Category Archives: Education

Attracting Become A Students

A Look Back

A scant decade ago, a climate of higher education inclusivity in Iran was far from the reality. In fact, nearly 2.5 million high school age students in Iran were not even enrolled in high school, according to The Washington Post. Those who were, meanwhile, were in the right grade less than 50 percent of the time. Given that the university system during that time period accepted a mere 10 percent of applicants, it’s hardly surprising that many students opted out of college for the more attainable labor market.

The 2005 to 2013 administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saw rapid change. By the conclusion of his term, more than a million university spots were available, largely due to a rise in part-time and distance-learning offerings. Now, according to Washington Post reporter Shervin Malekzadeh, “For the first time in Iran’s modern history, anyone who is willing to pay can go to university.”

A Dynamic Present

According to Malekzadeh, “As participation in post-secondary education has become commonplace, what was once an exception reserved for the extraordinary has become an expectation for all. Universal access to higher education has transformed the experience of going to university and those who attend, into the ordinary.”

In  particular, the rapid expansion of two schools alone — the public Payame Noor University (PNU) and the private Payame Noor University (PNU) — has had a transformative effect on Iran’s higher education landscape: Both universities currently enroll more than a million students each.

The opening of these doors is particularly relevant at a time when Iran’s population is remarkably young. Of its 80.8 million people, 24 percent are between the ages of zero and 14, 19 percent are between the ages of 15 and 24, and 46 percent are between the ages of 25 and 54. The 55 and over set, meanwhile, make up just 11.5 percent of the country’s population.

Couple the ripeness of the population with growing opportunities, and university enrollments reached a record-high of 4.4 million in 2014. It follows that demand for advanced studies is also expected to climb in the near future.

And while there are some growing pains associated with this kind of meteoric growth, the majority of Iranians now not only see the value of a degree, but also see it within their own reach. In fact, Iranian parents fork over more than $3 billion annual for higher education for their kids — opportunities they themselves most likely never had.

In fact, according to a brief from Brandeis University’s Nader Habibi, Iran is producing university graduates at a faster rate than any other Middle Eastern country. Equally as noteworthy? The majority — a full 60 percent — are women.

The International Scene

But interest in the Iranian higher education system is not just limited to Iranians thanks to President Hassan Rouhani’s favorable viewpoint of international mobility. Not only has Rouhani lifted several restrictions while supporting international academic collaboration, but the easing of sanctions is now allowing American and Iranian colleges to partner with each other.

Last summer, the Institute of International Education (IIE) sent a delegate of U.S. representatives to visit Iran’s universities and research centers. Said IIE CEO and president Allan E. Goodman,

Image courtesy of TK Danesh Institute

“One by one, there is already since President Rouhani’s election a flow of academic exchange that hasn’t existed for 30 years.” Goodman went on to say that  with faculty members already commencing travel to Iran, it’s only a matter of time before opportunities for students also arise.

Outbound exchange is also picking up after the past decade of economic and diplomatic sanctions. Today, estimates put the number of Iranians studying abroad somewhere between 50,000 and 80,000, with Europe, the UK and the US in particular demand, according to a report from TK Danesh Institute Managing Director Soheyl M. Ahmadi. At the Master’s and Ph.D. levels, meanwhile, Malaysia claimed the top destination spot, followed by the US, Canada, Germany and the UK.

While Iran is well on its way to achieving its official goal of having 60 percent of its college-age population enrolled in some kind of higher education by 2025, the potential impact is far from limited to domestic outcomes. Between its expanded capacity, ongoing demand, and new global perspective, Iran is well-positioned to take on a greater role in international markets in the years ahead.

Are You Plan Study in Iceland

1. It’s Incredibly Open

Let’s face it: you don’t go to college to close your mind to new things. If you’re looking to truly expand your horizons, there’s no better place than Iceland — home to one of the world’s most liberal populations thanks to pervasive commitment to gender equality, sexual and religious tolerance, and progressive laws.

