Scholarship Friday: Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Scholarships

 

scholastic awardsAttention, Creative Teens: How to Become an Exhibited Artist or Published Author

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are accepting submissions from students in grades 7–12 who aspire to follow in the footsteps of Stephen King, Andy Warhol and Lena Dunham and gain opportunities for exhibition, publication, scholarships and more.

The annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s longest- running, most prestigious scholarship and recognition initiative for students in grades 7–12, is now open for submissions and invites all aspiring teen artists and writers to share their work. Over the past five years alone, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the nonprofit presenter of the Awards, has received more than one million original works from public, private and homeschooled students. The program provides top-winning artistic and literary teens with exhibition and publication opportunities, as well as access to millions of dollars in scholarships, while continuing its legacy of identifying the early promise of some of our nation’s most exceptional visionaries.

To learn more about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, visit www.artandwriting.org.

Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers said, “People who have been successful in their fields, from artists to scientists, all have one thing in common. At one time they were teenagers looking for their first great encouragement. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are a platform of opportunity that allow teenagers to push artistic boundaries and explore as they are shaping themselves to be part of the next generation of leaders, no matter what field of study they plan to pursue.”

Students in the U.S. and Canada, and those attending American schools abroad, are invited to submit creative works in the Awards’ 28 categories, ranging from comic art to photography, flash fiction to poetry, video game design to novel-writing and more. All works are evaluated through a blind judging process based on originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal vision or voice—the same three criteria since the program’s founding in 1923. Submissions are first judged on a regional level by the more than 100 affiliates of the Alliance, which bring the program to local communities across the country. Top regional submissions are then evaluated on a national level by an impressive panel of creative-industry experts. Luminaries in the visual and literary arts, including Andres Serrano, Edwidge Danticat, Kay WalkingStick, Roz Chast and Stephen Savage, have all served as past jurors.

Deadlines for submissions vary by region throughout the winter months, with National Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners announced in March 2015.

What it means to win a Scholastic Art & Writing Award:

  • The outstanding students who win Scholastic Art & Writing Awards walk in the footsteps of celebrated creative leaders such as Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, Stephen King, Myla Goldberg, Richard Linklater, Kay WalkingStick, Zac Posen and Lena Dunham, all of whom won an Award when they were teens.
  • The Scholarship Partner Network includes more than 60 colleges and universities who set aside scholarships for Scholastic Art & Writing Award–winning high school seniors. With more than $10 million available, the program is the largest source of scholarships for creative teens.
  • Each year, 16 high school seniors are awarded the Portfolio Gold Medal, which is accompanied by a $10,000 scholarship—the highest possible honor a student can receive through the program.
  • Cash awards are also available to students of all grades, as well as teachers.
  • Student writers may be published in The Best Teen Writing series of anthologies, which are available for purchase at amzn.com/0545818966.
  • A large selection of student Scholastic Art & Writing Award–winning works will be on display in the Art.Write.Now. National Exhibition in New York City at Parsons New School for Design and Pratt Manhattan Gallery in June 2015. An annual traveling Art.Write.Now.Tour also brings student work to cities across the country. This year’s tour is now open at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI, and will travel to the Salt Lake City Public Library as well as the Catskill Art Society in Livingston Manor, New York.
  • National winners will be honored during a special awards ceremony at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City, where celebrities, families and teachers congratulate the student winners and encourage them to continue in their paths. To view this past year’s ceremony online, visit www.artandwriting.org/carnegiewebcast2014.
  • Five students in grades 9–11 are selected annually to serve as literary ambassadors as part of the National Student Poets Program, the nation’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. Winning a Scholastic Art & Writing Award National Medal in poetry is the exclusive pathway to this honor, which is presented in partnership by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alliance.

The Alliance is grateful for its generous sponsors, who provide funds to support and produce the Awards: Scholastic Inc., The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, Command Web Offset Co., the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, The New York Times, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, The National Endowment for the Arts, Blick Art Materials & Utrecht Art Supplies, 3D Systems, The Gedenk Movement, Golden Artist Colors, Bloomberg L.P., the Bernstein Family Foundation, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Duck Tape® and additional contributions from numerous other individual, foundation and corporate funders.

