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How to Graduate College Debt Free

Disclosure

In full disclosure let me start this post by saying I did not graduate college debt free. I didn’t learn this stuff until it was too late. The advice I’m about to give you is the advice I wish I would have been given in high school.

You don’t need to follow the herd. You’re not a sheep. Break out of the mold. A lifetime of student loan debt is not mandatory for a successful career.  I want you to be fully informed so that you can make the best possible choices for your future. So here goes, 3 simple ways to graduate debt free.

InsanityMoney

Student loan debt is a real problem. It’s crazy. It’s out of control. At 18 years of age I had no business taking out tens of thousands of dollars going into debt for a private college education I really couldn’t afford. But this is happening every day to a bunch of people across the country.

Close your eyes and imagine this scenario with me (wait, you’re reading this, so don’t close your eyes… just imagine).

An 18 year old guy walks into a bank and asks for a loan, we’ll call him Jimmy.

Jimmy: Hello Mr. Banker, I’d like to borrow some money.

Banker: Alright, how much would you like to take out?

Jimmy: Hmmm…. how about $75,000?

Banker: Okay, let’s see what we can do for you.  Do you have a job?

Jimmy: Nope.

Banker: Do you have any assets?

Jimmy: Nope.

 Banker: Do you have a high credit score?

Jimmy: Maybe, what’s a credit score?

Banker: Well Jimmy, a credit score is a 3 digit number generated by a mathematical algorithm using information from your credit report. It helps us predict risk and determine the likelihood that you will be able to fulfill your credit obligations and pay back your debt.

Jimmy: Oh. Then no, no I don’t.

Banker: Okay Jimmy, let me just run some numbers here…. alright finished. Congratulations Jimmy! You’re approved.

Absurd, right? Of course you wouldn’t loan some 18 year old bum with no job, no assets, and no credit score that kind of money.  But it happens every day, and it’s called student loans.

With massive amounts of students taking on massive amounts of debts each year, it’s no wonder we’re in the midst of a student loan crisis. Our nation currently has over 1 trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt. That is a lot of money. Now combine that with the fact that the cost of college is consistently increasing way beyond normal inflation rates and hopefully you’re starting to understand the gravity of the situation.

Student loans are becoming a rather large problem.

Graduating College Debt Free

So what can we do about it? More importantly, what can you do about it? Well, let me make three simple suggestions on how you can make a stand against student loans and graduate debt free or at least with significantly less debt than most.

 

1. Selection

Where you go to college is important. A lot of people are willing to enter into a life time of debt all for the sake of going to a prestigious university. Let’s be real. You’re not rich (yet) and it’s not worth it. Go to a college you can afford.

Trust me.

It might not be as glamorous, but employers don’t care where you went; plus what’s more glamorous than not being broke and having to live in your parents’ basement after graduation?

2. Work

Work is good. Having a job in college will not cause you flunk out. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. A study done in 2012 by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics found that students who worked up to 20 hours a week got better grades than students who did not work at all.

College is not adolescence continued. It’s a new chapter in your life.  The college experience is not a transition into adulthood, it is adulthood. It’s time to grow up.  Working is a part of adulthood, therefore work should be a part of the college experience.

Working in college will help you with developing a consistent schedule and it will teach you incredibly important things like balance, time management, prioritization, and other real world skills.

But, in this post we are talking about graduating debt free, so let’s not forget the fact that working throughout college will significantly lower the amount of aid you will need. Just pretend that free loan money was not available to you and that working was your only option.

3. Scholarships

While you are still in high school scholarships, should be your main focus. Treat scholarship searching like a part-time time job. Spending just 10 hours a week completing scholarships could yield a whole lot more money than working at the local fast food restaurant. During summer vacation kick it up a notch. Work on scholarships 20 hours a week and that still leaves you plenty of time for volunteering, vacations, or working.

Just a quick example of how working on scholarships can easily pay more than a summer job…

A student working 20 hours a week for 10 weeks (average summer vacation) at $7.50 an hour will make approximately $1,500 over the course of the summer. (20 x 7.5 x 10 = $1,500)

A student working 20 hours a week for 10 weeks could easily complete 40 (or more) scholarship applications. If the student was awarded only 10% of those scholarships and if those scholarships were a modest $1000 each the student would make $4,000 over the summer.

