Posted On: 2005-09-14
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Good morning it is Wednesday, September 14, 2005. This is The Financial Aid Podcast episode, I think, 62, I don't know, I don't care I don't keep track anymore. I just go by date. There's a lot to talk about today including a ton of new stuff that got bumped from yesterday, some mail call and some other stuff too. So let's go ahead and get started with the news.
Topping the news today, hurricane help from colleges around the country that, Inside Higher Ed reports that colleges are making contributions of every kind to help out in the aftermath of the hurricane in the Gulf Coast. Everything from loaning entire hotel boats as in the case of New York Maritime College all the way up to approving up to 2 weeks of paid volunteer leave for volunteer service at Babson College and a number of other colleges.
The National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, which sounds like a sort of vocational program, is actually making a huge difference. They have a number of semis and drivers who are either in training or who have graduated. They are going to be sending anywhere from 2 - 60 trucks to help out with a convoy of transporting goods from other areas into the affected region. So there's a ton of work that's being done. Check with your college. You may want to check with your college's leadership: the dean, president, vice president, the public giving office, to see if your college is making a contribution and if so, and if you want to join in on the effort you can certainly do so. If your college is not doing something and you want to help out, you can probably organize an effort. Check with your philanthropy office and check with your college's leadership to see what it would take to organize something on campus if you're interested in your college or organization making a difference in recovery.
In other news, international erosion, this is in the higher education news as well, the international erosion of the United States' lead in terms of its educational system. An annual report on education worldwide, by the Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development indicates that the United States may be loosing it's lead in higher education. For example, the United States leads the world in the percentage of people, age 55-64 who have a college education. With the exception of Canada, no other country comes close. As the report notes, that means that the United States was a world leader in education, higher education, 35-45 years ago. Examining the younger populations of the countries around the world you get a very different picture. Of those people age 25-34 in the United States, 35% of Americans have a college education. That puts the United States in seventh place among OACD nations. Canada leads. 53% of their population, 25-34 years old has a college education. Japan 52%, South Korea 47%, Finland, Norway, and Sweden are all 40%. Belgium ties the United States in the number of college graduates in that age bracket, and Spain is just behind at 38%. American domination of Science and mathematics may also be in danger as well. The OACD study compares the number of university graduates produced in the sciences for every 100,000 persons employed who are 25-30 years old. The United States has 1069 people per 100,000 in this category. This puts us behind Finland who has 2172, South Korea who has 2000, Australia with 1942, Britain with 1926, and France with 1900.
One of the areas of very deep concern is that the United States lags behind, internationally, in comparisons on literacy (basic literacy for 15 year olds) and scores below average on mathematics. There is also an absence of a strong elite, a cadre of advanced students in mathematics in high school, with relatively few students achieving very, very high scores. So it indicates that there is a lot of trouble in the education system that is, it may not be causing us, as a country, to fall behind now. The effects may not be being seen now, but clearly this is going to have a mammoth, very slow, very quiet effect on our country's productivity and ability to lead in terms of mathematic, science, development, and technology. And obviously all those things, as the last 30 years have shown us, lead to economic progress. They lead to growth. They lead to a better society. So if we are falling so far behind that we're ranking behind Belgium in international education. And I'm not slamming anyone from Belgium, because obviously they have a very good educational system too, if a country the size of, you know, New Jersey can keep up with the entire United States in terms of education, but it shows that we need to get serious as a country, as a government, as a society about making an education a priority. Making education a priority by any means, by every means because clearly, if we don't have the resources in 20 years to continue growing to continue building the country then, you know, people will leave and generally people who leave are the ones who can afford to. Fortunately, this is been discovered quite obviously and very, very clearly in the aftermath of the hurricane down south. The people who have the resources to leave and the foresight to leave will do so first, leaving behind the people who don't have the resources to. And, as a country, we don't want to be left behind on the rest of the planet.
