Landing That First Job

With summer fast approaching, many high school students will be looking for a summer job. Summer jobs can help you to gain work experience, earn money, and learn some skills that can translate into jobs in the future. Landing a first job can be tough and knowing where to start and how to put together a first resume is the initial challenge.

The Resume
What do you put on a resume when you don’t have any work experience? It’s important to think about experiences that could translate into skills for the job. Leadership in extracurricular activities, academic honors, or volunteer work can all translate into skills and experience for a job. Organize your past experience, education, and skills into a resume that highlights your strengths and what you’re looking to gain from a summer job.

Finding Jobs
An important step when starting any job hunt is to ask around, ask family members, neighbors, teachers, and friends if they know of anyone looking to fill openings during the summer months. You can also look at websites like CareerBuilder and Craigslist for potential openings in your community. You may also want to ask your guidance counselor, many counseling offices will have information available about summer jobs and be able to help with your resume too. If there are companies where you are particularly interested in working, call or email to find out about any potential openings, showing initiative may be what sets you apart in the process.

The Interview
Showing up for your first interview can be a nerve-wracking process. It’s important to remember that if you’ve landed an interview, chances are you are a serious candidate and the company is devoting time and resources to finding out more about you. Dress professionally and be courteous when you arrive for your interview. This is a chance to show them why you are right for the job and to find out more about the position itself. Be ready to answer questions and also to ask questions when given the opportunity. Bring along another copy of your resume to give to your interviewer and a pad of paper and a pen to take down any information. Follow up your interview with a thank you note.

Landing a first job isn’t an easy process, but getting the job search skills down pat will help you to fill out your resume, make important connections, and find jobs for the summer and in the future.

Getting the Most Out of a College Fair

College fairs can be a wonderful opportunity to gather information, speak with admissions office staff members, and get answers to your questions all in one place. Plan to attend at least one college fair during your college search process and you will walk away with plenty of new information and resources to aid in your search.

Do your Homework
Plan to attend college fairs well in advance so you can select fairs that have many of your top choice schools in attendance. Find out which schools will be there and make a list of the schools whose tables you want to be sure to visit, as well as schools on a second tier list if you have time to check out more of the tables at the fair.

Be Prepared on College Fair Day
Dress neatly and professionally for the college fair–you don’t have to be formal, but you want to be neat. You can’t go wrong with business casual. Bring along a bag large enough to carry materials you collect at the college fair, a pen, and a notepad to write down things you find out. When you arrive at the college fair, find a map right away and plot out where you want to go first and your plan for the day. Many college fairs can be busy and hectic, so taking a moment to plan ahead will make a big difference.

Ask Good Questions
Spend some time looking at college websites before attending and prepare a list of questions that you have about each of your top choices. You want to ask good questions that you could not answer from the website or admissions materials. This will help you to gather information as you make decisions about college and also help you to stand out to potential colleges. Subjective questions can provide more interesting information than objective questions, like class size, which can often be answered from admissions booklets. Ask the people representing the school about the things that makes their college unique, their favorite traditions, and what college freshmen would say about their first year on campus.

Keep an Open Mind
While you want to be sure to get to all of your top schools, allow some time tat the college fair just to wander and see the other school’s displays. If something catches your attention, stop and ask questions. College fairs can be a great time to add schools to your list and explore options you may have not heard of in the past.

GMAT Study Tips

There are many different ways to study for the GMAT. As with any important test, you will want to think about the methods that have worked for you in the past and come up with a combination of the different approaches to create a plan that will work for you. Combining a few of the many strategies is a good way to ensure that you are well prepared for GMAT test day.

Online GMAT Test Prep
Online test prep is a great way to study for the GMAT on your schedule. Online test prep can fit into anyone’s hectic life and allow you to work at a pace that’s right for you. The GMAT is taken on the computer, so studying online is another way to get used to the format and comfortable with the test’s look. There are great options for online test prep available today and students are walking away feeling well-prepared for the exam.

Practice Tests
One of the most important ways to prepare for the GMAT is by taking practice tests. Practice tests allow you to get a feel for the way the test works and how you will work best on test day. Feeling comfortable with the format of the test, a new thing for many test takers, and allow test-takers to feel more confident on test day. Practice test scores can also help you to identify areas that need more work and narrow your focus when you go back to your other methods of studying for the GMAT.

Flashcards
For many people, flashcards are a useful study tool. There’s a reason flashcards have been a mainstay of studying since grade school, they work. Flashcards are good to help you learn new terminology and master new information in a quick and easy way. Flashcards are also great for people who are studying on the go because they can go with you to work, to school, or even on public transportation for your commute.

