Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Danger In The Dorms

There's a new killer on college campuses these days: meningococcal meningitis.

Though quite rare, meningitis infections are deadly in 10-12% of cases and disfiguring or disabling in many others, and are easily passed among persons in close contact like college freshmen living in dormitories.

Early symptoms of meningitis resemble those normally associated with flu: headache, upset stomach, vomiting. But the disease can quickly progress to organ failure, brain damage, blindness and deafness, and other serious complications, and can even cause death in just a few hours. Limb amputations are often required to remove tissue damaged by the infection. Spread through droplets in the air, direct physical contact with an infected person, or by sharing personal items like drinks or cigarettes with someone who's harboring the bacteria, college dorm residents are particularly vulnerable.

A vaccine exists that is 83% effective against nearly all strains of the bacteria, and pressure is building to pass laws mandating the vaccination.

From a recent article on the MSNBC Web site:
“It’s a safe vaccination, it’s an effective vaccination, and it’s one of those terrible, terrible risks — albeit extremely rare — that you can really minimize by spending money on the vaccine,” says Turner, who is also the chair of the Vaccines Preventable Diseases Committee for the American College Health Association. The vaccine is generally covered by insurance and costs around $120 on most college campuses.”

Meningococcal meningitis can be a terrible ordeal under the best of circumstances, and could easily cost an unsuspecting college student his or her young life. Though unlikely to effect more than a small number of people across the country, anyone heading off to college, especially freshmen planning to live in the dorms, should strongly consider immunizing themselves against this horrible but preventable disease.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Gaokao: SAT Stress On Steroids

As insane as the obsessive preoccupation with acing the SAT can seem in the lives of American teenagers ... it's a lot worse in China, apparently. Stressed-out American teens can at least be grateful they don't have to place all their bets on a single test score, as do their Chinese counterparts.

A recent Associated Press article examines the phenomenal pressure faced by students taking the ultra high stakes Chinese "gaokao" college entrance test:

"Education is unrivaled in importance in China, and the two-day test that ended Friday is one of the few events that can bring the country to a standstill. Cities ordered drivers not to blow their horns, construction sites were shut down, streets near test sites were closed and flight paths were altered lest the noise disturb test-takers.

"This is the culmination of years of studies. This test will decide the rest of their lives," said Ma Jingshun, speaking for his son, a hulking 18-year-old whose voice had sunk to a soft mumble because of nerves.

Unlike the U.S., where standardized test scores are just one factor weighed by universities, how Chinese students do on the gaokao determines everything. Students list their top three schools and their major and hope their score is high enough to win a place.

Extracurricular activities, volunteer work and high school grades do not count. There are no essays to persuade admissions officers."

To read the entire article, click here.

Next time you begin to complain about the overblown importance of the SAT, you may want to remember the goakao, and Ma Jingshun's son, and count your blessings instead!

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Packaging "Authenticity"

It seems that the latest trend among college admissions departments is to favor "authenticity" in students' college application materials. Looking for "honest, reflective students," some colleges, like MIT, go so far as to require prospective students to directly address the topics of failure or disappointment in their applications.

Ever eager to please, some college counselors are now actually advising students to deliberately fake a simple mistake in their application (e.g. a typo or two) to better portray themselves to colleges as imperfect, "real" students.

From a recent Associated Press article on this subject:

"For some students, the challenge of presenting themselves as full, flawed people cuts against everything else they've been told about applying to college – to show off as much as possible.

At the other extreme, when a college signals what it's looking for, students inevitably try to provide it. So you get some students trying to fake authenticity, to package themselves as unpackaged."

The practice of deliberately presenting one's self in an unrealistic light in order to gain acceptance isn't unique to students attempting to court colleges, of course. Colleges' own sales materials routinely show saccharin scenes of smiling students sitting happily under trees, peering intently at test tubes, or enthusiastically participating in cozy seminars with accessible, caring professors. In each case, one entity is trying to sell itself to the other, and using the craft of artifice to do so.

But isn't this kind of marketing as American as apple pie, the 4th of July, and NASCAR? Is this all much ado about nothing?

Or is finding the proper fit between student and college what really counts, not just the prestige of a given school or its ranking on the most recent list of best colleges?

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Support Net Neutrality!

