Register for GenHERation Discovery Days 2018

12 trips. 10 cities. 500 female executives.

GenHERation Discovery Days 2018 are immersive summer day trips that provide high school and college women with the opportunity to visit more than 50 of the most innovative companies in America. This is the only experience that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at your favorite companies and allows you to share your resume with top companies across the country. GenHERation Discovery Days 2016 was celebrated by former First Lady Michelle Obama and GenHERation Discovery Days 2017 was recognized as the largest career exploration trip in America.

Atlanta: Thursday, June 28, 2018

  • UPS Invitational

Seattle: Monday, July 9-Tuesday, July 10, 2018

  • Amazon, Expedia, Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Zillow

Los Angeles: Wednesday, July 11-Thursday, July 12, 2018

  • Coolhaus, Mattel, The Honest Company, BuzzFeed, and EY

San Francisco: Monday, July 16Tuesday, July 17, and Wednesday, July 18, 2018

  • San Francisco Giants, Lucasfilm, Airbnb, EY, Twitter, Gap, Zynga, GE Ventures, Uber, PayPal, and Google

Dallas: Tuesday, July 24, 2018

  • Southwest Airlines, Pizza Hut, JCPenney, and EY

Austin: Thursday, July 26, 2018

  • NFP, IBM, Google, and Indeed

Charlotte: Tuesday, July 31, 2018

  • Atrium Health, Charlotte Hornets, Red Ventures, EY, and the Belk Foundation

Boston: Thursday, August 2, 2018

  • Duane Morris, Fidelity, Boston Red Sox, and the New England Patriots

New York City: Tuesday, August 7, 2018

  • J.P. Morgan, Viacom, Barneys, and EY

Philadelphia: Thursday, August 9, 2018

  • QVC, Dow Chemical, Hartford Funds, and the Wharton Baker Retailing Center

Read more about GenHERation and their awesome programming, here!

 

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Tips for Seniors Headed to College

There’s a 2015 Time article I love by Ted Spiker about the extras—the mindset and strategies that will help students explore, engage, and excel—in college. Drawing from his more than 20 years in higher education, as well as collected wisdom from peers and students, here are the most effective tactics that incoming college freshmen can use to succeed:

1. Your brain is not your day planner. The life skill you’ll need to master in college is prioritization. That skill develops when you can see what’s coming next month, next week, tomorrow, in 10 minutes, #ohwaitthatpaperisduetoday. With so many moving parts in college, you simply can’t afford to stay unorganized. Students get in academic trouble when they panic. They panic when they don’t prepare. I don’t care what method you use to keep your calendar (app or paper), as long as it’s not a Sharpie mark on your palm.

2. To get plugged in, unplug. Maximize your connections through all of your social media platforms and digital tools. But for meaningful contacts that will help you develop, put down the phone. Look up. Raise your hand. Speak. Ask. Listen.

3. Your most valuable currency: ideas. We’re in a world where lots of your peers have the same skills you do. The X factor: Who has the better idea? The front end of a project (time spent developing an original idea) is as crucial as the back end (time spent executing it).

4. Syllabus = law. Not all profs will handcuff you when you deviate, but it’s best to assume that they will. Read the contract.

6. Relationships > GPAs.* Unless you’re planning on going to graduate school, grades should feel secondary to the process of working with your peers and professors. I would rather you came into my office and to ask me about the artifact on my desk than to fight about .08 points that will mean zippo to your career success. When you show you care about performance more than points, it’s the signal to me—and thus to the future employers I talk to about you—that you’re the kind of person they want on their team.

*Do not use this to excuse your absence from class.

7. Think of college as seven years. Your networking opportunities don’t stop with professors, internship supervisors, and alums. As a freshman, you should network with the people in your class and the three years ahead of you. As a senior, you should build relationships with the people three years behind you. That’s seven years of people who could be potentials bosses and connections.