This example is a very conservative example. With that amount of time the student could have easily looked up a lot of high potential scholarships and devoted a lot of effort into them. Remember, scholarships can range from $100 up to a full ride. If you spent your whole summer working on scholarships and could earn a full ride, you would be making considerably more than a part-time fast food job.

There are a lot of other unique and creative ways to avoid racking up big student loans, share your ideas below.

 

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I Hate Snakes

Irrational Fear

I don’t have a lot of irrational fears, just 3.

  1. Speaking in front of large groups
  2. Flying (or rather crashing)
  3. Snakes

I hate snakes, I really do. Out of the three above listed fears, snakes are the biggest. I don’t know how this fear developed, but it did. And now I cringe at even the thought of them. When I’m flipping through a picture book with one of my kids, and I unexpectedly turn the page to BAM, a picture of a King Cobra staring back at me; I’ll jump. It’s a stupid fear I know, but I’m just being honest.

Now that you know my biggest fear, let me tell you a little story.Snake

Learning to Hate Snakes

Last week I was pulling weeds around my house. My 3 year old daughter was helping me. She’s a lot of fun to pull weeds with. To date I don’t think she’s pulled a single weed, but she sings me songs and tells me funny stories. I love it.

Like I was saying, last week we were pulling weeds. I reached down and grabbed a particularly big handful of thistles and pulled them up. I glanced down at the great big hand full of weeds and I noticed that one of the weeds was wiggling and writhing in my hand.

That’s odd. I didn’t think weeds were supposed to wiggle. You of course see where I’m going with this. Eventually my brain caught up with my eyes and registered what was going on.

I had a pretty decent sized snake in my hand.

I immediately dropped the thing, looked down, and to my utter horror I saw even more snakes crawling around the exact spot I had just been working on.  I let out a yell.   Not a scream or a shriek, just a little yell of surprise. I leaped up and grabbed my daughter, and jumped way, way back from the snakes. My adrenaline was surging.

I then noticed my daughter’s face. She was horrified, but not of the snakes. She was scared of my reaction. I’m pretty sure she saw the snakes, but wasn’t afraid of them in the slightest. She didn’t know she was supposed to be. She hadn’t learned that yet.

It wasn’t until I freaked out that she got scared. Now she knows. I taught her to fear snakes. In a quick 10 second blip of time I forever altered her interactions and views of an entire class of animals. In fact, that’s probably how I learned to fear snakes myself.

That’s scary.

Enough of my irrational fear of snakes, let’s get to the point.

The Point

Last week I shared some quotes about the importance of learning from others. This week I wanted to share how that looks practically.

Like most children, my daughter learned through observation. But, let me broaden that statement a bit. We all learn through observation. Basically, every interaction we have teaches us and every interaction we have teaches others about us. If that is true, than we must be careful of two things:

  1. Who we observe
  2. How we respond

The first is pretty simple; who we observe. Like it or not, you will become like the people you spend the most time with. I happen to like that idea because I have some pretty awesome friends. The people I hang out with I do so in part because I wouldn’t mind being more like them. How about you? Do the people you spend time with raise you up and inspire you? They should.

The second is a bit harder; how we respond.  I wish I could give you some awesome advice on how to respond appropriately in every situation, but I can’t. I haven’t figured this out just yet. I will say this though, people are watching you. What you say and do matters immensely. You have the power to build up or to destroy with what you say and how you respond. Take that for what it is.

…and be careful next time you pull weeds.

 

 

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Parker Mantell: Overcoming Self Doubt

As a Hoosier, I found this years Indiana University commencement speech pretty inspiring. Parker Mantell shares about overcoming setbacks and achieving great things in spite of his disability.

Enjoy.

Share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

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How to get out of Admitting that you Dropped out of College

And the winner of this week’s “How to get out of admitting that you dropped out of college like a pro” competition is…

College is quite often a key step in the path to a successful career. Some of you will choose to go to college because it is the best way to get the career of your dreams. A lot of you will go because you don’t know what else to do. Even more of you will choose to go because of pride, pressure, obligation, and of course because only slack-jawed yokels don’t go to college.

That being said, I feel really bad for this girl.

Yes, Danielle Shea made some mistakes…

…like not telling her mom that she dropped out of college. And maybe she shouldn’t have pretended to be in college and continued taking her mom’s tuition money for her whole senior year. She also probably shouldn’t have dressed up and pretended that she was graduating at the commencement ceremony. Of course the multiple bomb threats to try and cancel the ceremony were also probably not the best idea. But what else could she have done!? She wasn’t in the bulletin and they weren’t going to call her name out as a graduate and all of her family was going to be there to see her and she didn’t know what else to do!  Police

Okay, so she made a lot of mistakes.

