The importance of continued education

Posted on Aug 17, 2013 in Education | 0 comments

Education RocksI don’t think we always realise how much the world has changed over the last 150 years. Not only did my great-grandfather grow up in a world without aeroplanes, unmanned drones, Internet and tablets, he also grew up in a world where one could choose a career, complete the required studies and then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your knowledge for the rest of your days.

In today’s world that is simply no longer the case. Somebody who completed a bachelor’s degree thirty years ago and who never did follow-up studies will no doubt find that technology has made a significant part of his knowledge redundant.

Thirty years ago people still used typewriters and when they wanted to keep record of their customers they had little index cards containing the name and address of every customer.

Nowadays we store all this information in electronic databases. We can even program the system to send an automatic email to a customer when it’s his birthday.

The downside of all this rapid development is that there is simply no other option but to become a perpetual student.

Luckily technology comes to our aid in this regard. With modern distance-learning universities, students can enjoy virtual classes where teacher and student interact like in any ‘real’ classroom. They can also interact with other students via social media websites and if they have a problem with a topic the lecturer is only an email away.

There are few excuses therefore not to keep abreast of the latest developments in your field of specialisation. All you need is the necessary willpower.

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I am learning to write better essays

Posted on Jun 22, 2013 in Education | 0 comments

As you probably know by now, I run my own business and one thing I have learned is that in a rapidly changing business environment one can’t simply assume you know everything. That is why I am currently enrolled in a part-time business studies course at a local university.

Many of the things they teach me I already know, but there are also times when I have an ‘aha’ moment, when I suddenly understand something about the business world and the marketplace that has puzzled me up to that moment.

To me the worst part of studying is that it inevitably involves writing essays. I have honestly never been any good at writing. I might know all the facts by heart, but I always find it difficult to express myself coherently in a manner that the lecturer finds acceptable.

Luckily I stumbled across a service that has a huge essay database, so one can learn from the professionals. There are literally thousands of different essays on a wide array of topics, including business studies. It gives me the opportunity to study essays that were reviewed by A* students to get tips on how to do it myself.

They also have many essays that have been critiqued by highly qualified tutors and for one reasonable fee it is possible to download as many essays as you wish and keep them for as long as you want.

I’ve used this service countless times over the past few months, because apart from helping me with my own essays it has also often given me new ideas on how to approach a particular problem.

Another nice feature of this service is that they regularly upload new essays, so there is always something fresh to read and to learn from. My essay writing has definitely improved since I started using the service and I can only say thanks to markedbyteachers.com for doing such a great job.

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To go to university or not

Posted on Mar 31, 2013 in Education | 0 comments

I went to university, to my obvious benefit.  I got my qualifications, made some great friends and developed skills I otherwise would not have got.  I now run my own business, and I imagine that without the benefit of third-level education, I wouldn’t have had the confidence or ability to strike out on my own.  Having said all of that, I know that university is not for everyone, and with the increase in fees here in the UK, many students that would have previously gone to university are now instead considering their options.

An important piece of advice I would give is that anyone considering university needs to think carefully about what course they want to take.  Universities hold open days, so take advantage of those and visit the campuses to ask questions about particular courses you are interested in and learn all you can about them.  Choosing the wrong course at university is a frustrating experience, and I saw it happen to people I knew.  They lost that sense of belief in themselves, and what should have been one of the best times of their lives became a bit of a drag.

If someone is unsure whether they want to go to university, they can defer a place and take a gap year.  In the gap year, they might discover, through travel or work experience, what it is they really want to do with their lives, and it could be completely different to what they wanted to do originally.  Alternatively, a gap year may reinforce their original choice because their experiences will have taught them that this is what they really want to study.  A gap year can also provide someone with the independence and self-awareness they might have been lacking coming straight from school into a university environment, with all the challenges that it entails.

I would point out finally that someone equipped with a university degree will, on average, earn far more across their lifetime than someone who is not.  There are no guarantees in life, that is for sure, but I know that a university degree has equipped me to give it the best shot that I can.

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Getting help with essays

Posted on Feb 14, 2013 in Education | 0 comments

When I was at university I remember how difficult it could be to get that crucial essay assignment finished.  I also remember the feelings of whether I had done it right, so to have a resource at your fingertips for help with essays is a real advantage.  This is where markedbyteachers.com comes into its own.

