US News & World Report Names Dentistry the Best Healthcare Profession

dentistry

It looks like it’s a good time to be a dentist. US News & World Report has named dentistry the top healthcare profession in the country and number two overall behind software development. Plus, orthodontists came in fifth on the full list, oral and maxillofacial surgeons got the eighth place nod, prosthodontists landed in the sixteenth slot, and dental hygienists were right behind at 17. Dental assistants cracked the chart as well at number 98.

US News & World Report identified professions by analyzing data on the jobs that had the largest projected number of openings through 2026, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The news agency then ranked these choices based on a variety of criteria, including median salary, employment rate, 10-year growth, future job prospects, stress level, and work-life balance.

“Dentistry is a fulfilling and wonderful profession for many reasons. It encompasses science, technology, artistry, and the highest level of research,” said Eli Eliav, DMD, PhD, vice dean of oral health at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “The ability to help patients and improve the quality of their lives is very gratifying. The profession provides ample room to be challenged and grow as general dentists and specialists.”

“I think the agreeable work-life balance says more about individuals placing this important part of their and their families’ well-being high on a priority list—something I find personally very satisfying,” said Ronnie Myers, DDS, MS, dean of the Touro College of Dental Medicine. “This is also inherently seen in applications and acceptances to dental schools, where 50% are women who have often said that the life balances afforded by the profession are very appealing.”

Salary and Other Benefits

Dentists saw a median salary of $153,900 and an average salary of $173,860 in 2016. The best paid made more than $208,000, while the lowest paid earned less than $67,690. Also, salaries have increased each year since 2010. Dentists in Peabody, Mass, made the most with $283,550, while dentists in Delaware topped the chart at $236,130. Plus, dentists at residential facilities for the disabled, mentally ill, and addicted made the most at $184,620.

While dentistry has average levels of upward mobility and stress, due to the work environment and complexities of the job’s responsibilities, it offers above average flexibility. Most dentists work full time, but evenings and weekends often are options for putting in the hours. Dentists also can manage the kind of work they do, focusing on seeing many patients briefly or fewer patients for longer visits, based on the approach they prefer.

“Dentistry has risen to become one of the top professional careers,” said Rick Leppo, DMD, a practicing general dentist in Columbia, Ill. “The autonomy to customize your practice hours and procedures differentiates dentistry from other medical professions.”

Currently, dentists have a 0.4% unemployment rate. Looking ahead, BLS predicts employment growth of 17.5% through 2026, with 23,200 new openings. By comparison, health diagnosing and treating practitioner positions in general will see 16% growth through the same period. BLS believes more dentists will be needed for services that are growing more popular such as complicated dental work like dental implants or bridges and aesthetics like teeth whitening.

“Technology is the backbone to dentistry, allowing us to become more efficient and deliver high-quality care to our patients,” said Leppo. “It allows surgical procedures to be less invasive, increasing precision and decreasing the healing duration. New imaging and printing technology has enabled providers to fabricate and deliver restorations in house and in less time.”

“You get to be really creative. There are many ways to design a case, and there is a real artistic portion of the work,” said Charlie Zasso, DDS, MBA, chief clinical officer of Affordable Dentures & Implants. “You get to be a scientist as well and use data and STEM knowledge to solve patient problems while working with people all day long. Dentistry is really a people business with creative and scientific aspects.”

Specialists may be further down the list, but they still are doing well. Orthodontists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons both have a median salary of $208,000, while prosthodontists have a median salary of $126,000. All three specialties have a 0.4% unemployment rate like general dentists and expected growth of 17%, with 1,100 new openings for orthodontists, 1,200 for oral and maxillofacial surgeons, and 200 for prosthodontists.

The intangibles are a different story. US News & World Report notes that orthodontists have more flexibility and less stress for a great work-life balance. Plus, their work is meaningful without the pressure of the life and death scenarios found in other healthcare positions. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons and prosthodontists, though, have more stress and less flexibility. Their work also often involves complex treatment or emergency situations.

Positive Morale

Still, many dentists overall have a favorable view of their profession. In addition to the factors cited by US News & World Report, dentists value the relationships that they form with their patients, the esteemed role that dentistry holds in society, the autonomy of managing both patient care and the business aspects of their practices, the constant opportunities to learn about new clinical developments, and the satisfaction of helping those who need it.

“Dentistry is most definitely a top job. The dentist-patient relationship is unique because of the immediate and definitive satisfaction provided by the dentist and realized by the patient when compared with other service professions where the outcomes and results are, in many instances, more nebulous and delayed,” said Marvin H. Berman, DDS, a pediatric dentist with a career spanning more than five decades.

“At this point in time, dentistry is still a great profession. The ability to help your fellow man and contribute meaningfully to your community remains a deeply fulfilling aspect of this profession. It’s an ever-evolving field, keeping it fresh for the dentist while demanding commitment to continued education,” said Dr. Gigi Meinecke, founder and principal of Facial Anatomy for Comprehensive Aesthetic Seminars.

“It is one of the few remaining occupations in healthcare wherein the practitioner can be truly self-employed. One of the principal determinants that led me to leave academics and enter private practice, 31 years ago and counting, was the desire for self-determination. I have the opportunity, and I do consider it to be an opportunity rather than a burden, to make all of the key decisions myself in my practice,” said Brien Harvey, DDS, MS, chair of the board at Delta Dental of Arizona and a practicing periodontist in Tucson.

“What steps need to be taken in order to provide the best possible patient service and to gain excellent clinical outcomes—I use the word ‘unparalleled’ in our office vision statement—every day for every patient? What materials do we use? What is the focus of our practice in terms of treatments offered and how these treatments are delivered?” said Harvey. “It is genuinely fun to help our patients reach their goals in terms of oral health and function and aesthetics.”

Looking Ahead

However, today’s dentists have many concerns about where the profession is going. Technology may improve care, but keeping up with it is a challenge. It also sometimes puts additional distance between the dentist and the patient. Changing economics and policies muddy the future too, with the increased debt that dental school students graduate carry and the ongoing debate over insurance coverage.

“According to the American Dental Education Association, based on a 2017 survey, the average student loan debt for a graduating dentist is now more than $287,000. That type of debt load can negatively impact career choices for graduating dentists, forcing them to take the job with the best starting salary rather than finding a practice setting that best fits their vision and values,” said Harvey.

“The government, along with other well-intentioned groups, seek to change the current construct of dentistry and its delivery of care,” said Meinecke. “The future of dentistry at this time is uncertain, and along with it, the oral health of a nation. Let’s hope that those who best understand the profession from the inside have the final word on how patients should be treated, and not bureaucrats or endowed think or fact tanks.