8. It’s OK to say “no.” High-achievers want to do it all. Don’t. Despite many examples otherwise, the world wants you to do 15 things well rather than 50 things sloppily.

9. Learn a foreign language. In high school, you likely took a foreign language such as Spanish or Chinese or German. Now, expand what it means to speak and work in a new world. Word people could learn computer programming. Money majors could learn the art of effective writing. You stand out when you’re fluent in an area where your peers aren’t.

10. Create a digital hub. Put all of your best work and your social accounts in one place. Employers want to see your personal brand in a sort of digital elevator pitch.

11. Find a workout pal. Part of stress management is time management. Part of it is having enough energy to do quality work. While it’s inevitable that you will sometimes eat at the $2.99 buffet and pull all-nighters, you need good food, regular exercise, and lots of sleep. This non-academic priority will improve your academic ones.

12. Success = style + substance. No matter your field, college is about developing your skills and talents. That’s substance. Now, how unique is your voice, your personality, your creativity when it comes to your skill set? That’s style. In a world when a lot of people have a lot of talent, it’s the difference between being hired and having your resume tossed.

13. Your goal: one deep dive. If I’m talking to an intro course of hundreds of people, I’ll ask them two questions. One, when you graduate, will you have the skills that everybody else in the room does? They’ll need to be able to answer “yes.” And two, will you be able to do something that nobody else in the room can do? If that answer is also “yes,” you’ve just discovered the secret to excelling: Find an area of specialty where you can develop depth; that’s what makes you uniquely positioned to help an employer. Be nimble enough to do a lot of things, but deep enough to do one thing better than anyone else.

14. Play. Do it when you’re not working. Do it when you are working.

15. Make your secret sauce. The greatest compliment you can receive from a professor, pro, or peer isn’t “great work!” or “that’s perfect!” It’s this: “How in the world did you do that?” Wow us with your creativity, wow us with your ideas, wow us with your execution in ways we can’t imagine. We may not know what goes into your secret sauce, but we do know that we want more of it.

 

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8 Tips for Summer College Visits

It’s ideal to tour colleges in the fall or spring, but it is often hard to get away during those times with crazy sports and extracurricular schedules, standardized testing, family trips and so on. When school’s out for summer, many students and parents have much more time to get to college campuses. If you are planning to visit campuses this summer, keep in mind:

  1. Not all schools offer Saturday info sessions and tours. Try to visit when you can go on a tour and attend an info session. All of this information can be found online on schools respective admissions websites.
  2. Interview. Fewer people tour in the summer, which means fewer people are on campus interviewing. Use this to your advantage. Do not miss out on the opportunity to interview on campus if you have had time to adequately prepare. Everyone should prepare for admissions interviews!!! You only get one chance to make a first impression—and though interviews are not the most important component of your app, a killer one can certainly help.
  3. Attend a class. Some schools have very active summer sessions, while others do not. There may not be a formal class visit program offered through admissions during the summer months, but you can still reach out to a faculty member and ask if it is okay to sit in on their class. You can also call and check with your department of interest (for example, the Math Department if you intend to major in math) and see if they can hook you up with permission to sit in on a class.
  4. Connect with and possibly meet with someone from your department of interest. Colleges are open in the summer, even if they don’t look too busy. Call or email your department of interest a few weeks ahead of time. Someone from the department may help you out with sitting in on a class, as well as be willing to speak to you personally or steer you in the direction of any other departmental opportunities that might be available during your visit.
  5. Check the calendar of events. Some college campuses are dead in the summer, while others have a lot going on beyond summer session classes. If there is something going on that interests you, try to check it out. This information could make a nice addition to a why school essay.
  6. Take pictures, take notes, and get the names, emails, and numbers of everyone you meet. Send thank you emails, or a handwritten note to your interviewer. In many cases, you’ll need this info if you end up applying.
  7. Don’t forget to check out the surrounding city, town, or suburb. Keep in mind, in some areas, folks head out of town for the summer. If it feels dead, ask around to find out if this is the case or if it’s like that all of the time.
  8. Remember, campuses located in Florida are not always as hot as they are in the summer, and those in Minnesota are not always as hot as they are in the summer (it gets REALLY cold there!!!). Keep in mind the “normal” temp of the school and that how a campus feels in the summer might not be how it feels when you will be there studying.

