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!

Can I Work While Studying Abroad? Everything You Need To Know About Students Working Overseas

Can I Work While Studying Abroad?

Getting a job while you study abroad is sometimes possible. But it depends on a whole mess of legal issues that depend entirely on the country you’re in and the country you came from. Here at the WayUp Guide, we’ve put together the ultimate explainer to make sure that you can navigate the murky waters of getting a job while studying abroad. We’ll answer all your big questions so that you can get the most out of your time as an expat. You’ll have plenty to consider when it comes to deciding whether you want work while studying abroad.

Is it legal to work while studying abroad?

It can be, yes. A few of the biggest hot spots for North Americans studying abroad do actually allow foreign students to work while they’re there. But many of them have restrictions that make it impossible to do so legally—especially if you’re only there for one semester. And nearly all of them limit the hours you can work to 20 (part-time status).

For example, Australia and New Zealand allow you to work 20-hour weeks while you’re on their student visas. (That said, New Zealand has for more conditions for that work, so please check their local laws here before you go.) 

However, countries like Ireland and the United Kingdom—the latter of which, of course, includes Top 5 Study Abroad location London—limit working under student visas to students spending at least one academic year in the country. That means most one-semester-abroad students are out of luck.

Other countries still have more complicated rules. Take China, which technically allows students on visas to work, given that they fill out a mountain of paperwork and get permission from their university. Some countries require you to take a job that’s in your chosen field of study.

As you can probably tell from this brief list, the laws for working abroad are complicated and region-specific. Check out this neat resource from Go Overseas, which features a table with some laws from the most popular regions. As always, though, be sure to check with the embassy’s site for the final word on current regulations and restrictions.

All of this is for legal working. But many do freelance work like teaching English (or another language), translation, or part-time restaurant/bar work under the table (taking money off the books without official permissions or paying taxes). However, working illegally in a foreign country can constitute tax evasion and violation of other laws. That can carry harsh penalties like huge fines, expulsion from your school, and even jail time. (In case it needs to be said: You obviously shouldn’t work illegally.) Which brings us to…

Can I volunteer while I’m studying abroad?

The short and long answer for this one is YES! Because there’s no exchange of paychecks or taxes involved, volunteer work is largely available to folks with student visas. You might have better luck finding certain types of charities and missions in certain countries or regions. But, generally, whatever country you visit will have charitable organizations ready and willing to accept your help.

If you study abroad in places outside of Western Europe—especially in Africa or South America—where international non-government organizations (NGOs) like the Red Cross and OxFam have an active presence, then it’s going to be easier to find volunteer work and to get involved on a larger scale. However, if you’re jetting off to cities like London, Shanghai, or Prague, your options are going to be more closely aligned with things like soup kitchens and shelters, as they would be in most U.S. cities.

Of course, certain rules and regulations apply in some countries, especially in Asia, so be sure to check with the embassy’s site and your school counselor to make sure any and all programs are safe and legal.

Should you work while studying abroad? Here are the pros and cons.

Working while studying abroad can be an excellent way to meet people outside your normal bubble of “foreign student vacation life.” It can also help you immerse yourself—genuinely—in the culture of wherever you’re staying. Plus, foreign travel is rife with unforeseen costs and expensive vacation plans, so who couldn’t use some extra cash? This kind of entrepreneurial spirit is valued by future employers and gives you a type of life experience most people will never have. That, in turn, can shape you as a person.

However, adding another weight to your scales when you’re already trying to balance making new friends, staying in contact with people at home, going to school, and making sure you get everything you can out of the experience can be tough and take a toll on your mental and physical well-being. Who wants to miss out on that awesome weekend trip to Italy, that amazing party in the warehouse club, or that unforgettable museum exhibit because you have deadlines and shifts to pull at work?

Working can be an awesome way to add depth and authenticity to your experience. But truly relying on a part-time job for money while abroad can severely detract from your ability to enjoy your time there. It can also interfere as you try to forge strong connections with your peers. You don’t want to be scrubbing tables while your roommates are making friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Yet that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something interesting or talk to someone you never would have because of a unique work experience, either.

It’s best to plan (and work as much as you can) ahead of time, so that you can have all the money you need BEFORE you arrive. That way, working is just another optional, enriching part of the experience, and not a cruel necessity robbing you of your precious time abroad and stressing you out.