One of the chief concerns dentists have today is the rise of dental service organizations (DSOs). While they account for less than 10% of the overall marketplace, the number of large dental practices has grown by more than 25% in recent years, according to the ADA. As debt prevents students from opening their own practices, and as current practices look for ways to reduce overhead, DSOs are becoming an attractive option—though not without concerns of their own.

“The large corporate setting certainly reduces the opportunity, or burden, to make the decisions that are requisite in running the business of a dental practice. Many dentists are happy to have a corporate entity manage the business so that they, the practitioners, can simply do the treatments. Other practitioners, and I hope it is obvious that I count myself in this portion of the dentist population, embrace dental practice management decisions in order to maintain complete control over the patient experience,” said Harvey.

“I worry that in the future, the precious personal relationship and communication between dentist and patient that is the hallmark of our profession becomes more distant, as it obviously has in medicine,” said Berman.

Despite these challenges, dentists remain positive about the future of the profession and the new developments that they are bound to see and, ultimately, use in their daily practice.

“We have many opportunities to improve patient care by continuing to train dentists to effectively treat the aging population and other patients with special needs,” said Eliav. “People are living longer, retaining more teeth, and are more medically complex. This presents opportunities for dentists and physicians to work more closely together and serve the patient more comprehensively.”

“Scientifically speaking, I’m most excited about stem-cell research, which can go a long way in preventing disease by unlocking genetic secrets,” said Berman. “Specifically, wouldn’t it be great if one day we have the ability to replace a damaged tooth with a duplicate spare?”

“You get to be a problem solver. You can get immediate gratification by fixing something right away or getting a patient out of pain or making them smile again. There are few careers where you can make an impact so quickly and consistently,” said Zasso. “If you like to solve problems, be creative, and work with your hands while using your brain as well, dentistry is a great career that can become a calling and a passion.”

 

Source – Dentistry Today

The Best Entry Level Finance Jobs for 2018

finance

Finance can be a fiercely competitive field to break into. After all, it’s a famously high-paying industry known to pay millions of dollars in salary and bonuses – if you manage to climb high enough up the corporate financial ladder. But even those on the bottom rung can expect to start out at a strong salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2016 (the latest year for which figures were available), the median annual wage for financial analysts was $81,760, and $56,128 for entry-level positions, for example. Furthermore, employment of financial analysts is projected to grow 12% from 2014 to 2024 – faster than average – thanks in part to a growing range of financial products in the marketplace.

You may not walk into your dream job right away, but the good news is that finance is a vast industry, comprising many analyst specializations. So once you’re in, there’s plenty of room to evolve, move around and find your analyst niche. First, however, you have to get your foot in the (entry level) door. But how do you go about it? Well, the good news is you don’t necessarily need a Harvard Business School degree. But there is certainly some legwork and preparation you can undertake to maximize your chances.

Start Early

To forge a successful career, it pays to start early, while still in school. The most respected financial institutions naturally value solid grades, so keeping them in good shape will put you at a hiring advantage from the outset. If you’re lucky, that summer internship (see What To Expect From A Financial Internship) could lead straight to a job. At the very least, you can build contacts you can develop down the track.

Credential

You don’t need an Ivy League background to get in on the finance action, but an undergraduate degree (in any discipline) is required at the very least. Ideally, your academic background should demonstrate your ability to understand and work with numbers; being a business major shows that you’ve studied finance, economics or accounting. However, if your primary major is in a different field, be sure to also take relevant finance-related courses at an undergraduate or post-graduate level. (Read No Finance Degree? No Problem! Top 10 Ways to Jumpstart a Career In Finance.) To secure a top-paying Wall Street career, you’ll probably need an MBA, but generally it’s best to have several years of working in an entry-level financial industry job before you even apply to business school.

Expand Your Knowledge

Continued education at any level is a great way to boost your financial IQ and increase your competitive edge. If you’re really committed to carving a career in the finance sector, employers will want to see you taking active steps to expand your knowledge and grasp of industry concepts. Keep abreast of current industry news, trends and market developments through financial news outlets and web resources.

Network, Network, Network

The more people you connect with and talk to, the better your network will become, which will give you more leads to entry-level positions. Establish contacts on LinkedIn; head to networking events and seminars; approach recruiters; and talk to family and friends. They may not work in finance themselves, but chances are they know someone who does. Reach out to alums of your college or university who already work at your target companies (check the job placement office to get a list of those who’ve said they’d be willing to talk to grads seeking jobs). Try to get informational interviews and ask if they’ll pass your résumé to whoever hires entry-level staffers. In the financial world, “who you know” will help get your foot in the industry door.

Where To Look

Aside from your network, a logical place to search for entry-level roles is, of course, online job sites. Of course, there are the general ones, such as LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster, but it might be more efficient to scour websites that specialize in finance-industry jobs (see Best Websites to Find a Job in Finance). However the search should by no means end there. Connect with financial staffing agencies and recruiters who can acquaint you with suitable openings as they come up and facilitate your application. In addition to pursuing specific jobs, directly research companies for which you’d like to work – you might make their acquaintance at job fairs – and regularly check their websites for new positions. You may even be able to establish a contact in some HR departments.

Specific Finance Jobs

The key is to identify the most rewarding entry-level jobs, both in terms of salary and future career prospects. Consider the following options:

Financial Analyst

Lukewarm as it may be, the current economic recovery has triggered a rise in business confidence, as firms begin to look toward expansion and the investment of their accrued capital. In order to make wise and responsible decisions, organizations often turn to financial analysts for guidance and relevant market advice that help to maximize their potential returns.

A financial analyst researches macroeconomic and microeconomic conditions along with company fundamentals to make business, sector and industry recommendations. They also often recommend a course of action, like buying or selling a stock (for more detail, seeBecoming a Financial Analyst).

Requiring a bachelor’s degree and accessible to individuals who have no practical experience within the industry, it carries a national average annual salary of $62,000, according to Glassdoor.com, and offers tremendous opportunities to recently graduated individuals.

Investment Banking Analyst

If you are motivated by a high bottom line salary and wish to apply your skills in a more specific financial sector, becoming an investment banking analyst may be the ideal career choice. Commanding an average salary of $69,204, according to PayScale, a compensation-analysis site, this job requires you to interpret financial data and economic trends while offering actionable investment advice: This sort of analyst often plays a role in determining whether or not certain activities or deals are feasible based on the fundamentals of the companies.

Clients can vary from venture capital firms to companies looking to issue stocks and bonds to corporations seeking to merge, so you must display diverse communication skills alongside your bachelor’s or master’s degree.

This role is the ideal starting point for college graduates who are looking to forge a career in investment banking, which means that competition for positions is usually intense and extremely challenging.

Junior Tax Associate

Some financial services remain in constant demand, especially those that are associated with taxation and the need to comply with changing legislation and IRS regulations.