A nondiscriminatory, open, equally available internet represents perhaps the greatest advancement in human society since the invention of the printing press. A level playing field for all people, businesses, and ideas has supercharged the possibilities for democracy and real freedom in the world and for vastly improved economies and lifestyles across the globe.

However, the free and equal internet as we have always known it may be nearing extinction.

Telecom conglomerates (ATT, Viacom, Comcast, etc.) are trying to “buy” the internet! Their plan is to create a two-tiered system to maximize their private profits from an internet system originally created by public, government funding: a super fast new fiber optic internet for their best paying customers, and a slow “dirt road” for the rest of us. Only the biggest companies would be able to afford placement on the “super internet,” relegating other medium and small businesses, individuals, and organizations to the uncompetitiveness and obscurity of their internet “slow lane.”

The internet, under this horrible system, would quickly devolve into just another medium of commerce and advertisement for the biggest businesses in America, as happened with television several decades ago. Why would anyone patronize “Mom and Pop" bookstores or get their news at “So and So’s Blog” if using “Borders.com” or “Fox News” was 100 time faster, more convenient, and more reliable?! The critical democratizing aspect – the “level playing field” – of today’s internet, would be dead and gone.

That’s why groups as diverse as the conservative Gun Owners of America and the Christian Coalition on the right, and liberal MoveOn.org and the American Civil Liberties Union on the left, together with companies such as Google and Microsoft that depend on a free, vibrant, healthy internet for their survival, have come out strongly in support of re-enacting legislation to protect internet neutrality (to replace the net neutrality laws that have been in place since the inception of the internet, but which were recently allowed to expire).

Contrary to the deliberately deceitful pronouncements of giant telecoms and their supporters in Congress, the "Net Neutrality" movement does NOT seek to impose new regulations on the internet, but only to keep in place the legal protections and safeguards that have been in existence since the internet began – the very laws which have enabled the amazing growth and innovation that has always characterized the internet, and for the tremendous social and economic advancement that a free and open internet has brought to our own country and to nations and peoples throughout the world.

But unfortunately, the fantastic, miraculous, nondiscriminatory internet as we know it may soon disappear from our lives ... without your support, and that of your concerned friends and associates.

Visit the following site, to get full information on the subject, and to find out what you can do to protect the internet from yet another attempt by “free market” oligarchs to kill competition and build an undemocratic information monopoly:

http://www.savetheinternet.com/.

Many uninformed U.S. senators are still “on the fence” and wavering with regard to this issue, and your calls, emails, letters, and faxes to your senators are urgently needed!

Here’s the link to the United States Senate, where you can find your senators’ individual Web sites and contact information:

http://www.senate.gov/.

And here's an auto-updating "scorecard" where you can see which senators are for, against, and undecided on net neutrality, with current totals:

http://www.savetheinternet.com/=senatetally.

Make no mistake, and don’t believe the “free market” fear mongering of the monopolist wannabes at ATT, et al. Their response to criticism over this issue is: "Don't worry ... we would never discriminate or limit choices to consumers just to pad our own profits." Should we believe them? Should we trust them? Does anyone really think that giant telecommunication conglomerates have ANY overriding commitment to anything BUT their own profits? Under their plan, competition among internet providers will almost certainly shrink, with prices rising sharply as both quality and access to content drop precipitously.

Here's a wonderful site that does an excellent job of presenting the true motives and intentions of the telecom industry, and how bad things could get if they succeed in turning the now public internet into their own private cash cow:

http://www.weownthenet.org/

Note:

In France, a country with strict internet neutrality laws, DSL connections are many times faster than those in America, but cost consumers only $6 per month! Similarly, broadband speeds in Japan are 20 times faster than those in the U.S. – at half the cost Americans pay! Should the fox be allowed to guard the hen house? Leaving self-serving, monopolistic telcos and cable companies to regulate themselves is certainly NO way to guarantee free and open competition in the internet service and content markets or the kind of superior service and extremely low prices that other countries already enjoy.

Please, call/write/email/fax your senators NOW ... while you’re thinking about it!

In addition, you may want to copy this post and send it to others you know (the more, the better).

Thank you, very much.

Pass it on.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

SAT Scores Stratified, In Decline

Newly released results show SAT scores have declined since just before the introduction of the writing section and 2400 point system in 2006. During the fifteen years or so prior to that period, SAT scores had been on the rise.

