Career Lab Virtual Campus Forté Foundation

4 Tips to Keep in Mind Senior Year: Transitioning from your Small Pond to a Big One

September 8, 2014

Seniors, you might picture yourself as a big fish on campus. Most of you have spent the last three years in the same setting, experiencing the hustle and bustle during both the exciting months when a new semester begins, and the grueling weeks of research papers, labs, and final exams. (I would not be surprised if you know exactly how many minutes it takes you to walk to the library from your dorm.)

Given this well-worn collegiate feeling, it is quite tempting to fall into a know-it all approach your senior year. While the goal after graduating high school was more about exploration and discovery, the goal after graduating college is professionally putting passion into practice.

So before making your splash in new territory, I have outlined four areas I have personally found indispensable for the journey ahead:

1. Choose your Send-off Wisely

Now that you are a senior, the full weight of your accomplishments amount to a degree and transcript upon your graduation. They cannot possibly detail who you are as a person, but it is truly telling of how you invested your time. Those two-three letter acronyms BA, BS, BBA, and three-digit number for your GPA will account for you in your last year and many years afterwards. They can open educational and professional doors or vice versa.

The proof is in the pudding, so make sure to invest in the right ingredients.

2. Strategically Plan your Destination

Taking time to reflect and research where graduates from your institution and academic background have ended up is essential to predict the success of your own trajectory. Visit your institution’s career office early and establishing a visible hand-on approach to your job search. Taking yourself seriously means others are more than likely to as well.

More than this, you will not be taken for any surprises if you know early on the kinds of positions and recruiters your campus is known to attract. For those seeking graduate school and beyond, professors, alumni, and graduate students are an invaluable resource. A good portion of those that comprise these groups have either taken this pathway or chosen a different route for various reasons and most definitely can shed light on the application process and likely outcome. They may even be able to aid you by writing a letter on your behalf or putting in a good word for you.

3. Strengthen Contacts and Connections

Soon you will have the honor of alumni status from your educational institution. Future Nobel Laureates, celebrities, and national and international leaders have all at one point called your campus home. As a graduate of the same institution, your pathway is instilled with a great deal of promise as you remove your cap and gown following commencement and put on whatever new hat you choose to wear.

Don’t lose contact with the change-makers and visionaries you had the privilege to meet as an undergraduate. Think of reasons to re-connect with your classmates down the road as you progress. If fate placed you on the same campus once, who knows if you are destined to see some of these familiar faces again? Try and be open to these exchanges, as you mutually carry the memories of college years.

4. Leave Room for Changes to the Plan

Many of us have a checklist of places to see and things to do before graduation. Some of the to-do list we put off for our last year is biting at our heels waiting to be realized. Whether you are that person with a mental pen and paper, taking note of the benchmarks, or just getting through your last year step by step, I encourage you not to get too fussy about the details and focus on the big picture of your education.

Avoid situations that might backtrack you from reaching your main goals. Inevitably, there are those not on such a bright track as you, having squandered their four years for other priorities. Do not be discouraged or misled by these individuals.

As small pond memories are almost at its end, brace yourself for the waves to come, prepare well, and let your dreams empower you.

Nicole ChacinNicole Chacin is a Chicago native and student at the George Washington University where she studies business administration. Nicole aims to obtain a dual masters degree in Law and Business Administration by 2017 and ultimately dreams of working in health policy and administration.  This is Nicole’s 2nd year writing for Forté as she had the opportunity to learn about the organization through the first Forté C2B Leadership Conference.

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Is my Major the Right Choice for Me?

September 3, 2014

Choosing your major in college can feel like one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. It can be difficult to decide what field you are interested in (let alone which specific sub-field), but luckily there are many online resources to help you. Here are some of best free quizzes to help you align your major and future career with your personality!

The Meyers-Briggs Test
This extremely popular test (that you might have already taken) can actually help you to decide if your intended career path will suit your personality. When you get your result, choose “Career Choices” to see some suggested careers that people with your personality type excel in. For example, on this website, I am an “ISTJ,” meaning that I would potentially excel in a Business Executive path. While this quiz is one of the most time-intensive, it is the most thorough.

The Princeton Review Test
This website requires you to sign up for an account, but The Princeton Review is a well-known source for AP, ACT, and SAT prep. This test will show you some career options that mesh well with your personality, and you can then later explore majors from a long list on the website.
This test also requires you to sign up to see your results, but your initial assessment is free. This is another good in-depth test to help you explore career areas that you think you might be interested in, focusing on matching your personal strengths with a career that would support and enhance them.

