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At YES Prep North Central, the college-bound culture, high-octane teaching practices, and strong relationships — among students, among teachers, and among teachers and students — all fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. But each approach, taken on its own, represents a powerful way of thinking about education. As a handful of Houston schools begin to borrow from YES Prep’s model, they are finding that key reforms can work on an incremental basis. Here are some of the most effective strategies for success:

Institute a Strong Discipline Policy

Staff members emphasize that students are responsible for themselves and their school community at YES Prep, and they work proactively with kids to build good behavioral skills, which include appearance as well as demeanor. (Shirts must be tucked in at YES Prep.) The policy is working: There were only two fights on campus last year.

Infuse the School with a College-Bound Culture

Pennants, posters, and slogans on almost every wall of the school broadcast the ultimate goal of getting into college. Members of the school faculty insist that every student will go to college, and they take students to university campuses to give them a flavor of the experience.

Be Available to Students After Hours

YES Prep provides each teacher with a cell phone, which students know they can call in the evenings if they don’t understand their homework. This strategy eliminates excuses for not getting the work done.

Create Advisory Periods to Strengthen Relationships

Every day after lunch, each YES Prep staff member meets with the same group of students to discuss current challenges, academic or personal. Advisory groups are designed to serve as supportive families within the school.

Learn from Each Other’s Expertise

Even great athletes need coaches, and the same goes for teachers. At YES Prep, teachers take a lead in supporting and coaching each other at weekly grade-level meetings. The school also stages an annual “observation challenge,” when teachers pop into each other’s classrooms to observe and give feedback.

Extend the Learning Time

The YES school day runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., five days a week, with sessions every sixth Saturday morning for extra instruction such as SAT practice, and community service. School leaders explain that the extra time is necessary to give students thorough preparation for college and accustom them to a rigorous professional work schedule. Just having great teachers isn’t enough, says YES Prep founder Chris Barbic. Students also need added time with those teachers.

Try Team Teaching to Support Vulnerable Students

Educators at YES Prep, which serves students in grades 6-12, say the first year or two at the school, as students adjust to high expectations and long hours, can be a struggle. To help with the transition, teachers in sixth and seventh grades teach in pairs, sharing a classroom and handling larger numbers of students at once. This strategy enables them to get to know kids better, address problems with individual students, and create lessons that integrate various subjects, a step that makes the lessons more realistic and engaging.

Build the Meaning of Education Through Community Service

An additional goal at YES Prep, besides getting kids into and through college, is to ensure that graduates return to Houston and use their education to better the community. At North Central, students spend every sixth Wednesday doing community service. Each grade level chooses a theme for the year; this year’s seniors, for instance, are focusing on local elementary schools. Student leaders choose projects on the selected theme. Every sixth Saturday, the teens help teachers organize community events and outreach activities for the neighborhoods around the school. Teacher Craig Brandenburg explains that by making community service a regular practice, “that just becomes who you are.”

Set the Tone With a Student-Parent Contract

Before each student starts at YES Prep, a staff member visits his or her home to collect signatures on the family contract. “YES Prep is not just a school. YES Prep is a way of life,” begins the document, which details the rigorous requirements of a college-prep program. Educators use the contract as a way to engage with parents, and to emphasize that success is possible only when students, parents, and teachers work together. Later, if the student’s commitment slips, they can use the contract as a teaching tool to help get the student back on track.

Give Teachers Input and Shared Responsibility for Excellence

School Director Mark DiBella regularly seeks ideas and feedback from his staff, and intentionally recruits teachers who are different from him, to ensure a diversity of perspectives at the school. Grade-level chairs lead their colleagues through weekly shared planning sessions, and teams of teachers learn by observing each other in sessions modeled on medical-student rounds. Brandenburg says, “I feel really valued here.”

Grace Rubenstein is a senior producer at Edutopia.