In fact, Iceland recently claimed 4th place status in the Social Progress Index 2015 behind Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Helping it earn this title? Support for personal rights, choice, tolerance, freedom and access to higher education, as well as its status as one of the globe’s most peaceful, ecologically sustainable places.

2. It Boasts a Rich and Dynamic History

The words “Vikings” and “boring” are mutually exclusive, but Iceland’s history is about much more than its medieval marauders. (And on that note, the Vikings themselves were about much more than medieval marauding.)

Whether you’re a political science or military history buff, fan of Old Norse sagas and contemporary Nordic crime lit, or an economic scholar, Iceland’s riveting history truly has something for everyone.

If you’re a believer in the supernatural, meanwhile, you’ll find yourself in good company in Iceland, where many locals believe in hidden elves and other mystical creatures.

Proud Icelanders celebrate their heritage with an abundance of local and national festivals meaning you’ll have plenty of opportunities to join in the fun while learning even more about Iceland’s fascinating past.

An added bonus? Due to its fusion of Nordic, European and North American cultures, most Icelanders speak at least two languages fluently, including English and Icelandic. Reykjavik is known as a popular international study location, with more than 5% of all students being international. Reykjavik University is located in the heart of capital and offers a variety of programs taught entirely in English.

3. Its Changing Landscapes Are Like No Other

Iceland’s Mid-Atlantic Ridge location makes it a truly unique destination any season of the year. Green open meadows, bubbling hot springs (Reykjavík translates to “smoky bay” in Icelandic), geothermal lakes, grand glaciers, brooding volcanoes, and crystalline fjords are just a few of the landscapes you can lay eyes on during your time in Iceland. And need we even mention those spectacular northern lights?

With such a breadth and depth of remarkable scenery, it’s not surprising that Iceland goes to such great lengths to preserve it, and is known as a world leader in conservation and sustainability management. Iceland is home to Europe’s largest national park, and  staggering 100 percent of its electricity derives from renewable sources. No wonder Iceland is such a popular destination for sustainability related programs, at Iceland School of Energy students can study Sustainable Energy programs and learn first hand about renewable energy technology and development. Or combine ecology, sociology, economics and business studies and consider a Master in Coastal and Marine Management at the University Centre of the Westfjords

And don’t get put off by the idea of snow: Iceland is renowned for its never ending summer. Schools like Bifrost Universityeven offer summer courses. They also offer various programs that will give you time to enjoy the landscape throughout the four seasons.

While Iceland is so beautiful that you may never want to leave, Europe’s second-largest island has yet another thing going for it: proximity. Not only is it a hop, skip and jump to other popular Scandinavian and continental European destinations, but it’s also close to the U.S. with abundant and affordable connecting flights.

4. Arts and Culture Abound

We’ve already mentioned Iceland’s literary legacy, but it doesn’t end there. The country — birthplace of Björk, Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós — also lays claim to a vibrant and unique community of artists, musicians and designers. Annual events like the Reykjavik Arts Festival, the Reykjavik International Film Festival and DesignMarch attract attendees from near and far while offering inspiring outlets for artists.

All of this adds up to perfect backdrop for studies at the acclaimed Iceland Academy of the Arts, which offers a comprehensive range of degree programs in design and architecture, fine arts, music, theater and dance, and art education.

Film-making is also alive and well in Iceland and home to the popular Icelandic Film School, making it a premier destination for aspiring filmmaker. One of Iceland’s’ most recent famous film product? Star Wars The Force Awakens.

Between all of the things to see, do and learn in Iceland, it’s no wonder that more and more students are choosing Iceland for their international study pursuits. In fact, five percent of Iceland’s student body is international, and that number continues to grow. One final compelling benefit worth mentioning? Iceland remains one of a handful of countries still offering free tuition to public universities for all.

First Salary Will be Pleasure

1.Target industries with vacancies

The first thing you can do to assure yourself a good salary is to target industries that are hiring, especially those that have many openings. If you stick with narrow fields of expertise, you’ll have a lot more competition and a lot less room to negotiate. Of course, some degree fields will already limit your job market, but many industries offer entry-level and graduate positions to applicants with all sorts of university degrees. So if salary is more important than sector, target jobs in accounting, energy, banking, and IT which all have a lot of vacancies and relatively high starting salaries. And do some research. Certain industries or companies may have higher graduate salaries than others, or you might find that salaries are higher and jobs are more prevalent in certain regions or cities.

