How to Answer: Tell Me About a Challenge You Had to Overcome in the Workplace

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This is a tough question because you’re forced to talk about a difficult time with a complete stranger. Fortunately, it’s also a great opportunity to turn a big challenge into a great accomplishment. In fact, we like to think of it as a related question to “Tell me about an accomplishment you’re proud of.” Why do employers ask this question? It’s because they want to know that they’re hiring someone who has the ability to think on their feet and who is resilient when facing challenges.

When answering this question, start by giving context for the situation and then showing how you worked out a solution to the problem. Try to keep your answer short and focused. After all, the interviewer is really looking for what you took away from the situation and doesn’t need to know the full backstory of what happened. If you need help structuring your answer, remember this acronym: S.T.A.R. It stands for situation, task, action, and result.

Here’s what they each mean and how you can use them effectively.

Situation

First, articulate to your interviewer the situation you were in so that they have context. What was the problem and how did it come up? In one or two sentences, create a clear picture so that hiring manager is able to visualize the challenge. If possible, keep things professional by focusing only on problems that have come up in class or at a previous job.

Say something like: “During my summer internship at a public relations firm, a client suddenly wanted to change an entire campaign strategy two days before launch. The client was unhappy with my team’s first draft, so we were tasked with redoing the entire plan.”

Task

Talk about the task at hand and tell your interviewer what each person was responsible for doing, so that they get a sense of how you fit into the team. You don’t have to go into a lot of detail but do set the scene with one or two sentences about the roles everyone played in the project.

Say something like: “We organized a late-night brainstorm that evening. After hours of work, I asked to take the lead on putting together a new deck. This was challenging because it was my first time putting a deck together and also our one chance to make the client happy again.”

Action

Once you’re done setting the scene, explain the actions involved in overcoming the challenge. Talk about your thought process and the steps you took to solve the problem. Again, one or two sentences is all you need to convey this.

Say something like: “I overcame this challenge by looking at previously successful presentations for the client, analyzing the feedback they gave on our initial presentation and incorporating all of the team’s ideas into the new deck.”

Result

While you should be honest and speak about a true challenge you’ve faced, be sure to end on a positive note so that your interviewer sees you as a proactive problem solver and a team player. Quantify your results if possible. It’s a great way to demonstrate the impact you’ve had on a project or company, and it lets the interviewer know that you’re focused on results.

Say something like: “The client was ultimately thrilled with the fresh plan, and all of the new ideas we included!”

Here’s how to tie this all together:

“During my summer internship at a public relations firm, a client suddenly wanted to change an entire campaign strategy two days before launch. The client was unhappy with my team’s first draft, so we were tasked with redoing the entire plan. We organized a late-night brainstorm that evening. After hours of work, I asked to take the lead on putting together a new deck. This was challenging because it was my first time putting a deck together and also our one chance to make the client happy again. I overcame this challenge by looking at previously successful presentations for the client, analyzing the feedback they gave on our initial presentation and incorporating all of the team’s ideas into the new deck. The client was ultimately thrilled with the fresh plan, and all of the new ideas we included!”

Answering “Tell me about a challenge you’ve overcome” is a great way to show potential employers that you’re able to think on your feet and to solve a problem effectively. This is a skill that interviewers are looking for in all of the candidates they hire and answering this common interview question effectively will serve you well at interviews for both internships and entry-level jobs.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Find an Internship as an Underclassman and find answers to common interview questions such as How Would Your Friends Describe You?.

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Top 10 Skills Employers Want in an Intern

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Internships provide invaluable professional experience and allow you to test the theories and concepts you’ve been introduced to throughout your college career — not to mention they increase your chances of being offered a full-time job later on.

No matter what your major or preferred industry, employers look for a core set of skills and traits when considering applicants for both internships and entry-level jobs. Your prospective supervisor is interested in more than just your GPA, so whether you’re hoping to be a summer intern, planning on honing your time-management skills as an intern during the academic year, or applying for your first job out of college, it’s worth your while to draw attention to the transferable skills you’ve picked up during your courses, community service and extracurricular activities.

Below are the top 10 skills employers want in an intern:

1. Communication

Communication occurs in a variety of ways, but future employers are primarily interested in your ability to write and speak professionally. You have the opportunity to demonstrate your written skills in your resume and cover letter, and your verbal skills as you supply thoughtful answers to the common interview questions you’ll likely be asked. During your interview, you might mention your experience giving oral presentations (which perhaps was required in some of your classes). The ability to communicate effectively — to translate ideas and convey information — is key in any field, whether it’s with your supervisor, coworkers, or clients, and employers are well aware that it is a valuable skill.

2. Interpersonal

The ability to communicate effectively is often related to one’s ability to relate well to others, or “people skills.” Depending on the industry, you may be interacting with clients and vendors as well as your co-workers and managers. It’s important to be able to build and maintain relationships and be the kind of person team members want in the office with them every day. Interpersonal skills are also important because employers seek individuals who can identify the wants and needs of others and who can recognize and acknowledge the value of differing perspectives.

3. Collaboration

As an intern, you’ll likely collaborate with other interns and company employees. Your ability to communicate and relate well to others is certainly important for collaboration, as is the capacity to work with others toward a common goal. As part of a team, you have to understand your own strengths and weaknesses so you know how you can best contribute, as well as be aware of how you can bring out the best in others.

