Page 1

COLLEGE and

TRAINING THE HOTTEST JOBS IN MAINE and other things to consider before you declare a major

GOING BACK TO SCHOOL regardless of your age

Tips for

EARNING A SCHOLARSHIP SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION OF THE BANGOR DAILY NEWS

2017


COLLEGE and TRAINING Publisher RICHARD J. WARREN Senior Editor, Special Sections MATT CHABE Print Sales Manager TODD JOHNSTON Advertising Sales advertising@bangordailynews.com Art Director AMY ALLEN Creative Services Manager MICHELE DWYER Creative Services MARCIE COOMBS, CORALIE CROSS, BEN CYR, CALLIE PICARD, CAROLINA RAVE Cover & Page 3 Images JACOB AMMENTORP LUND/ THINKSTOCK To advertise in our next edition, please call 990-8134 or email advertising@bangordailynews.com. © 2017 Bangor Daily News. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without express written consent. Requests for permission to copy, reprint, or duplicate any content should be directed to advertising@bangordailynews.com

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2 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017


COLLEGE and TRAINING

CONTENTS

05 EARN A SCHOLARSHIP Tips and tricks from the experts

06 PARENTAL GUIDANCE Simplifying the transition to college life by starting early

10 MAJOR DECISIONS What to consider when choosing a college major

15 CAMPUS SAFETY Notes on staying safe

16 ADVICE FOR SOON-

TO-BE GRADUATES

Preping for the real world after school

20 JOB HUNTING The hottest jobs right now in Maine and beyond

28 GET A JOB Hints for landing your first job

32 GOING BACK TO

SCHOOL

Transitioning back to school as an older professional

bangordailynews.com • 3


4 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017


plan

earn a scholarship To earn a scholarship, start early (and other tips and tricks).

Most families

PHOTO: ©MELPOMENE / ADOBE STOCK

need to pool a number of resources to pay for a college education, says Sarah Doheny, director of the University of Maine Student Financial Aid Office, and scholarships can play an important role in that effort. With more adults returning to school, there are also more scholarships available for nontraditional students. There are also many scholarships available to students who are already enrolled in college, but wherever you are in your educational journey, it is a good idea to begin your financial planning as early as possible, said Doheny. For high school students, Doheny’s advice is to get involved in the community or extracurriculars sooner rather than later. “Obviously, academic strength is important, but community engagement and extracurricular involvement is also important and it is important over time,” she said. A passion for learning is great, but scholarship committees are also looking for interests outside of the classroom, whether that’s involvement in a church group, the Boy Scouts, or to extra curriculars like art and dance. Extracurriculars can be a great way to show your potential, even if you don’t always shine in the classroom. “Be well rounded because not everybody is a straight-A student. Some of your best college students do not do that well in high school,” said Doheny. Another thing high school students can do to improve their chances is to learn to write well, said Doheny, because many scholarships require an essay. When it comes time to apply, persistence is key. High school guidance offices should be a first stop but students should also search online and check with local civic groups and businesses, especially any that they or their family have a connection with. And, don’t just focus on the larger scholarships—$500 scholarships can make a meaningful impact on tuition and fees. Good online resources include the Finance Authority of Maine, the Mitchell Institute, MES Foundation and the Maine Community Foundation. When applying for scholarships online, however, Doheny said it is important to be cautious and not give out too much personal or financial information. Students should never have to pay to submit an application and if a website asks for your social security number or credit card number, simply walk away.

BY ALAN CROWELL

To improve one’s odds of getting a scholarship, consider the following tips:

GET INVOLVED WITH THE COMMUNITY. Many scholarship sponsors seek individuals who are committed to volunteerism. Plus, volunteering for various groups puts students in the path of information about scholarships from these organizations.

USE SCHOLARSHIP SEARCH ENGINES. Those who search for scholarship sponsors should find plenty of results if they peruse scholarship search engines such as Scholarships.com, CollegeBoard.com and FastWeb.com.

USE NETWORKING CONTACTS. Students who develop a rapport with guidance counselors or the financial aid department at their prospective colleges or universities may learn about scholarship opportunities that are not highly publicized. These people may have the inside track on scholarship information.

APPLY FOR ALL AVAILABLE SCHOLARSHIPS. Students should apply for as any scholarships for which they meet the eligibility requirements.

bangordailynews.com • 5


plan

PARENTAL

guidance How parents can simplify students’ transition to college life.

of true independence many young students experience. Whereas mom and dad were always around to make sure kids were out the door on time and homework was done, that safety blanket is no longer there once kids move into their dorm rooms. The transition to college life can be exciting. But while students typically welcome that transition with open arms, parents often worry about how their children will handle their suddenly more independent life. Parents who want to help their kids make as smooth a transition to college life as possible can take steps during their children’s senior year of high school to help them adjust to their new surroundings and responsibilities more easily.

LET KIDS FLY SOLO ON SCHOOL DAY MORNINGS. New college students have to make many adjustments upon moving into their dorms, and getting themselves out of bed each morning and off to class on time is one such change. Parents worried that their students will sleep in when mom and dad aren’t around can start letting kids fly solo on school day mornings during their final year of high school. Let kids set their alarms, prepare their own breakfasts and get out the door on time all on their own. By the time their freshman year of college arrives, kids will know how to handle their mornings by themselves. 6 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017

PHOTO: MONKEYBUSINESSIMAGES/THINKSTOCK

College is the first taste


TEACH KIDS HOW TO DEVELOP BUDGETS. Another problem many first-year college students encounter is an inability to effectively manage their money. Whether you plan to give kids an allowance while they are in school or intend for them to work part-time for their spending money, use senior year of high school as an opportunity to show kids how to budget their money. If they don’t have accounts already, open bank accounts in your youngster’s name, and insist that he or she start paying for expenses via these accounts. Resist the urge to give high school kids gas money or money for shopping trips if they have already spent their allowances so they can learn how to effectively manage money between paydays. In addition, teach kids about the right and wrong ways to use credit cards, including the importance of paying balances in full and on time.