With this in mind, the role of a junior tax associate is ideal for college graduates who are looking to develop valuable workplace experience in the financial sector. Although it boasts a relatively moderate annual median salary of $50,000, according to PayScale, it allows you to work alongside experienced CPAs and review a client’s internal fiscal reporting systems. It is a job accessible to anyone with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and any additional accreditations.

Financial Auditor

The role of financial auditor is a particularly relevant one today. The recent global recession and its aftermath has forced businesses to place their spending and fiscal reporting under more stringent scrutiny.

As an auditor, you review companies’ financial statements and ensure that their public records are kept accurately and in compliance with existing legislation. It offers an annual median salary of $54,000, according to PayScale, and a four-year bachelor’s degree is the minimum academic requirement for applicants. To improve your prospects and compete in this well-populated sector, you should also consider completing an advanced degree course in accounting or business administration

The Bottom Line

Getting your foot in the finance door takes serious preparation and commitment. It’s a highly competitive industry, so treat the process like a job in itself, leave no networking stone unturned, keep up to date with all the latest finance news, develop your knowledge, pursue further education if required, be as proactive as possible and remember to stay positive. The world of finance is definitely possible if you play your job-search cards right. And don’t worry if your first job isn’t your dream job: The goal is to get inside the door. You can start on the rest from there.

 

 

Source – Investopedia

How to Get Data Science and Machine Learning/AI Jobs | How to Become a Data Scientist

data science

In 2017 Big Data gave way to AI at centre stage of the technology hype cycle. The practice of data science and machine learning capabilities are increasingly being adopted across a wide range of industries and applications.  The challenges in data analytics are now being addressed by machine learning. Machine learning, AI, and Predictive Analytics have been the top buzzwords in 2017. We witnessed a growth in value-producing innovations around data this year. There were specialized applications of data, machine learning, and AI included machine intelligence, prescriptive analytics, journey sciences, behaviour analytics, and IoT.  In 2018 it’s expected to see an increased momentum to move beyond the AI hype. The role of the data scientist in modern businesses is accentuated by the rapid development of cutting-edge analytics tools and technologies. An AI and Machine Learning developer (ML) can understand the requirements of the business and the ecosystem it operates in, and design the best tools and platforms to aid in automating processes. So, how will be the job market for data scientists and Machine Learning /AI developers in 2018?

2018 will see a rise in business conversations and use cases around AI/ML. Besides, efforts will be made to avoid the “Black Box” during decision making. 2018 could be the year AI kills Spam and Redefine Data Science. So what’s there for the aspiring data scientists? How to stand out in the current data science job market? Will there be enough data scientist jobs or the hype is going to fizzle out in 2018? Let’s find out the data science trends, and how to get a job in the Big Data and Machine Learning/AI domains.

1. Acquire Strong Technical Skills

Programming Languages & Data Science Tools

As per the 1,001 publicly listed LinkedIn profiles of data scientists, gathered by 365 Data Science, the most in-demand programming languages are R, Python, and SQL. Additionally, it’s also useful to have a working knowledge of MATLAB, Java, Scala, and C/C++. In order to stand out in the crowd, data science toolkits like Weka and NumPy will be very handy. Know about the top 15 programming languages with the highest salaries in 2017.

Relevant Courses: 

Python for Data Science

Go: The Complete Developer’s Guide

Apache Spark with Scala

Data Science and Machine Learning with R

R Programming

Big Data Analysis with Scala and Spark

Complete Python Bootcamp

Machine Learning A-Z™: Hands-On Python & R In Data Science

Probability & Statistics, Applied Mathematics, and Machine Learning Algorithms

You need to have a firm understanding of Probability and Statistics to learn and understand algorithms. You need to be a real geek and have a great command over Naive Bayes, Gaussian Mixture Models, Hidden Markov Models, confusion matrices, receiver-operator curves, p-values, etc.

A firm understanding of algorithm theory and knowing how the algorithm works is a must. You need to have a solid foundation of subjects such as gradient descent, convex optimization, Lagrange, quadratic programming, partial differential equations, summations and so on. Try one or two of the 15 best books to learn Statistics & Probability, Data Mining, Machine Learning, and Algorithms.

If you are looking at fat paychecks, master the machine learning techniques and algorithms, such as k-NN, Naive Bayes, SVM, and Decision Forests. Here are two excellent posts on Machine Learning Algorithms and Key Skills Required for Machine Learning Jobs.

Relevant Courses:

Introduction to Probability and Data

Combinatorics and Probability

Fundamentals of Quantitative Modelling

Bayesian Statistics: Techniques and Models

Decision Tree: Theory, Application and Modelling using R

Machine Learning by Andrew Ng

Distributed Computing and Unix Tools

At present, the majority of machine learning jobs involve working with large datasets. You can’t do that using a single machine. So, you need to distribute across a cluster. Get acquainted with tools like Apache Hadoop, and cloud services like Rackspace, Amazon EC2, Google Cloud Platform, OpenStack, and Microsoft Azure etc.

You should also master all of the great Unix tools such as cat, grep, find, awk, sed, sort, cut, tr etc. Since all of the processing will most likely be the on the Linux-based machine, you need access to learn these tools, their functions, and applications.

Relevant Courses:

Real World Vagrant for Distributed Computing

Distributed Programming in Java

AWS Serverless APIs and Apps

Beginners Guide to Cloud Computing and OpenStack

Hands-on Hadoop

Introduction to AWS – EC2 Deployment

Microsoft Azure Certification

Query Languages and NoSQL Databases

Traditional relational database tools are getting obsolete. Apart from Hadoop, you need a good grip over query languages such as SQL, Hive, and Pig; and proficiency of NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB, Cassandra, HBase.

How to Get Data Science and Machine Learning/AI Jobs

Image Source: Data Jobs

The NoSQL distributed database infrastructure has been the solution to handling some of the biggest data warehouses on the planet – i.e. the likes of Google, Amazon, and the CIA. large data procedure which might take 20 hours of processing time on a centralized relational database system, may only take 3 minutes when distributed across a large Hadoop cluster of commodity servers, all processing in parallel. You could also opt for tools like MapReduce, Cloudera, Tarn, PaaS, Chef, Flume, and ABAP.

Relevant Courses:

Big Data Internship Program – Hive and Pig

Apache HBase

Basic & Advanced NoSQL

MongoDB

Getting Started with Cassandra

The Cassandra Distributed Database

Chef Fundamentals for Automating Infrastructure

Hadoop and MapReduce for Big Data

Scala and Hadoop

Data Visualization Tools

Don’t commit the mistake of going heavily after programming and algorithms, and ignoring data visualization. Data is useless if you can’t understand it and/or make others understand. Data visualization is about how to present your data, to the right people, at the right time, in order to enable them to gain insights most effectively. Develop excellent skills in data visualization tools like Tableau, QlikView, Someka Heat Maps, FusionCharts, Sisense, Plotly, Highcharts, Datawrapper, D3.js, ggplot, etc.

