especially as far as funding the expedition is concerned, but a few simple guidelines will make it easy to plan a memorable gap year in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

    Decide on your destination and draw up a budget

    The first thing you need to do after deciding on taking a gap year in Asia is to pick a destination. Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore are all exquisite, and can offer a girl an exceptional gap year experience. Whether you remain in one place or travel the entire continent is entirely up to you. Just make sure you plan your route and draw up your budget accordingly. Take into consideration everything from your plane tickets and accommodation to your food and other basic living expenses, and ensure you will have some extra money at your disposal should an emergency arise.

    Find cheap flights

    Your flights will more than likely be the biggest expense you incur when traveling to Asia for your gap year. Whether you’re looking to book a simple two-way ticket or plan to travel extensively and make use of multiple flights, make the effort to search for the most affordable flights available. Be flexible when booking your flights, and make use of a reliable fare finder tool to find the best deals available. If you travel frequently, you can also benefit from making use of a credit card that will reward you with airline miles, which will take the pressure off significantly.

    Making money in Asia

    Unless you’re extremely wealthy, chances are you will have to find a way to fund your gap year while abroad. Thankfully, living and traveling in Asia is typically very affordable, which means you can make your money last for longer. If, however, you want to extend your stay or have more spending money at your disposal, there are a number of ways you can earn extra money while exploring the continent. If you have a way with words, you may want to consider becoming a digital nomad and start your own blog that documents your travels. You can also offer other online services, such as web page and logo design, copywriting, and online editing that will enable you to earn money while traveling. If you consider yourself to be eloquent, why not take up a job teaching English as a foreign language? You can offer this service either online or wherever you’re staying, depending on how frequently you’re planning to change your location. 

    There is something distinctly magical about Asia that makes it the perfect gap year destination for adventurous girls. As long as you plan your trip properly, there’s no reason why your year abroad couldn’t become the most memorable time in your life.

  • Articles, College

    Want a Career in Broadcasting?

    Broadcasting

    Strategies for Planning an Amazing Career in Broadcasting

    Did you know that an estimated 243 million American adults tune in to their favorite radio stations on a monthly basis? Or that 47 percent of people prefer watching the news as opposed to reading it (as reported by USA Today)? Despite what some may say, there are still plenty of opportunities to have a great career in broadcasting. Although the needs of the industry may be changing as technology evolves, there will always be a need for on-air and behind the scenes talent. As you begin to plan your education and career, there are plenty of steps you can take to set yourself up for a successful future. Take a closer look at three strategies that will help you prepare for a career in broadcasting. 

    Get the experience you’ll need now

    To be considered for a broadcasting role, hiring professionals are not simply looking for candidates with a relevant education. On top of taking college classes, senior members of radio stations, television stations, and online media groups want people who’ve already gained experience. From student radio stations, to college television channels, to media internships, you have tons of opportunities to work in the industry before earning your college degree. When you consistently work in these kinds of roles, you can pick up valuable skills, such as learning how to use radio equipment. Having tangible skills not only makes it more likely that you’ll one day score an amazing job, but it will also give you the confidence of knowing how to perform your future duties.

    Shadow broadcasting professionals in your area

    In addition to taking on roles with student television or radio broadcasting, and working in internship roles, ask local broadcasters if you can shadow them for a day. You can start doing this by visiting the websites of local TV and/or radio stations, and then finding the email addresses of professionals in the same role(s) you are considering. From there, send them an email introducing yourself, your career goals, and request to shadow them for either a few hours or an entire day. This experience is perfect if you’ve not yet gotten an up-close look at the industry. Before contacting local broadcasting professionals, be sure to check with a parent to make sure that this idea has their approval.

    Explore colleges with broadcast journalism majors

    If you are starting to think about where to attend college, now is the time to find out which options are best for broadcast journalism majors. As of 2019, College Magazine ranks Northwestern University, Emerson College, the University of Georgia, and State University of New York at Oswego as some of the top choices. The advantages of selecting a college that is known for broadcasting include having better access to internships, state-of-the-art broadcasting technology, and exceptional professors with specific industry knowledge.

    Instead of waiting to get the education and experience needed to succeed in radio, television, or online broadcasting, do as much as you can now. Even though your opportunities will be somewhat limited until college, the earlier you can get your foot in the door of the industry, the better.