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Next Step Academy | 2015 March

Public Service College Book Scholarship

March 30th, 2015 by

Stars and stripesScholarship:  Goedeker’s Appliances Annual Public Service College Book Scholarship

Amount: The grand prize is a $500 scholarship. Two $100 scholarships will also be awarded to honorable mention entries.

Description: Those who balance serving our country with a desire to further their education deserve our utmost respect and any help we can give them. That is why we would like to extend a special scholarship to people who are employed in public service positions in particular. This includes:
• Federal, state, and local government employees
• Police officers and firefighters
• Active military, reserves, and veterans
• Public school teachers
• Employees of non-profit organizations

These awards extend to their immediate family as well.

Write an essay about why you personally deserve to be a scholarship recipient. Provide some insight into your background and area of need; convince us that you would be the best choice. These will be judged based on originality, creativity, organization of thought, and proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Requirements:
• Essay length should be 300 words minimum.
• Clear contact information (name, mailing address, preferred means of contact).
• A few sentences about yourself and a recent photo of yourself which will be used for publicity purposes on the Goedeker’s Home Life blog.
• Proof that you are enrolled in an accredited college for the spring 2015 semester OR proof that you have been accepted at an accredited college for the fall 2015 semester.
• Proof that you or a member of your immediate family is employed in a position of public service, such as a letter from your/their employer or a copy of your/their most recent pay stub
For family members of public service employees: provide proof of relation
• For veterans: provide proof of previous service

Deadline: Submission deadline is July 31, 2015, at 12 a.m. (CDT). The honorable mentions will be awarded on August 17 and August 18, 2015. The grand prize will be awarded on August 19, 2015.

For more information:  Visit the Goedeker’s Appliances Annual College Book Scholarship website for more info and submission information.

Best of luck to those who apply!

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How to take a practice test

March 24th, 2015 by

Did you know that you can take a practice standardized test without even leaving your living room? Our intern Emily recounts her experience taking a practice test and shares her tips on how you can make it something beneficial to your learning.

NSA-testing-blog

During my spring break, I decided to take a practice online Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test through Kaplan because I am considering graduate school after I finish my undergraduate degree. I didn’t have anything to lose — the online test was free and all I had to do was sign up and register to take the test. There are many time slots available but the only time that worked for me was 9 p.m. on a Thursday night. The test took four hours, so I was online until 1 a.m.

I logged in 15 minutes early, as Kaplan suggests. As soon as it was time, my “teacher” Gene began talking to us. Gene communicated with us via webcam and all 70-80 people taking the test were able to see and hear him. There was a slide-sharing feature that allowed us to see what he was pointing at or writing and we had access to a public chat where we could respond to his questions or share our thoughts. Off-camera teachers were also there to answer any personal questions we had privately.

Gene walked us through the basics: what the GRE was, what we were about to see and what would happen after we took the test. We were then off to take the test; we would reconvene at 12:08 a.m.

In the practice test, you don’t do the two essays required when you take the real GRE. There are five sections — three quantitative reasoning (math) and two verbal. Each section had its own time limit. There are features that allow you to mark a question you want to come back to, a calculator to use for the math sections and the ability to turn off the timer. I left it on because it kept me on track.

Immediately upon finishing the test, you’re given your score. You can see which questions you got wrong, the time you spent on each question, the explanation of the answer and even if you had the right answer but switched it to a wrong one or vice versa.

When we were all done, Gene came back on and discussed the meaning of our scores and how easy it is to change percentiles. He used four questions to show us different strategies to use when we take the test and gave us tips. For example, it came as a surprise to me, but on some of the math questions, the test makers are looking for you to recognize similar values, not necessarily solve the problem.

The teachers stuck around after everything was completed to answer any personal questions in a private Q&A. I got off because I didn’t have anything pressing to ask and I was exhausted.

Taking this practice test really helped me. I hadn’t prepared much — just flipped through a few pages on my prep book, so the test allowed me to see what I should expect and what I needed to work on. Also the GRE will be the first standardized test I’ll take on a computer, so it helped to see the look and get an example of what taking a digital test will be like.

