Trendy Tuesday — Grad gifts for new hires

June 16th, 2015 by

Now that school is out for the year, many recent college grads are celebrating — and on the hunt for a job. If you’re headed to a graduation party for a student who is about to enter to the workforce, here are some gift ideas that are practical — but also a little bit unique.

daytraderDaytrader board game
Become an investment tycoon or a work in progress as you play Daytrader, a financial board game that brings the thrills and chills of the stock market to your own living room. Work at the companies in the game and when you have enough cash to retire, be the first to get to the bank before the volatile market sets you back. It’s like the game of “Life” but with the added bonus of learning ways to work to earn money, saving, investing (buy low, sell high), retirement planning and risk and each of these areas are integrated into every game.

silk-saverSilk saver
Nothing like a dribble of mustard on a necktie or a drop of salad dressing on a silk blouse to make you feel like the unprofessional kid in the office. Keep up your appearance and confidence by stashing Silk Saver in your office desk or laptop bag. Silk Saver is a specially formulated spot treatment for luxury apparel that saves the day in a convenient easy to carry along 2 ounce spray. This gift is ideal for any young professional in your life who, while excellent at their job, has trouble keeping food in his or her mouth.

phone-caseUrbane mobile
Phones and tablets hold so much of who we are inside of them, it’s time to express who we are on the outside of our devices, too. By layering personal images of the things that mean the most to us, including our travels and families, along with items in the Urbane Mobile gallery of images and graphics, it is possible to personalize every inch of your case to make it one of a kind. Fits Apple, Samsung, Blackberry, LG, Sony, Motorola and Google phones.


Major Monday — Statistics

June 15th, 2015 by

iStock_000003534853_MediumWhen you think of statistics, you probably think of a stuffy math class you were forced to taking in high school. But what you may not know is statistics is a multi-disciplinary field! Statistics are needed in marketing to figure out what audiences need; it’s needed in politics to predict who may win the next election; it’s needed in every field where professionals are in need of advice in regards to what they need to do with their businesses. If you’re interested in studying facts and probability in order to make decisions, you might want to consider a major in statistics!

A major in statistics typically leads to a bachelor’s degree, though you can also continue your education at the master’s level. While in high school, taking classes like AP Statistics, AP Computer Methods and AP Calculus BC can help prepare you for a major in statistics. Be prepared to take classes like calculus, probability theory, statistical theory, statistical methods, technical writing and more. You often will be asked to work in a team setting so working on your written and oral communication skills is essential.

What to know before you apply
Since statistics can can be applied to many disciplines, make sure the school you apply to allows you to concentrate in a field that is of interest to you. Additionally, make sure the institution will prepare you for your post-grad experience. Do they offer a master’s in this degree? Do they have on-campus organizations that will help you get more experience? Will you be able to take part in an internship? Make sure you ask these questions when figuring out which school is best for you.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, statisticians made an average of $75,560 per year  in 2012.


A farewell message from intern Emily

June 10th, 2015 by

I feel like it was earlier this week when I was writing my first blog post, but upon checking the actual date, apparently it was posted February 12. Even though that was only a few months ago, it feels like a lifetime has passed and now here I am writing a piece to say goodbye as my internship here is ending.

This was my first internship and it was an incredible experience. I was excited to come to work on internship days and dreaded sitting in classrooms on days I didn’t get to go. I got to put into practice what I learned and share things with all of you readers!

Interning here showed me just how important experience is. I’m leaving here with around 50 written pieces of work that I can sure future employers. What I can’t physically show is the relationships and connections I’ve formed with the team at NextStepU. They’re amazing people and really care about me, and you guys as well!

Writing the life blogs was my favorite part. I got to share my experiences in college and my thoughts and feelings about things that happen to almost every college student. It gave me a place to vent, while trying to help with potential problems by giving you tips or discussing how I dealt with them. Each blog was an opportunity for me to reflect about my college experience. As my time at Fisher is coming to a close, it was helpful when trying to cope with the fact that college is ending for me. I could look at most situations, positive or negative, and see how it helped me grow into a stronger or better person.

It’s hard for me to write this because I had such a great time interning here this semester. I just want you all to know that you can have a similar experience as well. Now get out there and get ready to experience it all!

Emily-intern-2105Written by Emily Mein. Emily attends St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. Sharing information or a person’s story with people is why she loves writing. She can never get enough of Twitter, pasta and Syracuse basketball.


