skills you need in 21st century

Does Your College Teach You the Skills You Need in the 21st Century?

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skills you need in 21st centuryWe’re at a very interesting time now when the Internet is changing many of the ways we once approached certain practices. Unless your university updates their courses, it’s possible that you’re not getting the skills you need in the 21st century.

A great example of this is marketing. When students choose marketing as their concentration, they start off learning about the four P’s and all the basics. But throughout most of their studies, they focus on traditional marketing.

Why is this such a big problem? Because digital marketing is now ubiquitous and businesses are looking to hire employees who have a background in the practice. Students at many universities aren’t getting the practical experience they need.

A recent Fast Company article explains what marketing students should really be studying:

“But the most serious problem lies in the topics students don’t cover at length—or at all. The list is long: Content marketing, search engine optimization, social media, marketing software skills (think CRMs, content management systems, and marketing automation), online lead generation strategies, and more. All of these skills have at least one thing in common: they’re the bread and butter of successful digital marketing programs. But they are chronically under-taught in universities.”

It’s important to note that we’re not talking about every university or singling a specific one out. There are many colleges that have great digital marketing programs and prepare their students for a job right after they graduate.

Before you select a university, you should research the program you’re interested in. This doesn’t just apply to marketing; the Internet has made an impact on many subjects. At the very least, you want to see your university embrace the changes so you won’t have to study outdated material.

To talk more about skills you need in the 21st century, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

international studies

Is International Studies Program Right for You?

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international studiesInternational Studies isn’t the easiest college major, but it’s certainly one of the most rewarding. In addition to learning from textbooks and in the classroom, you’ll also gain a lot of practical experience.

There will also be a need for International Studies majors for the foreseeable future. They’ll be the ones who have to deal with difficult questions like what will become of the European Monetary Union (EMU).

But now let’s talk about what you’ll actually study when you select International Studies as a major. Since it’s impossible to learn about each nation in-depth, you’ll have to focus on specific areas. Here’s how Princeton Review describes the course study:

“While you’ll gain a greater appreciation for the commerce of the world as a whole, you will probably concentrate on a specific region of the globe, studying in detail its unique history, economy, and political structure. Whether it’s Africa, Asia, or Western or Eastern Europe, you will have the opportunity to focus on the region or countries that interest you most, learning their language, and perhaps even spending a semester studying abroad.”

You can always make your concentration more specific. Let’s say you have an interest in Spain. Now, you can choose to study the country’s economy, government, culture, or history. You’ll also certainly want to study Spanish so you can work with primary sources. In general, the more specific your concentration, the better.

The real reward of International Studies is your learning experience. You’ll get the chance to visit new countries, learn new languages, meet new people, and make a difference in the world. None of this is simple or easy, but the challenge is satisfying.

International Studies is a great choice for students who want to broaden their horizons and challenge themselves. Your studies will define who you are and will change you for the better.

To talk more about international studies, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

saving tips for college students

Saving Tips for College Students: Campus Jobs, Scholarships and Buying Things on Sale

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saving tips for college studentsAre you a student just beginning college?  If so, it’s important to start budgeting right away because it’s possible to get carried away with expenses that you hadn’t anticipated.  Some people are raised in households where they’re given chores to do everyday.  If this describes you, then you may have already gone grocery-shopping, done your own laundry and prepared meals in the past.  However, a number of college students start out without any experience in doing all these things.

If you’re an international student, things are even more difficult because you’re not used to thinking in terms of dollars yet.  So you have to keep converting everything into your own currency, at first, to make sure you aren’t overspending.  Here are a few saving tips for college students to make sure that you don’t run out of money:

  1. Write everything down.  Write down all your expenses as and when they occur.  This might seem funny to you but it really helps in the long run.  Sometimes, you just don’t know where your money is going.  But if you have a diary to refer to where you write down all your expenses, it’s easy to figure out where you overspent.
  2. Get a campus job.  International students are allowed to work 20 hours per week on campus.  This doesn’t put too much of a strain on you since it’s only part-time.  And it’ll give you a taste of what it’s like to work in the U.S.  Plus, you’ll get a little extra money.
  3. Apply for scholarships.  You probably already applied for financial aid when you sent in your application.  If you didn’t do this, it’s not too late.  You can still get in touch with the financial aid office and find out what your options are.  They may even be able to tell you about outside scholarships you can apply for.  It’s just a matter of filling out a form.  So why not do it?
  4. Learn to buy things on sale.  A lot of international students are taken by surprise when they see the number of sales in the U.S.  It seems like there’s a huge sale after every major holiday.  Plus, there are the regular sales where some item or the other is being promoted.  If you go to the back of any clothing store, you’ll find items on sale.  Learn to buy things when a sale is on so that you don’t have to spend more money for it later.
  5. Learn to say “yes.”  Often, international students feel a little hesitant to just say “yes” when they’re offered something for free.  You need to learn to use the “yes” word more often, just like Jim Carey in “Yes Man.”  If someone’s offering you a ride, a slice of pizza, a job or anything that will make your life better, say yes.

