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6 Compelling Questions to Consider Before Applying for College

6 Compelling Questions to Consider Before Applying for College

Is college for you? It depends. Ask yourself these six questions before you even think about applying for college.

1. Am I prepared to commit to a specific field?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin

As you start to think about applying for college, you should have a specific idea about what you hope to accomplish in your life. Consider these questions:

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  • How do I hope to add value to the world?
  • What topics or fields captivate my interest?
  • What personal strengths do I have that could be developed at school?
  • Would I like to work in an office, or would I be happier in a position that is more active?

While you can change your course of study as you please, it would be unwise to invest your time and money into a costly education without any comprehension of how it might benefit you.

2. Should I take a year off to reflect on my passion and purpose?

“It is necessary for a man to go away by himself, to sit on a rock, and ask, ‘Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?” -Carl Sandburg

If you don’t have any good answers to the questions posed in point #1, don’t feel bad. High school is a confusing time that presents more questions than answers, and that is why you might want to take a year to reflect before you pursue a college degree. This article has some questions that will help begin your journey of self-exploration that will unlock your potential. Consider keeping a journal or notebook to write down your answers. You also might be helped by the suggested reading list below:

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3. Is college a place that will serve me, or should I try to succeed through self-study?

“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” -Salvador Dalí

Many college graduates are struggling to find jobs in our stagnate economy, which makes it tempting to assume pursuing a higher education isn’t worthwhile. In my opinion, the benefit of getting a degree is overstated. As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” However, I’m not convinced that most people at the age of 18 have the ambition required to succeed on their own. You’re welcome to test that theory for yourself to prove me wrong, but if you require accountability in the form of classes and assignments, then don’t be afraid to admit it.

4. How can I get the education I need at a cost I can afford?

“You must learn to save first and spend afterwards.” -John Poole

I’m not going to debate the merits of private vs. public, or out-of-state vs. in-state schools in this article, because it is simply foolish to make an investment you cannot afford. If you were an excellent high school student who can get a hefty scholarship, or if you’re lucky enough to have parents who are willing to pay your tuition, then feel free to explore more expensive options. Otherwise, I wouldn’t suggest it, because even the most prestigious degree won’t guarantee a high-paying job in today’s economy. Here is a list of the most affordable colleges with the highest return on investment.

5. What kind of learning environment will be best for my development?

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin

Here are a few questions that will help you determine the learning environment that is best for you:

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  • Would you rather go to a college that is driving distance from home, or are you ready for some space?
  • Would you rather listen to a professor in a classroom with students, or learn at your leisure in an online course?
  • Would you rather attend a busy campus where you meet new people every day, or do you prefer a close-knit community?

There are no “right” or “wrong” answers to those questions, but you should definitely know your answers before you apply for college.

6. Can I focus on my studies exclusively, or do I need a side-hustle, too?

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” -Thomas Edison

You need to perform an honest assessment of your financial situation before you decide on how many credit hours to take in a semester. If you have plenty of time to study, then you might be able to handle a full class schedule. If you need a job to cover your tuition, food, and other expenses, then you should probably start slow to avoid getting overwhelmed.

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I hope these questions help you figure out if college is for you. Please share this article with anyone you know who is thinking about applying for college.

Featured photo credit: College Student Studying/Geoff Duncan via flickr.com

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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