 

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Mythical Golden Tickets and the Ivy League

Repost from Lynn O’Shaughnessy of The College Solution:

Affluent parents and teenagers often believe that “golden tickets” are plentiful if you attend an elite university and preferably one of the Ivies.

Earn a bachelor’s degree from a place like Harvard, Princeton or Stanford and job opportunities will magically appear.

Equally important, conventional wisdom suggests that unless smart, ambitious students graduate from one of these $70,000-a-year (!!!), gold-plated universities, their career success will be diminished.

All this is nonsense.

Interested in why she believes this is nonsense? Continue reading her post, Mythical Golden Tickets and the Ivy League, and one of her older posts, The Myth of the Ivy League.

 

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The best advice from 2018 commencement speeches

One reason I love graduation time so much is that I enjoy listening to all of the inspiring speeches! Fast Company posted on some of the most motivational and there are a few snippets I want to share here:

Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani, congratulated the MBA graduates at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and then told them this: “It’s great that you are a Wharton MBA. But please, don’t act like it.”

While earned, titles can turn into a burden: “Don’t let it get in the way of seeing people as people and all they have to offer you, regardless of their title or position . . . If you want to fly high, in business or in life, you’ve got to keep your feet on the ground, and stay rooted to see what matters most,” he said.

USA Soccer player Abby Wambach encouraged the graduating class at Barnard College to look at each other as part of a pack, and to create one collective heartbeat with rules for your team to live by. One of those is to turn failure into fuel. “Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be powered by.”

As the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, Kathrine Switzer addressed the graduating class at Syracuse University and encouraged them to pay attention to the “flash moments” that can change the course of your life. “. . . If you can recognize them, you can be ready for them and act on them for your own life, but more importantly, perhaps for community and even world change,” she said. “Often it’s the adversity in your life that gives you the greatest ideas. Sometimes the worst things in your life become the best.”

If you love listening to graduation speeches as much as I do, check out Inc.’s top 15 of all time — R.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement speech will always be one of my favs!

 

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Khan Academy Launches Free LSAT Prep

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.June 1, 2018 – From PRNewswire-USNewswire:

Against the backdrop of a spike in the number of applications to law school and renewed enthusiasm among students for a career in law, the Law School Admission Council and Khan Academy are pleased to launch Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep, the first free and official test prep program for the LSAT, the law school admission test.

Last year, more than 100,000 prospective law school students took the LSAT.  Many students can’t afford to pay for commercial test prep, which can cost hundreds of dollars to more than $2,000 for various LSAT packages.

Today’s announcement marks the launch of Khan Academy’s second official test prep for critical standardized exams. In 2015, Khan Academy launched Official SAT Practice with the College Board. Nearly six million people have used Official SAT Practice, and research shows that practice on Khan Academy advances all students regardless of high school GPA, gender, race and ethnicity, and parental education level.

Read the full press release here.

June Monthly Action Plan – By Grade

Seniors:

Congrats on your graduation! Enjoy a summer free of college applications.

Juniors: 

Time to get to kick it into high gear!

  • It might seem like a silly piece of advice, but many students are not aware that each school has a set of application instructions that are not located on the application. I suggest you read them on each schools admissions website prior to tackling the application process.
  • Many colleges don’t proactively ask for online resources yet, but you may have an interest in creating a digital portfolio (LinkedIn, SoundCloud, personal website, and/or blog). Now is a great time to work on these extras, as well as your formal resume.
  • As you begin your essay work, consider opening a Common App account. Unlike in past years, if you open up an account now, it will not be deleted before August 1, 2018. You can read more about account rollover here.