Contact us for more ways to save money in college.

resume writing tips

Resume Writing Tips to Help You Get That Job

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resume writing tipsHave you just graduated? Or are you just in the need to search for a job that’s right for you? If so, you want to be sure that you are thoroughly prepared for the interview process. However, before the interview process even begins, you must remember that your resume is what gives potential employers their first impression of you. Here are a few resume writing tips to help you:

  • Use a Basic Font: You want to be sure that your resume is easy to read. If you use a font that makes it challenging to read, then more than likely a potential employer will not even bother with it at all.
  • Put Down All Contact Info: Be sure that wherever you put in your contact info, such as your e-mail and cell phone number, you also include your work number, home number, and any other way a potential employer can contact you. After all, you don’t want to make it difficult for an employer to get ahold of you.
  • Perfect Your Objective: If you already have a resume put together, you still need to be sure that you adjust your objective to fit for any of the positions that you are applying for. You will stand out to an employer more if you use specific words that adhere to the title of the job position.
  • Prioritize Your Content: Just like you must adjust your objective, you want to adjust the order in which you list your skills and experiences. Putting the most relevant experience and skills that relate to the job position first in line will also help to make your resume stand apart from others. Employers are interested in seeing that you have what they are looking for.
  • Follow E-Mail Instructions: If you are sending your resume to an employer through e-mail, be sure that you follow their instructions carefully. An employer may want you to send a cover letter detached from the resume, for example. This shows that you are skillful at following instructions.

For more information about how to create a stand out resume, please contact us.

financing your education

The Role Your College Major Plays in Financing Your Education

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financing your educationYour major plays a significant role when it comes to financing your education. It’s well documented that there are drastic differences in the lifetime earnings of college majors.

Here are the top earning majors as of 2015, according to USA Today:

  1. Petroleum Engineering
  2. Computer Science
  3. Nursing
  4. Applied Mathematics
  5. Physics
  6. Management Information Systems
  7. Construction Management
  8. Computer Information Systems
  9. Mathematics & Statistics
  10. Computer Programming

The question is: does all this really matter? Should you choose a major based on its potential earnings or should you study something that you have a passion for?

In an ideal world, we’d all study what we love and earn good money for it. But that doesn’t happen all too often. As a result, students are faced with the difficult decision of choosing between financial stability and genuine interest. Something to keep in mind is that these things fluctuate. While accounting is seen as a pragmatic major choice today, this wasn’t exactly the case in the 40’s and 50’s. Moreover, there used to be a high demand for teachers in the U.S. As a result, many students took up an education major, ultimately flooding the market with too many teachers.

According to USA Today, Petroleum Engineering is currently the top earning major. But will that still be the case in 10, 20, or 30 years? There are no guarantees when it comes to the economy or environment, so that’s impossible to predict. The message here is that your college degree won’t define your future financial situation. That’ll depend on your work-ethic, experience, and determination. But if you’ve loved music for years and see yourself becoming a music teacher, then you shouldn’t be turned off by a bad job market. That will likely sort itself out in the long run. Yet if you have a genuine interest in your major, then you’ll always be able to find some type of job that you like and that supports you financially.

To talk more about financing your education or the top paying college majors, please contact us. Thanks.

international students

How to Adjust: Tips for International Students

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international studentsHere you are, freshly arrived to an American university, what now? Information is thrown all around you, people are speaking way too quickly and there is just too much going on. For most international students the first few weeks of a semester abroad are spent trying to adjust to a shockingly new culture, setting and schedule. Here are a few tips that will help you navigate your new school and your temporary home better.

1. Attend As Many Orientation Activities as Possible

It may seem useless, after all most of these activities are geared toward first year students. You already know how to manage your study time, budget your money and get enough sleep. It’s true, your needs are different, but that does not mean that Orientation is a waste of time. What bonds you most to these first year and transfer students is that you are all experiencing a brand new atmosphere; this commonality makes it easy to find great friends, vent your frustrations, or just feel less alone in that big cloud of confusion that is your first week on campus. Take advantage of this time, it may help you for the remainder of your time abroad.

2. Find Your Go-To Spots

In your home university, you know where to go for help with your studies, financial aid or health concerns; in a new place, figuring all this out might take a backseat to some more pressing issues. Don’t forget about these resources for too long, they can mean a big difference between doing okay and doing great. Think about it, finding out where to get tutoring before you need it can make you feel that much better about not understanding something in the first chapter; and knowing that there is an academic advisor willing to help you figure out your schedule can mean that much less stress on your already full plate. Gather your resources around you and you will have all the tools you need to succeed.