In addition to the GRE, Kaplan also offers free PSAT, SAT and ACT options for pre-college tests. Free medical-related test prep options include MCAT, NCLEX, PCAT, OAT, DAT and USMLE. Other free test prep options are LSAT and GMAT.

My suggestions for taking an online practice test:
• If it’s late at night, set yourself up at a table — if you’re in your bed, you’ll be tempted to close your eyes.
• Try to be in a quiet setting. I listened to music while I took the test because my family was still up at the beginning, but I won’t be able to do that in the test.
• Try not to talk yourself through questions out loud. It may seem helpful and normal because you’re on your own, but that’s also not allowed on the test.
• Have lots of scrap paper ready. You get this when you take the actual test, but don’t forget about it for the practice one.
• Take your time and remember it’s just a practice test. Just remind yourself that it’s practice – now is the time to take too long and miss questions, you’ll learn from this.

> For more, take the College Placement Tests course at Next Step Academy. 

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5 tips to improve your attitude

March 5th, 2015 by

No matter what it is, a negative time in your life can leave you down. Darlene Hunter, a renowned speaker and author of “Win-Ability, Navigating through Life’s Challenges with a Winning Attitude,” says that overcoming emotions that come with hard times comes down to a person’s mindset and perspective.

Attitude is an important life skill. It can affect your efficiency and ethic in your work life as well as your personal life. Plenty of people have failed at something in the beginning of their journeys but, as Hunter says, they have made it to the top of their profession because they did not give up after being told they weren’t good enough. Having the right attitude can help you persevere and reach your goal.

Hunter offers five tips that can ensure you’re equipped with this crucial life skill by changing the way you think, which will ultimately change your results.

Be a planner
In order to be successful, you need to know what you want and have a plan for getting there. Make sure you know “how” and “why.” They will guide you in the right direction.

Be goal oriented
After setting your goals, you must complete them. To do this, make sure you set small goals you can accomplish to lead up to your overall goal. Check off your goals as you go in order to see yourself become one step closer to what you ultimately want to achieve.

Be driven for results
Always know what you are seeking. Being driven allows you to accomplish whatever it is that you’re seeking by giving you a desire. Results-driven people can focus on meeting objectives and can deliver on the goals they set.

Have a winning attitude
Success comes from being determined, dedicated and devoted. Don’t give up on your goals when something goes wrong or it’s taking longer than you expected.

Be focused
When you are focused, you have a clear perception and understanding of what you want to accomplish and where you need to go to get there. Find your pace and stay focused and concentrated on what will get you to your goals.

> Want to learn about and develop more life skills? Take a 10-minute course at NextStepAcademy.com

 

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Culinary Voice Scholarship Challenge

March 3rd, 2015 by

Chefs preparing breakfastThe Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) is hosting it’s first-ever Culinary Voice Scholarship Challenge. ICE is giving away eight scholarships — totaling more than $140,000 — in its search for the next generation of culinary talent. America will vote for the finalists and the winners will be chosen by a panel of ICE industry experts.

To enter the contest, upload a one-minute video to ice.edu/culinaryvoice demonstrating creativity, passion for food, service or entrepreneurial flair. In the video, contestants should explain who they are, what they hope to achieve in the culinary or hospitality industries and why they deserve the scholarship and the chance to study at the nation’s newest, state-of-the-art center for culinary education (opening Winter 2015 in Lower Manhattan). 

50 finalists will be determined by public vote, and for every vote, ICE will make a donation to No Kid Hungry to help end childhood hunger in America.

One full scholarship and one partial scholarship will be awarded for each of ICE’s four award-winning career training programs: Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Culinary Management and Hospitality Management.

Voting begins on March 1, but you have until March 28 to vote and upload an entry. Winners will be announced on April 3rd, 2015

> Not sure if a job in culinary is the right career path for you? Explore a little more with this quick course about Culinary Arts.

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