How to Run a Planning Meeting (Checklist Included)

How to run a board meeting: a checklist

What Is the Daily Scrum Meeting?

The daily scrum meeting is one of the five types of scrum ceremonies. The daily standup scrum meeting is where the scrum team meets typically in the morning to discuss the work ahead for the day. They are short, standup meetings, strictly timed for no more than 15 minutes. This is done to keep the meeting brief but focused on only relevant information. Also, the other scrum ceremonies or agile events are meant to cover all the topics that the team can’t discuss during the daily standup meeting.

Everyone from the scrum master, who is the expert, to the team members must attend the daily scrum meeting. They are all committed and expected to participate. Others, such as sales or people from other projects, can attend but only to listen. To keep track of these meetings, scrum masters and managers use project management software, also referred to as scrum software.

After the daily scrum meeting, teams can use project management software to execute their sprints. ProjectManager is cloud-based software that connects scrum teams and fosters the collaboration they need to get their work done. Our kanban boards allow them to manage their backlog and plan sprints together, while the product owner has transparency into their process so they can reallocate resources as needed to avoid bottlenecks.

What Is the Purpose of a Planning Meeting?

The obvious reason to have a planning meeting is to create a plan and get buy-in from the team. It’s the first step in developing a plan and requires that certain questions be answered, such as how do we achieve this goal? What do we know already about it? Who is going to be responsible for what?

When the planning meeting is complete, there should be a few deliverables, such as a rough outline of the plan that has been quickly sketched after answering the questions above. There must also be some clarity about who is going to be doing what in the project.

It doesn’t hurt if you can begin to identify dependencies, what resources you’ll need and which you don’t already have. Plus, you’ll have questions that need answering or require further investigation and research.

A general understanding of what the plan’s scope is should also be established. Everybody present should have a good idea of the plan. Get feedback to make sure those parameters were clear in the planning meeting and, if they’re not, encourage questions from the group until they are. This includes how individuals will coordinate with others on the team.

Key Elements of a Planning Meeting

A planning meeting is only as good as its parts. Those parts are what you have to prepare before even calling the meeting. You want to have all your ducks in a row, so to speak, so that the meeting goes off without a hitch and the plan and team responsibilities are well-outlined. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you’ve addressed each of the items below.

Vision, Goals & Objectives

Before you can have a plan, you must have a target. In other words, what are the goals and objectives you want to achieve. To figure that out requires asking yourself simple but important questions, such as what are you trying to do and what problems are you trying to solve?

Answering these questions will define the vision, which is an important lodestar to follow when implementing the plan. This will also give stakeholders and team members a ramp to onboard to the project. This leads to creating a business case, aligning the project to the organization’s overall business objectives and identifying the project’s benefits.

Critical Success Factors

According to D. Ronald Daniel, who first developed the concept, it’s “the limited number of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure successful competitive performance for the organization. They are the few key areas where things must go right for the business to flourish. If results in these areas are not adequate, the organization’s efforts for the period will be less than desired.”

In other words, what are the things you can’t fail at doing. These basic components of your plan must be defined and clear to all. These include the deliverable for the project, an agreed upon budget and schedule, etc.

Having critical success factors in place means that you can prioritize not only the planning process but the project execution. You’ll know who the leaders are, where to put your resources and how to adjust your plan to make sure those critical success factors are always safeguarded.

Key Performance Indicators

A key performance indicator or KPI is something that is of a measurable value. It shows how effective a project is working towards meeting its key business objectives. It’s a way to evaluate success, but in order to do that you first must determine what the KPIs are for the project.

Therefore, the planning meeting must address the project KPIs and, more specifically, what everyone on the project team is responsible for doing in order to achieve those KPIs. Without setting a target to hit and explaining that to the team, as well as their part in reaching that target, the project is less likely to succeed. This is why it is an essential part of the planning meeting.

Key Issues

Then there are the key issues: the things most pressing that must be immediately addressed. Before moving forward with the project or even the planning, there are likely obstacles that must be cleared. This is the time in which they are identified, and a decision is made regarding the resolution and who will lead that charge.

Hitting these points will provide a basic outline for a one-day planning meeting. Of course, you can and might need to have more time devoted to the planning, but that will depend more on the size of your team than the project. Regardless of how big or small your team is, in order to make the planning meeting more productive you’ll want to include them prior to meeting and get their ideas and comments.

Step 5: prepare for meetings effectively

Ask directors about what gets in the way of a well-run board meeting, and next to an ineffective chair, the most common complaint is hard to access board materials that make meeting prep inconvenient or frustrating.

Good board meetings require timely distribution of board materials and clear communication of the board meeting agenda at least 4 days in advance of meetings, and ideally with a week’s lead time. For many organizations, making that happen requires board governance teams and management to spend weeks preparing. And competing priorities can lead to late delivery of the board package or last minute updates that can cause confusion. Not only are directors frustrated, executives and governance administrative teams are distracted from having time to calmly prepare for strategic discussions and decisions as well.

What makes for a better board meeting?

  1. Accessible, online board materials – make all board materials easy to view, search, and add notes to with a board portal. Log in to see complete information, including the latest versions of materials with no confusion around updates. Travelling? No problem. Board materials can be accessed through mobile devices, both online and offline.
  2. Electronic agendas with links to key background info – take the time to consider which strategic topics are right year round, then pre-save strong agendas in the portal – so no matter how hectic it gets, you avoid the risk of re-using last month’s agenda. Link right from the agenda topics to materials for review, and make it easy for directors to foresee meeting dates on the calendar. If a meeting date is moved, directors are instantly updated.
  3. Easy between-meeting collaboration – invite directors to share their questions or comments with their fellow board members. Encourage pre-meeting discussion with the chair or peer directors to ensure everyone has background questions answered to focus meeting time on discussion and decisions.
  4. Efficient onboarding of new board members – new directors are a welcome fresh perspective and energy boost to a board. They can be valuable contributors as soon as they have base education on the organization and the industry – so do that effectively and quickly with online learning tools, including a library of archived board reports and minutes.

Board portal software provides a way for boards to save time preparing for meetings, safeguards the cybersecurity of board materials, and helps to best engage board members from onboarding, through to convenient meeting preparation, online discussions, and voting.

For board administrators, board portal software streamlines the processes for assembling and distributing board books and finalizing a strong agenda with automation tools that make repeat work time efficient. With the time savings of a board portal, board governance teams are able to more consistently distribute meeting materials early, giving directors adequate time to prepare. Board portal software also streamlines the process for writing board minutes with a minutes-builder tool that mirrors your agenda, and makes for expedient distribution of minutes after the board meeting.

For board members, a secure board management system, such as the Aprio board portal , provides a convenient, one-stop location online to access board materials, annotate documents to prepare for productive conversation on core challenges at the meeting, and pose questions or table additional topics to the board chair or other directors. For orientation and ongoing learning, the board portal also provides a searchable library of board bylaws, strategic and financial plans, and archived board materials. Finally, board directors can log into the portal at any time and from any location including via mobile device.

Improve meeting prep

We’re all busy people. Directors are often travelling, and may sit on multiple boards or have other jobs. Board admins are also busy people with demanding schedules. Why should anyone need to spend countless hours trying to make sure everyone has access to the latest board materials when it could be as simple as clicking a button?

Directors will no longer need to carry around a highlighter and pen to take notes on paper board materials. They’ll be able to add their annotations directly to digital documents, even while they’re offline. If needed, they can also share their notes with other board members.

Admins can also add links to agendas, allowing directors to quickly and easily access the right documents without having to search through endless files or email swirls. This allows directors to come to meetings more prepared.

Timely, inclusive access to updates

Creating a board culture of inclusion – which means same time access to same board communication – is job #1 for a board chair looking to create a board that invites every member to have an equal voice. Inviting input through voting, polls, and online discussion is a valuable way to invite every director to have their say beyond board meetings.

Additionally, when board admins have to replace a board document with a newer version, it’s no longer a hassle to update directors. Admins can upload the new version directly to Aprio, and an automatic notification alerts all directors of the update. Version confusion ceases to exist.

Improve boardroom communication and onboarding

Board portals like Aprio provide a centralized forum for board members to collaborate in real time between board meetings. With a board portal, older board materials are easily accessible and searchable in the Library. This is particularly useful for new directors during their onboarding, and is also convenient for any board member who wants to reference previous materials.

Resource:

https://www.projectmanager.com/blog/how-to-run-a-great-scrum-meeting
https://www.projectmanager.com/blog/planning-meeting-with-checklist
https://aprioboardportal.com/news/how-to-run-a-board-meeting/

30 Best College Majors for the Future 2022 Rankings

female biomedical engineer working in a laboratory

30 Best College Majors for the Future Rankings

Top Choice #1 Petroleum Engineering

male engineer working in an oil plant

Petroleum Engineering is first on our list of rankings for the best college majors. It can be one of the most fruitful majors for young students. While the market is insanely competitive, the financial rewards for majors in this field can be incredibly high.

Because of the high competition levels for future jobs in this major, students should consider taking a master’s or even a PhD in this field for furthering their chances of success once they enter the job market in the future.

If you have a good background in math and the sciences, this may be the best college major for you. Although some core courses for this major may be completed online, petroleum engineering bachelor degrees are not offered entirely online.

#2 Cybersecurity

cybersecurity workers

In an ever-changing world increasingly reliant on the use of technology, a bachelor’s in cybersecurity can be a huge advantage when looking to start a career. This major will ensure you’re knowledgable about all of the latest developments in the field and will teach you other information technology related skills like coding and software development.

A person who has studied cybersecurity will most likely end up working in cybersecurity for a business or government entity, but that isn’t the only potential career path for graduates with this college major.

Software and application development, along with several other information technology and technology-related jobs, are very popular options for someone who completes this top college major.

