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Why Diversity Exposure Is Important In Early Education Development

The United States is considered a melting pot because of the mixture of cultures and traditions found here. While we celebrate this diversity, students receive an education that does not always expose them in the most beneficial way. There are several reasons why a child should be introduced to different cultures at an early age. Through language development, social skills, and acceptance of varying traditions, education plays a crucial part in a child’s foundation.

Language Opens Doors

In recent years, schools have been incorporating dual-language programs. Schools like International School of MN begin teaching world languages from native speakers to kids as early as pre-school. Studies show that not only do bilingual children develop better reading and writing comprehension, but it’s also good for their health and brain function. Schools committed to diversity and language programs scored as much as 32 per cent higher than the national average. Research also shows that those who learn more than one language grasp mathematics and are able to solve problems better than students who speak just one language.

Diversity Gives Understanding

Children introduced to diversity at a young age acquire stronger social skills and are more receptive to those who speak a different language than their parents. According to research, these children are open to imitation regardless of language, which demonstrates their willingness to learn. Immersing children in culturally diverse activities gives them the opportunity to become more comfortable with the difference in race, religion, language, and lifestyle. International school and Foreign Exchange Student programs allow students the opportunity to interact with others that look and speak in a way they aren’t familiar with. As this becomes the norm, a child’s tolerance and open-mindedness for others increases.

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Success in Career

Exposing children to diversity early on can have an impact on how successful they are as adults. According to a study which recorded youths from seven countries, children between 4 and 15 years old rejected unfair deals that gave others advantages and disadvantages. By learning to work with others regardless of status or race, children will incorporate those attitudes well into adulthood. Fairness and equality can be a matter of common sense versus an area of inexperience.

Give your child the opportunity to learn and grow as young as possible. Allow them the chance to develop multi-language skills and expose them to different cultural experiences. As you do so, their world views will surely become more open-minded and aware. The future lies within the young, providing them with the opportunity to learn will surely have a great impact on society in the long run.

Article submitted by Meghan Belhap, a freelance writer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Law School: How to Know If You Are Cut Out for It

Movies and television often portray lawyers and law students as loud, pompous individuals with a natural talent for arguing. The reality of law school is based much more on work ethic than on natural talent. Before you commit to the idea of a career in law, there are some things you should be aware of.

Reading/Analytical Skills

During the course of your law career, you will read countless documents. If your ambition is to become an attorney, you had better love to read. Or at least have excellent comprehension skills. Law students spend hours each day reading and writing. This is to prepare them for the hours they will spend reading and writing when they start their career. Any case, big or small, requires some kind of preparation. Analyzing different documents and making decisions will be daily work.

Professors

Law school professors are no joke. Most of them have sat where you are sitting and want to prepare you thoroughly for what you will deal with later in your career. Others may be bitter about where they are in their own careers and will try to make your life miserable. Either way, they are the ones doling out grades so aim to please.

Confidence

Being able to take criticism and use it to improve yourself will be an advantage as you advance through law school. This will translate in the courtroom as well. Dealing with “good old boy” clubs and preconceived notions about your skill as a lawyer may be challenges that you face. If you turn into a sloppy mess whenever someone offers you a suggestion, you may need to toughen up and remember the skills that got you to where you are.

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Time Management

This is a big one. The life of a law student is busy to say the least. Make sure that you are able to commit to the time and energy it takes to be successful. When you are looking for resources to help you to achieve your law ambitions, consider a paralegal degree. Paralegals are highly desired by excellent legal teams. A master’s degree program that is online may be a great fit for a busy lifestyle.

People Skills

Although lawyers do spend plenty of time alone researching and reading through documents, they do need to have good listening skills in order to work with clients. Law students will find that working with their own peers will help them to strengthen and develop those “people skills”. This should translate to successful interactions later in their career.

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A career in law can be an amazing and fulfilling journey. It is not always a picnic, but being prepared for what is to come is half the battle. The time and money spent is an investment with potentially great rewards to those willing to commit to tough classwork and even more challenging careers.