  2. Have work experience

We all know that the job market is competitive and that you need to stand out from the other applicants. But one of the most important things you can do to improve your chances of finding a job and landing a big salary is to gain some experience before you enter the job market. Volunteer work, work-placement programs, and internships will all give you valuable experience that could boost your earning potential. Even when employers are targeting graduates, they’re looking for applicants with relevant and applicable experiences and skills and are more likely to offer, or be open to negotiating, higher salaries to job-seekers with work experience. Plus, work experience is a great way to make connections and, possibly, find a job.

  3. Don’t name the first number

Remember that interviewers and hiring agents are skilled negotiators and the dreaded salary question is a useful tool for weeding out candidates. If you can, avoid naming a salary number – too high and you may be discounted because you won’t be satisfied with what the employer is offering, too low and you may seem to lack confidence. Of course, if pressed, you may have to answer but try to name a range instead of a hard and fast number. Use industry averages if you must provide a figure, but present your answer in a way that indicates you’re flexible and open to negotiation.

  4. Know when you must negotiate…

Speaking of negotiation, once you have that all-important job offer, don’t be afraid to negotiate on salary and contract terms. In nearly every situation, negotiation is welcomed, and in some areas, it’s pretty much mandatory. This should go without saying if you’re applying for jobs in sales or marketing – the abilities to assess value and negotiate are essential qualities for such positions. And regardless of the sector, negotiating your initial offer can demonstrate that you’re confident and astute.

5. But start with something easier

Still, money is always a tough subject to broach, so don’t feel that you have to slam down a figure and start a bidding war. Approach the subject carefully and start by asking about (and negotiating) benefits, pension plans, holiday time, and other aspects of ‘total compensation.’ These can be a good way into the conversation about salary, but they will also be an important part of negotiating your final terms. For instance, the employer may be unable to offer a higher salary, but could compensate you with a better pension plan, more frequent reviews, bonus schemes, or the option of flex-time or extra paid holidays. And these benefits could be far more valuable than a 2% raise. It’s up to you to weight the options. Maybe you’ll be happier with a smaller paycheck but more paid holiday time, or a smaller initial salary but more reviews equaling more opportunity for advancement. In the end, it’s all up to you because you can always reject a job offer if you feel that the compensation is not worth the work required.

Change Student Lives With Big Data

While people have long lamented the high cost of a college education, the challenging economy and rising student debt have brought the issue to the forefront more than ever before. While it’s easy to talk about the ROI on college in general terms, it’s always been difficult to quantify in a meaningful way.

According to “Answering the Call,” a report on measuring postsecondary performance from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, while we don’t yet have the data and framework to comprehensively evaluate student and institutional performance, key measures have been identified which can eventually be used to more conclusively determine ROI.

Earlier research into this area based on the data we do have is promising.  According to a 2014 study published in the academic journal, Science, the net cost of college is actually a mind-boggling negative $500,000 with the earnings gap factored into the equation.

  2. It Will Help Teachers Do Their Jobs Better

While teachers have always used data to inform and influence their methods and practices, Big Data offers more powerful ways for students and teachers to connect. As personalized learning becomes the imperative, teachers will not only have access to even more data, but also the ability to visualize it in the most effective ways.

Imagine a world in which every click is monitored and used toward supporting more targeted teaching. Or one in which facial recognition is used to track student expressions during lessons. Big Data holds this promise for educators and along with it the improved capacity to understand student needs, adapt lessons quickly and with more efficacy, and ultimately make data-driven decisions aimed at enhancing student learning.

  3. Data Scientists Are in Demand

There’s a reason why Harvard Business Review declared data science to be “the sexiest job of the 21st century.”

With the world just starting to comprehend the power of Big Data, people who truly understand it will be an increasing commodity. Data scientists have the sought-after ability to “mine” data in order to help businesses, the government, and academia make the most out of data.