Sophomores:

  • Continue working on your resume.
  • Thinking about how to explore your academic interests this summer? There are tons of options, and you should be doing something “academic” this summer if possible. Please note: something “academic” is not limited to a class or formal academic program. Have questions? Contact us to discuss.
  • Interested in understanding what exactly the Common Application is and how it works? Unlike in past years, if you open up an account now, it will not be deleted at the end of this application season. You can read more about account rollover here.
  • Summer before junior year is a great time to begin test prep! Here are a few resources to get you started:

PSAT

-https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat/new-sat-tips-planning/new-sat-how-to-prep/a/full-length-psat-nmsqt

ACT

-http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/test-preparation.html

-http://www.amazon.com/ACT-Prep-Black-Book-Strategies/dp/0692027912/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437782060&sr=8-1&keywords=act+prep+black+book

-http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-Edition-Prep-Guide/dp/076893432X/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_

SAT

-https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat

Freshmen:

  • Continue working on your resume. Consider exploring your academic interests — reading is a simple and easy way to do so!
  • Interested in understanding what exactly the Common Application is and how it works? Unlike in past years, if you open up an account now, it will not be deleted at the end of this application season. You can read more about account rollover here.
  • Looking for community engagement or volunteer opportunities? Something meaningful to get involved in that you might want to continue throughout high school, someplace where you might make a real difference? Ask upperclassmen how they spend their summers or check out https://www.idealist.org for opportunities near you.
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Common Application Account Rollover

From the Common App!

Account Rollover is designed to help everyone who is part of the college process learn about the Common Application – from students and parents to teachers and counselors. On the registration page, we ask you to identify your role, but everyone has the same application experience, no matter how they identify themselves. Anyone can create a Common Application account now, and their account will roll over from year to year, using the same username and password.

This means you can start exploring and working on the Common App whenever is best for you. You can begin by answering the questions in the seven sections of the “Common App” tab: ProfileFamilyEducationTestingActivitiesWriting, and Courses & Grades.

Some information won’t roll over each year, but you can complete these sections after the application launches each year.

When you come back, there are three key steps you’ll need to do in order to roll over your Common App account each year:

  1. Initiate. Sign in, using the same email address and password you used to create your account, and answer a few quick questions to initiate the rollover process.
  2. Explore the dashboard. The rollover process may take a few minutes, depending on the amount of information you stored in your account. As the rollover process occurs, you’ll be taken to your account Dashboard. This is where you’ll keep track of all of your application requirements. Take some time to explore the Dashboard. You’ll need to check it again and again throughout the application process.
  3. View Common App. After you explore the Dashboard, click to the Common App tab to continue working on your application. You may notice that some answers have not rolled over. Remember that some questions change from year to year, so your answers to those questions will not roll over. Don’t fret – you’re already way ahead of the game! Keep it going…

High School Graduation Action Plan

As graduation nears and high school comes to a close…enjoy yourself! Graduation signifies exciting new beginnings, but also change. Many of the people you are used to seeing every day at your high school are people you might not see often (or again in some cases), so make the most of spending time with them, and your family, this summer.

While you are relaxing with the people you care about most, don’t forget to say thanks where thanks is due. It can be easy to forget the many individuals who were there every step of the way of the application process, guiding you towards college. But remember, you didn’t make it here all by yourself. Take some time to thank the people who helped you along the way by writing them a thank you note.

People to thank: parents, guidance counselor, teachers, letter of recommendation writers, anyone else who read your essays/app, college admissions officers you met with, and tutors just to name a few!

Also, consider an internship or job. You’ll need money in college; a job is where that money often comes from. Beyond having some much-needed cash, one Stanford researcher even found that having a summer job can boost academic performance, and more: “adolescent employment can foster noncognitive skills like time management, perseverance, and self-confidence.” Moreover, once you are in college you’ll need to be 100% independent, just as you need to be at work. Prep now and be ready for those more significant pre-professional experiences as an undergrad.