#3 Nuclear Engineering

nuclear engineers working in a plant

Nuclear Engineering sits 3rd in our rankings for best college majors. It is an incredibly specialized major, and the financial rewards can be excellent in the long run for those who earn a bachelors in this field.

This may be a more niche field, but finding work can be incredibly beneficial from a financial standpoint. As the planet moves toward more renewable energy sources, jobs in this major are becoming more in demand, and future opportunities are becoming a little easier to come by.

If you major in this field, expect a bit of hard work and brush up on your math skills. Learning nuclear physics and how nuclear energy works, along with the necessary safety procedures, will be key parts of a nuclear engineering major.

While the employment opportunities for this college major can be lucrative, it’s important to note that a lot of employers may even expect their engineers to have either a Master’s or a PhD in the subject to secure the best future jobs.

#4 Software Engineering

software engineers working on a project

Software Engineering is 4th for top college majors. It is another computer-related college major that has become increasingly popular in recent years. The increase in popularity of this best college major should come as little surprise though, with the job markets constantly expanding in this technology field.

A major in this specialty will likely feature classes in application programming, core computer concepts, cloud technology, and database systems development. It will teach future engineers some skills that will be transferable to other technology related jobs.

Software engineering majors generally find themselves working in a number of different job positions, with software and application programming and development being among the most common future career paths chosen.

#5 Physics

physics majors working in a laboratory

Physics takes 5th place for best majors. It is a top choice of college major for students because bachelor programs in physics can open up a lot of doors for graduates and can lead to someone continuing their education and working in research facilities.

Physics graduates can usually find work as engineers in various sectors or in potential roles working in academia and research. This is a top college major because research roles in physics can be particularly lucrative.

A college major in physics requires potential students to have a mind for calculation and science because the course of study will incorporate these disciplines regularly. It’s common for bachelor’s holders to pursue a doctorate in engineering for advancement and more lucrative salaries.

Easiest College Majors

College books

1. Business Administration

Business administration is one of the most popular college majors on this list of the easiest majors to study, offering a low weekly homework load, less time in the classroom, a great return on investment, and a high average GPA. As long as you have a good head on your shoulders and like to work with people, this is a smart choice for you.

If you want to make your degree a bit more challenging, you might want to consider adding an additional concentration to your degree. One popular option is management information systems, while other students might find economics or accounting to be a better choice.

2. Criminal Justice

Criminal justice is an easy college major not just for aspiring police officers, but for aspiring lawyers, political analysts, court reporters, justices, and more. You won’t spend very much time in the classroom but you’ll need a certain level of emotional resilience in order to be successful.

Criminal Justice

3. Creative Writing

If you enjoy reading and writing, a creative writing major might be a good choice for you. While this isn’t the easiest college major if you struggle with basic spelling and grammar (no surprise there!) it’s a good option for people with strong communication skills.

Creative Writing

What can you do with a creative writing major? You have a few different options – with the most obvious being to become a writer. College students who pursue this major may find that the strong liberal arts background that’s included as a core component in this major lends itself nicely to career paths in journalism, education, public relations, and other communications-centric fields, too.

4. Communications

A communications degree is quite versatile, providing you with a solid liberal arts education that you can use for a variety of careers, including those in broadcasting, marketing, advertising, and more. Consider this major if you enjoy working with others and want to hone your skills in (you guessed it!) communications.

5. Psychology

If human behavior intrigues and excites you, you may find a psychology major to be one of the easiest college majors around. A psychology major will acquaint you with the skills you need to pursue eventual doctoral studies as a psychologist or psychiatrist (two college majors that are decidedly not easy!) or for general work in the humanities. Many psychology majors end up pursuing further study in special education or school psychology as well.

Psychology

The numbers don’t lie on this one, either – out of all college graduates, psychology comes in as one of the most popular programs. Many college students choose this field as a minor, too, allowing them to get a bachelor’s degree in another subject while still pursuing an easy field of study that they enjoy.

6. Human Resources

Whether you want to work as an office manager, a human resources representative, or in customer service, human resources is a smart college major to consider if you want to earn your degree in as pain-free a way as possible. This major includes uncomplicated coursework and often, an associate’s degree is really all you need to land a job.

7. Education

Education majors tend to have lower starting salaries on average than other majors, but the good news is that by pursuing education as a minor instead of a major, you might be able to make up for some of those shortcomings. Consider majoring in your area of interest (if you’re interested in mathematics, major in that with a minor in education, for example) so that you have something else to pursue if an education major turns out to be harder than you thought in the real world.

Education courses

Another option? Consider an education major, like special education, that has a higher return on investment. Special education majors are more in demand than other kinds of teachers, so you will likely have a much easier time finding a job.

8. Public Relations

Public relations and advertising is another popular and easy major. If you’re one of those people who watches the Super Bowl just for ads or you find yourself captivated when it comes to learning how to craft the best and most fascinating stories, then a public relations major might be the right choice for you.

Tips For Choosing The Right College Major

Find A Major With Plenty Of Career Options

A college major, no matter how easy or difficult it might be, that only has one potential outcome isn’t a smart choice. The average person changes jobs dozens of times throughout their lives, selecting a major with lots of career options is a good idea.

Average GPA Requirement

If high school learning wasn’t exactly your strong suit, what makes you think that college will be any different? Make sure you research the average GPAs of students accepted into your chosen major and also check the school rankings to learn more about admissions standards. This will give you a good idea of whether your major – and your school – is within reach.

Pay Isn’t Everything

Pay isn’t everything – of course, you should choose a college degree that doesn’t just pay well, but one that you also enjoy. That said, you may find it helpful to narrow down your list of potential college majors based on your passions as well as the potential average salary. You do have to think about your bills, after all!

What Tasks Do You Enjoy?

Something else to consider is what you enjoy doing most. While a science-heavy major is going to have you complete tons of research papers, one in the humanities will have you doing more critical thinking so you can pursue a career that is more communications-driven. Consider what activities you enjoy most in high school, and this will help you as you consider the best college degree for your goals.

Resource:

https://www.mydegreeguide.com/best-college-majors/
https://wisdomfuel.com/easiest-college-majors/

10 Best Companies To Invest In for 2022

10 Best Companies To Invest In for 2022

Investors could do nothing but cheer their returns in 2021, as the S&P 500 shook off the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and returned over 26% to investors through Dec. 16, 2021. Whether the same will be true in 2022, however, is a question mark. Many analysts expect 2022 to be more of a “stock picker’s market,” meaning the broad averages may be lackluster but there will still be pockets of opportunities. Check with your financial advisor to see whether any of these names match your investment objectives and risk tolerance. Here is a wide range of stocks that may outperform in 2022 based on a variety of factors, from being undervalued to being oversold.

Tesla has continued to outperform expectations for years now, following up its extraordinary 700% gain in 2020 with a 31% YTD gain in 2021 (as of Dec. 16). In 2022, further gains may be ahead. The company has transformed itself into a profit engine, after years of losing money, and analysts expect the company to earn $8.17 per share in 2022. On top of that, Tesla will be opening two new gigafactories in 2022, in Texas and Germany, and this should increase its production greatly. With a market cap now exceeding 800 trillion, Tesla is on a seemingly unstoppable roll.

Atlassian (TEAM)

Atlassian is the Australian-based software company behind products such as Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, Trello and OpsGenie. The company’s software is primarily for software developers and IT departments, but it also helps small businesses collaborate and become more effective. Atlassian’s growth boomed during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s likely to remain in favor as even more companies are now familiar with how productive Atalassian’s software can make corporate teams, whether they are remote or return to the office. Consensus analyst estimates are a buy, with a 12-month median price target of $338, or about 83% above current levels (as of June 20).

Find companies with large addressable markets

Finally, you’ll want to invest in businesses with large addressable markets — and long runways for growth still ahead. Industry reports from research firms such as Gartner (NYSE:IT) and eMarketer — which provide estimates of industry sizes, projections for growth, and market share figures — can be very helpful in this regard.

Dr. Preston D. Cherry, PhD, CFP

Dr. Cherry: Because growth stocks tend to operate in a growth business cycle or business sector, finding high potential growth stocks should contain metrics that attempt to confirm or support current growth and best signal sustainable growth patterns. One important feature of a growth company is to ask, “do they possess a unique business service or product in their sector that provides a valuable moat?” This service or product is the lifeline of growth where the company needs to market, produce, deliver, and protect better than competitors and new entrants. Performance metrics to consider are whether the company shows historical increases in earnings over select periods and profit margin analysis, which illustrates how a company can manage costs and increase revenues. Other analysis considerations are the technical chart trend characteristics and experienced market analysts’ forward growth and price projections.

Dr. Cherry: Growth and value stocks tend to differ in a few areas, such as company size, business stage, and revenues to return gains to the shareholder. Growth stocks tend to be in the emerging markets or small or mid-cap company size areas whereas value stock companies tend to be large-cap. The size of companies tends to be the lens of what business stage a company resides. Growth stocks tend to be in the early to mid-business stages, the growth stages (although a small segment of large companies can be growth companies too), and value stock companies tend to be larger, more mature business stage companies. The value stock companies tend to be trading at a discount, “on-sale,” or a premium, “overvalued,” to their valuation, thus their name, finding value. Growth stock companies tend to reinvest their earnings back into the company and return value to shareholders solely through stock price appreciation. In comparison, value companies may return earnings to investors through a dividend, representing income to an investor and complements stock price appreciation. This income and stock price appreciation mean a total return approach.

Scott Stewart, PhD

Dr. Stewart: The Gordon valuation model is an excellent tool to illustrate the difference between growth and value stocks. Professor Gordon’s model, with some simplifying assumptions, shows that stock prices equal next year’s earnings (e) divided by the expression r – g, where “r” is a discount rate and “g” is a growth rate. For the same stock price, a lower growth rate necessitates a higher earnings number. Conversely, (illustrated by dividing both sides by e) a high-p/e stock is associated with a high growth rate. Of course, these numbers reflect investor expectations.