4. Time Management

If you’ve managed to successfully take a full course load every semester and meet assignment deadlines, to some extent, you’ve already demonstrated time management skills. But as an intern, you’re not going to have a syllabus to tell you when your deadlines are. It’s up to you to organize your time and produce results. Employers want to know that you can prioritize responsibilities and recognize when it’s appropriate to multitask or focus on one particular project at a time.

5. Adaptability

Today’s work culture — whether you’re hoping to intern for a startup or well-established organization — often requires even the most senior level executives to wear multiple hats. As an intern, one day you might find yourself supporting the sales team and the next day performing customer service. While you may have an interest in a particular aspect of an industry, a willingness to become familiar with the different parts of an organization is definitely viewed as an asset (and also increases your exposure within the company).

6. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking refers to your ability to analyze and evaluate a situation or issue and form a judgment. The tendency to think critically can be demonstrated by a willingness to ask questions in order to understand an issue from all possible angles, and to pose creative solutions to challenges. It’s something many of your professors have likely emphasized and is highly valued by employers.

7. Research and Analysis

If you’ve completed any research papers or projects for your coursework (and you likely have), you already have experience with research and analysis. Don’t be shy during your interview for an internship; make it a point to bring up the empirical research you performed for your psychology class and the conclusions you came to about how your fellow students make purchasing decisions in the campus bookstore. As a new member of the organization, you’ll be hit with a lot of new information, and your ability to process that information is a testament to your ability to fulfill whatever role you’re assigned.

8. Initiative

You’ve applied for an internship to gain knowledge of an industry and professional experience, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to offer. During your interview, highlight instances where you’ve taken it upon yourself to contribute or positively affect change. Your potential employer will appreciate the chance to bring someone on board who doesn’t have to wait to receive direction for every task, and who’s willing to assist others with their work.

9. Receptiveness

While taking initiative is important, so is the ability to receive feedback. For example, if you’re asked about a time you made a mistake, you can mention the feedback you received regarding the error and how you responded to it. Your interviewer will want to know that you’re willing and able to address any weaknesses.

10. Technical Proficiency

You certainly won’t be expected to be an expert in whatever platform the company you’re applying to uses, particularly if you’re hoping to intern for a company within a highly specialized industry. But you should know your way around a computer, and your ability to navigate basic productivity software will likely be presumed.

The above are commonly identified skills that employers seek in interns, as well as applicants for entry-level jobs. Be sure to research your particular industry and familiarize yourself with other skills or character traits that may be desirable in your field.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out and find answers to common interview questions such as How Do I Get an Internship?

FIND YOUR NEXT INTERNSHIP ON WAYUP. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR FREE.

5 Technology Trends You Need to Know to Work in Any Industry

If you’ve been following the news on exciting tech trends like artificial intelligence, then you’re probably aware that emerging technologies are changing the way we work and interact with others. In fact, with things like machine learning and touch commerce becoming increasingly popular across every industry from banking to healthcare, technology is revolutionizing the way we do business and making high-tech approaches an integral part of our lives.

Here are the top five technology trends you need to know to work in any industry.

1. Internet of Things (IOT)

One of the biggest tech trends to emerge in recent years is the Internet of Things. Simply put, the Internet of Things (abbreviated IOT) is the idea that all technological devices can be connected to the internet and to each other in an attempt to create the perfect marriage between the physical and digital worlds. How will this impact you? It depends on your industry. For example, for those who work in marketing, advertising, media or business management, IOT could provide a wealth of information on how consumers engage with products by tracking their interactions with digital devices. In turn, this data could be used to optimize marketing campaigns and user experiences.

How it’s affecting industries: The really cool thing about IOT is that it’s not only changing the way we do business but also the business models we use to do it. For example, pay-per-use models are becoming increasingly popular across all industries as new customer data becomes available.

2. Machine learning

Another exciting emerging technology is machine learning, which is essentially a computer’s ability to learn on its own by analyzing data and tracking repeating patterns. For example, social media platforms use machine learning to get a better understanding of how you’re connected with those in your social network. They do this by analyzing your likes, shares and comments and then prioritizing content from your closest connections, serving you that content first.

How it’s affecting industries: In addition to shaping your day-to-day interactions with friends on social media, machine learning is also changing the way companies do business with customers. Companies like Google are using machine learning on mobile devices which can continue learning even when offline. The result? Machine learning is reshaping the way businesses interact with their customers in a big way by helping them anticipate and meet customer needs more easily.

3. Virtual reality (VR)

Remember watching movies about virtual reality and thinking how cool it would be if it was actually like that in real life? Well, it’s about to be. Although VR has been around since the 1950s, until recently the technology wasn’t able to deliver the fully immersive digital experience users have been craving. That’s about to change with recent improvements to both hardware and programming, and the effects are going to be felt across almost every industry from retail to education.

How it’s affecting industries: Virtual reality has been a popular component of video games for several years and this trend is continuing to expand. In addition to video games, VR is likely to affect companies across the board as they adopt the technology to help them engage customers more effectively and optimize their sales and marketing efforts. It’s also a potentially useful tool for learning and is increasingly being adopted by educational organizations.

