Category Archives: Education
For those of us running an ecommerce business for a living, we are using, or at the very least have heard of ecommerce CRM software services. However, if you are like most people you use CRM software to improve customer relations and to maximize sales. I mean, why not, CRM stands for customer relationship management. But, if you are also like most Ecommerce businesses, you don’t have a central office; in fact, many of us do not even have an office at all. As such, it is very common for Ecommerce companies to have staff working from all corners of a city, state or even the country. The challenges of having your team spread out are not new. But what is relatively new is how CRM software services make it possible for your team to always be on the same page.
Having Your Team Speak the Same Language
A good ecommerce CRM software provides tons of analytics. And, it’s not hard for any owner of an online business to dive into the numbers. When it comes to your company, CRM software makes it easy to understand the history, analyze the present and project the future. A good owner understands all of this, and for the team to be effective, they must understand this as well. A good CRM software provides the information necessary for ownership and staff to speak the same language.
Some CRM software comes with the ability to chat with your core team. So, not only does your whole team have access to the company’s analytics, but the same software providing this much-needed information is also the platform for communicating with team members. This chat feature allows a team to communicate in real time as they share files and look at the same analytics as everyone else during meetings.
Company To-Do List
Most CRM software that has chatting as a feature also allows tagging which allows project managers or owners to assign tasks. As such, there is no need for project managing software because your CRM software allows for tasks to be assigned, shared and monitored.
If your ecommerce company does not have superior CRM software, you are falling behind. Companies from all around are discovering the power behind superior analytics and the clarity of managing all team members using the same platform as the software providing your company data. The question is not if you can afford the latest CRM Software. But, rather, what you seriously have to evaluate is if you can afford not to have customer relationship management software.
Finding the right way to keep young people, especially boys, on the correct path in life can be challenging for parents. Many options are out there, but which one is best for a particular young man? Woodcreek Academy looks at three popular choices:
Many parents are opting for boot camp for teenagers to teach their sons discipline. These can often be harsh environments, but do a great job instilling an appreciation for self-discipline, respect for authority, and developing physical strength and willpower. The boot camp environment is especially effective for reigning in boys who are head-strong and confrontational.
Another option is Christian wilderness therapy, which provides spiritual guidance to young men from the christian perspective in an environment that will also test them physically and teach them self-reliance. This type of program is especially good for boys who are seeming to stray from their family’s prefered spiritual path or who are developing skepticism at an early age.
For a long-term solution, a boarding school for boys offers education in a carefully controlled environment that can be maintained during the academic year or even year round for some institutions. In addition to providing superior educational opportunities, boarding school is an excellent option for young boys who are having trouble developing strong peer relationships or who spend too much time alone.
All three options are excellent early interventions to keep young men from falling in with the wrong crowd. These can also help them to develop positive peer relationship, learn about self-discipline and respect, and grow spiritually as well as physically.
Diplomats or office officers (FSOs) add countries across the world to help voters and any their countries interests and policies abroad. reckoning on the career track, diplomats may match in diplomatic building services, economic interests, management, politics, or public diplomacy. office offices use people with all completely different backgrounds and experience as a result of they have FSOs UN agency square measure versatile, creative, and convertible. office positions square measure usually short, with assignments starting from months to many years, however the one constant in diplomatic work is that FSOs should be ready to adapt quickly and assess the priorities of a state of affairs or project. whereas the task might not be as exciting as it’s created dead set be in movies and television, FSOs have the opportunities to measure abroad in an exceedingly type of countries and things and acquire active expertise with new cultures, people, and societies. office is not for everybody, except for hard-working, impelled people with a need to measure and travel abroad, diplomatic employment is associate degree exciting choice. If you’re thinking that that a career as a remote service officer is correct for you, here’s the way to steel oneself against employment in office.
1. It depends on your homeland
The track to diplomatic careers differs depending on where you call home, but in most countries, foreign service officers, or their equivalent, are subject to similar requirements. Many countries require FSOs to be citizens of the country they will be representing. In the US, FSOs must be between the ages of 20 and 59 to qualify for service. But in general, countries are looking for FSOs with diverse skills, qualifications, and personal aptitude because each position is unique and presents its own challenges. Diplomats work on projects related to everything from sporting events to disease outbreaks, education initiatives, and peacekeeping. There is no one skill-set needed for diplomacy, but a willingness to listen and understand situations is a must.
