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Ways For Everyone To Go To The Ivy League

Ways For Everyone To Go To The Ivy League

No matter what age you are, your educational background, or your money situation, obtaining a quality education shouldn’t be such a hassle. While friends, family, or the media may attempt to say that perhaps your goals are too lofty, or that you should focus on a goal that is more practical, it is not impossible to get into an ivy league school. You just have to have a specific strategy tailored toward yourself in order to brand yourself in the best way possible to make that dream a reality. Below, I’ve listed some ways to get you thinking about what strategy would work best for your unique situation.

Scenario One: High School Student

One advantage of being a high school student is being accustomed to modern day testing. Knowing that college is the end goal, preferably, an elite college, it is important to attempt to take quality classes and start preparing in freshman year for acceptance into a good university.

It is important to take SAT preparation courses in and outside of school, especially focusing on weaker subjects. A less popular exam is the ACT, but this test covers more subject areas and also covers more material meant to be taught in high school. Taking both is beneficial in analyzing ones strengths and weaknesses and determining which scores are more beneficial to send to universities.

For high school electives, focus on college preparatory curriculum and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Taking these classes shows a talent for the subject area, at the end of which an exam is administered for college credit.

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Keeping a high GPA (Grade Point Average) is very important, as well as joining a few school clubs or sports. It is important to show a passion for a topic or an activity.

During the summers, study independently for College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. Each exam allows a student to test out of a college course for a fraction of the cost. Taking several can prove to a panel of admissions counselors how serious a candidate is for gaining admission, and their ability to do the hard work associated with college.

Homeschooled students can use the same strategy.

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    Scenario Two: College Student

    Everyone talks about getting into an elite university in high school and those types of discussions typically wane when undergraduate school starts. Many people forget that they can transfer into a better university or get into a quality graduate school during or after their undergraduate years.

    For example, let’s say your high school years weren’t the best grade wise, and tests scores were average. It is still possible to get into an elite university. Understand, an undergraduate career means that you’re starting over. What you did in high school no longer matters, and high school activities should not be listed on any resumes. The strategy isn’t to shift focus, but to attempt to gain entry another way. One strategy is to transfer into an elite school from a lesser-known university. Ideally, focus on getting the best grades possible, engage in multiple on-campus activities, and on building work-experience.

    On-campus jobs are a good starting point, with the end-goal of transferring in for Junior and Senior year. If that doesn’t work, finishing one’s undergraduate degree with invaluable activities, work experience, and a high GPA will be important. The next best bet is to attempt to get into a graduate degree program at an elite school.

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      Scenario Three: Non-Traditional Adult

      The Non-Traditional Adult student can be a variety of things: a career student, someone with a bachelor’s degree looking for a master’s, someone with a family looking to increase their knowledge in a field, etc.

      For the Non-traditional adult without a degree, it’s important to gain the undergraduate degree first, and then aim for an ivy league graduate school. It is less likely for a school to accept someone for a bachelor’s program if they have been out of high school for a while. They cannot typically base admission on those old scores from 10-15 years ago. By taking CLEP tests, a student can lessen their time obtaining a bachelors degree.

      For the non-traditional adult with a degree looking for advanced options, timing can be an issue as family and work must take priority. By now, a solid work history and resume has been established. Try to find online degrees at elite schools. Harvard Extension School has great programs for online undergraduate and graduate degrees.

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        Strategies for All Groups:

        When applying to an elite university, the schools not only take into account grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities, but also a personal essay and letters of recommendation. That’s why it is so important to get to know your profession and attempt to establish a friendship with those you admire. The personal essay can also help to take an average application and turn it into a “yes” application, so be sure to share an amazing story with the admissions department at the schools. Also review and/or purchase books depicting essays and application stats of people who applied to the schools you’re interested in before you. Learn what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to getting in.

        Students of all ages, whether they haven’t been in school for over ten years, or are just starting college, can benefit from CLEP tests to show schools how they can do rigorous college work, so take as many as you can.

        Do not discount online options. Some elite schools, such as Cornell University, offer online certificates at a lower cost than one semester of tuition. These are great add-ons to every resume, not just because of the name and prestige of the school, but because of what you have learned.

        Check out free online classes. There are now transcripts available from schools such as Yale  and MIT online at no cost to you. You won’t get credit for them, but at least you might learn something.

        Your library is your best friend. Whether it is your local library or school library, all the sources you’ll ever need on any topic will be available there. Use that resource as much as possible. It will be worth it.

        Ultimately, have faith in yourself and happy studying!

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        Last Updated on January 6, 2021

        14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

        14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

        Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

        In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

        For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

        For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

        Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

        Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

        Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

        How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

        Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

        1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

        Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

        For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

        2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

        Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

        Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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        Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

        3. Create a System

        Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

        This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

        You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

        Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

        Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

        4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

        We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

        If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

        Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

        Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

        5. Use a Ratings Scale

        Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

        Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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        It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

        6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

        This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

        You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

        You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

        7. Offer Feedback Forms

        Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

        First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

        Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

        You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

        8. Track Cost Effectiveness

        This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

        Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

        Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

        9. Use Self-Evaluations

        Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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        Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

        10. Monitor Time Management

        This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

        Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

          The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

          While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

          11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

          We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

          Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

          For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

          Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

          Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

          From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

          12. Utilize Peer Feedback

          This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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          Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

          Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

          It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

          13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

          When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

          Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

          Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

          14. Use an External Evaluator

          Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

          They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

          While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

          Final Thoughts

          These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

          The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

          The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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          Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

          Reference

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