From High School to College or University – 1 – The Problems of Change

Leaving High School and going to college or university is a major change for any student. A new college or university student will find themselves in a different world to their previous time at school, a world in which they will face new challenges and opportunities in study, perhaps their first crack at independence from home, and the temptations of a potentially limitless social life.

For a High School student preparing themselves for the transition to college, there are number of factors with which it is wise to get familiar, before that first day at their new home of study. This article looks briefly at some of the differences that a student will face in their new life.

A New Class Format – Adjusting to the Lecture Style

One of the major differences students will face is the lecture style used in colleges and universities, which can seem very different to the High School recitation type of teaching. Attending lectures, and making the most of them from an educational point of view, requires a different attitude and some new study skills from the student. Making the adjustment to the college lecture room from the high School classroom is one that the student needs to make from the outset if they are to perform well.

The Quantity and Quality of Work

Any High School student probably realizes that the work they will do at college or university will be more advanced. That, surely, is what going to college is all about? However, it can still come as something of a shock to new college students, to suddenly be thrust into this new level of learning. It is best to be mentally prepared for a far more demanding level of education, which will stretch the student’s mind right from the start. There will no be time to “ease your way in”. Falling behind in the first few weeks can be difficult to recover from and achieve the grades you are seeking.

New college students should also be aware that the work required is not only of a higher quality than High School, but also much greater in quantity. Those who are not prepared for that will also suffer in the early stages of college life. The workload may seem overwhelming if you are not ready for it.

Hooray, Freedom at Last

For many students who go away to university or college, it will be their first taste of freedom from parental discipline. That is an essential step that all young people have to take at some time or another, and it can be a wonderful time of your life, when the transition to adulthood really starts to take place.

However, that new found freedom can be a distraction from study if it is allowed to dominate your new college life. It is possible to enjoy the freedom of college life, and to succeed in your primary purpose of being there; that is, get good grades and graduate with honours. Both sides of your new life require self discipline, and by applying that self discipline both to your study and college social life, you can find the right balance. It is not easy, but it can be achieved.

Managing Your Finances

Many students may not agree, but one of the most important changes from being at home and going to High School, and then going away to college, is the need to manage your own finances. This is probably something you have not dealt with before, but from now on, you will probably always have to. How you deal with your finances at college may well dictate how well you do so when you get your first job.

Your personal finances are one subject for which you can plan in some detail before going to college, so that you know what to expect once you get there. Learning about budgeting your finances will stand you in good stead for years to come.

Choosing the Best Online College or University

Online College or University choices are as wide open as the day is long and you want the best that money can afford you. Online education is fast taking on its own dimension in broadening and supplementing our resumes. Getting the most education you can afford and in a time strapped lifestyle as most people are in today is challenging to say the least.

Getting an online college or university degree is just as credible as a traditional college degree but it is less expensive, more adapted to your busy life and work mix, plus you can suffer far less sideline interruptions that a land based campus would cause.

In deciding what online college or university to choose, you should consider the real interactions you expect and plan on needing before landing on your selection of education providers. Ideally, you want to find an online college or university that is geographically close to where you reside. This allows you the options of having a better opportunity to check in, meet, and have a good relationship with any professors or teachers that are associated with the online classes.

Accredited online colleges offer much the same level of education as campus classes and yet by not having all the distraction, you can better focus on studying and at the times that allow you to turn off all your other commotions.

Psychology Degrees Online is a popular field to enter and the spectrum from which this profession is leading us, you could be doing yourself as well as others a real service. Online graduate programs and online master's degrees are other levels of education you can complete from the comforts of your own home.

While online college or university classes can be flexible, you still have some obstacles that may be somewhat different, than the campus lifestyle classes. Finding the time in your busy schedule to stay focused and regimented to do the required class time is very challenging. It is easy to do the class, but making yourself stay the course, literally is hard.

Distance education is the new community college mentality. Finding a less costly education and conveniently accessible. Many local community colleges are seeing more and more students using online college and university choices and less classroom students.

