Category Archives: Greenhandshake Blog

Researching American universities and useful tools

Harvard-University-students

The whole excruciating searching and applying process for American universities are overwhelming. There are tons of information out there on the universities’ website that you will have to go through and sometimes you just do not know where the hell to start. My friend, I was there and to be honest, I initially hated that. However, that discomfort turned into interest by the time I knew what steps I needed to take in researching university and what tools I could use to make this process less intimidating. I really hope that by sharing my experience here, I can help you save more time and energy in your search of the right university.

STEP 1: Determine your major and financial affordability

Choosing a MAJOR that you want to study in college requires consideration of your ability, interest and a future career that you can have out of it. However, do not worry about making the right/perfect choice right now because there is no such thing. The reality is many students change their major billions times during their four years in college! So don’t sweat it.

Understanding your FINANCIAL AFFORDABILITY is paramount. Knowing how much your parents can afford to pay for your college will practically narrow your choices down and put less financial burden on your family. Make sure to discuss this matter with your parents. There are ridiculously expensive schools out there and there are still several wonderful schools with more affordable tuition. And let me tell you this: American community colleges are wonderful and might save you thousands of dollars for the same quality education. So don’t look over community colleges. Consider all to find the best!

STEP 2: Look for schools that have high ranking IN THE MAJOR you choose

The overall ranking of a school is based on many criteria. A school that ranks number one in The Princeton Review is not necessarily a perfect school for you. There are 10 wonderful websites for you to find out most information of a school (link below). Look for the school that has the best study environment, best resources and extensive opportunities for the major you choose. However, remember that the accurate information is ALWAYS on a school’s website and provided by its admission counselors.

STEP 3: Consider financial aid/scholarships

Again, without money, you are not going anywhere. Most scholarship information can be found on a school’s website with specific criteria and amounts. Do contact the admission counselor to find out a school’s financial policy and your eligibility. They will assist you in any way they can.

STEP 4: Compare and narrow down

If you have already had a list of, let say, 25 schools that you are interested in, you should probably narrow down your choices. Why? Because to my belief, focusing your time and energy on perfecting your application to each school will gain you higher chance of admission. Having too many schools to apply only costs you more money and exhausts you. To make comparisons, I especially recommend cappex.com. This is a great website for you to make a list of schools you like, compare them based on several criteria and read students’ reviews. It also accurately evaluates your chance of being admitted to a school based on your provided information and other students’ report of their admission.

STEP 5: Make a chart of important information
Use Microsoft Excel to list important information such as application deadline, tuition, scholarships, questions you have for admission counselors, etc. Keep everything organized and contact the admission counselors constantly for any information you need.

STEP 6: Start preparing the basic application documents
Start your personal essays, take SAT and TOEFL tests, write CV, ask for recommendation letters,… These are definitely necessary documents for your application so start early. Do not wait for the deadline. The sooner you apply the higher chance of admission and scholarships.

I hope that these steps are helpful in your search of the right university. Good luck with your application!

Jen Tran – Social Media Assistant

Source: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/the-college-solution/2010/06/15/the-10-best-college-websites

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How to mix yourself with American melting pot

international_students

Making friends in a foreign country can be a real challenge for most international students. Whether it is cultural differences or language barrier, international students will at least once feel like they do not belong and isolated. As an international exchange student in the US, I would like to share my personal experience of making friends with American high school students and humbly give you some of my advice that can help you break the barrier to build international friendships with Americans.

With the advice of my host family, I decided to join the marching band of Mt.Vernon high school and became a member in the percussion. It was one of the best decisions I made in my entire exchange year because by joining of the band, I had made myself a part of the community. Music is the mutual language of all cultures and that was what connected me with all the band members. Our passion for music brought us together and gave me the opportunity to socialize with other students. My musical skill was not good so I asked for other students’ help and they were always willing to teach me anything. Showing your vulnerability and weakness is actually beneficial in your relationship with others. So my FIRST ADVICE here is to join a club, make yourself a part of some sorts of community and ask for help anytime you need. You will be surprised at the result.

In that same exchange year, I also participated in other volunteer activities of the local community and even created a CPR project that drew the attention of the local newspaper. Americans mostly are interested in learning about different cultures because that is how this country is formed and showing your willingness to contribute to their community is going to make you stand out. Americans value contribution and if you use your ability to make impact on their community, they will embrace you. It’s natural. So my SECOND ADVICE is make yourself an active international student in the local or school community and utilize your talents to influence others.

Be aware that some Americans may not be very friendly in their interaction with foreigners but don’t be bothered by that fact. As long as you are honest and stay true to yourself, you will create your own charisma. Friendships will develop throughout all of your activities and may even become an unexpectedly fulfilling part of your life. Be open-minded and embrace your experience in the US.

Happy American dream !

Jen Tran – Social Media Assistant

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Internships in America

internship

Getting a full-time job in America is one of the most common ways to make immigrants eligible for green cards and internships can lead to such employment. Whether you are an international student or a foreigner seeking to sharpen your skills through internships or jobs in America, there are tons of helpful websites for you. Here are three most recommended and reliable internship searching sites:

1. internships.com

This is one of the largest internship marketplace that match students with paid/college credit internships and entry-level jobs in all over 50 states. You will also find the Internship Predictor tool that can suggest the best kind of internships/jobs and environment for you based on your personality and personal preferences.

2. internmatch.com

There are tons of great resources on Internmatch that will get you ready for a job search such as resume template, cover letter template as well as advice from expert recruiters about what to say in your interview. Complete profiles of employers are created for you to learn more about them before applying. Every week, Internmatch also showcases 10 trending students’ profiles that get the most views from employers and that will attract more recruiters!

3. Idealist.org

A review cited from a student using idealist.org on internships.about.com : “…You can search within 100 miles of a specific location by designating country, state, city, and mileage specifications and you can broaden or narrow your search by adding or deleting specific criteria. By clicking on Organizations and then country, you can get a full list of organizations participating and listing numerous opportunities…”. Idealist.org is one of the best internship search tools recommended in 2015.

Good luck with your American dream!

Jen Tran – Social Media Assistant

Learn more about Greenhandshake.

 

How Greenhandshake Works

An innovative online marketplace is helping newcomers to the U.S. to find the help they need from members of their own community who are already settled in the country.

Greenhandshake is a trusted community marketplace which enables people who have recently arrived in the U.S. to connect with one another and to find local help from people from their own country who are already established in the U.S. and are familiar with the way of life here. This online bidding platform enables its users to post tasks with which they need help and which other users can then bid on. Tasks can range from simple requests for a lift from the airport to help with complex immigration issues.