You might also like: 8 Effective & Useful Data Visualizations Tools for Mapping

Relevant Courses: 

Tableau 10 for Data Science

Top Visualization Techniques in Tableau 10

Data Visualization with Tableau

Data Visualization and Communication with Tableau

Data Visualization in R using Ggplot

Data Visualization with D3.js

Data Visualization with Plotly and Python

Python for Data Analysis and Visualization

2. Choose the Right Education Background and Major

In order to become a data scientist, you don’t necessarily need to pursue Bachelors in Data Science. In fact, that’s not recommended at all. It’s actually a bad idea to go for such a niche discipline at the undergraduate level. You could certainly go for a Bachelor degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, Actuarial Science, Finance, or Natural Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, or Biology). Even Liberal Arts (including Social Sciences) could be very handy as well at the undergraduate level.

How to Get Data Science and Machine Learning/AI Jobs

Infographic Credit: 365 Data Science

The 365 Data Science research showed that 20% of data scientists have a degree in computer science, 19% have a statistics or mathematics background, and 19% majored in economics and social sciences. Only 13% have a degree purely focused on data science and analysis. But, that can be explained by the fact that this only quite recently became a degree in its own right. Very few universities offer data science at the undergraduate level, and mostly at the Master’s level. Since the job profile is so new, it can be said without any doubt that they didn’t study data science at the Bachelors level.

“A data scientist is a better statistician and economist than most programmers, a better programmer and economist than most statisticians, and a better statistician and programmer than most economists.” – Big Data Made Simple

Going for a Masters or Ph.D. degree in Data Science or Machine Learning/AI will certainly give you a boost; especially, if you are looking at a data scientist position at a Fortune 500 company. The 365 Data Science study found that 48% and 27% of 1, 001 data scientists hold a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. degree respectively.

How to Get Data Science and Machine Learning/AI Jobs

Infographic Credit: 365 Data Science

It’s true that a Master’s degree is not easy to get into, and neither cheap. But, an MS degree is definitely advantageous. Alternatively, you could also explore (Request Info)Online Masters (MS) in Data Science. If you are specifically looking at to get into Data Analytics, and not necessarily Data Science and Machine Learning, then there are alternatives for MS degree. You can get a Data Analytics job without a Master’s degree in Data Science. Don’t confuse Data Science with Analytics.

3. Gather Real World Experience

18% of the data scientists reached the top of the data science ladder after completing an internship. So, if you have a Master’s, it is a great idea to look for an internship in the field, rather than going for a Ph.D. straightaway.

In the real world, it would be rare to get employed as a data scientist, right after college. Most of the folks start as analysts (data analyst, BI analyst, business analyst included), scholars, interns, IT specialists, software engineers, and consultants. Only 2% of the folks got their first job as a data scientist.

How to Get Data Science and Machine Learning/AI Jobs

Infographic Credit: 365 Data Science

Two interesting findings – Given that 27% of the cohort holds a Ph.D., it’s no surprise that academia is a leading “producer” of data scientists, and several scholars get hired as a data scientist. Secondly, IT was more common than consulting. So, a solid programming knowledge is definitely something worth looking into.

4. University Ranking Matters…….. Up to a Certain Extent

The study used the ‘Times Higher Education World University Ranking’ to find the Alma Mater of the data scientists. Apparently, the top-ranked universities are indeed producing more data scientists, like in most high-paying jobs.

How to Get Data Science and Machine Learning/AI Jobs

Infographic Credit: 365 Data Science

As we can see, 28% of all high-paying data scientists had a degree from a university ranked within the Top 50 of World University Rankings. But, at the same time, 25% of the data scientists come from universities that weren’t even ranked.

So, university matters but to a certain point. The knowledge, technical expertise, and real-world experience definitely matter more than the ranking/reputation of a university. A degree in a quantitative field and programming skills are essential, and a degree from a top-tier university is desirable and not mandatory at all.

5. Take Online Classes and Prepare Yourself

I have been advocating taking online courses for a long time. I have been doing it myself as well, and there is a clear benefit. In order to get a data scientist job, and even for getting admission for an MS Data Science program, self-preparation is very important. Read more about 5 Skills Every Data Scientist Will Need For Their Job in 2018.

How to Get Data Science and Machine Learning/AI Jobs

Infographic Credit: 365 Data Science

40% of the cohort reported having taken an online course. Additionally, there were 3.33 certificates per LinkedIn profile. So, undoubtedly in order to become a good data scientist, you have to rely on self-preparation through taking various online courses, video tutorials, and MOOC certifications. Below are few very relevant courses for the data scientist jobs in 2018 –

Data Analysis with Pandas and Python

SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

Data Science with Python and Pandas, Numpy, Matplotlib

The Complete Python & PostgreSQL Developer Course

Python for Financial Analysis and Algorithmic Trading

Pandas for Predictive Analysis using sci-kit-learn

6. Refine Your Soft Skills

Of course, data science is about Mathematics, Programming, and Technology. But, in today’s data-driven workplace,  soft skills like excellent communication skills, intellectual curiosity, creativity, cultural intelligence, emotional intelligence, and strong business acumen are equally important.

Demonstrate Intellectual Curiosity

Discovery is the ultimate objective of data science. Data Science calls for innovation and creativity in uncovering new ideas. The best data scientists are motivated by their intellectual curiosity to explore data in very creative ways. Top companies are not only looking for people who are good at answering questions, but who want to ask their own questions. A genuine inquisitiveness is rocket fuel for driving a data scientist’s search for meaningful discoveries in data.

Be Proactive & Passionate

Recruiters look for candidates who can demonstrate passion by showing off something they did outside college and work. Take initiative and get involved in a data science project to tackle a real business problem or an investigation. The ability to “think outside the box” and find new solutions to age-old problems differentiates between a great data scientist and a good data scientist.

How to Get Data Science and Machine Learning/AI Jobs

 What Does A Recruiter Look For in A Potential Job Candidate?

Interpersonal Skills: Communication & Analytical Skills and Team Work

A good data scientist is literally a middleman between tech team and the business (strategy, marketing & sales) team of the company. As a data scientist, you need to be a great communicator, a story-teller, and a team player.

You should also put data analytics in perspectives. At times, you need to present the facts and communicate what this means in a way that everyone understands. So, you need solid people skills to drive the company in the right direction when the data implicate for changes in strategies and actions.

Business Acumen

To be a data scientist, you’ll need a solid understanding of the industry you’re working in – trends, customers’ pain points and competitors. You should be aware of what business problems your company is trying to solve. Data Scientists need to know which problems to solve and how to find solutions that work. An understanding of business and being able to relate to changing customer tastes, product cycles and profitability goals is critical to finding truly innovative solutions.

