Category Archives: Help for College Students

Elevator Speech Tips

To answer the common question, “So what do you do?” effectively, apply elevator speech tips to create the perfect elevator pitch. Whether you are trying to raise capital, market your business, or promote yourself, it is crucial to have an elevator pitch. You should be able to describe yourself, your business, your goals, and your passions quickly and effectively. Keep in mind the goal and purpose of an elevator speech. If your elevator pitch is strong and compelling, it can lead to the exchange of business cards or a future meeting to discuss opportunities. Thus, elevator speeches are a great marketing tool to persuade prospective employers and clients about your product, or you as an individual.

So how can you prepare an elevator speech that will entice your audience to want to know more? Here are 3 elevator pitch tips to keep in mind when you create an elevator speech. Continue reading

How to Write an Elevator Speech

Elevator pitches are used in many situations, thus it is important to know how to write an elevator speech. Whether you are trying to raise capital, promote your business, or market yourself, it is essential to have an elevator pitch.

You essentially have one minute to describe yourself, your business, your goals, and your passions to a complete stranger.  Not only do you have to communicate your message quickly, but you will have to do it clearly and effectively in order to entice your audience to want to know more!

6 Easy Steps to Writing an Elevator Pitch

Step 1: Know your audience – Your elevator speech will be more effective if it is clearly targeted to the individuals are you speaking to. Customize your elevator pitch so that it is appropriate to your audience. Having a generic elevator pitch will not always be effective.

Step 2: Know yourself – You need to fully know and be able to define precisely what your proposition is before you can convince anyone of it. Describe what you are offering, the problems you can solve, and the benefits you can bring to a prospective employer or client.

For example, if you are trying to promote yourself to an employer, answer the following questions:

1)      What are your key strengths and skills?
2)      What are your key achievements and accomplishments?
3)      Why are you interested in the company or industry?
4)      What can you bring to the company? How can you be of a benefit to the employer?

Step 3: Outline your talk – Start making an outline of what you want an employer or client to know. At this stage, do not worry about going into details right away. Keep in mind the questions discussed in step 2 and simply bullet point your answers. Keep your outline to a few key bullet points. Your goal is to capture the listener’s attention and interest so that they want to learn more. You do not want to give them your whole life story! Any extraneous details will distract the listener from your core message.

Step 4: Write your elevator speech – Now that you have an outline of the key things you want to say, you can start writing your speech. Expand on the bullet points that you made in step 3 and structure them into complete sentences. Make good transitions so that your sentences flow smoothly.

Step 5: Edit your speech – The way we write and the way we speak tend to be very different. With that in mind, go through your written speech and change any long words or uncommon vocabulary into everyday language. Then, time yourself saying the speech aloud to get an idea of how long your speech is at this point. Cut out any unnecessary words and sentences and adjust your speech to about thirty to sixty seconds.

Step 6: Finalize and practice your elevator pitch – Practice your elevator pitch until you memorize it! You never know who you will bump into, so you want to have your speech ready for any chance meetings. Of course, just like any other speech, make sure your pitch sounds natural and not rehearsed. Ask your friends and family to listen to your speech and see if they have any suggestions or feedback.

Now that you know how to write an elevator speech, here are 3 essential elevator pitch tips to keep in mind.

The Elevator Pitch

What is the elevator pitch? Imagine that you are in the elevator and the employer that you want to work for or a prospective client coincidentally gets on. In the short time that the two of you are in the elevator, how would you introduce yourself? What are the most important things you want the person to know about yourself that will make him/her remember you after you leave? This elevator talk is famously known as the elevator pitch or elevator speech.

The purpose of an elevator pitch is to give a short speech of who you are, what you do, your skills and accomplishments, and how you can be a resource to your listener all in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty to sixty seconds.

Why is the elevator pitch important?

Whether you are trying to raise capital, promote your product, or promote yourself, an elevator speech is a great marketing tool to induce prospective employers and clients. If your conversation inside the elevator is strong and compelling, chances are the conversation will continue after the elevator ride, potentially leading to the exchange of business cards or a scheduled meeting. Thus, it is important to utilize elevator speech tips to help you create the perfect elevator pitch.

Contrary to the term, the elevator pitch is not only used in elevator rides! In fact, you can use this pitch just about anywhere, such as a networking event, a job fair, or even in your LinkedIn summary. With a great pitch, you can get clients from social gatherings, business mixers, and chance meetings.

Read elevator speech examples and write an elevator pitch. Practice saying it aloud to your friends and family and ask for suggestions. It is helpful to memorize this speech because you never know who you will meet and when you will need to use your elevator pitch!

How to Rent Textbooks

Step 1:
Choose a textbook rental company

Top Places to Rent Textbooks

Do your research and decide on the best company to order your rental textbooks from. You do not necessarily have to order all your textbooks from the same rental website. You can compare the prices between the companies and decide which is the cheapest and most convenient for you. Although most of the online book rental companies work in a similar way, it is recommended that you read their individual policies.