To learn more about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, visit the Scholastic Media Room online at mediaroom.scholastic.com/artandwriting.

Wednesday’s Parent: An Extracurricular Match Made in Heaven

 

extracurricularWhen it comes to extracurricular activities, it requires some careful thought and exploration from your student. Picking a volunteer activity is more than just pulling a name out of a hat. The number one criteria for choosing an extracurricular is: pick something that interests you AND stick with it. Of course, there are the obvious: hospitals, local charities, beach clean-up, etc. But what if your teen isn’t interested in any of these options?

Where do you go to find some unknown volunteer opportunities? Here’s a good list of sites that might help you find the best volunteer fit for your college-bound teen:

Hands On Network: With 250 action centers around the country, it’s easy to connect and get started with a volunteer opportunity that fits your schedule and location.  Plus, they’ll occasionally partner with corporations like Disney to offer special incentives for volunteering.

Do Something: Focused more on teen activism and engagement with causes, their site offers “Virtual Volunteer” opportunities so you can take action without leaving your couch!

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Interested in volunteering in our National Parks?  For the Smithsonian?  Start here.   You’ll find a host of ways to volunteer alongside existing government programs.  The HUD site also lists opportunities to provide technology access and job training to those who need it on a volunteer basis.

VolunteerMatch: One of the largest online databases for volunteering, where over 71,000 nonprofits have listed local and regional events and projects.

Go Abroad: Want to volunteer on vacation?  Fulfill your travel bug and your need to do good at the same time by applying for one of the nearly 6,000 “Volunteer Abroad” opportunities from more than 1,300 organizations around the world.

iParticipate: Follow the stars.  Literally.  The Entertainment Industry Foundation launched this project with Ashton Kutcher, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Katie Couric (and many others) in a campaign designed to encourage Americans to consider volunteering as an integral part of our national identity.

Serve.Gov: One year old today, this site and associated initiatives were created by the Serve America Act.  One of its purposes is to help Americans get back to work by building skills and connections through volunteer opportunities.

Need more ideas? Here’s an article I wrote for TeenLife: 10 Community Service Ideas for College Bound Teens.

Every college expert will tell you that volunteering is an integral part of the high school resume. But remember…one day here and there does not a volunteer make! Consistency over the course of your teen’s high school career shows a level of commitment to the cause and a willingness to give back.

Read Wendy’s post:Pick a Club, But Not Any Club

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from parentscountdowntocollegecoach to pocsmom.com and vice versa.

Parent Toolkit App

 

 

parent toolkit app

The Parent Toolkit App is designed to help you navigate your child’s growth and development from Pre-K through 12th grade in the classroom and beyond. For each grade, the app offers benchmarks to see what your child will be learning in school, and recommendations for diet, sleep and physical activity. The grade-by-grade tips work into your everyday schedule to support what your child is learning and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Choose whether you want to browse through academic or health and wellness benchmarks and tips. The academic information will help you ensure your child is on the path to success. It also provides helpful advice on homework, parent-teacher conferences and supporting learning at home. In the health and wellness section, you’ll find tips on encouraging physical activity, eating a well-balanced diet, and ways to make sure your child gets enough sleep.

Set priorities for you and your child to come back to using The Parent Toolkit App. A priority is an item that you mark as important to your child’s development. It can be something you want to review later, or a tip you want to remember to try. Use the “+” button to mark items as priorities and create a list for review later. You can then mark items as completed once you’ve accomplished your goals. You can also share helpful information and tips throughout the app with family, friends, and more using social networks or email.

The Parent Toolkit App is produced by NBC News and sponsored by Pearson. It has been accessibility tested and works with VoiceOver. Download The Parent Toolkit App in English or Spanish and get started today — it’s free!

You can download your FREE mobile app here: http://lksn.se/toolkit 

Or text “Toolkit” to 33733

Scholarship Friday: 9-11 Scholarships

 

9-11 scholarshipsThis week marked the 13th anniversary of  September 11th. Thirteen years ago today our country was attacked by terrorists. The attacks resulted in the deaths of 2,977 victims. The victims included 246 on the four planes (from which there were no survivors), 2,606 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. All of these victims left behind families. In these families, there were children who would eventually be pursuing higher education.