You don't necessarily have to be number one. There is certainly no reason why we can't remain competitive but we need to be doing a lot more in terms of pushing our politicians to make education a priority. So if you are interested in helping stem the decay of the United States lead in math and science and things like that, there is a whole bunch of things you can do. 1) if you don't already, if you're a parent or you're a student in a household, and you are so motivated, make these subjects a priority; for yourself, for your kids, if you have kids, and for your parents too. There's no reason why people can't continue learning. There's no reason why people can't continue to go back to school to learn more. You don't have to have a degree but you do need to be pursuing learning constantly. There's always new ways of learning things. For example, I had the hardest time in school. Learning the difference between fractions and decimals and division and stuff like that and percentages and just turns out that it's all division. But until that was pointed out to me, until somebody said, "hey, here's a neat way to think about this", it wasn't made clear. So there's always new ways of learning things. Push your politicians. That is important as well. They are the ones who have the signing power for the budget. And the number of dollars that get thrown at education is directly controlled by the politicians. The Senate, the House, this is on the federal level. On the state level you have your state assemblies as well. They are the ones that do a lot of work with the state schools and stuff like that. On a local community level, get involved. Get involved in the parent teacher associations. Get involved in the schools if you are a parent. Get involved in through the schools if you're student and say, "hey, this is what we need" if you want to help the United States, basically not fall dead last in terms of economic progress and scientific, and just overall educational progress. You have to contribute at every level.
Part of the reason The Financial Aid Podcast and the other associated services (I have not had enough coffee this morning) are free is because we want to get information out there to people. So you can start making a difference. You don't have to rely on other people to find stuff for you. We'll find it. And yes, of course we have a commercial by us for our student loan products and study in The Student Loan Network but it's not just about that it's about helping our country as a whole get better 'cause we have to otherwise we're going to end up as last year's empire, last year's republic and that's not a position I think anyone wants our country to be in. Certainly if you're a parent, it's certainly not the kind of country you want your children to inherit. So that's the news plus the rant. Now let's do some Podsafe music. Today we'll kick it off with a new artist I found in the Podsafe music network, Lorena Mire and we're going to start it off with Movies in My Head.
Fantastic new podsafe music there from Lorena Mire. Her voice reminds me a lot of the lead singer from the October Project and a couple other really good female fronted bands. So, well worth it. We are going to have a little bit more from her later. Alright, let's do some Mail Call.
Today's mail comes from Brian Person who is a long-time listener through The Financial Aid Podcast and notes on yesterday's numbers game comments with the jobcast. He says, "While I agree that you have to send out buckets full of resumes before one will ultimately turn into a job, your suggestion of sending out 2-3,000 resumes for two to three offers seems unrealistic. I wouldn't even know that many companies to apply to. Furthermore, while sending out 20-30 a day while also tailoring each cover letter seems like an impossible task".
Alright, here's how you do that. Here's how you actually crank out that many resumes. And it's a trade, it was a trade secret, it's not going to be a trade secret after this podcast is done. Every one of those major job boards has a geographical area that you can specify. My personal favorite, because it is the market leader in terms of number of listings is Monster.com. You specify the geographical area that you are looking at, say Metro Boston area, and what you do is you don't specify a job position, you don't specify a job title, or even a field of work as long as the job you are applying for is a job that most companies have. For example, let's say you're an accountant. You've got an accountant degree. You have an accounting background. With the exception of the smallest small businesses, most midsize to large businesses have at least one if not more accountants on staff. So you can be reasonably certain when you're looking for positions, just start applying in chunks of all these different companies. Hey, here are the companies that are in the metro Boston area, if they're in the geographical area that you are interested in, hey, fire off a resume. They might not be hiring for that position, they might not be looking for an accountant right now. They may be looking for an accountant in six months. They might be looking for an accountant in a week. Who knows, their accountant might quit tomorrow and retire to Fiji or something. So, that's how you do that. And there actually are automated ways of doing it as well. I'm not going to go into that because it kind of crosses the line into spam, which is something we try not to do. But I have known people in the past that, who, when you place someone who is responsible for breaking in the vacant home, who is responsible for a family's livelihood or household's livelihood, you can deal with inconveniencing a few people with spam. And I can certainly understand. There's a moral/ethical discussion about when spam would be appropriate. Obviously, if you're just hocking products, it's clearly not. But if you're in a situation where your family is depending on you for an income and it was not a matter of, hey can we buy the Lexus but more of a matter of, hey, can we put food on the table. I don't think there would be too many people who would be offended by an unsolicited resume. So that's something to keep in mind.