2. Some degrees give you an upper hand
In the US, diplomats hold a variety of education levels ranging from high school diplomas to PhDs, and in the US, the UK, and other countries the first step to qualifying for a diplomatic career is passing a general aptitude test. These exams normally assess a candidate’s overall knowledge, so it’s important that prospective FSOs brush up on things like mathematics, reading comprehension, and logic. But a solid foundation from a degree in history, politics, law, or human rights will be a plus. Most foreign service offices also recommend that applicants be well-read and informed on current events, government, and international politics – essentially, if you’re serious about a diplomatic career, you should be reading a lot of newspapers.
3. Brush up your language skills
In the US, foreign language proficiency is not required for a diplomatic position because all successful applicants receive language training before their first post. However, fluency in a second or third language, as well as international experiences, will help your application stand out. Languages like Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu are in high demand, but it’s more important to have strong written and spoken communication skills in your own language. After candidates have passed the entrance exam, most foreign service offices subject applicants to rigorous interviews and assessments aimed at identifying individual strengths and suitability.
4. Prepare for challenges…and competition
Foreign service is a challenging career. FSOs are always moving, which means that staying in touch with loved ones can be tricky, and for officers with families, the position can be taxing. But that doesn’t mean that foreign service is an unpopular career, and most foreign service offices have a large pool of new FSOs waiting for deployment as well as an established rank of officers, all of whom are competing for the choice assignments around the world. Placements are often given out based on rank, and new recruits should expect their first assignments to be in areas or regions that are more challenging than others. Successful FSOs learn to make the best out of tricky situations, know when to ask for favors, and work hard to succeed.
The old adage insists that “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done — particularly for students and entry-level employees who may not yet be raking in the big bucks. But there’s also a saying that goes, “Why put off for tomorrow what you can do today?” And the truth is that regardless of the amount you earn, you can and should be thinking about retirement. Let’s count down four strategies aimed at turning today’s pennies into tomorrow’s savings.
1. Have a Financial Plan
Just because retirement is still 20,30 or even 40 years into the future doesn’t mean you can’t have a plan in place aimed at helping you reach your goals along the way. The first step in planning for the future is having a plan in the first place.
Begin by considering both your immediate and long-term financial goals. Be as thorough as possible, including everything from daily needs like groceries and commuting costs to more significant objectives, such as home ownership. Write these things down. Not only does research indicate that writing down your goals can help you reach them, but this list will become a touchpoint over the years.
After you’ve prepared your financial goals, your next step is to determine a “big picture” comprehensive budget to determine what it will take to get you there. Luckily, a number of free online resources exist to help you with this part of the process. Sites like Voya Financial’s Home Budget & Savings Calculator are a great way to see where your money is going and how to start saving.
2. Start Saving
Saving money is a habit. The sooner your start, the sooner it will become something you don’t even have to think about. Not to mention that you can’t miss what you never had to begin with, which is why workplace retirement savings plans — such as 401(k)s and Roth IRAs — which be set up to auto-deduct a preset amount from your paycheck, can be an invaluable financial jumpstart. Not only are these funds tax-deferrable, but many employers will also match your contribution.
By saving early, you can maximize what you’ll have in the long run. Consider a scenario shared by Bankrate revealing the difference between saving $2,000 a year beginning at age 35 and the same amount beginning 10 years earlier at age 25. With the former setup (assuming 8 percent earnings), you’ll reach the age of retirement with approximately $245,000. This may sound okay…until you consider that the 25-year-old saver would have racked up $560,000 — more than twice that of the 35-year-old saver.
The best part of starting to save now? Once you’ve got everything set up, all you have to do is kick back and watch your nest egg grow. And even if you can only spare a small amount now, you can adjust how much is being deducted as your financial situation improves.
3. Manage Your Debt
When it comes to four-letter words, this one is enough to strike fear in the heart of any financial planner: debt. Unfortunately, failure to understand the impact of debt — from student loans to credit card debt — from the onset can result in an unpleasant snowball effect. While completely avoiding debt may be an unrealistic expectation, having a plan to pay down your debt can prevent it from escalating. Experts suggest building paying off loans into your budget calculations, starting by tackling debt with the highest interest rates first.