Buzzfeed’s What Career Should You Have and What Should Your College Major Actually Be Quizzes
While you might see Buzzfeed as your trust tool for procrastination, it turns out that their personality quizzes can actually help you to make a wise decision about your future. They are definitely not as specific and meticulous as some of the other options mentioned, but they can be a fun way to reassure yourself that you are headed down the right path.

Pymetrics is a new company using neuroscience and big data to match you with your skills (and possible employers).  By playing a series of 12 games you’ll receive a personalized report with your skills and matches.

Your University’s Career Center Tests (Example)
These quizzes are great because they usually only include the majors that your school offers.They can help you to weigh the differences between the strengths of the various departments that your school offers with a personal touch and to narrow down your options from a seemingly endless list. If you can’t find a similar quiz for your school online, just ask Career Services.

It might seem like a time-consuming and long process, but choosing the right major and career path early will save you from potential unhappiness later in your life. It’s definitely worthwhile to spend some time researching how your personality factors into these decisions!

Kaitlyn Lannan is a junior at Northwestern University. She is majoring in economics and communication and plans on attending business school. Her dream job is becoming Chief Marketing Officer at a Fortune 500 company. You can find Kaitlyn on Twitter at @KaitlynLannan.

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Finding Your Fit for Part-Time Employment or Work Study

September 2, 2014

Finding and working at a part-time job can be hard to do in college in combination with classes and extracurricular activities. If you decide that a job is in fact for you, here are some tips on how to find one that suits your interests and goals.

If you received a work-study grant as a part of your financial aid package from our college, it will probably be easier for you to find a job. What I did this year was browse my school’s work-study job openings page before school started so I would be prepared when I got back to campus. As soon as I arrived, I immediately started emailing open positions and ended up receiving an offer from the business school at my university.

Just because work-study jobs are reserved for students on financial aid does not mean that they should not be treated as a real job. They may still require an interview and depending on the culture of wherever you end up, you might have to dress a little nicer on days that you have work than you normally would.

If you are not a work-study student, it may be slightly harder for you to find a job since so many of the on-campus openings are reserved for work-study students. This means that you might have to look at openings from places outside the university.

One good option is nearby restaurants, because they will hire anyone who is qualified, not just work-study students. Ask your friends if they know of any nearby stores that are hiring, or browse your university’s jobs and internships site for a part-time paid internship.

Finally, before you commit to the responsibility of having a part-time job, make sure you have the time to devote to it. It is easier to start off working limited hours and increase how much time you spend at work if you can handle it than vice versa. Juggling a part-time job in addition to school can be very difficult, but with careful planning, it can work.

Ask your friends how they juggle earning money with their other responsibilities and follow their lead. If it becomes too much to handle, don’t be afraid to cut back on hours, since school should come first.

In conclusion, even though working a part-time job while in college can be difficult, it can also be a great way to earn some extra money and add value to your resume. The job search process will look different for work-study and non-work-study students, but through networking and using career services, both can be successful in the job hunt.

Kaitlyn Lannan is a sophomore at Northwestern University. She is majoring in economics and communication and plans on attending business school. Her dream job is becoming Chief Marketing Officer at a Fortune 500 company. You can find Kaitlyn on Twitter at @KaitlynLannan.

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What’s Your Major: Communication Studies

July 16, 2014

Choosing a major is a potentially life-changing experience that can shape the rest of your college career and life after graduation. For me, the process of choosing my major before coming to Northwestern was a bit unconventional, but I am very satisfied with the end result.

In high school, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in business; specifically in marketing. Throughout the fall and winter of my senior year, I had planned on attending the University of Illinois and majoring in Marketing in the College of Business. When I was accepted to Northwestern, I found out that there was not an undergraduate business school. I found a list of majors that undergraduate students who want to go into business at Northwestern choose, and I was intrigued by the Communication Studies major.

I saw that the Communication Studies major can be applied to a variety of business fields, particularly marketing or advertising. Classes such as public speaking appealed to me because I wanted to develop my communication skills, which are essential to any job or internship. Other coursework includes theory-based classes such as theories of argumentation and persuasion, along with more media-focused courses.

The major is housed in the School of Communication, which for me has been one of the greatest resources available here at Northwestern for searching for internships and for developing relationships with faculty. The world-renowned faculty in the Communication Studies department was another draw for me to the major. I also plan to complete the Digital Media Module within the major; a series of courses followed by a capstone project that I think will be useful to obtaining a job in marketing in such a technology-focused time.

