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Cyber Jungle - A Guide to Staying Safe

Today, it’s almost impossible to escape social media. It’s everywhere. Companies use it, teachers use it, and your future boss is likely using it too. Before you dive head first into tweeting, posting and recording every moment of your college years, stop and think about what can be seen and by the public, how it will affect your future and how to take advantage of this tool.

Privacy Settings

Always check the privacy settings for your social media accounts. You should receive notifications when privacy features are changing, but it’s smart to check these settings each week to ensure that you aren’t sharing that you wouldn’t want presented to a parent, teacher or future employer.

To Post or Not to Post

Everyone has different interests and values different life events, but when you prepare to post something, ask yourself what it says about you. Photos and posts about life on campus, including volunteering or football games could be appropriate. Anything involving alcohol, inappropriate clothing or inappropriate language is probably best to keep to yourself. Use your best judgment. If you aren’t sure, it’s probably best to keep it private.

Build Your Brand

Branding isn’t just for corporations. You can brand yourself. This becomes especially important as you begin to apply for internships and job interviews. If you have a clear online brand that represents what you’re about, you can use it to tell your story.

For example, if you’re applying for an advertising job, you may have your own site that displays ads you’ve created in class, copy you have written or photos and designs you have created. You may share some of what you’ve learned on a blog or a YouTube channel that tells more about you and your career goals. Use social media to leave a positive and memorable mark that shows you’re serious about your future.

Get Linked

Recruiters are saving time by using LinkedIn these days. You can use your profile to apply online, and you can also be found by future employers. Create a LinkedIn profile as a student and begin building your online resume. If appropriate, you can use a part-time job title, or even a volunteer position. Now is the time to start networking and gaining recommendations from other students and professionals you work with. Don’t leave out internships and awards. You can also add PowerPoints and writing to your portfolio.

Join groups and ask questions that are well thought out. Make your presence known to gain attention so you’re taken seriously. Follow thought leaders and learn from what they’re posting.

Find Your Focus

You can use your skills, talents and interests to build your own brand. Do you enjoy writing? Consider blogging about what you’re learning in classes related to your major. Are you a creative type? You could use your blog to display photos and ads you create. Be sure to put a copyright symbol on your work with a link back to your site. It’s easy to steal work these days.

Is design and production your thing? Or, are you interested in being a news personality? Create your own YouTube channel and share your knowledge. Talk about your favorite topics, review books or films, or consider sharing tips and tricks.

If you have an important cause, create a Facebook page and learn how to gain likes. This kind of marketing knowledge can be valuable to a company. You can also use Facebook to promote your other social networking channels. Don’t forget about Twitter. It’s another great way to promote your work. Just be sure your account is appropriate. You may consider making a completely separate and private account to tweet with friends.

In the end, remember that it’s much harder to take something off the web than it is to put it on. People can copy, save and share your life in an instant. Rather than falling victim to the world of social media, use it to build your future.

Online Degrees- Futuristic Learning, or Scams

Since the year 2008, there has been a steady increase in the number of online degrees offered. Such a supply is complimented by an ever-increasing demand from students all over the world. There are upsides and downsides attached to this form of education. So before you decide whether you would like to pursue your degree in the online world or in a brick-and-mortar classroom, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

Pros of Online Degrees

Quite apparently, there are several benefits associated with online degrees. For instance;

Convenience at Its Best

Online degrees offer the best of every form of convenience. You are not bound to reach a specific location at a specific time. All you need to do is login from your computer and attend the classes as and when you desire – even if it means at midnight in your pajamas!

Conquering Distances

You may be living in a place where colleges and universities may not be easily accessible. Online degrees make sure you do not need to sacrifice your academic desires in face of such a crisis. It also saves you from relocation costs that would be incurred if you choose to move to another place near your college.

Interacting With Students from Anywhere In the World

The internet has made it possible for people from all over the world to come together on a common platform and indulge in a shared academic experience. So regardless of where on earth you and your classmates are located, you will always be able to interact with each other and learn about the various cultures and traditions celebrated in different parts of the world.

No Discrimination – Equal Opportunity

Online education programs do not require you to share your background information, picture or any other personal information that may be used against you. Hence, no discrimination is practiced. Online degrees provide equal learning opportunities to all those who are enrolled in the program.

Setting Your Own Pace

Cannot keep up with the pace being followed? You can always alter it to your convenience. This means taking classes more frequently or the converse. You get to set the pace/frequency of classes most suitable for you.