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LET KIDS HANDLE MORE STANDARD RESPONSIBILITIES. Adults tend to take more mundane responsibilities like making doctor’s appointments or grocery shopping for granted. But kids likely have no idea how to handle such tasks. Parents can encourage their high school seniors to make their own medical appointments. In addition, take kids along on grocery shopping trips, explaining how to find sale items and which foods to buy and which to avoid. Nutrition is not always foremost on the minds of college freshmen, but those who understand the importance of healthy diets are more likely to buy nutritious meals than junk food.

EMPHASIZE TIME MANAGEMENT. Today’s high schoolers are busier than ever before, so many may already be prepared for the juggling act that is college life. But college students have more free time than their high school counterparts, so parents can emphasize the importance of managing that free time wisely as opposed to spending it lounging on the couch or napping. bangordailynews.com • 7


visit The campus of Central Maine Community College in Auburn.

take the next

STEP Central Maine Community College’s lakeside campus offers many degree and certificate options. COURTESY CENTRAL MAINE COMMUNITY COLLEGE

JOIN US! FALL OPEN HOUSE SATURDAY, OCT. 14, 9 A.M. TO NOON

Located on the shores of Lake Auburn,

Central Maine Community College (CMCC) boasts a vibrant campus community that is committed to preparing students for challenging careers or transfer to four-year colleges. We offer 41 associate degree, certificate, and advanced certificate programs leading to technical, business, government, and health careers. With hands-on programs, strong academic resources, on-campus housing, athletics, and student organizations, CMCC offers a complete college experience. In addition to associate degrees and certificates in career and technical fields such as computer technology, criminal justice, medical assisting, automotive, electromechanical, and precision machining technology, the College offers associate in arts degrees in general studies or liberal studies, programs designed for transfer to a four-year college or university. The CMCC Mustangs sports teams participate nationally in the USCAA (United States Collegiate Athletic Association) and locally in the Yankee Small College Conference. The College offers baseball and hockey for men; softball and volleyball for women; and basketball, soccer, and cross-country for both men and women. The College provides three living options for full-time students who choose to live on campus: Rancourt Hall, a four-floor residence hall overlooking Lake Auburn; Fortin Hall, which includes a large game room and lounge; and a two-building apartment complex. In addition to the benefits of being close to classes and campus activities, students feel at home on our safe, well-lit campus. At CMCC, you will receive a quality education at affordable prices, one that prepares you for interesting and rewarding work—right here in Maine! Want to learn more? Please join us for our Fall Open House Saturday, October 14, 9 a.m. to noon. Visit our website at www.cmcc.edu or contact us at 755-5273 or enroll@cmcc.edu.

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PHOTOS: ©JOSHUA RAINEY / ADOBE STOCK

graduation garb explained College graduates wear some unique and impressive duds for their graduation ceremonies. Caps, gowns, tassels, and hoods can all be seen parading down the center aisle before making proud appearances at diploma presentations. Graduation clothing, also known as academic dress, dates back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Clerical garb was standard dress for professors and scholars, as many students during medieval times made certain religious vows in addition to pursuing their educations. Today, faculty, graduates and alumni don such gowns during graduation in a nod to tradition. The color and cut of graduation attire may signify different fields of study and levels of education. Colors and styles may differ depending on the country. Americans follow the guidance adopted by the American Council on Education,

whose standards have been reviewed and revised a handful of times through the decades. Some schools incorporate their own unique twists as well. In the United States, gowns worn by students receiving their bachelor’s and master’s degrees often tie into the representative school’s colors. Doctoral gowns are typically black, and robes are designed to be worn closed. Hoods are scarf-like accessories that represent the subjects students studied and the type of degree they earned, according to the code established by the American Council on Education. The colors that represent the various fields of study have been largely standardized by the Intercollegiate Bureau of Academic Costume. For example, pharmacy is olive green and economics is copper, while the sciences are represented by golden yellow.

The caps, or mortarboards with tassels, are also components of graduation dress. Mortarboards usually coordinate with the color of the gown. Tassels are traditionally black, but school colors and gold for doctorate graduates may also be worn.

bangordailynews.com • 9


LEARN

MAJOR

decisions Tips for choosing a major.

Choosing a major

USE THE RESOURCES AT YOUR DISPOSAL. Students undecided about a college

TAKE ACTION. Classrooms can be great

major should make use of their schools’ career development departments to help them get on the right path. Many such departments provide assessment tools to help students find a major that synthesizes their interests and skills with a field of study. In addition, the personnel within career development departments have dealt with hundreds, if not thousands, of previous students who found themselves in similar situations, and that experience can prove invaluable to students who might feel lost with regard to choosing majors.

places to discover a passion for a particular field of study, but lectures or entry-level courses are not always enough to spark interest. If there are particular fields of study that interest you, find extracurricular clubs that are associated with those majors. Such clubs may host speakers or seminars that can give you greater insight into the field than you might glean from the classroom. Attend such events when possible, and bring any questions you might have about the course of study they are associated with.