Another stigma that is easily overcome with online education is the age of the student to the rest of the class. If you are now older and want to go back to get or finish your degree, or even expand your education to a graduate or masters degree, you don't have to concern yourself by feeling like the oldest person in the class.

The choices are many and the specializing of classes offered are detailed, but if you really want to further your education or get a specialized class on virtually any subject, online college or university studies is the way to get it.

Cheerleading Scholarships For College And University Attendance

In addition to the availability of scholarships based on grades, ethnic backgrounds, academic majors and hobbies, there are also specific ones for cheerleaders. College sports are an important part of school both for students as well as the local community. Games are participated by many in the town and creates a bond between those at school and local residents. Also, those who excel in college sports can move into the professional arena.

If you've been involved in high school cheerleading, think about applying for a scholarship to reduce your college costs. In addition, apply for other scholarships as you may qualify in the areas of dance or gymnastics. There are also a variety of scholarships based on different factors such as being left-handed or being involved in community service, so pursue every relevant area.

Here is just a sampling of the many colleges that offer scholarships for cheerleading:

Lincoln Memorial University, located in Tennessee offers scholarships in cheerleading up to one thousand dollars.

University of Central Florida has scholarships for those with cheerleading backgrounds and they can cover one thousand dollars or more a semester.

Wallace State Community College in Alabama provides generous scholarships for those with skill in this area.

Texas A&M University will give students up to 800 dollars in award money with abilities in this field.

Don't forget that if you are involved in college sports as well as a related area you will need to balance your academic courses with these activities. College courses can be demanding and it is important to think out the schedule for practices with your load of classes.

During the semesters where you have more games, it is best to adjust your schedule so you can assure you'll have adequate study time. Stress in balancing these two areas can lead to both academic issues as well as performance issues in sports.

In addition, if you don't get a scholarship you can still apply for student loans. The beauty of grants and scholarships is that they do not need to be paid back. However, if you don't qualify for a scholarship and wish to pursue college, getting a loan will enable you to do so and follow your
dreams.

Jobs are very competitive today and having a college education will give you a distinct advantage over others without this background. In addition, it is an important way to meet friends with similar interests and have wonderful experiences.

Developing a College or University Mace

Colleges and universities often employ a “mace” to connect the institution’s customs with the best traditions of higher education dating to the first universities founded during the Middle Ages.

A mace symbolizes authority, learning and scholarship, history, reputation, and values. It suggests commemoration, elegance, honor, pageantry, purpose, quality, solemnity, stability, and continuity.

During my service as the President of Cornerstone University we developed a mace for the university. While the product of our efforts is spectacularly beautiful, that result was by no means guaranteed during development because we were forced to learn by trial-and-error. We discovered articles about the history and significance of the academic mace, but we did not find helpful “how-to” content. Helping you with process is the purpose of this article.

First, your president should endorse the effort and preferably be enthusiastically engaged. His or her leadership can smooth bumps in a process that will require months and may take years.

Second, identify a Mace Development Coordinator. The importance of who this person is and what vision, talent, and work ethic he or she brings to the task are not possible to overstate. This project needs a champion, because the president has neither the time nor maybe the expertise to give to it. Developing a distinctive mace involves a unique combination of knowledge and skills: artistic, philosophic, administrative, political. Identifying a highly regarded coordinator who possesses these gifts-and who “gets things done”-is key to success. I found a retired, emeritus professor of music who was eager to continue contributing. She was a god-send.

Third, take time to research carefully and thoroughly the history of university maces, the style of maces used in universities around the world, the artistry and symbolic significance of mace workmanship, and the types of academic events wherein university maces are presented. Perhaps visit other colleges and universities to view their maces and to learn how those maces were developed. Only after this review is completed should you begin the long process of drawing a sketch in which the shape, size, and evolving symbols of the mace can be visualized and evaluated. This is an iterative experience. You’ll embrace, than abandon, a series of “great ideas.” Metal versus wood. Philosophic versus practical. Academic, athletic, regional or state images? Length or height, weight. Precious gems and metals? Cost. Maces range from inexpensive functional pieces to unique, “priceless,” objects d’art.

