Friday, September 28, 2012

Considerations When Choosing a College

The college journey is quite excited. The best way for you to prepare for that journey is to be informed about the schools and programs that you are interested in. Some students make the mistake of choosing to enroll in a school just because one of their friends has chosen that school; others simply want to get away from their parents’ supervision. If you are a student who fit one of these two categories, you really need to sit down and rethink your enrollment decision. 

Although excited, the journey through college is not easy. You need to recognize that you are making the most important decision of your life. When it comes to your college education, there is no room for mistakes. Your decision to enroll should be based on the quality of education that a school can provide to you. Your acceptance checklist should include information about program accreditation, classroom size, course registration, internship placement, financial aid package, living expenses and alumni connections. You should be satisfied with every item in that list. For instance, a great financial aid package will provide you and your parents with peace of mind because you will not have to worry about some major expenses (tuition, books and fees). If your major requires you to do an internship, you will need to know about how the school will assist you during that process. You will also need to know about the accreditation status of your program; this is important because you do not want to invest all these times and money to later find out that you cannot sit for the licensing exam required for your profession.
Don’t be one of those students who try to keep their parents out of the college admission process. I can guarantee you that you cannot make this journey without strong family support. As you begin this journey, it is important that you keep you parents informed. Due to work and other obligations, your parents might not be available to accompany you to every school related appointments. The best way to overcome this situation is to plan ahead. By keeping your parents informed throughout the admission process, they can make the proper accommodations to make sure that you always have someone (siblings or other close relatives) by your side.

Thanks to social media, you can be anywhere in the world and still stay connected with your old high school friends. Once you begin your classes, you will need to establish some guidelines. It is crucial that you remain faithful to those guidelines. For instance, your books should become your closest friends and your class activities should now become your most demanding friends. You will need to create time to study. If a friend does not want to respect those guidelines, it is a signal that it is time to let that friend go.

Hope you enjoy this post! We welcome your feedbacks!

Wedlin Sainval

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cost of Internship

Internships provide us with the opportunity to acquire the skills that we need to succeed in our professional career.  Without proper preparation, you might find it difficult to allocate the needed funds to pay for certain expenses.  If your college degree requires you to complete an internship, you advisor or career counselor will most likely set you up with an internship program. Usually, the distance that you will need to travel is beyond the control of the person responsible to find you that internship. As a result, you might need to travel far from your residence or home school.  By now, you should realize that the cost could add up very quickly. If you are lucky, you might find an internship program that pays you a stipend or reimburses you for traveling and living expenses as related to your internship.

Regardless that you are placed in a paid or unpaid program, your main focus should be on the outcome of your internship. Just remember that every penny that you spend in your education is an investment with high yields.

I hope you enjoy this post!

Wedlin Sainval, M.S.M.S.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Internship Vs. Volunteering


Most people tend to confuse these two words. Internship is something that you do to acquire skills that will benefit your professional career. For instance, certain college majors require students to do an internship. The primary goal of that internship or practicum is to present the real world to those students. Internships can either be paid or non-paid. Before accepting any internship position, it is important to inquire about its quality. One of the best ways to collect useful information is to talk to both current and former students who are familiar with that program. As a college student, you will need to be careful on whom you ask for information. You should try to find at least five students who can give you unbiased feedbacks about the program that you are interested in.

Often times, I observe students trying to get an easy way out of their internship. These students usually report late to their preceptors and are usually the first ones to leave that office. As an intern, you need to show your supervisor that you are interested in being there. Make yourself available!


Merriam-Webster defines volunteer as an individual who voluntarily undertakes or expresses willingness to undertake a service. Financial reward is never a primary goal of volunteering. One can however be refunded for expenses such as traveling, housing and meals. A volunteer normally puts the welfare of others before his or her own. Although volunteering is about making a difference in the life of another individual, a volunteer inevitably receives some valuable life experiences.