10 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017

PHOTO: 6OKEAN/THINKSTOCK

is an important decision for college students. The right major can set students on a path to a rewarding and successful career, which can lead to a more fulfilling life. The gravity of such a decision is one reason many college students delay choosing their majors until after they enter college. Students often find entering college as an “undecided” affords them the opportunity to explore various courses of study without committing themselves to any particular subject. Though that approach can work while students are still underclassmen, many advisors recommend students choose a major before their third year of college. The following tips can help students ensure they make the right decision about which path to take for the remainder of their college careers.


KNOW THE REQUIREMENTS IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC CAREER IN MIND. While many majors are not difficult to navigate, some fields of study have strict guidelines that students should be aware of almost immediately. For example, students hoping to attend medical school after graduation need to determine which courses they absolutely must take in order to qualify for medical school. In addition, students with such specific plans in mind often must choose their majors as early as possible so they can plan their curriculum in accordance with the standards they will need to meet to be considered for postgraduate work.

SPEAK TO UPPERCLASSMEN. Underclassmen may make up the majority of students in entry-level courses, but you may encounter some upperclassmen who have already chosen their majors in such classes from time to time. Such students can be valuable resources for other students looking to gain greater insight into courses of study. Ask about particular classes and professors who upperclassmen found particularly engaging and encouraging.

PURSUE AN INTERNSHIP. The hands-on experience provided by an internship is a great way for students to learn if a particular line of work is for them. Internships can provide an insider’s look into particular professions and industries. While internships might once have been designated for older students, many businesses now have more relaxed eligibility requirements regarding their internship programs, making it possible for students of all grade levels to gain some practical professional experience while still in school.

DON’T JUMP INTO IT. Some students might want to pick a major before they ever step foot on campus. While that strategy might work for some, it should only be employed by those students who are wholly certain a major is for them. Some students choose a major early on because they feel they may get a head start at navigating their way through a job market that recently endured exceptionally high levels of unemployment. But the pressure of finding a job should not be what drives students when choosing a major. Unless you’re entirely certain that a particular course of study is for you, give yourself some leeway and wait to choose a major. The first year or two of college is a great time to expand your academic horizons so use that time to your advantage.

BUT DON’T PROCRASTINATE. While rushing into a major is a mistake, it’s also foolish to procrastinate with regard to choosing a course of study. According to The College Board’s annual survey of colleges, the average tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year colleges for the 2013-14 school year was $30,094, while public four-year in-state tuition and fees averaged slightly less than $9,000 for the same year. So no matter which type of college or university a student enrolls in, he or she will be making a significant financial commitment. Waiting too long to choose a course of study may find you paying for courses you ultimately won’t need, increasing your already expensive tuition along the way.

bangordailynews.com • 11


learn

the university of EVERYONE

Meet Nate from The University of Everyone. COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

T

he University of Southern Maine

(USM) prides itself on its rich mix of students. It’s why we are sometimes called the “University of Everyone.” We are the university of high achievers, the first-in-the-family to attend college, the “New Mainer,” the working adult, and those who have served our nation. We’re also the university of the creative and talented, whether it is in the classroom, on the athletic field, or in the performance hall — like it was for Nate, one of several USM students and graduates who recently came forward to share their experience at USM. Nate (pictured above) hails from Limestone, Maine, one of 23 kids in his graduating high school class. Nate, who excelled in high school, did not attend USM right away. Instead, he enrolled at Harvard, but after two years there he felt like he was drifting. “When I chose to go to Harvard, I was so caught up in what I perceived to be the best, that I neglected to think about what was best for me,” said Nate.

Turns out the best for Nate was USM, where he could combine his passion for music with his passion for teaching. “I couldn’t be more thankful for the time I spent at USM,” he said. “I never could have imagined how influential this place would be.” For Nate, it started with the outstanding and caring faculty. “Beyond being great teachers, they all wanted you to know they were there for you,” Nate said. “Academically, of course, but personally, too. They were the kind of people who cared about us as students and as people, too.” “And because the classes were small— another great benefit of USM—professors were aware if you were struggling with something, even if you didn’t reach out to them first.”

PAID ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE 12 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017


USM’s location was also a real selling point for Nate. “Portland was great,” he said. “Professionally as a musician and artist, it’s a small enough city to get your foot in the door. The faculty knows everybody and it’s easy to make connections. It’s a great place to make a name for yourself, even as a student.” “But beyond professionally, Portland is just a great place—fun, accessible, and cozy. You never feel overwhelmed.” Nate graduated from USM certified to teach K-12 music, and is now a music teacher at Kennebunk High School. “I found a job almost immediately and felt incredibly prepared to step into my own classroom,” he said. “USM taught me not only how to teach but also to be a leader in education,” adding he is just now starting a USM program to receive his assistant principal certificate. Every USM student story, like Nate’s, is both unique and their own, but there are several themes you see run through all of them. First, the academics are of the highest quality, with faculty combining their expertise in their respective fields with a true caring for each and every student. Second, the Greater Portland region is a great place to attend college. Beyond offering so much to do, opportunities abound for internships and hands-on learning that just don’t exist in most other locations. And those opportunities give USM students a true leg up in launching their careers. Third, USM is affordable. Between our low public tuition and outstanding financial aid packages, students receive a terrific education at a far lower cost than most other schools. And finally, students fit in and all are welcome, regardless of age, background or experience. USM is the most diverse campus in Maine and students benefit from learning with each other and from each other. We are after all, the “University of Everyone.”

The benefits of

joining a campus organization The first week of life on a college campus can be somewhat overwhelming for first-year college students. But once students have comfortably adapted to their new lives, many seek opportunities to become more actively involved in life on campus. College clubs and organizations are a great way to do just that, providing a host of benefits that further enhance college life.