Seeing the need to help these families of the victims, scholarships rose up across the country to help their dependents fund higher education. The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund was established. According to the fund’s declaration, their purpose is:

“… to provide education assistance for postsecondary study to financially needy dependents of those people killed or permanently disabled as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and during the rescue activities relating to those attacks.”

Scholarship America played a major role in the creation of the September 11 Scholarship Alliance, formed by leading scholarship providers and associated organizations to coordinate the various scholarship funds for postsecondary education created in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. Although the Scholarship Alliance officially concluded its activities, there are still a number of scholarship funds in addition to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund that provide assistance for postsecondary education for 9/11 families. Start your search here, in any of the following categories:

Memorial Funds and Other Funds
Scholarship America manages and administers Memorial and Other Funds. These Funds are managed and administered separately from the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund and have separate eligibility criteria. Generally speaking, Memorial Funds are provided for a group of families associated with a specific funder, while Other Funds are open to all 9/11 families.

College Funds
There are scholarship funds managed by individual colleges and universities, for use on their campuses only. Many of the colleges and universities provide matching scholarships to students who receive Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund education assistance.

Outside Organization Funds
Citizens throughout America stepped forward and donated funds to many relief efforts in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. The establishment of scholarship funds was one means of providing such relief and assistance.

The fund this year will recognize an exciting milestone – this summer they awarded over $100 million to financially needy families since the inception of the Fund in 2001. The great news is that the Fund has been invested well and there remains over $96.5 million for the thousands of students who are yet to apply for awards.

College Rankings

 

college rankingsU.S. News released their college rankings yesterday. There is always a great deal of emphasis placed on these rankings. Colleges boast about their possession in the pecking order and use it for marketing to students. But are these rankings accurate? What do they mean? What don’t they mean?

Personally, I don’t put much weight on the U.S. News college rankings. These rankings are based on a subjective collection of information from the colleges themselves. Colleges have been known to pad their data, cheat on the reporting, and shift the data in their favor in order to rank high on the list.

Parents have been known to use the list to insist their student attend one of the high ranking colleges. But honestly, it’s just a way to claim bragging rights for the parents and has very little to do with the actual quality of the education for the price.

I always suggest that parents use more than one source when comparing colleges and gathering data.

Custom College Rankings

Custom College Rankings is an amazing site created to help you view all the college statistics on a spreadsheet and change the criteria of the spreadsheet as you view it. There are over 2900 colleges and universities with statistics for each gathered from the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education.

ETC College Rankings Index

“The ETC College Rankings Index measures the improvement in employability and earnings that a particular college brings to its graduates, relative to students similarly situated at other colleges” – states Michael R. Havis, president and founder of the nonprofit Educate To Career, who adds – “Students and parents are focused on the value-added by going to a particular college and pursuing a specific area of study.”

College Factual

Unlike other college ranking systems, College Factual serves as a decision-making hub throughout the entire college search process, sharing outcomes-based data such as average student loan debt per student and default rates; how well colleges retain and graduate students; graduates’ starting salaries and earning potential; and return on investment based on cost of a degree.

In addition to these sites, you can use College Navigator, Cost of Learning, and College Data to gather more information. Never rely solely on one set of rankings. Use the comparison tools to make a wise college choice.

Wednesday’s Parent: 5 Qualities a Mentor Should NOT Possess

 

mentorWhen I was in middle school I had a teacher who took a special interest in me. She encouraged me to work hard and spent extra time with me after class to explain the day’s work. Miss Castillo will always be a mentor who influenced my academic life. Because of her encouragement I graduated in the top 10 percent of my graduating class of 900. Because of her I gained self-esteem. She encouraged me, challenged me and supported me during my middle school years.

I’m sure you all have someone who influenced you in school. But mentors aren’t always in the academic realm. They can be coaches, pastors, business leaders and family friends. Mentors take the time to invest in your life and make an impact on your personal life and your future.