One caveat? While your instinct may be to throw everything you’ve got at your debt toward a “clean slate,” delaying retirement contributions while failing to establishment a critical “rainy day” fund can be a slippery slope. Why? Because saving for retirement doesn’t necessarily get easier as you get older due to the accumulation of new financial responsibilities throughout life. In many cases, maxing our your retirement contributions while establishing a less aggressive loan repayment plan can lead to better financial outcomes.
4. Factor in Insurance
While you may automatically gain access to health insurance during your student days, it’s important to realize that your insurance needs won’t be static throughout your life. Depending on dynamic factors like debts and dependents, you may need varying health, life, and other forms of insurance. Reassessing your needs along the way can help ensure that you have enough coverage should a major life event or unexpected emergency arise.
Travel is one of the most popular hobbies shared by people all over the world. After all, there’s no better way to discover new adventures, experience new things, and make new friends than by traveling to far-off places. Just how popular is travel? Peopleandtheplanet.com says, “By some measures, tourism may already be the world’s largest industry, with annual revenue approaching $500 billion.”
Of course, few people can spend all of their time traveling. Why not? Because earning a living has to enter the picture at some point. But following your wanderlust and having a job don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Tourism, hospitality, and leisure studies prepare students to take on vital roles in this sought-after sector while simultaneously supporting the love of travel. Not sure where to begin? Read on for six of our picks for top destinations for tourism degrees.
If IKEA, ABBA and Volvo are the extent of your knowledge of Sweden, it may be time to broaden your horizons. Considered by many to be one of the planet’s most livable places, Sweden is known for its gender equality, gorgeous scenery (and inhabitants), rich history, and sustainability.
Sweden is also celebrated for its strong degree programs in tourism, including Mid Sweden University’s Master in Tourism Studies. This year-long program, drawn from leading tourism research entity the European Tourism Research Institute, offers degrees in two disciplines: tourism studies and human geography. Students learn through a number of different modes, including everything from independent research to field trips. And what better place to learn more about sustainable development than Sweden? Looking to do some travel of your own while you’re there? Mid Sweden University’s campus is situated in Östersund — close to both Swedish and Norwegian mountain ranges with easy proximity to Europe’s other leading destinations.
Switzerland has long been lauded as a premier international study destination for its unbeatable combination of quality of life and top universities. But did you know that Switzerland also has a legacy as the “birthplace of hospitality”? Home to the world’s first grand, palace-style hotels, Switzerland has played host to international luminaries drawn to everything from the country’s precision to its innovation.
More than 100 years later, Switzerland continues to set the standard in the hospitality industry, making it an unbeatable place to study tourism in programs like the Sustainability Management School’s Master in Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas (MAM), The University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur’s MSc Business Administration in Tourism, ESOAD’s Master Européen de Management et Stratégie Touristique, and UIBS’s Master in Business Studies — Tourism and Hospitality Management.
3. The United States
More than 75 million people traveled to the U.S. in 2014, according to figures from the World Bank. And the vast majority of them need lodging, food, and other guidance along the way regarding how to best experience the country Lonely Planet describes as a “watercolor masterpiece.”
What makes the US a great place to study tourism? For starters, the breadth and depth of its offerings across hundreds of courses and programs, many of which are located in the country’s biggest tourism destinations. Factor in a commitment to innovation and top global rankings, and it’s no surprise that world’s most prestigious hospitality companies recruit grads with tourism degrees from the U.S.
As tourism to Thailand continues to rise, so does the appeal of hospitality studies in this vibrant and visually stunning destination. The recent boom in English language course in Thailand means there are plenty of options for English speakers — as well as those looking to hone their English language skills — amidst Thailand’s hospitality degrees.
Have a love of tourism and a mind for business? Consider the Bangkok School of Management’s MBA in International Tourism Management to position yourself for a leadership role in this red-hot industry.
France is one of the world’s most visited countries, with Paris alone laying claim to 45 million tourists annually. Why do so many people yearn to visit the city of lights? In addition to its amazing food, breathtaking architecture, and impossibly chic people, France is also known for its unparalleled offerings when it comes to tourism and hospitality.