3. Explore the Community

Unfortunately, college students typically do not extend themselves beyond their campus gates. As an international student, however, you are not only experiencing college life, you are also learning about your host country and its culture. Sometimes a college campus is a very sheltered bubble, so burst that bubble and go explore! College towns are typically excellent sources of entertainment, art, music and foodie culture, so do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in all of that before it’s time to leave. Not only will you learn something new, but you will begin a larger sense of belonging and understanding.

4. Join a Club

This one seems like a no-brainer, but many international students steer clear of clubs. Yes, it might be uncomfortable at first, you may stumble on a few words or you may have some awkward silences, but ultimately a club is an excellent resource. You will meet people that share your interests, you will practice your English, and you will find yourself getting comfortable on campus with surprising speed.

5. Ask for Help If You Need It

This is a problem shared by all college students: a fear of failure. This fear will typically prevent you from asking a question, going to a professor’s office hours, or talking to someone when you are having a hard time. The most important thing to remember is that everyone, from professors to advisors to counselors to administrative assistants are here to help YOU. The entire infrastructure of a university is geared to helping you succeed.  Take comfort in knowing that more than likely you are not the only person to feel the way that you feel, to have that question, which means that there is an answer readily available and help is just a few words away.

Having trouble adjusting and want more help? Always feel free to contact us!

resume writing tips

Resume Writing Tips for Getting Your Next Job

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resume writing tipsLooking for the right job takes just a much work as a full-time position. To find the right job and get one within a short time frame, there are a couple of things that you can do to your resume to help it stand out from the crowd. Here are three resume writing tips you will want to consider to make your job search go faster.

Using Relevant Industry Keywords

When you are searching job boards for the right position to fill, you may find yourself looking for certain industry keywords that tell you what the job is about and whether your skills will match. The same idea can be applied to your resume. Before submitting to a company, make sure that the relevant industry keywords they use the job listing also appear on your resume, as long as they read well.

Tailoring Your Work History

Whether you have only had one previous position or many, it is important to tailor your resume to provide only the most useful information for the company you want to work with. You may be proud of your part-time retail job that you worked at during college, but if you are going into a completely different industry such as teaching or engineering, the skills are not necessarily relevant.

If you don’t have relevant work experience, you can include other ways you have gain applicable skills such as volunteer work and extracurricular programs.

Add Follow-Up Information

The best way to show a company you are interested in the job is to apply, have a good interview and then follow up after the interview. When it comes to your resume and cover letter, make sure you are specific about when you will follow up. Many great applicants will tell recruiters in the cover letter that they will follow up within a week after they have received the application.

If you are interested in learning more about searching for the right position and how to get your resume ready for applying, please contact us.

international students

What International Students Should Know about American Universities

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international studentsBefore deciding on an American university, international students should research the American school system. Universities in the U.S. differ from those in Europe and even from those in Canada. Before coming to the States, you should consider these topics:

Bachelor’s vs Masters’s

In the United States, Bachelor’s degrees typically last 4 years. They’re longer than the 3 year degree in Europe since American colleges require students to take general elective classes.

A Master’s degree, on the other hand, can last anywhere between 1 and 3 years. It completely depends on the program and how much time the student can dedicate to his studies. If you work full-time, for example, then you can take classes at night. This course of study lasts longer compared to a full-time student.

Popular majors

Many students in the U.S. study Business Administration, Communications, and Social Sciences. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are also popular and generally considered to be more demanding.

It’s important to note that degrees in the U.S. sometimes vary from degrees in your home country, even if they have the same name.

Living on-campus vs living off-campus

Universities in the U.S. typically guarantee housing for first-year students. After that, however, they’re usually on their own.

Living off-campus has its benefits, though. It’s cheaper, students have more freedom, and you can start to prepare yourself for life after college.

Ideal locations

Big cities in the U.S. like New York and Washington D.C. often attract international students. The city you study in is important for acquiring internships. If you study finance, for example, then you probably would prefer to study in Manhattan. But a political science major would have more resources in D.C.

American colleges are unique for several reasons. Before arriving, it’s important that you understand these differences and choose the university that fits you best.

To talk more about universities in the U.S., or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

American Education Gulf Expo Announcement

University of the Potomac to Exhibit at American Education Asia Expo

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American Education Gulf Expo AnnouncementCome and meet us at the ISN’s Spring 2015 American Education Asia Expo from February 23 through March 23 in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and China. You will learn more about our University, degree programs, admissions requirements, tuition and fees, scholarships, life in Washington DC, and much more.

Below is the tentative Expo schedule. Please come back later to check the updated schedule.

