Monthly Archives: April 2016

Good Job To Be True

The first rule of thumb for avoiding job scams is that no legitimate organization will every ask you to pay up front for anything. Whether it’s selling knives (they promise you’ll earn back the price of the demo set in a week!) to overseas jobs with six-digit salaries (just send money to cover the visa processing fee), if a job or company wants you to pay before you’ve met in person or read and signed the contract, you should be suspicious. Don’t arrange to send (or receive) money, don’t give out personal information like your social security number or passport details, and don’t agree to send on goods or currency. These are all major red-flags and should tell you that something is not right.

1. Google EVERYTHING

That’s why you should Google everything, even offers that seem legitimate. Scammers are getting craftier, and many schemes go to extreme measures to look real. Some even use the names or logos of actual companies and firms, but a quick search should reveal the more prominent scams. Visit the website of the legitimate company, check LinkdIn for the recruiter, and Google the email address. You’ll discover the frauds in no time, and if the job is legitimate, you’ll have acquired some good background for the interview. Speaking of websites and emails, remember that real job offers will come from corporate email accounts, not Hotmail or Yahoo accounts, and legitimate corporations will have a solid online footprint.

2. Pick good sources

Remember when you were writing research papers and your professors stressed that it was important to pick good internet sources? Well, the same goes for job searches. If you’re getting desperate to find a job, it might be tempting to reply to that sketchy offer from craigslist, but it’s a better idea to stick with trusted job-seeking sources like LinkdIn, Milkround, Monster, and other well-known sites. Remember that it’s a good sign if the job is listed on multiple sites.

3. Follow the news

Scammers can target anyone, anywhere, but there are areas and populations that are more frequently targeted than others. International students can find themselves victims of scams because they’re more likely to be looking for jobs abroad or remote employment opportunities, and companies in countries that are popular with international job-seekers may be used more frequently as covers to target graduates. If you’re living abroad and looking for a job, keep up-to-date on the news – news organizations are quick to pick up on active scams and will inform the public. If you live in or are seeking a job in an area that has a high rate of scam job schemes, be extra cautious when applying for jobs or responding to offers.

 

Study in Multiple Countries

Many university study abroad programs used to encourage students to study abroad during their junior year. This wisdom was based on the idea that most students would be well-established in their degree field, but would still have time upon return to take any additional requirements and still graduate within four years.

But the value of international education has outstripped traditional ideas of academic security, and more and more students are looking for ways to earn their degrees abroad. Still many students imagine that studying abroad multiple times or long-term is completely out of reach for the average student. Luckily, governments around the world realize the value of international students and campuses around the world are ready and waiting for students from abroad. So why wait? Grab your passport and read on to find out why you should earn your degree abroad!

1. It’s not expensive

Only 10% of American students study abroad, and one of the major deterrents is the perceived costs of international study. And even those students who realize the value of a study abroad experience often believe that their funds will only cover a short-term semester or year program. But the truth is that studying abroad doesn’t have to be expensive, and in some cases completing your degree abroad could be more affordable than staying domestic. Of course, there will always be countries, universities, and programs that can break the bank but if you choose wisely, you can study in one or more locations overseas without wracking up a ton of student debt. If you want to maintain a domestic presence, start by considering tuition-exchange programs. Your school’s study abroad office can help you identify programs where your tuition (and sometimes room and board) will be the same as your home institution. And you’re not limited to a single tuition-exchange experience, so can study psychology in the Netherlands, round off your Spanish minor in Peru, and complete your honors project in Indonesia without paying more for tuition than you would at home.

But what if you want to earn your entire degree abroad? Again, it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many countries around the world where tuition is low or free for international students, and while living costs can vary from country to country if you do your research a degree abroad could cost a fraction of a four-year program at home. Universities in Germany and Norway are tuition-free, even for overseas students, and in Brazil, Slovenia, and France students at public universities pay only nominal fees. Some countries, like Poland, make it easy for international students to pay tuition feesgradually while others allow international students to pay the same low fees as domestic students.