Fourth, at this juncture we found it helpful to share a progress report with personnel and selected constituents, inviting their feedback. We worked especially closely with three or four professors whose expertise in philosophy, traditions of the academy, and our university’s history protected us from inadvertent errors of presentation. Throughout the process, the Mace Coordinator regularly kept me informed as President, which allowed me to contribute ideas and to connect the project with appropriate supporters. We found this interim exposure also generated interest and excitement in the project.

Fifth, if appropriate, connect your mace physically, not just symbolically, with your institution’s heritage. For example, identify a piece of wood or metal taken from the original campus or Old Main and include this element in your mace’s design. Our institution was founded by religious leaders in a church, so we contacted the current leadership of the church, requesting their assistance. They graciously gave to the university a piece of original oak from which our woodcarver crafted a part of the university seal featured on the mace. This element is not only beautiful, it is emotional, packed with meaning, honoring our forbears, and reminding our students the university was not born yesterday. And the people attending the church were warmed by the university’s remembrance.

Sixth, once you’ve determined, at least generally, the materials and probable design of your mace, the next step is to search for craftsmen or women with qualitatively superior artistic and technical skills capable of making a university mace at the level of excellence you require. We made our mace from Honduran Mahogany and found, amazingly, an incredibly skilled-and fast-woodcarver in our city. Precious gems were donated and installed by local jewelers. A nearby fine furniture business donated and completed our mace’s polished lacquer finish, highlighting the mace’s intricately carved features and preserving the wood’s natural tones. Both a local architect and a sculptor contributed their design expertise. Area carpenters crafted and contributed a Michigan cherry wood armature, along with a black marble base, to create the mace’s pedestal. I recommend you give first preference to regional craftsmen or women in order to facilitate communication, preserve local character, and promote constituent engagement. Who you select also influences the time required to complete the project.

Seventh, as the mace development project nears completion, write a set of standards governing when and how the mace will be presented. Remember, to develop your institution’s traditions by associating a certain aura with your mace you must handle it in a special way. Consider these guidelines: the mace should be used in all official ceremonies and only in official ceremonies (not borrowed for a fraternity party or an athletic championship); a Mace Bearer, a position of high honor, should be chosen for his or her accomplishments; the Mace Bearer should wear white gloves to signify elegance and to preserve the finish of the mace; the mace should lead all processionals and recessionals; the mace should be placed in a position of prominence and dignity on the speakers’ platform, etc. You may also wish to designate a Mace Trustee, a person charged with caring for the mace before and after the event, including delivering the mace to the event location and returning it to the Office of the President after the event’s conclusion. Appointing a Mace Trustee is a practical matter, but it also provides the university with another opportunity to involve individuals in the august traditions of the university.

Eighth, the university mace should reside in the Office of the President, which will be responsible for securing and displaying the mace. Institutions have placed their maces in other locations, but I believe the symbolic authority vested in the mace is reinforced by residence in the Office of the President, somewhat like the key to the city in the mayor’s office.

Ninth, when we unveiled our mace, I was able to say that all funds necessary for the development of the mace had been contributed by friends of the university. This comment always goes over well with the faculty and the CFO.

Tenth, finally, when your mace is finished, I recommend a mace commissioning ceremony during the fall or perhaps a special convocation. When you present and explain the mace’s symbolism you are celebrating the values and the growing prestige of the institution.

The university mace we developed was quickly embraced as an iconic addition to the university’s tradition. Those who bear it speak of the honor accorded them. It connects us with those who have come before and those who will come hereafter in the pursuit of learning. Like great art, it moves us. It is the university.

College And University Debt Bomb Is About To Blow – That Bubble Is Ready To Burst

It’s over, there is no possible way to ever save the college loan crisis, and when this bubble bursts it will greatly affect all Americans. As of October 1, 2016 there were 44.2 million people in the US that have student loan debt, most of these student loans have parents or grandparents as cosigners, and it gets worse, as the fallout rates or technical default rates could be as high as 50%. If this doesn’t worry you, then you are not paying attention.