MEET PEOPLE Joining a student club or organization is a great way for college students to meet fellow students, professors and other people of note on campus. This is especially beneficial for first-year college students, whose social circle may otherwise be limited to roommates or fellow residents of their dormitories. Joining a club or student organization can quickly expand that social circle to include people who share your interests and not just your dorm assignment.

FIND A MAJOR Many first-year college students can benefit from joining clubs or student organizations that pique their interests. For example, joining an on-campus debate club might help you discover a passion for debate, which can lead down a path to becoming a lawyer. Students who enroll in college without declaring a major may have the most to gain by joining a club or organization.

BOOST YOUR GPA Joining a club or student organization also may make you a better student. A club or organization can help you apply lessons from the classroom in real-world situations, improving your grasp of certain concepts. In addition, your fellow club members may make great teachers, especially those who are ahead of you and have taken many of the same classes you’re now taking or can expect to take down the road. Such students can be invaluable resources, helping explain concepts and offering advice as to which courses to take and which professors they prefer.

NETWORK WITH PROFESSIONALS Clubs and campus organizations also are a great way to begin networking with professionals in your future line of work. Many clubs or organizations bring in professionals within the field to speak to members. Such speeches and discussions are typically members-only, which means you will have an advantage over fellow students in your field of study who have not gone the extra mile and joined a club or organization. Professionals may also give you advice on finding an internship in your field or a job once you have graduated.

IMPROVE YOUR OVERALL EXPERIENCE Even if a student club or organization has nothing to do with your studies or your future career, signing up is a great way to improve your overall college experience. You’re liable to create more memories, make more friends and get the most out of your time on campus, which many college seniors will tell you is going to be gone before you know it. Take advantage of all of the opportunities your college or university offers, and you will likely one day look back and be glad you made the most of your time on campus.

bangordailynews.com • 13


learn

14 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017


CAMPUS

SAFETY

It’s not just an afterthought.

College students

have a few different living options at their disposal, but many opt for dormitory living as it is one of the more convenient and popular boarding options, particularly for out-of-town students. Thousands of post-secondary students pack up their belongings and move away from home in the pursuit of an education, and parents want to do what they can to ensure their college-aged kids are safe. For many students, college represents the first time they will live anywhere other than the homes they grew up in. Dorm life can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be one that may open new college students up to inherently risky situations. While students should look forward to fun and excitement at school, it’s also important for them to be prepared for what lies ahead at college and in dorm life and to take the proper safety precautions.

FALL IN WITH A TRUSTWORTHY GROUP OF DORM FRIENDS. Friends can be informed of your schedule for both classes and work, so they are aware of where you are supposed to be at certain times of the day. If something is amiss, these friends can alert authorities or investigate your whereabouts further. LOCK YOUR DORM ROOM DOOR. Always keep the dorm room door locked, and make sure your roommate is on the same page. Locking the door can deter people from entering without your permission and prevent theft. KEEP BELONGINGS OUT OF SIGHT. When preparing to move into a dorm, leave heirlooms or expensive jewelry at home. Once you move in, store your more valuable belongings out of sight or in a locked box or safe. Consider getting insurance for dorm belongings, which will protect you in the event of theft.

PHOTOS: ©WILLIAM87 / ADOBE STOCK

TRAVEL IN GROUPS. When attending parties or other functions, always arrive and leave in a group. This offers extra protection, as assaults and other crimes are less likely to occur when criminals are outnumbered. KNOW THE EVACUATION ROUTES. Learn your dorm’s evacuation policies. Know where all exits are and how to get out of the building if exits may be blocked. Find out if fire drills or other safety procedures are practiced, and participate in them. USE THE ELEVATOR. If there’s an elevator, use it. Stairwells are secluded and dark and often provide the perfect opportunity for would-be criminals to take advantage of unsuspecting students. Use common sense and trust your instincts with regard to dorm safety. Make college memories good ones by emphasizing caution. bangordailynews.com • 15


learn

Affordable SOLUTIONS EMCC offers quality, affordable degree solutions. COURTESY OF EASTERN MAINE COMMUNITY COLLEGE (EMCC) in Bangor “provides the highest quality postsecondary technical, career and transfer education,” according to its mission statement. But what does that really mean? As one of seven community colleges in the Maine Community College System, EMCC offers certificates and associate degrees in over 30 programs of study—and most programs can be completed in two years or less! Are you interested in making a career out of a skilled trade? Perhaps you should check out our automotive technology, building construction, culinary arts, plumbing, refrigeration, air conditioning and heating, or welding programs! These represent just a few of the technical programs we offer that lead to high-demand jobs in Maine and across the country. Maybe helping people in need is your passion. Check out EMCC’s emergency medical services, criminal justice, fire science, human services, medical assistant, medical radiography, nursing, or surgical technology program. EMCC also offers programs in business, computers, education and liberal arts. If you are a student who wants to stay close to home and finds a smaller environment with an average class size of approximately 20 students appealing, we invite you to take a tour of our campus. Not sure what you want to do yet, or whether you can afford school? The cost of attendance at a four-year private or public institution may be prohibitive. We can help— at just $92 per credit hour (in-state resident), EMCC offers an affordable, comfortable, flexible learning environment to help you get started on that degree. If your ultimate goal is to attend a four-year college or university, give EMCC a look—we can get you started on your path with a quality, affordable solution. Did you know that a two-year associate degree could cost you less than $8,000? The amount of money saved in the first two years could potentially pay for your third year at a Maine public university. All it takes is a bit of pre-planning. One of our advisors would be happy to meet you and create a degree plan that will map out an educational pathway to the associate degree, bachelor’s degree or even master’s degree you desire. So what now? The folks at Eastern Maine Community College would like to meet YOU. Make plans to attend our annual Fall Open House on Monday, October 30, 2017, from 3-6 p.m. at our main campus on Hogan Road in Bangor. Take a campus tour, meet faculty, ask questions, and envision how EMCC can help you find your direction. For more information on programs, transfer agreements and more, visit us at www.emcc.edu.