In my case, I decided to combine my Communication Studies major with a double major in Economics and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications. I love how creative I can be in my Communication Studies and Integrated Marketing Communications courses, but I enjoy getting to develop my analytical and quantitative skills through my Economics major. I think that the Communication Studies major can easily be combined with a variety of other majors to help you develop your communication skills to be a well-rounded applicant for jobs or internships.

Kaitlyn Lannan is a sophomore at Northwestern University. She is majoring in economics and communication and plans on attending business school. Her dream job is becoming Chief Marketing Officer at a Fortune 500 company. You can find Kaitlyn on Twitter at @KaitlynLannan.

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How to Stay on Your Game and Keep Your Mind Sharp During the Break

July 14, 2014

We’re in the middle of summer and I admit there’s nothing much better for a student than finally getting a break from the school year. Summer plans are made for swimming, barbeques, vacations out of town, or plain old blissful sleeping. In my middle and high school years, summers were basically comprised of only those activities, and so when fall came back again, I often found myself less prepared for school than desirable. Nowadays, it’s not as easy to start school again after a summer of lazing around and having fun, so I have come up with a few ways to keep the brain from turning to mush over the break.


We all know that reading exercises the mind and improves its functions, but sometimes we do not read as much as we would like. In summertime, even if you’re working or taking summer classes (like I am), you can still always find time to read. The struggle is to remember you have a book waiting for you every time free time presents itself. Personally, I like to tie my reading into another activity, that way it has double importance. For instance, I want to work on my tan, so I remember to take my book outside and sit out on the lawn before the sun goes down so I can get both items done simultaneously. The choice of book doesn’t need to be business-related, in my opinion, as long as you make time to read, but at the moment, I am reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

Sudoku, Crosswords, and other Puzzle Games

Puzzle games are a good exercise for your brain, as well as a decently fun pastime. Some people love playing these sorts of games. I don’t think they are riveting, but they keep your mind working, and that’s what counts. A book full of these puzzles can be picked up for under five dollars, and could be played while simultaneously watching TV or waiting in line somewhere.

Stay in Touch with Business Happenings

Whether it be through social media, chatter, or the newspaper, it’s helpful to stay in tune with what’s going on in the business world. If a major corporation collapses over the summer, it’s nice to not be the last one hearing about. When fall classes come around again, you’ll already be ahead of the game if you have kept up to date with changes in Corporate America. In my experience, I have found that the students who followed this sort of news were also the students who participated more, got called on more, and made better grades.

Keep Asking Questions and Keep Seeking Knowledge

We’re going to get a little more hypothetical and imaginary now. In everything you do, always seek the answers to your questions. Knowing more about how a friend dealt with a conflict, or how to time-manage your activities for the day, or how to maintain balance on a surfboard – all of these are valid experiences. Everything you encounter in your daily life has a lesson or at least a reassertion of a lesson that you can take with you. As you go through your daily routine, complete every happening to the best of your ability, and seek to learn from any mistakes or anything that could have been made better. These lessons in understanding how the world works will aid you the most in the future.

This post concludes my writing. I have enjoyed contributing to Forté and I hope that my words have been helpful, or if not, at least they have offered perspective. As my final words, I wish everyone good luck not only in their professional life, but also their personal life, as the two weigh heavily on the other. Remember to always keep moving, even if you have to move slowly. Do not let anything stand between you and your goals! If you continue on your path, and never quit, you will accomplish anything you desire! Good luck everyone!

Angela Coquis is a junior at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is majoring in Management Information Systems and wants to live abroad and pursue a career in database management. She enjoys Virtual Campus and her dream job is owning a bakery.

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Wise Words: Maya Angelou

“I am a woman, phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.” - Maya Angelou

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Thank You to Forté Girl Talk Contributors!

May 28, 2014

We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with college student writers who have contributed articles to Girl Talk each month for this past academic year. Each writer has a unique voice and perspective and shared some incredible advice. We thank our contributors for their hard work! Now let’s meet them:

Nicole Chacin
Nicole will graduate in 2015 from George Washington University with a degree in business economics and public policy with a minor in vocal music. She plans on getting a JD/MBA after college and dreams of working in health policy and administration. She was a part of the first Forté College Leadership Conference and is the creative designer and co-founder of Chicago Boutique.

Most Popular Post: 6 Rules to Expand Your Network and Enrich Your Existing One

Nicole will return this fall as a Girl Talk contributor.