The below are the best textbook rental websites:

Step 2: Search your textbook on the rental website by the book’s ISBN number.
Will the textbooks you rent online be the same as the one you need? Yes, textbook rental websites will allow you to search for textbooks by the ISBN number, which will ensure that the textbook you rent will be identical in content to the book your college bookstore sells. Even if you do get the wrong version by mistake, the rental companies will exchange it for free.

Step 3: Choose the length of time you will be using the textbooks, such as one semester.
If you decide on a rental period and you realize later that you need the book for longer than you expected, you can pay a little extra to have a rental extension. Most book rental companies will even allow you to convert your rental into a purchase if you decide that you want to keep the book instead of returning it.

Step 4: Rent your textbook and choose the best shipping method for you.
Many rental companies offer next-day air, which is good if you need the textbook immediately.

Step 5: After the rental period, send the textbook back to the rental company.
How do you return the book once you are done with it? Usually textbook rental companies will send you a prepaid postage so that it is free and easy for you to send the textbook back.

As you can see, renting textbooks is not only easy to do, but you can end up saving a lot of money from having to purchase those books!


How to Study for the GMAT

Wondering how to study for the GMAT?  Need help with your GMAT preparation?

GMAT Study Plan

How can you best prepare for the GMAT exam? Answer: Have a good GMAT study plan! Here are GMAT tips and strategies to help you study and ace your GMAT exam!

1)      Familiarize yourself with the GMAT format and materialsMake sure you know the GMAT structure, such as the amount of questions and how much time you have for each section of the exam. Be familiar with the material from each of the 4 GMAT sections – Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal.

2)     Take a practice GMAT exam ­­– Consider buying the best GMAT books, all of which have practice GMAT exams. Time and score yourself to see how far you are from achieving your target GMAT score.

3)     Decide how long you need to study for the GMAT – Consider the 3 factors that help determine how long to study for the GMAT. If you estimate that you need 4 months to study for the GMAT exam, try studying at least 5 months before the GMAT test date. It is always better to give yourself extra time in case you need more practice rather than panicking and trying to cram everything.

4)     Know the GMAT score you want/need ­– Have an idea of the business graduate schools you will be applying to and the GMAT score that is needed to get accepted into their graduate program. Knowing this information and reminding yourself of your target score will help you set your goal to achieve a higher GMAT score.

5)     Know your strengths and weaknesses – Taking a mock GMAT exam and scoring yourself will help you see what areas you need to focus on. Study and utilize strategies to help you answer the GMAT questions you find difficult.

6)     Design an effective study plan ­– Do you study best by yourself or with a study group? Is there a certain time during the day when you’re most attentive? What material or section do you need to focus on first? These are all things to keep in mind when designing your GMAT study plan.

7)     Design an effective study schedule – Dedicate a certain amount of time per week to study for the GMAT. Note that studying only an hour a week for one year may not be as effective as if you studied 4 hours a week for 13 weeks. Although both methods total 52 hours of studying time, the latter method will be more effective as the material will still be fresh in your head.

8)    Assess your progressAfter spending some time studying for the exam, take a second GMAT practice exam to assess your progress. This is important because if you are far from achieving your desired GMAT score, at least you know that you need to put in more time studying before it is too late!

9)     Brush up on your test taking skills – Practice test taking strategies, such as timing techniques and making the best educated guesses by employing the process of elimination.

10)   Register for the GMAT exam! – Many students give themselves a long study period, thinking the more time, the better. However, this might lead to procrastination! Instead, give yourself a deadline by registering for the GMAT test. When you actually spend your money and register for the GMAT, it will motivate you to study harder.

So don’t just settle for an average GMAT score! By applying these helpful tips in preparing for the GMAT and avoiding typical GMAT mistakes, you will be sure to beat the GMAT!

How Long Should I Study For the GMAT?

As we struggle to best manage our time in our busy lives, many of us who are planning to attend business school are asking, “How long should I study for the GMAT?” The answer will vary for each person and is dependent on many factors, including the score you want and your motivation to achieve your ideal GMAT score.

Although there is no set time, the below factors will help you get an idea of how long you should be studying for the GMAT exam:

3 Factors to Consider When Preparing For the GMAT

1) Your familiarity with the GMAT material – Your grasp over the basics of math and English grammar is a major factor in determining how long it takes you to prepare for the GMAT exam. For example, depending on your ability to learn quickly, you may learn grammatical rules in a few hours but it may actually take a few months for you to apply them properly. Your level of familiarity with the GMAT material and  the speed at which you learn determine whether you will be spending one month or six months to achieve your desired GMAT test score.