PAID ADVERTISEMENT FOR EASTERN MAINE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 16 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017

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Eastern Maine Community College


repayment plan Strategies to repay student loans asap. CAN’T MAKE IT? CAN’T ATTEND OUR OPEN HOUSE ON OCT. 30? CONTACT US AT 207-974-4600 TO SCHEDULE A CAMPUS TOUR WITH A CURRENT STUDENT WHO CAN GIVE YOU A GLIMPSE OF WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A GOLDEN EAGLE.

ABOUT EMCC Eastern Maine Community College has been a dynamic community resource for over 50 years. Chances are you know someone who graduated from Eastern Maine Vocational Technical Institute (1966-1986), Eastern Maine Technical College (1986-2003), or Eastern Maine Community College (2003-present). Wherever you want to go, we can help you find your direction too. Eastern Maine Community College is located at 354 Hogan Road, Bangor, Maine, with satellite locations in East Millinocket, Ellsworth and Dover-Foxcroft. Several programs of study offer flexible scheduling options such as full- or parttime; day or evening; and on-campus, hybrid or online classes. Financial aid and scholarships available to those who qualify. Student support services such as tutoring and writing workshops are available to all students. EMCC is a Great College and a Smart Choice for Maine. Eastern Maine Community College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and employer. For more information, please call 207-974-4633.

Millions of people fund their college educations with student loans. Such loans can make it possible for students to attend the very best universities in the world, but they also can be burdensome when students graduate and face the unenviable task of repayment. Student loan debt figures are staggering. According to Debt.org, student loan debt in the United States is roughly $1.2 trillion, while the Canadian Federation of Students reports that education-related debt in Canada is more than $19 billion, a figure that reflects the cost of college tuition rising more than 137 percent in the last quarter century. The college resource website Cappex.com estimates that the average student debt for members of the class of 2016 is $37,173, a jaw dropping 6 percent increase from the average debt held by members of the class of 2015 upon graduation. Paying down that debt can seem like a daunting task, but recent grads need not fret that they will still be paying off student loans when their own children are ready to enroll in college or university. The following are a few strategies college grads may want to consider as they look for ways to pay off their student loans as quickly as possible.

CREATE A MONTHLY BUDGET BEFORE THE REPAYMENT PERIOD BEGINS. Monthly budgets are an essential element of sound financial planning, but grads should not wait until their repayment period begins to develop their budgets. Even if the repayment grace period has just begun, grads should build at least the minimum required payment into their monthly budgets. Simply put the money into a savings account until the repayment period begins. Adjusting to repaying loans as early as possible can soften the blow once the repayment period actually begins.

PAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM. Grads will have a relatively brief grace period to start repaying their loans after graduating. For those who are not going on to graduate or professional school, that grace period may be six months. As the due date for that first payment draws near, grads will receive a letter from their lenders indicating their overall debt and their minimum monthly payment. Paying more than that minimum monthly payment can help borrowers pay off their student loans far faster than simply paying the minimum each month. Many homeowners employ this strategy with their mortgages, and grads can do the same when repaying their student loans. ESTABLISH SHORT-TERM FINANCIAL GOALS. Short-term financial goals can motivate borrowers to maintain their financial discipline, especially in those initial years after college when many new graduates struggle with money management. Be specific about goals, making sure to pick a target date to repay student loans in full. Grads who want to become homeowners can work to achieve that goal before age 30. Once that goal has been set, grads can research average home costs in their desired areas. Such information can motivate grads to pay off their student loans as quickly as possible so they can be on track to achieve their larger goal of buying a home in accordance with their pre-established goal.

bangordailynews.com • 17


graduate

Advice for soon-to-be GRADUATES tips for preparing for the world after graduation.

Graduation season

is an often-emotional time of great celebration and reflection. Though soon-to-be graduates are about to place one set of challenges firmly behind them, other important life decisions and experiences are looming on the horizon. Although there’s no magic set of rules for post-graduation, the following advice can help recent grads transition from the classroom to life after school.

18 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017


ATTEND THE GRADUATION CEREMONY. Graduating students may debate whether or not to attend their graduation ceremonies. Such ceremonies tend to be lengthy, and outdoor affairs can be hot and uncomfortable. However, graduation is a milestone moment that you won’t get to enjoy again. Attending graduation allows you one last academic experience, and even if it seems unimportant right now, you might regret skipping the ceremony down the road.

ENJOY GRADUATION, BUT BUCKLE DOWN ONCE THE DUST SETTLES. According to a survey by the National

READ AND LEARN NEW SKILLS. If you have yet to land that first job, use some of your down time to reacquaint yourself with reading for pleasure instead of reading as part of an assignment. You also can use extra time to explore new skills, such as learning certain software or applications that may help you stand out in a competitive job market. BEFORE YOU DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, YOU MAY HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE. Another way to use free time is to volunteer or apply for internships in fields you may want to work in. These experiences can help you determine your career options and find a career you find both challenging and exciting. But such opportunities can also help you determine when a given line of work isn’t for you. Oftentimes, finding the right career path takes some trial and error. Don’t get too down if an opportunity doesn’t pan out. Instead, keep your head up and take advantage of the next opportunity that comes your way.