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How To Choose A Laptop For College

It is necessary to have a PC especially when you are already in college. They are not only used for academic purposes but also for entertainment and social interaction. It can be used in internet browsing, watching movies, playing online games, and for other purposes.

Well, as a student, the kind of laptop you want to buy is based more likely on your budget. Picking a laptop is difficult when you have tons of specifications you want to consider with a limited budget.

Here is a quick guide that might help you to choose the best laptop for your current needs. How to Choose a Laptop for College 1.  Choose your preferred budget range.

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2.  Pick your preferred operating system.

Laptops have three types of platforms namely MacOS, Windows, and ChromeOS. Picking the perfect operating system is a personal decision. Here is a summary of what each platform can offer.

Nowadays, Windows 10 is the most famous among the three. Generally, this is the default operating system on every PC except Apple computers. It is simple to utilize.

There are no restrictions when installing any kind of software. Take note that it is your responsibility to choose the type of app you will install. For the reason that sometimes there can be a trojan virus hidden on the app you are about to download.

Also, be mindful that there are times that an app is available in Windows but not in MacOS and vice versa. WindowsOS has a starting price of under 150USD but if you still cannot afford it, you can try laptops with LinuxOS.

Buying a PC with a pre-installed LinuxOS can be a good decision if you do not want to spend much money. But, if you want to change it into Windows, you can buy a copy of the licensed OS depending on the version you will choose.

3.  Choose a reliable processor and RAM

Choosing a good processor for your needs is quite not simple. Most laptops have AMD and Intel processors. If your purpose in buying one is generally for academic requirements and light computer games only then, Intel Core i3 and AMD A-series (A6 or A8) processor is enough for your needs.

However, if you are a student that is into programming, uses graphic design software, animation, and even heavy gamers, then you might need to spend more. You should consider getting Intel Core i5, i7, or AMD A10 processors.

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4.  Decide your preferred battery

A laptop battery is a crucial thing. Its importance is the same as choosing a processor and RAM. Since you are still a student, you might not have the chance to monitor the battery life of your laptop and charge it once drained.

One way to determine the capacity of your battery is by checking its rating and reviews. Make research and look for its specifications on the website of its manufacturer.

Then, you can consider to avail writing services that will fit your budget. Many services will make you pass your academic papers on time and helps you to achieve high remarks.

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5 Tips For A Successful Mail Campaign

Internet marketing is not only about having a web page and being present in social networks, but also about making the most of the resources offered by the internet. Now, we have the possibility to provide valuable content to users who request it in exchange for their data, and with this data, we can send them emails explaining in an attractive way what we can do for them and what they can obtain from us, and turn them into customers.

Everything depends on the subject

The subject of the email is what will make the recipient open it or not. It is the first contact that the potential client will have with your mail, so you have to be very careful not to waste the opportunity to get a client because of the subject that sounds like spam.

When deciding whether or not to open a mail, we generally consider two fundamental factors: the subject and the sender. If the sender is unknown, we will rely entirely on the subject to make the decision, and this will not take a few minutes, but it is a quick decision for a few seconds. So it is ideal for the subject to be short, direct and that it offers something to the recipient so that he/she is tempted to open it.

Since the objective is that the reader opens it, the most important thing is the call to action. If we also create a sense of urgency, the user will be tempted to open the mail once he sees it in his inbox and does not leave it for later. Including numbers will increase the opening rate, and some people also include emoticons in the subject.

Another resource is to use the titles of the posts you share in the mail, but keep in mind that you have to hook the receiver by offering something of value.

Use tools to manage your mailing campaigns

Your mailing campaigns will be better managed with a suitable tool to schedule the posts, organize databases, etc. Do not be seduced by the word “free” and choose the cheapest one to save money. Choose the tool that best suits your goals and do not mind spending a little to get much more profitable benefits. Some of the most used (and rightly so) are MailChimp, Mailrelay or Aweber.