For more study abroad tips, FAQs, and questions, be sure to check out the WayUp Guide!

Can You Teach English Abroad During College? Everything You Need To Know About Teaching English Overseas

Here at the WayUp Guide, we know that going abroad is more than just an extended vacation. It’s an opportunity to truly broaden your horizons and invite new ways of thinking into your life. Connection with other people is a huge part of that process. To teach English abroad is to connect with a group of people trying to do the same thing that you are: Participate in a global society.

We’ve put together this piece to tell you everything you need to know about teaching English abroad.

Is It possible To Teach English While Studying Abroad?

For the most part, having your own classroom while you’re studying abroad in a traditional program is very rare. If you’re already headed to Europe, Asia, or anywhere else on a study abroad program and you’re hoping to teach English while you’re there for a semester, the chances of doing this in an institution are very low. Even if it were more widely available, it would take a huge chunk of your time (given that it would come in addition to classes). The added stress of having a job, classes, and everything else would probably do more harm than good to your experience.

It is, however, very possible to teach English to individuals as a tutor or to work with an organization on a smaller scale. If you’re interested in tutoring foreign students, there are plenty of opportunities to teach English. This is especially true if you’re in a big city with universities. Some people are even unofficially hired to teach English to interested groups at community centers or other organizations. However, accepting a paid position comes with a web of legal entanglements. (You can read more about the dangers of that here.)

Given that getting paid to teach English is usually difficult, you can always tutor/teach on a volunteer basis. This is nice because there’s a much smaller time commitment when it comes to volunteering. Ask your study abroad program director or your study abroad office if such opportunities are available at your site. Students who came before you may have already done similar programs. If not, you can always call around to local universities or schools and ask if they need a volunteer.

Teaching English while you’re studying abroad, on a small scale, is definitely doable.

Teaching English Abroad In A Summer Program

If you’re really interested in the full teaching experience, then you should consider a summer program.

Again, if you’re an undergrad, most of the positions available to you will be on a volunteer basis. However, those programs will often pay for your room and board. You might also receive a small stipend for spending money. The best places to find programs like these are developing countries. Established economies like those in Europe and East Asia will usually have higher educational standards for English teachers.

If you want a paid position, then you should look into to getting a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification to bolster your resume. After that, it should be much easier to find a paid position without having to first pay a private service like Geovisions to scout out a position for you (although that is a fine option).

However, as we’ll talk about in the next section, a certification is not strictly necessary. And there are most certainly options for those looking to teach without them.

Do You Need A Certification To Teach English Abroad?

The short answer is, no. There are many programs that do not require certifications for undergrads looking to teach English in the summer. For the other types of tutoring or small-group teaching positions, those are usually undocumented to begin with and won’t require any certification. However, even programs that do allow undergrads to teach without certification will sometimes say they prefer it and favor students who do have it.

As we mentioned above, having a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification can add a lot to your resume as a potential teacher. However, it is totally possible to teach without a certification. Check out our list of programs below to see which ones do and don’t require certification.

These certifications cost approximately $500 and can usually be completed through an online course.

Longer English Teacher programs for after graduation have different requirements. But you don’t have to worry about going through official government training or getting certifications when you’re an undergrad (usually).

Here Are Some Great Programs And Resources To Check Out.

Find programs and jobs:

  • Dave’s ESL Cafe — Resource for connecting ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers and students from around the world.

  • API Study Abroad — Program that sends people around the world to teach English and volunteer.

  • AIESEC US — Non-profit, student-run group connecting teachers and students in more than 107 countries and territories.

  • Alliance Abroad/AIDE — Career site for teaching English abroad in Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

  • Interexchange — Site connecting students and recent grads with programs to travel abroad, teach English, and volunteer (will help you become TEFL-certified).

  • World Teach — Program connecting students and recent grads with opportunities to teach English abroad during the year, for a semester, or during the summer.

  • International Volunteer HQ — Organization connecting students with volunteer programs, some of which involve teaching English.

There are a ton of other programs and organizations out there! This list is just to get the ball rolling!

Find program reviews/ratings/details:

  • CIEE — Organization that helps you find study abroad/teach abroad programs that are right for you.

  • Go Overseas — Find reviews, compiled ratings, and program details.

  • Study Abroad 101 — Reviews, ratings, and more.

For all your other study abroad, internship, or career questions, be sure to check out the WayUp Guide for more!