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in a consummate learning experience, look no further than France’s tourism degreesfocused on everything from hotel management to global tourism with applications across multiple sectors including hotels and resorts, restaurants, spas, wellness centers, theme parks, and many others.
6. The Netherlands
In attempting to encapsulate the many charms of The Netherlands, Lonely Planet writer Catherine Le Nevez enthuses, “What I love about the country above all is its spirit. If something doesn’t exist, the Dutch will design it, build it, manufacture it, recycle it, craft it, launch it (the Netherlands is one of the world’s hottest startup hubs) and make it a reality. There’s a sense that anything’s possible here (and it invariably is).”
While this remarkable national attitude makes The Netherlands a wonderful place to visit, it also makes it an exceptional destination for students in the cutting-edge field of tourism. With so much growth and so many ongoing changes, businesses in this industry must evolve just to keep up. The Netherlands’ fusion of tradition and innovation make its tourism degree programs ideal environments for fostering the skills necessary to survive and thrive in a multifaceted career in tourism.
According to the world tourism organization UNWTO, tourism accounts for 12 percent of all jobs. Are you ready to step into one of them? A tourism degree from one of these six countries — or from another tourism program destination of your choosing — can help you get your tourism career journey off to a terrific start.
Thomas Edison famously declared genius to be “one percent inspiration and ninety-percent perspiration.” And it’s true: Even the world’s most celebrated minds didn’t have easy or obvious paths. The fact is that no matter how smart you are, true success requires many things, including hard work and perseverance. Let’s take a closer look at five famous scientists who set inspiring examples during their lifetimes.
1. Writer’s Block: Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin took a staggering 17 years to pen his magnus opus, “On the Origin of Species.” One thing that helped him stay the course during that time span? He established and stuck to a routine. While he set plenty of time aside for writing, he also designated time for other pursuits — including exercise, spending time with his family and dog, and gardening. In fact, according to an article on Darwin’s schedule in The Guardian, Darwin put “domestic comfort” above all else while writing.
Another thing that kept Darwin on track? An emotional connection with his subject matter. He once said, “It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds. With birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.”
Your takeaway? Writing at a breakneck pace may not be as fruitful as you think. Darwin himself described the writing process as “very hard and slowly at every sentence,” but by prioritizing his personal life and maintaining a realistic schedule, he ended up writing the seminal book on evolution.
2. Applying a Theory: Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton is among the 17th century’s most influential scientists, and his groundbreaking work is now the foundation for modern physics. Many experts posit that his true genius lay not in the theories themselves, but in how Newton applied them to the universe at large. And while he may not have come up with the concept of gravity after an apple fell on his head, as the legend insists, he did doggedly attack the theory of gravity, coming at it with great determination from every possible angle.
Of his process Newton once said, “I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
In other words, being willing and open to all possibilities can help you be more original and innovative when proposing and applying theories.
3. For Paving a Path: Marie Curie
There will be times in your life when people tell you that you can’t or won’t accomplish something. When they do, keep Marie Curie in mind. A pioneer in the field of radioactivity, she was not only the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize, but was also the only person to receive the award twice and in two different sciences! She was also the first female professor at the University of Paris — all at a time when the contributions of women were largely devalued.
Curie herself once said, “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”
We can think of no better philosophy for forging your way — both during your degree and for life in general — than this one.
4. For Being Open to Learning: Leonardo Da Vinci
The question isn’t what Leonardo Da Vinci did. It’s more what he didn’t do. From architect and anatomist to sculptor and scientist, Da Vinci is perhaps most famous for his mysterious painting of the Mona Lisa. But his discoveries about human anatomy were also huge, and approximately 200 years ahead of their time. Da Vinci also sketched concepts for everything from helicopters to plate tectonics with a list of inventions including musical instruments, crank mechanisms, hydraulic pumps, and even a steam cannon.
The lesson for the rest of us? Don’t limit yourself. Be open to learning and be open-minded while you’re at it. Da Vinci himself once said, “The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”
5. For Overcoming the Odds: Caroline Herschel
Marie Curie may be the most famous female scientist, but she was far from the first. Born in the mid-1700s in Hanover, Germany, Herschel began her career as as singer but eventually followed her passion and become a brilliant astronomer. She was the first woman to discover a comet and went on to discover several more, including one now named in her honor.