Customize the emails with the recipient and do not overwhelm him

Has it ever happened to you that you subscribe to a page and, from that moment, you receive an email every few hours? It’s annoying, right? It is so annoying that you end up unsubscribing, or deleting their emails as soon as they arrive, or blocking all messages that come from that page. It is not a situation in which you would like to find yourself.

Sending a huge amount of emails, in the long run, is counterproductive. Of course, the intention is not to overwhelm your subscribers, but to keep them as well informed as possible. But maybe this is not the most appropriate way. Do not send an email every day; create intervals sending emails. A good option is to send a mail once a week: every Monday to start with strength, every Tuesday for people to focus on returning to work on Monday, every Thursday to dismiss the week. Choose a day and a time when the receivers are more likely to read and keep them.

Once you have defined the frequency with which you will be sending your mail, use the database to personalize the recipients. A personalized email calls more attention than one that is noted to be generic and is intended to be sent in bulk, so that, if you can include the name of the recipient in the mail or in the subject, do it. In fact, a personalized matter has a higher opening rate than a non-personalized. If the recipient gives the impression that he is receiving personalized content exclusively for him, he will not be so reluctant to open the mail. With the database, you can personalize the message with the names of the recipients, the place where he lives, the contents that most interest him, etc.

Send valuable content

We have to create content with the same frequency with which we elaborate email campaigns because if not, we will not have anything to send. You must send valuable content so that the recipient is tempted to open not only the mail but also what you are sending in it.

If you do not see yourself capable of creating enough valuable content each week to include them in your mail strategy, do not do it. Don’t stress yourself because you will end up writing anything and what you think is a quality content at best is a small trip caused by the rush and that will not please the receiver very much. If you cannot send valuable content every week, for example, change your mail strategy and send newsletters every fortnight, and you’ll have more room to create these contents. As we have already said, we should not burden recipients with messages day after day and it is not so much about sending three weekly mails; the important thing is that the frequency is constant and that the content is of quality so that your subscribers find it useful.

In the end, the content is the key

In an email, we have to say everything we want in the smallest possible space, in a clear and concise way. The trick to achieving this is, simply, practice. Read and write as possessed daily not only to improve how you write but also how you organize the ideas you have in your head and the messages you want to convey.

If, for example, the newsletter talks about the contents of some specific posts of your blog, you have to know how to sell all those posts in a few lines, always leaving a little space for the imagination so that the recipient decides to go to those articles and read them in their entirety.

Should You Start A Business Without A College Degree?

Lack of key certifications: Many certifications from which a business owner in your field could benefit are only available to people with undergraduate degrees. Exceptions certainly exist, but generally, the certifications that make finding clients easier require a full formal education first. That means skipping college could hinder sales. Does your passion exceed your patience?

Sometimes, great ideas can’t wait, and spending four years in college will result in missed opportunities. This was the case for Taso Du Val, founder and CEO of global tech industry network Toptal.

“I wanted to go to MIT, but the thought of waiting for four years before starting my career troubled me,” Du Val said. “So, I started pursuing my passion for entrepreneurship at a young age and, years later, ended up fixing a problem I noticed in the IT outsourcing industry. It’s just something I had to do. I was not going to sit around for years, listening to information I would never need in my life.”

If you wholeheartedly believe that your business idea can’t wait four years to pursue, skipping college may be the right track. Many young entrepreneurs tackle their business ideas as passion projects while they attend college, but it is important to identify at what point your business needs your full attention.

Do you have any real-world experience in the industry?

Hands-on experience in the industry you are pursuing is helpful, giving you the knowledge to see if you are on the right track. If you are unsure about starting a business without a degree, consider diving into your chosen industry to gain experience – perhaps working on your company as a side project before turning your idea into a full-time business.

Grech recommended volunteering with someone in the field before starting your own business, to learn if you like the industry, people and hours. People in some industries benefit from an apprenticeship or an internship.