Article contributed by Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado in the USA.

5 Reasons to Study for a Masters Degree

Perhaps you’re in the final year of your undergraduate studies and considering your options; perhaps you’ve left university and got your foot in the door of an industry, but you would like to further progress in your career. Or, quite simply, you miss being in education, pushing yourself past your known limits intellectually and learning more within your field.

Here are our top 5 reasons why it’s a great idea to study for an MA.

Continue Studying What You Love

First and foremost, an MA undoubtedly gives you the chance to keep studying what you’re passionate about. During the penultimate and final years of your studies, you probably found that you were just beginning to find your feet academically, exceeding your own expectations and pursuing more specialist work.

Why stop now? There are countless taught and research-type Masters courses led by some of the best academics in your field; they will support you and help you to realise your vision for what you want to contribute to the academic community. This is your chance to ease yourself away from the safety blanket of other people’s opinions and start placing more weight on your own. These are no longer out of reach to you during the postgraduate study – they are your peers, and so are your tutors.

Spread Your Wings & Learn More

This said, an MA does more than just broaden your mind; if you’re considering studying your MA at a different university, this will broaden your outlook and your academic experience in general. Breaking out of your comfort zone will ultimately encourage your ability to adapt to a different academic environment and if you are considering pursuing teaching or a doctorate, different lecturing styles and approaches to a programme.

Develop Your Career Options

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to study an MA besides salary prospects; however, in the current climate of “credentials inflation,” it is certainly something to consider. More and more jobs are beginning to list an MA as a requirement as it demonstrates a huge amount of commitment and hard work as well as thinking more independently, not to mention time management, as most individuals who study at postgraduate level do so full-time alongside a part-time or full-time job. Don’t let the intimidation of job competition after your undergraduate degree pressure you into postgraduate study, though – it’s a big decision, and it’s important to go into it for the right reasons. It is also worth keeping in mind that employers will sometimes sponsor an MA for an employee when it’s related to progression in the role

Change Your Career Path

On the other hand, perhaps you would like to use the study skills you learned in your Undergraduate degree and apply these to a completely different discipline. According to All About Law, ‘close to half of all candidates applying for training contracts and pupillages each year are those who have not studied law at undergraduate level’; many non-law graduates, including Literature bachelors, go on to study Law. Maybe a conversion course would be something to look into if you’re looking for a career-focussed postgraduate course.

Funding Options – MA Scholarships

You may have heard about the increasing demand for Postgraduate degrees as the number of graduates is on the rise. Relative to this climate, governments have responded to the pressure. Universities worldwide are offering more international scholarships in order to get their hands on the best international graduates; for example, the Netherlands is now offering international loans, and there are a great number of bursaries and scholarships available in various funds in home countries as well as by schools of universities themselves. Imperial College London has demonstrated the keenness to do this by offering nine fully funded medical faculty scholarships for the academic year 2016-17.

If you are a UK national looking to study your MA in the UK, following the UK government’s Autumn Statement release the new loan of up to £10,000 for Postgraduate study to anyone under the age of 60 opens for application this Summer in time for the start of term, although a specific date has not yet been confirmed.

If you feel by the end of your bachelor degree that your academic career has been too short and you would like to take your specialism to the next level with a more active role in contributing to the field, a Masters is a course for you. As with any major educational decision, it is advisable to weigh up the advantages in your field and if you feel that the extra 1-2 years in higher education will benefit you, both personally and professionally. It is certainly not a one-size-fits-all.

Laura Kelly is a recently graduated Bachelor of Arts student at Oxford Brookes University, where she studied English Literature. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Gothic Studies and enjoys vampire novels and photography. She shares her experience of studying in the UK on her blog.

 

7 Tips for a Great “Why This School?” Application Essay

“Dear Student, why do you want to attend our school?” – Application essay guru, Sharon Epstein talks us through how to answer this question.

