Last updateWed, 14 Apr 2021 11am

Ask the Experts



Hobson’s Choice

My parents said yes. Should I bring a car to school?

Since you are lucky enough to have this choice, we wanted to help you consider the pros and cons. These are intertwined with the university you attend. Visit Purdue University to witness 99% of students have a car.

Parental permission to have a car usually comes with a tacit understanding of the rules. In high school, we all forgot to fill the tank before returning home, and stayed out driving past curfew. At college, there are more rules, including never lend your car to friends. The major concern is drinking and driving. Stats show over 3 million students have driven drunk.

Many colleges do not permit freshmen or students to have cars. Allowing a car, does not mean the university offers a car-friendly campus. The leading complaint is parking. It can be a shorter walk to class from the dorm, than the spot you parked.
You and your parents enjoyed the movie My Cousin Vinny. For many families, permission to have a car does not include driving it across country, says Direct Connect auto shippers. We checked out moving your car by rail. Peace of mind from New York to Miami was around $1,000.

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Scholarship Scavenger Hunt

I am looking to get more financial help for college. After the government and my school, is there anywhere else?

The audience for your question includes 2 out of 3 college students, who receive some sort of financial aid. Your search is divided into 2 categories. There is money you have to repay, and scholarships and grants you do not. You are not thinking about it now, but the government loans are going to be a large burden to repay.

More than half of student aid, over $120 billion, does not have to be repaid. This comes from the government and the college financial aid office. Your search for more money now begins.

Nearly $16 billion comes from private sources, including: colleges, military, individuals, communities, religious groups, non-profits, historical societies and businesses, cites corporate scholarship donor Mattress Clarity.

You probably exhausted the online scholarship search engines. It is not cliché, but there is no place like home.

You and your parents both need to be involved. The first resource is back in the high-school guidance office. It can have notices of scholarships exclusively for local students.

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Let’s Play Monopoly

When Trump was elected, I decided I wanted to go into real estate. Do you have any career advice for me?

We selected this question, but not to give personal career advice. Our column is informational. Everyone reading this will be going into real estate... when they buy their first home.

Millennials were not of age when the housing crisis hit, so they conveniently ignore it. Statistically, they will buy a home at around 32 and spend over $140,000. There are professionals for legal, medical and financial advice. When planning to become a homeowner, you make your own personal choices, explains residential experts, 1031 Gateway, a 1031 exchange property group.

You anticipate after college that your only problem is getting a job. The major choice of renting or buying a home quickly arises. It is intertwined with your career, family and lifecycle.

Real estate will subtly control your life. Early on, you save whatever you can after paying college debt, for a home down payment. One day, you are ready to buy your share of the American Dream. Should you buy a home for your current lifestyle, or anticipate a family? We already stressed above, you make your own choices.

Your first home, a starter home, is a major commitment of time and financial resources. The average family stays put in their first home for 11 years. As your family grows and career advances, you may look to trade up to a better neighborhood and finer home. If you study a chart of U.S. average home prices, you see a stark change in the yearly appreciation, from previous decades. The belief that real estate prices always rise, no longer holds. Plus, in some areas it is flat or has fallen. The math is you cannot sell your current home, until it has appreciated. That gain enables you to make a larger down payment on a more expensive home.

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Digital Disconnect

Everyone wants a high-paying job with an Internet company. If I am not coding, is marketing the best major to have on my resume?

We chose your question because you only learn the answer with experience. Online marketing was fast becoming one of the pillars of business before you were born. Every student has been a consumer for digital marketing. However, the specific skills sought by online employers are less clear cut than other professional fields. With that in mind, what are you supposed to study to prepare yourself for this industry? Most students agree on this simple answer. Focus on grasping the basics of digital: learn HTML, major in a marketing field, promote yourself on social media, and build your personal brand. These routes are valuable, but one factor is clearly overlooked... creativity!

This is something that is often neglected in college, as many students take a traditional path, rather than the arts. However, the ability to come up with inventive solutions to problems is integral to your success online. Marketing used to mean aggressively placing ads in your face. Now, you have to have create content that attracts readership, says Lauren Feeley of Clickx, an SEO software.

Recruiters for online companies increasing seek students with non-traditional skills, who can bring a new perspective to a problem. No mention of a marketing degree.

What jobs are being filled? Brand promotion through search engine optimization. The skills for this role are journalism, rather than marketing.

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Aching for Knowledge

I remember high school was less stressful than college. Now, I have bouts of aches in my head, stomach and back. I am not going back home, so what can I do?

Your question gets a classic response... welcome to adulthood. Our answer not only applies to students, but to all adults. Stress in college is a precursor for what to expect in the workplace. It can be a problem and health concern when it persists for long periods.

The stats. Over 80% of college student report feeling stressed. On the extreme end, a surprising 10% had thoughts of suicide. Students are confronted by issues new in their life: living away from home, studying intensively, paying for school, and choosing a career.

You need to learn stress management and reduction techniques. Do not look for this in your syllabus. Medicine is a passive prescription, while stress relief is an active one. Our advice is a list of Do’s and Don’ts.

Get enough sleep is first on the list. Your college lifestyle makes sleep a casualty. Being tired interferes with decision making and energy levels.

Pursue sports and exercise, just like in high school. This relieves stress and increases fitness.

Increasingly available at college is massage, offered at student rates. Massage is a major physical and emotional stress buster, throughout your life, claims massage chair industry blog.

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Student Sweatshop

Want to see something funny, tell your friends you want a job in manufacturing. Watch their reaction. Why do other students look down on my career choice?