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Association of Colleges and Employers, the job market for new graduates is improving marginally. But the Institute for College Access and Success notes that many college graduates will be saddled with around $25,000 in debt upon earning their degrees. Many student loans have a sixmonth repayment grace period after graduation, so new grads who don’t already have a job lined up may want to use some of that grace period to travel, visit distant relatives or relax and recharge before their first payment comes due. Use the time wisely, but be prepared to buckle down when the time comes to start repaying loans.

JOIN AN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION. Regardless of the size of your school, chances are strong they have a local alumni association and several chapters across the country. Take advantage of these organizations to connect with fellow alumni. They can be invaluable sources of information and provide connections that may help you find a job in your field.

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JOB hunting Those looking to enter the workforce

in Maine should set their sights on the field of healthcare. It’s the state’s largest industry with the most job openings, according to the Maine Center for Workforce and Research Information. “Healthcare is the largest and fastest growing industry in Maine,” said Glenn Mills, chief economist for the Maine Department of Labor. “Healthcare is 1/6 in jobs and is on its way to becoming 1/5 in jobs sometime in our near future.” The Maine Department of Labor is projecting over 1,600 openings will be available for registered nurses between now and 2024, according to information on maine.gov. “Our senior population is growing rapidly as our baby boomers advance in age, so there’s an obvious correlation between healthcare demand and age,” said Mills. “The other part is healthcare is coming up with all kinds of different ways to diagnosis people so innovations in healthcare are creating whole new occupations and demands for workers.”

20 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017


tracking down the hottest postgrad jobs in Maine and beyond.

PHOTO: ©ROB / ADOBE STOCK

BY JODI HERSEY

bangordailynews.com • 21


The University of Maine is seeing a similar trend. Crisanne Blackie is the director of the University of Maine’s Career Center which hosts two job fairs a year—an engineering fair in October and a career fair in February. Blackie said the University’s School of Nursing program is at capacity, while enrollment in some of the school’s other majors like engineering and business are themselves on the rise. “Anything in health, STEM careers, engineering, computer careers, science related careers and business all seem to be growing as well, but nursing especially,” said Blackie. In 2016, Maine’s 14,910 registered nurses earned an average of $63,000 a year, according to an April 26 article in the Bangor Daily News. Although there are many job opportunities in nursing and healthcare here in Maine, the employees that companies across the United States need most, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), are “graduates with engineering, business, and computer science majors.” “Any kind of large business has lots of IT people and it certainly is a growing area [too]. Maine state government is probably the biggest employer of IT people, mainly because it’s the state’s biggest employer,” said Mills. “Every day we hear about data breaches and data security, so there are areas of IT that are growing because as those things that are troubling to us emerge, there are opportunities for data security and cyber security jobs.” Maine’s highest paying jobs based on an hourly wage include management, business, engineering, and computer occupations, according to the Maine Department of Labor. “It’s hard to have a single characterization of the best paying jobs,” said Mills. “A lot are medical related or engineering. They require post secondary education and the hurdles of getting into those occupations are high because you have to have a lot of education, but generally those that require post secondary education are those that pay the most.” Data collected nationally for the NACE’s Spring 2017 Salary Survey showed that those who majored in the

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computer science fields had the highest average starting salary at $71,916. Engineering graduates were the second highest wage earners with an overall average starting salary of $64,981. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in business earned around $52,047 while those in health science could expect a starting salary around $46,749.

“Although there is job growth in certain sectors, I don’t want to discourage people from pursuing those areas that are most fulfilling for them.” – Crisanne Blackie “Although there is job growth in certain sectors, I don’t want to discourage people from pursuing those areas that are most fulfilling for them,” said Blackie. “It is important for students to be comfortable with change, resilient, and flexible, so that they can continually reinvent themselves in a job market that is constantly evolving.” And of the best places for students to get a first-hand look at the needs of the job market is still the University of Maine’s Career Center. “We do have a high number of employers and alumni who will come on campus to do job interviews,” said Blackie. “What we’re finding is that employers, as much as they like to utilize technology, still like to meet with the students to see them [face to face].”

2017 Salary

Survey

DATA COLLECTED NATIONALLY FOR THE NACE’S SPRING 2017 SALARY SURVEY.

HIGHEST AVERAGE STARTING SALARIES NATIONALLY MAJORED IN COMPUTER SCIENCE

$71,916

MAJORED IN ENGINEERING

$64,981

MAJORED IN BUSINESS

$52,047

MAJORED IN HEALTH SCIENCE

$46,749 bangordailynews.com • 23


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Maine High-Wage, 0 REGISTERED NURSES GENERAL AND OPERATIONS MANAGERS FIRST-LINE SUPERVISORS OF RETAIL SALES WORKERS HEAVY AND TRACTOR-TRAILER TRUCK DRIVERS ACCOUNTANTS AND AUDITORS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS, EXCEPT SPECIAL EDUCATION MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR WORKERS, GENERAL CARPENTERS SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS, EXCEPT SPECIAL AND CAREER/TECHNICAL EDUCATION INSURANCE SALES AGENTS AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE TECHNICIANS AND MECHANICS FIRST-LINE SUPERVISORS OF OFFICE AND ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT WORKERS PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS, ALL OTHER

BACHELOR’S DEGREE OR HIGHER

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POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION LESS THAN BACHELOR’S DEGREE