But isn’t it sad that people feel this kind of pressure to stay in school despite the fact that it probably isn’t the best fit for them. The idea that if you don’t get a degree you are a failure is crazy. This mentality causes people that shouldn’t go to college to go anyway and it often causes the people that should go to college to feel entitled.

College is a tool, a really important tool for a lot of people; but, a tool nonetheless. Your college degree doesn’t define you and it doesn’t entitle you to success.

Bottom line, Danielle Shea has demonstrated for us one heck of an option for how to get out of admitting that you dropped out of college… another option is to just do it. But hey, it’s your call.

Thoughts? Comment below.

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The PSAT: How to Get a Better Score

In my last post I shared a lot of information about the PSAT and why you need to take it seriously. Now I’m going to share just a little bit about how you can improve your score.

Did you know that each question on the PSAT is designed to be answered in less than a minute? In fact, the PSAT is a type of time management test.  You need to answer questions quickly and efficiently and doing that depends on your ability to quickly tell what the question is asking.

The test is logic based not content based. The questions are designed to trick you. They want to see if you can think and read critically.  I think the one of the best ways to show you what I mean is to show you some examples.

Here’s your first question:

How many different integers n will make the following statement true?

6 < 4n <10

a. 1

b. 2

c. 3

d. 4

e. 5

Know the answer?

Easy, right? We all know that n=2.

4×2 = 8 and of course 6 < 8 <10 is accurate.  So the answer is b right? Wrong! The correct answer is a. Reread what the question is actually asking. It didn’t ask which of those answers is the right answer. It basically asked how many right answers are there.  Very tricky.

Okay let’s do another one: (Remember you need to answer this in about 30 seconds.)

What is the product of 587,392 and 26,453?

a. 14,107,987,535

b. 14,880,123,640

c. 15,538,280,576

d. 15,942,223,113

e. 16,006,975,391

So what did you get in 30 seconds? I doubt you had time to work it all out with a pencil and scrap paper in that amount of time.

So what’s the trick? Look closely.

What is the product of 587,392 and 26,453?

Well, instead of doing this rather lengthy multiplication problem in its entirety just multiply the last digit in each of the numbers: 2 and 3.

2×3 = 6. So right off the bat you know that the answer has to end with a 6. The only one that does is c. Therefore c is the right answer.

Are you starting to see what type of skills they are measuring now? It’s all about critical thinking not content.

Last one:

Like all new animals, the zoo’s new surroundings baffled the panda bear during his first visit.

a. the zoo’s new surroundings baffled the panda bear

b. the new zoo surroundings baffling the panda bear

c. the panda bear was baffled by the zoo’s new surroundings

d. the panda bear, who found the zoo’s new surroundings baffling

e. the new surroundings in the zoo which baffles the panda bear

This one is a little less tricky, but takes a lot of time to read. Remember you only have about 30 seconds to answer and it will take at least that amount of time to read each of the answers and make a decision.

So what’s the trick here?

Like all new animals, the zoo’s new surroundings baffled the panda bear during his first visit.

Look at the subject before the underlined section: animals. The correct answer must start with the animal: the panda bear. You’ve just eliminated a, b, and e. Now only read c and d and choose the one that is the most clear and concise.  The answer is c.

Now that you have a better idea of how the test is formatted and how it really is designed to trick you, you will be more prepared going in.  Use the official PSAT/NMSQT study guide to get yourself ready.PSAT

Okay, that’s all I’ll share about the PSAT for a while. If you have any additional questions please contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

So how does the PSAT work?

If you read my previous post then you know my experience taking the PSAT and just in case you didn’t read it I’ll give you the short version: I was completely and totally ignorant. Unfortunately, my experience is probably more common than not.

If you’re like most people out there you probably think that the P in PSAT stands for practice.

And like most people you’d be wrong.

It stands for preliminary. The PSAT is so much more than a “practice” test. The test is actually called the PSAT/NMSQT or the Preliminary SAT National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Now you know why they just call it the PSAT.

Yes, as you probably already know the PSAT does provide you an opportunity to practice for the SAT. It allows you to get a feel for how these types of tests work and it allows you to see and review what areas you need to improve on before taking the SAT. Most people know all that, unfortunately that’s about all they know about the PSAT.

