How to make the most of your summer job

July 16th, 2014 by

Colleagues in office working with tabletInternship, camps, and special programs are all great ways to spend your summer. But what about those of you who are stuck at home, working that same old summer job? Don’t sell yourself short. Having a summer job can be valuable in jumpstarting your future career. Here are some ways to make the most of that summer job.

Take it seriously. It can be tempting to fool around at a summer job — you’re just trying to pay your way to a real job, right? Wrong. Even if you’re stocking shelves at a grocery store, you’ll have the opportunity to practice real-time problem-solving skills to eventually take with you into the workplace. Take your job seriously, no matter what it is.

Stay positive. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: the best thing you can do is approach every job you take on with a positive attitude. I was lucky enough to get my first “big kid” job right out of college. The reason? My supervisors at my old work study job got a call from the hiring manager. They remembered my positive approach to working, and told the hiring manager she’d be crazy not to hire me. People remember a positive attitude.

Ask for more responsibility. Do you wish you had more to do at your summer job? Ask! There is no harm in asking your supervisor if you can take on other projects that are more in line with your future career goals. They might say no, but they’ll definitely respect your initiative, which could lead to a small raise or other positive outcomes.

Don’t let it rule your life. At the end of the day, a job is just a job. Family, friends, and future goals are all important things to devote your time to. If a job is truly overtaxing or shifting your focus away from the things that are most important to you, it may not be worth it. Take a look at what you’re putting in and getting out of your job, and evaluate its value in your life.

Some of my favorite summer jobs were also the simplest, like working at an ice cream counter or waiting tables. Are you spending your summer working? What’s your job, and how do you try to make the most of it?

Nicole-blogWritten by Nicole Milano. Nicole is a writer and yoga instructor from Rochester, N.Y., as well as a freelance writer for NextStepU. Read more from her at The Everyday Yogi and tweet her @nicolemariemil.

> For more about college life, go to


Tuesday Tour Day — Stevenson University

July 15th, 2014 by

pro_Stevenson_11 (1)Today we are focusing on Stevenson University, an independent institution that is widely known for its synthesis of traditional liberal arts education and exception career preparation. Classes are small, with a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school also offers a widely acclaimed co-op and internship program, as well as a broad range of clubs and Division III athletics to provide students with the experience needed to gain independence and leadership skills.

Stevenson University provides a distinctive, career-focused, and personalized environment for undergraduate and graduate students. Challenging academic courses are complemented by an invitation to explore the world outside of the classroom. The school has two campuses located just outside of Baltimore in Stevenson and Owings Mills, MD. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors get the best of both worlds — the history and beauty of a rural campus and the convenience and liveliness of a more urban location. Classes are held on both campuses and the University provides a free shuttle service that runs between locations throughout the day.

Admission to Stevenson University is selective and reserved for students who are prepared to meet the rigors of college-level work. Accepted students are often able to secure some sort of financial aid. Stevenson University offers a variety of financial aid packages that combine merit-based aid with state and federal assistance. According to recent data, roughly 90% of Stevenson students receive some sort of financial aid. Stevenson is committed to helping its students secure a quality education at an affordable price.

> For more information, visit



Major Monday — Agriculture

July 14th, 2014 by

Agronomist looking at wheat quality with farmerThe study of agriculture explores the many challenges of keeping humans fed. Providing food is often made complicated by environmental, scientific, economic, political, and legal factors. As an Agriculture major, you will study the effects of these factors and how to remedy agricultural problems. These problems range from soil conservation and animal husbandry to plant cultivation and business management. Although it may seem like it, you don’t need a farming background to do well in agriculture.

According to the College Board, this major is typically offered at the associate’s and bachelor’s degree levels. You’ll study different aspects of agriculture such as agricultural economics, business, and technology. You’ll also learn about the science of soil, crops, plants, and animals. These studies will prepare you to use the principles of agricultural research and production to approach agricultural problems.

What to know before you apply
The easiest way to familiarize yourself with best agricultural practices is to immerse yourself in real-world agricultural situations. In order to do this, you may be required to study abroad or complete an internship doing hands-on work in the field. In addition, many agricultural topics are widely discussed in the news. You will be expected to keep up on current events, such as the debate over genetically modified food.

Colleges offering related fields of study
Genesee Community College: Batavia, N.Y.
SUNY Oswego: Oswego, N.Y.
Morrisville State College: Morrisville, N.Y.
Stephen F. Austin State University: Nacogdoches, TX

With a degree in agriculture, you can pursue many different jobs within the farming and agriculture industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, agricultural engineers earned a median pay of $74,000 per year in 2012; agricultural inspectors earned a median pay of $43,600 per year in 2013.

> For more careers and majors info, visit



Freebie Friday — Kinivo™

July 11th, 2014 by


It’s graduation time! The school year has come to a close and grad parties are hitting your schedule. For those of you looking for gift ideas for the grad (or if you’re a grad making a wish list), we have some ideas for you.