HIGH-SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR LESS


In-Demand Jobs TOTAL OPENINGS 50

100

150

200

250

300

350

400

450

500

550 505

304 202 171 159 150 132 124 122 120 115 95

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92 DATA FROM MAINE.GOV. SOURCE: MAINE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, CENTER FOR WORKFORCE RESEARCH AND INFORMATION, 2014-2024 OCCUPATIONAL EMPLOYMENT PROJECTIONS, AND 2015 OCCUPATIONAL EMPLOYMENT AND WAGE ESTIMATES FOR MAINE bangordailynews.com • 25


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Career in

CARING

For a fulfilling nursing career, turn to Beal College. COURTESY BEAL COLLEGE to announce its new Associate Degree Nursing Program, beginning this fall. The nursing program will offer exciting, challenging and rewarding opportunities for students to work with individuals, families and groups, influencing their health and well-being. Nurses do this while demonstrating compassion, caring and advocacy in all aspects of their care. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the demand for registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent between 2010 and 2020, a faster-than-average rate of growth for a job in the United States today. An aging population and advancements in medical care are the main reasons behind this expected level of growth in nursing. The job market for nurses in Maine will also continue to be strong in the coming years as aging nurses retire and leave the workforce. Data indicates that the average RN in Maine has an hourly wage of $29.76, resulting in an annual salary of $61,900.80. Every year, many qualified nursing applicants are unable to enter nursing programs in Maine because colleges lack the resources to increase the number of nursing students in their programs. By offering the Associate Degree Nursing Program, Beal College is providing additional local training opportunities for Maine residents who want to pursue a career in nursing. Additionally, Beal College will be helping to develop a workforce that can assist community health care providers meet their staffing needs. Beal College has been providing education to the Bangor area community since 1891. In addition to the associate of science degree in nursing, Beal College has degrees in accounting, criminal justice, health information management, human resources, medical assisting, medical administrative professional, office administrative professional, substance abuse and welding.

PAID ADVERTISEMENT FOR BEAL COLLEGE 26 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF BEAL COLLEGE

Beal College is pleased


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GET A JOB A

s companies look to replace an aging

generation of employees, the good news for new grads is that the job market is strong, said James Westhoff, director of career services at Husson University in Bangor. That said, getting that first job is rarely easy, and Westhoff said students need to use a mix of online and person-to-person skills to maximize their chances. Online resources like LinkedIn are a vital part of job searches today, Westhoff said, but it is also important that job seekers 28 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017

be able to make genuine connections with people once they meet them in person. “I think one of the most important things we help [students at Husson] learn is how to connect with people, how to network,” said Westhoff. To make a meaningful connection, job seekers should be able to talk about their passions and what they want to achieve in life. To do that, Westhoff said, they must understand themselves and make sure the job they are applying for is truly a good fit for them.

Companies today are competing in a very fast-paced global environment. Westhoff said they are looking for employees who are good problem solvers and communicators. Being able to write well is especially important. Analytical skills are also vital as businesses cope with vast amounts of data. Companies are also looking for employees who can work collaboratively and function well in an atmosphere with fewer walls and layers of hierarchy than in the past.

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Helpful hints to land your first job post-college. BY ALAN CROWELL


Other ways to improve your chances at landing your dream job: GAIN SOME RELEVANT EXPERIENCE. Many businesses look to recent graduates to fill their internships. If the job market in your chosen field is tepid, start looking for internships. These can be a great way to start making some professional contacts, and many people find themselves ultimately working full-time for the company where they first landed an internship. ESTABLISH AN ONLINE PRESENCE. In addition to LinkedIn, another way to establish an online presence is to begin a blog. The blog should not be used as a tool to discuss your personal life, but rather to express your thoughts on topics relevant to the career you hope to pursue. Demonstrating an understanding or even just a passion for the industry can be a great way to show prospective employers that you are looking for a career and not just a job. JOIN A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION. Other options to network and improve your chances of landing your first job can be obtained by joining a professional organization. Many such organizations welcome new members, even those with relatively little or even no professional experience. USE THE RESOURCES AT YOUR DISPOSAL. The career services office at the university is an invaluable resource that is plugged into the business community in its town or city. Such an office can connect you with fellow alumni, many of whom want to help their fellow graduates establish their careers. A career services office also can help new graduates fine tune their resumes and cover letters so they have a greater chance of landing a job.

Westhoff said he recently visited an employer that hopes to hire many new workers in the coming years. That company had done away with offices in favor of communal work spaces. The idea is to create an atmosphere where the newest worker can feel comfortable sharing ideas. That same company also offered employees onsite basketball courts and bikes to encourage wellness. Whether they are in Maine or elsewhere, part of being competitive is keeping employees healthy, said Westhoff. bangordailynews.com • 29


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On With LIFE COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF MAINE AT PRESQUE ISLE