Whether you are an intern or a volunteer, you should make it your priority to gain as much experiences as possible. As a college student, when you are applying for a job or to graduate school, the interviewer will be interested in what you have learned; not what your supervisor did. A recruiting manager will mostly be interested in how your skills will benefit her company. For graduate school, the program director will need to know how your skills will benefit that program.

 If you are interested in becoming a medical doctor, it might be in your best advantage to volunteer in a health related field such as a hospital, nursing home or a low-income health clinic. If you aspire to become a lawyer, I do think that a shelter or a non-profit human rights organization is a great place to start.

If you are responsible for securing your own internship, you will most likely come across some agencies or websites that promise to find and place you in the program of your dream. Choosing this route can however be very costly. I tell students to avoid the middleman because you can directly contact the coordinator of any programs that you wish to apply to.

Hope you enjoy this post!

Wedlin Sainval, M.S.M.S.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Internships Won't Come to You

I thought that I would be done thinking about the undergraduate experience. Having a younger sister who has just recently started college here in Atlanta, I have made it a priority to help her avoiding the pitfalls of the university system. 

Just the other day we were talking about internship for her political science degree. The first point that I made in our conversation was that "internships won't come to you!" "You need to go get them!" And "you need to start now".  

Folks, don't wait for your school to find you an internship. You need to be proactive. By proactive I mean pick up the phone and start calling offices, laboratories, for and non-profit organizations, churches and etc. Please do not make the mistake of waiting until you are in your third year of college to begin calling around for internship positions. If you are not lucky with the phone, don't give up!  Google the web for the types of internships that pertain to your career path then grab your keys, start your engine and begin driving to some locations.

Don't be rude! Please respect the hierarchy of the office setting. What do I mean by that? You should not just walk into an office and ask to speak with the nurse practitioner, manager, doctor or the company CEO. Begin by building a rapport with the receptionist and/or anyone else working in the front office.  Please remember that if the front office doesn’t like you, the back office won’t show you any mercy. You should remember that at the end of the day, the secretary might be the one typing and even co-signing your letter of recommendation.

From my experience, most office managers are very friendly; they are happy to help you achieve your full human potential.  You will need to make yourself comfortable during the initial meeting.  Due to certain liability restrictions, an office manager might not be able to accept you as an intern right away. You should nicely thank her and leave your contact information so that she may contact you shall an internship position becomes available. You also need to ask that office manager to pass on your contact information to any of her colleagues who might be interested in bringing an intern onboard.

Please remember that when it comes to you achieving your full human potential, the sky is the limit. You need to get out there and seize those opportunities.

Wedlin Sainval, M.S.M.S.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Why Working On Your People Skills?

Regardless of the career path that you choose, you will need to possess some people skills.  As a matter of fact, being "people oriented" is an essential skill that can help one maintaining a strong, healthy and lasting relationship with her peers, parents, classmates, professors, co-workers and etc.  From a business perspective, being a people person is a highly regarded expectation especially if one is employed in the hospitality industry. For instance, a hotel clerk is expected to extend a warm greeting to every guest who walks toward the front desk.

In the retail industry, the same kind of people skills is warranted.  Although selling products and services are the primary expectations of a retail associate, a great deal of customer service is need to keep customers coming back to the store. Being customer-oriented is a skill that allows associates to build strong rapport with their customers. By focusing on the customers' needs, sales associates can offer solutions that help those customers with their challenges.  In the retail industry, poor customer service can quickly cause the demise of a company. Managers are and should be concerned about enhancing great customer service in their stores because if customers are not happy, they simply will stop coming back and with thus seek for other alternatives. 

For those of you who are in college, it is important that you start developing your people skills as early as possible.  When you are applying for a job, please don’t think of it as just a mean to pay the bills.  You need to think beyond that; you will need to focus on the skills that this job can offer to you.  Five to ten years down the road, you will be amazed at the many opportunities that will be out there for you. Companies will be interested in you because you have learned and developed skills that will make a difference in the their operations as well as the customers that they serve.

Wedlin Sainval, M.S.M.S.