Most new college students will need some new tech gadgets. The portable speakers from Kinivo™ are perfect! The M2 Bluetooth-Enabled 2.1 Speaker System produces rich, enveloping sound in a wireless compact system. It has two compact speakers and subwoofer housed in a smooth black finish with copper accents. The M2 delivers superior audio quality and deep bass at an affordable price, perfect for your dorm. It connects to your mobile device, desktop or entertainment center; no complicated set-up, wire routing or cable clutter required. Bluetooth-enabled or connect directly via Aux input to audio source.

The BTX270 Bluetooth & Apt-X Codec Enabled Speaker is also a compact, lightweight speaker system with Bluetooth and apt-X codec enabled speakers. Stream quality audio with dynamic range, deep bass and crystal-clear sound. It has a hands-free calling feature through a built-in microphone. The BTX270 is also backwards compatible; if a device is not suited for apt-X codec, the speaker will automatically pair down to a standard Bluetooth-connection, or can always be plugged into any gadget with a 3.5mm port. It is portable and the rechargeable battery lasts for eight continuous hours.

Either of these speakers would make great gifts for the grad. But, you can win them here, too!

Fill out the Rafflecopter app below for your chance to win one of these two speakers. We’ll pick two winners at the end of the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Kinivo Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 7/17/14. Two winners will be chosen shortly afterward and announced before 7/25/14.  Each winner must respond to the email he or she receives in order to claim his or her prize. Any prize winner not responding by 8/25/14 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date.



College living options for students

July 10th, 2014 by

Low angle view of four university students on campusDuring your first year of college, you’ll have little say as to where you’ll live. Your school probably has a few dorms, and while you might choose which one you’d like to live in, ultimately your school will assign you a residence hall, a room number and a roommate. But don’t worry — by the time your sophomore year rolls around, you’ll have more options and more control.

Yet the choices to be made during college can be pressurizing; simply deciding where and with whom you’d like to live are big decisions! It comes down to one main question: should you live off campus your sophomore year or should you stay on campus?

As with most decisions, there are pros and cons to consider. There’s also no right or wrong answer, as you’ll have to decide on what you think is best. Staying on campus means you’ll have more security and a steady, comfortable place to live. Off-campus apartments mean you’ll at times be left at the mercy of your landlord; should an appliance stop working, or should you discover a leak in your ceiling, you’ll have to wait on your landlord’s assistance. Some landlords are attentive … and others, well, aren’t.

Staying on campus usually also means that you’ll be centrally located on your campus. Most dorms and college-owned apartments aren’t located far from the lecture halls, libraries, and other buildings that you’ll use daily. If you go off campus, and if you attend a larger school, getting to campus might mean walking a mile or more. Location is key, especially if you’re one to often find yourself late for class.

You may have also heard horror stories of student apartments being burglarized, especially during spring break or another time when everyone’s away. This is a tough reality; it’s pretty easy to spot student apartments around your school’s campus, and thieves know they’ll find some easy-steal valuables like TVs and stereos. While dorm theft is also unfortunately common, it can be unnerving should your apartment be broken into. That being said, be sensible about locks and consider installing a basic door alarm; thieves won’t be expecting resistance like that.

Always remember, do what’s best for you! You can make either living situation work, and you can adapt to either one. Each has benefits when it comes to conveniences and freedoms, so as long as you keep that in mind, you can’t really make a wrong choice when it comes to your living location in college.

Keith-DormCo-headshotWritten by Keith Gillogly, for Connect with DormCo on their Facebook pagePinterest and Tumblr.

> For more info about living on or off campus, visit


What to look for when choosing a college

July 9th, 2014 by

iStock_000016826623SmallIf you’re approaching your senior year of high school, I bet your parents are hounding you to stop Snapchatting and start thinking about college. I know it’s only July, but the application process is a whirlwind that goes by in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, decision time will be here — and you want to be prepared. Here are some things to consider when choosing your school.

Money. It may seem irrelevant right now, but I graduated college debt-free and every day since has shown how lucky I am to have done so. When you graduate, you’ll be hit with a whole lot of financial responsibility. Consider which schools will give you the most bang for your buck in order to make future financing as painless as possible.

Opportunities. Building a career in your field extends beyond the classroom. Internship opportunities, seminars, workshops, and study abroad programs can all teach you valuable lessons you may not learn at a desk. See if these types of opportunities are available at the schools you’re interested in.

Extracurriculars. College isn’t supposed to be all work and no play. If you love to play sports, research the athletics and intramurals programs at your school of choice. Whether your interest is in theater, robotics, entrepreneurship, or music, make sure you’ll have the opportunity to do what you love at school.

Location. Do you aspire to work on Wall Street? Look at schools close to New York City. Aching to work in tech? A school on the west coast might be the way to go. If you’re close to your family, maybe a school within a reasonable distance of home is preferable. Depending on what’s important to you, take note of a school’s proximity to major cities, companies of note, or family.