The other thing to do is, remember there's a lot of these different job boards and they don't all have the same focus. So, check out Craig's List, check out Monster, check out Dice, Headhunter, and Career Builder. There are a ton of companies in any major metropolitan area. Now there is the other catch. This is where Brian's feedback is perfectly valid, if you live in a rural area, an area where there's not a lot of companies, then yeah your selection of companies to work with is going to be much, much smaller. In that case you're either going to have to get really, really creative doing your applications. Doing things that are much more attention getting or the other option is to relocate to a major metropolitan area of some kind. If you're in a situation where you can't do that, you know that's a lot harder.
One other thing that you could consider, and this is something especially for students who are in school and don't have a lot of time to devote to work because you're in school is consider starting up internet based businesses. There's a ton that are out there. There's a ton that are scams there's a ton that are bad ones. Maybe we'll cover them in another job cast, maybe an entrepreneurial cast of some kind. But there are, you know, certainly there's a number of affiliate programs and things out there that you can get started with that don't require you to get out of your desk chair, which if you're a student, is not a bad thing to do. Most of them probably require within 5 and 20 hours of work a week to feed them and to get things running. They generally require very little start up capital because they're internet based and that makes them relatively good fits for students to do and in the process you can gain some entrepreneurial experience and also get an idea of just how hard it is to manage business. So, maybe, I think we'll do an entrepreneurial-cast one of these days because I think it's the small business sectors where, the country as a whole is seeing a lot of growth. So if you can get your surfboard in the water before the next tidal wave of whatever it is, you'll be well positioned to at least start bringing in beer money, if not more. Who knows, you might end up being the person who's dropping out of Harvard and starting a software company. Hey, it's happened before right.
Alright, thanks, Brian for that feedback. Let's see if there's any other mail here in the spam bucket. Doesn't look like it. In fact it looks like there's a gigantic amount of spam. So, let's move on now to some more podsafe music. This time from an artist we've heard before on the podcast, Genocide with I Will Live Again.
Alright folks, that is going to do it for today's show. That was Genocide's newest single on the Podsafe Music Network, I will live again. You can find all the podsafe music on podsafemusicnetwork.com. You can find information in our show notes about today's show and anything done in it at financialaidnews.com/blog. You can also find information from this podcast at financialaidpodcast.com. If you like this podcast, if you like listening to it, if you think it presents useful information, do me a favor. Get two people, two friends, good friends I would guess, get them signed up to it. Get them subscribed to it. Show them how. If you've received the recent email that I sent out to the financial aid mailing list about this, please share with people the instructions about how to get signed up in iTunes to our podcast or to the hundreds of thousands, well there's not hundreds, there's like 16,000 other podcasts out there. There are a lot of them that are like a radio dialog that never, ever ends because there are like new podcasts everyday. And some are good. Some are not so good. You can find good podcasts in terms of top rated ones at a whole bunch of different websites like podcastalley.com, podcastpickle.com, ipoder.org. There's a lot of different directories out there. So just check it out. Spread the word. Let people know that podcasting is not just the big media shows that you see on the default page in iTunes when you start it up. Help your friends get subscribed to The Financial Aid Podcast. Tune in next time. We're going to do some more news, more mail call, and probably some other stuff. We may want to touch on some credit card issues at some point because I think that's important, especially for college students. Otherwise, stay tuned, stay subscribed, and take care.