Investors bid up the p/e ratios of some stocks because, despite low current earnings relative to their market values, they expect earnings to grow at high rates. These are traditionally defined as growth stocks. Tesla stock is a good example of a growth stock, with its 154 p/e multiple and 73% earnings growth rate (using Yahoo Finance data).

Dr. Stewart: Note that a company’s risk is embedded in its discount rate “r.” As a result, companies with stable earnings will justify higher p/e multiples than ones with volatile earnings, other things equal. Clorox, a large-cap, stable-earnings company with only modest growth expectations (basically 0% using Yahoo Finance data) still justifies a p/e of 30 (using next fiscal year’s earnings).

Empirical evidence suggests that high-growth stocks underperform low-growth, low-p/e “value” stocks over the very long term. For example, the Russell small-cap Value index yielded roughly 3% a year higher than its Growth peer over the forty years ending 2019, and at lower return volatility. One explanation is that investors over-estimate the sustainability of high-growing companies since these “glamour” stocks subsequently fail to deliver on those high expectations. However, there can be long periods in which growth stocks outperform, such as the 10 years ending 2020.

The theory and evidence suggest that the key to picking good growth stocks is to identify the ones whose earnings growth rates will accelerate in the short term (increasing the p/e and price) and not disappoint in the long term (sustaining e growth and maintaining a high p/e). For value stocks, some practitioners suggest picking companies that investors have given up on (ones with very low-p/e or other multiples if e is less than zero), that won’t fail in the short-term and will recover in the long-term. Not easy tasks!

Sources:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/10-best-companies-invest-2022-005108423.html
https://www.gobankingrates.com/investing/best-companies-to-invest-in-for-2022/
https://www.fool.com/investing/stock-market/types-of-stocks/growth-stocks/

SMART Goals Examples for Work

What are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym used to describe the process of setting goals. The acronym stands for the words “specific,” “measurable,” “achievable,” “relevant” and “time-bound,” which are essential traits of setting objectives. The SMART method provides a way to measure your progress and be accountable for your success. Setting SMART goals

For example, you might set a goal to “get better” at typing. However, upon evaluating this goal using the SMART method, you see that your goal is quite vague. By restating your goal in quantifiable terms, such as “be able to type more words per minute,” you have a SMART goal that can be obtained. The characteristics of this goal can then be further detailed to reflect the remaining traits of the SMART goal process.

SMART Goals

How to set SMART goals

1. Make your goal specific.

The first step in creating an attainable goal is to get specific with how you describe it. Consider it in quantifiable terms and determine what actions you need to get there. The examples below show how you can fine-tune a broad objective into a specific SMART goal.

This example goal takes a broad statement that could present different approaches and actions—like learning the proper typing techniques or not having to look at the keyboard while typing—and makes it more specific by evaluating which aspect of typing can be set as a goal. This example can then be further evaluated to check that it fits the remaining criteria of a SMART goal.

2. Make your goal measurable

toward achieving your goal. Being measurable also takes into account any actions you would implement to help you further your progress toward your goal. For instance, this may take the form of tracking the time it takes you to complete an action or meet a milestone. The following example shows the evolution of a broad goal into a specific and measurable one.

Example goal after “measurable” criteria: “I would like to increase my typing speed from 50 words per minute to 65 words per minute, and I can measure my progress by taking timed tests that show the increase in my typing speed.”

3. Make your goal achievable

After writing a specific goal and evaluating how you will measure it, consider if your set objective how achievable it is. Considering how long it will take, potential obstacles, and measurement methods will all help you determine the realistic odds of achieving your set goal. The more realistic and achievable the goal, the more likely you will be to keep working toward it. Consider the following examples that illustrate a “before” and “after” effect when applying the “achievable” criteria to your goal.

Example goal after “achievable” criteria: “I would like to increase my typing speed of 50 words per minute to 65 words per minute, and I can achieve this goal by making small increases in my typing speed each week.”

This aspect of the SMART strategy also relates to your goal being measurable. With a specific measurable goal, it is more likely to be achievable because it can allow you to see exactly how you will achieve your progress as you work toward the goal. While the example goal of reaching 100 words per minute could be achievable, when related to the rest of the SMART criteria, it could be that this goal will not be achievable in the time frame you scheduled, or that it will require more resources to get there.

4. Make sure it is relevant

When a goal is relevant, it relates directly to a skill or professional development strategy that you want to improve. For instance, if you wanted to receive a high mark on your next employee evaluation, it would make sense to set a goal to help you improve your skills and workflow to progress to that goal. Additionally, any milestones you set or actions you take to achieve your goal should directly influence your progress. The examples below show how the “relevant” trait is applied.

Example goal after “relevant” criteria: “I would like to increase my typing speed from 50 words per minute to 65 words per minute, so I will set aside 15 minutes every day to practice my typing and take timed speed tests.”

5. Create a time-bound schedule

Time-bound refers to the timeline you set for working toward your goals as well as how long it will take you to meet milestones and achieve your final results. Consider if your goal is a short-term or long-term goal. From there, you can determine a timeline

and set a schedule for yourself to meet deadlines and get to your objective. Your timeline should also be realistic and allow you plenty of opportunities to make adjustments to your goal regarding its relevance, specificity and attainability. Consider the final step in the SMART process in the following example.

Example goal before “time-bound” criteria: “I will increase my typing speed of 50 words per minute to 65 words per minute by setting aside 15 minutes every day to practice speed typing and take timed tests.”

Example goal after “time-bound” criteria: “I will increase my typing speed of 50 words per minute to 65 words per minute within three months. I will set aside 15 minutes each day to practice at speed and take timed tests weekly to measure my progress.”

This goal now fits all the criteria of a SMART goal because it shows how specific the objective is, outlines a way to measure progress, is achievable and relevant to the desired skill development and sets up a timeline for each milestone and overall completion of the goal.

In this video, Sinéad explains how to choose relevant goals that are in line with your long-term aspirations, and gives examples of how to specify what it is that you truly want in life, and tailor your goals toward that vision.

Examples of Business Smart Goals

  • Reduce overtime in the department from 150 hours per month to 50 hours per month by the end of the fiscal year with no increase in incident reports.
  • Identify, execute and run 5 customer education webinars this quarter with 10+ attendees and 80%+ satisfied/very satisfied rate
  • Prepare for product launch by developing launch checklist of activity, tasks, due-dates and drive approval by all stakeholders by April 1
  • Conduct at least 10 phone screens and 3 on-site interviews to achieve the goal of hiring new finance manager by end of quarter
  • Gain four new clients for my business this quarter by conducting 3 or more customer meetings each week
  • Acquire 45,000 new online customers this financial year at an average cost per acquisition (CPA) of $30 with an average profitability of $5
  • Increase the reach of the business Facebook page from 35,000 likes to 100,000 likes by July 31 through ads, events, and video
  • Ensure that the 90%+ of the team has completed training on the new inventory management software by the end of the quarter.
  • Secure $10K in sponsorship commitments for our event this fall by the end of March
  • Review all customer accounts above $20K/year revenue and schedule a strategic review with the top 5 with the greatest opportunity for upsell
  • Deliver customer support with a 90%+ Satisfied/Very Satisfied customer satisfaction rate and reduce overall customer contact volume by 10%
  • Present at two or more internal employee per quarter to improve confidence and presenting skills. Improve industry knowledge by attending 3+ industry events and provide a write-up to the rest of the team on key learnings afterward
  • Develop and practice my management skills by conducting weekly 1:1s with my direct reports, quarterly 1:1s with my indirect reports, and quarterly all hands with my team resulting in 10% improvement in employee engagement score at the end of the year
  • Review and reduce the number of meetings on my calendar by 50% in order to enable more time for strategic planning by end of the month
  • By end of quarter, complete course work and pass for CFA certification
  • Grow my network by having at least one lunch each week on average this quarter with an external professional relationship
  • Improve my product understanding by creating, drafting, and delivering two projects using our product by the end fo the quarter
  • Spend 2 days per month building my customer understanding by shadowing teammates in operations and sales; deliver a write-up at the end on key learnings to the rest of the team

Source:

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-write-smart-goals
https://notejoy.com/resources/smart-goals-examples-for-work
https://www.lifehack.org/864427/examples-of-personal-smart-goals

Diary Writing Samples

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

The Benefits of Keeping a Diary

The reason is thought to be because it allows you to process your experiences safely, and review particular events in a less stressful way. Writing your personal story appears to play a part in this, and it seems to be important to focus on both thoughts and feelings, and not just feelings.

The best way to get better at anything is to practise. Writing a diary allows you to focus on your writing without worrying about your audience or what anyone else will think. And doing it regularly helps to improve your thinking processes, and can even help you become more creative in how you think.

This can be important for a number of reasons. For example, when you are applying for a job, you often have to describe times when you have demonstrated a skill, or done something particularly well. A diary or journal can be a good way to record your successes, and ensure that you have a ready source of examples for job applications. It can also be a way to reflect on your experiences, and learn for the future. Writing about positive events, and looking back on them, can also be a good way to boost your self-esteem.

Paper or Electronic?

There is a huge range of electronic options as well as the traditional paper-based route. You could, for example, use a diary app such as Penzu, which claims to take security very seriously, try a note-taking app like Google Keep, or just record your thoughts in a Word document stored on your laptop or in the cloud. You could even go ‘open’ and keep a blog, sharing your thoughts with the world, and not just your diary.

All these options have merits. Diary apps are right there on your phone, and quick and easy to access. They are also private. Electronic back-ups in the cloud should mean that even losing your device does not mean that you have lost your diary.

Using word-processing software gives you the option to craft your thoughts more carefully, and to go back and change them later. This could be both an advantage and disadvantage: an advantage because you can refine your thinking, and a disadvantage, because it will not show you your raw thinking when you look back, and may encourage you to spend more time than you really need on your journal.