2. You’ll learn languages

One of the biggest benefits of spending as much time abroad as possible will be the chance to learn new languages. It goes without saying that the longer you spend immersed in a language, the more likely you are to learn and retain your new knowledge. And the great news is, you don’t have to learn the language before you go! International students are a major resource for universities around the world, and you’ll find English-language programs in almost every country. Finland and Sweden both offer numerous courses in English, which means you can study sociology, or computer programming, or music by day, and practice your Scandinavian language skills after class. And while campus-hopping may seem counter-intuitive for language acquisition, for some students it’s the ideal way to perfect and diversify their language skills. For instance, students who study Spanish (currently the second most -spoken language in the world) can benefit from nomadic studies. Like English, Spanish varies according to country and region, so three semesters in Spain, followed by a year in Mexico, topped off with semesters in Argentina, Chile, and Honduras will give a Spanish-language student broad exposure to the variances of the language.

 

Student Debt Problem

While there are a variety of strategies regarding the best way to pay down different kinds of debt, the “debt snowball method” is one of the most popular avenues recommended by financial experts for paying off debt.

According to this approach, you simply pay off the accounts with the smallest balances first. While this may seem to run counter to common sense if you have larger debts with higher interest rates, the psychological benefits gained from making progress add up to peace of mind and forward momentum.

After all, while making payment after payment toward chipping away at a large balance may want to make you throw your hands up and give in, there’s great satisfaction to be found in paying even a small debt down to zero and crossing it off your list.

2. Check For Repayment Programs

If you’re dealing with loan payments which have become unmanageable, several federal repayment programs exist aimed at offering relief, including graduated, extended, income-based, and pay-as-you-earn repayment plans.

One thing to keep in mind about these programs? You’ll still have to pay back your loans, which may end up costing you more over time due to the total interest paid. In the meantime, however, you’ll enjoy invaluable breathing room while you explore avenues for getting caught up.

Don’t qualify for a federal loan? Look into private lenders instead.

Regardless of the repayment program you choose, one element is critical: keep your loan servicer in the loop. If you are in danger of falling behind on your payments or not making a payment at all, inform your lender immediately. Think of it this way: They don’t want you to default on your loans any more than you do.

3. Know Your Loans

All loans aren’t created equally. The more you know about your loans, the more you’ll ultimately understand about how to repay them.

In the U.S., for example, students have several handy options for tracking their loans. The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) maintains a convenient database of all federal student loans, while credit reports reflect all private loans. In order to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, maintain an updated list of all of your loans, lenders, balances and repayment statuses.

4. Consider Consolidation

If you’re struggling under the weight of multiple loans with high-interest rates, loan consolidation may offer a money-saving solution. While consolidation is not likely a solution for recent borrowers, it can be a life-saver for those with lingering loans.

However, be sure to do your research and read the fine print before accepting a consolidation loan to spare yourself any unpleasant surprises in the future.

 5. Resist the Urge to Panic

Dealing with any amount of debt is no fun, but dealing with crushing debt during a time of emergency can send you into a full-on panic attack. If health problems, unemployment, or other issues are interfering with your ability to pay your loans, don’t freak out. There are resources available to help you, including deferments and forbearance. While neither of these may be ideal, they may be the temporary solution you need to get back on your feet.

6. Get Creatively Employed

Finding the right job can offer unexpected relief from student loans. For example, full-time public service employees in the U.S. may qualify for Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

Additionally, some private sector employers will also consider including student loan repayment reimbursements as part of your benefits package or as a replacement for tuition reimbursement programs.

Although choosing a job based on whether it will offset or eliminate your debt may involve you taking an unexpected career turn, it can also offer critical relief — which may make the detour well worth your while.

The truth is that student loans are a fact of life for many students. However, overwhelming stress from dealing with these loans doesn’t have to be part of the equation. These six steps can help you wrangle your loans into positive strategies for debt relief and financial freedom.

Consider a Masters in A Good Studies

While traditional master’s programs will give you a solid understanding of theories and excellent research skills, an MPS focuses on practical skills that apply directly to a specific job. This means they’re a great option for someone who knows precisely the career field, job, or even department they hope to enter. A traditional MA or MS is great if you’re hoping to earn a PhD, but an MPS is better if you want career advancement in a marketing firm, or to jump into an emerging technological industry. MPS degrees are also a great way to make a general BA or BS degree work in a specific field – for instance, if you majored in history, consider an MPS in Museum Studies.

