Friday, February 24, 2012

Study Schedule Anaylsis Part II

Image by Peter Griffin
It is suggested that you not work more than 20 hours a week while school is in session.  The problem is that you can not earn enough money to live on your own.

Working 20 hours a week would not even pay rent costs of a mini-dorm, much less other expenses.  This means that parental support or a loan will be required.   There just isn’t enough time available to earn enough money to support you without a loan.  

Loans aren’t evil; you just need to be aware of what you can afford.  The basic rule of thumb is to not borrow in more than you will earn in your first year of salaried work (about $45k).  You will need to beware that once you borrow, you must pay back the money with interest.  

Government loans offer better terms, watch out if you need to work with a bank.  School loans typically aren’t repaid until after you graduate, and you will have a tiny bit of grace period to find a job.  The problem is if you drop out.  You must pay it back even though you will have no more earning power than someone with just a high school degree.  College loans are similar to a chainsaw.  You need to use them sometimes, but remember they can maul you badly if you stop paying attention just for a second.  

Even if you worked full time and didn’t go to college, you would probably struggle to support yourself financially, so don’t feel guilty about taking a parental “handout.”    All parents want to see their children become self-sufficient, but they also know that you will need help. 

Many college students get bitter over the amount of work needed to pass classes, and the apparent abundance of free time of parents, siblings, and friends eats at them.  A student is in a sense doing two jobs.  

The thing to remember is that college is demanding and only 25% of our population has a degree. The time commitment is demanding but well worth the lost leisure time.  Another thing that embitters college students is the good life exhibited by their friends who did not go to college. 

An adult homebound child not in college has a lot of discretionary (play) income.  A college student will not be able to match the apparent fun factor of doing no college.  I believe the “deadbeat threshold” is reached much quickly for a child not in college.  If you can keep these things in mind it will be easier to tough it out and get your educational goals accomplished.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taking the Leap to Submit

Get The Book Now!

Submission is a natural facet of life.  Children submit to their parents, husbands and wives submit to each other, employees submit to the boss, and bosses must submit to the will of the customers.  There are times, however, when you must not submit. Do not submit when you are being asked to do something you know is morally wrong. 

My pastor has an expression to help young people understand this mystery of dealing with people who have authority over you:  “Obey when unreasonable, disobey if immoral.”  The idea is that ninety-nine times out of a hundred you will obey and do what you are told.  When a person is in charge they may not have time to explain something fully and need you to quickly follow directions. 

If I explained everything to my kids I’d go crazy.  I am a leader who has lead in many situations.  Explaining why is useless if the followers will not understand the reasoning behind the explanation.  They must just trust me and let it go.  Sometimes as a leader I am not allowed to share the reasoning behind a directive because my superior has asked me to not share that information. 

You need to know that too many questions are considered rude and disrespectful.  Sometimes the issue is timing, if I have time I will explain something later, sometimes I won’t.  So as a follower, you should follow the directive, then if it is really bugging you, talk with your supervisor afterwards when you are alone with them.  As a young adult, you need to know your place, and realize that you just need to follow directions and work hard (Romans 13:1-7).
When you are told to do something that seems illogical (not immoral but illogical), it can be very hard to follow directions.  Fight the urge to mumble and complain along with the other workers. This will be hard because most likely the others will.  If you feel you need to challenge the leader, you should be as tactful as possible.  Be aware that you are stepping into a minefield and proceed cautiously.  You need to state what you see as wrong without coming across as insulting (Daniel 3:13-18).  This takes great courage, but you need to follow God on this. 

If you follow blindly without running things through God’s truth, you can find yourself doing something that could do a lot of damage.  Remember: Obey if unreasonable, disobey if immoral.  If what you are asked to do is against the law, don’t do it.  If it will hurt someone else, don’t do it.  If it goes against your values, don’t do it.
You should not wait until a person is worthy of your respect before you extend them that respect.  Don’t be surprised when respect is not given to you, you haven’t earned it yet.  Your turn will come, and then you will need to use your authority and prestige to help others.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Study Schedule Analysis

For those of you in college, you need to be aware of the large amount of time it will take out of your schedule to do study.   For the purpose of this discussion let us assume study is defined as all of the work you will need to do outside of the classroom in order to achieve your target grades.  For those of you hoping to be admitted to a graduate program, beware that you will need outstanding grades.  Do your homework and find out what the requirements are because this will determine the time requirements for each person.  Study activities include homework, papers, research, reading, and test study. 
            If you are taking a three credit hour class (which is standard) then you would expect to spend about 6 to 9 hours per week studying for that class. 5 classes times 10 hours study per class equals 50 total study hours.  Remember the ratio is 2:1 meaning you should spend twice as much time studying as sitting in the class.  This is an average and some classes are much harder and some much easier.  You will need to quickly determine the amount of work each class will demand.  After you have done this you can then do the work necessary to figure out your study schedule. 
Let’s assume you had the following “typical” schedule.  You will work 20 hours a week Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.   Assuming you have a full load of five classes you would need to study at least 45 hours to do well academically.  Where would you put the 50 hours?