There are so many suggestions on how to look for and choose a mentor. But in true Parent College Coach fashion, here are 5 qualities I believe a mentor should NOT possess:

Critical

The last thing you need in a mentor is someone who is constantly criticizing you. There may be something to be said about constructive criticism, but listening to someone constantly criticize and belittle you is not inspiring. It only destroys your self-esteem.

Negative

Nobody likes being around a negative person, especially if it’s someone you are looking to for advice and encouragement. A person who always sees the glass as half empty is not going to inspire you to achieve your goals.

Patronizing

You don’t need someone who is patronizing. A mentor should never act superior or talk down to you in any way.

Disinterested

You need someone who is invested in teaching you, training you and guiding you in your life pursuits. If the person you choose is disinterested and uninvolved it’s a waste of your time.

Controlling

The idea of having a mentor is to teach you, not control your every decision. A controlling person is less likely to help you find your own path—he will want you to follow his.

Choosing a mentor requires thought and careful searching. As in my case, mentors can have a profound effect on your life. Choose wisely.

Read Wendy’s post: Choose a Mentor in 3 Steps

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from parentscountdowntocollegecoach to pocsmom.com and vice versa.

illustrate-The Video Dictionary

 

video dictionary

illustrate is a FREE app that is much more than just a dictionary. The app makes use of animated videos and actual conversations to explain the meaning, context and usage of those ever so difficult words. Whether you are a student preparing for an exam, an english buff or just someone who wants clarity on the meaning of a word, “illustrate – the video dictionary” is your app of choice.

Perfect for educators and aspirants of exams such as SAT, GRE, CAT, GMAT, PSA, ACT, ACTII, MCAT and LSAT.

Key Features

  • 20,000 videos available to view
  • Content updated daily
  • Test your english skills with Question of The Day
  • Be amazed by the Fact of The Day
  • See what is popular and trending
  • Buy premium word lists to help you prepare for competitive exams

Here’s what review sites and our users have to say about ‘illustrate – The Video Dictionary’ :

  • Illustrate is an awesome free dictionary app for iPad. The videos are really interesting and help you to understand as well as remember words easily.
  • illustrate provides you with meaning and usage of English words with videos. You get actual scenarios to better understand the context in which each word can be used. illustrate not only helps you understand the meaning of words, but it also shows you new words that you may want to know about. It is designed for folks who are planning to take exams such as SAT, GRE, ACT, and those in an ESL program.
  • Fantabulous! It’s a must have app and the best app for those who want to improve vocabulary. Visual aid does everything when it comes to remembering.
  • Smart application! Easy to use and quick to access. The video illustrations are precise and clear.

 
iOS App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id855051941
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mocept.illustrate
company: www.mocept.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/illustratevideodictionary

Using Social Media to Find a Job

 

job searchThese days the recruitment process has moved online, which includes a shift to social media. Not only do employers browse social profiles when deciding who to interview, they’ll also use social channels to advertise opportunities. This media can help you or it can hinder you when trying to land that dream job, whether it’s for a learning mentor or a care worker, marketing professional or a skill tradesperson. Here’s how:

Private versus Public

There’s a strong chance employers will try to learn more about you via your social media profiles. For this reason, your public profile should convey the right impression. If anyone and everyone can view your Facebook or Twitter profile pictures, make sure they’re professional. Pictures that reveal aspects of your private life show you drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or generally just clowning around are best reserved for friends only. This also applies to the information you choose to publicly display on your social profiles. Do you want potential employers to be able to see your relationship status, the bands you like or even your birthday? If there’s any information you don’t feel entirely comfortable with employers seeing, switch your settings to private.

An opportunity to network

Many companies use social media to head hunt as well as recruit. Setting up a professional profile can get you noticed. At the same time, you don’t have to wait for employers to approach you. LinkedIn is an excellent networking tool and there’s no harm in trying to connect with companies or organisations you might like to work for in the future.

Creating the right impression

There are, of course, social profiles you might want potential employers to see. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you’re likely to use it to network and hunt for jobs. This makes it essential for your profile to create the right impression. Choose a professional-looking photo. If in doubt, ask a (trusted) friend or family member which photo to use. You should also update your profile regularly, ensuring it showcases your talents and experience. List all of your skills and try to get LinkedIn references from past employers. Your social profile could be your first impression—and you won’t get the chance to make another one.

