Education Guide Summer 2014 : Page-134

ed-u-ca-tion’14 GUIDE special advertising section Yet while first impressions certainly count in a job interview, candidates can also “manage” the mark they make on recruiters in those crucial first few seconds. “We do make judgments in seconds – even nanoseconds – and these judgments can stick pretty well,” said Karen Elizaga, an executive coach and author of Find Your Sweet Spot: A Guide to Personal and Professional Excellence. “I always encourage my clients to make as excellent an impression as possible because you’ll have to work much harder than if you just walked in making an excellent one.” Indeed, there is evidence that the old adage “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is more than just old wives’ wordplay. Research by a team of psychologists from the U.S., Canada and Belgium, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General in 2011, con-Karen Elizaga cluded that even when new experiences contradict a first impression, our brains “bind” the contradictory experience to its context, while the initial impression continues to dominate in all other contexts. Interviewees should also be aware that initial impressions are not all about what is said, but also about what is done – in fact, according to studies by UCLA social psychology profes-sor Albert Mehrabian, actual words account for only 7 percent of the message an individual conveys, with the remaining 93 percent coming from body language and tone of voice. And if someone’s verbal and non-verbal communication appears incongruent, humans are hard-wired to believe the non-verbal. “A firm handshake exudes confidence and preparedness,” said neuropsychiatrist Julia Samton MD, director of Manhattan Neuropsychiatric PC. “In most professional and academic interviews, it is important to dress neatly and conservatively. However, you should think about what your interviewer will be wearing and match that level of formality or informality. “There is some evidence that suggests that women who wear makeup are viewed as more likable and trustworthy. Speak clearly, maintain eye contact, and smile.” First impressions can start even before the interview – or before an applicant has even landed an interview. “First impressions absolutely start the second you have an interaction with a company,” said Elizaga. “Use proper grammar. Start emails on a positive note (“I hope this email finds you well”), and end them similarly (“Thank you. I look forward to seeing you”). Spell-check your resume and any communication (any!) Smile when you’re talking on the phone – they can hear that positive energy.” Once an interview is scheduled, preparation is a must. A sound understanding of the position being applied for; the company concerned; the candidate’s own strengths and qualities; and, if pos-sible, of the interviewer, can be deal makers or breakers. “It is a good idea to spend time preparing for your interview by researching the company and interviewer on Google. This will help you to ask and answer questions,” Samton explained. “Reach out to your network to see if you can build a personal connection with someone at your company. Make sure you have rehearsed how your assets meet the qualifications of your potential position.” Arriving 10 to 15 minutes before an interview can give a job candidate time to use the bath-room and collect themselves, but any earlier could make an odd impression on the receptionist or causew the interviewer to feel rushed. “Live by your mantra,” said Elizaga. “Walk into the building with a mantra that keeps you posi-tive and energized. Often these one-liners can help you stave off negative thoughts that might affect your ability to make an excellent impression.” During the interview, candidates should try to mirror the pace and tone of their interviewer (assuming these are positive), and to exhibit enthusiasm without appearing overly excited or too grovellingly grateful. “Think of this also as an excellent opportunity for the interviewer -they get to see your skills and talents and potentially have the pleasure of hiring you,” Elizaga continued. “There’s a fine balance. So be grateful and excited, but not so much that they think this is your only interview ever!” As well as implementing all of the above, interviewees should make a mental note of what experts say are some absolute “no-no’s” during a job interview. “Do not openly disagree with your interviewer,” said Samton. “Do not bad mouth old bosses or your current job.” Elizaga warned against getting overly familiar (“Use language that you would use to talk to your older aunt”) or overly comfortable (“Don’t kick your feet up or ease back into the couch”). “[Don’t] play the ‘name game’,” she cautioned. “Unless you know that whoever you’re bringing up is in good standing with the company, refrain from asking about them.” SCHOLARSHIP SCHOOL SECURING COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID IS AN EDUCATION IN ITSELF written by Paul rogers S nagging a college scholarship can make the difference between a life of dull, poorly-paid jobs and a glittering professional career. But with the stakes so high, competition for these financial aid awards is stiff and just landing one requires something of a “how to” education. LA Weekly spoke to three college scholarship experts, including a Harvard University gradu-ate who had most of his tuition paid for, to find out just what it takes to get a financial break. “There are millions of scholarships out there, worth billions of dollars and … not just academic and sports-related awards,” said Kevin N Ladd, Vice President of Scholarships. com, a free college scholarship search re-source. “[But] you probably won’t win many or any at all without working hard … You need to be organized. You need to apply for as many as possible in order to have a good chance of winning.” The first thing that scholarship seekers need to understand is just where the money for these awards comes from. According to college financing specialists College Planning Services, there are $46 billion in free scholar-ship money awarded each year by the Depart-ment of Education and colleges as compared to just $35 million in college scholarships that are available through private companies, foun-Kevin N. Ladd photo credit Rita Nielsen dations, and civic groups (so-called “outside” scholarships). “Parents need to understand that the majority of scholarships come directly from the schools they plan to attend,” said Dan Evertsz, owner of college planning specialists College Money Pros. “Every school has different criteria for scholarship funding. Check directly with the admis-( 134 ) LA WEEKLY / MAY 16-22 2014 / LAWEEKLY.COM

Scholarship School

Paul Rogers

SECURING COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID IS AN EDUCATION IN ITSELF

Snagging a college scholarship can make the difference between a life of dull, poorly-paid jobs and a glittering professional career. But with the stakes so high, competition for these financial aid awards is stiff and just landing one requires something of a “how to” education.