Study Abroad 101: Everything You Need To Know

What is study abroad?

Study Abroad or Study Away programs are options provided by universities and colleges to complete a semester, year, or sometimes even more of your degree program on a different campus, usually in a foreign country.

These programs are an excellent opportunity to see a new part of the world, experience a different culture, and TRAVEL. Temporarily relocating to Europe, Asia, or anywhere else means having an excellent opportunity to take advantage of plentiful (and often relatively cheap) travel options. This allows you to maximize your experience and exposure to new places.

How can I sign up?

How do you sign up? Most of the programs are through partnerships your institution has with a program or foreign university. Some schools—like NYU—even have their own global campus locations where they send their students.

However, many schools (even those with programs) allow their students to apply to public or “all inclusive” study abroad programs for students from a variety of institutions. These types of programs are particularly useful for people with a desire to study at a niche location and/or for a specific subject (like going to Pompeii for Archaeology!).

If you type your school’s name and “study abroad,” you will usually be able to find your school’s landing page or study abroad office. From there you’ll be able to sign up for info sessions, schedule an appointment with a study abroad counselor, and—most of the time—apply directly through the site.

Making sure you have the right paperwork for study abroad.

Whether it’s visas, vaccinations, or vacation planning, there’s a ton of documentation that goes along with study abroad.

Living, studying, and (maybe) working in a foreign country adds up to a lot of paperwork. It’s a coordinated effort between two or more governments, universities, parents, doctors, friends, and—most important—you!

Lots of countries require you to have a student visa (although some do not). You can check to see if your desired location does on sites like the State Department’s student visa guide.

You’ll need a visa for not only your desired study location but also any travel/vacation locations. Whether you need an additional visa will depend on the local laws, whether that country has reciprocity with your student visa (some countries in Europe do), and technical details like the duration of your stay.

Beyond visas, you’re going to need an up-to-date passport that won’t expire while you’re abroad. You’ll also want something in addition to your passport (so you don’t have to carry it around all the time). To verify your age at bars, clubs, restaurants, and other places, you should bring your license or government ID card. Places in some countries won’t accept this, so you’ll need a Proof of Age card just in case. (Check your country’s rules on that before you go.)

There are also vaccination and health screening requirements for most countries. That said, you’ll need certified documentation to prove that you’re in the proper shape to live in another place.

Can I work or volunteer while I study abroad?

It all depends on whether your student visa allows you to work or not. Some countries will not allow foreign students to work at all. Others allow foreign students with basic student visas to work. Yet other countries require you to fill out a special application to get permission to work. Be sure to search country- or region-specific working requirements if that’s something you’re interested in.

Even remote work like journalism, video editing, or anything else done entirely digitally requires special permissions to actually get paid while you’re completing the work in another country.

Volunteering while studying abroad is usually a different story, because there’s no salary or paycheck involved. Since there aren’t tax status issues, volunteering is usually available to foreign students. However, some countries do require you to apply to join any organizations. Before you depart, be sure to check your destination’s requirements.

There are also plenty of programs that let you volunteer or work as an English teacher abroad, read more about that here.

However, most students find that between traveling, class, and meeting new people, there isn’t much time for a job—even a part-time one.

For a full guide to study/working abroad, check out this post on the WayUp guide.

Will study abroad credits work with my degree program?

This is why having approval from your university is essential. Make sure your academic advisor is aware of your plans to study abroad as far in advance as possible. That way, you can plan around the limited class options abroad and the standing degree requirements you have to complete before graduation.

Most locations will not have all the classes you need to complete your degree. And some schools won’t accept core requirements done at a non-university program. So you MUST check with your academic advisor. Your school’s study abroad office may be able to help you work with your advisor, fill out forms to become exempt from certain requirements, or clear a certain class abroad with a major or core curriculum requirement.

It’s tricky to plan this far ahead in your academic career. But it’s totally essential if you want to have the best experience and graduate on time.

Study Abroad programs require careful planning, but have a huge payoff.

It’s a big challenge to successfully plan a months-long trip abroad. That’s especially true when you’re going to school, taking trips, and perhaps even working or volunteering. Yet completing something like this will not only enrich your life with a whole host of amazing experiences but also prove that you can handle a major undertaking. Being able to contend with something like this is a significant stepping stone in adult life.

For all your other study abroad questions and more detailed explanations, be sure to check out the WayUp guide for more!