Recently there was an article in Activist Post titled: “America’s Problem with Student Loans Is Much Bigger than Anybody Realized,” by Shaun Bradley published on February 2, 2017. The article stated the sum of all fears:

“The Department of Education recently released their findings that repayment rates on student loans have been grossly exaggerated. Data from 99.8% of schools across the country has been manipulated to cover up growing problems with the $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans.”

The article also noted that the default rates are 50% now, and huge numbers have never made a single payment, others no payments within 7-years and the default rate went from 38% to 50% in less than 2-years. Why? Most likely due to all the talk about “free college for everyone” during the recent presidential election, and if you will recall both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both talked about college tuition loan forgiveness, and free college for everyone.

Right now, the bad debt equals more than $650 Billion, and the taxpayer is on the hook for a good chunk of that, but we will all feel the fallout regardless. Welcome to the power of socialism.

The USA Today noted that; “Approximately 90% of private student loans are co-signed by a parent, according to a 2012 report by the CFPB and the Department of Education – that’s up significantly from previous years,” in an article titled; “The dangers of co-signing a student loan,” by Jessica Dickler of CNBC put forth on January 16, 2016.

We all by now know that most of those leaving school with degrees will not work in the job categories of that knowledge set. Only 15% are expected to still be working in fields for which they got their degrees, and many of those jobs won’t be around in the next 10-years.

What are we doing to fix the problem? Nothing it seems, college tuition increases continue each year, and new semesters start twice or three times a year, more debt, more students, more loans, more defaults, the bubble is on autopilot but the rubber is about to splatter all over the room, and unfortunately, it’s too later. Of course, everyone is going to find someone to blame; Obama Administration, Banks, Students, Universities, and those wealthy one-percenters of course. Sure, the left will blame capitalism and the right will blame socialist – does it matter now?

Didn’t we just recover from the mortgage crisis bubble, and 2008 crash? What did we learn? Not much apparently. Well, way to go humans, you got caught up once again in your BS and echo chamber – I had hopes for you, but you keep proving yourselves incapable – humans? Please think on this.

Recommended Reading:

(1) Article: WSJ (Wall Street Journal), “Student Debt Payback Far Worse Than Believed – Revised Education Department numbers shows at more than 1,000 schools, at least half of students defaulted or failed to pay down debt within 7 years,” by Andrea Fuller, January 18, 2017.

(2) Book: “Campus Politics – What Everyone Needs to Know,” by Jonathan Zimmerman, Oxford, 2016, 146 pages, ISBN: 978-0190627409.

(3) YouTube Video: “Did You Know”

Top 10 Study Tips For University Success

While it may be true that not everyone learns in the most effective way by doing the same things, there are certain fundamentals that you can follow in order to virtually guarantee yourself academic success during your time at University. No matter what degree you take or what College you’re enrolled in, University classes are all structured in similar ways. Lectures, text book readings, assignments, projects, quizzes, midterm and final exams. Knowing the format of the class beforehand allows students to create a strategy that when implemented and stuck to, results in good grades and less stress. Here are our top 10 study habits you should try to implement into your strategy for academic success at University!

#10 – Take Extensive Notes

Probably the most tedious of our top 10, taking good notes is hard to do consistently. In our ADHD world, many students find it difficult to maintain their focus long enough to record the information given out during lectures. However, when it comes time to write a quiz/test/exam you’ll be glad you have that pile of notes to review and refresh your brain with. Taking good notes is in itself an act of learning, as one cannot write something down that doesn’t make sense on some level. This small act goes a long way in creating the foundation for a solid understanding of the material being covered. Taking notes also has the added bonus of keeping your brain occupied and awake by staving off restlessness and boredom. An excellent method I learned in my first year of Engineering was to scribble down everything that seemed useful in some manner, almost as if you were transcribing the lecture. Later that day, transfer and rewrite the notes into an understandable form in another notebook. This will cement the information into your mind, moving the material from your short term memory into your long term. Lastly, notes have become a source of income for many students as those who take excellent notes are often sought after by the lazier students who are willing to pay a premium for a great set of notes to study from. You will not only get good grades, but you will be getting paid to do so as well. If that’s not a win-win I don’t know what is!