A paper-based diary may be old-fashioned, but it is also completely private. You can hide it away at home, and nobody need ever suspect that you write it. Writing things down long-hand can also be useful practice in ordering your thoughts in advance, which is good if you will ever have to sit written exams.

Diary Writing Sample #2

Our board exam results have not yet been declared and already the news of malpractice is making the rounds. There are cases of attempted bribery reported for admissions into esteemed colleges. Such news is really very disheartening. Especially when coupled with the various reservation schemes already existing. This leaves no scope for children like me who do not fit in any minority groups nor can sum up large amounts for donation. This is a very serious problem, and I am really threatened by it. Even if the malpractices are ignored or hushed up, as very often they will be, the fact that these students will not excel in their courses is inevitable, thus causing a loss of the country’s resources employed in their training. I do not know what to look forward to anymore. I just hope and pray that such practices are tracked and nipped in the bud.

Last night, I had a very strange dream. I saw that two of my friends and I were going to attend my cousin’s wedding reception. On our way a rather strange-looking man intercepted us. Despite our protests, he insisted on narrating to us his tale of resentment. He looked unnaturally old with skinny limbs and glittering eyes, and the tale he narrated seemed too surreal to be true. He said he used to be a mariner who shot an innocent albatross who was guiding their ship out of the perilous ice at sea. This act enraged a powerful spirit who used to love the bird. His actions resulted in the death of his crewmates. Also, he was doomed to feel a great deal of agony which was relieved only when he narrated the tale to somebody. The dream taught me a valuable lesson: Never hurt the hand which helps you.

Source:

https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/diary-journal.html
https://englishluv.com/diary-writing-samples/
https://penzu.com/how-to-start-and-write-a-diary

Assertiveness in the Workplace: Pros, Cons and How To Be More Assertive

Imbalance

Assertiveness in the Workplace: Pros, Cons and How To Be More Assertive

Assertiveness is an essential communication tool to express your opinions respectfully. Practicing assertiveness can boost your self-esteem and help you implement positive changes in your organization. As an employee, it’s important to understand how to create an assertive delivery that is easy for your audience to understand. In this article, we explain the definition and importance of assertiveness and guidance for exhibiting assertive behavior in the workplace.

Assertiveness is an emotion that enables professionals to express their opinions and respect their colleague’s perspectives simultaneously. Employees can defend their ideals while maintaining positive connections with teammates and managers. Unlike aggression, assertiveness considers how others feel.

It’s also different from passiveness because of its firm delivery of a message. To practice assertiveness, employees find a balance between acquiescing others’ requests and satisfying their own interests.

Volunteer Yourself

“If your boss or leaders ask for help on something, volunteer to help,” says DeWall. “Volunteering is an easy way to demonstrate assertiveness while minimizing conflict because it is a personal choice; you can choose whether you want to volunteer or not.” You can mark yourself out as a go-getter and help others who may not have wanted to take on the same responsibilities.

It’s also a good place to do a test run of your assertiveness. “Become a building fire marshal or head up a volunteer event,” Erica McCurdy, founder of executive coaching group McCurdy Solutions, tells Bustle. “These are roles where those not always in leadership are given temporary authority to show leadership what you are made of and test out your assertiveness in a temporary environment.”

Lead With Your Feelings

Sometimes working with others means giving some criticism, and that’s an important time to be assertive, experts tell Bustle — but phrasing can really help make it easier. “If you’re trying to give constructive feedback in a way where you don’t want to create conflict, I recommend you always lead with how someone is making you feel,” Liz Wessel, CEO of WayUp, a company that connects young people with Fortune 500 companies for internships, tells Bustle. “No one can argue with your feelings, since they are yours to have.” Using “I” statements and phrases about your own feelings, like “you made me feel XYZ,” are more effective than “you clearly feel XYZ about me,” because they’re all about you.

Starting with praise can also help. “Start off by sharing a statement of validation letting the other person know that you appreciate them and the work they do,” McCurdy tells Bustle. “By being someone who does not often create conflict, your conversation is likely to have an impact larger than you may intend, so make your case carefully, concisely, impersonally, and be sure to articulate exactly what you need the other person to do to resolve your issue.”

Assertive: I’m ok – you’re ok

Being assertive means that you respect yourself enough to put forward your thoughts and suggestions, whilst also respecting the other person and their point of view. You are communicating directly and honestly as well as being kind and likeable.

When you’re assertive, you talk openly about what you need. You might not always get what you want, but by listening to others and by having the courage to speak candidly and respectfully, your calm and agreeable style will earn others’ respect.

Because assertiveness is based on mutual respect, it’s an effective and diplomatic approach. It allows us to cooperate, to understand both points of view and ideally to resolve conflict by finding an outcome that suits us both.

success high five

How to be assertive in five steps:

  1. Be curious about the other person’s point of view. Even if they are not acting professionally, they will have reasons for their behaviour or opinion. Ask open questions and really listen to understand what they have to say. If people are being unreasonable, listening to their needs and expectations can be really challenging. But if you ensure they feel listened to and respected, the conversation can shift to a more positive dialogue.
  2. Speak up and express yourself. People can’t read your mind, so be honest and specific. Use “I” language to avoid sounding critical. For example: “I have another suggestion” rather than “You’re wrong”. Or “I noticed the deadline wasn’t met” instead of “You didn’t meet the deadline”. If you have a hard time turning down requests, learn to say no, not yet, or not now. Saying no is not selfish, it shows you are able to prioritise and can set healthy limits. Remember, every time you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. Saying no therefore also enables you to say yes to the things that matter most. Explain your perspective and ask for help if needed. Keep any explanations short and simple.
  3. Watch your tone: It not just what you say but how you say it. Keep your tone of voice and body language open and warm. You don’t want your message to get lost because people are reacting to your delivery. We read a great deal into the way something is said, not just the words people use. When you are preparing for an assertive interaction, think ahead about your body language and how you can show you are OK and so are they. Pay particular attention to your facial expressions, arms and posture.
  4. Think win-win: don’t assume the other person is aiming to undermine or belittle you. Even if they are, don’t sink to their level, don’t treat them badly, and don’t withdraw from the conversation. Build on their ideas rather than dismissing them. Offer potential solutions and ask the other person to help you shape an answer that works for both of you. Work together on the challenge or issue, exploring it from all sides, finding common ground and a way forward that deals with both of your concerns.
  5. Respond, don’t react: if you find yourself feeling strong and unhelpful emotions in an interaction, it can be really hard to stay assertive. Take a deep breath, pause and think. Your feelings and emotions are entirely valid, however assertiveness means not allowing those feelings to drive your behaviour.

Thinking I’m Ok, You’re Ok will keep you assertive no matter how difficult the conversation. You might not always get exactly what you want, but your pride and self-respect won’t be damaged. And you will build a reputation for being confident, professional and great to work with.

Resource:

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/assertiveness
https://www.bustle.com/p/how-to-be-more-assertive-at-work-in-3-days-according-to-experts-18755104
https://www.managementcentre.co.uk/insights/assertiveness-at-work-explained/

Can Anyone Write A Novel or Book?

Planning your first novel

How to write a book – the short honest truth

It’s a simple question, but it causes problems. On the one hand, it’s nice to have people interested in something I do. If I told people I fixed toasters for a living, I doubt I’d get many inquires. People are curious about writing and that’s cool and flattering. Rock on.

But on the other hand, the hand involving people who ask because they have an inkling to do it themselves, is that writing books is a topic so old and so well trod by so many famous people that anyone who asks hoping to discover secret advice is hard to take seriously.

Here’s the short honest truth: 20% of the people who ask me are hoping to hear this – Anyone can write a book. They want permission. The truth is you don’t need any. There is no license required. No test to take. Your book idea is worth writing if you think it is. Writing, as opposed to publishing, requires almost no financial or physical resources. A pen, paper and effort are all that has been required for hundreds of years. If Voltaire, Marquis de Sade and Marina Nemat could write in prison, then you can do it in suburbia, at lunch, at work, or after your kids go to sleep. You will always find excuses if you want them and most people do. Why? Writing is work. No matter how smart you are or how great your idea is, you will have to put in the time and no one else can do it for you.

It helps to kill the magic: a book is just a bunch of writing. Anyone can write a book. It might be bad or be incomprehensible, but so what: it’s still a book and many published authors haven’t done any better.

Nothing is stopping you right now from collecting all of your elementary school book reports, a years worth of emails you wrote, or drunken napkin scribbles, binding them together at Kinkos for $20, slapping a title on the cover, and qualifying as an author. Want to write a good book? Ok, but get in line since most pro authors are still trying to figure that out too.

Writing a good book, compared to a bad one, involves one thing. More work. No one wants to hear this, but if you take two books off any shelf, I’ll bet my pants the author of the better book worked harder than the author of the other one. Call it effort, study, practice, or whatever you like. Sure there are tricks here and there, but really writing is a kind of work. I like this though: it means anyone who puts in enough time can actually write well. Some of our best writing comes from ordinary people from all walks of life.

Getting published. 30% of the time the real thing people are asking is how do you find a publisher. As if there wasn’t a phone book or, say, an Internet-thingy where you can look this stuff up (start with Jane Friedman’s website). Writers-market is literally begging to help writers find publishers. Many publishers, being positive on the whole idea of communication, put information on how to submit material on their website. And so do agents. The grand comedy of this is how few writers follow the instructions. That’s what pisses off all the editors: few writers do their homework.

The sticking point for most people who want to be authors is, again, the work. They want to hear a secret that skips over the work part. Publishers are rightfully picky and they get pitched a zillion books a day. It takes effort to learn the ropes, send out smart queries, and do the research required to both craft the idea for a book, and then to propose it effectively. So while writing is a rejection prone occupation, even for the rock-stars, finding a publisher is not a mystery. In fact the whole game is self-selective: people who aren’t willing to do the work of getting published are unlikely to be capable of the work required to finish a decent manuscript.