Your career choice reflects a changing economy. We chose to discuss your dilemma and give you some comfort. Up through your father’s generation, everyone considered manufacturing as: dirty work, low pay, long hours, and unskilled.

Today, manufacturing does not deserve that bad reputation. Look at the employment numbers for last year. There was a jump of nearly 20% in hiring of college grads into manufacturing. This reflects changes in the whole sector. Since the start of the millennium, the number employed in manufacturing with a college degree rose 10%.

What is causing this positive trend? Manufacturing is becoming increasingly high tech. Robotic automation has replaced factory workers. Computers control the process and are in every office, explains high-tech manufacturer Tactical CNC Plasma Tables.

Economists report a skill gap is emerging. The industry cannot attract enough college grads to fill available positions.

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Campus Crackup

Is a state university responsible if I am injured on campus?

We chose your question because injuries on campus are one of the leading reasons students visit the hospital emergency room. Slip and falls, automobiles, and assaults are all causes of on-campus injury.

However, the university is not always legally responsible. Two main factors are: 1) were you injured on university-owned property, and 2) did the university know of a problem and neglect to resolve it, leading to your injury.

The university has a general duty to protect students from foreseeable harm while on campus, says Herrman and Herrman, injury law firm.

Physical conditions in a school, such as slippery floors or unsafe dormitories or classroom buildings, are responsibilities of the university. The school must take reasonable precautions to prevent injuries or accidents.

Injuries can also be caused by staff or other students. The university must ensure your safety with: proper staffing, staff screening and measures taken when incidents do occur.

States across the U.S. have sovereign immunity laws shielding public institutions such as state universities from being sued, except in special circumstances. Sovereign immunity is a legal concept dating back centuries to English common law that held that the king could not be sued, except with the king’s consent.

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Hopeful Hitchhiker

Am I the only one here without a driver’s license? Should I worry and plan to get one this Summer?

When I was a teenager, getting a license was a rite of passage, granting mobility and parental independence. Surprisingly, we found your decision to delay driving is becoming more mainstream. During this decade, the number of young people without a license increased over 50%, according to DriverKnowlege, a driving permit test website.

The switch to mass transit is the leading reason. However, the motivation for the shift includes high gasoline prices, cost of insurance, environmental concern, lifestyles changes, etc.

Do these benefits outweigh the burden? First, consider your job search for Summer and after graduation. Many employers ask for a driver’s license, not just for pizza delivery. As your job responsibilities grow, you may need to meet with an out-of-town client. Mass transit does not serve many areas, nor go door-to-door.

The license should also be considered an emergency tool. Anyone who has driven family or friend to the hospital understands that.

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Website Wishing Well

I want to start an online business here in college. How can I succeed, when everybody is creating one?

There are no statistics gathered on how many students are operating a money-making website. It is a common goal we all seek. Let us focus on the psychology angle. Users should enjoy visiting your website, before they even consider spending money or reading your content. Sometimes, a small, creative change can completely enhance the user experience.

Every site has a blog. You are expected to ramble on about the product benefits or suggest ways to improve it. We reversed that and let customers write about themselves, spills company blog editor. It is better to allow bloggers self-promotion, so they will return to your site.

Another way to identify new customers is to take a survey. Visitors respond when you show their opinion is valued. Surveys are a quick method for start-ups to identify their audience, reports DevOps software programmer. Before a sale is even made, potential customers reveal what they want.

Most often, you are entering a market that seems saturated. There are no funds to invest in new technology. You can apply an existing technology to a new purpose. Photos were supplanted by
360 Video. Every local business now wants to upgrade their images. Even Google has added this to its search results. Webmasters are still scrambling to find more uses.

I answered this exact question many years ago for some student named Zuckerberg.

Sam Shepard is a marketing specialist with digital marketing agency Digital Next.

Major Mayhem

Do not use my name in this. My parents and friends are asking me what I am going to major in. How do I decide?

Your anonymous question is one of the most common on campus.

There is a basic misunderstanding about this decision. Your major does not dictate your career choice. It will be affected in unpredictable ways by social and technological changes. Many careers that flourish today, did not even exist ten years ago. The most important thing you can do in college is to be a dedicated student. What skills should you have when you graduate, that will help you succeed?
Campus recruiters agree on these interpersonal skills, when interviewing new graduates.

1. The student is a team player. They can work in a group to solve a problem.
2. Can bring a new perspective to a problem, with an education in non-traditional subjects.
3. Ability to work in a dynamic environment.

No, there is no major for this. A piece of advice that Steve Jobs shared was "do something you are passionate about."

If you are a math magician, an engineering degree gives you more opportunities than entering the manufacturing sector. You learn how to solve technical problems, which has application in pretty much any industry.

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Defenseless Driving

I had a close call driving and texting. Did everyone else already learn this lesson?

Your question received lots of press over the past few years. We expect that students already learned this lesson.

A University study by Dr. Tamyra Pierce was released back in 2010. Observing 2,582 drivers on the highway, the study noted over 17% were distracted by some other activity.

Seven years later, in 2017, U.S. traffic deaths continue to increase year-over-year. This is counterintuitive, since vehicles have become safer over time. Unfortunately, driving distractions have increased for 18- to 29-year-old drivers. In the Empire State, there has been an 840% increase in texting-while-driving tickets issued.

According to auto-accident lawyer Edward Smith, smartphones and apps have become both more prevalent and more distracting. In his article about texting and distracted driving accidents, Mr. Smith points out that thousands of people are killed every year by distracted drivers.

If you are tempted to look at your phone while driving, understand you are not alone. Scientific studies actually show the phone jingles we hear induce the release of chemicals into the brain. Those sounds make users feel rewarded, while not responding creates anxiety.

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