LA Weekly spoke to three college scholarship experts, including a Harvard University graduate who had most of his tuition paid for, to find out just what it takes to get a financial break.

“There are millions of scholarships out there, worth billions of dollars and … not just academic and sports-related awards,” said Kevin N Ladd, Vice President of Scholarships.com, a free college scholarship search resource. “[But] you probably won’t win many or any at all without working hard … You need to be organized. You need to apply for as many as possible in order to have a good chance of winning.”

The first thing that scholarship seekers need to understand is just where the money for these awards comes from. According to college financing specialists College Planning Services, there are $46 billion in free scholarship money awarded each year by the Department of Education and colleges as compared to just $35 million in college scholarships that are available through private companies, foundations, and civic groups (so-called “outside” scholarships).

“Parents need to understand that the majority of scholarships come directly from the schools they plan to attend,” said Dan Evertsz, owner of college planning specialists College Money Pros. “Every school has different criteria for scholarship funding. Check directly with the admissions department at the school your student is thinking of applying to and they should be able to supply the information.”

Jonathan Farley is a scholarship star. The author of How to Get Straight A’s in College, he won a Kodak-Urban League scholarship which initially paid for 50 percent of his tuition at Harvard University and was increased to 100 percent after he achieved seven A’s and one A- in his freshman year. (The Kodak-Urban League scholarship, which is not currently awarded, was for Rochester, N.Y-area students who would pursue careers in a technical field of interest to the Kodak company.)

“I got my scholarship enabling me to graduate from Harvard with no debt because of my grades,” said Farley.

Farley also won a Marshall Scholarship (which finances up to 40 young Americans to study for a graduate degree in the U.K.) and a U.S National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to attend England’s University of Oxford, and was later a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to the United Kingdom.

“Scholarships directly from schools can run anywhere from $4,500 to $30,000, on average,” Evertsz explained. “Outside scholarships … average $500 to $1,000. Many of these scholarships roll over to the next year due to lack of applicants.”

Nearly 9 million students received federal Pell Grants, which are limited to students with financial need, in the current fiscal year (the maximum Pell Grant award has been increased to $5,730 for the 2014-2015 award year).

While the majority of outside scholarship opportunities are fiscally modest, some awards offer substantial support. The Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway (for which applicants must submit an original video explaining why they deserve aid) and the Intel Science Talent Search (which requires hopefuls to present a full, scientific report about research of their choosing), for example, both award up to $100,000.

“You will have better luck applying to local organizations such as Rotary, Lions, Links etc.,” said Evertsz. “Every month you pay your bills, the company that you are writing a check to will usually have a scholarship for college-bound students.”

As well as high-profile awards such as those provided by the Ronald McDonald Charities Scholarship (more than $44 million since 1985), there are many under-the-radar offerings which can nonetheless have a significant effect on a student’s schooling. There are scholarships for tall and short people; for left-handed applicants; for vegetarians; for duck callers; and even one, from Loyola University Chicago, available to Catholic students with the last name of Zolp.

“I had a scholarship from, I believe, the Eagle Foundation. It was $1,000 or so, but the money adds up,” said Farley. “Students should scour the internet and catalogs for obscure scholarships that perhaps only they are eligible for. For instance, there is a Robert F. Rich Scholarship for residents of Hancock County, Maine who are graduating seniors of Mount Desert Island High School and who will major in shipbuilding.”

While scholarships are sometimes described as “money for nothing”, securing even small awards can require considerable time and effort to locate and research grants for which a student might meet the sometimes super-specific qualification criteria and then to complete the often lengthy application process.

“Most families apply to an average of 5 to 10 [outside scholarships] and usually receive little if any success,” said Evertsz. “My strategy, you must treat this process like a job. Apply to 50 or more scholarships per month. On average you will be awarded two $1000.00 scholarships per month. [Over a year], that’s 24k for your kid’s college education.”

As most scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, Ladd recommends an “early and often” approach to scholarship application.

“Those who begin early in high school, say freshman or sophomore year, have the advantage of being able to apply for scholarships targeting the earlier years in high school,” he said. “Many students don’t start searching until their senior year in high school and miss such opportunities.”

And while most scholarships are for high school-age and traditional college-age students, opportunities do exist for adult learners. There are no age restrictions on eligibility for federal student financial aid, and the database of online college preparation resource Fastweb includes more than 1,800 awards which have no age restrictions.

Regardless a student’s age and academic ambition, all three of our experts advise students to start their scholarship search at least a year before starting college and to be prepared to put in the long hours of often dull research that securing such financial aid requires.

“Go to local universities’ career offices and ask for help,” said Farley. “Get a big book of grants and scholarships and start scouring it.”

Read the full article at http://digitalissue.laweekly.com/article/Scholarship+School/1713287/209912/article.html.

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