Less Expensive (Parking, Housing and Food Expenses)

Online education is comparably less expensive than traditional classroom education. This is because a major cost of the classrooms is eliminated from the tuition fees. Moreover, you are able to save quite a significant amount of money in the form of transportation expenses, food and housing costs and other similar expenditures.

Interactive Learning Environment

Online education involves the use of interactive mediums like presentations, videos and other similar resource material. Therefore, you get to experience a high quality interactive learning environment. This not only improves your academic experience, it also ensures you are able to retain more of what you learn.

Cons of Online Degrees

There are a few downsides of online degrees.

Campus-Less

You do not get to enjoy campus life. This restricts your networking opportunities – with your professors as well as other students. You cannot meet them physically which proves to be a major drawback in improving relationships. Moreover, you are devoid of campus experiences that are a part and parcel of college life learning.

Waiting on Feedback

It is very difficult for you to get prompt responses. If you have a question, you do not get to raise your hand and ask. Instead, you need to drop an email which will be answered at the convenience of your professor. Consequently, this may mean delayed feedbacks and hence impaired learning.

Technological Menaces

Technology is not always blissful. Technological menaces like corrupted operating software, power failure, damage to hard disk and/or other computer parts and other similar problems do exist. Consequently, it diminishes your ease of acquiring education.

Accreditation Issues

If you would like to have your credit hours transferred to an ongoing degree, you may be faced with problems and/or a straightforward rejection. There are credibility issues associated with online education that makes it difficult to trust such qualifications. Consequently, accreditation issues may arise, posing significant threat to the viability of online education.

Self-Discipline Is The Key!

You cannot pursue an online degree unless you are self-disciplined. There are no professors and/or classmates to push you through the challenges. Unless you can convince yourself to complete the degree, you might never be able to do so!

Part-time jobs: effective way to earn extra cash

Part-time jobs give many benefits to students. The first and most important: start earning while you’re learning. Other benefits may be:

  • Gain experience related to your field of study
  • Enhance your communication skills
  • Get hands-on experience and exposure towards practical life
  • Gain soft skills and learn how to deal with different people
  • Learn to cope in different situations
  • Develop time management skills and learn to prioritize
  • Skills obtained may be applied to coursework

The extra cash that students earn while taking up part time work enables them to manage their daily expenses. Pay for their course books, dorm fees and other cooking or eating-out expenses. It also provides with a cushion in case of emergencies. There is student loan to worry about too once you have completed your study, starting to earn while studying enhances students to save some part of it and start paying off the loan earlier than anticipated.

Although part-time jobs offer wonderful benefits, students should also keep in mind that they’re first priority is to complete their studies. Any part-time work that they do should not interfere with their studies, or lecture timings. It should also not become an obstacle in the way of completing assignments on time. If students think it is unmanageable, choose to work only on weekends or take up work in summer breaks.

Some options of part-time jobs available to students are:

Restaurant Work

Work at a nearby restaurant or local bar. It requires little or no experience and the shift timings are flexible to manage with studies.

Call Center

Call center’s offer flexible timings and the pay is also good. Working at call centers is a great way to learn how to deal clients in different situations and enhance communication skills.

Earning Online

Making money online is one of the easiest and fastest growing ways. It could also be a means to your becoming an entrepreneur. You never know you might hit the jackpot and become the next Mark Zuckerberg. Interestingly, many great ideas are born in the minds of students, usually while brainstorming with friends. Some ways to earn online are:

Start Blogging

If you have a passion or interest, start writing about it. You can sign up with Google Ad sense and earn money via the ads posted on your blogs. If it attracts considerable amount of followers, you earn by each click on the ad. If it becomes more famous, brands could approach you to utilize your traffic towards their brand by advertising on your blog.

Take Part in Surveys

There are many online sources which pay you for participating in their surveys. You can earn some money just by a filling out a few questionnaires.

Consult Your Universities Placement Center

Every university has a placement center which helps their students in obtaining part time work. To earn some serious cash, gain experience, you can consult with them and they are sure to refer to you some places. It will also be relevant to your area of study and provide with the necessary exposure.
Another means is to work in/for your university. You can apply to be an on campus student guide. Working in your university has the added advantage of staying on campus and getting consideration for your schedule.

Tutoring

Another option available to you as a student is to teach other students. Giving lessons for a subject you are exceptionally good at can earn you some cash. Teaching also polishes your conceptual and presentation skills, which are both considered a plus when you apply for work.