This is an important essay; you have to give it time and thought. Why? Because schools want to know that you understand why they’re special and how you’ll fit in. Your mission is to tell them.

Tip #1 – What is your goal?

Show that you understand what makes this college special and why it’s a good fit for you.

Be specific. Use details and examples. The more specific you are, the more successful your essay will be.

Tip #2 – What schools want to know

Schools want to know that you ‘get them’.

That means that you understand what makes them different from other schools. Think about academic philosophy, courses, traditions, and student life.

Schools want to know how you’ll fit in. Colleges aren’t admitting a bunch of test scores and grades, they are choosing members of their campus community. Think about how you’ll contribute and how you’ll take advantage of what they have to offer. Tell them why their school matters to you.

Tip #3 – Get excited!

Enthusiasm is contagious. So even if this school isn’t your first choice, find out what they offer that matches your interests and get excited about going.

Read the website thoroughly (not just the homepage). Watch videos, connect on Facebook and get regular updates in your newsfeed. Pay attention when you visit and, when something interests you, ask questions.

Visualize yourself as a freshman on campus: What classes are you taking? Why do you love being there? How are you contributing to the campus community? Why are you a good match? Write about it.

Tip #4 – If you’ve talked to people, say so

Whether it’s a tour guide, admissions counsellor, coach, professor, or alumni, making personal connections shows initiative and enthusiasm.

Mention what you learned from the people you’ve spoken to and be specific about how it applies to you. For example, it’s too general to say, “my tour guide was totally excited about the classes he was taking”. Instead, say what your own experience will be like: “My tour guide told me how accessible all of my biology professors will be and I’ll take advantage of that.”

Student writing an application essay

Tip #5 – Avoid these two big mistakes

Don’t write vague answers, such as “Your school really inspires me…”, “I like cold weather…”, “The campus is amazing.” Anyone can write that. Remember, you’re trying to stand out from the pack.

Don’t tell schools what they already know. For example, don’t say, “I’m looking forward to going to your school because it’s a prestigious university in the middle of an urban environment”. The school knows that.

Instead, tell them why that matters to you: “Your school inspires me, because it challenges students in an insightful and meaningful way, and because, even in the middle of a big city, it’s one of the warmest and most thoughtful campuses I have ever visited.”

Tip #6 – Don’t be a lightweight

While it’s okay to mention after-school activities and dorm life, these shouldn’t be your main focus.

Make sure to include courses, instructors, academic opportunities or educational philosophy in your answer.

Tip #7 – Don’t use the same essay for different schools

This shouldn’t be a ‘fill in the blank’ essay where you plug in the name of a dorm or professor. The schools will catch that.

Discover what excites you and write about it. That way you’ll have a great “Why this school?” essay.

Why this school essay - college applications help

Sharon Epstein is a college consultant in Redding, Connecticut, specializing in college essay writing and interview skills. Her business is First Impressions College Consulting and she blogs about college admissions at ApplyingToCollege.org.

Follow Sharon on Twitter or Pinterest for more great advice

How Are You Going to Keep in Touch with Family and Friends?

Studying abroad is an exciting and once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s a chance to completely immerse yourself into a new culture and country. And a time where you will really grow and mature as an individual. However, it’s likely that you may have some concerns over how to overcome homesickness whilst you’re away from familiar faces and surroundings.

Why traditional methods of contact can be better than new technology.

As technology has evolved, the variations of ways to contact our family and friends are endless. You might be social media savvy, an avid Tweeter or maybe you prefer to FaceTime your best mate; whatever your preferred method of contact is, you will be spoilt for choice during your time abroad. However, while these new technologies do have their benefits, they also have their drawbacks. For example, when you’re so far away from home and they make us forget just how good traditional methods of contacting are…

1. Paranoia

Social media platforms are a great way to keep up to date with what all your friends are getting up to whilst you’re studying abroad. Whether you want to admit it or not, the majority of us will have done some sort of Facebook/Twitter stalking during our social media lifetime.