Test Strategies
Learning some basic test taking strategies can be extremely helpful for the GMAT. Learning how to work through questions, read questions quickly and accurately, and work through process of elimination the answers can help you on test day. Time management is another important skill for the GMAT and practicing skills can make a big difference in your final GMAT scores.

Combining several study methods as you prepare for the GMAT is a sure way to learn information and be sure that you go into the test prepared and confident.

Overcoming Testing Anxiety

Testing anxiety can affect even the best students and have a strong impact on students’ abilities to perform well on tests. Finding ways to overcome testing anxiety will help you to do better in school, stay calm before exams, and perform better on big tests like the SAT too.

There are many causes of testing anxiety. Some students become anxious during the hours before a test fearing that they have not studied enough. The best way to combat this is to start studying early and not leave anything to the last minute. When you feel comfortable with the material, its easier to put the books and notes away knowing that you’ve done everything you can to prepare. When preparing for bigger tests, like the SAT. It is even more important to start early and stay calm. A solid SAT test prep schedule will help you to budget your time and know that you have done all that you can to prepare.

The more tests you take, the better you will become at keeping calm before a big exam. When preparing for the SAT, taking practice tests as part of your online test prep can be a big help to students who are anxious. Similarly, if your textbooks have practice tests or questions to check your work, go back and look at them before a test. This is a good way to anticipate potential questions and identify trouble areas. Answering questions about test material can also help you to feel confident going into the test.

If you have questions, make the time to talk with your teacher. Similarly, if you find yourself experiencing severe anxiety, it may be worthwhile to talk with a parent or guidance counselor about ways to feel better, handle your emotions, and find ways to lessen your anxiety.

The day before the test, read over summaries of the material and then put your books and prep work away. Take some time to relax and be sure to get to sleep at a decent hour the night before a test. Feeling well rested and not spending the evening cramming for the test will help you to relax. Going into the exam calm and confident counts for a lot and will help you to recall information and follow directions on the test.

If you feel yourself getting anxious, try taking deep breaths and reminding yourself of the work you put into studying. Learning how to calm yourself down before a test is a skill that will be useful throughout your academic career.

Getting Back on Track After the Holidays

Going back to school after having time off for the holidays can be a tough readjustment for many students. Going back to the school day schedule and back to responsibilities like homework and SAT preparation can be overwhelming after vacation. A few simple tricks can help you to better segue way back into your routine.

Readjust Your Time
Try not to get too far off your normal sleep schedule over winter break. This means trying to wake up no more than an hour later than you normally would for school. Keeping yourself close to your routine will prevent the shock to your system when you have to start waking up at your normal time again. If you do get off schedule, start the transition a couple days before you go back to school, waking up a little earlier each day to help you adjust to the hour.

Think Through Your Schedule
It’s smart to spend some time working out a schedule while you’re on break and have some extra free time. Map out your planner for the next few months, setting goals and filling in all of your information. If you use a calendar on your computer and one on the wall or in a planner, be sure they are all up to date. Take an afternoon to clean your room, clean out your backpack, and organize your school files. This will help you to go back to your school routine feeling prepared for another semester.

Cross Some Things Off Your List
Whether its finally finishing up the last of your college applications or getting through some extra SAT prep work, winter break can be a time to get ahead of schedule. Having some things checked off your to-do list will make the transition back to the school day a lot easier. Plus the extra time is a great way to devote extra hours to your study plan. Anything you can do over break to help relieve some stress later on is well worth the time and effort.

Plan Some Fun
Make plans to get together with friends the first weekend after you go back to school or plan a shopping trip or dinner for one night during the first week. Having some things to look forward to in that first week back to school will make the last few days of break a lot less painful. You can focus on schoolwork again while knowing you have fun things planned on the horizon.

Get involved!

High school extracurricular activities are much more than ways to fill up time after school and have fun outside of class. Extracurricular activities can provide you with many skills that can translate into success in college and, later on, in your career. As you balance your academics, SAT test prep, and college application schedule, it is important to continue to make time for your favorite activities too.

Team sports are a great way to stay active and have fun during high school. Athletics can also help to improve self-esteem and build good problem solving skills. Being active during the high school years is also great way to build healthy habits from an early age. This can help to ensure that you always make time for exercise and taking care of your health.

Participating in team sports also helps to build good social skills. Sports teach you the value of working together as a team, a skill that will take you far both on and off the athletic field. It’s no surprise that many high school athletes also make their closest friends while participating in team sports.

Participating in clubs can be another great way to make friends and gain valuable experiences in high school. Clubs can be built around shared interests or shared goals, allowing you to meet and spend time with people who care about the same things that you do. Other activities, like reporting for a high school newspaper or being part of a photography club, can help you to build skills that could later translate into a college major or career.