4. Touch commerce

Being able to buy anything you want with the touch of a finger may have seemed like a fantasy a few years ago, but it’s now a reality. Merging touchscreen technology with one-click shopping, touch commerce allows consumers to buy products easily from their phones. After linking their payment information to a general account and enabling the feature, customers are able to buy everything from clothes to furniture with just a fingerprint.

How it’s affecting industries: This is one of the biggest things to hit eCommerce in recent years with purchases of this type expected to increase by 150% this year alone and retailers in almost every industry anticipating an increase in sales directly related to this new technology.

5. Cognitive Technology

Cognitive technology is in the same vein as machine learning and virtual reality except that it’s a broader concept. For example, the cognitive technology umbrella includes things like natural language processing (NLP) and speech recognition. Combined, these different technologies are able to automate and optimize a lot of tasks that were previously done by people, including certain aspects of accounting and analytics.

How it’s affecting industries: Although cognitive technologies have a broad range of applications, one of the industry sectors most affected by this trend initially will be the software sector. Automated analysis of user data and experiences will be particularly useful for software companies hoping to scale.

With emerging technologies changing professional industries including banking, eCommerce, healthcare and education, staying up to date on the latest trends will give you a better understanding of your chosen industry and make you a more competitive candidate. Best of all, this knowledge might open up new doors within your field and others.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look For in a Company and find answers to common interview questions such as How to Answer: What Are Your Strengths?

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College Study Hacks: How To Memorize Faster, Retain More, And Do Better On Exams

Studying is important. It’s how you got into college in the first place. But now that you’re here, things are a little different. High school tactics won’t do the job in a college class. Studying the night before or quickly looking over the key terms before a quiz won’t carry you to that “A” anymore. The classes are harder. They have fewer opportunities to get points. And the exams are longer and harder than ever before. Let’s face it: You need some college study hacks.

College study hacks are different than those entry-level methods used in high school. It’s the big leagues now, so you’re going to need to think differently. Some courses require mass memorization. Other professors will ask you to write an essay about any covered topic on the spot. Most exams will demand you do both. And there are three to four other classes demanding your attention.

We gathered all the best time-tested, gimmick-free study hacks to help improve your information access, retention, and exam performance. Here are the WayUp Guide’s five best college study hacks.

1. Form A Group ASAP

Studying with other people is a really powerful thing. Study groups combine the various strengths and different interests of multiple people. And, when done right, these groups can make each of their members fully prepared to get an A. There are a couple ways to do this.

You can study together in person. This way, you’re all forcing each other to be productive while you’re together. Plus, if any questions come up, you can talk to a real live person working on the exact same thing as you are. This is also a great social opportunity, too. You can make friends or connections you might’ve never met!

However, if you’re a lone wolf, like many people are, then there’s a way of group studying without meeting up. Just ask people in your class to put their emails into a shared Google Docs folder. After you’re all on the document, you can pool your knowledge, answer study guide questions, and have a solid understanding of what other people are studying.

It’s really important to do this ASAP, like during the first or second class. If you’re the person to pull out your laptop and say, “Everyone type their email in here and we’ll make a Google Doc,” then you’re in control. You can set up meetings, build a shared study doc, and benefit from everyone’s knowledge.

This can be especially important if you’re not so sure about the material. At the very least, you can organize the study group. That can be your contribution!

college study hacks

2. The Test Answers Are (Usually) Already Out There—Go Find Them!

This is one of the most surprisingly well-kept secrets of the college world. It’s true: Most of the time, test answers and questions are already available to you.

They usually take the form of practice tests, homework sets, practice problems, and other such student resources. If your school uses an online platform like Blackboard, you can usually find practice tests or problem sets on there. While the specific numbers might change (and that’s only a maybe), the stuff your professors and TAs have distributed was usually done so for a reason. They gave you practice problems because they thought it was important material. Don’t waste that opportunity to get a look behind the curtain!

Even if your teaching staff didn’t give you a practice test, your homework and problems that were done on the board during class are usually really important indicators of what’s going to be on the test. Tests are (usually) not deviously assembled to give you a hard time. The teachers are judged on your performance, too, and they want you to succeed.

3. Don’t Go To The Library If It Doesn’t Help You

This goes for any of the “classic” study tropes that might not apply to you. If sitting at a desk doesn’t work for you, then don’t do it! If writing stuff down doesn’t work, then don’t do it! You want to be comfortable, but alert, and definitely not anxious.

It’s hard to ensure that you’re going to be calm, cool, and collected because, you know, you can’t stop thinking about this looming exam. However, finding something that works for you emotionally, physically, and—of course—intellectually is the most important thing.

college study hacks
Just slide on out of that library!

If you live far away from the library and only plan on studying for 2 hours, don’t waste 30 minutes commuting there. Just go to your dorm’s lounge or a nearby Starbucks. Spending too much time thinking about the place is a waste of your own time. Just do what feels right and don’t feel any pressure to study the way someone else does—unless it actually works for you.

Same goes for methods of studying. Professors love to tell students how much research there is about the memory differences between typing out notes and handwriting them. But it’s just not the case for everyone. Many people excel with tools like Quizlet that don’t involve any handwriting.