7. Spend Time on Interview Prep

Don’t ignore the interview preparation. Irrespective of your qualifications and technical prowess, an interviewer can throw you off with a set of questions that you didn’t expect. For a data science interview, an interviewer will ask questions spanning a wide range of topics, requiring strong technical knowledge, the ability of handle pressure, ability to think out of the box, and communications skills. Your statistics, industry knowledge, programming, and data modeling skills will be put to the test through a variety of questions and question styles – intentionally designed to keep you on your feet and force you to demonstrate how you operate under pressure. Preparation is a major key to success when you are looking for a data scientist job. Here is a curated list of data science interview questions.

Conclusion

How to Get Data Science and Machine Learning/AI Jobs

How to Get Data Science and Machine Learning/AI Jobs

Source: CIO

In 2018, the businesses will need around one million data scientists. Insights matter. Businesses that use artificial intelligence (AI), big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to uncover new business insights “will steal $1.2 trillion per annum from their less informed peers by 2020.” as quoted on Forbes. However, please make sure you are genuinely passionate about Stats, Programming & Mathematical Modelling. Don’t go after hype and salaries blindly, even if you are from a quantitative background. Read This Before You Pay For That Masters in Data Science Program.

You might do better in the career if you go for Masters in Economics, Applied Statistics or your own domain of Engineering. Check out if Data Science is the right career path for you by using our Free Career Aptitude Test. 2018 definitely looks promising for the folks who are trying to make it big in the data science domain. But, an analytical brain, knack for programming, genuine passion, and continuous self-improvement will determine your career as a data scientist.

 

Source – Stoodnt

Focus On Nursing: A High Demand, High Growth Job of the Future

nursing

If you’re looking for a job of the future, then nursing is one of the strongest candidates out there. Although some aspects of the role may be susceptible to automation—in Japan scientists have developed a robot that can hand out medication and collect records—the central importance of empathy and advanced motor skills to nursing jobs makes it highly unlikely that machines will be replacing humans at our bedsides any time soon.

But that’s not all: According to the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau report, by 2050, the number of U.S. residents aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million. As the population ages, there will be ever greater demand for healthcare professionals of all stripes, including nurses. And unlike many other fast growing “jobs of the future,” the doors of a nursing career are open to those without a college degree.

But there’s a flip side, one that’s all too familiar to employers. As demand for nurses rises, the supply of qualified candidates does not always keep up, with the result that the U.S. faces a nursing shortage. So what is to be done? To get a deeper insight into the situation, we spoke with Dr. Joyce Knestrick, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and an Associate Professor of Nursing at Georgetown University.

Although it’s a convenient shorthand to talk about “nursing,” the reality is that this is a rich and diverse field.

“That’s one thing I love about the nursing role—that there are so many different opportunities,” says Dr. Knestrick. “I think younger people aren’t necessarily aware of all of the opportunities within the field,” she adds.

Thus, while demand is high for registered nurse (RN) roles (projected to see an impressive 16% growth through 2024, according to the BLS) there are many possible specializations.

For instance, Dr. Knestrick cites roles in management, nursing administration and nurse practitioner roles (these are nurses with an advanced degree who combine clinical diagnostic and treatment expertise with an emphasis on illness prevention). Then there are pediatric, neonatal, psychiatric, mental specialists and women’s health nurse practitioners.

And this is not to mention the nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives or people working in nursing informatics, who combine health science, computer science and IT skills to manage large amounts of patient care data.  The possibilities—if not quite endless—are wide and varied.

 

“There’s a lot of room for advancement in the advanced practice roles, but I think even for the bedside nurses, there are opportunities. There are so many varieties that people can really find their niche in nursing as a career,” says Dr Knestrick, who points to her own background as an example.

She started her career practicing for a long-term nursing care facility with a primarily geriatric population. Then she worked in a large tertiary care hospital on a medical surgical unit, followed by a stint in critical care, before going on to to become a nurse manager in pediatric and medical surgical units, and then teaching in a diploma school of nursing. She has now been a nurse practitioner for 25 years.

Exploring the nursing shortage

Yet although nursing is a high demand, “future proof” field with lots of room for professional growth, the shortage remains a serious issue at present— and is likely to remain so in the future. Says Dr. Knestrick: “According to most of the information I’ve seen about registered nurses, I believe that we’re still going to see a shortage.”

And of course, a shortage of RNs will later translate into a shortage of nurses with more advanced qualifications.

A big part of the problem is that while the aging population may be creating opportunities for healthcare professionals, today’s nursing workforce is also aging.

“The average age of a nurse is around 50,” says Dr. Knestrick. “It’s estimated that over 50% of nurses that are practicing are over the age of 50. This means that within 10 to 20 years they will be retiring from nursing, which will further add to the shortage.”

In fact, the Health Resources and Services Administration predicts more than one million registered nurses will reach retirement age within the next 10 to 15 years, leaving a significant number of jobs to be filled.

This represents not just nurses needing to be replaced, but also a significant loss of knowledge and expertise. As a result, not only do hospitals need to find lots of new nurses, but they need to facilitate the transfer of invaluable nursing wisdom before it is lost.

But here’s another problem: there is also a shortage of nursing teachers to prepare the next generation.

“In some cases, schools have turned down nursing applicants mostly because of the faculty shortage,” says Dr. Knestrick.

In fact, a Georgetown University study found that in the 2011—2012 school year alone, Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs rejected 37 percent of qualified applicants and associate degree programs rejected 51 percent of qualified applicants.

What is to be done?

In some states, there are already strategies in place to address the shortage of nurse educators. For instance, the Nurses for Wisconsin initiative provides fellowships and loan forgiveness for future nurse faculty who agree to teach in the state after graduation.

Meanwhile, some nursing schools have formed strategic partnerships to help boost student capacity. For instance, the University of Minnesota’s has partnered with the Minnesota VA Health Care System to expand enrollment in the schools Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing program.

These programs could help with the teaching shortage. But what can employers do?

1) Stress the purpose and potential of a nursing career

In an age when many people are seeking meaningful work, one strategy for attracting new talent is to highlight the social value of nursing and the wide variety of available career paths to candidates.

“They should know that nursing is a wonderful profession,” says Dr. Knestrick, “that there are plenty of opportunities. There will always be sick people and they are always going to need somebody to provide hands-on care for them.”

2) Don’t overload nurses

Hospitals seeking cost efficiencies may be tempted to increase the workload on nurses—but this increases the risk of burnout and can make the existing talent shortage worse, says Dr. Knestrick.

A European study of acute care hospitals found that a greater proportion of professional nurses at the bedside is associated with better outcomes for both patients and nurses—thus reducing the risk of staff turnover. So it’s vital to look closely at staffing patterns, and staff accordingly.