Tuesday Tour Day — Texas A&M University – Kingsville

June 9th, 2015 by

texas-amTexas A&M University-Kingsville offers the complete college experience, with respected academics, on-campus housing and dining, numerous student organizations and a winning athletic program. If you’re looking for the complete college package, Texas A&M Kingsville might just be it!

Texas A&M-Kingsville offers more than one hundred undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Currently, the University is home to nationally-ranked programs in environmental engineering and agriculture, expanding kinesiology and music departments, and respected degrees in social work and animal and wildlife sciences. Additional major programs include accounting, architectural engineering, drama, marketing, psychology, speech communication and much more!

Campus life
Texas A&M-Kingsville recently opened a new suite-style residence hall and student recreation center, with more housing and dining options coming soon. Once you’ve settled into your dorm room, consider getting involved in an on-campus club or organization. Or, if athletics are more your thing, participate in one of the university’s many sports teams! Current sports include men’s football, basketball, baseball, cross country and track and women’s volleyball, basketball, softball, cross country and track and golf.

Tuition costs
For full-time Texas residents, tuition is $6,640, while out-of-state students pay $16,030. Room and board is approximately $6,138 for both in-state and out-of-state students.

For more about Texas A&M – Kingsville and to request information, visit


Major Monday — Business Communications

June 8th, 2015 by

iStock_000004692694SmallWhen you think of a major in business, there are many different directions you could go in. Will your focus be on international relations? Marketing? Sports? Management? No matter what direction you take your career in, having excellent communication skills is essential to be successful in business. If you are an excellent communicator and want to write, speak and edit professionally, a major in business communications may be right for you.

This major typically leads to a bachelor’s degree. Courses you can expect to take in this major include advertising and marketing communications, intercultural communication, organizational behavior, public relations writing and public speaking. To help prepare for this major in high school, it is helpful to take courses like speech, journalism, creative writing and AP English Language. Expect work on group projects, examine the psychology of communication, study the history of media and learn to read and write proficiently.

What to ask before you apply
Accreditation and finding a job after graduation are essential in helping you pick a college. Is the school you’re looking at offer proper experience and internship opportunities that can help you find a job? Will you be able to get involved on-campus with relevant clubs and organizations such as the Public Relations Students Society of America? Will you be able to apply what you learn at school to a real-world experience?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average public relations professional made $54,170 per year in 2012.

For more information about careers in business and communications, check out the Careers-In courses at Next Step Academy.


Grad Guide Giveaway — Phiaton

June 5th, 2015 by


Congratulations! You (or someone you know) is about to graduate from high school. You are all about to embark on one crazy journey. Whether you are heading off to college or striking out on your own with a job or training, you’ll need some new things.

To celebrate your new chapter in life, we found some gifts for the grad. We’re going to start off the Grad Guide Giveaways for 2015 with earphones from Phiaton. You’ll need to block out those new roommates!

The Phiaton MS 100 BA earphones balance warmth and detail, without cutting back on bass. These versatile earphones provide high-fidelity listening in a light, stylish aluminum body that adds durability. Double-injection tips paired with sound-isolating technology prevent sound leakage and minimize reverberation for continuous sound quality.

You’ll even be able to control music and answer phone calls with the touch of a button and without removing your earphones. These earphones retail for $99, but you can win a pair here!

Fill out the Rafflecopter app below for a chance to win a a set of Phiaton MS 100 BA earphones. Each action you take in the Rafflecopter app gets you another entry into the random drawing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Grad Guide Giveaways: Phiaton Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 6/11/15. One winner will be chosen shortly afterward and announced the week of 6/15/15. 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 7/15/15 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date. 


Scholarships — BigSun Scholarship

June 4th, 2015 by


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: BigSun Scholarship

Amount: $500 per student (number of awards granted varies)

Description: All student athletes are eligible for this award, regardless of which sport they are participating in. Please send us a short essay (500 – 1,000 words) answering the following questions:
• How did your participation in sports during your high school years influence you?
• Has your participation influenced your career goals?
• Has your participation influenced how you relate to your family?

Requirements: The student must be a high school senior or be attending a post secondary institute. Please remember to include your name and the name of the school that you are attending. All essay submissions should be sent to:

Deadline: June 19, 2015

For more information: Visit the BigSun Scholarship 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




What to Wear Wednesday — Summer Internship

June 3rd, 2015 by

iStock_000004752194SmallSo you’ve snagged a coveted summer internship — great! You’ll be earning valuable experience while earning some extra cash and/or college credit.