#9 – Obtain Old Exams and Assignments

If possible, try to find exams and assignments from previous years to give yourself a good idea of what subject matter the instructors are most likely to test you on. They don’t have to have the answers to be useful and in fact for many students they are even more useful without because this way the student can attempt the exam/assignment as a check of their knowledge, identifying any weak areas that they should go back and re-study. Old exams and assignments are often made available through class websites, student union websites, or through College clubs or associations. One common tactic many students use for science classes with a lab section is to find a graded lab notebook from a previous year. Labs are notoriously difficult in terms of time constraints and for what’s expected from a student lab report. Having a format to follow along with is an incredible help and knowing where not to make mistakes is invaluable as well.

#8 – Begin Studying For Exams EARLY

Between academics and your social life, time is not something you’ll have lots of throughout your University career. But one thing you should always make time for is exam studying. There’s nothing worse than leaving all of your studying for the night before an important test or exam. The stress causes your brain to panic and when you panic, you won’t learn as well as you normally would. Studying a little bit each night during the week leading up to the exam will not only make you better prepared but it will remove most of the stress you’d have if you had left your studying for the last minute. Early exam studying allows a student to identify weak spots in their understanding and to prioritize their studying accordingly. Just imagine studying until the early morning of the day of your exam only to find you’ve completely ignored a section that you have little to no understanding in. Don’t let that happen by studying EARLY!

#7 – Use a Laptop During Class If Possible

If permitted, use a laptop for note-taking during your lectures. Most students can type faster than they can write so they will be able to record much more information than they normally would. If the classroom has WiFi you’ll have the added ability to research topics you’re unsure of during lulls or breaks in the lecture. If a professor uses a word you’ve never heard before, just alt-tab over to dictionary.com and look it up! Or, if the lecture is completely flying over your head, e-mail the professor from your seat and set up an appointment to discuss the day’s lecture. There are many uses for a laptop during class, I’ll let you imagine the other not-so-academic uses. Many students have grown up with a computer being a staple in their lives so it’s only natural to use it as a tool for learning as well. It’s an easy transition for your brain to go from Facebook to Powerpoint! If a laptop purchase is in your future, refer to our article for tips on choosing a budget laptop for students.

#6 – Use Your Time Wisely

In between classes as well as before and after school, there are many opportunities to sneak in some studying or homework that many students either don’t realize or just don’t use. I’ve known people who would study on the bus during the ride to and from school. I’ve also known people that would combine their time at the gym with their study time! Just bring your notes and instead of watching the TV’s and listening to your iPod, wear ear plugs and read your notes. You get a workout for your body and for your brain! Always keep your notes handy and try to use any spare time you have even for simple review to make sure you’re on top of the material. All of those small moments you fill with studying will really add up to a solid understanding and you’ll find that you require less studying when exam time arrives. That’s huge.

#5 – Get Your Questions Resolved ASAP!

University classes tend to operate with the “snowball effect” as the primary method for topic progression. That is, the information is cumulative and the last stuff you learned will be instrumental in understanding the next stuff! So anytime you don’t understand something or have a question about the subject matter, get your question answered as soon as you can. Whether by asking during or after class, through an e-mail or phone call to the prof, or even by asking a fellow student, you need to stay on top of the subject matter in order to be ready for the next stuff that’s coming. Don’t let the holes in your understanding be knowledge pits for the future!

#4 – Get To Know Some of Your Classmates

This one can be extremely difficult and stressful for many people these days. Meeting people is becoming increasingly difficult in a world of social stigmas and fears of disapproval. I’m not going to tell you how to meet people, just that when you do, the benefits will be immediately apparent. Having a buddy to sit with during class, having someone to lean on for notes from a lecture that you missed, being able to bounce questions and ideas off of somebody, and most importantly having someone to check your assignment answers with before you hand it in, are all spectacular reasons to swallow your nerves and start saying “Hi! My name is….” to the people in your class.