The new data also show SAT scores sharply stratified according to race and family income, and will no doubt lead to increased criticism of the test as an unreliable, biased measure of academic performance and potential.

A Huffington Post article by Justin Pope goes into detail (excerpts follow):

Results released Tuesday show the high school class of 2009 earned a combined score of 1509 on the three sections of the exam, down two points from last year.

Men also widened their advantage over women by 3 points; men scored 1523 on average compared to 1496 for women. The difference comes mostly from math scores.

Students reporting their families earned over $200,000 scored 1702, up 26 points from a year ago. That group is comparatively small, but the sharp increase could fuel further criticism the exam favors students who can afford expensive test-prep tutoring.

... Asian-Americans, whose average combined score surged 13 points to a combined 1623, while scores for whites fell 2 points to 1581. For black students, average scores dropped 4 points to 1276. Average scores for two of the three categories the College Board uses for identifying Hispanics also declined, and overall ranged from 1345 to 1364.

Whatever Asian-Americans are doing, educators want to bottle it.

"For students who are planning to attend college, there's this one group that's outperforming everybody," said Seppy Basili, senior vice president at Kaplan Test Prep. "So what is it about this group? Can we do something to study it?"

Unquestionably, the SAT is a highly coachable test. It's really no big deal to raise an average student's score hundreds of points after several hours of private coaching and a few carefully critiqued practice tests.

Although I make my living party by training students to improve their SAT scores, I've long been a strident critic of the test. The SAT outlived any true usefulness, if it ever had any, many years ago.

Click here to read another post I've written on the subject of the inequity inherent in the SAT, and what it reveals about the worrisome trajectory of modern American culture.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Will Google Supplant The Dictionary?

It's not much of an exaggeration to say that Google knows everything.

Nowadays, thanks to the ubiquitous presence, power, and convenience of the great Google search engine, reference books the world over are gathering dust. No longer are phone books, encyclopedias, newspapers, or maps things which all people must own.

But it seems Google has turned even the venerable dictionary, former mainstay of every self-respecting home or business library, into an unnecessary, out-dated info-relic destined for relegation to garage sales and recycling bins everywhere.

A recent Wall Street Journal article by Julia Angwin highlights the ways in which those functions most often fulfilled by dictionaries – checking spelling, finding definitions, locating sample sentences, etc. – can now be carried out more effectively and efficiently using a Google single-word search:

These days, however, Google is our database of meaning. Want to know how to spell assiduous? Type it incorrectly and Google will reply, in its kind-hearted way: "Did you mean: assiduous"? Why yes, Google, I did.

Google then spits out a bunch of links to Web definitions for assiduous. Without clicking on any of them, the two-sentence summaries below each link give me enough to get a sense of the word: "hard working," and "diligent."

Still not satisfied? Fine, click on the Google "News" tab – and you will be directed to a page of links where the word assiduous appears in news stories. Presto, sample sentences and usage examples.

"You and I can be our own lexicographers now," says Barbara Wallraff, the longtime language columnist for The Atlantic magazine. "We don't need dictionaries."

Aside from the tips given in the article, internet users can use Google as a kind of "super-thesaurus," conducting "reverse definition" word searches constructed in the following format (typed directly into a Google search field without quote marks):

"word meaning X" (where X is a short definition of the word you wish to find)

For example, here's the reverse word search I just used to come up with the word "esoteric" that I needed for the last paragraph in this post:

"word meaning information available only to a select few"

The article also sings the praises of a wonderful online dictionary that everyone should have in their bookmarks list. Wordnik provides easy access to definitions from a variety of major online dictionaries, but then goes a step farther by listing a host of sample sentences for each word studied taken from unimpeachable academic sources as well as from current newspaper usage and vernacular found on Twitter.

Dictionaries still have a place for those requiring more obscure information about particular words: etymology, history, esoteric definitions, etc. But as Angwin's WSJ piece suggests, Google has already become all the dictionary most people will ever need.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Myth of Multitasking

Does multitasking work? In a word ... no.

Though ardent multitaskers may deny it, study after study shows that unitasking, tending to only one main task at a time, is clearly a more efficient, effective, and productive way to get things done than attempting to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously.

Author Steven Aitchison put it this way:

How many times have you heard someone say, "I get so much done because I am able to multitask"? Usually said with a smug little grin. Whilst it has been a popular thing to be able to attempt, multitasking is on its way out of our lives, that is if we really do want to become more efficient and productive.