New Delhi, India: Monday, February 23, 2015
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM – High School Visit: Summerfields School
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM – ISN Agent Expo: Holiday Inn, Mayur Vihar

New Delhi, India: Tuesday, February 24, 2015
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – High School Visit: Pathaya School Noida
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM – High School Visit: Amity Global School

Hyderabad, India: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM – ISN Student Fair: Taj Deccan Hyderabad

Hyderabad, India: Thursday, February 26, 2015
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – High School Visit: DRS International School
12:30 PM – 2:00 PM – College Visit: Sreyas Institute

Chennai, India: Friday, February 27, 2015
11:30 AM – 1:15 PM – High School Visit: Hindu Senior Secondary School
2:30 PM – 5:00 PM – ISN Agent Expo: Hyatt Regency Chennai
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM – ISN Student Fair: Hyatt Regency Chennai

Ahmedabad, India: Sunday, March 1, 2015
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM – ISN Agent Expo: Courtyard by Marriott
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM – ISN Student Fair: Courtyard by Marriott

Ahmedabad, India: Monday, March 2, 2015
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM – High School Visit TBD

Jakarta, Indonesia: Saturday, March 14, 2015
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – ISN Agent Expo: JW Marriott Jakarta
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM – ISN Student Fair: JW Marriott Hotel

Bangkok, Thailand: Monday, March 16, 2015
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM – High School Visit: NIVA International School
12:20 PM – 1:20 PM – High School Visit: Harrow International School
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM – ISN Agent Expo: Four Seasons Hotel
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – ISN Student Fair: Four Seasons Hotel

Hanoi, Vietnam: Wednesday, March 18, 2015
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM – High School Visits: Newton Grammar School
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM – High School Visits: The Olympia School
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM – ISN Agent Expo: Sofitel Plaza
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM – ISN Student Fair: Sofitel Plaza Hanoi

Hanoi, Vietnam: Thursday, March 19, 2015
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – High School Visit: Singapore International School
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – High School Visit: Horizon International Bilingual

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Friday, March 20, 2015
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM – High School Visit: The American School of Vietnam
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM – High School Visit: Renaissance International School Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Saturday, March 21, 2015
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM – ISN Agent Expo: Rex Hotel
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM – ISN Student Fair: Rex Hotel

Shanghai, China: Monday, March 23, 2015
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM – High School Visit: SMIC Private School
11:10 AM – 11:50 AM – High School Visit: Concordia International School
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM – High School Visit: Shanghai Community International School
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM – ISN Agent Expo: JW Marriott Hotel
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM – ISN Student Fair: JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai

If you have any questions about the Asia Expos, please email us at international@potomac.edu.

We look forward to seeing you!

interview tips

4 Interview Dressing Tips to Help You Put Your Best Foot Forward

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interview tipsIf you’ve ever looked up how to prepare for a job interview, then you already know that one of the key ways to do so is by looking professional.  The first impression you make on your interviewer is by how you look.  So if you show up looking shabby, unwashed, unshaved or unprofessional in some other way, you’ve already lost a few points which it will be hard to get back.  Here are a few interview tips to keep in mind with regard to your attire:

  1. It’s always safe to wear a suit.  In some occupations, you might be able to get away with showing up business casual at the interview.  However, no one’s going to hold it against you if you wear a suit.  Even if you look really uncomfortable because you rarely ever wear suits, the interviewer will notice that you made an effort to be professional because you care about getting the job.  This earns you points.
  2. Neutrals or colors?  Most people will tell you that you should go with a suit in a neutral color like grey, black, navy blue etc.  In general, it’s a good idea to look understated on the day of your interview.  At the same time, wearing dull colors is likely to make you blend in completely with the pool of applicants.  You’re not going to stand out in any way.  For women, there are many options to stand out.  If you’re wearing a grey suit, you can pair it with a pink blouse.  You can also add scarves, brooches and earrings with a bit of color.  For men, adding color can get a bit tricky because interviewers may not care for yellow ties or mauve shirts.  So just try to make sure that the colors of your suit are crisp and eye-catching, even if they’re neutral.
  3. Grooming.  In some ways, grooming is even more important than what you wear because the interviewer is going to be focused on your face.  If your hair keeps falling into your eyes or you have a five o’clock shadow, these things will distract your interviewer who won’t focus on what you’re saying.  So you need to make sure your hair is neatly cut and set when you go in for your interview.  For women, it’s also important to make sure that your makeup is subtle and understated.  It’s fine to want to look attractive but you can save the red lipstick for a different occasion.
  4. Avoid Overly Revealing/Tight Attire.  This rule applies to men as well as women.  Women should avoid extremely plunging necklines and short skirts while men should avoid tight jackets or shirts which show off their muscles to advantage.  We’re not saying that you shouldn’t be proud of your body.  When you’re hanging out with friends or your significant other, feel free to dress exactly as you like.  But when you’re going for an interview, you want to impress your interviewer with your brains, not your brawn!

Contact us for more great ways to make sure you’re appropriately dressed for your interview.