Do what’s right for you!

4. Space Out Your Studying

There’s a well-observed phenomenon known as the “Curve of Forgetting.” Essentially, what the research concludes is that you’re much better at remembering stuff when you review it again later. This means leaving all your studying for one day (or even one session) is usually a bad idea in terms of mass memorization.

This also goes hand-in-hand with “chunking.” Also somewhat well-documented in the academic psychology world, the theory states that breaking up information into chunks of related ideas helps you remember it better in the medium-to-long term. For example, it might be easier to remember that Cookie Monster is blue if you also learn that he loves cookies and speaks like a caveman. The combined facts form a more cohesive story that is easier to remember. It’s not quite Sherlock Holmes’s famous “Mind Palace,” but it’ll do.

college study hacks

No matter what you believe, the point is that it’s best to study with a method.

5. Of All The College Study Hacks, The Best Is…Actually Study!

This one might sound snarky, but it’s true! It’s so easy to feel like you’ve spent a ton of time studying because you’ve been sitting in the library for hours or staring at your screen all day. But studying is the actual act of learning and memorization.

Be comfortable, don’t waste your own time, and study in bursts during which you can actually focus. Break it up with some light exercise to get the blood flowing and stimulate brain activity. And finally, don’t agree to any plans during your designated study time. However, on the flip side, don’t designate all your free time for a whole week or weekend to studying, because you’re just setting yourself up for failure.

College study hacks are great, but nothing beats the real thing! You can break it up however you like, just make sure you actually do it. If you’re someone who over-prepares for things, try not to. The stress of studying more than you need to can actually make you perform worse if you lose sleep or concentration.

Finally, when it comes to the critical moment of test-taking, just breathe, relax, and answer what you can.

For more back-to-school tips, tricks, and college hacks, be sure to check out the WayUp Guide!

Choosing College Classes 101: How To Pick The Right Schedule (Even If You Don’t Know Your Major)

The college experience is about a bunch of things. It’s about growing up, forging friendships, finding love, and charting a path for yourself. But more than anything it’s still school! Just because you’re not in high school anymore, doesn’t mean you don’t have to make academic decisions. So, choosing college classes is one of the most important things to get right while you’re there.

The right set of college classes can mean the difference between falling in love with a new subject or field or absolutely dreading (and failing) your 9 a.m. Organic Chemistry for Non-Majors class.

How do you go about choosing without knowing your major? Can you find out if a class is too hard? Can you really get good classes for your freshman year?

There are so many questions when it comes to choosing college classes. The WayUp Guide is here to answer them for you. If you put these five steps on your to-do list, you can walk away with the best possible schedule guaranteed.

1. Know What You Need

Choosing college classes is something that takes a method and a mission. You’ve got to know what you want and why you want it. It doesn’t mean having a 30-Year Plan or anything like that.

When You DON’T Know Your Major

You can even pick the right classes without knowing your major.

As long as you make a plan for your general education or school requirements ahead of time, you don’t need to know the fine points right away.

If you’re enrolled in the school of arts and sciences at your university—sometimes called “the college” or “general studies”—then you probably have a slate of required, across-the-board classes you have to take. However, it’s also likely that many Advanced Placement (AP) tests, SAT subject tests (sometimes called SAT IIs), or International Baccalaureate (IB) tests will get you out of those requirements.

For example, an AP test score of 5 on the AP Statistics exam will usually get you out of the math requirement. The same goes for a humanities requirement with the AP English exam.

When You DO Know Your Major

If you do know what you want your major to be, that’s when more careful planning becomes necessary. When it comes to choosing college classes for decided majors, the same rules apply for general education requirements: You need to plan ahead. But now that you know what your major requirements will be, too, you should plan those out as well.

This is especially true for double majors and people with minors. Now is the time to make the dreaded four-year plan. It can be intimidating thinking about planning that far ahead, but it will really pay off in a big way. And it absolutely does not mean that you can’t leave room for taking fun classes. Get everything required out of the way. That way, you’ll have time left over for fun classes like Creative Writing workshops or The Business of Space Travel.

2. Know What You Want

This part is a bit trickier, but a LOT more fun. Now’s the time to decide what it is you actually want to take.

Once you know that you need to take, for example, a history class, you can make a more specific decision. Like whether you want to take The History of Hip-Hop or Analyzing Wheat Output During The American Civil War. Both schools of thought are completely valid, but planning ahead of time lets you dive in to what you’re most interested in. Plus, when you take classes you like, you’re generally going to do better in them. Good grades mean a great GPA, which is always a plus for employers and grad schools!

You should also look into the teaching styles of your potential professors using sites like Rate My Professors or school-specific review systems like Boston College’s PEP system. Do they give a lot of homework? How are they with class participation? Are they supportive? Do they really challenge you? There’s so much to know (and find out) about a professor and a class beforehand.

Beyond knowing what you want in terms of actual subject matter and teaching styles, you have to know yourself and what you want. It’s awesome if you can wake up at 8 a.m. everyday and go to the earliest possible classes…but most people are not like that. Be realistic with your self based on your social schedule and habits about what class times and workloads actually work for you. There’s nothing wrong with having your day start at noon!