And while Herschel largely worked in the shadow of her fellow astronomer brother, she claimed many amazing accomplishments on her own, including being the first woman paid for her scientific work and being named an Honorary Member of the Royal Astronomical Society. On her 96th birthday, meanwhile, the King of Prussia presented Herschel with a Gold Medal for Science.
Hardly a day goes by without another report of soaring student debt or rising tuition fees. And if a university education wasn’t already expensive, many students are finding that an undergraduate degree isn’t enough. But graduate school isn’t cheap (between $10-25K in the US and about £8K in the UK per year) and even when a master’s will increase a student’s employability or improve their potential salary, taking out more student loans or finding the cash to pay for another two to five years of schooling are hardly pleasant prospects. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid further debt or abject poverty during your graduate degree. Here are five ways to fund your master’s degree.
If you thought that scholarships and grants were only for undergraduates, think again. There are numerous scholarships aimed at funding post-graduate studies – you just need to know where to look. If you’re already enrolled in a program, visit your school’s financial aid department and ask for information on scholarships specific to your course or department. It should go without saying, but the internet is your friend when it comes to graduate funding. Sites like gograd.org, thescholarshiphub.org.uk, and scholarship-searcg.org.uk let students search for funding based on degree level, course, and even specific individual qualifications like gender or military service. Minority students should check the McNair Scholars Program.
2. Research Grants
Grants are a bit more specialized than scholarships and may take a bit more effort, but they have the added benefit of counting towards career development, especially if you plan on going into an academic or research career. Again, start with your institution and look for research or project grants aimed at your degree. Many departments have grant funding for graduate students to complete specialized training, travel for research, or purchase necessary supplies or equipment. Ask your professors or advisors – they may already have (or may be applying) for funding and will be seeking research assistants. Use the internet to find subject-based grants: health science graduates should visit the National Institute of Health’s funding site, while students perusing master’s in the humanities or social sciences can use h-net.org.
3. Study Abroad
Studying abroad is often viewed as expensive, but for grad students, it can be a smart, economical choice. While students in the UK and the US can expect to pay thousands of pounds or dollars a year for graduate studies, many countries offer master’s degrees at little to no cost for both domestic and international students. Scandinavia and western Europe are prime destinations for thrifty grad students – tuition is free in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, while students pay nominal fees in Germany, France, and Spain. Outside Europe, look to Singapore, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa for low-cost tuition as well as a low cost of living.
4. Assistantships and Fellowships
One often overlooked way of funding your graduate studies is through an assistantship or fellowship. Many universities offer reduced or free tuition to grad students who agree to perform research or teaching assistant duties during their studies. While this will increase your responsibilities during your studies, teaching or assisting with research can be incredibly valuable once you’ve completed your degree. Before applying for graduate school, take some time to research the assistantship opportunities at your top choices and don’t forget to consider some smaller, less well-known programs where competition for positions might be less rigorous but the quality of scholarship is just as prestigious.
5. Work and Study
And finally, if you’re unsure whether grad school is the right course of action and are concerned about the cost, consider waiting a bit. Once you’ve worked in your field for a period of time, you’ll have a better idea about the value of a graduate degree and the course of study that will be most beneficial to your career. As a bonus, many companies and employers offer career development subsidies for employees who want to earn a post-graduate certificate or degree. This is an ideal course of action for business students, early-career educators, and other fields where graduate degrees improve your salary potential but may be viewed as over-qualification for an entry-level position.
Regret is a part of life. Unfortunately, it’s also a part of the post-college experience for many grads looking back on their college years. The good news? By learning about some of the most common regrets expressed by former college students now, you can take proactive steps to avoid ending up with the same laments. To that end, we’re counting down five top regrets experienced by college grads.
1. Not taking enough stimulating classes
It’s easy to lose track of the big picture in college. After all, you’re finally out on your own with near-endless ways to spend your time. It’s hardly a surprise that you’re inclined to take less-than-challenging classes to leave more time for everything from sleeping in to partying. Unfortunately, this is a short-sighted outlook with potentially long-term consequences.