#3 – Explore Other Class Resources

Many class outlines will have “optional” reading listed along with the required textbook. This is often a HUGE opportunity for easy marks and guaranteed success in the particular class. Professors are humans just like me and you. Their job is to relay the required material and then test you on it. If they’re using the required textbook as reference for the learning part, where do you think they’re going to get the material for the testing part? If you said “the required textbook”, you’re wrong and you need to stop thinking like a high school student! Professors will often take test questions out of their favorite textbooks, resulting in quality assessments from a trusted source. Those favorite textbooks are often listed as optional reading material either on the class website or on the course outline. Also don’t forget the mighty Internet. YouTube is an insane resource for How-to’s, recorded lectures from other schools, and general knowledge videos on every subject matter imaginable. Use Wikipedia and Google as well to find extra(often better!) resources on whatever it is that you’re struggling with.

#2 – Pre-Read Lecture Material

I discovered this one by accident, even if it is, or should be common sense. One night I was bored. Really bored. I grabbed a text book for a class whose lecture I had the next morning and I began reading from the point we stopped at in the previous lecture. It was difficult to understand and took a lot of focus to push through it but the next day in class while listening to the Professor, it crystallized in my mind and was easy from then on. It had the added benefit of being committed to my long term memory giving me a greater and more thorough understanding of the material. It makes sense if you think about it, I was essentially learning the material twice. Once independently and once with the help of an expert. These combined into a solid understanding that I still possess to this day. Now I’d love to suggest that you do this for every class, every night. But we all know that isn’t reasonable so what I do suggest is that you use this technique for anything that you deem to be very difficult or abstract. That way you’ll have a great head start on understanding and mastering the hard stuff, leaving plenty of time for filling in the gaps with the easy stuff!

#1 – Go To Class!

While going to class sounds too simple to be our #1 most effective studying habit, it truly is and I’ll tell you why. Going to class not only keeps you disciplined and focused on what you’re at University to do, but it also lets you absorb the subject matter simply by sitting through the lectures. If you’re an auditory learner this is huge because just listening to the lectures will create an understanding that should be enough to pass the class in itself! If you’re a visual learner then watching the notes being written on the board or reading through the slides during the presentation will give you the necessary understanding to pass the class. Going to class also ensures you have the latest news on assignments, tests, quizzes, and exams straight from your Professor’s mouth. You don’t want to be that student that shows up for class once a week only to find there’s a scheduled test on that day! Simply going to your classes like you’re supposed to is much more powerful than most students realize. If you look at the nine tips before this you’ll see that most of them actually require this step as a pre-requisite so that should also be an indicator of how important it is to attend your classes without fail.

As a student who has both failed classes and received honors in classes I can definitely say that the above tips and techniques will work for you. Whether you use some or all of them is up to you, but just remember that University is an individual sport and you’ll only get out of it what you’re willing to put in! I hope you’ve found these tips useful and informative, good luck and stay classy!

How To Get The Best Forex Trading Education

Almost 100 million people around the world today invest or trade in forex market, which is undoubtedly the largest financial market with an estimated daily average turnover between $1.5 trillion to $2.5 trillion.So, if you want to make profit from your investment, there are some forex trading knowledge which you must have. The best forex trading education provides you with the background and basic information that you need to trade the forex successfully.The best forex trading education must introduce you to the basics like how to read a currency quote, trading practices, how to read forex charts, advantages of trading currencies over stocks, simulated forex online trading etc.Through the best forex trading education, you can develop trading skill, formulate your own strategy, make online investment, and finally emerge as a successful investor or trader.With the ever-expanding coverage of internet, the first and most rigorous forex trading education are the innumerable internet sites. The best forex trading education sites must be logical, powerful, robust, and well presented which you can comprehend and navigate easily.The first step to get the best forex trading education will be to read! read! and read. Internet has an edge over conventional text books which is the dynamic features like three dimensional charts, bars, interactive graphics, simulated platforms etc.In the best forex trading education software you can learn to gauge price action and use technical analysis to confirm the price action. You can also use future data, charts, and trend line to predict forex trend or use future data to justify market trend.The best forex trading education must offer information, practical tips and real-life examples. The best forex trading education helps you in:· assessing a currency for high profitability and raising the stakes in your profits.· learning which currencies to trade and which to avoid and which currencies are actually ready to make a move.· fine-tuning your entry and exit strategies.· discovering the mistakes that a forex trader can make, and how you can avoid them.· developing the strategies to save money, time, and effort.The best forex trading education software will provide you links that thousands of forex traders actually use everyday. You also get the benefit of personal experience provided by brokers and traders. The best forex trading education also helps you in learning exactly which services and software give you best value for your money.If you are looking for some offline forex trading education material, an interactive manual with video CDs, proves to be quite useful. It comes with printed pages which you can refer while trading forex and interactive CDs that provides video clips, real charts, technical information, live instruction, trading tools and strategies.The best forex education should have live trading examples and reviews, daily pivot data for all the major currency pairs, market analysis, etc. As the market keeps changing, the best forex trading education should keep you posted on the updates and advanced techniques and therefore your learning should never stop.Meet your local traders, join discussion forum, read financial magazines, discuss trading strategies and tips with veteran traders. All these can supplement your best forex trading education.