3. Weighing the Options

Now that you’ve found the classes you want and planned out the classes you need, you need to make some calls. Is it worth taking that 9 a.m. if you get that legendary professor? Is it too much of a hassle to put three general education classes in one semester?

Now that you’ve done your research, you should balance out your interests. Make sure you leave enough time for friends, fun, and perhaps even an internship during the semester. It’s never a bad idea to get more work experience. However, it’s a terrible idea to take on more than you can handle. Be ambitious, but not so much so that you end up disappointing yourself with absurd expectations.

4. Doing All This BEFORE Registration Opens

This is really the key to the castle.

Planning ahead gives you the ability to make backup plans. Knowing how badly you want something means knowing your first, second, and third choices. You won’t always get your #1, but you can usually get one of your top 3 classes.

Another pro tip: If you really, really want to take a class, then email the professor ahead of registration and let him/her/them know you plan on enrolling. If you share your enthusiasm, then they’re more likely to bump you up off the waitlist if you can’t get in.

If you’re only making last-minute decisions about registration, you’re going to end up having one option in your head and no backup plan, if that. That means you have a higher chance of getting into trouble.

5. Get Lucky With Registration Times

Even after all the prep work in the world, choosing college classes can be hard. You still have to get lucky with registration times. Colleges assign registration times somewhat randomly, although they usually consider seniority, athlete status, and a variety of other factors. If you go to a small college, then registration time can be particularly important.

It’s also important to do as much prep work as possible in terms of preparing for the actual act of registering. Many schools, like NYU, will let you pre-select your classes in their online system so you can just click “register” when your time comes. Those valuable few seconds lining the classes up could mean the difference between taking your dream class and your nightmare!

While this is luck-based, it’s also possible to game the system to your advantage. If you’re an athlete, a transfer student, or someone in a highly specialized major, then you can probably get a better registration time just by asking for it. Many schools also have accommodations for people with more difficult situations. If you’re one of those people, then make sure you get your due.

Choosing College Classes 201: In-Person Meetings

No matter how far away registration is, one of the best resources is your academic advisor. They can help answer questions like, “Does this AP test satisfy this requirement?” And many, many more like that.

You also might have a major advisor. They can help you understand which classes best align with your interests and which professors have the best reputations. Don’t sleep on these incredibly valuable resources.

If you do all that, then you’re more than ready to handle registration not just for now, but for the rest of college to come. Thirty minutes of work can make 4 years of school SO MUCH BETTER. For you, choosing college classes should be a cakewalk.

For more back-to-school hacks, tips, and tricks, be sure to visit the WayUp Guide!

Cheap Textbooks 101: 5 Hacks To Save You Cash On College Textbooks

College is expensive. With tuition, food, housing, and all the other unexpected costs, you can easily run up quite the bill. Plus, even if your parents, scholarships, or far-off loans are covering your college expenses, any of those entities will sometimes leave the cost of textbooks up to you. However, finding cheap textbooks isn’t as easy as it seems. With so many options online, really cheap textbooks can easily elude you.

That means it’s time to get crafty and save where you can. That way, you can have money for fun stuff, like dining hall chicken fingers or F’reals—or like, a salad, I guess.

Here at the WayUp Guide, we’ve gathered the five best moneyhacks guaranteed to secure your college textbooks for the best price.

1. Used College Textbooks Are Cheap Textbooks

Given that being able to write in, highlight, and otherwise abuse your textbooks is a useful thing, buying is your best bet. However, buying new is often extremely pricey. That’s why buying used college textbooks is generally your best move.

But it’s easy to end up paying more than you should even for a used book. That’s why it’s important to use an online price tool like CampusBooks.com or BookFinder.com before going to your bookstore. You should make a note of the lowest online price and then check (or call) your college bookstore as a final comparison. Usually, you won’t find the price of a used textbook from your campus bookstore online, so you need to call or check in person to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Campus Books Price Comparison For Cheap Textbooks
Most price comparison tools will look like this one from Campus Books.

With a used copy of the textbook, you can beat it up however you like during the semester. Plus, if you find that you’re not using it that much, you can always resell it to recover your investment! This is why buying used textbooks is the best option, if you can afford it. You have the option to mark up your book, but you can also resell online or on campus.

2. Rent Cheap Textbooks

Sometimes, even a used book is outrageously expensive. When the price of a used book is too high, it’s time to rent.

Those two sites above (Campus Books and Book Finder) both offer rentals on used books. Another great site for rentals is CampusBookRentals.com. Sometimes, renting through Amazon can be a better deal, because you can get a bundled-in Kindle version (or just a normal Kindle version), which is usually much cheaper. You can also read those without having a Kindle, but more on that in the next section.

Rentals can be tricky, though. You have to be VERY careful not to do too much damage to the book. You should also read the reviews for each renter VERY closely. Certain renters will basically always charge you for damages and others are the exact opposite. You’d definitely prefer the latter kind of renter. If you end up paying exorbitant fees for damages or lateness, then you’re not saving any money!

3. Get E-Books

Ah, e-books. Many people love e-books and their complementary e-readers. But most people usually feel pretty negatively about them for textbooks. Textbooks can be big books, with lots of text per page. They also often feature a ton of images, charts, and other edifying graphics. You don’t want to try to fit all that on a Kindle screen. However, if it’s just text, then an e-reader is usually fine.