Choosing a class because of its reputation as a “gut” or because it’s offered in the afternoon as opposed to in the morning may seem like the an easy thing to do, but is it the best thing to do? Instead, keep your eye on the prize — your own bright future! — by choosing classes because they are of interest to you and/or because they’re connected to your future career.
Think of it this way: After graduation, you’ll never regret having to get up at 8AM to make it to your 9AM class your sophomore year of college, but you will regret being eliminated from consideration for a job because you don’t have the right academic credentials.
2. Not traveling abroad
You might think college life is demanding, but as soon as you graduate and get a job, your life gets a whole lot more crowded with responsibilities. In college, however, there are not only plentiful study abroad opportunities, but they are designed to seamlessly integrate within a semester or academic year.
From personal enrichment to second language fluency to the global perspective sought after by today’s employers, international study has many rewards. And there’s no better time to start cashing in on them than during college.
3. Poor money management
College students aren’t exactly known for their financial prudence. Between late-night beer and pizza to easy access to credit, the temptation to spend — particularly for students who’ve until now been financially dependent on their parents — is strong. But cavalier spending in college can lead to dire outcomes. In fact, a staggering 77 percent of college grads under the age of 40 regret failing to adequately plan for student loan debt management, according to a study conducted by Citizens Financial Group as reported by Time.
While students can take steps to minimize their loan debt by budgeting during their college days, applying for scholarships, and only borrowing when absolutely necessary, another group of people can play an equally if not more important in preparing students for the realities of debt: Parents. Open discussions about the cost of college and how families plan to pay for it can help ensure that students fully understand the implications of carrying student loan debt.
4. Opting out of internships
If you’re like many students, you may already feel stretched thin by your course load. However, when it comes to landing the job of your dreams, it may take more than a great class schedule. With employers increasingly prioritizing real-world skills, internships have not only become differentiating factors on a resume, but can also be an invaluable networking tool. Your university career office to learn more about available jobs and summer internships. Some may require your services just a few hours a week while yielding exponential payoffs.
Need more proof to hop on the internship train? According to research from the New York Federal Reserve, candidates with work experience in their industries were 14 percent more likely to get interviews than their non-working counterparts. The research further concluded that work experience outweighed everything from grades to majors when it came to landing jobs.
5. Skipping opportunities for social involvement
Committing to your coursework doesn’t mean forgoing all other aspects of life. In fact, a well-rounded experience may not only be the key to enjoying your college years, but can also help lay the groundwork for a more fulfilling life after college, too. For many people, the friends they make during college become their closest friends for life. For others who don’t put themselves out there, however, lack of friendships turn into lifelong regret.
The truth is that college is one of the easiest times in life to form meaningful bonds. Why? Because you’re all in the same boat!
If, however, you struggle with making friends one-on-one or just haven’t found your tribe yet, joining a student club or intramural sports team can help you meet and connect with like-minded people.
Mark Twain once wrote, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” We can think of no better scenario to which this quote applies than the college years. The overall takeaway? Stop worrying about what you might not do, and get out there and start doing!
Finland is one of the northernmost countries in the world, and while it may be off the beaten track this Nordic country is anything but insular. Finland leads the world in education, government transparency, stability, and saunas. But what makes Finland the perfect destination for an international student? We asked Mats Engblom from the University of Helsinki to tell us what makes Finland special.
1. Natural Beauty
The entire country of Finland, barring a few islands of its southernmost coast, is located above the 60th parallel. Finland’s geographic location, as well as its stunning landscape, makes it an ideal location for students wanting to study and explore. Head north in the summer when the sun doesn’t set and hike around any of Finland’s 168,000 lakes. In the winter, Finland turns into a winter wonderland with cross country ski trails through Helsinki’s central park and northern lights that dance across the sky.
2. Vibrant International Community
Finland has a small population (just under 5.5 million people), but the country has a diverse international community, and international students will find a warm welcome. The University of Helsinki, along with the rest of the country, has worked to establish an “attractive and internationally competitive” profile and international students have a strong network of support.