3) Talent may be available in other areas

Another option is to recruit nurses from different parts of the country, as demand varies according to geographic areas, says Dr. Knestrick.

Some estimates even project nursing surpluses in some Midwestern states such as Illinois and Minnesota, while states such as California and Colorado will see nursing shortages.

With the correct incentives, it may be possible to target nurses in areas with a greater supply and recruit them to areas where demand is more difficult to meet.

4) Make it easier for nurses to acquire—and practice—advanced skills

Employers needing nurses with more advanced qualifications could help provide programs to help them get the masters or doctoral level qualifications needed to become nurse practitioners, says Dr. Knestrick. But there’s another important step, too. Currently many states place limitations even on nurses with very advanced skills, forbidding them to practice without another healthcare professional in place, thus limiting the extent of the care they can provide their patients.

Many of these rules were written decades ago, says Dr. Knestrick, and don’t reflect current conditions. She recommends that employers “support changes in nurse practice acts to remove barriers for nurses, particularly nurse practitioners, to practice to the full extent of their license and their education is essential.”

Of course, enacting these steps and won’t end the nurse shortage immediately, but they are good steps towards ensuring that we don’t run short of these important professionals.

Announcing the Opening of the 2019 Fulbright Fellowship Application Season

scholarship

The United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), announces the opening of its annual competition for Fulbright-Nehru, Fulbright-Kalam and other Fulbright fellowships.  Such exchanges have helped bring the people of India and the United States closer together through opportunities that enrich fellows’ academic, research, teaching and professional capacity.  Alumni of exchange and scholarship programs administered by USIEF have demonstrated strong leadership in several fields, including agriculture, the arts, business, education, the environment, humanities and social sciences, public health, and science and technology.  Outstanding Indian students, academics, teachers, policy makers, administrators, and professionals are encouraged to apply.

Diksha Dhar, a Fulbright Nehru Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA observed, “while on the Fulbright-Nehru grant, I attended three major conferences in the U.S. and had the opportunity to present my research.  These events provided a platform for me to network and discuss various issues that impact the bilateral ties between India and the U.S.  Currently, I lead an English Language Enhancement Program for tribal teachers and students across 113 government schools in Khunti, Jharkand.”

Usha Raman, a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA said, “while on the Fulbright-Nehru grant, I was able to make considerable progress on two research papers as a result of access to excellent library resources and a peer group with whom I could share ideas.”

USIEF expects to offer approximately 100 Fulbright-Nehru and six Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowships to Indian applicants in 2019.  Fellowship details are posted on the USIEF website (www.usief.org.in) and the first application deadline is June 15, 2018.  Applicants may send any queries to ip@usief.org.in or contact one of the USIEF offices in New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, or Mumbai.

 

Source – US Embassy – India

Applying to UK University and UCAS Deadlines

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All applications to UK universities for full-time undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

  • Regardless of the course or university that you’re applying to, you’ll need to have a good grasp of the UCAS deadlines you’re facing, as missing them could jeopardise your application.
  • As is the case with any deadline, do not leave your application to the last minute. From March to September research courses and universities attend open days, higher education fairs and conferences.

The infographic below contains the full list of UCAS deadlines and key dates for students applying for 2018 entry. Some of the dates may not be relevant to you, but make sure to read it through and note down any that are. And remember, it never hurts to be organised long before a deadline!

2019 dates will be very similar to those in 2018.

deadlines

The application process varies depending on the type of institution you’re applying for, the level of degree and how you are choosing to study.

UCAS’ online application procedure is called ‘Apply’.

  • UCAS works closely with schools, colleges, libraries and other agencies to ensure that all applicants have access to this system.
  • Apply is available on the UCAS website alongside details of all the courses available so you can apply from any computer with access to the internet.
  • Read our advice on filling in your application.
  • If you’re a performing arts student, you may want to apply to a conservatoire. Applications to most of these institutions need to be made through UCAS Conservatoires, and you can read about more about this system and the key dates here. Many colleges also recruit through the UCAS system. Along with universities, these institutions help to make up the list of over 700 providers featured in our Course Chooser.
  • Applications to part-time courses are slightly different, and you will need to contact universities individually to find out how to apply.
  • If you are looking for postgraduate study, some are accessed via UCAS’ UKPASS service, while others are processed by direct application. Read more about postgraduate applications here.

UCAS Application Deadlines – Key Dates for 2018 Entry

If you miss the January deadline, you can still apply up until 30 June 2018 (by 18:00 UK time). But be aware, universities do not have to accept your application, and applications will be marked as ‘late’.

Many schools and colleges will encourage students to apply well before the 15 January deadline, with early November a common school/college deadline. This allows the school to add things such as references, and check personal statements and choices.

Performing Arts Applications Via UCAS Conservatoires

UCAS Conservatoires is a specialised online admissions service for undergraduate, postgraduate, other music and some dance and drama programmes at these UK conservatories:

Applicants can create a single electronic application that will be submitted simultaneously to a maximum of six conservatoires.

  • Students may also make a separate application through UCAS to other universities and colleges offering music, dance and drama courses, although they can only accept a place through one system (i.e. via either UCAS Conservatoires or UCAS).
    Jump to UCAS Conservatoires dates and check UCAS deadlines.
  • Auditions take place at the individual institutions.

You can make an online application from mid-July for admission in September of the following year.

  • Music applications – apply by 2 October 18:00 (UK time) and all your chosen conservatoires will consider your application.
  • Undergraduate dance, drama and screen production courses – apply by 15 January 18:00 (UK time) and your chosen conservatoires will consider your application.
  • International and postgraduate students may have later deadline dates. Be sure to check dates with your chosen conservatoires.

Late applications will normally be considered up to 29 August 2018.

  • If you apply after the course deadline and before 29 August 2018 (by 18:00 UK time) for 2018 entry, UCAS Conservatoires will process your application and send it to the conservatoires.
  • Your application will be ‘late’ and the conservatoires may not be able to consider you.
  • After 31 January 2018, you must confirm vacancies with the conservatoires before applying.
  • You can not make an online application for 2018 entry via UCAS Conservatoires after 29 August 2018. If you want to apply for 2018 entry after this date, talk to the conservatoires direct.

UCAS Conservatories: Key Dates for Application

Mid-July 2017 You may apply online on the UCAS Conservatoires website.

2 October 2017 Closing date for ‘on time’ music applications. After this date, if the deadline for your course has passed, check for vacancies with the conservatoire before applying via UCAS Conservatoires.

14 October 2017 Start of auditions.

15 January 2018 Closing date for majority of all applications, to be received by 18:00 (UK time). After this date, if the deadline for your course has passed, check for vacancies with the conservatoire before applying via UCAS Conservatoires.

