washington dc

Five “Secret” Things to Do in Washington DC

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washington dcThere is an enormous list of monuments, museums, and must-sees for anyone who visits Washington DC. The history of the United States, as well as today’s political arena, blend with art, science, and architecture. Most tourists spend a week on the National Mall and go home thinking they have seen everything in DC.

But they are missing some of the best-kept secrets!

Want to see some sights that tourists don’t know about? Here are five places to enjoy without the crowds:

  1. The DEA Museum:  The Drug Enforcement Agency has a renovated museum that covers everything the DEA does to manage drugs, drug abuse, and illegal drug activities. You will see permanent exhibits on the history of opium dens, patent medicines that contained illegal ingredients; the connection between heroin and jazz; and the Colombian drug cartels. There are new exhibits, as well, such as “Illegal Drugs in America: A Modern History.” Don’t miss seeing the actual bundles of pot that fell from the sky over San Diego from a plane traveling from Mexico! Located in Pentagon City.
  2. The Adams Memorial:  Rock Creek Cemetery is a fascinating place to explore; the list of “residents” is impressive. In Section E, find a superb example of funerary art that will cause you to stop and reflect on your own life. In 1885, when writer Henry Adams’ wife, Clover, committed suicide by drinking photography chemicals (cyanide), he commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens to cast a grave marker for Clover. The shrouded figure represents the Buddhist idea of nirvana where there is no joy or sorrow.
  3. President Lincoln’s Cottage:  Only open since 2008, this is where Lincoln lived for 13 months during the Civil War, and where he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. The cottage is on the Armed Forces Retirement Home property (called the Soldiers’ Home in Lincoln’s time), so advance reservations and ID are required; the tour of the cottage is guided. There are also exhibits and collections, including Lincoln’s famous carpet slippers.
  4. Dumbarton Oaks is a research library and collection, administered by Harvard University. Located in Georgetown, it’s called “The Home of the Humanities.” The gardens are magnificent. Visit the “Lover’s Lane Pool” and listen to the soundscape that comes from an installation with bamboo pipes. This is a lovely getaway in a busy city.
  5. The Titanic Memorial was authorized by Congress in 1917 and completed in 1918…many years before Leonardo DiCaprio would assume the same pose as the memorial’s statue, in the film, “The Titanic.” Also known as the Women’s Titanic Memorial, because funds for the monument were raised by American women, each contributing one dollar, to reach the $25,000 cost. The memorial honors all the men on the ship who gave their lives so that women and children could be rescued in the life boats. Set in the quiet Washington Channel Park, it’s a touching tribute.

If you’d like to know more about the sights of Washington DC, and life at University of the Potomac, contact us today.

international students

The Number of International Students in the US is at an All-Time High

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international studentsThe number of international students is at an all-time high in the United States. Students from other countries are coming to the US to study at some of the best universities in the world.

A recent ABC News article reports the record-breaking number of international students. According to the article, the number is now approaching one million:

“A report by the Institute of International Education, in partnership with the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, said nearly 900,000 international students were studying in the U.S. during the 2013-14 school year, up 8 percent from a year earlier.”

This news has a few implications that we’d like to address. One is that students from all over the world are deciding to study in the US. This shows that the value of the US degree is still a notch above the rest. Some students even choose to study in the US despite the free education offered in their home country.

Another implication is that the process to study in the US isn’t an impossibly big hurdle. There are hundreds of thousands of students that come from different countries but still study in the US. No matter where someone is from, it’s possible for them to study in the States.

The University of the Potomac accepts students from several countries outside of the US. We welcome and encourage international students to study at our institution. Our high percentage of foreign students has created a healthy level of diversity that supports new perspectives, opinions, cultures, and traditions. This isn’t just exciting – it also introduces new elements to the learning experience.

To talk more about the record number of international students, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

resume writing tips

Resume Writing Tips: 5 Things to Leave Off Your Resume

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resume writing tipsFrom a prospective employer’s point-of-view, what a candidate chooses to put on a resume is equally as important as what they don’t. There are many things that, when included, can hurt your chances of getting that all important call back.

It’s best to focus on aspects that paint your successes and strength in a positive, untarnished light, rather than things that could call your personality into question.

Here are some resume writing tips for five aspects to leave off your resume.

