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6 Reasons College is More Accessible than Ever Before

6 Reasons College is More Accessible than Ever Before

Our parents started drilling the message into us at a young age: College is the best path for long-term success. Thanks to the focus of the government, schools, and non-government organizations (NGO’s), a college education is more accessible than ever. While the path to a college degree can be challenging, there are a lot of resources at your disposal to get you from start-to-finish. Check out these six tips for accessing the education you need to be prepared for the job market.

1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Did you know that there’s literally free money sitting out there with your name on it? You can use this money to fund your college education, pay for books, student housing and more. Every school has a set amount they can award, so it is first come, first serve. For this reason, it’s critical that you file your FAFSA quickly; online filing periods are based on the year you will start your college courses.

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2. Tuition is FREE at Many Schools Around The Country

Even with Federal student aid, it can be difficult to make ends meet while pursuing higher education. There are a number of schools that offer free, or steeply discounted tuition. Some are able to do this by raising money from donors. Others require students to work on-campus (generally around 15 hours per week) to cover part of their tuition expenses. A list of free colleges in the United States can be found here. These institutions range from Christian universities to military academies, and even a working ranch.

3. Private Companies Offer Scholarships

When companies are successful, they like to give back to the communities that helped them grow and prosper. One of the ways they do this is by creating scholarship programs. For example, Lister Frost offers students the opportunity to win $500 towards their educational expenses if they can create a compelling video aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of drunk driving.

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Thousands of dollars are awarded every year to students attending college. In my experience, it’s best to go for the scholarships that haven’t been advertised heavily. The smaller the dollar amount, the more likely it is that you’ll get a real shot at winning.

4. Federally Subsidized Student Loans

If all else fails, there’s still the option of taking on student loan debt in order to fund your college experience. Please, I beg of you, carefully consider how much debt you want to take on in order to get your degree, just in 2015 total student loan accumulated up to $1.3 trillion dollars. I have a friend who went into more than $400,000 of student loan debt to fund his medical degree. He’s now a dentist, clearing close to six-figures, but he lives like a pauper because his student loan payments are the equivalent of a mortgage payment each month.

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5. Employers are Motivated to Hire Part-time College Students

Once you get to college and start taking classes, it’s easy to burn through your savings. The partying, transportation costs and living expenses can crop up on you. I recommend creating a written budget in order to keep expenses in line. To increase your income, it’s easy to pick-up work around campus or even online if you have a certain skillset and are a productive person, you can do fairly well for yourself working remotely.

Businesses in college towns are looking for college students to work extra shifts while school is in session. Part-time, student labor is cheap and affordable; avoiding the need to fund benefits for full-time employees, and keep paying employees while the town is empty during summer break.

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6. Virtually Anyone Can Get Into College

If your GPA is lower than a 2.0, you’ll find it difficult to get into many of the upper-tier universities and colleges across the country. Thankfully, virtually anyone with a high school degree can attend their local community college. These are schools designed to offer 2-year degrees that can transition to a four-year institution.

Students will also find vocational programs available for skilled trades (some of which can be much higher paying than traditional corporate careers). And, if you have trouble finding topics for all of the papers you need to write, you can always try these surefire strategies to help keep your grades up; ensuring you have the opportunity to transfer to a university.

In today’s job market, a college degree is a virtual necessity to getting ahead. Thankfully there are multiple programs available to help students get over the intellectual and financial hurdles of pursuing higher education. From private scholarships, to free universities, and even a lucrative part-time job market, college is accessible to anyone that’s will to show up, work hard, and remain focused.

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Ahmed Raza

CEO of Samurais.co

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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