3. Strong Local Culture
Finnish people may seem very reserved, but once you get to know them, you’ll find a warm, friendly population and cities full of life. Finns drink more coffee than any other people on earth (around 12kg per person per year!) and the capital city of Helsinki is “full of cafes, culture and clubs.” Spend your weekends browsing flea markets and art galleries, and check out the city’s dynamic music scene featuring everything from classic operas to a rock culture that makes Finland a leader in yet another area – heavy metal bands!
4. World-Class Education
You can hardly open the news without hearing about Finland’s marvelous education system, but the country deserves its reputation. Finland repeatedly ranks in the top five for PISA scores, Finns borrow more library books than any other country in the world, and in the “latest Shanghai ranking, [the University of Helsinki was] #56.” The university is working its way to the top of the ranking and employs instructors who are also esteemed researchers, making it a smart choice for ambitious international students.
If you’ve already been accepted to graduate school, we’ve got good news for you: your writing skills were strong enough to get your application past the admissions committee. But this doesn’t mean you can just kick back and coast on what worked during your undergraduate studies. Not only will more be expected of you during your pursuit of an advanced degree, but there’s also likely to be a thesis in your future. The takeaway? The time is now to sharpen up your writing skills. Let’s count down six tips aimed at ensuring that your writing is on point in graduate school.
1. Convey Your Expertise
Graduate students are training to be experts in their field. This expertise should be exemplified by your writing. Your language should be direct, confident and authoritative in order to foster a sense of trust with your readers.
Other ways to assemble a cogent argument? Avoid first person tense whenever possible; employ transition words and phrases; and pay attention to sentence structure. Two true hallmarks of graduate level writing? Clarity and control.
2. Make Writing Routine
We’ve all heard the expression “practice makes perfect.” This is no more true than when it comes to graduate level writing. Making time to write regularly will not only help you develop critical thinking and writing skills, but can also be an invaluable confidence booster.
Establishing a writing routine is particularly beneficial when it comes to working on your thesis. Many graduate students wait too long to start writing and end up rushing through the process. This can lead to everything from an underdeveloped argument to lack of proper formatting. Avoid this pitfall by setting a schedule for writing as you go…and by committing to stick with it.
3. Know Your Reader
Any piece of writing should keep one overarching question in mind: Who is the audience and why are they reading your writing? In addition to clearly presenting your ideas, keep in mind that your thesis is an original contribution to your particular discipline. Make sure your reader knows what to expect by including “signposts” — such as a table of contents, abstract, introductory paragraphs, etc. — along the way to help guide your reader. Each sentence should relate in some way to your overall argument.
4. Seek Feedback
While graduate level writing is largely an individual effort, there’s plenty of help to be found if you know where to look. For starters, your advisor can be an amazing resource when it comes to “big picture” issues, such as selecting a topic and refining your thesis. In addition to helping identify your paper’s strengths, your advisor can also help suss out your weaknesses thereby preventing you from venturing too far in the wrong direction.
Your fellow grad students, meanwhile, can offer editing and proofreading assistance. And while finding someone in your field can be particularly useful — especially if you’re writing about a complex or scientific subject — friends and family members can also offer a helpful second (or third or fourth) pair of eyes.
5. Embrace the Revision Process
No piece of writing gets it perfect the first time. In fact, research and writing go hand in hand with revision, but many writers still get tripped up by setting impossible expectations for themselves. The best way to avoid this trap? Make revision part of your mindset.
Also, keep in mind that revision is much more than merely proofreading for mistakes. Rather, it’s an act of complete “re-seeing.” While this often involves expanding on key concepts, it sometimes means letting go of good material if it doesn’t make an essential contribution to your writing. We can all learn from William Faulkner, who once spoke of the need to, “Kill all your darlings.”
6. Learn from the Best
One of the best ways to get a better sense of what your writing should look like? Immersing yourself in published work from experts in your field. Visit your school library to read top journals in your discipline, noting writers and writing techniques you most admire. Reading dissertations in your particular area can also help you familiarize yourself with the corpus of research while gaining a better sense of the language used to describe varying concepts.
You’ve already proved your mettle by getting into graduate school, but that’s just the start. These six tips can help you take your writing to the next level. The best part? Writing is a transferrable skill. In other words, you can continue to call on these skills to be a better writer, thinker and communicator throughout your professional and personal life.