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Trendy Tuesday — Best Entry-Level Jobs

May 12th, 2015 by

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFiguring out which major to choose can be difficult. There are many factors to consider: what’s a good fit for you, what you enjoy doing, what your return on investment (ROI) will be.

While figuring out how much money you’re going to make upon graduation is certainly not the only factor you should consider when choosing a major, knowing you are going to be financially set can be a major bonus once you make it through college.

Here are some trending careers that have excellent entry-level opportunities according to a WalletHub survey:

1. Training specialist
Median annual wage: $61,530

2. Web applications developer
Median annual wage: $62,500

3. Network engineer
Median annual wage: $72,560

4. Attorney
Median annual wage: $113,530

5. Environmental engineer
Median annual wage: $80,890

6. Software engineer
Median annual wage: $87,900

7. Web designer
Median annual wage: $50,670

8. Information security analyst
Median annual wage: $86,170

9. Financial analyst
Median annual wage: $76,950

10. Programmer
Median annual wage: $74,280

Salary estimates from BLS.gov

For more info on careers and major opportunities, visit NextStepU.com and start your path to success today!

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Major Monday — Fire Science

May 11th, 2015 by

iStock_000009758017_MediumHave you always been fascinated with firetrucks? Do you have an itch to jump on when you see one zoom past you? If that familiar siren noise gives you an impulse to lend a hand, are physically strong and can act quickly, a fire science major may be for you.

Education
Fire science is most often offered at the certificate and associate degree level. Expect classes like introduction to fire science, fundamentals of fire fighting, fire fighting strategies and tactics, fire behavior and fire investigation. You’ll learn practical techniques and the theories behind them for fighting fire including how to handle fire extinguishers, chain saws and other tools. You’ll learn how to control different types of fires, investigate fires, clear smoke-filled buildings, rescue victims and handle hazardous materials. Some courses that are helpful to take in high school include physics, health science, chemistry and photography.

Questions to ask
Will your training include actual work at a fire station or does the school have a state-of-the-art facility where you can practice skills? Does the program include training in natural disaster recovery and hazardous material cleanup? Are faculty members trained firefighters with substantial experience?

Salary
A firefighter makes $45,250 a year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic. The same statistics show that a fire inspector or investigator makes $53,990.

> For more information about career and major choices, visit NextStepU.com.

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Brighten Your Spring Giveaway — DormCo

May 8th, 2015 by

DormCo-blog

NextStepU loves to share products and companies with you that we think are simply amazing. After all, we know you need gear for college and if you are working, sometimes you want to splurge that hard-earned salary on something fun.

We also know cash is tight, so we love to give things away! For the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing with you products we think you’ll love that are sure to BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY!

Today we are sharing with you a company NextStepU has trusted for many years — DormCo.com. DormCo is an online store that has everything you’ll need for college dorm life. From twin XL bedding, to trunks, rugs, posters, and more. Check out DormCo.com for more than 4,500 essential dorm items at affordable prices and $2.95 shipping.

Use a DormCo.com gift card to get a head start on your dorm shopping or use it to pick out a great graduation gift for a friend. Be sure to check out DormCo.com for tons of cool dorm products.

Now you have a chance to win a gift card! Four lucky entries will be chosen to receive a $25 gift card that can be used at DormCo.com. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter app below. Each action in the app is an entry into the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Brighten Your Spring: DormCo.com Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 5/14/15. Four winners will each be chosen shortly afterward and announced the week of 5/18/15. The winners must respond to the email he or she receives in order to claim his or her prize. Any prize winner not responding by 6/18/15 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date. 

 

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Scholarships — NURSE Corps Scholarship Program

May 7th, 2015 by

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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: The NURSE Corps Scholarship

Amount:  Provides nursing students with financial support in exchange for a commitment to serve at least two-years in a qualifying NURSE Corps site. Participants receive tuition, eligible fees, other reasonable costs, such as books, clinical supplies/instruments and uniforms, as well as a monthly stipend of $1,316 for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Description: The NURSE Corps Scholarship Program is a selective program of the U.S. Government that helps alleviate the critical shortage of nurses currently experienced by certain types of health care facilities located in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). Upon graduation, NURSE Corps Scholarship recipients work at these facilities for at least two years, earning the same competitive salary and benefits as any new hire.