But there is one important truth about e-books that we haven’t covered: Buying e-books is the easiest way to get cheap textbooks.

Here’s how you can get around the limits of an e-reader. Most e-books are available to use in your browser on your laptop, phone, tablet, or whatever. This is especially true for Kindle versions from Amazon. Kindle has a pretty robust in-browser e-reader that you can use to look at images and text without missing a beat. You still can’t write in it, but c’est la vie, they’re still cheap.

However, sometimes the only e-book versions available are from the publisher. These can range from totally amazing with a billion features to total, unreadable garbage. If the publisher is selling it on their own, potentially wonky platform, check out a review to make sure it’s not unusable. If you can’t find a review, then ask someone you know who might’ve taken the class before.

4. College Textbook Scholarships

This suggestion is a bit of a pipedream for most people, as textbook scholarships are often need-based and extremely limited. Most scholarship funds go to stuff like tuition, room and board, or even research. But there are some scholarships out there willing to help you with the cost of your books.

Check out this helpful list from CollegeScholarships.com to see what you might be able to qualify for.

Hey, you never know.

5. Plan Ahead, Don’t Get Caught Needing The Book Overnight

The most important lesson of the college scholarship hunt is to never get caught in a situation where you need the book overnight.

For example, you delay getting the textbook until it’s the night before the exam, therefore leaving you with the sole option of buying from the campus bookstore at a crazy markup. You could also burn up all your social capital with your new class friend, but judging from this behavior, you’re probably going to need that for later.

All jokes aside, this is the biggest mistake you can make. Buy or rent your books online as soon as you get the list. That way you’ll have access to the widest possible range of price options and you’ll have time to order the $20 copy of the $250 textbook from Germany that takes three weeks to ship.

Letting valuable time slip away means having to buy whatever the campus bookstore has on stock—which is usually pretty expensive.

Give yourself time to make the right decision for your budget! Finding cheap textbooks isn’t always easy, but it’s almost always worth it. Paying full price is usually a waste.

With these five hacks, you should be ready to save a ton on textbooks this semester. Don’t spend it all on milkshakes! Or do! It’s your money.

For more college hacks, career advice, and more, be sure to check out the WayUp Guide!

Study Abroad Scholarships 101: Everything You Need To Know About Qualifying And Applying

Studying abroad can be an expensive process. Financial aid and grants can help cover the costs of tuition. But even a great financial aid package doesn’t take care of all the hidden costs. With travel, lodging, dining out, and the higher costs of everyday life, it can really add up. That’s where study abroad scholarships come in.

However, experiences like study abroad shouldn’t just be for the privileged. And that’s why there are so many study abroad scholarships.

Here at the WayUp Guide, we’ve compiled an introduction to study abroad scholarships that will help you on the path to securing funding for your foreign adventure.

How To Get Study Abroad Scholarships

Like most things in college, Google search and your academic advisors (or other school officials) are your best bet. There are a ton of scholarships available for study abroad, you just have to be willing to fill out an application.

It can be very useful, though, to be detail-oriented throughout your search process. To make sure you don’t waste any of your own valuable application time, read the requirements for each scholarship thoroughly to confirm you qualify.

The more specific the scholarship is, the fewer qualified applicants it is likely to have. You should consider applying to niche scholarships and writing a thoughtful essay or personal statement. This way, you can increase your chances of actually getting the funding.

Another thing to keep in mind is that grades are often a huge deciding factor. The scholarship committee members will want to know that they’re not just paying for your vacation (even if they are). Try to be as thoughtful and honest as possible in your applications, too. If you had a bad semester grade-wise, then find a way to explain that in your essay.

How To Apply For Study Abroad Scholarships

Most applications involve submitting your academic transcripts, a personal statement or essay, and perhaps even a resume to a committee. The committee (or whoever runs the scholarship) will make a decision based on these credentials.

If the study abroad scholarships you’re applying for are available through your school, then you can often—but not always—apply through your school’s study abroad office. However, many of the best study abroad scholarships are open to the public and accept applications online.

As with all scholarships, though, many of them remain antiquated and accept paper applications. So, be prepared to buy some stamps.

Study Abroad Scholarships For Minorities, Under-Represented Groups, Non-Traditional Destinations, Those With Financial Need, And More

This list is just a tiny fraction of what’s available in terms of study abroad scholarships.

Many of these apply to CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) programs. CIEE is a great resource for those looking to find both programs and funding for study abroad. It’s especially helpful for those with specific academic or work interests.

Pro Tip: Keep Applying, Ask Around, And Don’t Give Up

The rule that goes for all scholarships goes for study abroad scholarships, too: Don’t stop applying. There are so many study abroad scholarships you can apply to. If you’re running out of scholarships to apply for online, then ask your study abroad or academic advisor for more. They will be able to provide you access to scholarships available either online or through the school.

For any other study abroad FAQs, tips, tricks, or more, be sure to check out the WayUp Guide.