Helpful GMAT tip: Take a practice GMAT exam to get a sense of where you stand. Consider purchasing GMAT prep books, which all have practice GMAT exams where you can time and score yourself. Treat the practice exam as if was the real GMAT so that you can estimate how much time you need to spend studying to achieve your desired GMAT score.

2) Graduate schools you want to go to – Many business graduate schools have a minimum GMAT score requirement in order to get accepted into their graduate program. The higher the score, the longer you need to spend preparing for the GMAT.

Helpful GMAT tip: If you have no idea what business graduate schools you will apply to, take the time to research by visiting a few school websites. List the graduate schools that interest you and get an idea of the GMAT scores needed to get accepted into their graduate programs.

3) Your Test Taking Skills - How have you performed on previous standardized tests? Are you a bad test taker? Do you get nervous, lose focus, or run out of time during an exam? Although you and another person may have similar knowledge, the difference in your scores may be attributed to your test taking skills. For example, even if you know the material well, you still need to manage your time effectively during the test in order to get a good GMAT score. If you have bad test taking skills, you may need to take more practice GMAT exams to help you be better prepared.

Helpful GMAT tip: Spend time practicing test taking tips, such as taking practice GMAT exams and timing yourself. Try your best to simulate a similar setting of when you actually take the GMAT. If you get stuck on a question, don’t obsess over it and practice taking educated guesses.

Read more on how to study for the GMAT

College Book Renters

Renting textbooks has become more popular over the years, as it is a cheaper alternative to buying textbooks.

Why Rent Textbooks?

1)      Save money – Renting textbooks can save you more money than purchasing textbooks. If you are unable to afford the initial cost of buying the textbook, you will probably be better off renting. By renting a textbook, you will not need to come up with a lot of money that would normally be needed to buy a textbook. Also, you can find coupon codes online to book rental companies, which can help you save extra!

2)     Save time – Instead of trying to sell your used textbooks on Ebay or Amazon, simply send your book back to the rental company. Usually, book rental companies will send you a prepaid postage slip along with the book, making it easy for you to ship the book back. You will not have to worry about selling your textbook to try to reduce the initial cost of purchasing the book.

3)     Good return policy – Decide to drop a class? Many textbook rental companies will allow you to send the rental book back within a few weeks and you will get a full refund less shipping charges. If you had purchased your textbook from a college bookstore, depending on its condition, they might not let you return it.

4)     If there are frequent edition updates – In fields where there are rapid advancements, such as tax law, publishers will come out with new editions every year. Not only will it be harder for you to sell your textbook at a reasonable price, but you also may not want to keep an outdated book. Thus, by renting a textbook, you can just send the book back at the end of your course without having to worry about keeping or selling an outdated book.

5)     Convenient – When you rent your textbooks, you can be sure you will get the right book. All you have to do is type in the ISBN number. There is less risk to renting than buying from an unknown seller with a badly written description on Ebay.

Top Textbook Rental Sites

The below are the best places to rent  textbooks:

Renting vs. Buying Textbooks

Is it better to buy or rent textbooks? Since there are both pros and cons to renting vs. buying college textbooks, it is best to spend a few minutes to decide what the best option is for you.

Should I Rent my University Textbooks?

For many students, renting college textbooks is a great way to save money. Before deciding whether you should rent or buy a specific textbook, consider the following:

1)      Compare pricing – Calculate how much it would cost to buy your textbooks. This doesn’t mean you should use the prices that your college bookstore charges. Shopping for textbooks online is often much cheaper than shopping at your campus bookstore. In fact, you can purchase many textbooks at discount prices on Amazon.

2)     Check with textbook buy-back programs – If you buy a book for $100 and you know you can sell it back for $80, your true cost is only $20. If you can afford the initial cost of buying the textbook, that would be a better deal than renting the textbook for $30.

3)     Is this a textbook you can sell? If you do not plan on keeping the textbook after the class, ask yourself, “If I buy this textbook, would I be able to sell it after my course?” Often times, publishers will come out with a new edition of the textbook, making it harder for you to sell your edition at a reasonable price. This is a risk to consider.

4)     Is this a textbook you will want to keep? Many college students purchase textbooks with the intention of keeping them after they finish taking the course. This makes sense when it is a textbook related to your major, as you may want to use the textbook as a reference even after you have completed the class.

5)     How immediately do you need your textbooks? If you have been procrastinating in getting your textbooks, you may resort to purchasing them in your local college bookstore at the last minute. However, often times, professors will post up the required textbooks even before the first day of class. If not, you can email the professor asking what textbooks are needed for the course. Doing this will give you enough time to search online for rental textbooks, order, and wait a few days for the books to arrive. Most rental companies also offer express shipping. This will often help you save more money than if you purchased your textbooks from your campus bookstore.

Check out some of the best textbook rental sites!