“This will help you decide if you like the career enough to dedicate the time to starting your own business, and it will also help you assess your skills to know if you need further education to establish yourself as a professional in that field,” Grech said.  

For Randy Wyner, founder and president of the restaurant franchise Chronic Tacos, there was no choice when it came to getting a college education. His responsibility to support his young son meant he had to get a job instead of going to school. After working his way up to a managerial position at Jiffy Lube in just a few years, Wyner knew he had all the experience and drive he needed to become a business owner. He allowed himself time to develop his entrepreneurial spirit before starting his journey.

“Hands-on learning helped me understand how to manage a business quicker, whereas college students learn mostly by memorization techniques and tricks,” Wyner said. “Following this path helped me grasp what to do and what not to do when running a business. Although college may educate you on business elements, you can’t learn how to run a business until you actually become an entrepreneur.”

Are you financially stable?

While college is an investment, so is your business. You’ll need to calculate your expenses, create a budget and plan your timeline accordingly before dedicating your life to the project. 

“Understanding the total costs is crucial,” Portesy said. “Before you pursue a new business opportunity, map out the total investment – purchase costs, opening inventory, and how much working capital you will need before you break even.”

Sometimes, students will go for a degree and work in an industry for a few years, or on the side, to earn money to support their entrepreneurial journey. If you don’t think you can cut it without a sustainable career to leverage your success, then you might want to focus on school first. However, if you are currently in school and feel strongly about devoting all your time to testing or growing your business, check with your college about its leave-of-absence policy and online courses.

Tip

The choice between going to college and starting a business often comes down to whether you need a sustainable income to support your business. Accounting software can help you figure this out. For examples, read about our best picks for accounting software, or our review of Wave Financial’s free accounting software.

How To Write A Great College Essay Introduction

Admissions officers read thousands of essays each application season, and they may devote as little as five minutes to reviewing a student’s entire application. That means it’s critical to have a well-structured essay with a compelling introduction. As you write and revise your essay, look for opportunities to make your introduction more engaging.

There’s one golden rule for a great introduction: don’t give too much away. Your reader shouldn’t be able to guess the entire trajectory of the essay after reading the first sentence. A striking or unexpected opening captures the reader’s attention, raises questions, and makes them want to keep reading to the end.

If you get the admissions officer to read your essay a little more closely than another applicant’s, you give yourself more opportunity to show off how you can provide what the college is looking for in a candidate.

Start with a surprise

A great introduction often has an element of mystery. Consider the following opening statement.

Example hookI’ve never been good at breathing.

This opener is unexpected, even bizarre—what could this student be getting at? How can you be bad at breathing?

The student goes on to describe her experience with asthma and how it has affected her life. It’s not a strange topic, but the introduction is certainly intriguing. This sentence keeps the admissions officer reading, giving the student more of an opportunity to keep their attention and make her point.

In a sea of essays with standard openings such as “One life-changing experience for me was …” or “I overcame an obstacle when …,” this introduction stands out. The student could have used either of those more generic introductions, but neither would have been as successful.

This type of introduction is a true “hook”—it’s highly attention-grabbing, and the reader has to keep reading to understand.

Start with a vivid, specific image

If your topic doesn’t lend itself to such a surprising opener, you can also start with a vivid, specific description.

Many essays focus on a particular experience, and describing one moment from that experience can draw the reader in. You could focus on small details of what you could see and feel, or drop the reader right into the middle of the story with dialogue or action.

Bad exampleI learned the true meaning of pressure during my first gymnastics competition when I was 7 years old. After months of hard work, it all came down to the final moments of my balance beam routine. Good exampleI wiped the sweat from my head and tried to catch my breath. I was nearly there—just one more back tuck and a strong dismount and I’d have nailed a perfect routine.

Some students choose to write more broadly about themselves and use some sort of object or metaphor as the focus. If that’s the type of essay you’d like to write, you can describe that object in vivid detail, encouraging the reader to imagine it.

