10 hot classes for success in the year 2020

Imagine the places you could go if only you knew what classes could take you there…

A zombie apocalypse might just destroy civilization before the year 2020. Hey, plenty of crazy things happen every day. If the zombie virus goes viral, only the best and brightest are going to have a chance at survival. Just in case, we’ve compiled a list of classes that you should take now to ensure you’re place in post-zombie apocalyptic society in 2020.

  1. Social Media Marketing, San Francisco State University

So knowing how to use social media in a way that benefits the company you work for may not be exactly breaking news to anyone. Almost every person currently looking for a job or working towards a degree of realizes the importance of social networking and promotion. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a serious class. With social media, more is more, and increasingly employers are expecting a higher level of knowledge when it comes to it.

  1. iPhone Application Development, Stanford

More and more these days, companies are being faced with the challenge of catering to a growing population of smartphone-owning consumers. These consumers require faster, easier, and more personalized ways to connect with any given business at any given time. Smartphone apps are the biggest trend right now that allow businesses 24/7 contact with consumers around the world, and like social media, it is beginning to fall to every employee to know how these apps work and how to make them better.

  1. Study Abroad

Technically, studying abroad is not a single course one can take to learn skills future employers might find noteworthy. However, seeing the world teaches students how to respect cultures other than their own, how to work with people who don’t come from the same background, and how to work in a foreign environment. All of these skills are increasingly necessary in a globalized world, where one day you could be talking to someone in Idaho and the next, someone in Switzerland.

  1. Organizational Behavior, Georgia Tech11-professor-graphics-hula

This course provides an introduction to how the behavior of individuals, groups, and organizations affects organizational effectiveness. AKA it teaches students how to better conduct themselves in a business environment so that they are as productive as possible, while also teaching future managers how to make their company more lucrative.

  1. Gender, Leadership, and Management, Harvard

This class is focused on leadership and management from a gender-based perspective. Issues covered include leadership styles and their impact, understanding power, ethical decision making, workplace stereotypes, differences in communication, and approaches to teamwork. All of these skills are and will continue to be vitally important in the modern workplace.

  1. Foreign Language

Again, not one specific course, but still important to employers of expanding businesses. Just the fact that you know a language, even if it is not one the company currently needs to use, can be a positive sign to an employer that you can put in the work necessary to learn a foreign language down the road.

  1. Business Writing, University of Notre Dame

This course is designed to help people in the business world improve upon their writing skills. A common problem in the workplace is that employees cannot even draft polite emails, much less professional presentations. “For whatever reason, we are finding the business writing skill-set to be missing,” said Paula Hill-Strasser, an adjunct business professor at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. When preparing for a future career, students should take some time to hone their writing skills in the workplace that can not only just help them get a job, but also ensure that they keep it.

  1. Corporate Communication, Dartmouth

This mini-course explores the changing needs for communication in the business environment. It covers the ever growing environment for business, media relations, financial communications, reputation management and crisis communication.

  1. Peer Advising Program, University of Pennsylvania

This program, recently set up at Pennsylvania, is run by older undergraduate students for younger freshmen and sophomores. “While it’s great to see professional advisors and faculty, there are certain things that only a student can articulate,” Director of Academic Affairs and Advising for Wharton Scott Romeika said. Early responses have led to more informed students, who in turn make better course decisions.

  1. How to Develop “Breakthrough” Products and Services, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This course teaches students how to systematically create ‘breakthrough’ products and services for a company—a huge trend for businesses everywhere trying to find the next big thing. Shouldn’t that next big thing be you?

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How to Prepare for Work after College

It’s about post college preparation so you can hit the ground running!

Economists maintain that a college degree is still the best way to land high-paying jobs, but lots of graduating high school students are questioning that when they hear about college graduates not being able to get a job, or finding a job that has nothing to do with their major. On top of that, add the dismal figures that reference student loan debt topping $1 trillion and graduates finding themselves with low-paying jobs that make them no better off than if they hadn’t gone to college.

Let’s take a closer look at how college students can successfully hit the ground running as soon as they graduate. We’ll examine the idea that just attending college may not be enough; students may need to make more focused decisions before entering college – to help put their degree to work right away.