Marked by Teachers is a website developed by students for the benefit of fellow students.  It features sample essays across a range of subjects, and detailed advice on getting an essay right.  The work on the website is from A* students, so it is worth accessing.  Teachers have critiqued the essays and having their perspective on what constitutes good work is a real plus.  The advice and essays are not restricted to university level either.  GCSE, AS and A level, and the International Baccalaureate are also covered.  Pricing is keen, and students have the assurance of knowing that the essays uploaded onto the site are approved by Turnitin, the leading anti-plagiarism body in the UK.

If a student happens to be burning the proverbial midnight oil then it is good to know that, with Marked by Teachers, they have a 24/7 resource to help get them through the essay process.  I would have appreciated having a resource like that during all those late nights I stayed up trying to get my assignments finished.  It was, of course, very different in my day (I sound so old) and even getting access to a computer, never mind an online essay resource, could be a challenge.

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Tips for choosing a university

Posted on Jan 2, 2013 in Education | 0 comments

GRADUATEI am not that far from the university scene and sometimes I think young people do not have any idea about how to go about finding the best one. Here are some tips that I used when I was looking for a college; hopefully they will be of some help to you.

Distance

Are you planning to live at home while in university or would you prefer get away and explore some other part of the country? Consider how far from home you really want to be and then choose universities with the most suitable courses that are within that geographic area.

Coursework

If you know what you wish to study, choosing a university will be a little easier. Only a handful will have the exact course you are looking for if it is highly specialised. Even beyond just the courses, consider whether or not the college has the level of tutors you are looking for and also look at the courses included in the programme. Above all, be certain that the university has all of the courses you require.

Prestige

Some universities look better on a résumé than others. If you are looking at a number of them that are substantially equal, but one is more prestigious than the others, go with the one that will give your CV the biggest boost. At the end of the day, your degree is simply a stepping stone to your career, so keep this in mind when you apply for a place.

Take a tour

Once you have narrowed down your selection, take a tour of the universities on your list; the right one will feel like home when you visit. Check out the houses of residence, lab facilities and anything else that might impact your time there, so you can make an informed decision about an establishment where you are sure you will feel comfortable.

It might be tempting to choose your university based on where your friends are going and that may not be a bad factor to consider. Remember, in the end, you are getting an education, so be sure to consider all the relevant factors before making your final decision.

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21st century students

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 in Education | 0 comments

University feels like a long time ago to me now, and school is even longer.  It’s got to be a sure sign that you’re getting a fraction older, when you find yourself getting just a little bit irritated by students, with their geek chic glasses and the carefully put-together ‘just got out of someone else’s bed’ clothes. It’s like thinking that policemen look like they’re about 12, or putting on a coat when you go out now on a Friday night in winter.  I’m pretty sure it’s all changed since ‘my day’ (see – that’s the other sign you’re getting old).  And I’d like to stop sounding like my grandad, please.  All I really mean is that I remember writing notes with pen and paper, and waiting in line to use a computer when an essay deadline was looming.  And honestly, that’s not that long ago, although writing this and reading it back is making me feel like some kind of dinosaur.  What do students do now to prevaricate – do they just get distracted by Twitter and Facebook now rather than daytime TV?  Enough already, I’m sounding ancient now.

I reckon I’d quite like to have a go at being a student again, but right now, with all the advantages, with an iPad to hand and the whole of the internet at your beck and call to put together an end of term essay, rather than trying to get your hands on the last copy of the set text left in the library. There’s some interesting help out there as well.  I came across Marked By Teachers.com the other day, where you can sign up to get top tips and advice in this area, and you can download sample essays from fellow students.  Not just any students though, A* students, so it is well worth a look.  There’s a really wide selection, constantly updated, and it covers relevant coursework topics across all subjects.

I wish something like this had been around when I was studying for exams and producing coursework.  I imagine that logging into this is a lot easier than persuading your mates to share their homework.  With useful feedback from teachers too, it looks to be a good way of getting reassurance and guidance.  Everything on the site has been through Turnitin’s anti-plagiarisms checks too.  It’s always been pretty difficult to be truly original, and not to just re-word something you read, but with access to so much information now it might actually be harder for students to focus on their own work.

Maybe I should stop feeling all nostalgic, and leave 21st century studying to those young enough to handle it!

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