Browsing Tag:

college

  • Articles, College, GirlSpring.com, Tips

    How to Choose Your College Major

    college major

    So you’re going off to college! You’ve finally found the perfect school, been through the exhausting application process and have been accepted (yay!), but where do you go from here? Although it may not have seemed like it before, that first step is easy. Now comes the big question… what do you want to do with your life? 

    Yes, that’s a truly loaded question. Perhaps you had a favorite subject in high school, but is that something you could see yourself doing every year, every day for the rest of your life? 

    Don’t stress out now– it will be okay. Although choosing a major is a big decision, if you keep these in mind, the process will be smoother.

    This decision isn’t the end-all-be-all.

    Just because you think you want to major in one thing now, doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind in a year or two. I’ve even switched. As you grow into yourself during college, you’ll find subjects and paths that cater more to who you really are. 

    And a major isn’t the only education you can get. You can minor. You can double-minor. Heck, you can even double-major. You can join clubs and take online classes that have nothing to do with your major at all. Even when you narrow it down to one specific field, there will always be more information and opportunities to learn. 

    Choosing your major and taking classes aren’t the only facets of college life. “Welcome to the College Life” explores the other aspects of college we sometimes forget.

    Explore your options. 

    I went into college as a journalism major with a degree in creative writing. While my true passion is writing, I took a computer science course in my freshman year, and I fell in love. Now I’m minoring in computer science, all because of one requirement in my college career. 

    You’ll never know what you like unless you try. In high school, I could’ve never imagined working with computers– writing was the only thing I wanted to do. By taking out-of-the-box classes, exploring interesting activities on campus and tagging along with friends to their meetings, you can fall in love with a subject that was never even on your radar. 

    Once you’ve done all that, narrow it down. 

    More often than not, our interests can be combined in one way or another. In my experience with writing and computing, I thought there was no way the two could crossover– that is until I discovered the world of coding and website design. 

    There are truly more options in college than you could ever imagine. By engaging in a little bit of research (and a little bit of soul-searching), you’ll find your perfect major in no time. Even if you don’t, however, keep in mind that it’s completely normal to change your mind once or twice. Everyone’s college experience is a little different, but as long as you’re sticking with something you truly love, then your major is right for you.

    Still need help figuring out what you want to do in college? Check out Best College’s “Student Guide to Choosing a Major!”

  • Articles, College, GirlSpring.com, Goals, Local, Shero

    Life After College

    “What are you going to do after college?”

    Eight simple words. Every college student has been asked this universal question by friends and family alike more times than they can count. It was a question that plagued my mind on two separate occasions.

    The first time was near the end of my junior year at Loyola University New Orleans in 2015. I was sitting in the career counselor’s office, thinking of the options that were given to me. I wasn’t interested in joining the military, so my remaining choices were grad school or hopping into the workforce. In the end, I chose grad school because I yearned to learn more about creative writing and enhance my craft. In March 2016, after countless applications and sleepless nights, I was accepted to Columbia University’s MFA Writing Program!

    The second time the question popped up was as I was nearing the end of my second year at Columbia two years later. There seemed to be a weight on me. A finality that wasn’t present the first time. I wasn’t planning on obtaining another degree, Master’s or Ph.D., after completing my MFA. For me, that meant, as a lyric from “The Schuyler Sisters” from the Hamilton musical goes, “work, work.”

    I spent the second year of grad school applying for internships, any internship but received rejection after rejection. After returning home in May 2018, I received the call of a lifetime. I would be the New Media Editorial Intern for Marvel Entertainment! I ran around the house that day. I would be spending my summer in one of the coolest places in New York, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The internship wouldn’t last forever; August 23rd was my last day in Marvel HQ. Back to the drawing board.

    So, what am I doing now? I’m currently living in New York, which continuously surprises me, and balancing a few jobs. I’m a Quality Assurance Coordinator at a social work agency, a Freelance Writer for Marvel (thanks to my previous internship there), creating articles for their website, and recently added Freelance Editor to my job list, editing a variety of documents like resumes, essays, and personal statements for college applications. When I have free time, I’m working on the third draft of my sequel to my first book, FATE, and writing short stories. In summary, I’m pretty busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Although I’m not where I imagined I’d be right now, career-wise, I appreciate every moment that has led me here. Where my journey begins doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be where I end. I look forward to the next stage of this wild adventure called life.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com

    Choosing the Right College: FREE Event 9/29/19

    Choosing the Right College to fit Your Budget and Interests

    Wonder Woman, Ginger Mayfield – College Advisor and Founder of Mayfield College Advising

    Geared for girls 6th grade and up and parents, the Wonder Women series features prominent women from our community and addresses topics relevant to girls in middle and high school. Join us for an engaging and interactive conversation about college – where to go, how to decide, and how to pay for it! Ginger will give a general overview of the college recruitment and admissions process and will highlight an often overlooked resource – women’s colleges. Get insights into the complicated college admissions process from someone with years of experience in this industry.

    Ginger learned from her father who was a college guidance counselor, and then she went on to get an MA in counseling, working as a high school counselor for several years before starting her own business. Now she works with clients across the area and visits 25 colleges per year. 

    Refreshments will be provided!

  • 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.