Employers advertise through social media

Advertising positions online is commonplace nowadays. As well as updating their website with job details, many employers add vacancies to their social media feeds. If you want to be amongst the first to know when new jobs come up, connect with employers you might like to work for via their primary social channels. LinkedIn is particularly useful because you can receive email updates of jobs in your sector. Some sites are even area-specific, such as S1Jobs, and following their social feeds you can plan your next career move within a particular part of the country. Perhaps you’d like to work with children and young people by becoming a learning mentor. You could use social media to showcase your experience to potential employers and hunt for jobs.

Whatever career path you want to follow, social media can help you land that dream job if you use it wisely. Make sure all the public information you display gives the best impression.

Scholarship Friday: 3 Scholarship Scams to Avoid

 

scholarship scamEvery year an estimated 350,000 students and families are victims of scholarship scams, costing more than $5 million annually. Free scholarship money is always great, but sometimes offers are just too good to be true.

When conducting your scholarship search, be on the lookout for these three popular scholarship scams, so

1. Asking for cash up front: If you see a scholarship offer that requires you to send in an application or processing fee, this so-called “scholarship” is almost always a scam. Even if the offer adds a disclosure statement that guarantees a refund, money you send up front is almost never returned. These so-called fees are one of the most popular scams and trap thousands of families every year. Just remember these four words: never pay a fee.

2. Awards without entries: You may have seen ads or emails that promise, “Congratulations! You have just won a $10,000 scholarship to college! To obtain your reward, please send in a $100 processing fee.” These emails are similar to the ones promising your millions if you simply send a fee. If you did not apply for a scholarship or enter in a specific contest for this money, this is probably a scam. Scholarships are rewards for those who do the work, not prizes for doing nothing. If you did not work hard to apply for this scholarship, but it still offers thousands of dollars in cash just for sending in a processing fee, you should not take it seriously.

3. Sweeping promises: Lastly, be aware of scholarship offers that make sweeping claims. If you see an offer that declares any of the following and seems too good to be true, stay away.

  • “The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.” In life, and in the financial assistance realm, nothing is guaranteed. Do not let this line fool you!
  • “You can’t get this information anywhere else.” If you can’t get information about this scholarship anywhere else, then chances are it is not legitimate. Scholarship search sites are databases filled with scholarships. If the scholarship isn’t listed on one of these resources, then be very cautious.
  • “We guarantee you will win multiple scholarships.” Nobody can guarantee that you will win a scholarship. Most of these claims require you pay a fee upfront.

Students win hundreds of thousands of scholarships each year and they NEVER have to spend money to win them. There are no free rides, however, and it will require some effort on your student’s part. Make sure to always research the scholarship to which you are applying, never send in money, and be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true.

For even more information, turn to the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office for an excellent article on avoiding scams.

8 Essential Questions for Finding the Right Certification Boot Camp

 

computer scienceMost people who have been in the IT industry, even for a short time, recognize the value of certifications. According to research, IT certifications can boost salary by anywhere from 8 to 13% through something called premium skills pay. Premium skills pay is money paid by employers who are looking for specific skills that only an IT certification can provide. Of course, you have to get the certification first and there are several ways to go about it.

For many people, taking a certification test without preparation is not an option (or at least isn’t a good option). There is just too much information to in IT and no way to know what subset of that information will be on the test. This means that it is impossible to study effectively without some guidance. To get that guidance, many people participate in training courses, which whittle down the pool of knowledge to provide only the highest yield exam content. Boot camps, a particular type of training course, have become very popular in recent years because they offer all the content in a compressed time formate. Boot camps aren’t for everyone, however. If you are thinking about an IT certification boot camp, then read through these tips to see if the intense training these camps offer is right for you.

What Are the Qualifications to Attend (Choosing the Right Camp)?

Anyone can attend a boot camp, but with price tags ranging as high as $9,000, the decision to enroll shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you are going to invest that kind of money, then you want to be reasonably certain that you will pass the exam at the end of your training. You only want to attend a boot camp if you have experience in the area being tested. In other words, you need the boot camp to focus your studying and hone your skills, but not to teach you too much new information. It isn’t a place to try to pick up new skills, the pace is simply too fast.