Lose the Objective

It’s a section that has been included on resumes since the beginning of the document’s life, but in all actuality, an objective dosen’t really add anything to the document, and can hurt more than it help. Instead, focus on your skills and experience. Want to highlight your career objective? Consider including it in a cover letter.

Career History

Depending on your age and your experience, in conjunction with the job or career in which you are applying, including your entire job history may not be necessary. Ice cream scooper when you were 15 years old? Not necessary. This is also true for jobs that bolster your chances but were short-lived. Don’t include anything that raises red flags about your tenure or skills.

Forget the Photograph

Yes. You read that right. Including a photo with a resume does happen from time to time. And yes, it happens even in situations where the candidate isn’t applying for a modeling job. Please do not include a photograph of yourself with your resume.

Design Flaws

Hiring managers have revealed many things about the process over the years, but they don’t always agree on the same things. Except for one: An overly-fancy or a clunky functional resume get moved to the bottom of the pile almost immediately. Functional resumes that leave off job history in favor of skills, and gaudy, overtly colored resume are not necessary and should be avoided.

One Page is Enough

For most of the hiring world, any more than one page for an entry-level job and you are lessoning your chances of getting the job. Hiring managers are looking for quick, eye-catching information that screams “hire me!” If it takes more than one page for you to yell this at them, they will likely not notice because any more than one page means time they don’t have to give.

For most open positions, in any field if work, the stack of resumes is large. Any time a candidate deviates outside some basic job acquiring measures, the worse off they are from the onset.

For more information on how we can help you with your future, please contact us.

savings tips for college students

6 Easy Ways College Students Can Save Money

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savings tips for college studentsIt’s Friday night, money is tight, but your friends have invited you out for some fun in the big city. But you’re experiencing a conundrum. You know that if you accept their offer, you’ll like starve come Monday. You hem and haw for a few minutes, and finally decide to say yes. Why? Because you just discovered some keen ways for college students to save money on all of their favorite activities, while still having funds available for the necessities.

Here are 6 ways to remain frugal, while still maintaining your budget.

1. Textbooks are expensive. A great way around the exorbitant price of textbooks is to rent them or buy them used from booksellers or friends. There are many exchange programs and websites dedicated to saving you money on college textbooks. We’re talking hundreds of dollars of savings… per book.

2. Limit dining out. It’s difficult to resist time out with friends at your favorite restaurants, but limiting the time you dine out will greatly reduce your living costs (this includes coffee shops in the morning — brew your own for added savings). Try only eating out for special occasions.

3. Save money on transportation. If you live near campus, instead of driving everyday, take public transportation or set aside some extra time and walk instead. Or, if you already have a bicycle, bike to class. The money you save on gas will really add up fast.

4. Contact your wireless carrier. There is no doubt that your phone plan is costing you. So try for a better rate. Simply contact your wireless carrier, and ask about ways to reduce your package rates. A simple reduction in your data package can save you $20 a month. That’s a lot of ramen noodles!

5. Look for student discounts. Many shops and restaurants offer student discounts to attract students in the area. Don’t underestimate the savings power of 15% off of a meal. Be savvy about where you shop and eat, and look for posted student discounts in windows.

6. Free can be fun too. In big metropolitan areas like D.C., there is no shortage of activities, and not everything costs money. Get in touch with student services and ask about activities around the city that are free to students, and save your money for things you really need.

Being a student can be expensive. So doing anything you can to offset costs should be a priority. All it takes is some pre-planning and a positive state of mind and your bank account will be a much happier place.

We’re here to help! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions and concerns.

interview skills and tips

Interview Skills and Tips: Why You Should Ask Questions

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interview skills and tipsIn a job interview, there are certain things you should and shouldn’t do. In order to be successful, you will want to learn and read about some interview skills and tips. This is going to help boost your confidence on the day of your interview because you can go in feeling prepared. One tip you should know about job interviewing is asking questions. Here’s why asking questions during a job interview is important:

  • Shows You Have Done Your Research: By asking good questions, it shows the employer that you have done your research on the company. This means that you should actually do your research. You should already know the basic information and ask questions that will provide you with information that is more difficult to come by. Just be sure that the questions are relevant to the position.
  • Shows Interest in Job: When you ask questions, this gives off the impression that you are interested in the position. Someone who is simply there because they were forced by family, or because they just want to make money by any means will usually not have put in the time and effort to formulate questions to ask. By asking questions, you also let the employer know that you have taken time to consider the position and whether or not it is one that is suited for you.
  • Shows off Your Intelligence: By asking good questions that are well-researched, you are showing your employer that you also have intelligence. You know how to gather basic knowledge on your own, which shows that you can likely be counted on to provide self-sufficient work. Being able to work independently is always a trait that hiring managers look for.
  • Helps Determine Whether You Should Accept Job Offer: By asking questions, you are gathering information from the employer that is going to help you understand whether or not this is the right position for you. For example, if you ask whether or not there is a chance to move up in the company and the answer is no and that you will be in the same position permanently, then you may consider not taking the job if the amount of pay is not worth it for you.