But that said – it’s easier today to self-publish than ever. People look down on self-publishing, but I don’t see why. When people buy books it’s not like they care who published them (“Oh, I don’t read Random House books, sorry”): they only care who recommended or reviewed the book. But again, our tragically unpopular companion, work, is required to self-publish so many prefer to keep asking writers how they got published instead of just doing it themselves. You can read what I learned from self-publishing the first time here (although the technology and options have improved since then).

Being famous and wealthy: Now this is the kicker. About 50% of the time the real thing people want to know is how to become a famous millionaire rock-star author person. As if a) I qualified, b) I could explain how it happened, or c) I’d be willing to tell.

First, this assumes writing is a good way to get rich. I’m not sure how this lie started but writing, like most creative pursuits, has always been a less than lucrative lifestyle. Even if a book sells well, the $$ to hour ratio will be well below your average corporate job, without the health benefits, sick days, nor the months where you can coast by without your boss noticing. These days people write books after they’re famous, not before. A book can help you gain professional credibility, but then it’s more of a marketing project than a writing project, isn’t it?

Can anyone be a writer?

A book has a beginning, a middle, and an end that keep the reader for the five, six, ten hours it can take to read the book, because if they get tired of it halfway through, most people stop reading.

When people say “you should write a book,” they are not thinking of something physical with a cover that the person has modified, modified, designed, sold, sold, sent, and placed on the shelf.

No matter what you choose, you will become a better writer, and your next book will be easier to write and edit than the first book. Just focus on your book and your writing will get better and better over time.

If you can handle these three things, you can do it; it’s just a matter of hard work-then you can write well enough to write a novel. Because the only thing I learned from talking to people for this story is that all you have to do to become a real writer is…writing.

So, Can Just Anyone Write a Book?

Why, yes – in fact, I have worked with countless new authors through our incredible Book Bound Workshops. And I’ve met many more on a one-on-one basis through our partner publishing company and book coaching services. These new authors – at first – never considered themselves a “writer.”

But as it turns out, one of the hardest parts of the writing process is just having the story to share. And for these new authors, they found their story and voice, sometimes all in just one weekend!

Furthermore, are you new to the writing process and aren’t sure if you have the ability to write a book? As it turns out, it is possible with just a little encouragement and guidance!

Even so, there are a few tips for new writers to help navigate you through the writing and publishing process. These will help you get started and to stay motivated until you finish your book and beyond.

First: seek guidance

Celebrities, politicians, movie stars, and notable figures from all over have published books. As it turns out, not many of them are born writers. Often, they employ the services of a ghostwriter.

A professional ghostwriter can help transform your story into a polished book by doing the bulk of the heavy lifting for you. Ghostwriters are readily available for writers of all abilities, and offer all sorts of services.

Perhaps you just need a round or two of proofreading to ensure that your story flows perfectly. Or maybe you want to relay your story and have your ghostwriter put your ideas and concepts on the page.

Regardless of whether you need a little help or a lot, a ghostwriter is a great way for new writers to find their voice. As a result, they will be able to establish themselves in the publishing world, while still sharing a story that is strictly their own.

Second: keep trying

J.K. Rowling was famously turned down dozens of times before her Harry Potter series was finally published. And this has happened to many other bestselling authors in the world. (Even William Shakespeare had trouble finding an audience when he first started as a playwright!)

So don’t be worried if traditional publishing houses do not show immediate interest in your story idea. And this is especially true if you are in the very beginning stages of writing a book. Don’t forget that these days, there are countless options for publishing a book, ranging from big publishing houses to self-publishing options.

There is even an option for hiring a partner publishing company. They can provide a wealth of invaluable services – from copyediting to cover design – while ensuring that you retain all rights and royalties from your book sales.

Next: stay motivated

Countless would-be authors have started to write their book and then somehow get stuck along the way, and never reach the final page. Perhaps you have toyed with the idea of writing a book in the past, and then got some of your thoughts on paper. But then you ended up letting the project linger until it simply disappeared behind the havoc of everyday life.

Start by having a set schedule of when you can write, and then sticking to it! During this time you will set, it’s best to avoid distractions of the day, to make sure that writing remains a priority. You can achieve this by setting aside specific days and times to write. Or you could even set a daily or weekly word count that you have to reach.

Finally: seek help, and find a community

New writers will be delighted to discover that when it comes to assistance in the writing process, there are plenty of options! Consider hiring a writing coach or a book coach if this is your first foray into writing a book. Or you could even find a local writing group or other community where you can share your struggles and garner feedback.

You need help not only to begin writing but keeping motivation, and a little positive reinforcement will go a long way! So find your community and your inspiration, (whether it’s a professional writing coach or just a supportive team of family and friends). And then lean on them when the going gets tough so that you can keep going.

Now, keep in mind that the idea that “Anyone can write a book” is reliant on one condition – that the author has a story to share. As we said, finding a story can be the most difficult part of the entire writing process. It happens also to be the most important requirement on the path to becoming an author.

You already know you have a story, so feel proud that you have already taken a huge step forward to your new position as a published author. With a little help and a bit of hard work, you CAN write and publish a book, and leave your mark on the world.

Source:

https://scottberkun.com/2007/how-to-write-a-book-the-short-honest-truth/
https://paragraffs.com/can-anyone-write-a-novel-or-book/
https://www.michelleprince.com/can-anyone-write-a-book-heres-the-answer/

16 Top Ghostwriters in Australia

Find a ghostwriter

Robin Storey

Living in Maroochydore, Queensland, Robin Storey is an author and freelance ghostwriter with over 25 years of work experience. After publishing 8 fiction titles and gaining insight into storytelling, Robin decided to specialize in ghostwriting memoirs. In terms of fiction, she enjoys mystery & crime the most. Curious about her portfolio? If so, make sure to check out “The Ambo: From Field Ambulance to Civil Ambulance and More”, by Bob McDermant, and “Making The Breast Of It: Breast Cancer Stories of Humour and Joy”, by Robin Storey herself. To learn more and to request a quote, access this page.

Specializing in book ghostwriting, short-form content, and book proposals, David Brewster is a Melbourne-based freelancer with more than 10 years of writing experience. During his career, he has published two titles and has worked on 18 more, either as a co-author or a ghostwriter. Since he delivers high-quality work, David charges at least $24,000 for ghostwriting a 30,000-40,000 word book. Non-fiction is his specialty, and he is mainly interested in biographies & memoirs, history, and business & management. To get an idea of his skills, you can look up “State of the Nanny: Telling It Like It Really Is”, by Louise Dunham, and “Assertive Humility: Emerging from the ego trap”, by Mr Stuart Taylor. Quotes can be requested here.

Sarah Billington

Sarah Billington is an experienced editor and writer who currently lives in Melbourne, Victoria. After gaining extensive work experience at Hickler Books and Lonely Planet, Sarah wrote for Girlfriend Magazine, The Loop, and HuffPost, to give a few examples. In terms of studies, she has a Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing & Editing and a B.A. in Professional Writing & Publishing. If you’re looking for ghostwriting or short-form content services, you should know that paranormal romance, dystopian, science fiction, thriller & suspense, children’s nonfiction, and horror are some of her favorite genres. To learn more and to request a quote from Sarah, access this page.

A Sydney-based freelancer who specializes in supernatural fiction, urban fantasy, and futuristic fantasy (both apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic), Gordon Donaldson’s inspiration comes from his experience as a psychic medium. If you find his approach suitable for your project, he can provide book ghostwriting, short-form content, and book proposal services. As he has a vast experience in writing, Gordon knows exactly what publishers are looking for. To get an idea of his skills, you should check out his book, “In-Between Heaven and Trouble (A Young Diviners Short Story Book 1)”. Before making a decision, feel free to request a quote here.

The Negatives of Business Ghostwriting

1. Hiring a ghostwriter is expensive

If you don’t get a good one, then you will probably get a book that makes you look bad. In fact, this is a very important point: if you hire a cheap ghostwriter, you will almost certainly end up with a bad book.

Below is a general guideline to the current market prices for ghostwriters. These prices can vary somewhat, because ghostwriting is an opaque market with no centralized marketplace for price discovery, but for a 100-300 page non-fiction book, prices usually break down like this:

800,000-$14,000 : This is the bottom of the barrel for ghostwriters. Anyone charging less than $15k is, quite frankly, not good. At best, they are very new and taking cheap work to build their portfolio. Usually, they’re just bad writers or are subcontracting the work out to offshore content mills. At worst, they’re flat out plagiarizing other people’s work. Anyone good moves their prices above $15k as soon as they can.

$15,000-$75,000 : Professional ghostwriters with credits and reputation will usually charge between $15,000 and $75,000. This price varies widely depending on the writer’s level of expertise, the amount of work required for the project, and how much work they are currently juggling.

Understand that there are substantial quality differences in this price range, and even within that range, a higher price does not guarantee quality. There are many who charge in this range who are not good at all, and many in this range who are cheap compared to the quality they deliver.

$100,000-$250,000+ : Once you get into the six-figure realm, you are talking about a very small number of well-established authors with extensive experience ghostwriting best-sellers (they often have books out under their own names that are well-respected).

There are probably no more than 100 ghostwriters in the world who can command these prices, and they’re usually hired by people who get large advances from traditional publishers and need to make sure their books are good; for example, actors, politicians, musicians and other famous personalities.

And the very best ghostwriters can actually command a share of the advance and royalties. One of my good friends and writing partners fall into this category— Nils Parker . For many of his projects, he charges a large percentage of the advance (up to 50% with some authors), plus some percentage of the backend. And because he is so good, he has a two-year backlog of clients waiting to work with him.

Ghostwriters at this level are actually easier to find, since they are known by most of the book agents and book editors in the business, and tend to work on a referral basis only.

2. Business ghostwriters are hard to find and hire

If you want to buy a book, you can go to Amazon and know that it’s going to be for sale there, and they will probably have the best price for it. It’s a transparent, reliable marketplace for books.