Angela Coquis
Angela will graduate Spring of 2015 from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is majoring in Management Information Systems and wants to live abroad and pursue a career in IT. She enjoys Virtual Campus and her dream job is owning a bakery.

Most Popular Post: 4 Ways to Excel in the Classroom

Angela will travel this summer and has accepted a fantastic internship opportunity this fall. Good luck in your endeavors, Angela!

Jaskamal Gill
Jaskamal will graduate in 2016 from Rutgers University with a degree in accounting and a minor in English. Jaskamal plans on working for a Big 4 firm after college and getting her MBA. She dreams of starting her own business and enjoys Virtual Campus.

Most Popular Post: The College Student’s Savings Plan for Summer Jobs

Jaskamal will continue to write over the summer break for Girl Talk and will return as a writer in the fall.

Caroline Herrmann
Caroline is a junior at Duke University majoring in Cognitive Science and minoring in German Studies. She is working on a Markets & Management Studies certificate. Her goal is to attend business school and she would love to work in marketing or consulting in the United States or Europe. She was a part of the first Forté College Leadership Conference and can be found on Twitter at @caroooline717.

Most Popular Post: The Top Five Qualities I’m Looking for in a Future Career

Caroline will write for Girl Talk over the summer break and is looking forward to her position as co-president of the Duke Association for Business Oriented Women in the fall.

Kaitlyn Lannan
Kaitlyn is a sophomore at Northwestern University. She is majoring in economics and communication and plans on attending business school. Her dream job is becoming Chief Marketing Officer at a Fortune 500 company. You can find Kaitlyn on Twitter at @KaitlynLannan.

Most Popular Post: Finding a Summer Internship After Freshman Year

We’re glad that Kaitlyn will return as a contributor this fall and write articles this summer.

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Forté C2B Conference: You Define “It”

May 28, 2014

by Ali Fraenkel

Marjie Terry’s enthusiasm spread like wildfire to a group of up-and-coming female college leaders at Forté’s New York City C2B Leadership Conference in April 2014. These individuals – whose company I was in for ten wonderfully intense hours – were also on fire in various ways… passionate, instinctively special, and BOLD.

Our morning keynote focused on taking our leadership skills to the next level. You may think, “What is this ‘next level’ and how can someone know how to get me there?” It seems like a very personal idea to focus on – and it is. Marjie’s understanding of how to present the topic of leadership to our diverse group of attendees and allowing us to own it, while still distinctly bringing us together, stood out in a powerful way.

Over the course of two hours we honed in on four unique areas of developing our leadership potential: speed networking with each other, how to establish a positive executive presence, building our own characteristic brands, and perfecting a pitch. Having extensive experience in the this field as the current VP of Leadership Development at Great on the Job, Marjie guided our paths to maximizing success in the workplace based on the various stages of work experience we were in. She set an initial expectation for the session – to help us package, process, and proceed to greatness.

What I loved about Marjie’s dynamic was her ability to encourage storytelling among our group. Every lesson she taught integrated into an activity that potentially forced us outside of our comfort zones and into larger arenas for success. Together, we connected, collaborated, and conceived plans for our future short- and long-term leadership goals.

There were numerous takeaways from this session, but upon surveying the reactions of my fellow attendees and asking what advice they would pass along to a friend, we focused on five key pieces of advice from Marjie:

“Fake it ‘til you become it.”

Let your body language, tone, and presence reflect the person you are and the person you strive to become.

“Make people love you.”

Don’t hesitate to make yourself invaluable to someone. Embrace the idea of gathering a cohort of advocates who want to see you succeed.

“Be deliberate.”

Say what you mean… and present it like you really do mean it! This attitude will make a good idea contagious.

“I am an expert in…”

We’ll never be done learning, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be young and have meaningful knowledge to share in fields we are passionate about (and skilled in).

“Connect the dots.”

In an age where self-promotion is valued, maintain mindfulness around why you’re grateful if you say you’re grateful. Know how to bring your story full-circle.

A comment I had heard at the opening of our day especially resonated with me during Marjie’s time with us. We were talking about the idea of “making it” in a career. We recognized that this concept of what “it” is often gets lost in expectations, standards, and stereotypes.

For this day and beyond, our group came together and acknowledged that we define what “it” is for ourselves – both personally and professionally. As for Marjie? She helped us bring that inner “it” out.

Ali Fraenkel a part of the class of 2016 at Northeastern University in Human Services and International Affairs. Ali plans to be in the social change arena after college either through employment or a graduate program. Her dream job would be leading a global movement of entrepreneurial philanthropy and she enjoys Forté webinars.

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