Perhaps the best thing about clubs is that they allow you to explore many different interests. Learning about many different things and exploring your interests will help to broaden your horizons and prepare you to make decisions about your major and career path.

Volunteering is a great way for high school students to make a difference in their communities. Many community organizations, including food banks, shelters, and environmental organizations, are always looking for young people interested in getting involved. If nothing seems like a good fit, get creative. Many high school students have created their own projects to serve a need that they see in their communities.

Getting involved in community service projects early on is a great way to learn about the world and how to organize projects. Volunteering is something that you can do throughout your life to always make a difference in the world.

Having a busy schedule in high school is great preparation for college. Balancing many priorities will help you to learn good time management skills. Maintaining a good schedule, making time for your responsibilities, and keeping track of deadlines is great practice for keeping up with your classes and responsibilities in college.

Extracurricular activities are also great for college admissions. These are experiences that you can talk about in interviews and write about in your application. Extracurricular activities are often the things that will set you apart and help the college admissions office to learn about your strengths and skills.

Designing a GMAT Test Prep Schedule

Designing a solid GMAT test prep schedule is essential to success on the exam. Most test takers plan to spend three to six months studying for the GMAT, but this is dependent on your personal study habits. All test prep schedules should consist of individual study time, GMAT courses, and taking online practice exams. The GMAT tests verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills, similar skill sets to the ones you studied when you were preparing for the SAT in high school. Yet this time around, the material will likely be more challenging and the test format will be significantly different.
One critical factor in deciding how long to study for the GMAT is how long you can devote to studying each day. For people who have full time jobs or are in school full time, it is best to set aside specific hours each day to fit study time into a busy schedule. In these cases, a six month GMAT test prep schedule is likely to be best. For people who can devote larger amounts of time to study, three to four months may be enough. Enrolling in a GMAT course is often a good way to stay motivated and be sure that you stay on track during your test prep.

The quantitative and verbal sections of the GMAT are given in a computer adaptive format. This means that you will be provided one question at a time on a computer. After answering the first question, the computer will generate another. The difficultly level will depend on how well you score on previous questions. This format is likely different from anything test takers have faced before. For this reason, starting practice tests early in your test prep, or at least two months before the exam, will help you become familiar with the format. There are 37 quantitative questions and 41 verbal questions on the GMAT. Practice exams will also help you learn to pace yourself as you work through each section of the exam.

The analytical writing section of the GMAT contains two parts: an analysis of an issue essay and an analysis of an argument essay. Test takers are permitted 30 minutes to complete each essay. Reading sample essay prompts and practicing writing a solid essay within the time constraint will help you prepare for test day. There is no single correct answer to either writing sections. Piecing together a coherent analysis is more important than having prior knowledge of the topic.

By sticking to a test prep schedule, GMAT test takers can ensure that they are prepared for the test and familiar with the format. By this point in their academic career, they will benefit from a strong knowledge base and a high degree of self-awareness about their skills and study habits.

Senior Year Planning for High School Students

Planning for the senior year of high school can be both an exciting and stressful time for many students. It is a time when balance is critical and students are working to maintain their current academics with SAT tutoring and solidifying plans for the years after graduation. By sitting down and planning out the senior year, students can ensure that they successfully maneuver this critical year.

Preparing college applications is a priority for most students and taking the SAT should be at the top of their to-do list. Students will want to begin SAT test prep early so that they will be well prepared for test day. Taking an SAT course or finding a program that offers SAT tutoring are both great option for students looking for ways to prepare for the test. SAT test prep involves studying the content of the SAT, becoming familiar with the format of the test, and taking practice tests. A good SAT course will be reflected through a student’s confidence and preparedness on test day.

It is important for students to plan ahead when it comes to choosing classes for senior year. They should not only look at their high school’s requirements, but at the course requirements for their top college choices. Many have preferences regarding the number of years in high school that students should have taken each of the major subjects. Colleges may also have requirements about foreign language and offer students a chance to place into a higher level or test out of a requirement if they have completed additional years of language in high school. Choosing to take advanced placement (AP) classes can make for a tougher academic year, but can also help students to test out of required courses during their first year of college.

Keeping up with extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and volunteer work, can be tough during senior year, but can also help students to shine on college applications. Students may also be working to maintain a part-time job. Staying organized is not only the key to a successful senior year, but can help students to hone the organizational skills that will benefit them during college.

Students will need to work hard senior year to stay in control of their academic schedules and maintain a good GPA and SAT prep schedule. These will be important factors in their college application process. With a solid schedule, it will be possible to make time for college campus visits, extracurricular activities, and everything else that students will want to fit into their senior year.


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