But with the temperatures rising, it might be difficult to determine whether or not what you’re wearing is appropriate. Use these three rules to help you decide if what you’re wearing is acceptable — or if you’ll get a few sideways glances from your new co-workers.

1. Ask about the dress code
The first and most essential thing you need to do to determine if what you’re wearing is appropriate is to ask and become familiar with your company’s dress code. If your work environment requires professional attire at all times then you can pretty much disregard the rest of these toe-the-line situations — you must at all times cover and dress yourself appropriately, no matter how hot the temperature gets. If your company has a more lax situation, get a feel for how “casual” they define their business casual.

2. Take inventory of what others are wearing
If you’re still confused about what’s appropriate after asking about dress policy, take a look at what others in the office are wearing. Do you see flip-flops around? Are there multiple people wearing shorts? Also take note of who is wearing these items: are they people in your department? Do they often work with consumers or clients? Are they at partner-level? Who you work with can often influence what you are allowed to wear — whether it is more or less strict than other departments. Look for patterns and when in doubt — overdressing is better than showing up with too little.

3. Be realistic of the temperature
It may be warm outside, but your tank top and shorts are going to leave you freezing once you step into a heavily air conditioned office! Knowing the kind of environment you’re going to be in is hugely beneficial when it comes to figuring out what to wear. Have a traditional office job? Layer with some cropped pants and cardigan or button-up shirt. Going to be working outside? Shorts and a t-shirt may be more appropriate.

The best rule of thumb you have is your instinct — if you’re questioning anything you wear, your best bet is to change into something you’d feel comfortable in. Once your attire isn’t a concern, you can focus on the more important things — that being the excellent experience you will receive!

> For more tips about careers, internships and all things college visit



Tuesday Tour Day — Monroe Community College

June 2nd, 2015 by

mccGetting a quality education doesn’t have to mean a high price tag. When MCC opened in 1962, their mission was to provide access to high-quality education and training programs to a diverse community. That purpose still holds true today as they have adapted programs and services to the changing needs of the community.

You can earn academic degrees and certificates in more than 80 fields and programs. If your plan is to continue your education at a four-year college or university, there are several transfer and 2+2 dual admission programs that fit bachelor’s degrees across the country. MCC graduates have transferred to more than 400 different colleges, including Cornell, UCLA, Michigan State and all SUNY campuses. Additionally, if you prefer an alternative to the traditional classroom environment, you can choose from more than 100 online courses.

Campus Life
Whether you have a favorite sport, a fascination with computer design, or just about any other interest, there’s a team or club for you. There are ongoing cultural events, speakers, films and many volunteer opportunities. MCC’s Campus Center and residence halls offer you more exciting options than ever. If you’re interested in athletics, MCC is home to one of the most successful athletic programs in the nation with 18 team national championships, 17 individual national champions, 144 regional titles, and hundreds of All-Conference, All-Region and All-American performers. Many MCC athletes go on to compete at Division I, II and III universities as well.

Both full-time and part-time students may qualify for financial aid, and more than 50% of students receive some form of financial aid. Full-time, in-state tuition is $3,060, out-of-state tuition is $6,120 and room and board is $8,300. 

For more about Monroe Community College and to request information check out their featured profile page at


Major Monday — Industrial and Product Design

June 1st, 2015 by

iStock_000018002727SmallAlmost everything you use on a day-to-day basis had to be designed. Industrial and product designers are responsible for creating that product you love. As an industrial and product design major, you’ll learn exactly how to do that.

On your way to an industrial and product design major, you’ll learn the skills you need to design and refine everyday products like telephones, cars and furniture. You’ll study the fine points of packaging and become a materials expert, while building 3D models and learning computer-aided design. Courses you’ll take include the history of industrial design, CAD skills, introduction to marketing, model making and visual communication. In high school, it helps to take courses like business, computer aided design (CAD), precalculus, physics and geometry.

Questions to ask
Be sure to ask if the program is accredited. You could design a lot — are there different concentrations like furniture or transportation available? Would you be using updated and current technology? Are there chances to study abroad or travel to other places in the country to get hands-on experience?

According to College Board, industrial designers make better money than most other types of designers. The 2012 U.S. Board of Labor Statistics show that an industrial designer made an average of $59,610.

For more information about careers in design, take the Careers in Computer Aided Design Drafting course at