Bad exampleMy favorite Spotify playlist says a lot about me. Good exampleAfter hours sitting in my room staring at the screen, I’d completed it: my sonic alter ego. Pushing back against the worn blue office chair in my bedroom, I sighed contentedly, knowing that I had successfully spawned the Spotify playlist that was my spiritual twin.

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Avoid clichés

Cliché essay introductions express ideas that are stereotypical or generally thought of as conventional wisdom. Ideas like “My family made me who I am today” or “I accomplished my goals through hard work and determination” may genuinely reflect your life experience, but they aren’t unique or particularly insightful.

Unoriginal essay introductions are easily forgotten and don’t demonstrate a high level of creative thinking. A college essay is intended to give insight into the personality and background of an applicant, so a standard, one-size-fits-all introduction may lead admissions officers to think they are dealing with a standard, unremarkable applicant.

Bad exampleI have always made the best of bad situations. Good exampleLast November, I accidentally became a firefighter. In a rehearsal for a school play when a lighting fixture malfunctioned and the set caught fire, I helped extinguish it. Bad example“It’s not the number of breaths we take, but the number of moments that take our breath away.” As I look at the balance beam beneath my feet, I feel breathless from the excitement of my gymnastics competition. Good exampleAs I looked at the balance beam beneath my feet, my coach’s words echoed in my mind: “Visualize what you want.”

Other interesting articles

If you want to know more about academic writing, effective communication, or parts of speech, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

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Why College Students Should Give Freelancing A Try

The average annual cost of attending college in the U.S. has ballooned to more than $20,000, and the price tag is much more exorbitant if you are interested in attending a private university. This means that the vast majority of today’s students need an income source throughout the year, but it can be difficult to balance school with a typical work schedule. Additionally, the level of flexibility that is needed can force students to work a minimum wage job. In other words, even if they somehow managed to work 40 hours a week while attending school full-time, they would still fall at least $5,000 short of their tuition fees. Fortunately, there is a good alternative that can help: freelancing.

What Type of Freelance Work is Available?

The number of freelancers working at home continues to grow, and they are needed in a diverse mixture of industries, ranging from copywriters to insurance inspectors. The beauty of freelance work is that you can choose your hours and capacity, and it is often possible to set your own rate. As an added bonus, these jobs typically compensate at a much higher rate than minimum wage. According to chúng tôi which is an online invoicing resource for freelancers, more than half of the people who choose this type of work earn between $20 and $59 per hour. Highly skilled developers can command as much as $180 hourly.

How Can College Students Find Freelance Work?

There are numerous freelance opportunities available online, including many websites that are devoted to bringing freelancers and clients together. For example, writers can turn to content mills such as chúng tôi to earn some extra cash. Entrepreneur also recommends checking out Upwork and Elance for writers, mobile developers, designers and programmers. Individuals who are already experienced programmers might be eligible to join the top 3 percent of freelancers at Toptal, and this is a very viable way to make some serious money. If all of these options do not suit your specific talents or needs, you can even turn to Craigslist as a job resource for freelancers.

What Are the Perks of Joining a Freelancing Site?

Most reputable sites collect payments from each client and deposit them into your account, so this will minimize the risk involved in working with people on a short-term basis. Additionally, content mills may pay a cheaper wage than you can attract on your own, but they also give you the opportunity to hone your skills and attract some loyal clients. Another nice perk of getting involved with freelance sites is that you can join several of them to ensure that you will always have some work to choose from.

Freelancing does not offer the same stability as punching a time clock, but you will have the opportunity to earn a lot more money and to set your own hours. It is also really liberating to handpick the projects that interest you instead of being forced to do whatever your boss asks of you. When you combine all of these benefits with being able to build a portfolio that can help you find permanent work in the future, it becomes clear that freelancing is one of the best ways for a college student to make ends meet.

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