Requirements: 
• U.S. citizens (born or naturalized), nationals or lawful permanent residents
• Enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a professional nursing degree program (baccalaureate, graduate, associate degree, or diploma) at accredited school of nursing located in the U.S.
• Begin classes no later than September 30

Deadline: May 21, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. (ET)

For more information: Visit the NURSE Corps Scholarship Program website to apply and for more information.

Best of luck to those who apply!

> Want to continue your search? Take a look at NextStepU’s database of more than 2 million scholarships after you register at NextStepU.com

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Good Grades, Low SAT Score: What Gives?

May 6th, 2015 by

iStock_000015408737MediumSAT scores can be surprising, because they don’t always match up with the amount of effort you put into high school. Students who break their backs under the weight of honors classes piled on top of honors classes (or AP, advanced, or whatever you call the highest level classes at your school) and do every speck of homework that comes their way don’t always have the top scores. Sure, there’s a correlation—after all, the SAT does test concepts and skills you study in school, especially SAT math—but there are a ton of exceptions: I myself slacked off in many of my classes, but scored higher than 96% of test takers in both sections of the test (back before the writing section was introduced). I’m not exactly proud of that, but I’m willing to admit it. Meanwhile, I knew a number of people who definitely worked harder than I did in class but scored lower. That seemed pretty unfair, even though I came out of it with a sweet deal.

It’s precisely that situation that leads to the eternal question: what’s a good SAT score, anyway? Year after year, thousands of students score lower than they expect and then go looking to see if their scores were actually all that bad. Pretty often, it really is the case that people just don’t know what scores they should be shooting for. Misunderstandings of how the SAT is scored create unrealistic expectations. I find myself saying this a lot: the SAT isn’t like most tests, because you’re not shooting for 100% (almost nobody is). A score that looks low, because it’s far from the max, can be very respectable. Most people score between 1200 and 1800. So if you have a surprisingly “low” SAT score, think back on what you expected and how realistic it actually was.

Aside from that, you could also argue that the SAT isn’t a very good test of your academic ability in the first place. That’s why the College Board is changing the test so drastically in a couple of years. But I prefer to think of it as just a test of other skills, such as creative problem-solving, working under pressure, and reading experience—things that you can have in abundance but that might not lead to a stellar GPA, necessarily. In other words, the SAT can be a way for smart students who don’t like to follow the rules to improve their college applications. And it is just a part of the overall application, keep in mind. Most colleges care much more about the rest of what they learn about you.

So don’t freak out if your scores aren’t quite as good as your GPA. Of course it would help to have an even higher score, and it’s worth studying the test to improve those SAT skills, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture and what your SAT scores actually represent—they are not a summary of you as a student by any means.

magooshsat-imageThis post was written by Lucas Fink, resident SAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in SAT Prep. You can learn more about Magoosh on our SAT blog!

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Tuesday Tour Day — Utica College

May 5th, 2015 by

profile-uticaLocated in Central New York, Utica College offers a wide range of academic programs and is diverse like a large university. Courses are taught by an excellent faculty and are kept small to allow for the individual attention of a small college. Students are given opportunities in liberal arts and professional studies so they receive broad exposure to areas of knowledge while developing career-specific skills.

Academic Life
UC offers programs in three major areas – arts and sciences, health and human studies and social sciences and management. There are 31 undergraduate majors, 23 minors and 11 graduate programs. Utica is known for biology, nursing, occupational therapy, criminal justice, economic crime investigation, journalism and public relations. Internships, fieldwork, clinical rotations and student teaching are offered to students in every major. Courses are taught by a 108-person faculty of which 96 percent hold their terminal degree. Classes are small so students have a better learning environment and have one-on-one time with these faculty members.

Campus Life
Utica College has six residence halls with single and double occupancy. The school also offers apartments and suite-style units. The Strebel Student Center is open 24 hours a day for students and most of the classes are taught in one building. As far as involvement, there are more than 80 student clubs and organization to choose from. Throughout the year, there are an array of cultural and social events including lectures, seminars, poetry readings, concerts, exhibits, plays and movies. Utica offers 20 different varsity sports as well as intramural and club sports. The varsity sports compete in the Empire 8 athletic conference in Division III.

Financial Aid
UC provides more than $11 million each year for academic scholarships and need-based aid. More than 90 percent of students receive some sort of grant from the college. Tuition cost at Utica is $33,216, while room and board is $12,418.

Click here to find more about Utica College and request information.