Should I Study Abroad? Everything You Need To Know Before Making Your Decision

Study abroad programs are an amazing way to experience a new part of the world. They’re a rare opportunity to go in-depth into a foreign culture. Plus, they’re a launchpad for traveling around a new continent (or the world). But there are also risks—both professional and personal—to this kind of travel. So, if you’re wondering, ‘Should I study abroad?’ then we’ve got some answers for you.

Here at the WayUp Guide, we’ve gathered all your questions and the best answers the experts have to offer. After reading this and a little research, you should be able to make a decision with confidence.

Should I Study Abroad?

The first thing to consider about study abroad is whether or not it genuinely interests you. At many schools, there’s a ton of pressure to study abroad, but it’s not right for everyone. So, the first question you should ask yourself is, ‘Do I really want to study abroad?’ And if the answer isn’t a strong yes, then you shouldn’t feel the need to pursue it.

Once you’ve sorted out whether you’re interested in study abroad, there are two other major factors to consider: graduation and finances.

Study abroad programs are far less flexible than a normal semester when it comes to which classes are offered. And if you don’t plan your classes out ahead of time, it can make graduating in four years (or however long you planned) very difficult.

Even though scholarships and financial aid are available for study abroad, there are a ton of hidden costs to the study abroad experience. Stuff like travel, dining out, and basic living necessities come up a lot, and usually cost more (especially in a tourist hotspot or big city).

Does My School Have A Study Abroad Program?

If your school has an established study abroad program, it can make the process much easier. If they do, then they usually have a streamlined process for making sure you can take the right classes and pay for it with financial aid, scholarships, grants, etc.

So, finding out whether your school has a program should always be your first step. Here’s how.

The easiest way to do it—like so many things now—is to Google it. Just type the name of your school plus “study abroad,” and it should bring you to the landing page for your school’s study abroad program (like this one). From there, the world is your oyster. That page should have all the info you could ever want on study abroad. Plus, it will usually give you contact info for a study abroad counselor or program coordinator. You can ask them all the nitty gritty questions about financial aid, campus culture, and beyond.

If something isn’t immediately showing up, then it gets trickier. Your school might not have a whole department of people working on study abroad, but they still might have a program. In this situation, there should still be something turning up on your online search. But if there isn’t, then you should contact your academic advisor. Advisors are on the front line for study abroad everywhere, because they have to make sure it works with your degree.

Can I Still Study Abroad If My School Doesn’t Have A Program?

The short answer is, yes!

Many universities have programs that are open to applications from different schools. Doing the program through another university will usually allow you to get equal (or higher) quality credits for your classes. Plus, you can meet a whole new set of people.

However, this is something you will have to clear with your academic advisor way ahead of time. Other schools have different methods of awarding credits, so coordination can be tricky. So, be sure to get a head start on meeting with your advisor and applying to programs.

Can I Study Abroad And Still Graduate On Time?

Again, the short answer is, yes. Most people who study abroad are able to successfully graduate on time. It can even be a GPA and resume booster, if you play your cards right.

However, there is also a long answer (a very long answer), too. You must speak to your academic advisor and clear everything you take ahead of time. There’s usually a much more limited selection of classes. So, you have to pick carefully and plan around it.

All in all, it’s doable, but you need to plan ahead.

How Much Does Study Abroad Really Cost?

The cost of a study abroad program is so much more than just the price tag on the actual semester. You have to consider the costs of flights, travel, dining out, furnishing your dorm, and so many other things.

Many people end up spending thousands of dollars in addition to whatever tuition they paid. There are, of course, ways to do travel on a budget. (There are even guides for study abroad on a budget). So, it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Depending on your desired location, especially if it’s a big city or tourist hotspot, the costs will vary. Be sure to research, at least generally, the costs of living ahead of time.

If you’re planning on making money once you arrive, there’s a whole web of legal hurdles you’ll have to jump through. Some countries don’t allow temporary students to work. Others will place exorbitant taxes on the money you do make. All that’s to say, DON’T count on making money once you’re there.

DO plan on working or otherwise saving up money ahead of time. That way you can book travel plans early to save on flights and accommodations. You can also make a budget for yourself to stay on track.

Having enough money beforehand can really improve the experience. So, if you want to travel a lot, go out with friends, and try new foods, make sure you can afford it before you sign up.

If you think you can balance budgeting, taking the right classes, and have a genuine interest in foreign travel, then study abroad might be right for you. For all your study abroad FAQs, tips, tricks, and more, check out the WayUp Guide right now!

Here’s What You Need To Know About Working In Business Technology And IT (Hint: A Tech Degree Isn’t Always Required)

Every successful company specializes in something—but being an expert in one area doesn’t make them an expert in all areas. This is especially true when it comes to technology. Executives across all industries need help deciding which tools work best for their companies, and that’s where business technology and information technology (IT) professionals come in.

What does Business Technology and IT mean?

This industry spans everything from your in-house IT support team to the Chief Information Officer (CIO)—and there’s plenty in between. Network Architects, Systems Engineers, Business Tech Analysts, and Project Managers all play a role in a company’s IT strategy.

Working internally in one of these positions, you’ll be making decisions about what kinds of technology your company purchases, which software packages best suit the needs and values of your firm, and the installation and maintenance of this infrastructure.