It has been shown in numerous studies that people who try and multitask actually lose efficiency and productivity levels drop. The guy on the phone, checking his emails whilst telling their work colleague what to do maybe be doing three things at once however he is doing three things at once very badly and not efficiently enough to be doing the job correctly.

Studies by Professor David Meyer at University of Michigan showed that young adults who had to perform two math tasks, back and forth, showed that it took longer doing the tasks this way than it would have if they had done them separately.

To read the entire article, click here.

While some limited multitasking can be a good idea, common sense dictates that one can pay full attention to only one mental processing task at a time. Many workers and students, put off by the boredom inherently a part of certain necessary activities and overwhelmed by the mountain of stuff they have to do, will dogmatically insist that multitasking works really well "for them" and resist with gusto the whole concept of unitasking.

That's too bad, because by doing so habitual multitaskers are actually setting themselves up for increased stress, decreased productivity, and frantic, rushed mindlessness that characterizes the moment-to-moment experience so many of us have of our lives, today.

If you're still not convinced, click here for a list of LifeHacker articles that put the multitasking argument into proper perspective.

Click here to read about one man's quest to heal himself of frenzied "multitasking madness" in 30 days.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Highest Scores Money Can Buy

It's a sad but salient fact that SAT scores correlate extremely well to family income.

The greater the wealth of one's family, the higher one's SAT scores tend to be, and this discrepancy is most pronounced at the upper and lower ends of the income scale.

The obvious explanation is that affluent families can afford to buy the best in academic enhancements like private school tuition, special programs, tutors, coaches, and other advantages. Amidst increasing economic inequality and decreasing social mobility in modern American, it's increasingly true that money buys academic achievement, higher SAT scores, and attending economic opportunities.

An excellent article in the New York Times goes into detail.

As a professional academic coach, I know this to be so. My students succeed where others fail because they can afford to pay me to help them. Consistent with the law of supply and demand, the most experienced and capable academic coaches charge very high fees that only the affluent can bear.

Isn't it just a bit hypocritical for someone like me, who makes a living by exploiting the unusual ability of wealthy families to hire private teachers to make sure their children are successful in school, to complain about the foundational inequity at the root of the entire private education industry?

Guilty as charged.

Although the complete eradication of social inequality is neither possible nor desirable in a capitalistic society, I do maintain that severely tempering educational inequality would be a very good thing. Basic education at all levels should be much more equally available (and a LOT less expensive) in America. If necessary, I could simply find another job.

America currently finds herself fighting for her life in what Thom Hartmann has described as the self-destructive cancer stage of capitalism ... the final chapter in the story in which greedy, consumptive, parasitic instincts inherent to the capitalist system begin to eat and ultimately destroy the system itself and bring to ruin any society which rests upon it. At this critical point, the elimination of gross economic inequality is not only possible and desirable in our society, but essential for its survival.

Just as we cannot rely on foxes to guard hen houses, markets cannot responsibly police themselves. After the near economic meltdown we've just been through, I think this conclusion should be obvious to all but the most delusional "free marketeers." In the face of such terrifying and overwhelming evidence, even neo-liberal cheerleader and Ayn Rand acolyte Alan Greenspan has had to admit he was wrong about the "innate evil" of government regulation.

More and more, success in America requires prior success. We are, in fact, witnessing the death of the American Dream. A society in which achievement and advancement are based largely upon heredity and family wealth is fundamentally incompatible with basic moral, ethical, and democratic ideals such as meritocracy, fair play, and freedom. The rest of the developed world already understands this.

Eventually, we Americans will learn the same lesson. (Perhaps it's more accurate to say "relearn," since this truth was first realized by Americans during the Great Depression of the 1930's.)

I just hope we won't have to learn it (or relearn it) the hard way.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Best Cities For Job-Seeking Grads



After years of acquiring arcane knowledge in challenging classes and performing arduous tasks dictated by their professorial overlords, recent college grads are handed a final assignment to complete with alacrity and general excellence: get a good job with your shiny, new diploma.

Where in America are newly graduated scholars most likely to find gainful employment? Turns out they may not have to leave their off-campus housing. As it happens, an abundance of research activity and highly skilled workers means that bustling university towns are great for business, and an excellent place to look for that first job out of college.