Not only is this a waste of your time, but it can also cause unnecessary paranoia. It’s likely that at some point you’ve incorrectly interpreted a conversation between two friends or trawled through hundreds of photos of that night out you weren’t invited to. Not only is this depressing but it’s also unrepresentative.

Even if the only intention that you have for social media is to use it just for contacting your friends and family, unfortunately, there are hundreds of people on the internet who don’t have the same intentions, with social media trolls becoming somewhat a big issue.

Before social media was around we didn’t have any of these problems. We weren’t exposed to hundreds of people on the internet and didn’t know what everyone was getting up to every second of the day. So the question is: was it better that way? After all, what you don’t know, simply can’t harm you.

2. Technical Faults

Whilst apps like Whatsapp, FaceTime or Skype are brilliant for contacting people for free, they’re not so great when there’s a technical fault or poor WiFi connection. You can all probably relate to a time when you’ve been calling your best friend on Skype when the video image of them freezes. While the position they freeze in is probably hilarious, it’s not so funny when you find yourself in a constant cycle of trying to get a good internet connection back.

People are forgetting just how effective the traditional phone call is. It’s simple, easy and it’s almost guaranteed that the conversation won’t be interrupted by any technical faults. Too many people think it will cost them an absolute fortune to call friends overseas when actually this isn’t the case anymore.

For example, Call Happy, are a company that offer cheap calls abroad ranging from cheap calls to Pakistan to cheap calls to Australia for as little as 5p per minute.

3. Impersonal

It might seem way too old fashioned, but receiving a handwritten letter os so much personal than your average email.

Emails are just another document that you will read on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Two letters that have been written by hand are never likely to be the same.

Letters are also way more fun. You can add your own personal touch with some doodles or personalised messages. You can make it unique to the person you are writing to. It’s like having a piece of that home in your hand. And it’s something that you can keep forever rather than losing or deleting it amongst all of your other hundreds of junk emails.

This article was written by Laura Harrison. Laura is a recent graduate from The University of Manchester and enjoys offering current students advice.

Winning Personal Essays in 500 Words or Less

Great personal statement advice from education professional Sharon Epstein. Here she gives us her top tips for acing the application essay despite the tight word limit.

Many college essays, including the essay for The Common Application, limit you to 500 or fewer words. It can be tough to write an interesting, creative essay and keep it short, but if you know a few simple tips you can stick to the word limit and deliver an essay that will impress.

1. Think small

Don’t try to tackle a big topic like world peace or what you did for your entire summer vacation. Choose a shorter span of time and a topic that’s not too broad.

2. Write about a moment

A moment is a brief period of time when you learned something meaningful to you. Moments can make powerful essays. Here’s an example of a moment:

A student working in a store noticed that a customer had dropped some change. It wasn’t a lot and he almost didn’t stop to pick it up, but then he did. The customer was extremely grateful and told him she was counting on that money. The student wrote about how he’d never forgotten that something insignificant to him could make such a big difference to someone else.

3. Begin in the middle of your story, where the action or conflict starts

This technique will not only save you words but it’s also a great way to draw the reader into your story. Here are two examples of introductions that were changed to start with action:

Example #1:

Before: “I spent my summer vacation interning in the emergency room of a hospital.”

After: “The bloody gurney wheeled past me. I closed my eyes and prayed for the strength not to pass out.”

Example #2: 

Before: “I always wanted to climb a mountain, so that’s what I decided to do my freshman year.”

After: “Hurry up!” my dad yelled, as I scrambled to collect myself for another day of mountain climbing.

4. Use adjectives and adverbs wisely

If your essay is too long, try to edit out some of your adjectives and adverbs. Here are two examples of edits and the reasons behind them:

Example #1: 

Before: As Andrew walked his large legs made heavy, thumping sounds. He turned to stare at the dawning sunrise.

After: As Andrew walked his legs made heavy, thumping sounds. He turned to stare at the sunrise.

Why the change?