7 Great Tips To Help You Choose The Right Builder

Choosing a builder to work on your home is a very important decision. If your building project is not carried out to a sufficient standard, you could be left with escalating costs and a great deal of stress. This article overviews 7 great tips to help you choose the right builder. Follow this guide and you will be more likely to make a good decision:1) Find out how long the builder has been in business.Ask the builder how long they have been in business, and try to verify their answer. If the builder is a Limited company, you can check the date of incorporation on Companies House. If they are a sole trader, you could call HMRC or Customs and Excise (if they are VAT Registered) and try and verify when the sole trader business was formally registered. Just making these enquiries may uncover things that shed a bad light on the builder. For instance, if they have never formally registered their business and are not declaring income for tax purposes – is this the kind of person you want to deal with? All being well, you will find that exactly what they have told you is readily verifiable, with little effort.2) Does the builder have a permanent business address.Ask the builder for their business address, and verify it. Again, if the builder is a limited company, you should be able to find out the trading address and registered office address from companies house. If they are a sole trader, you could verify their address through HMRC or Customs and Excise. If it is less than straight forward to find out and / or verify the address of a builder, then this should raise some alarm bells. Any business who does not have an easily identifiable address is likely to be one that does not want to be found. Reputable business want to be found.3) Request and validate ‘recent’ client testimonials. Always ask for the contact details of at least 3 past clients of the builder – and make sure you speak to each of the 3. Ask for some detail about the work carried out, when it was carried out, what was the cost etc… The more detail you can get the better. Try to establish whether they have any personal connection with the builder. If possible, ask if you can visit to take a look at the work that was carried out. A real client will usually be more than happy to show off their new extension if they have been genuinely happy with the workmanship of the builder.4. A thorough quotation = a thorough builder. Less reputable builders are likely to provide quotations quickly and with only very basic effort. It will not represent any detailed thought process, and will often just be a ballpark estimate. You should beware, as this lack of attention for detail could end up being the attention to detail that the builder puts into your building project. A detailed quotation, where the builder has broken down the project and costed each individual element should fill you with more confidence that you will get what you are being offered.5. Education, education, education. Educate yourself about the type of project you want carried out, and make sure you are clear about average / expected costs, likely duration and general materials used. There is a wealth of information on the internet, so it is quite straightforward to spend some time educating yourself. Make your knowledge clear to the builder. If it is clear they know what you are talking about, they are less likely to try and take advantage.6. Is the builder adequately insured, and what cover do you get on completion. Ask the builder about insurances and warranties to cover their work. Ideally, you should be covered both during the work is being carried out for any collateral damage caused to your property, and after the work is finished. Make it clear that you will require written confirmation of the insurances / warranties covering their work before you proceed.7. ONLY EVER proceed on a FIXED cost basis with a WRITTEN contract. Never, ever go ahead unless you have received a clearly detailed FIXED cost for the project – and you have a WRITTEN contract.Hopefully these 7 useful tips will help you make a wise decision when choosing a builder. Don’t cut corners – and don’t get carried away by slick salesmanship or a cheap quote. In fact, you should never choose a builder just on price – as the cheapest quote often ends up being the one that will cost you the most.As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for” – and never has this been truer than with the building trade.