But you are different. You’re reading this and you’re taking responsibility for your education and your future.  So let me share with you what the PSAT is really all about.  Here goes.

What is the PSAT?

The PSAT is a standardized test put together by College Board, the same company that creates the SAT. As I stated earlier, it is a test designed to provide you with a chance to practice taking the SAT and to provide you with valuable feedback.

Length and Format

The PSAT is a lot like the SAT with a few small differences. It’s shorter than the SAT. The PSAT is 2 hours and 20 minutes whereas the SAT is a more daunting 3 hours and 45 minutes.

The PSAT is made up of three sections:

  1. Critical Reading – 2 Sections (25 minutes)
    1. Sentence completion
    2. Passage based reading
  2. Math – 2 Sections (25 minutes)
    1. Multiple choice
    2. Grid-ins or solving problems
  3. Writing – 1 Section (30 minutes)
    1. Identifying sentence errors
    2. Improving sentences
    3. Improving paragraphs

Logic

The PSAT is a logic based test. It is not content based. Learning how to take the test is extremely important. The test is set up to trick you. It’s important that you pay very close attention to wording and that you know exactly what the question is asking.  I’ll give some more tips on this in the future.

Registration

Unlike the SAT you cannot register for this test online. You need to register for the PSAT at your local high school. Register early to ensure that you get your spot. Most people only take the PSAT once but that isn’t necessarily the best idea. You can take the test 3 times, once per year until your junior year of high school. However, the only test that counts towards your entry into the National Merit Scholarship is your junior year test.

Cost

The cost for the PSAT for 2014 is $14.00. Some schools add additional costs in the form of administrative fees. If you are unable to afford taking the test you may be able to receive a fee waiver.

Benefits of the PSAT

Scholarships:

Here it is. I’m putting this one first, because I think it is the most important. College is expensive and you need to do everything you can to get your degree without taking on a life time of debt. Graduating college with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans can seriously impair your ability to win at life. It can effect when/if you start a family, where you live, what type of job you have, how much you have to work, etc. Don’t you think spending $14.00 a year and doing some studying and research on the PSAT in order to try and get some scholarship money is worth it.

NMSP image

Taking the PSAT your junior year of high school allows you to enter the competition for prestigious scholarships and to participate in recognition programs. Juniors who take the PSAT enter NMSC competitions. NMSC adds the scores of the critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills on the PSAT and uses that information as an initial screen of program entrants and to designate groups of students to be honored in the competitions.

               Designations include:
      • Commendable
      • Semi-Finalist
      • Finalist
      • Scholar

National Merit Scholars and Finalists often have a lot of full ride scholarship packages presented to them by multiple colleges and universities. Even Semi-Finalist may be able to get full ride scholarships presented to them by numerous universities. Scoring high on this test is important.

 Practice:

Of course the PSAT provides practice for taking the SAT later on. Taking it early allows you to receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses so that you know what areas you need to work on in the future.

Comparison:

Taking the PSAT allows you to see how your performance compares with other students who are applying to college.

Spam…um, I mean College Information:

Each time you take the PSAT you have the option of filling out a student search box which will allow colleges (specifically colleges who pay the College Board to be included in this group) to start contacting you with information about their programs. Check the box if you like but beware, you will be spammed.

 

Hopefully now you know a little bit more about the PSAT and why you need to take it seriously. Next we’ll dive into how you can improve your score on the PSAT to try for National Merit Scholar status. I’d love to hear from you. If you have any insight you’d like to share, personal experience with the PSAT, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.

 

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The PSAT: A Cautionary Tale

Why You Need to Take the PSAT Seriously

Here I go. I’m about to dive into one of those “when I was your age” speeches.Test

As a side note I just turned 30 last month so I’m now officially old by most teenagers’ standards. Being old comes with its perks though, one of which is that I can now give both the “back in my day” and the “when I was your age” speeches. So at least I’ve got that going for me…

But like I was saying, back when I was a freshman in high school I remember my guidance counselor coming into my homeroom class to talk to us one day.  Now when the guidance counselor came to homeroom it almost always meant one of two things.  It either meant that we were going to be having a captivating discussion on self-esteem, self-respect, or bullying; or it meant that we were getting out of our scheduled class for some kind of state standardized/mandated test.