Furthermore, unless you are skilled at hiring and testing writers, you will have problems evaluating them. The very nature of their profession—writing things for other people— means that they often don’t get credit for their work, and cannot show it to you to prove their skill as a writer.

3. Business ghostwriters can be difficult to manage

Finding and hiring the ghostwriter are just the first steps. Are you a good manager, especially of someone you don’t know, working in a field you don’t know well? Because that’s going to be required if you hire a ghostwriter.

But if you didn’t pick the right ghostwriter, then you now have to worry about missed deadlines, payment issues, conflicts, poor work product, and any number of other issues that come from managing a freelance contractor who is looking for their next project.

4. There are no guarantees in ghostwriting

This system makes sense from the perspective of the ghostwriter. If the ghostwriters allowed for “money-back guarantee” clauses, or “quality guarantee” clauses, they would be setting themselves up for endless revisions with authors. It could mean thousands of hours of work. Since these writers literally make their money by selling their time, they can’t do that.

In fact, if you ever see complete money-back guarantee from a ghostwriter, it’s probably a sign they’re either very new, or possibly even cheating you. No good, established ghostwriter would ever do that.

The problem is that some authors are totally unreasonable, so the ghostwriters have to structure their deals this way to protect themselves from the few really bad author clients out there.

5. There is no process with ghostwriting

This really gets at the heart of the issue—ghostwriting has no defined PROCESS to it. Each ghostwriter has their own personal system, so you can’t know at any given stage what is going on, how well it’s going, etc. You are totally in the hands of the ghostwriter that you are working with.

Where to Find Business Ghostwriters

It sounds crazy, but it’s true. To make sure I was right about this, I asked Byrd Leavell , a New York book agent who represents lots of sports figures (which means he’s always in the market for ghostwriters), where he would go to find a ghostwriter if he wasn’t a publishing insider. His exact response:

“There is no set place that I know of. It seems like every time it’s a relationship that is created from connections. Someone has reached the point in their life where they want to do a vanity memoir and then they reach out to friends who for various reasons have come in contact with writers. This then leads to an old client coming to me saying they are being offered money to write this person’s book.

I was shocked at this, so I did more research with book agents and actual ghostwriters. I talked to dozens of other agents and ghostwriters, and collected the places they source writers or authors. I think it is the most comprehensive list on the internet, and as far as I can tell, the only one based on actual research with book agents and ghostwriters:

Individual Search

Most good ghostwriters have a website, even if it’s not very good, to source clients. Our writers said they get a lot of inbound leads from their sites, which they said people find two ways, Google and LinkedIn.

LinkedIn : This is a great place to start a general search, but be prepared to do a lot of research into their work, check their sites, etc. And also remember, you’ll only be seeing the people who explicitly offer ghostwriting on their profile. Many writers do that work, but don’t list it.

If you aren’t finding many in your city, that’s fine, but I would recommend going deep into the Google search results for “ghostwriter” because the first few pages will be ads and scammers. The good ghostwriters will be listed a few pages back. Or better yet, be careful using a general Google search at all, and start other places on the list.

Freelance Writer Marketplaces

These are places where freelance writers have profiles, to connect with people looking for freelance writers. Very few of these marketplaces are designed around ghostwriting specifically, and very few vet their ghostwriters, though many do have different ways of displaying social proof (reviews, etc).

Reedsy : This is the best freelancer marketplace that I know of for books. Their selection of ghostwriters is high quality and is getting larger. Helpfully, they also have a systematic process for finding ghostwriters, getting bids, and working with them, so their platform itself helps to solve quite a few of the ghostwriting issues outlined above. If I were looking for a ghostwriter, I would probably start here.

American Association of Ghostwriters : I have no experience dealing with them, but I know one writer who gets leads from them and has nice things to say. I looked at their stable of ghostwriters, and they seem pretty solid.

SolidGigs: I have no experience with this freelancing platform, but it operates by curating lists of ‘gigs’ to send directly to freelancers. The problem is that it’s a newer marketplace, so chances are you won’t find the highest tier of ghostwriters here.

Ghostwriter Agencies

Agencies make their money on the difference between what they charge and what they pay to freelancers. The less they pay to their freelancers, the more they make from you, so they are incentivized to hire writers who don’t charge as much, which means they are not as skillful or as experienced. Unsavory ones lure you into a contract with samples of one writer’s work, then hand you substandard material by someone else.

They can get away with this because most of them are not getting clients from personal recommendations or worried about building a reputation for excellence. They are content mills that make money by being good at buying Google ads, and in essence, scamming people. Once they accumulate too many bad reviews, they change names and start again. So you have to be very careful in picking the agency you use.

Not all agencies are like this. I know of three ghostwriting agencies that stand apart from the scammers, who have built a reputation of sourcing high-quality ghostwriters, vetting and pairing them carefully, and standing behind them.

These three were first recommended to me by the book agent Scott Hoffman (he founded Folio, one of the most successful book agencies in the world, they use dozens of ghostwriters every year for their authors):

Note: Regardless of where you find them, I would recommend doing a deep evaluation of a minimum of three ghostwriters, and probably five to be sure. Be prepared to interview up to ten to find the right one.

Resource:

https://writingtipsoasis.com/top-ghostwriters-in-australia/
https://scribemedia.com/business-ghostwriting-guide/
https://www.lisatener.com/find-a-ghostwriter/

What Is a Mobile App? | App Development Basics for Businesses

business app example

Mobile Application

Mobile applications have become highly pervasive in recent years. Their quality is essential since application failures can lead to serious consequences, such as damage of corporate reputation or financial loss. The goal of this work is to identify and expose approaches that address the issue of quality assurance for mobile applications. In order to drive our systematic mapping study, we derived eight research questions based on the stated goal. Ultimately, we systematically identified 311 articles based on 4607 captured records. We created clustered views to answer the research questions and used existing surveys to complement our overview of current challenges. The results show an overall upward trend of publications since 2003. Hot topics include automation of GUI tests and assurance of nonfunctional qualities. Aspects of future research could be the integration of review techniques into existing approaches and focusing more strongly on defects addressing the specific characteristics of mobile applications.

Secure Mobile Applications

In most cases, mobile applications are developed to be an interface to the standard application. The mobile application sits between the standard application and the mobile client, and it handles communications between the mobile client and the standard application. There are, of course, exceptions where a mobile application is developed independently, but the security controls will remain the same.

Mobile Application Security Controls

One of the biggest mistakes that mobile application developers make is assuming that only mobile devices will interact with the mobile application. Assuming the mobile application server is network accessible, any system with access to the network will be able to attack that application server. So, for example, let’s consider the Chevy Volt OnStar mobile applications again. Users will be able to use an iPhone, BlackBerry, Droid, or most mobile Web browsers to remotely control certain functions in their Chevy Volt car from anywhere. 9 In order to provide this level of access, the mobile application server(s) will be Internet accessible. Thus, any system with an Internet connection will be able to attack that application server.

Mobile applications will need to be able to defend against traditional application attacks, including those described in Chapter 7 , “Attacking the Utility Companies.” The following resources provide detailed information regarding how to develop secure applications:

Warning

The OWASP Top 10 ( www.owasp.org/index.php/Category:OWASP_Top_Ten_Project ) can be used as a good starting point to understand the types of attacks that the mobile applications will face. Many organizations use the OWASP Top 10 as the only criteria for assessing their application security posture and only concern themselves with the ten items in the list. The OWASP Top 10 is intended to provide awareness on the top 10 Web application security flaws, 17 thus it is not intended to be a comprehensive list.

Encryption

When developing mobile applications , it is tempting to offload encryption to the network provider. So, for example, if the developers intend to support only cell phones, they may make the justification that the cellular network will encrypt the data in transit, thus implying that SSL will be a waste of resources. However, Chapter 7 , “Attacking the Utility Companies,” discussed attacks against encryption used in GSM networks. Additionally, a large number of cell phones now include Wi-Fi radios, so there is no assurance that cell phones will even be using the cellular networks to communicate with the mobile application server. Making these types of assumptions can lead to critical vulnerabilities in applications.

The effectiveness and moderators of mobile applications for health behavior change

Abstract

The number of mobile application –based health interventions has grown along with an increasing proportion of mobile phone users. However, findings related to the effectiveness of such interventions have been inconsistent, which leaves unanswered the question of whether mobile application–based health interventions are more effective than comparison conditions. Additionally, the conditions under which mobile application–based health interventions are most effective have not been investigated via moderator analyses. This metaanalysis synthesizes result from studies of mobile application–based health interventions by calculating an overall effect size and analyzing potential moderators of effectiveness. The positive effect size and statistically significant moderators provide important theoretical and practical implications for mobile application–based health interventions.

Key mobile app development technologies

Native apps

What are native apps? Such apps are built for a single mobile operating system. That’s why they’re called native – they’re native to a particular platform or device. The majority of mobile apps today are built for systems like Android or iOS. To put it simply, you can’t install and use an Android app on iPhone, and vice versa.

The main benefit of native apps is their high performance and excellent user experience. After all, developers who build them use native device UI. Access to a broad range of APIs also helps to accelerate the development work and extend the boundaries of app usage. Native applications can only be downloaded from app stores and installed directly into devices. That’s why they first need to pass a strict publishing process. 32157

The most important drawback of native apps is their cost. To build, support, and maintain an app for Android and iOS you basically need two development teams. As you can imagine, this may result in a higher price tag on the project.

Web apps

Web apps are software applications that behave similarly to native mobile apps and work on mobile devices. However, there are significant differences between native apps and web apps. For starters, web apps use browsers to run, and they’re usually written in CSS, HTML5, or JavaScript. Such apps redirect the user to the URL and then offer them the option to install the app. They simply create a bookmark on their page. That’s why they require minimum device memory.

Since all of the personal databases will be saved on the server, users can only use the application if they have an internet connection. This is the main drawback of web apps – they always require a good internet connection. Otherwise, you risk delivering a subpar user experience.