An article on the abcNEWS Money web site explains:

Research universities tend to be great environments for business, as they're flush with cheap, highly talented labor (recent grads), and the massive research and development budgets universities have. Plenty of the world's top companies, including Dell, Cisco Systems and Google, began in university settings.

Universities provide the future educated labor force and are centers of innovation, which creates an ideal ecosystem for start-ups," says Antonio Ubalde, chief executive of ZoomProspector.com, a San Francisco-based corporate relocation and start-up consulting firm. He notes that new technologies developed in many schools wind up growing into businesses of their own: "Research universities spin off academic innovations into commercial enterprises."

In general, college towns also tend to be more interesting places in which to live, with the kind of well-developed cultural and intellectual diversity that can help keep sharp minds happy, healthy, and growing. Strong economic environments and the ever-present need for student housing also makes real estate in university burgs a better than average investment.

As an adjunct to the abcNEWS article, Forbes.com lists job growth, university employment, and other details about the cities that made the list of their "Top College Towns for Jobs" (click here to view the slideshow).

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Enter The Three-Year Degree

With college costs skyrocketing, the economy contracting, and America falling behind international competitors in the all-important educational arena, is the three-year undergraduate degree an "idea whose time has come?"

Although the four-year degree has been the predominant model for higher education in the U.S. since before the Declaration of Independence, three-year degrees are standard at England's Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and more than a few American colleges have been experimenting with the "express degree" idea for some time, now.

The idea has it's adherents as well as it's naysayers. Molly Corbett Broad, current president of the non-profit American Council on Education and former president of the University of North Carolina, lauds the idea. Derek Bok, president emeritus of Harvard, is a detractor.

From an article appearing last May in the Washington Post:

At Chatham University in Pittsburgh, a three-year bachelor of interior architecture will be offered without summer courses, allowing students to get into the job market a year earlier, school officials said. School officials reconfigured the four-year degree by cutting the studio classes from 14 weeks to seven.

"It's a creative solution to a lot of different things," said program director Lori Alexander. "Students enter the workforce quicker, they save a year of tuition and they can go on sooner for graduate study. And no, they aren't missing anything. Academic quality stays the same."

If three years is too long to wait, Purdue University's College of Technology has begun offering a two-year bachelor's degree!

Are quickie degrees a good idea?

Undoubtedly, for those able to handle the increased work and stress load, the economic savings and other advantages may outweigh the downside of compressing the traditional four-year undergraduate education into just three years. For those more affluent students unable or unwilling to give up their non-academic lives for three years of ultra-intense academic commitment, however, the four-year model will almost certainly be a better fit.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 01, 2010

NO MUSIC While Studying


A common point of contention between parents and teenagers is whether or not to allow listening to music or other “multitasking” activities while doing homework or studying.

Many teenagers do multitask while studying. And some of them do quite well in school.

The question, however, is not whether certain very bright students can multitask while studying and still get good grades. The real question is whether these same students, and especially average or underachieving students, would do better if they were to focus only on their studies, without interfering distractions.

A republished L.A. Times article does an excellent job of addressing the issue, and of presenting statistics and expert opinions on the subject:

http://www.beachpsych.com/pages/cc126.html.

My own opinion, based on nearly four decades as a professional academic coach, is unequivocal. I think it's obviously a mistake, and a major one, to allow any “multitasking” while doing academic work – whether involving music, instant messaging, video games, or any other distractions. Yes, people are different, and certain people find multitasking easier than others. But it’s common sense that no one, no matter how talented, can pay attention to and concentrate on two different tasks (never mind four or five) as well as he or she can on just one.

Do the following experiment right now:

Try thinking of two different things at the same time, say: the taste of strawberries, and the quadratic formula. In the exact same instant of time, think of both things. Can't be done! The best one can hope to do is rapidly switch back and forth between the two thoughts, dulling mental focus and wasting valuable energy.

Obviously, mindful unitasking works far better in terms of quality and efficiency than does frenzied multitasking, and this distinction becomes critically important when applied to important academic activities like doing homework, writing papers, studying for tests, etc.

Quoting from the article:

“Research has shown that, with practice, people can improve how often and when to shift focus to other tasks most efficiently, and they can sharpen their ability to visually scan between windows open on a computer screen.