This time it was the latter.

This time she came to tell our class about a practice test we all had to take, the PSAT. The practice SAT, also known as the “we get to go sit in the school library and take a test that doesn’t mean anything, but gets us out of P.E. class” test.

She mentioned something about the test being a great opportunity for us to practice our test-taking strategies so that someday if we take the real SAT for college admission we’ll be more prepared.

First of all, test-taking strategies; I didn’t even know what that meant. As a freshman the only test taking strategy I had ever heard of was guessing “C” on multiple choice tests when you don’t know what the answer is.

Next, she promised us that if we’d just take it this one time we’d be done with it and we wouldn’t have to worry about taking another test like it until our junior or senior year when we would take the real SAT.

Needless to say, I didn’t give the PSAT much thought. I was usually pretty good at tests so I wasn’t worried.  I figured that when the time came to take the SAT I’d be just fine. And anyways, it was my freshman year; how was I supposed to remember what I learned during a practice test when I wouldn’t even take the real test till my junior or senior year?

I was prodded along with the other students into the library; I sat in my seat and I got to it. I figured that if I hurried up and finished this useless test early then I would have lots of time to doodle on the scrap paper that I brought with me.

I don’t remember a single thing about the test. I don’t remember if it was easy or hard. I don’t remember what types of questions were on it. It’s as if the Men in Black came and Will Smith personally memory swiped my brain immediately after I finished filling in the last bubble.

Maybe Will Smith did a memory swipe on me, maybe not. In all reality, I’m guessing that the real reason I don’t remember much about it is because I didn’t care. It didn’t mean anything to me. I didn’t see any reason to put any effort into the test.

By the way, the one thing I do remember is getting done early and drawing a pretty sweet picture of the school librarian as an evil cyborg.  It was awesome.

Take Responsibility

It wasn’t until long after high school that I finally realized how dumb I was. Basically, it all came down to taking personal responsibility. I didn’t take responsibility for my own education. If someone didn’t give me a compelling argument for why I should do something I didn’t do it. In high school I needed to be persuaded to make an effort and if I couldn’t see the immediate and direct benefit of something I simply didn’t participate in that thing; whatever it was.

The PSAT was no exception.

My guidance counselor didn’t adequately show me the benefits of taking the PSAT seriously, so I didn’t. She didn’t tell me that I could get a full ride scholarship based on the results of this “practice” test. She didn’t tell me I could take the test up to three times to try and get that full ride scholarship. She didn’t tell me that high scores on this test would open doors to almost any university. She didn’t tell me the results of this test could change my future in ways I couldn’t even imagine.

When I first found about the importance of that test years later I was a little irked. Well, more than a little. I was ticked. I immediately tried to blame her for my lack of knowledge (and my massive student loans).

But it’s not her fault.

She may have done a lousy job sharing the importance of test, but in all fairness I didn’t ask any questions about it either. I didn’t research it myself. I could have gone online and learned about the PSAT and the National Merit Scholarship. I could have done a lot of things, but I didn’t. As a freshman in high school I thought I didn’t need to worry about college or life after high school. I still believed that it was everyone else’s responsibility to lead me into a bright and successful future.

Shame on me.

The PSAT is NOT a Practice Test

If I had done a little research I would have learned that the PSAT was not a practice test. The “P” didn’t even stand for practice. It stood for preliminary. I would have learned that the test was logic based not content based and that if you spend a little bit of time learning how the questions are formatted you can improve your score dramatically.

In my next post I’m going to share with you the nuts and bolts of the PSAT. We are going to talk about why this test can be nearly as important as the SAT. I’m going to share with you all those things I wish I would have been told about this test when I was a freshman in high school. It’s exciting stuff and I’m eager to get into it. I really hope that you’ll benefit from what we’ll be going over during the next few posts. Wisdom is the ability to learn from the mistakes of others. Learn from my mistakes I’m laying them out there freely as a caution for you.

Until next time.

 

 

 

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Tattoos and Careers

Sam’s Dilemma

Game night. I love game night. Once or twice a month I get together with a small group of friends to play strategy board games.  A few weeks ago one of the guys who came to our game night brought his 16 year old son, Sam.  Sam was really excited, way more excited than any 16 year old boy should be when hanging out with his dad’s friends. Why was he so excited you may ask. Well, it was a few days away from his birthday and he was eager to get his present; a great big tattoo of his family crest on his right arm.