One of the reasons this is such an important element of business—aside from the obvious necessity of having at least some technology—is the efficiency that can be achieved by having the right technology. This is huge. Efficiency is time, and time is money. This is why firms often turn to Business Technology and IT Consultants to make sure they get it right.

The Advantages Of Working As A Business Technology IT Consultant

Consultancies with a focus on business technology are becoming increasingly important as technology evolves and grows. That’s why traditional management consultancies like Accenture have formed such tech-dedicated offshoots like Avanade—the leading digital innovator, focused on driving results for their clients through the power of people and the Microsoft ecosystem.

One of the benefits of working as a consultant in this field is the superior professional challenge, and rich employee experience. Because these consultancies are solely focused on crafting the best business technology solutions, their employees have the opportunity to innovate for a variety of companies across a multitude of industries.

If you’re someone who loves the hustle and bustle of activity, another benefit of being a Business Tech Consultant is the opportunity to travel for work. At a company like Avanade, which works in more than 20 countries around the globe, your services can be called upon nearly anywhere. You’ll fly out to meet the client on-site and start working out of their office while you and your team craft the solution that’s right for their business needs. This can make consulting in this field an excellent choice for recent grads looking to expand their horizons.

How To Start A Career In Business Tech And IT

While it’s obvious how having a degree in computer science or engineering could provide useful knowledge for one of these roles, those aren’t the only ways in. Firms look for any number of qualifications, many of which revolve around business sense, intelligence, and problem-solving ability.

“We’re not focused on the degree. It’s more about the skills and technical mindset,” says Avanade hiring expert and head of North America Campus Recruiting, Lisa Kochert. “It’s about critical thinking and problem-solving.”

So, you might be a physics major, but your exposure to data science and programming in labs could make you a great fit for the role. Or perhaps you’re a political science major who has exposure to statistics and digital problem-solving—there are plenty of tracks that prepare you to perform in a technical role without having a specific IT or computer science degree.

At companies like Avanade, you’ll also receive a ton of training and professional development—more than 80 hours a year. As long you can show that you’re a proactive problem-solver with a passion for technology, you can possibly start a career in the field right out of school (or do an internship while you’re still an undergrad).

If you’ve got the technical mindset and a voracious appetite for creating and delivering solutions, then check out opportunities at Avanade. They’re hiring on WayUp!

How To Answer: Why Do You Want This Job?

One of the most important questions you’ll ever be asked in an interview is, ‘Who would win in a fight, Batman or Superman?’ Just kidding! (The answer is Batman BTW.)

The most important question actually is: Why do you want this job?

Deceptively simple, this question has the potential to make or break your chances of landing your dream job. But don’t fret, because we’re going to walk you through crafting the perfect response. Plus, we’ll go over a few common mistakes that people make, too, just for good measure.

Batman approves.

Answering The Most Important Question

There are two parts to a great answer for “Why do you want this job?”

The first part of your answer should focus on the position you’re applying to. You want to start by describing why you’re interested in that specific job.

Say, for example, you’re in an interview for the position of—oh I don’t know—Keeper of the Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Your answer should therefore highlight your passion for plants and animals. Think about specific things you’ve done that would show this. For instance, maybe you were president of Hufflepuff’s Herbology club or grew up on a Mandrake farm. The key is to take something from your past experiences that shows an interviewer you’ll work hard and care about succeeding if you’re hired.

What most people think after answering that question.

The second part of your answer should focus on why you want to work at THIS company.

The key here is research, research, and more research. You want to find something unique and interesting about the company that shows you didn’t just skim the “About Us” section on its website. Make sure you find something specific and relevant to the position you want. There are plenty of resources where you can easily access this kind of information, like WayUp company profiles, podcasts, company blogs, etc.

Read ALL the articles!

Some Common Interview Mistakes To Avoid

Even if you have the makings of a great answer, there are a couple common mistakes we’ve come across that will drive any interviewer insane.

The first is answering the phone with just a simple, “Hello.” or the painfully casual, “Hey.” This leaves interviewers responsible for following up with something like, “Is this Patrick?” and gives them unnecessary work.

A simple solution is to always answer the phone by saying, “Hello, this is Patrick.” If you’re answering a call for an interview, you want to sound as professional as possible. (Of course, don’t say “Patrick” unless that’s your name.)

The next problem is a bit harder to tackle: filler words. For those unfamiliar with filler words, I present exhibit A:

Don’t think Patrick gets too many second interviews.

We can promise that if you pepper your interview responses with “ummms,” “likes,” and “uhhhs,” then your chances of getting hired plummet. It makes you sound like you didn’t prepare ahead of time and don’t really care about the job.

The best way to avoid filler words is practice. Once you have your perfect response crafted, say it out loud over and over again until you’re reciting it in your sleep.

Do, however, leave some room for improvisation and try to sound natural. Some “likes” and “umms” are inevitable, but don’t make it seem like it’s a habit.

Think Before You Speak

If you’re applying for a job, make sure you know why you want it. Any interviewer worth her salt will want to know, so think about why the position and company are right for you. Answering this well will distinguish you as someone who’s not only qualified for a job but also ready to thrive and succeed in the long-run.

P.S. If you’re interested in seeing these techniques put into practice, check out my other article about how I landed a job by wearing mismatched socks!