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Major Monday — Music Theory and Composition

May 4th, 2015 by

musicMusic has become so embedded into our society that it’s everywhere. We have it on our phones, in our cars, we hear it in stores and we even hear it when we’re placed on hold. But if you’ve ever wondered why a piece of music is pleasing to the ear, you might want to consider a major in music theory and composition. A music theory and composition major learns the language of music.

Education
A music theory and composition major most often leads to a bachelor’s degree. Overall, these students learn how music is put together and what makes it pleasing to listen to. You’ll spend hours practicing your instruments, you’ll speak and write about different kinds of music, learn how to use computer applications to write music, learn to recognize pieces of music by ear and listen to a lot of live and recorded music. Typical major courses include composition, ear training and musicianship, ethnomusicology, music history, music theory and performance. In high school, it helps to take courses like music history, music, chorus, band or orchestra and music theory.

Questions to ask
Be sure to ask if the program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. If you’re interested in performance, make sure there is enough room for all students to practice and rehearse. Are there good acoustics? If you’re interested in electronic music, ask if the program uses up-to-date equipment. Part of this major is to compose pieces of music — will you have the chance to hear your own compositions performed by student groups? What kinds of internships or summer programs are open to students?

Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a music director or composer made an average of $47,350 in 2012.

> For more information about majors and careers, visit NextStepU.com.

 

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Brighten Your Spring Giveaways — U CHIC

May 1st, 2015 by

UChic-blog

NextStepU loves to share products and companies with you that we think are simply amazing. After all, we know you need gear for college and if you are working, sometimes you want to splurge that hard-earned salary on something fun.

We also know cash is tight, so we love to give things away! For the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing with you products we think you’ll love that are sure to BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY!

Today we share with you a must-read for any gal heading off to college. You may have heard rumors about what to expect your first year, but why take a chance with what-ifs. Get the real scoop by reading “U CHIC College Girls’ Real Advice For Your First Year (And Beyond).”

Christie Garton’s book is a guide that uses testimony from real, current college girls who experienced every situation imaginable — and made it out alive.

Most college guides talk at you, not with you. The young women featured in the book tell their stories in a way that seems like they’re sharing with you or like they are in conversation with you. They’re not trying to teach you by lecturing, but instead by using their own experiences. Their names and the schools they attend are right by their commentary, so instead of wondering if these girls are made up, you know this is a real girl who is going through a similar situation just like you.

You can read the full book review here. We know you’ll find the information in this book helpful for any college gal.

Win a copy of the book by entering in the Rafflecopter app below. Each action you take in the app gets you one more entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Brighten Your Spring: U CHIC Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 5/7/15. One winner will be chosen shortly afterward and announced the week of 5/11/15. The winner must respond to the email he or she receives in order to claim his or her prize. Any prize winner not responding by 6/11/15 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date. 

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Scholarships — Comeback Clothes Scholarship

April 30th, 2015 by

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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: Comeback Clothes Scholarship

Amount:  $10,000

Description: The majority of fabric can be recycled, yet 85% of textiles made each year ends up in landfills. That’s 11.1 million tons, or the equivalent of more than 70 billion T-shirts. Sign up for Comeback Clothes to collect old and worn-out clothes in your school or communities and recycle them at your local H&M store to help save precious resources. Participants can earn a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship for school for every 50 pieces collected.

Requirements: Submit a photo of the clothes you collected to be entered to win a $10,000 scholarship. Visit dosomething.org/clothes. The more clothes you collect, the more entries you can earn. No essay or minimum GPA required.

Deadline: May 31, 2015

For more information:  Visit the Do Something website.

Best of luck to those who apply!

> Want to continue your search? Take a look at NextStepU’s database of more than 2 million scholarships after you register at NextStepU.com.

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Interpreting Your SAT Scores

April 29th, 2015 by

If you already took the SAT test, then the next challenge you have to face is enduring through the three long weeks it takes to receive your SAT score. But by the time you’ve made it through those drawn-out weeks and can finally log into your College Board account, you might find this to be the beginning of yet another challenge — how on Earth am I supposed to understand what this score report means?

The good news: this is actually not as difficult as it may seem at first glance! You will just need to know a few key pieces of information to successfully dominate the SAT score report challenge, and our friends at Magoosh SAT have made this even easier with their new Interpreting Your SAT Scores infographic.

Take a look at that infographic below and learn — once and for all — how to understand your SAT score report:

Interpreting Your SAT Score

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