According to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, the U..S. alone faces a shortage of up to 190,000 skilled workers with deep analytical skills by the year 2018. The takeaway for data-minded students? The opportunities are many. In fact, many programs exists aimed at helping students transition into careers in Big Data, including the U.S.’s Insight Data Science Fellows Program and Europe’s Science to Data Science.

High salaries, flexible work arrangements, and the chance to make a profound impact are just a few additional reasons to consider a career in Big Data. Viewed through this lens, Wired.com’s advice to, “Tell your kids to be data scientists, not doctors,” sounds pretty good to us.

It’s true that in addition to presenting unprecedented opportunities, Big Data is also accompanied by its fair share of challenges, such as the growing imperative to protect student privacy. However rigorous efforts are underway to improve how student data is secured toward the goal of safeguarding private information.

Ultimately, while “Big Data” may sound like a mystery to many people, most agree that is the future — both for those who indirectly benefit from its impact, as well as for those who jump right into the action by pursuing data studies and eventual careers in this complex and vital field.

The Smart City of the Future

Last autumn, Paris hosted the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21). The conference, held annually since 1994, marked a united effort by the members to halt climate change. The Paris Agreement will reinforce our commitment to limiting global warming to a maximum of 2°C.  COP 22 will take place in Marrakech in 2016.

France has also recently hosted at Versailles in 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Competition, hosting 20 teams from 16 countries and 3 continents. France hosts this event again in 2016.

Again in 2014, the 21st Century Club invited over 100 industrial leaders from France and China to Bordeaux to collaborate on Smart Cities. The host countries of 2014, 2015 and 2016 are significant because France and Morocco, French-speaking countries, are particularly committed to creating a carbon-neutral economy, leading the way worldwide, in particular in Europe and North Africa.

France, since 2012 has produced over 90% of all electricity from zero-carbon sources hydroelectricity and wind power, and Morocco pledges to do the same by 2030.  Carbon-neutral and green energy are priority in France. Leading the charge are Engineering Schools such as HEI (Hautes Etudes D’Ingénieur). HEI focuses on innovation and specialization based on a core of research and development. HEI graduates have relevant, marketable skills that set them on the path to career success in both traditional and emerging industries.

Read more about studying in HEI.

Smart Cities

HEI offers programs at the cutting edge of developing industrial sectors, like Smart Cities and Sustainable Urban Development. A Master’s of Science and Engineering Smart Cities from HEI gives students the necessary skills and experience for careers today and in the future. But what are Smart Cities, and what sorts of professionals will build them?

Smart Cities are interesting to define because they are by nature, unique to the needs and personalities of individual urban spaces. All Smart Cities have a foundation in their citizens, the city’s processes, infrastructures and technology. Many cities around the world are adopting Smart-City initiatives. Urbanization has become so prevalent that it has elevated many cities, like Brussels, Seoul, Bogota, and many more, to be even more important than the countries themselves accounting for over 40 percent of the National GDP. Frost & Sullivan identifies a market potential of $1.5 trillion globally for smart cities in Energy, Transportation, Healthcare, Building, Infrastructure, and Governance.

European Smart Cities like Barcelona, Paris, London, Nice, Amsterdam and Stockholm are Smart City precursors using technology and communications for safer, cleaner, and more intuitive urban spaces. Other cities around the world, in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and in: Korea: Songdo, Seoul, are using Smart City technologies to do everything from monitoring pollution to producing crowd-sourced data models. The Smart Cities Master’s program offered by HEI introduces students to the role of engineering in Smart-City development and gives them the professional skills needed to compete.

Experts predict that major cities like Chicago, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, and San Francisco will be Smart Cities within the next five years, and France is already a leader in Smart-City development.

France is partner with India to transform cities like Nagpur, Chandigarh, and Puducherry, into Smart Cities. The Smart Cities Mission in India has brought Smart City status to 25 different municipalities, the need is so urgent.  Cities like Wuhan and Tianjin in China have joined a massive U.K.-China initiative, pairing with Manchester, Bristol and others.  The 21st Century Club initiated a similar program with leaders from France and China in 2014. Engineers with Smart-City expertise are in high demand everywhere around the world, as more and more cities adopt policies aimed at integrating technology and sustainability.