Moreover, developers don’t have that many APIs works with, except for the most popular features like geolocation. The performance will be linked to browser work and network connection as well.

Hybrid apps

Hybrid apps are easy and fast to develop, which is a clear benefit. You also get a single codebase for all the platforms. This lowers the cost of maintenance and streamlines the updating process. Developers can also take advantage of many APIs for features such as gyroscope or geolocation.

Types of mobile applications

  • Gaming apps – this is the most popular category of mobile apps. You’d be surprised to learn how many users install games on their phones. Businesses invest an increasing amount of time and resources into creating games and mobile versions of well-known stationary games because it’s such a profitable market. According to a recent study, mobile games account for 33% of all app downloads, 74% of consumer spendings, and 10% of all the time spent using apps. The most successful mobile games like Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds become known all over the world.
  • Business or productivity apps – these apps hold a large chunk of the market today because people are increasingly prone to using their smartphones and tablets to perform many complex tasks on the go. For example, apps can help them to book tickets, send emails, or track their work progress. Business apps are geared at boosting productivity and minimizing expenses as they allow users to complete a wide range of tasks, from buying new cartridges for office printers to recruiting a new office manager.
  • Educational apps – this category includes mobile apps that help users gain new skills and knowledge. For example, language learning apps like Duolingo have become incredibly popular because they give users the flexibility they look for in learning. Educational game apps are an excellent tool for kids. Many educational apps turn out to be popular among teachers too, who use them to organize their teaching process better or educate themselves further.
  • Lifestyle apps – this broad category of apps spans shopping, fashion, virtual fitting rooms, workout, dating, and diet apps. These apps basically focus on various aspects of personal lifestyle.
  • M-commerce apps – the most popular shopping apps like Amazon or eBay offer the experience of their desktop versions to mobile users. Mobile commerce applications provide customers with convenient access to products and seamless payment methods for an optimal shopping experience. Learn more about mobile commerce definition and types of mobile commerce.
  • Entertainment apps – these apps allow users to stream video content, search for events, chat, or watch content online. Social media apps like Facebook or Instagram are great examples. Moreover, video streaming apps such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video have become incredibly popular with users all over the world. These apps usually boost user engagement by notifying members about updates and newly added products.
  • Utility apps – these are so obvious that we barely even realize that we’re using them. In fact, utility apps usually have the shortest user session times – people use them to get things done and then move on. The most popular types of utility applications are barcode scanners, trackers, or healthcare apps.
  • Travel apps – the main idea behind this category is helping users to travel easily. Travel apps transform a smartphone or tablet into a travel diary and guide that helps users to discover everything they need to know about the site they’re visiting. Most of the tourists are digitally savvy travelers who know how to use apps to their advantage. Can you imagine what traveling would look like without Google Maps, Airbnb, or Uber? You may also like: How to Make an App like Uber: Process and Cost in 2021
  • An average mobile app user in the United States has over 100 apps installed on their device. (Source)
  • A typical mobile user will check their smartphone 63 times a day. (Source)
  • 87% of users check their phone at least one hour before sleep. Out of those, 69% will check their phone at least five minutes before sleep. (Source)
  • 79% of users will abandon a digital product after only one day of use. (Source)
  • Mobile apps today account for more than 57% of all digital media usage. (Source)
  • By 2021, almost 7 billion people worldwide will be using mobile devices. (Source)
  • By 2022, the mobile app downloads number or year will reach 258 billion. This is a great increase from 2017 when that number reached 168 billion. (Source)
  • By the same year, the app store consumer spending will increase by 92% to reach a smashing $157 billion all over the world. (Source)

Types of mobile application

Mobile gaming applications

This is the most famous classification of portable applications. You would be astonished to figure out the number of clients who install games on their telephones. Organizations invest/use a huge amount of time and assets into making games and mobile versions of well-known stationary games since it is a particularly lucrative market. According to a new report from Sensor Tower, mobile game downloads reach 12 billion, which is nearly 7 times higher than the second most downloaded category on Google Play. The share of the mobile games would reach 40% in 2020 in the total mobile application downloaded. Of all application downloads, 84% of casual games were downloaded, and the rest of them were spent on core game mobile applications. The best mobile games like Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds have become known everywhere in the world.

Educational applications

This category incorporates portable applications that help clients acquire new abilities and information. For instance, language learning applications like Duolingo have become staggeringly mainstream since they give clients the adaptability they search for in learning. Educational game applications are an incredible apparatus for youngsters. Numerous educational applications end up being famous among educators as well, who use them to make their teaching process better or teach themselves further.

Business or productivity applications

These applications hold an enormous piece of the market today since individuals are progressively inclined to utilize their smartphones and tablets to perform numerous intricate tasks in a hurry. For instance, applications can assist them with booking tickets, sending messages, or tracking their work progress. Business applications are equipped to boost profitability and limit costs as they permit clients to finish a wide scope of assignments, from purchasing new cartridges for office printers to enlisting another office director.

M-commerce applications

The most famous shopping applications like Amazon or eBay offer the experience of their working assistant forms to mobile users. Mobile commerce applications furnish clients with advantageous admittance to items, as well as many consistent installment strategies for an ideal shopping experience.

Lifestyle applications

This general classification of applications traverses shopping, style, virtual fitting rooms, exercise, dating, and diet applications. These applications essentially center around different parts of the individual way of life.

Entertainment applications

These applications permit clients to transfer video content, look for occasions, talk, or watch content on the web. Online media applications like Facebook or Instagram are incredible models. Additionally, streaming applications, for example, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video have gotten unimaginably well known with clients everywhere in the world. These applications help their mobile users with the various forms and versions of entertaining methods, along with the continuous modification to meet the demand of users.

Travel applications

The primary thought behind this classification is to assist clients with traveling without any problem. Travel applications’ users might change a cell phone or tablet into a movement journal status so that they would receive very helpful instructions, guidance, and preferences. The greater part of the sightseers is carefully sagacious voyagers who realize how to utilize applications for their potential benefit.

Utility applications

these are clear to such an extent that we scarcely even understand that we are utilizing them. Indeed, utility applications typically have the shortest user session times – individuals use them to complete things and afterward proceed onward. The most mainstream sorts of utility applications are standardized identification scanners, trackers, or medical services applications.

5 mobile app examples that brought success to well-known brands

It’s not enough to just create and launch branded business apps. Even though the opportunities seem endless, a lot of entrepreneurs have been out of their luck. The most successful ones share some common features.

Nike is a well-known sportswear brand that has extended its brand’s reach by offering its clients a more complete health and fitness experience. Firstly, in 2006, Nike created a membership program to increase the number of loyal customers. Then, Nike launched their fitness app, which is available for free to everyone. The app offers guided workout where and helps to drive the purchases of Nike’s merchandise.

And lastly, recently, Nike launched the Nike App. The platform grants members personalized access to the brand’s products in Southeast Asia and India. There are a lot of benefits that members can get from the Nike App, for example, exclusive access to the latest product releases.

Results: Nike is doing more than great right now. According to the report, the company’s revenue jumped 96% from the lockdown-impacted quarter a year ago to $12.3 billion, or up 21% from the fourth quarter of 2019. This shows that the company had a considerable rise ahead of pre-pandemic levels. Moreover, Nike’s direct and digital performance drove direct sales up 73% to $4.5 billion, which is a third of total revenue.

business app example

Ikea Place is an app where customers can take a picture of a place in their house and virtually ‘install’ Ikea furniture there to see how it gels with the room. That certainly generates interest and lets the customer make a beeline to the product when they visit the store. After selecting a piece of furniture by scanning a page of a printed catalog, users were asked to put the catalog on the floor, where it acted as an anchor for the 3D image of a piece of furniture.

McDonald’s

McDonald’s leveraged not only a mobile app but also Instagram as one of the most popular photo and video sharing apps in the world, to interact with customers in a new way and advertise their products that were a bit neglected. Back in March of 2013, the company ran a promotion encouraging customers to take pictures of their favorite meals using the mobile application.

Results: McDonald’s also ran its sixth iAd campaign, which not only promoted the company’s products but took advantage of the device’s capabilities to offer a more interactive experience. Broadening McDonald’s Instagram presence was a real success because it brought fresh attention to older products. It also bolstered a ton of user-generated content, which tends to be more influential on customers.

business app

Coca-Cola

Another famous brand that chose to create a mobile app for their business is Coca-Cola. By applying modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Coca-Cola analyzes data to understand consumer behavior from their buying patterns and how they respond to offers and campaigns.

Coca-Cola began its digital transformation in 2018 to understand its customers and satisfy their needs. The launching of a mobile app was part of their digital transformation campaign. Customers are now enabled to redeem loyalty points and get discounts on their drinks. Also, in some countries, customers can use loyalty app to buy bran’s soft drinks from the vending machines.

Results: Coca-Cola is another company from our list that managed to grow and make a higher profit than during the pre-pandemic period. T o be more specific , the company’s second-quarter revenue surpassed 2019 levels which is $10.13 billion vs. $9.32 billion expected.

business app example

Starbucks

Starbucks app launched as early as 2009 allowed users to locate nearby coffee shops, learn about sorts, types, and coffee brews, and suggest their drinks. Two years later, Starbucks increased its digital presence by bringing its loyalty program to users’ smartphones with Card Mobile App.

Now, the Starbucks app offers their customers a wide range of services and functionality. They can order ahead for pickup or scan and pay in-store. The loyalty system is also a part of this mobile app – customers earn Stars (rewards) they can exchange for free food or drinks. Moreover, it offers useful functionalities like typing your barista or finding out what songs are playing at your local store.

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Mobile App Right Now

Some business owners believe that mobile app development, implementation, and marketing are luxuries that only corporations can afford. Some believe that mobile apps are the easiest way to create the next big thing. According to other versions, mobile apps are the best option for a startup to gain momentum. Well, as it is known, the truth is out there, so let’s find out why your business needs a mobile app.