But decades of experiments on adults have proved that performance suffers when people try to multitask.”

The problem is that studying and homework are often boring. They aren’t always fun things to do. And, unfortunately, many parents have allowed fun and instant gratification to rise to the top of their teenagers’ lists of values.

Parents need to remember, and children need to be taught, that it's called home “work” for a reason. It's not supposed to be fun; it's supposed to get done, and done well.

Work is, by definition, generally not fun – at the moment you’re doing it. But it’s a lot of fun later on, when the mega-rewards of consistent, disciplined effort and deliberate sacrifice toward worthy goals come pouring in (e.g. success, happiness, money, pride, confidence, a plethora of life choices, etc.).

Contradicting the hedonistic value systems of too many Americans is the fact that boredom is not the worst experience a person can have. Parents must to learn to say “no music” and make it stick without fearing the momentary displeasure or rolling eyes of their own teenagers. Teenagers would profit by learning to sacrifice overrated comforts and delay gratification for the much greater pleasures that attend the accomplishment of major life goals later on. Indeed, most American students would do well to aim to become more self-motivated and self-disciplined, less dependent on external stimulation, and more honestly self-reflective.

Still a multitasking holdout? If so, I have a question for you:

How many tests have you taken with the comfort of your favorite music playing in the background?

The correct answer is zero, driving the final stake through the heart of the notion that it's somehow a good idea to listen to music while studying. Clearly, if you train yourself through repetition to need the support of energizing background music in order to focus your mind and perform at your best academically, the end result will not be pretty.

If maximum success in school is important to you: NO MUSIC (or other distractions) while studying!

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Career Choice In The Age of Outsourcing

American students are now being confronted with a critical new question: how to "outsource-proof" one's choice of college major and career path?

The global market is forcing a redistribution of wealth from formerly wealthy nations like the United States and those in the European Union to those traditionally poor countries with ever increasing numbers of well-educated citizens, like India and China. Many jobs that have traditionally gone to local American workers can now, in the Information Age, be done for a small fraction of the cost by skilled workers and technicians overseas. As the outsourcing boom born of the internet miracle continues to expand, and the economic playing field worldwide levels out in the face of competition from workers and professionals in other nations able to provide needed services for far less money, salaries in the U.S. and E.U. will likely decline over the next few decades compared to those in other countries. For the foreseeable future, American and European professionals will have to adjust to continuous downward pressure on salaries while those in other locales experience the opposite phenomena.

What advice, then, should American parents give their college-bound children regarding educational majors and careers? As economic boundaries blur, and given the unstable, unpredictable outlook for professional employment opportunities here in the U.S., how do we help prepare the next generation of American young people for success?

Excellent online resources now enable parents and students to research and analyze various career paths in just a short while. At these sites, critical factors such as average salary, predicted job growth in the U.S. over the next 10 years, stress level, a "day in the life," etc. can be examined and compared in great detail, often yielding surprising results.

For example:

Did you know that there's an "under the radar" professional job that offers tip-top growth, quality of life, flexibility, and attainability, a median salary of almost $80,000 per year, and is highly resistant to outsourcing ... yet requires only a bachelors degree? It's the exciting Physician Assistant field (For more information, click the associated link in the U.S. News and World Report "Best Careers 2007" table, referenced below.)

Below are some links to help you begin your research on hot career paths for early 21st century college graduates:

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My favorite general career path resource is the U.S. News and World Report careers site, located in the Money & Business section of their main site:

http://www.usnews.com/sections/business/careers/index.html.

Featuring advice on topics as diverse as best careers for 2007, top government jobs, whether or not grad school makes sense, socially conscious careers, overrated careers, calculators to comparing job offers and cost of living, etc., this site is a fantastic place to start.

Their "Best Careers 2007" table offers a quick overview of the most promising American careers.

In addition, ace career consultant Marty Nemko has written several excellent articles on the U.S. News site that deserve special attention, among them: Most–and least–rewarding careers, and Get-Ahead Careers for 2007.

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The Johns Hopkins University Career Center Web site offers numerous links to online career and job-related resources:

http://www.jhu.edu/~careers/links.html.

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Finally, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics offers all the information only a huge government bureaucracy can assemble.

Two of their online databases provide detailed, current information on just about any job and career field imaginable.

They are the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and the Career Guide to Industries.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.