2. They’re flexible and focused

Because MPS students tend to be established professionals hoping to climb the career ladder or change professions, MPS studies are often very flexible. They cater to working professionals and frequently offer online or evening courses. Instructors are usually professionals in the specific field, so classes and coursework can give opportunities for networking, hands-on experience, and even job opportunities. And since MPS programs are designed around specific skill-sets, most include some form of field work, which gives you the opportunity to test-drive your new skills and focus on areas that apply to your interests and strengths.

3. They’re growing in popularity

As we mentioned, master’s degrees could make up two-thirds of degrees in the next decade, and with MPS degrees leading the way, you might find that honed and industry-specific skills are in even higher demand. The world of industry and development grows more diversified by the minute, and broad knowledge and a diploma will no longer guarantee you your dream job. Starting an MPS now could put you ahead of the game in five or ten years time. Who knows, by 2025, you could be offering your career expertise to incoming MPS students.

If you think an MPS degree might be right for you, but are still unsure how the degree could apply to your studies consider some of these options:

–  Thinking about teaching, but didn’t study education? Consider a Professional Master of Education.

–   Did you study Architecture and Design as an undergraduate? Think about taking your skills to the next level with Master of Architecture.

–   Political science major with a passion for globalization? Why not enroll in a Master of International Relations program?

–   Do you worry about the future of farming and food production? A Master in Crop Protection could give you the skills to feed the future.

Are Your Master Thesis

Choosing a topic for your master’s thesis is anything but an arbitrary process. After all, you’re going to be stuck with it for a long time. However, if you’re like most master’s students, you’re probably in graduate school because you have an interest in a particular area or subject. Your brainstorming process starts here.

Write down a list of all possible ideas, welcoming creativity throughout the process. An open mind and expansive approach are integral: While some of your ideas may not be feasible, others may lead in unexpectedly fecund directions.

It’s also useful to keep your career goals in mind when narrowing down your list of potential topics. While the job hunt may feel like it’s a long way off right now, it will be here before you know it and a relevant thesis can give you the leading edge when it does.

And while the idea generation process may be a solitary one, the selection process doesn’t have to be. Everyone from classmates to your thesis advisor can be ideal sounding boards for exploring potential ideas.

One last thing to keep in mind? Forget about finding the “perfect” topic. Why? Because it doesn’t exist. Not yet, anyway.

2. Write a Solid Proposal

Your master’s proposal outlines the plan for its completion. The more comprehensive your proposal is, the clearer your path will be throughout the research and writing process. Investing inadequate time into your proposal, meanwhile, will not only interfere with your progression, but may also lead to complications when the time arises for committee review.

If you’re still not sure about your topic, performing a topic analysis can help. A simplified version of a proposal, a topic analysis can help you “test” a topic in order to determine whether it’s worthy before you venture too far down the path. This step includes identifying the hypothesis or question; evaluating the topic’s importance; assessing the significance of prior work on the topic; determining your planned methodology or approach; and predicting possible outcomes along with their significance.

Don’t limit yourself to a single topic analysis.  Exploring several different directions can help you hone in on the best topic, which can then be built out into a strong proposal.

3. Don’t Underestimate the Role of Your Advisor

The best master’s students advisors are involved with the research process from its inception to completion. While the role may be supervisory in nature, it can also be quite active. Choosing an advisor who is interested in your topic and has expertise in the field is critical. After all, advisors who have a stake in your work are much more likely to offer the most useful guidance and help.

In addition to interviewing potential advisors, take time to talk to their advisees, who can offer invaluable insight into determining everything from how available a particular advisor is to what sort of feedback will be offered. Other questions to ask may pertain to management style, facilitation skills, working atmosphere, expectations, and the average time advises take to finish under a particular advisor.

It’s also essential to remember that advisors have commitments of their own. Making sure your mutual expectations are in alignment in advance can save you heartache and headache down the line.

4. Start Writing and Keep Track

While every person’s writing process is different, all master’s theses share at least one thing in common: the writing has to start somewhere. Beginning with your initial brainstorming sessions, maintain a research notebook aimed at collecting all of your ideas, sources, observations and impressions, and problems into one central location.

Again, the more thorough you are, the more valuable this notebook will be — not only as a resource, but as a record and reference. While it will serve as a go-to throughout your entire thesis writing process, your thesis notebook will be particularly useful when you’re preparing your bibliography.