31 January 2018 You need to reply to any offers by this date, if UCAS Conservatoires received all the decisions from your conservatoires by 6 January. If UCAS Conservatoires don’t receive your replies, they will decline all offers on your behalf.

24 March 2018 Closing date for some Art & Design courses, to be received by 18:00 (UK time).

16 April 2018 You need to reply to any offers this date, if UCAS Conservatoires received all the decisions from your conservatoires by 17 March. If UCAS Conservatoires don’t receive your replies, they will decline all offers on your behalf.

30 July 2018 You need to reply to any offers by this date, if UCAS Conservatoires received all the decisions from your conservatoires by 16 July. If UCAS Conservatoires don’t receive your replies, they will decline all offers on your behalf.

7 August 2018 SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) exam results published today.

16 August 2018 A Level results published today. Conservatoires must inform UCAS if applicants have met the conditions of their offers.

29 August 2018 Final day for the receipt of ‘late’ applications at UCAS Conservatoires.

10 September 2018 You need to reply to any offers by this date, if UCAS Conservatoires received all the decisions from your conservatoires by 7 August. If UCAS don’t receive your replies, they will decline all offers on your behalf.

25 September 2018 You must reply to any offers by this date, if UCAS Conservatoires received the last decision for your choices after 7 August. If UCAS don’t receive your replies, they will decline all offers on your behalf.

 

 

Source – The Complete University Guide

4 Canadian schools make list of top 100 universities in the world

canada

Canada may not have the world’s best university — or even place in the top 10 — but several schools in the Great White North have scored some impressive spots on the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2018.

The list, released Tuesday morning, names Britain’s Oxford University as the best on the planet, with the country’s Cambridge University in second place.

But the U.S. quickly catches up with the California Institute of Technology in third spot, Stanford University in fourth, followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and Princeton University.

Canada’s first placement comes in the 22nd spot, with the University of Toronto. Other Canadian universities in the top 100 include the University of British Columbia at 34, McGill University at 42, and McMaster University at 78.

But the rankings count the world’s top 1,000 universities, with several other Canadian ones making the list, including the University of Montreal, the University of Alberta, and the University of Calgary.

A press release by the World University Rankings boasts Canada’s top schools as “world-class,” and outlines their many plus points.

The study also notes that several former Canadian prime ministers have attended the schools, as well as Justin Trudeau who studied at the University of British Columbia.

When it comes to improvements, Canadian universities are relatively stagnant.

The University of Toronto — consistently the country’s top-ranking school — was in 22nd place last year as well, at no.19 in the 2016 rankings, and 20 in 2015.

The University of British Columbia has also been in similar position for the past few years; it was at no. 36 last year, and 34 in the 2016 ranking.

However, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., saw a massive jump in the rankings this year, moving up 35 spots to number 78.

The rankings score the schools based on teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The principles are then compared with other performance indicators such as student reviews, university leaders, and trust in industry and governments.

This year, the study notes that European schools nabbed half of the top 200 places. It also advises that schools in China are improving in reputation, with two schools making the top 30.

It explained that the University of Oxford — with about 22,000 students — won the top spot for its high scores in teaching, research, and international outlook. The school has consistently ranked in the top 5 since 2012 and was at no. 1 last year as well.

 

Source – Global News – Canada

The 35 Hardest U.S. Colleges to Get Into


 

Source – Niche & MSN

3 Things International Students Should Know About the IELTS Exam

ielts

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is one of the most widely used English language tests in the world. It comprises reading, writing, listening and speaking subtests and is designed for people who want to study or work in an English-speaking environment. The test fee is around $200, but it’s best to check specific test centres to determine the cost in the local currency.

Prospective undergraduate or graduate students who are applying to universities in English-speaking countries, or to programs where English is the language of instruction, will likely be asked to take the IELTS Academic test or the TOEFL, the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Contact your school to find out which test is right for you, or check the IELTS Global Recognition System  for your school’s name.

[Learn how U.S. colleges gauge international students’ English skills.]

If you need an IELTS score, here are three things to know before taking the exam.

1. Why you should take it: The IELTS, which is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment, is one of the preferred English proficiency tests for universities in AustraliaBritainCanadaIrelandNew Zealand and South Africa. University College London, for example, accepts a number of tests but states on its website that the IELTS is preferred. The test is also accepted by a large number of schools in the U.S. and by English-language programs in many other countries.

However, the test itself is a preliminary measure only. Josephine Parr, director of communications at the New School in New York, which had the highest percentage of international students among National Universities in the U.S. in 2013-2014, said by email that a high IELTS score “does not always translate directly to competency in the classroom.”

As for whether to take the TOEFL or the IELTS, Parr says the New School has no preference. Students should, therefore, consult universities directly to see if the IELTS is required or even accepted.

2. What score you need: IELTS test-takers are given scores, on a scale from 1 to 9, for each part of the test; the average of the results from the four subtests is then used to determine what’s known as the overall band score. To determine the score needed for university admission, try looking at the different overall band scores required by various universities as published on the IELTS website, or consult the university you would like to attend.

The University of Oxford, for instance, requires an overall score of 7.0 for incoming international undergraduates, while the Graduate School of Princeton University prefers students who score an 8.0 on the speaking subsection. However, many reputable schools, in the U.S. and elsewhere, accept scores in the 5.0 to 6.0 range.

 

3. How to prepare: A great way to prepare for the IELTS is by taking it. This gives you the experience of the exam and knowledge of your current level, which will help determine the score you want to achieve in the time available.

Caroline McKinnon, a New York-based school manager at GEOS Languages Plus, a language training centre, says of students, “the more they surround themselves with English, the better they are.”

But students also need to learn the format of the exam, she adds, pointing out that many perform poorly due to unfamiliarity or failure to follow instructions.

For the listening and reading sections, consider using apps such as IELTS Skills or TOEFL TPO HD. The latter can be used for both TOEFL and IELTS prep , and the apps provide hours of test simulations.

In addition to IELTS-specific training, try adding English-language podcasts to your daily routine to improve listening skills. Also, try visiting newsinlevels.com, where you can read the news at various levels of English and increase your reading level over time.

If vocabulary is a concern, review a frequency list, since this will provide the words test-takers are most likely to see. Next, consider browsing the following Wikipedia articles for any unfamiliar terms: business, education, entertainment, food, games, government, politics, science (and its many subgroups), sports and technology. Having a strong vocabulary will also help you in your writing.

For the essay, McKinnon says, the best way to prepare is by writing a lot of practice essays and “working against the clock.”

Finally, there is the speaking section. This will involve four to five minutes of discussion about your hobbies, hometown, school, etc.; a prompt about a specific topic for which you will have one to two minutes of speaking time; and finally four to five minutes of additional discussion related to the prompt topic.