But what type of job should I get? I suggest something fun like scooping ice cream, or better yet, waiting tables. As Rob Asghar notes, waiting tables “can be the high-pressure arena in which many talented people learn how to take control of their lives and prosper over the long haul.”

“I think everyone should spend some time waiting tables or working in retail,” Elisa Schreiber, a marketing executive in Silicon Valley, tells me.

“I learned so much by waiting tables,” says Schreiber, a longtime colleague who happens to be one of the savviest strategists and leaders I’ve ever worked alongside. “I learned empathy and understanding and compassion. I learned how to get people in and out while still feeling good about their experience. It made me exponentially better when I started my salaried, professional career—from leading people to handling pressure to effectively managing my time.”

It is not glamorous (I know, I did it for the better part of a decade in high school, college, and grad school), but it is a learning experience, to say the least.

 

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What Colleges are Really Looking for in Applicants

Fairfax, VA – The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) released its ranking of What Colleges Look for in High School Students, based on an annual survey of nearly 2,000 independent educational consultants. While grades and standardized test scores are near the top of these annual rankings, a number of significant changes and surprises are challenging the assumptions about college admissions. Number 1 on the list: A challenging curriculum. New to the list: The family’s ability to pay tuition. The much-discussed social media presence of students? Not so much.

Many students and parents are surprised to hear that the leading criteria universities want to see isn’t grades* (#2) or standardized test scores (#3), but rather evidence that a student took as rigorous a high school curriculum as they could. “Colleges want to know that future students don’t shy away from a challenge,” said IECA’s CEO, Mark Sklarow. “Grades and scores are important, but it is far better to accept a challenge, show some grit, and earn a slightly lower grade if necessary than to breeze through high school with easy courses and straight A’s.”

*(This does not hold true at all schools, especially uber selective schools, where B’s don’t generally fly for normal applicants)

Item #4 in the ranking—the essay—is also the most misunderstood, according to IECA. The essay tends to be more important at smaller and independent colleges. But too many students think the essay is about construction, grammar, and format. The association warns that while these matter (typos and bad grammar should never happen), the essay must show insight into a student’s unique personality or life-shaping experiences. An essay that worked in an English class is unlikely to be one that is appropriate for the college application. “This essay should help the reader—that all-important admission counselor—better appreciate who you are, what shaped you, and what makes you tick,” says Sklarow. “That doesn’t mean a student needs some life-altering trip; rather a simple ongoing volunteer commitment or personal interaction may be worth sharing.”

Two new items ranked on the 2018–19 list from IECA. Debuting at #7 is the family’s ability to pay. While some schools are “need blind” in their admissions decisions, most are not. Increasingly, according to IECA, colleges take into consideration who can contribute to the school’s bottom line. The other new criteria this year was a student’s character and values (#12). Colleges increasingly contemplate what campus life will be like and how a particular applicant will add—or detract—from the campus. Colleges want to see leaders, students with special skills or talents, and those who have been active in campus activities, as well as those whose values fit a college’s view of itself. Colleges also seek diversity, striving for a campus made up of those from varied cultural, social, economic, geographic, religious, and occupational backgrounds (#9).

Much has been written in recent years about two areas: demonstrated interest* (how an applicant demonstrates a genuine desire to attend) and social media (what a student’s online life reveals). The IECA rankings showed these areas to be of less importance than other items.

*(Also not always true. The Common Data (set) confirms it is considered at many schools. It might just be considered LESS at some schools. However, do not be misled; it is still considered)

Sklarow cautioned that “Every college is unique, so each emphasizes something different in its process of reviewing applications. One of the great benefits of hiring an independent educational consultant is their knowledge of such differences, and their ability to share this information with students as they guide them through the application process.”

 

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