Mobile app development: why should you consider it?

Today we have no doubts about the popularity of mobile phones and apps developed for mobile platforms. We can think of so many charts and so many expressions proving that mobile is everything but just remember the feeling when you’ve left your smartphone at home. Feeling quite helpless, aren’t you? Can tell you more, users have no intention to give an app neither their mobile phones nor their convenience that is tightly connected with the user needs mobile apps address.

Speaking about user needs mobile app development should address. Let’s not forget that any business, be it a startup or a big corporation, should exist to serve users. So, user needs should be at the very heart of any business idea. It is an idea as a response to the user’s need that will be one of the major success factors. Though very often business owners go too far with the ‘brilliance’ of their ideas forgetting about the needs of their clients.

Mobile is everywhere and first in a user need

It’s a well-known fact that mobile devices today outnumber people in the world. It broadens horizons for mobile app ideas for your business by considering just mere numbers. If mobile devices outnumber people in the world so how many apps at least one mobile device can store?

mobile app for your business

Desktop sales have been decreasing for years now as users have made their choice for a laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Statistics of mobile web vs. mobile apps also counts for the latter: even a year ago it was 15% to 85% where the winner is a mobile app.

Understand how and when your target audience uses their mobile devices, how they interact with other brands, conduct research, and make constant observations in any environment, at work or on vacation. With such understanding and analytical support, you have all chances to develop an attractive app that will be easy to interact with and share.

Your brand will be accessible from everyone’s hand

Following the previous ‘ mobile is everywhere’ statement, users will interact with your brand from anywhere, from their pockets, in their offices, in cafes and restaurants, and their homes, of course. Depending on a mobile app idea, the rate of customer engagement can be increased so rapidly that it will exceed expectations which are vital for any business.

At work or on vacation, be it New York or Shanghai, Cape Town or London, no worries, your brand will not be forgotten. Opportunities with a developed mobile app are almost infinite. The only two things you need are a brilliant idea and perfect software execution of this idea.

Creativity is a must for a great mobile app

You are ambitious and find popular business apps boring – fair enough – you’ve developed your company to stand out from a crowd, to make a difference, and to become an example of exquisite taste and great creativity. It’s up to you to choose will your mobile app be just for fun or a B2B solution, but it will have a number of creative elements as you will decide to include it.

Micro-interactions, elements of the game, or the completed minigame – think out of the box. It’s not only smooth UI that triggers the users. They need to be attracted, engaged, and retained by an unforgettable user experience. So just give users what they need to reach their goals by using your app with carefully designed experiences. Help them to achieve these aims as conveniently as possible.

Being creative and even bizarre won’t be out of place, too, according to the current design trends; it can become a successful way to catch the eye of your user, and once again this goal is attained much easier with the help of a mobile app than a web or desktop soft.

Demographic diversity with a bias for the younger population

No matter what your business is, you should decide on a target audience. If your target demographic covers teenagers or millennials, you should seriously consider the production of mobile apps. Only serving the needs of seniors if you are a mobile tech startup might not be the best option. In all other cases, mobile apps have become deeply ingrained into everyday lives, from children to adults.

Something to chat and to chat a lot; something to share tons of photos; something to watch videos and listen to music. Apps similar to Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Kik, and others can become real daily habits of teens on their mobile devices. But they won’t find much appreciation among millennials or the elder generation.

Resources:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/mobile-application
https://www.thedroidsonroids.com/blog/what-is-a-mobile-app-app-development-basics-for-businesses
https://magenest.com/en/mobile-application/
https://perfectial.com/blog/businesses-that-made-success-with-mobile-apps/

How to Choose a College

1

Factors to Consider When Choosing a College or University

You have probably heard it over and over again: choosing a college is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. And it’s true. Where you attend college will have a lasting impact on your personal and professional life.

But the truth is, many students select a college based on emotion or a very limited set of criteria-sometimes just a gut feeling. While this won’t preclude you from academic success, such an important decision should probably undergo a higher level of scrutiny.

If you’re shopping around for colleges, you’re going to want to consider a broad range of factors, such as location, size, cost, academic quality, campus safety, choice of majors, as well as other factors that are important to you personally.

Below are some important factors to consider when choosing a college. These factors start general and get more specific. As you narrow down your list of schools, you’re going to want to ask more detailed questions and dig deeper to find out if that school will be a good fit for you.

How to Compare Colleges and Narrow Your List

Step 1: Make a College List

You’ll want to consider a variety of experiences and outcomes before making a final decision. Ideally, this list should include 10-15 colleges, all of which should offer majors that align with your interests and professional goals.

Step 2: Rank Your Wants and Needs

Knowing what you want and need from the college experience can help whittle down your initial list of schools. For instance, you may want a Big 10 experience with a large student body and plenty of campus activities. Alternatively, a more intimate campus with a liberal arts background may better fit your needs.

Step 3: Visit College Campuses

The internet remains an incredible resource for researching colleges and universities, learning about degree programs, and getting to know faculty and staff. Still, looking at a school’s website does not provide the same insight as visiting the campus in person.

By exploring college campuses, you and your family can get a better feel for the institution’s culture, ask questions, eat in the cafeteria, and browse on-campus housing. See whether you can readily picture yourself attending.

Step 4: Compare Financial Aid Offers

After applying to the colleges on your shortlist, you must wait for acceptance letters and financial aid award letters to arrive. In addition to funding provided by the federal government through the FAFSA, you can receive financial aid packages from individual schools.

Step 5: Weigh the Pros and Cons of Each College

After completing the steps above, it’s time to sit down with a trusted advisor to weigh the pros and cons of each college and see which one best meets your criteria. For example, the school that offered the most money may allow for the least amount of debt, but what if it doesn’t offer a campus culture that aligns with your needs?

College Fairs

A college fair features representatives from different colleges and universities who come together in one location to give students a chance to explore their options and gather information. During a college fair you can meet with admissions officers, ask questions and learn about schools you may not have known about or considered. College fairs are a great opportunity to learn about possibilities and perhaps zero in on the right college for you.

At your college fair, make sure to bring a notebook and pen to take notes. Ask questions and visit as many of the schools’ information booths as possible. Spending a day at a college fair can give you in-depth knowledge about many schools in a short period of time and ultimately help you narrow down your college choices.

14 Factors to Consider When Selecting a College or University

Below, you’ll find a list of the most common factors that influence prospective students’ decisions about whether a school is the right fit for them. As you begin thinking about your college search, we suggest using these factors to guide you.

Type of College

The first part of college planning is understanding your higher education goals. Many college-bound students opt for four-year universities, but others are interested in community colleges or trade schools. After that, you’ll want to consider whether you prefer a public or private school. Public universities are state-funded and tend to be larger and more diverse. Private schools vary in size and are generally looking to create a cohesive student body.

Academic Interest

Figuring out what you want to study in college is a process, and most universities have strengths in a variety of areas. Still, it’s worth making sure schools have the program you need. Many small colleges don’t have engineering or business programs, for example, while technical schools don’t always have a range of humanities classes. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to study, it’s worth investigating the options at different schools.

Location

The next important factor to consider is: where do you want to be? Given that you have a nation (and world) full of colleges and universities from which to choose, thinking about location is a great way to begin narrowing down your college search. Do you want to be near or far from home? In the north, south, east, or west? Do you want to live in a city or in a more rural area? As you answer these questions, you’ll see the best colleges for you come into focus.

Student Body

Similarly, thinking about the size and composition of the student body is also a useful way to narrow your list of colleges. Some high school students want something much bigger than their current school; others prefer the intimacy of a small college campus. Additionally, ask yourself if the student body seems like one where you’d fit in. If you’re able to do a campus tour, look around and see what the college’s current students look like. You may also want to research the school’s demographics as well as its on-campus spaces for diverse student identities.

Campus Life & Culture

Understanding what your college experience would really be like can also help you narrow your list. Talking to current students is a great way to do this, but you can also research online and talk to campus representatives or admissions experts. What do students do for fun? What kinds of extracurricular activities are popular on and off campus? Do a lot of students participate in fraternities and sororities? Do many students go home on the weekends?

Academics & Research

Of course, your social life isn’t the only facet of the college experience! Even beyond making sure the colleges on your list have the academic program(s) you want, it’s also worth digging into schools’ academic culture. Are students competitive or collaborative? Are most classes lectures or discussions, and are they taught by professors or teaching assistants? Sitting in on a class during a campus visit can be a great way to learn about a school’s academic culture.

Cost & Financial Aid

In addition to finding the best college for your academic and personal development, it’s also important to find the right fit for your financial situation. As you narrow your schools, make sure to investigate their financial aid packages. Some private colleges offer an aid calculator on their websites to help you understand how much of the sticker price you can expect to pay, how much you might need in student loans, and how much might be made up in work study. In addition, be on the lookout for scholarships and other merit aid packages.

Career Preparation

Ideally, college is both a great experience on its own and a springboard for whatever you decide to do next. So, as you consider your college choices, be sure to look at how well schools can help you find and prepare for a career path. Does the school have a robust alumni network? Do current students have interesting internships related to their areas of study? Consider visiting the career center on your campus visit to learn more about what it offers.

Housing & Dining

Another important factor in understanding what your life will be like on campus is room and board. What kinds of housing and dining options exist for students? Do they mainly eat in a dining hall, or do they buy their meals around campus? Are there four years of guaranteed housing, or do students move into off-campus rentals after their sophomore or junior years? Is there any kind of designated first-year or special interest housing? Answers to these questions can make a big impact on what your day-to-day college experience is like.

Resources:

https://www.educationcorner.com/factors-choosing-a-college.html
https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/how-to-choose-the-right-college/
https://myfuture.com/college/choosing-a-college
https://www.sparkadmissions.com/blog/how-to-choose-a-college-or-university/