  1. Size adjectives, like “large,” are often too general. “Heavy” and “thumping” are specific and convey the idea of being large.
  2. “Sunrise” is dawn. Look for these kinds of redundancies.

Example #2:

Before: “He walked convincingly.”

After: “He strode.”

Why the change?

One word conveys the same idea.

5. Edit Your Essay

Eliminate any details or explanations that don’t move you toward your conclusion. Don’t repeat your ideas. Pare down adjectives and adverbs (see tip #4). Ask someone else to read your essay. Sometimes, as writers, we get attached to our material and it becomes difficult to know what to cut. Ask one or more people who know you to give you suggestions.

Sharon Epstein is a college consultant in Redding, Connecticut, specializing in college essay writing and interview skills. Her business is First Impressions College Consulting and she blogs about college admissions at ApplyingToCollege.org.

How to Write a Personal Statement

Chris Williams is an Australian master’s student at Oxford University. He gives the following advice on writing a personal statement, also known as a statement of purpose or personal essay.

How to write a personal letter?

  • For everything you write, ask yourself the question “so what?” For most applications you will have very little space to prove yourself, so make sure that everything you present is important, and that its importance is clearly articulated.
  • Be specific. You need to be able to answer: Why YOU? and why HERE?
  • Limitations are important. DON’T go over page or word limits
  • REVISE. REVISE. REVISE. Make sure you ask other people to read and critique the statement. This will improve it, and may clarify it in your own mind.

Sample Structure (with guide questions!)

Paragraph 1: State your own personal desire to study in your particular field. BE SPECIFIC. What is it that you are doing and why do you want to do it?

Paragraph 2: Which specific degree or programme do you want to do, and why do you want to do that particular programme? What characteristics of it appeal to you? Why is this an ideal programme for you and your current position?

Paragraph 3: Why do you want to do it at this particular institution? Are there specific teachers/resources that make that institution the best place to study?

Paragraph 4: What will you do if (when) accepted and why? Outline your intentions and what you hope to (will) achieve.

Paragraphs 5 and 6: Provide some background and personal history as evidence of why you would be a good candidate. What have you done in the past to suggest that you will be a good investment in the future? Prove that you are ready for this opportunity now.

Conclusion: Be convinced and convincing. This is a final chance to say why you want to do what you want to do, but in a bigger picture. Where will it lead? Why is it important to you, and others? Leave them in no doubt that they have to interview you.

21st Century Sociology

As societies become ever more globalised and complex the need for sociologists is becoming more vital, as Anthony Elliott explains.

What is sociology?

Sociology, it is thought by many, is about the study of society. Just as political scientists study power, and economists study finance, so sociologists study society. Correct? Not quite. Sociology is certainly about the study of large-scale social institutions, ranging all the way from business enterprises and companies to multinational corporations such as BP and global governance forums such as the United Nations.

However, it is also the study of everyday, ordinary life. In this connection, sociologists study identity and the self; sexuality and intimacy; the body and gender; as well as family relationships, youth and popular culture.

“Sociology has become the pre-eminent social science to provide fresh thinking about a whole range of vital issues affecting the public sphere” Sociology’s heyday, according to some, was the 1960s when the discipline was associated with political radicalism. Since that period, sociology went through a period of decline in the 1980s.

Sociology in the twenty-first century

Now, in these early years of the twenty-first century, it has re-emerged in universities and public political life more vibrantly than ever before.

In particular, sociology has become the pre-eminent social science to provide fresh thinking about a whole range of vital issues affecting the public sphere. Of all the social sciences, sociology has contributed the most novel accounts of the transformed character and dynamics of everyday life in the 21st century. Sociological authors have pioneered discussions of, amongst others, globalisation, postmodernism, the information society, risk, gender and sexuality, and the changing nature of politics.

World-renowned sociology departments that specialise in contributions to public life, politics and social policy include the London School of Economics’ Sociology Department and the Department of Sociology at Flinders University, Australia.

This article was written by Anthony Elliott, Chair of Sociology at Flinders University, Australia