Websites such as dcielts.com provide lists of typical questions, as well as other useful tips, to help you prepare your answers. Topical vocabulary, such as what can be found in the Wikipedia articles suggested earlier,  and idiomatic expressions are important here.

The secret to success, though, is practice – lots of it.

“I’d sit on a bench every morning for months, going through my book and answering the questions out loud,” says Cao Shuyuan, an accounting major at Chengdu University of Technology in China who recently took the IELTS with the hope of obtaining his MBA in Britain. “I probably looked crazy, but it worked.”

 

Source – US News

How to improve SAT scores without going broke

broke

Tutoring can change life’s trajectory. Patricia Terry has seen it first-hand. And it doesn’t always have to cost thousands of dollars.

Last year, a senior at Detroit’s Cass Technical High School approached Terry with a big problem. He needed to increase his SAT college entrance exam score by 100 in order to qualify for a four-year scholarship.

Terry, a math instructional specialist at Cass, knows 100 points is heavy lift. But the student hit his goal after using Khan Academy, a suite of free, online test preparation tools offered in partnership with the College Board, the national nonprofit that administers the SAT. He earned a 1060 score out of 1600 and won a full-tuition scholarship provided to Detroit residents, Terry said.

Cass is a magnet school in Detroit with high achieving students, many of whom could afford to pay for classes for the college exams. But teachers typically steer students toward the fairly new, free Khan Academy, Terry said.

“Khan Academy works if you take it seriously,” Terry said. “Why go outside to other resources that cost and don’t have a relationship with the College Board?”

About 2 million students nationwide take each of the college entrance exams – the SAT or ACT per year. As they prepare, an increase in new and free preparation tools is renewing discussion about whether you have to pay big to score big on the tests.

Flint student Dylan Hernandez gained media attention nationwide recently for persuading a tutoring firm to give 150 of his classmates a 90 percent discount for a $99 online SAT prep class.

 

His story resonates in Michigan, where 46 percent of students are economically disadvantaged and whose families may not be able to afford testing coaches or courses that often can cost thousands of dollars.

What’s more, studies are mixed on how much pricey prep courses actually improves tests scores.

In 2009, for instance, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling found that commercial coaching improves SAT scores only 30 points.

Other research suggests that highly motivated students who take the tests multiple times are likely to improve. Those students, perhaps not coincidentally, also are often the ones who invest in SAT tutoring.

Parents continue to pay the costs, though, because a few points can make a huge difference, said Steven Snead, supervisor of curriculum and assessment for Oakland Intermediate School District.

“Where parents are paying for private tutors, they’re not talking about going from a 15 on the ACT to a 25; they’re trying to get from a 34 to a 35, or a few extra points that will be the difference between University of Michigan and Harvard or a scholarship for a few thousand to a scholarship to pay the entire undergraduate experience,” Snead said.

“A few points can give you a particular edge.”

In that spirit, Bridge is taking a close look at the bevvy of low-cost or free prep options available to students.

Google “free SAT prep” and more than 5.2 million results appear, from sites such as SATExamPrep.com and the ANA Project to Union Test Prep and PowerScore.

For-profit firms also have free options. Magoosh, the firm that Hernandez used, offers free online test taking tips. The Princeton Review, one of the best-known test tutoring firms, offers high schools across Michigan free practice SAT and ACT tests with results that identify students’ weaknesses. An offer to purchase tutoring from the firm is often part of the deal.

Many tutoring companies offer free practice tests. In speaking to educators throughout Metro Detroit, though, most recommended college entrance exam prep courses that partner with makers of the SAT and ACT.

Here’s a closer look at them, as well as other options:

College Board/Khan Academy

Pros: Personalized and accessible. Online tools mean the student can practice on their own schedule, including watching online classes that allow students to chat with an instructor. Students can snap a photo of a practice test answer sheet, submit it and get a score. And a daily practice test “question” of the day can be sent to students to keep skills sharp.

Cons: Lacks the face-to-face, one-on-one attention of an in-person tutoring session

The College Board, the creators of the SAT, partnered with Khan Academy in 2015 to provide free SAT test preparation online.

It was a timely collaboration because in 2016, a new, redesigned SAT debuted and Michigan began to administer that test, rather than the ACT,

to public high school students as part of the Michigan Merit Exam.

Khan Academy, a nonprofit with a mission to help anyone to get a free education, provides everything from educational content for teachers to test prep for the annual engineering college entrance exam in India. The SAT test preparation options include six full-length practice tests for free, online videos, test-taking strategies, tips and lessons.

The most effective component is the personalization, Aaron Lemon-Strauss, the College Board’s executive director for SAT Student Success told Bridge.

Students create an account with Khan Academy, which creates a personalized lesson plan so each student can practice skills they need to improve based on how the student performed on past tests. The practice tools are directly aligned to the test due to Khan Academy’s partnership with SAT. And the online tools are mobile-friendly.

“About 13 percent of low-income families rely on a smartphone as their sole Internet access. If you’re not doing something for the phone you’re leaving kids out, so we knew we had to make it mobile friendly,” Lemon-Strauss said.

ACT/Kaplan

Pros: Interactive test prep, aligned with the ACT

Cons: Free only to low-income students

For decades, Kaplan has provided college entrance exam test preparation that today can cost $799 for 18 hours of online tutoring to $5,699 for 36 hours of in-person tutoring. Last year, the ACT partnered with Kaplan to provide live, interactive, online test preparation.

Low-income students who qualify for test fee waivers can take the test prep for free. Last year, about 800,000 students nationwide qualified, said Lee Weiss, Kaplan’s vice president of K-12 and college admissions programs.

Generally, an instruction is offered live online daily for about 10 hours a week, he said.

“The human element is really important for motivation and for making sure you understand the material,” Weiss said. “The (online classes) are a lot more fun than people would think. When you get a really great teacher they make the unfun more fun.”

Kaplan also offers day-long, online “Prep-a-thons” for the ACT and the SAT in which students can watch an instructor review a practice test live online two weeks before the test. Students can ask questions in real-time.

More free stuff

Not only can students get the test prep courses for free, but low-income students can send test scores to more colleges free of charge and apply to college for free as well.

In Michigan, all high school juniors in public school take the SAT for free as part of the Michigan Merit Exam, or the state’s high school standardized testing program.

Low-income students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch qualify to take the ACT and SAT for free. The tests typically cost $43 to $58.50.

All students who take the SAT can send the scores to four colleges for free, but those who qualify for fee waivers can send scores to up to eight colleges without cost, according to the College Board.

And if a student receives a fee waiver to take the SAT they immediately get four fee waivers from the College Board to apply to more than 2,000 colleges and universities for free.

Otherwise, it costs about $50 to $80 to apply to most colleges. Since 2014, the College Board has processed more than 5.4 million college application waivers.

 

Source – Bridge