Have a Plan
It used to be OK to head off to college and figure out a degree later. According to MyMajor.com, 80% of students entering college hadn’t picked a major and 50% will change their major while in college. But the combination of rising college tuition and students spending more time in college to get those degrees is posing a problem. Matter of fact, Harvard economist Richard Freeman advises that students who are undecided about their future plans find a job after high school until they decide what they want to study—instead of heading to college without a clear plan.


Don’t Follow Your Passion?

Get a job doing what you love. We’ve all heard that mantra. However, a new school of thought espouses the idea that students not follow their passions, because most of our passions don’t necessarily translate into successful careers. Instead, the idea is to follow our effort. Students, even in high school, can focus in on how they spend the majority of their free time. It’s the idea that whatever you spend the most time doing—may be your perfect career. When we spend time with something, we gain a lot of skill which makes us an expert in that field and being an expert translates to career success.

Look at Barriers to Entry
Pursuing a profession that requires a specialized degree creates a barrier to entry—and this can be an advantage. When a student pursues medicine, education, law or accounting, for example, those fields require a degree in order to gain certification to apply for those jobs. Other careers, like the arts and many business roles, have collegiate degree programs, but these degrees are not a requirement to work in those particular jobs, increasing the number of eligible job candidates. More people applying for fewer jobs can automatically lower the pay.

Check out the BLS
The Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ website has detailed information about most career paths including average salary and the amount of people needed in those careers in the future. If you’re considering more than one degree path, choose one that will have a large need for workers in the future. Fields that have a saturated market not only make it harder to find a job, but the salary may also go down due to the oversupply of workers willing to work for less.

The Bottom Line

Remember, the sooner you get out of college, the sooner you will earn money instead of building up more debt.

I Don’t Know What I Want to do for a Career

Academic strategy for those who aren’t ready to choose a major

Some people are born with a clear idea of what they want to be when they grow up—it could be a doctor, lawyer, teacher or small business owner. Unfortunately, it’s not this simple for everyone. And, did you know that the average American will change jobs five to ten over the course of their career?

Lots of students start their college careers with a wide variety of interests and passionate hobbies, but when it comes to turning those things into a real career, they aren’t sure which way to go. If this sounds like you – fear not, you are not alone. You are right where you need to be. So relax, breathe, and follow these tips to start figuring out where your talents and potential can take you.

Tackle the indecision head on

One advisor claims that deciding on a career can be simplified into addressing three basic concerns:
1. You need more information
2. You don’t know what you want
3. You can’t make a decision

The author says that by conquering these head on—taking the requisite time to do that—you’ll be just fine

To declare or not to declare—and the benefits of being undecided when you get to college

It’s common for students to change majors at least once during their college career. Once students begin taking classes, they find that other courses or career paths may be right for them. This article emphasizes both the advantages of being both undecided when you arrive and declaring early.

While you’re in college—try these things to help you decide

Another method for helping you determine a career is to try 5 new approaches while in college. These include making a list of the subjects you like most, joining student organizations or volunteering, traveling (inexpensively) to pursue which industries thrive in different states and even countries, and staying open minded to opportunity.

Finally, an excellent article in the New York Times talks about that age-old question, what’s your major? …and the reality that today, incoming college students have a dizzying array of majors to choose from—with lots of new majors being added annually to cover emerging career trends and global needs.

I recommend that it’s worth it for high school juniors and seniors to dig in and do this kind of career research.  And, for parents to do this right along with their students. Read articles and have conversations. And let me know if I can jump in and assist.

Romance Languages at Bowdoin University

Ever thought about exploring your love of languages and cultures at the collegiate level? Then follow The Professor to Brunswick, Maine. It’s a charming, walkable town, a picturesque slice of historic New England, and home to Bowdoin College. Thanks to the college’s thriving Department of Romance Languages, it’s also a great place to study Spanish, French, or Italian.

The first thing you need to know about Bowdoin is that here in Maine, it’s pronounced “Bo-dun.”