If you are interested in learning about more skills and tips for job interviewing, please contact us.

career and job outlook

Determining the Career and Job Outlook for Your Industry

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career and job outlookStudying and working hard to learn all about the industry you intend to work in is a great way to get started with your professional life, but it is just half the battle. To be successful after you finish college and have earned a degree, it is important to understand the career and job outlook for your specific industry. You can do this in a variety of ways, even before you have finished with your college education.

Knowing the Statistics

One of the easiest ways to help you determine how easy it is to get a job in your industry or choice is to know the stats on who is currently being hired, what type of education is required and how the industry is growing overall. Places such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics can give you a comprehensive picture of the industry within the United States and the job outlook for specific positions within that field.

Networking in Your Industry

Another way to learn about open positions in your industry is to start networking with people in your industry. While you are in college, you can network by finding a mentor and through a number of internships. These connections can help you determine what skills are in demand and how you can develop these skills before you are ready to go on your first job search.

Determine Your Passion First

Although you may have a specific industry in mind, you will want to determine your life’s passion first. If you are working towards a degree in IT, for example, but you are also very passionate about the environment, you can think outside the box to find the right job. While there may be many openings in IT departments in large corporations, you may find that your passion meets your skills by working for a small startup committed to environmental issues.

If you are interested in learning more about careers, job outlook and how you can develop a variety of skills for your industry through education, contact us.

 

Turkey

Thanksgiving Day: The History, The Family, The Food

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TurkeyOf all of the holidays that we celebrate each year, Thanksgiving is perhaps one of the most favored of all. It combines all of our favorite activities, while giving most of us a welcomed day off of work. But did you know that it wasn’t a recognized as a holiday until the 1860s, and wasn’t a national holiday until the 1940s? It’s true. Read on for more fun facts about Thanksgiving!

How it became a holiday begins humbly in the mid nineteenth century. Thanks to the work of nursery rhyme author Sarah Josepha Hale (composer of Mary had a Little Lamb, among others), and her nearly endless campaigning spanning five presidents and 20 years, Thanksgiving was finally adopted as a holiday by president Lincoln in 1863. Then, some 80 years later, in 1941, President Roosevelt declared the last Thursday in November a national day of giving thanks.

That is, until he had a “bright” idea about how to help the economy… In 1939, Mr. Roosevelt decided to change the date of Thanksgiving from the last Thursday to the second to last Thursday in November in order to extend the Christmas shopping season and help boost the economy.

What transpired was a mess where many states (namely Texas) decided that they would take both days as holidays, while many others were unsure what day was the actual holiday at all. Prompting mass confusion among everyone. So Congress stepped in to rectify the situation, in a way that only Congress knows how. They fixed it by declaring the fourthThursday in November the recognized holiday, which means that (cleverly) it’s sometimes the last Thursday and sometimes the second to last.

Lest you think that Sarah Hale faded into history, you might be shocked to find out that the very reason that we eat turkey on Thanksgiving is in large part due to her efforts as well, not because that’s what the original settlers ate.

Because of her advocacy of the holiday from the onset, Ms. Hale also had many ideas as to what recipes we should use to serve our family in celebration of her beloved proposition. A list that includes many things we enjoy even today (a far cry from what the “original” and first Thanksgiving revelers ate), including turkey, stuffing, pumpkin and cranberry, and sweet and mashed potatoes. Can you imagine what that day would be like without such staples? Thanks Ms. Hale!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

classic skills for 21st century

Classic Skills That You Still Need in the 21st Century

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classic skills for 21st centuryThe most common information about the skills you need in 21st century revolves around technology and the skills needed to create more of it. Because of this focus on technology and constant improvement, some more basic skills are often overlooked. These skills are the foundation to everything else that you will ever do. By honing these skills, you can learn to do almost anything.