His dad wasn’t nearly as excited. Tattoos

Though his dad was not altogether happy, he did do something fairly clever. He told his son that before he would allow him to get the tattoo he had to ask 20 adults, no more and no less, what they thought about him getting a tattoo. The adult then had to sign a piece of paper divided into two sections signing that they are either for or against him getting the tattoo.  His dad would only allow him to get the tattoo if the majority of those signatures were of people signing on the pro-tattoo side.

The signatures could not be family or friends so of course he was eager to come to our game night to get what he thought would be some easy signatures. I like the thinking behind his dad’s plan. He wanted his son to talk to a lot of people before making the decision.

He didn’t want him to get the tattoo, but he knew that if he just told him now there would be resentment, bitterness, and all that jazz.  The whole conversation we had made me think about a somewhat sensitive issue; tattoos and careers. By the way, I’ll tell you which side I signed on latter.

Do Tattoos Ruin Careers?

So this brings me to the whole point of this post; will getting tatted-up hurt your chances of being successful in the future?

Let me just throw this out there. I don’t have any tattoos. Not because I don’t like them, I’ve just never given them much thought. I see them on people at the store and think, “huh, that’s kind of cool; now which aisle is the almond milk in again?”  I just don’t really care much one way of the other about them. I look at them like hair color or clever sayings on t-shirts. But that’s just me, I get that they are an important form of self-expression for a lot of people.

Did You Know?

About 40% of U.S. adults have a tattoo.  
76% of people feel that visible tattoos hurt your chance of getting a job.
39% say that visible tattoos on employees are a poor reflection on the employer.

Employers know these stats.  They’ve had to ad

dress these concerns and the fact is that a lot of companies have created policies against visible tattoos. At this point all my tattooed friends shout: “Discrimination!

Well, not quite.

Employers cannot discriminate against a lot of things, such as:

Age
Gender
Race
Disability
National origin
Pregnancy

That being said, there are currently no laws against discriminating against tattoos. It may seem unfair to you, but employers have every legal right to choose not to hire you based on visible tattoos.  That being said, if you don’t have a clue what you want to do with your life, maybe you should reconsider getting that Mike Tyson face tattoo.

Now back to the question at hand. Will getting inked hurt your chances of being successful?

First of all, success comes from all areas of your life: health family, spirituality, work, etc. Most people would agree that tattoos are not going to negatively affect most areas of your life. In fact, they won’t have much of an effect either way. But for some reason careers are different.  Your career is the one area that is affected by your decision to get tattooed.

Success

At this point I think it’s important to define success. A successful career is made of your talents, your passions, and your plan to monetize from them. The specifics of successful career are going to look different for everyone but those three main ingredients are necessary.

Maybe you want to become a teacher, maybe a baker, maybe you’d rather work in the corporate world. Maybe you want to become an entrepreneur? Maybe you’d rather be a freelance artist. Maybe you’d like to be pediatrician. If you are doing what you love in an environment that you love (and you’re making money doing it) then I’d say you’ve got a successful career.

So will getting inked help or hurt you?

Here’s the common sense part. Will getting a tattoo help, hurt, or have no effect on your intended career path. The fact is that a lot of professions frown about tattoos. If you plan on getting into one of them maybe you should rethink your choice about getting a visible tattoo. On the other hand there are some industries in which visible tattoos are acceptable and even encouraged.

When you work for someone else you have to consider these things, but who says you have to work for someone else? If you work for yourself or own your own company you don’t have to abide by any polices.

Points to Consider

Getting Inked

Age 

Another factor to consider; tattoos are becoming increasingly acceptable. A recent survey showed that as age increases disapproval ratings of tattoos at work increase as well. Younger generations are much more open and accepting of tattoos at work. Among people 18-25 years old only 22% disapproved of tattoos in the workplace. By the age of 60, 63% disapprove. What this tells me is that perhaps in a few years tattoos may be perfectly acceptable in the workplace, but as of right now there are a lot of CEOs, managers, and supervisors who do not approve of them.

Education

It seems that the higher your level of education the less likely you are to have a tattoo. Only 3% of PhD level adults have tattoos. 8% of those with a master’s degree have ink and 10% of those with a bachelor’s degree. 19% of those with an associate’s degree have a tattoo and 20% of those with only a high school diploma. Maybe this means something to you, maybe not. I’ll let you interpret this data for yourself and draw any conclusions you like.