5 Free Tips to Explode Your Home-Based Business

If you are like me, you started a home-based business to make money, not spend it. You thought it would be a cost-effective alternative to being your own boss without the hassle of buying a store and hiring employees. As you began to work your business through a “turn-key” system set up by your upline, however, you began to realize that more money was going out of your pocket than into it. Somehow, this little business you started from the empty den next to your living room didn’t quite turn out the way you hoped.Unfortunately, you and I are not alone. In fact, about 95% of people who start a home-based business wind up quitting. The trainings that these large companies guilt you into attending are expensive and the techniques are outdated. Fads and alternatives to the traditional techniques of getting your name out there come along faster than you can keep up with them. Everything seems good on paper but when you actually try something, the only thing that happens is a loss of money.Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a lot of money in network marketing. Anyone who tries to convince you of this has alternative motives. They’re probably making money off something else that they are telling you to buy into, whether it’s overpriced leads or fancy websites. When I decided to take a look at what I didn’t need to spend money, I was able to finally succeed in network marketing. Here are five money-saving discoveries that worked for me.Free Tip #1: Ask AdviceIf you want something, ask the people who already have it how you can get it too. It costs nothing to ask for advice, and you’ll probably find it more valuable than anything money could buy. If someone is successful in network marketing, they probably didn’t get there by hiring someone to design an expensive website and wait for the flood of people to visit it. They probably started from scratch and you can find out what they did without spending a dime.Free Tip #2: Restock Your ShelvesThe money you put back into your business can be your slave. It can earn more money for you every month without costing you anything except one initial fee. When I decided to begin every month by placing a modest product order with my company, I found that it not only provided me with products to use, but my customers bought more. It seems that when you actually have something in stock, people want it faster than if you had to order it for them.The reason this discovery is “free” is because the profits I make from every product I sell goes right back into more inventory. I only spent money once, and because of it I am able to fill the demand of supply month after month without it draining my bank account.Free Tip #3: Prosper Through AmbitionYou must have the desire to prosper through ambition, not luck. Don’t put your faith in programs that only work by playing a numbers game. That is one of the reasons there is a 95% drop-out rate in network marketing. Focus more on yourself and your willingness to get the job done the right way. People who take the easy way out never prosper.Drive and ambition are free. If you have enough conviction to get things done your own way, which is the inexpensive way, you won’t need luck to speed you to success. When you set a task for yourself, complete it. Wealth grows wherever you exert energy. Leave luck to the gamblers in Las Vegas. They have better odds with it than home-business owners.Free Tip #4: Learn From Your Past MistakesMost people think that a failure is just failure, but it means so much more. You can only succeed when you fail first, and what you learn from the failure is usually worth more than the loss. Money can’t buy experience and once you have it you can use it to guide yourself in the right direction. Learning from your mistakes is free advice. You can show others how not to do something as well, and that is extremely important in network marketing.Free Tip #5: Seek Guaranteed EducationEveryone knows how much it costs to go to college these days. A four-year degree could easily cost over $100,000, and for what? An education based on your learning to work for someone else for the rest of your life, not to mention there is no guarantee you will even be able to find a decent job after paying all of that money. Although your network marketing education costs considerably less than a four-year college degree, you still are not guaranteed success.It wasn’t until I decided to look outside of the traditional trainings of my company that I found an program that not only focuses on proper marketing education, but guaranteed success or my money back. After adding up all the expenses that would be cut from the previous way I was doing business, the new education actually saved me money. That’s actually better than free right from the start. And with a guarantee, there was no risk involved.If you find yourself contemplating any kind of expensive “sure-fire” way to grow your home-based business, do yourself a favor and shift your focus away from the risks of spending without any guarantee for success. Remember, you are in business to make money, not spend it. All you need are the few important things that money can’t buy.