Read

This seems extremely simple, but reading is a skill that needs to be practiced. Reading for pleasure can help you to comprehend information faster and easier. Take a little time each day to read anything that you are interested in, and you will see how your reading comprehension will improve.

Write

Being able to write well is a skill that will get you very far in the job market. Too many people come out of school and feel like they don’t have to be able to write anymore, but being able to get your message across through the written word can help improve your workplace communication.

Ask Questions

It’s easy to believe that we can figure out how to do everything by ourselves, but it is important to ask questions. There will be times when you will need more information to finish a project, and looking the answer up on the internet isn’t always going to help. If you are willing to ask questions, you will be able to get the job done right the first time.

Think Critically

Don’t assume that everything everyone tells you is true. It is important to think critically about anything that you learn, because you need to form your own opinions about the world.

Remember that these basic skills are the stepping stones to a great career. Don’t ignore these classic skills because they are the basis for the more advanced skills that everyone seeks. Please contact us for more information.

technology in higher education

Technology in Higher Education: How Online Learning is Shaping the Future of the Classroom

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technology in higher educationTechnology in general, and technology in higher education are forever changing. They evolve each year as needs and growth allow, an impact that can be felt in every facet of our lives.

Technology makes it possible for a student on the other side of the planet to participate in a classroom discussion happening in real time, from the comfort of their own home. Makes it easy for a working adult to earn an advanced degree without the pressures of fitting classroom time into their workload. While it also changes how we learn, by adapting to the way society meanders and curves, to make all of our lives easier.

This often leaves educators, and students alike, to ask,” What’s next? How much farther can we go?”

According to Forbes, technology usage in higher education is on an exponential upswing, one that will continue for many years to come and change how, when, and where we learn.

New high growth players entered the online education marketplace, and universities began to align around interactive platforms… online certificate programs became more robust and hyper-targeted towards professional development… students looked to gain these credentials as a differentiator in the work force.

Continuing, that the trend of learning through technology is no longer relegated to just satellite schools or for-profit colleges, but has, in fact, branched out to every large university in the US, encompassing every curriculum, major, and certificate program available.

Moreover, the usage of “hybrid classrooms” is also becoming popular. That is, a student will attend about one class session a week, where they will interact with an instructor via Skype (or other medium) as a class. Then, they will watch “modules” on their own time, which consist of spoken lectures recorded by their instructor.

This type of learning hybrid program will make it easier for the student to learn on their own terms. Something that is especially beneficial for busy adults and working professionals by adding increased flexibility to be able to access materials as their schedules allow.

For sure, learning in the future will forever evolve as it is doing now. So while it changes for the better, you can be rest assured that modern universities will lead the charge and adapt with it to ensure a brighter future for their students by offering online degree programs to fit a their growing needs.

Interested in more information about online learning and our online degree programs? Or how online learning compares to the more traditional method of learning? Click here to check out an in-depth comparison.

For any other questions, please feel free to contact us any time.

Technology Trends 2

Utilizing Technology Trends: Coding Skills for Your Career

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If Technology Trends 2you are tired of the daily grind, it may be time to make a career change. No matter what skills you currently possess, there is always room to learn a few more. One skill that is essential now and for the future is to learn basic coding skills. Coding is just one of many technology trends that lets you create websites and programs, troubleshoot web code and do a variety of other essential tasks. Here are some reason you will want to consider learning code for a career change.

Coders are Needed

Most companies today need someone on their team that knows coding because of all the online products and services that are utilized for marketing. Even if a business has nothing to do with computers or online products and services, they will at the very least have a website. Those who have a combination of skills, such as coding and marketing, can easily find jobs with small businesses and startup companies.

You Can Freelance with Coding

Coding is a skill that in many offices is good to have, but you may not utilize it on a daily basis. If that is the case, you can always start your own business as a coding freelancer. You can either choose to keep your day job while freelancing on the weekends, or you can set up your own consulting business and dedicate your career full-time to coding for your clients.

Understanding Product Development

If you work at a company where creating new products is the mainstay of the business, it is important to understand the cycle of product development, even if you are working on only a small part of that process. Once you learn coding, you have a better grasp at understanding how products like websites and computer programs are developed and how when something goes wrong, you can search and execute a fix through coding language.

Are you interested in adding coding skills to your resume? contact us to learn more about education programs that can help you grow professionally.