Category Archive: Tools/Resources

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Adult Students Are You Struggling With Your Personal Statements? Read These Handy Tips!

If you’re one of the many adults returning to college, you know the importance of a personal statement. For some adult students, writing a personal statement may be something they fear and dread; but, it doesn’t have to be with the right training. Let’s say you lack in an area, such as your previous GPA or relevant experience. Writing a strong personal statement could make up for those weak points. So how should you go about doing this? Read these helpful hints to guide you along the way.

 

  1. Get to know yourself. More times than not, adult students will sit at their computer with a blank face and a blank screen. Instead, start by just simply brainstorming. Write a list of accomplishments that you’ve achieved and experience you’ve had. Let’s say you’re hoping to earn a criminal justice degree, for example, write down all of the relevant experience you’ve had. Maybe you’ve been involved in clubs and organizations that deal with criminal justice. Write down anything you can think of.  It doesn’t mean you have to use them all -they’re just ideas!
  2. Why do you want this? Every strong personal statement answers this question. Although it may not be in the prompt, your passion to earn your college degree should come out in your writing. Going back to hypothetically earning a criminal justice degree- write down reasons why you want to achieve this goal and earn this college degree. Maybe a life experience has helped you come to this realization. Make sure to write down all of your ideas! Remember- you don’t have to necessarily write about why you’ve chosen a particular college degree, but it will help you come off as a passionate candidate by writing from the heart.
  3. Read the prompt. Too often adult students have an idea they are going to write about, yet it doesn’t follow the prompt given by the colleges and universities. Because colleges and universities are reading so many personal statements, one that doesn’t follow the guidelines will stick out among others- and not in an effective way. Be sure to review each prompt carefully and adjust your personal statement correctly for each school. Some colleges and universities may have very similar prompts, while others may be completely different.
  4. The writing process. Once you have all of your ideas put together, it’s time to write. It’s important to give yourself enough time to write because, although some personal statements may not require much length, it needs to be strong and effective. If the thought of writing in your home is already making your head hurt, dedicate time to writing your essay at your local library. Your library will be quiet and an unfamiliar environment will leave less room for distraction so you can work more productively. Remember, your personal statement doesn’t have to be written in one sitting! Writing your personal statement is more of a process. Once you feel that you’re out of ideas, take a break and come back to it.
  5. Review it. Once you’ve completed your personal statement, it is crucial to have others proofread it before your submission. Although this may be embarrassing, it’s necessary. There may be grammatical errors that you’ve missed or spelling mistakes. Someone may even suggest that you rewrite a section of your statement for better fluidity. Friends, family members, and co-workers are all great people to consult when writing your personal statement. You don’t have to use all of the advice they give you, but if several people are suggesting the same changes- think of their criticism as constructive and helpful!
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What Colleges and Universities Don’t Teach You

Sure, colleges and universities offer many programs to choose from. Students find a degree program they’re interested in and earn their college degree. They celebrate the success of graduating with a college degree and then the job search begins….

Colleges and universities not only expand your knowledge in a particular subject, but they also teach you to adhere to deadlines, present information, be punctual, and to collaborate with others. But what do colleges and universities not teach you?

  1. The real world requires not only a degree but experience. Where can you find experience? Internships are a great place to start! Volunteering is another method. As long as you know that just earning an education does not cut it. What does this teach students? It says that in order to become successful, students must do more than just attend classes; instead they should get involved and seek experience that pertains to their college degree. Don’t wait until you graduate to gain experience, start early. Use summers and breaks throughout the year to gain experience. You want to become a veterinarian? Volunteer at an animal shelter or work at a pet store. If you can’t find experience there, volunteer to walk the neighborhood dogs. Look for experience anywhere you can.
  2. While applying for jobs, you’ll find that a good resume is important. Students often wonder how they should go about writing a resume. There are certain writing techniques you should use to entice the reader. For example, short phrases are better than long detailed sentences. Colleges and universities don’t teach you how to write a resume, but most will guide students to websites or workshops where they can craft the perfect resume.
  3. You’ll come across a wide array of people as you earn your college degree. One thing that never ceases to stick out is the “just rolled out of bed college trademark look,” whether it be the large sweatpants or the bed head, this look is visible from a mile away. However, appearance is a chief factor when landing the job you want or even when approaching your professor. The image you portray illustrates what you want out of your career and your education. Remember, you are what you wear.  Just because there is no dress code doesn’t mean you should wear your favorite spaghetti stained shirt to class, or anywhere for that matter.
  4. While attending college classes it’s easy to forget that the connection you make with your professor is important. Aside from the fact that they are grading your tests and papers, they are people that you should develop a good relationship with. Why? Well, if you plan on attending any additional schooling after earning your degree you will need references from your professors. Some jobs even require references. The biggest mistake you can make is to be the shy student that never made any attempt at forming a bond with your professor. Besides, your professors are knowledgeable people who can provide guidance throughout your college career.
  5. Colleges and universities don’t teach you how to navigate a computer. Not that you have to be a computer whiz, but it may be beneficial to take a computer course before enrolling full-time in a degree program. Microsoft programs, typing skills, and navigating the internet are all skills used in almost all college classes. Sure, most professors are more than happy to assist students with any technical questions they may have, but it’s really your responsibility to become computer savvy.

With all this being said, it’s important to note that colleges and universities DO teach you to be independent. So, while you may not have learned how to write a resume, your college or university provided you with resources, such as resume writing workshops.

Think of colleges and universities as a parent teaching a child. There is a lot of information to share and some you leave up to the child to learn independently.

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