I chose my school for all the wrong reasons: it was close to the boy I was dating at the time. Lucky for me, it ended up being the perfect place to spend my four years of college. But don’t leave it up to chance like I did. Consider everything that’s important to you so you can make the most of your college experience.

Nicole-blogWritten by Nicole Milano. Nicole is a writer and yoga instructor from Rochester, N.Y., as well as a freelance writer for NextStepU. Read more from her at The Everyday Yogi and tweet her @nicolemariemil.

> For more about college life, go to


Tuesday Tour Day — Mount Mary University

July 8th, 2014 by

MMU_profile_13-14Today we are focusing on Mount Mary University, a Catholic women’s college located in Milwaukee, WI. Mount Mary provides more than 30 undergraduate programs, seven graduate programs, and one professional doctorate. You will be encouraged to think and collaborate in new and exciting ways, to personalize your college experience, and to be at the leading edge of your future career. Mount Mary promises to provide a high-quality education and opportunities to grow both intellectually and personally. Programs are structured to focus less on finding answers and more on the process of discovery. This helps promote different ways of learning, living, and interacting with the world.

Mount Mary offers many opportunities for engagement within each program, including independent research projects, study abroad opportunities, service learning, and internships. Women are encouraged to take charge of their college experience, preparing them for influential post-graduate lives. Outside the classroom, students can participate in more than 40 clubs and organizations. Numerous events such as Waffle Wednesdays, karaoke, and an international fashion show are just a few of the extra-curricular events for students to enjoy. Mount Mary’s Blue Angels participate in a number of NCAA Division III sports, including: basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball.

One of the most unique and beneficial programs at Mount Mary is the Mount Mary University Women’s Leadership Institute. The Institute works to inspire, educate, train, and support the college’s women to help them develop their potential as transformational leaders. In addition to serving as a campus resource for research and information on women’s issues, the Institute sponsors leadership programs and events throughout the year. These events bring together influential women leaders to inspire participants about their own leadership potential. Through opportunities like these, Mount Mary aims to empower its talented and confident young women to pursue their goals.

> For more about Mount Mary University, visit



Major Monday — Behavioral Science

July 7th, 2014 by

iStock_000001487847MediumIf you choose to major in Behavioral Science, you will study a combination of psychology, biomedical science, and social science to examine complex problems of human growth and behavior. You will research the biological factors behind human behaviors, using them to answer a myriad of questions such as the following: Why is learning a language as an infant easier than as a teenager? What are the roots of violence? If these questions interest you, consider majoring in Behavioral Science.

According to the College Board, this major is typically offered at the bachelor’s degree level. Your course load will be an equal mix of science and psychology classes. Expect to study biology, research methods, social psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology. You should also be prepared to spend a lot of time in the lab, doing research and preparing presentations.

What to know before you apply
Many colleges that offer this major require students to complete internships or field work before graduation. Take a look at the hands-on opportunities that will be available to you as part of your study. You may have the opportunity to intern at a shelter, prison, special-education classroom, or another site where you will study human behaviors in real world situations. There’s also a good chance you will need to pursue a graduate degree, depending on what field of work you’re interested in.

Colleges offering related fields of study
• Mount Mary University: Milwaukee, WI
• Frostburg State University: Frostburg, MD
• Concordia College: Bronxville, NY
• Wade College: Dallas, TX

After graduation, you may choose to work in a variety of different fields including sociology, psychology, or even for the government as a criminologist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sociologists earned a median pay of $74,960 per year in 2012; psychologists earned a median pay of $69,280 per year in 2012.



Scholarship Saturday — Best Value Schools STEM Scholarship

July 5th, 2014 by

scholarship saturday

NextStepU is happy to help guide you toward scholarships and opportunities to earn money for college. Here is a new scholarship we found for you!

Scholarship: Best Value Schools STEM Scholarship for Women

Description: Final selections will be based on academic achievement, participation in school and/or community activities, and how well the personal essay highlights the applicant’s career aspirations as a female in a STEM career. Depending on the number of finalists, an interview may be required via video conferencing.

Amount: One $2,000 scholarship to a woman enrolled in a STEM degree program.

• Be a female currently attending or accepted at an accredited post-secondary institution (undergraduate or graduate).
• Be a U.S. Citizen as verified by a U.S. passport, birth certificate, or other methods seen here.
• Be majoring full-time in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics program (STEM).
• Possess a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher and rank within the top 30% of their class.
• Have achieved the following standardized test scores: Minimum SAT – Math – 600, Composition/Reading – 500; Minimum ACT – Math – 29, English – 25.
• Print and complete the scholarship application form.
• Submit one (1) cover letter and resume; two (2) letters of recommendation; and one (1) 500 word personal essay about why you’ve chosen to major in science, technology, engineering or math.

Deadline: July 15, 2014

Full rules and regulations can be found on the Best Value Schools STEM Scholarship website.

Best of luck to those who apply!

> Want to continue your search? Take a look at NextStepU’s database of more than 3 million scholarships after you register at