The best boot camps will turn you down if you aren’t qualified because they are just as interested in your success as they are in your tuition payment. The best way to find the right program is to contact several , such as those at Countrywide Training, and ask them to explain the qualifications necessary for success. They should be able to tell you if the course you are looking at is right for you or if they might have a better alternative. The best programs will give you candid advice and won’t try to pressure you into a course you aren’t sure about.

Is There 24-Hour Lab Availability?

Boot camps often only last a week or two, which means you need to make the most out of your time. Sleep won’t be something you get a lot of during your boot camp, so look for programs that offer 24/7 access to labs and other resources so that you can study on your own schedule. Don’t be shy when asking about availability of resources before you sign up, it’s your money and your career on the line after all.

It isn’t just labs and resources you are interested in either. You want to know when instructors will be available. Naturally, they won’t be available around the clock, but they should have regular, extensive office hours set aside only for boot camp students. By the same token, be sure that the classes aren’t overbooked. If there are too many students, then it won’t matter how many hours the professors are available because all of their time will be taken up by your classmates.

How Are Classroom and Lab Time Divided?

Different boot camps differ in how much classroom instruction time they offer versus time spent doing hands-on work in labs. Depending on your skill set and what you feel your weaknesses are, a course with more lab time than classroom time may be appropriate or vice versa.

You want both types of teaching (lab and classroom) in your boot camp, but be sure to balance the two according to your strengths and weaknesses. Some people are more at home in the classroom and others excel at lab work. Either way, be honest about your abilities so that you can focus your studies and pass the exam.

Does the Course Offer Free Exam Re-testing?

IT exams are expensive and so are boot camps. If you spend the money on training, then you want some guarantee that the school backs up its teaching. One of the best ways a school can show that it stands behind its training is to offer to pay for your exams if you don’t pass it the first time out. This gesture demonstrates the school’s commitment to training you and covers you if something should go wrong.

What Have Previous Success Rates Been?

Success rates fall into a similar category as the subject above. A program should be able to tell you how many of its students have been successful in the past and how many failed. They should also be able to give you reasons why those students who failed were not successful. Being able to offer good explanations for successes and failures demonstrates integrity on the part of the school and an emphasis on improvement. Strong schools will be proud of their success rates and put a lot of effort into ensuring they maintain the trend.

Can You Talk to Recent Students?

Programs will always present themselves in the best light possible and while you can be certain about things like pass rates and re-testing guarantees, it is harder to assess the more subjective aspects of a program. To understand if professors are friendly, classmates are helpful, the school is receptive to feedback, and so forth, you’ll need to speak to former students. The schools that have nothing to hide will be able to provide you with a list of contacts who previously took the course. If they refuse to give you a list of former attendees, that should raise a red flag.

Does the Program Offer Food and Shelter?

This may seem like an afterthought, but it should be a top priority. Chances are good that the course will be located a good distance from where you live and work. You may not be able to drive home to sleep and you certainly don’t want to be going home for every meal. Boot camps are full-immersion teaching environments, so the more you stay “in the zone,” the better off you will be. That being said, look for programs that take care of things like food and housing so that you don’t have to worry about where you next meal will coming from.

Is There an Option to Withdraw?

This question comes down to integrity on the part of the program and while it is rare that you would have to withdraw, unforeseen circumstances may force you to certify at a later time. Good programs will offer you the ability to take the course at a later time if you are forced to withdraw as the result of an emergency or the like.

Succeeding in IT

Certifications are almost necessary for success in the IT industry. If you have been around the IT block a time or two and need a boost to make that next promotion or obtain a raise, then consider a certification boot camp. A boot camp will not just get you certified, it will get you certified fast. That means you will get your promotion faster and you won’t have to take as much time off of work or sacrifice all of your vacation for certification. If you have the skills and the commitment, then an IT boot camp may just be the best investment you can make in your career.

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Travis Adams has a passion for careers in technology. He enjoys blogging about training and successful advancement in the industry.