Adult learners

now have a chance to finish their degree in just a few years for under $10,000 with the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s (UMPI) “On With Life” degree completion program. This first-of-its-kind program offered by a public university in New England is tailored to serve the 200,000 Maine adults who have some college but have not yet earned their degree. “No other bricks and mortar public school in New England is providing a fullyaccredited degree pathway like this,” said Ray Rice, UMPI’s president. “UMPI is very proud to be a leader in this area, offering motivated Maine adults an opportunity to finish their degree on a schedule that fits their needs, with online programming and expert support that can be accessed from anywhere, and at a per-semester tuition rate that is the most affordable among all public higher education institutions in Maine.” With this new offering—a competency-based education bachelor’s of business administration degree with a management and leadership concentration—participants will be able to apply past college credit, other learning, and work experience toward their degree. After determining which competencies they still need to complete, an UMPI learning coach will create individual learning plans for students. One of the things that makes this program unique is that participants complete competencies instead of courses in order to earn their degree. Using a digital platform, they complete learning modules for each competency and they’ll be able to progress as they demonstrate their mastery of academic content. For this CBE business degree in management and leadership, competencies include understanding change models and strategies, understanding cost-volume profit analysis, and having the ability to read and comprehend annual reports. Students in this program will pay a flat tuition rate of $2,000 per semester—less than one-half of UMPI’s standard in-state tuition rate and one-third the standard out-of-state rate—and be able to take advantage of as many competency learning modules per term as they’d like. UMPI’s CBE program aligns very closely with work initiated by the University of Maine System in 2012 to develop and implement a systemwide plan to enhance baccalaureate degree attainment and completion by Maine’s adult and non-campus based citizens. “Maine faces a silver tsunami as a vast generation of our citizens approach retirement,” said James H. Page, chancellor of the University of Maine System. “By 2025, our state’s

PAID ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE AT PRESQUE ISLE 30 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017

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UMPI blazes new paths with $2,000 per semester online business degree.


STARTING SOON! UMPI’S “ON WITH LIFE” DEGREE COMPLETION PROGRAM BEGINS ONLINE IN FALL 2017.

economy will require 158,000 more workers with a postsecondary degree or credential than exist today. This critical workforce need will only be met if we are successful in advancing more Maine adults to degree completion. “For many qualified adult learners, UMPI’s online CBE bachelor’s of business administration will be the fastest, most affordable path to a fully-accredited degree that has ever been available in Maine. The degree program is innovative, it is responsive, and a true example of institutional leadership in our ‘One University’ work to better serve the people and communities of Maine.” UMPI’s “On With Life” degree completion program will be offered online beginning in fall 2017. All materials and resources needed are embedded in the digital platform so there are no additional textbook costs or fees. The program is financial aid eligible; students may also qualify for the University of Maine System’s Adult Degree Completion Scholarship. Participants should be 24 years old or older, have the equivalent of a high school diploma, and some prior college credit and work experience. For more information about UMPI’s new CBE BBA, fill out the inquiry form at wp.umpi.edu or contact Carolyn Dorsey at 207-768-9584 or carolyn.dorsey@maine.edu.

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going back to

SCHOOL BY ALAN CROWELL

32 • BDN COLLEGE AND TRAINING • 2017

Going back to school

can be an exciting but nerve-racking time, not just for traditional students but for adult students returning to college after decades in the workforce. Advances in technology and intense global competition have resulted in a workplace that is much more fluid than ever before. That fast-changing environment also means more adult students are returning to colleges and universities. The National Center for Education Statistics says 33 percent of the 18 million undergraduate students in the United States are over the age of 25. Students over the age of 30 make up 22 percent of the student body in colleges and universities. The NCES also projects a continued rise of older students through 2020. Thomas Edwards, Provost of Thomas College in Waterville, said the good news for older students is that institutions of higher learning have tailored offerings to meet their needs. For example, Thomas offers its master’s of business administration program on two tracks. Courses for traditional students meet on weekdays and end in time for students to participate in afternoon sports. The MBA program tailored for working students, however, features more online and summer courses. “We try to meet students where they are at and we try to focus less on one-size-fits-all and more on flexibility in terms of designing the educational experience,” said Edwards. For that traditional student, the social opportunities offered by living on campus can help foster leadership and other soft skills that may be just as important as academic skills. Older students, however, may already have social and leadership skills but may need the flexibility offered by online courses or classes scheduled after work hours. Another change that colleges like Thomas have made is offering more oneweek intensive courses that meet during the summer. Those courses offer professionals, like teachers, the opportunity to take necessary courses in a relatively short time and because those courses tend to be made up largely of professionals who are in the same or a similar field, they also offer participants the chance to learn from peers and to network. “We understand that a lot of learning comes from the faculty member and how the course is designed, but a lot of learning also takes place from peer to peer,” said Edwards.

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Older professional thinking of going back to school? You’re not alone.


Ways for professionals to make the transition back to school easier: SCHEDULE A CAMPUS VISIT. Choosing a school is an important decision, and even though you might not be spending as much time on campus as you did when you were younger, don’t overlook the importance of a campus visit. A member of the admissions faculty or even a current student may be able to offer a guided tour, explaining the layout of the campus, amenities and resources. He or she also may point out parking areas, study locations and the best way to navigate the campus. This will help alleviate a fish-out-of-water feeling the first day of class.

SECURE FINANCIAL AID IF NECESSARY. School is expensive, but keep in mind that scholarships and other forms of financial aid are not exclusive to younger learners. Speak with a financial aid counselor about programs that might be available to you. In addition, check with your employer to see if they offer incentives for returning to school.

BRUSH UP ON SCHOOL SKILLS. Start reading more to refresh your vocabulary and other language skills. College involves critical thinking and reasoning, so explore free online courses or games that cover critical thinking skills. Refresh your memory on basic writing rules if essays and reports will be part of your curriculum. Honing your academic skills in advance of returning to school can help you start off on the right foot.

CREATE A SUPPORT SYSTEM. Going back to school will require you to rearrange schedules and make certain sacrifices. Such adjustments may require the assistance of friends and family. Stop by your school’s student services department and ask if they have help in place for nontraditional students. They may have guidance on balancing work, life and school. Such departments may also assist you with scheduling classes at the times of day that fit best with your work schedule.


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