Smart Studies

Students who enrol in HEI’s Smart City program gain first-hand experience in fields like energy efficiency, sustainable building construction, environmental conservation and restoration, and waste management. The two-year Master’s program includes two paid internships, and HEI’s connections to Smart City industries around the world means that students have the chance to work with some of the leaders in innovation. HEI has 300 Academic partners and over 2500 Industrial partners all around the world. Students leave the program with worldwide connections across the sector and the proficiency to work in exciting and emerging fields like Life Cycle Assessment, Smart Energy Grid production, Sustainable Habitat Construction, and Automation.

HEI’s Smart City program builds on France’s commitment to sustainable growth, as well as the country’s reputation as a leader and innovator in industrial development. HEI has been educating and training industrial leaders for France and the world since 1885. Student skills are relevant to today and tomorrow, a variety of fields to prepare and adapt their knowledge to change. This makes HEI graduates the perfect choice for Smart-City development projects, because while no Smart City is the same as another, they all require creative problem-solving, progressive vision, and a drive to innovate.

Get Involved With Alumni Associations

We’ll start with the obvious reason. One of the main purposes of alumni associations is to support a network of former graduates who will, in turn, help to raise the profile of the university. Just like most other university student organizations, alumni associations aim to bring together like-minded individuals. But unlike sororities, fraternities, and other student organizations, alumni programs are open to all graduates and offer a broader networking scope. If you’re heading to graduation in a couple of months or have just finished your degree, joining your school’s alumni association is a good way to get a foot (or three) in the door. Contact your alumni association to see what sort of networking opportunities they offer. Some school’s host job fairs. Others have mentor programs for graduates that pair outgoing students with alumni in similar career fields. And remember that with alumni associations, quality can definitely trump quantity. In fact, many small, private liberal arts colleges have some of the most active and effective alumni associations.

1. Career building tools

One of the things to remember about alumni associations is that they want you to succeed. Of course, they’re hoping that you’ll use your success to help the association and university, but successful graduates are a university’s best asset. It’s no surprise then that most alumni associations offer a variety of career services. These can be anything from the aforementioned job fairs to things like resume workshops, job postings, and online resources for job-seekers. And most of these services are offered free of charge to alumni members. Remember the mentor programs we mentioned? These can be great tools for building your career or finding ways to maximize your earning potential.

2. Benefits

But alumni associations aren’t just about jobs and recruiting new students. When you were a student at your university, you were part of a community that offered all sorts of exciting perks – free concerts, student discounts, poetry readings, art exhibits, library access, sporting events, and numerous other things that made your university unique and dynamic. And university alumni associations understand that even after graduation, many students continue to feel connected to their university, or associate a part of their identity with the institution. That’s why many alumni associations continue to offer former students ways to keep their connection with the university. Many associations host special alumni social events, and others give members free tickets to university sporting events, life-time email services, insurance and banking services, and, of course, discounts. You might expect that alumni would get discounted university merchandise, but alumni associations often offer discounts on other things like hotels, rental cars, restaurants, and other services around the world.

3. Give back

But remember that your university provided you with numerous educational opportunities and that your alumni association isn’t just about discounts and job offers. Whether you know it or not, your school’s alumni association was probably instrumental in your success, and while most universities hope that their students’ successes post-graduation will promote the school’s reputation and encourage others to consider matriculation, one of the main purposes of alumni associations is to recruit new students. Plus, alumni associations are great resources for incoming students – many award scholarships (funded by donations from alumni) and the strength of a school’s alumni association can be a deciding factor for incoming students. And alumni associations aren’t just for domestic students. Many universities with aspiring international programs depend on their alumni to spread the word, and alumni recommendations carry a lot of weight with prospective students. So whether you sign up for membership, send a generous donation, or offer to serve as a mentor, there are many ways that your alumni association will help you help your school.

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.