There were 63 total hours of time available for study leaving (assuming no more commitments) 13 hours of “free time.”  How do you feel about the prospect of only 13 hours of free time? Which day would be the most challenging for you and why?
If you didn’t have to work and lived on campus, how much time would you get back as “free time?” would there be time for an additional class?  If you did one additional class each semester, you would finish a semester early.   Is this something you would want?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Community College Big Four

  1. Beware the Associates.  If your career goal requires only an Associates degree, fine but if not realize you may not be able to earn any more than a high school graduate.  If your future career requires a bachelor’s degree or higher you need to realize that every degree has a list of required courses or acceptable courses.  If you deviate from these lists, you are in danger of wasting precious time and money.  Completing an associate’s degree, and then going after a bachelor’s can add a whole year to your schooling.  Likewise, if going after a Doctorates degree, you can leapfrog the Masters degree and get done sooner.  
  2. Beware the knuckleheads.  You will be surrounded by a number of people who do not know how to do college level work.  Do not let their lack of work convince you to do less.  Know the grades necessary for transferring and do the work required to get them.  Many young adults keep their parents off their back by “tread milling” in community college.  You are not like these people for they have no real intention to get anywhere.  Seek out like minded people to study with and get out of there.
  3. Save your excess money.  If you are living with your parents and working part time while going to college, you will have excess money saved by the time you begin college.  If your grades are not good enough to get you into a public college, or you want to move out, you will need a lot of money.  Paying for two years of a private school is not as expensive as four and you can combine it with a small loan to make up the difference.  When doing your calculations remember that you will be making money while going to college in your last two years, so don’t forget to add that amount in.
  4. If transferring to a private school, make sure the school is regionally accredited.  National accreditation is generally considered not as thorough and may indicate a general lack of standards that mark a good collegiate program.  Some professions are very picky as to which degrees and accreditations are acceptable, so do your homework.  You don’t want to waste time and money doing something that adds no value to you.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Community College

Community college is a common destination for many high school graduates.  There are many reasons people do community college.  The best case scenario is that a student quickly completes the general education requirements and gets good enough grades to transfer to the local four-year college.  Many young adults delay as long as possible real decisions about the future so they by default go to community college.  Is this what you are doing?  It has been my experience that many high school seniors are frozen with fear over the future, but do not want to appear to be doing nothing after high school.  They want to present to others a sound plan for the future and the responsible sounding response to the question about the future is to say they are going to community college and transferring.  I did a little research and found only a handful of our high school seniors actually registered and took classes.  The vast majority were not actually enrolling in that college.  They wanted to appear to have it all together, but either weren’t following through on their plan or they were never really going to execute the plan in the first place. 
Community college has a low image in our society because so many have attempted and failed to walk away with any tangible benefit.  According to the California Postsecondary Commission, the transfer rate for California’s community colleges are somewhere in the 2% range.  This is awful and represents a huge waste of taxpayer funds.  It also represents a huge waste of time and money on the part of the student and parent.  If a young adult were to forgo a four-year college degree, join the military, take vocational courses, or just start working an entry-level job; they will be much further along than if they did a few years of community college before dropping out.  There are many jobs that require a specific degree, so stopping prior to finishing that degree makes you unable to have those jobs.  There is no credit for time served in college.  You must complete the degree or you may have no more earning power than if you had not done “some college.”
When doing community college, it is important to know that many different things are taking place on that campus.  Not all of the people are doing the same thing you are doing so you need to be aware.  By now you may be thinking, “So, what are the different things going on at a community college?”
  1. High School classes for dropouts
  2. Study courses for General Equivalency Degree
  3. Hobby classes
  4. Vocational Certification courses: quicker to career, focus solely on specific career skills.  May limit future promotions 1-2 years
  5. Associates: Vocational + General Education  or just General Education 2 ½ years
  6. Transfer to 4-year school:  Avoid Associates if classes that will not transfer 2 years

Community colleges have many missions as shown above.  When looking at the number of students who successfully transfer to a four-year college, it is very low.  If you are in a community college, you need a plan to make sure you get what you want from them.