Important facts every applicant should know about online degrees

Online degrees offer a very flexible alternative to on-campus classes for those who are working or are busy parents. However, there are several things you should know about online education before you can decide if it is suitable for you:

Some online degrees are better than others

There are certain study areas that are more suitable for online learning than others. For example, if you plan to get degrees that would normally require a lot of practical study instead of theory, you would be better off enrolling in a traditional college. However, degrees in business, nursing and education offered by online schools are quite popular because they are easier to accomplish through online classes.

Class requirements

Many students choose to enroll in an online program because they think that these programs are easier and not as demanding as traditional classes. However, this is incorrect. In fact, online classes are just as demanding, sometimes even more than the traditional classes. Online education requires a lot of time commitment as well as discipline. In order to be successful, students often have to spend up to 15 hours a week for a single course. A typical course often requires a student to devote up to 6 hours of study after class each day. Students have to set aside time for assignments, tests and for reading.

Education format

In online degrees, education format is quite different than traditional classrooms. Students need a computer and reliable internet connection. Work is typically done at home or any other quiet location where they can complete their papers, written assignments and read. They need to take several online tests and quizzes throughout the year. These assignments are then graded and feedback is posted online for students. Students communicate with their instructors through email and participate in discussions with students online.

Accreditation

A large number of online degrees today are accredited. In most cases, regional accreditation tends to be most recognized. Online degrees offered by accredited schools are also accepted by most employers. Employers today consider online degrees to be just as valuable as traditional degrees. Students that want to transfer their credits or want to apply in a regular university will have no problems with their online degrees.

Federal loans and scholarships

If the school is accredited, there will be no problem for students to use government sources like federal loans and scholarships to fund their tuition fees for online degrees, just like traditional students.

Enrollment age

Perhaps one of the best things about online colleges is that they generally do not have an age restriction for enrollment. Students of any age can earn an online degree. In fact, an increasing number of seniors today are taking various degrees online for subjects they always wanted to learn.

Although online degrees were looked down upon initially, today the general attitude of employers and students towards online education has changed. With the flexibility, range of choice and affordability that online schools offer, it is a good alternative to traditional education.

Is Online Degree Program the Right Choice for You?

Some benefits of an online degree program include:

  • Flexibility of working at your own pace
  • Choosing a program from any school (subject to availability)
  • Working alongside study

While an online degree program may not be the first choice for many people, it is great for those who are working. Those individuals who are looking for career advancement can opt for an online degree given that they can manage the increased work load of assignments and self-study. For young high school grads, there may be some things to consider before choosing an online degree program:

Self-Determination

The first thing to be clear upon is whether you are responsible and focused to opt for an online degree. Online programs require self study and meeting assignment deadlines. You need to be sure that you can study by yourself and meet the assigned deadlines, without having campus influence to motivate you in doing so. Procrastination and lack of motivation will kill your online degree.

Comprehension Skills

Are you an avid reader? If yes, proceed to tick that off in favor of an online program. If you cannot read lectures or understand them through videos, it may not be for you. You should also keep in mind that acquiring a degree online would require you to connect with other students or your professors through email. You should be really comfortable in using the computer and internet for communication and research. You may also be required to group online with fellow students through video chat to work on projects etc.

Home Environment

Consider the environment at home. Will you be able to devote time towards your study being at home? Will your folks be supportive or there will be too much distraction? Do you have a working computer in good condition and a high speed internet? You should also be self-sufficient in using the computers resources as all your lectures will be online in the university database.

Consider Financial Options

Another thing to consider knows how you will meet your finances. There are limited choices for financial aid in online programs. Student loans are usually given at higher interest rates as compared to getting one for the conventional degree program. There is also limited access to grants, work study and certain other financial aid in online degree programs.

Find Accredited Online Degrees

Carry out thorough research on the online degree that you would like to pursue. Find its credibility and the colleges which are offering it. Understand the course requirements and work load, thus evaluating if you would be comfortable in managing it on your own. Also consider if the degree that you want to choose will provide same or better value in acquiring it online. For example, if it requires practical coursework or exposure how that would be accomplished? How do employers in your chosen field of study view an online degree?

Limitations

While online degree programs provide many benefits and allow more flexible learning it does have its drawbacks. Online study means that there is no face-to-face with your professor and any questions that you may have will take time to answer. From the viewpoint of employers, many consider it okay to have earned your degree online but there are also those who disregard it. It is advisable that you consider all options with an open mind and thorough research. Talk to your counselor and evaluate all your options. Keep in mind your preferences and limitations of choosing an online degree program and affiliate yourself with an accredited program if you wish to do so.

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