Location

Where you live can matter as well. Certain parts of the country seem to be more tolerant of body art than others. The east and west coast are more tolerant of tattoos in the workplace than the Midwest.

Your Call… My Call

Whatever you decide do it on purpose. Get your tattoo with confidence that it will not stop you from achieving your dreams and pursuing your passions. Or don’t get a tattoo at all. Don’t do something you’ll regret.

By the way, in case you were curious about Sam and which side of the paper I signed on, I didn’t. I told him that I could not sign for or against him getting a tattoo until he could tell me his plans for his future. He couldn’t, so I didn’t. I’m way more concerned about people knowing their purpose and calling in life than I am about how they decorate their bodies

Let me know your thoughts about this subject. If you have tattoos have you ever been passed over in a job because of them? If you don’t have tattoos, why don’t you? Are you considering getting inked? I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts with this community.

 

 

Are Standardized Tests Necessary for College Acceptance?

Hammond Quote

Standardized Tests; nobody likes them but we (and by “we” I of course mean they, them, the powers that be) can’t seem to get enough of them.  We’re addicted to them.  From elementary school on we’re teaching kids how to become expert test takers, a skill that becomes nearly useless the minute they leave the school. 

I’m an optimist though, so I’m going to assume most people are smart enough to realize that tests like the SAT and ACT only measure a tiny fraction of what is gained through an education. These tests show a very narrow view of the student. They fall tragically short of how the real world measures success. Real life solutions are not presented with options A, B, C, or D.  Outside of the classroom, critical thinking is king, multiple choice answers simply don’t exist.

Are the SAT and ACT Really Necessary?

Despite all the gloom surrounding standardized tests I’m holding out hope. I recently read this article about the SAT and ACT. Personally, I like the idea of not judging a student based on their 4 hour performance on a Saturday morning. Hard work, creativity, problem solving, commitment, ingenuity, these are the things that can make great students, but get lost on standardized tests.

As of now, you still need to take them, but maybe someday we’ll move past all that. There are currently around 800 colleges that leave the SAT and ACT test submission as optional. Those colleges want more than a standardized test scores to determine what kind of student you are. Results of a recent study showed that students who did not submit SAT and ACT test results to colleges performed just as well as those who did.

Imagine…

Imagine a world where you actually had to be creative and find new ways to demonstrate your abilities to gain acceptance into college. Maybe instead of SAT scores you could show the admission team a successful business you started. Maybe instead of ACT scores you could show them a portfolio of web based projects you’ve worked on. Or perhaps an engineering student could show a construction project he or she designed and completed. Maybe instead of a score on one test you show them a pattern of hard work and commitment to your intended major.

Just a thought.

What do you think? What experiences have you had with these types of tests? How do you think a person should be judged for acceptance into a college program?

Share your thoughts.

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The Most Expensive Degree Ever

48%

The Most Expensive Degree

Do you know what the most expensive degree you can get is? I’ll give you a hint, it isn’t medicine. No, it isn’t law either. Fine, I’ll give you another hint; it’s one of the most common degrees in America; in fact, 48% of all college graduates have this type of degree.

Give up?

Okay here it is. The most expensive degree is…

(Drumroll please)

…the degree you don’t use.

That’s right; the degree you don’t use is the just about the most expensive degree you can get.  I recently read an article on Forbes that stated that 48% of bachelor level college grads in the U.S. are working in jobs that don’t even require a four year degree. That’s almost half of all college graduates that went to college and got a degree only to ignore it completely.

It makes sense though.

At 18, high school students are being ushered into the higher education system with very unclear plans for their future. Honestly, how much time do you think most students get to spend with their guidance counselor?

How much did you spend with one?

Have a Plan

A lot of young adults are getting ready to head off to college without knowing what they want to do.  They are going because it’s the path of least resistance or maybe they are going because they’ve been told it’s the key to success. They are kind of right. A degree is important, but it’s not the key to success it’s a key to success, and it’s only a key to success if it aligns with your passions and your talents and if you have thought of a feasible way to make money using the degree after you get it.

You don’t want to be one of the 48% of graduates who spent 4 years and a boat load of money on a degree you aren’t going to use.  Have a plan in place. Identify your passions and talents. Choose a degree that is necessary to get you to where you want to be. Spend some time thinking about what you want to be doing with your life before you start filling out college apps.

There’s no such thing as too early to start planning for your future.

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