Now that your ear is tuned in to correct pronunciations, join The Professor in saying “bonjour” to the Department of Romance Languages, where students can major in French, Spanish or a combination of any two of these three: French, Spanish and Italian. Reading and speaking languages, understanding cultures, and studying abroad are all important parts of the program.

Outside of class, Romance Language students have even more opportunities to practice and learn. They say “ciao” over espresso and biscotti during Italian Coffee Hour, for example. The department founder is none other than the 19th-century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He was one well-rounded scholar — and the language students here are too. They delve deeply into related subjects such as art history, Latin American studies, history, English, and Africana studies. Many Romance Language graduates go on to study law, literature, or international business. Others pursue careers in teaching, translating, Foreign Service, or one of dozens of other possibilities1.2014_Shannon Room.

Bowdoin’s other 30-plus programs are as interdisciplinary as Romance Languages. It’s a small, private college where the student body numbers about 1,700 (tiny by today’s standards but nowhere near as small as it was back in 1802, when the first class of just eight students enrolled.)  Admissions are competitive, and U.S. News & World Report ranked Bowdoin the fourth best liberal arts college in the nation. What does this mean once a student enrolls? Bowdoin’s students, few in number but big on academic commitment, find that the university values risk-taking above giving correct answers. Professors really care about helping students find what makes them passionate, whether it’s open-source software development, avant-garde theater, or just about anything in between. And just like in the Romance Language department, subjects spill over into one another in all disciplines. As Bowdoin’s website reads, “Philosophy is not disconnected from politics. Art can be a lens for understanding social change.”

Wondering how students from such a broad, interdisciplinary program decide on a career direction? Bowdoin Career Planning has that covered, with a whole online community of professionals and experts to help students plan for life after college. As for off-campus attractions, The Professor looked around the region and is positively amazed by the nearby mountains to ski, rapids to paddle, and shorelines to explore. Apparently the students in the college’s enthusiastic Outing Club are impressed, too. And for rainy days, The Professor found something fascinating at Bowdoin that you don’t see everywhere: the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, filled with photographs and artifacts collected from Arctic explorers.

To learn more about Bowdoin University’s application requirements and deadlines for Romance Languages and other programs, please visit www.bowdoin.edu.

What’s Your Personal Brand- How to Market Yourself

There’s little or no time to prepare for your career between college and work. Now is the time to work on your market strategy for yourself so you can get the job you want.

One of the things that college doesn’t often teach is how to best position yourself for your future career. Taking a few minutes a week now, before you launch into your college career, can go a long way to making yourself look like a rock star with knowledge and connections in your industry. Today getting a job is about so much more than a resume. It’s about how well you’re able to communicate your personal brand online and in person.

Here are some simple steps to help you jump start this process
First, you are probably already building your brand but didn’t even know it. Next, you need to make an effort to focus on your future. If you are already on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, then you are building an image on those sights.1_BrandYourself

Maintain a clean reputation
Make sure that you maintain your reputation as clean and upstanding as possible. You never know who sees your friend’s social feeds, and for that matter, there is no guarantee that social channels will always keep their same privacy settings that are in place now. So the rule of thumb is that throughout your time in college, do not post anything across your social media profiles that you would not want your potential boss to see.

Start a blog
Another great way to start building your professional brand is to launch a blog. It can be a personal blog and you can use it to journal your college experiences, but just like your social channels, keep it clean and professional. In addition to information about you, it’s a good idea to include interesting facts or ideas from your classes, talk about your favorite topics in school, and highlight articles from the industry you want to work in. Highlighting an article can be as simple as linking to it, quoting one or two sentences from it, and saying a few things about what it means to you or what you think about the content. Establishing a blog presence may seem like a big time commitment, but if you target to create one or two each month, then you are on your way.

Tap the power of LinkedIn
In addition to setting up your social networks and blogging, you can begin making professional connections in your chosen field, with peers and professionals as well as with recruiters and business leaders. LinkedIn is the best platform for this; it’s your professional social network. On LinkedIn, you set up your profile like your resume. Start building on this early so that when you graduate, you’ll already have a professional profile online with lists of your extracurricular activities, charity events, community service, internships, and recommendations from associates, fellow classmates, professors and education professionals.

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