Often our students come to us with vague ideas of the kind of job they want some day, but they have even hazier ideas of how to get there. That’s when we get excited and start researching. Our monthly series Major Discovery provides profiles on different majors and degree programs that we’ve dedicated time to understanding, so we can help our students explore their options. This month we’re diving into the world of fashion.

If you’re an avid Project Runway follower and always dreaming up your own designs in response to Tim Gunn’s fashion challenges or if you’re more of an Ugly Betty and The Devil Wears Prada fan, fashion design or fashion merchandising might be majors for you to consider.

“Wait… but what’s the difference?” Glad you asked. In a nutshell, fashion design is making the clothes, shoes, bags, etc. Fashion merchandising is buying and selling the clothes, shoes, bags, etc. But like I said, that’s just the basics. Let’s dig a little deeper into what being in fashion design or fashion merchandising would look like:

 

Fashion Designers are those that actually design and construct the garments that are seen at fashion shows.

They sketch out whatever inspires them, build a collection of sketches, and choose fabrics and textiles that will fit their vision. From there, they either construct the garments themselves or take them to their shops, where they are constructed. They sell their designs to shops and brands, hoping that their inspiration and work paid off and that people will buy what they had designed.

Within fashion design there’s tons of different specializations: textile design, shoes, accessories, ready to wear, couture, etc. If you’re unsure where you would want to focus in, look at schools that offer a broad education in fashion design. How do you know if it’s broad? Ask the faculty, read their course offerings, ask your admissions counselor to connect you with students in that major, read up on what their alumni do.

If you’re already super enthusiastic about one part of fashion, say, shoe design, look for schools that excel in shoe design. How do you know if it’s a strong program? Ask the faculty, read their course offerings, ask your admission counselor to connect you with students in that major, read up on what their alumni do. Are you catching this theme? Just keep asking.

Now, I don’t want you to think that fashion designers are completely on their own. Many brands hire designers to help design for their brands. That could be a really good fit for you if you’re not super savvy about entrepreneurship. But if you want to hit it big, often times you have to branch out on your own.

 

Fashion Merchandising is the business end of the fashion world.

 You’re buying garments from the designers, predicting what the consumer will buy, and packaging it in a way that they will buy it. There’s a lot of marketing and psychology involved, as well as finance as you predict profit margins, trends, etc. You’re constantly looking for the next best thing to offer your customers and creating displays that will entice them to buy.

Fashion merchandisers can work for small boutiques or international companies. Wherever they work, they help to keep everything “within brand,” meaning that if you go to J Crew or Anthropologie, each garment will appear as though they’re all under that brand–nothing will stick out. With merchandising, you’re always going to be forecasting what will be “in” next and chasing down the next big thing. You’re predicting the future and molding it, based on what is being created and put together by, you guessed it, you.

A degree from any solid business school coupled with a good internship or two and a general interest and knowledge of the industry could be enough to launch your career as a fashion tycoon. However, a focused fashion merchandising degree will give you a structured education in fashion as well as business.

Like fashion design, there are a variety of different specializations: marketing, buying, displays, trends, etc. Studying fashion merchandising specifically will give you the time and opportunity to learn all aspects of the industry and focus in on the one or two that interest you most. When looking at programs and visiting schools, ask questions. How do professors teach business strategies? Through textbooks and lectures or hands-on group projects? What kind of internships do students have? What does their career center do to support students in this major?

Once you decide on your major and school, you’re one step closer to realizing your goals.

Woo! Take a minute to celebrate those hard decisions. However, keep pressing forward. The next step is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along the way in order to gain experience, build your resume and portfolio, and make meaningful connections with people that may someday turn into internship and job offers.

 

Still have major questions? We’d love to help you find answers. Schedule an appointment with one of our college and career consultants today.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Email

{ 0 comments }

You’re almost done with high school, and it’s time to start thinking about colleges. Seems daunting, right? Don’t worry- one of the first big decisions you need to make is pretty easy once you get the facts straight.

As you start looking for where to apply, try paying attention to campus sizes. This seemingly trivial detail says so much about a school’s atmosphere. A little time spent Googling comparisons tells you that the larger schools (often) have better sports teams and more research opportunities, but it takes some effort to uncover the drawbacks. Overcrowded classrooms, less academically-involved faculty, and class waiting lists rank among the worst offenders. So much emphasis is placed on these research institutions that smaller schools wrongfully get much less attention. Not anymore! After learning about the many benefits that going small has, you may realize a small school is right for you.

Learn from Professors, Not Students

One big perk about small schools is that most are strictly undergraduate. This means that classes are taught entirely by professors- something rare at massive research institutions. Yes, you read that last bit correctly! The larger the school, the more likely it is that classes are taught by graduate assistants. Thankfully, smaller undergraduate schools hardly ever have this issue. Places like Harvey Mudd College have professors that teach what you’re passionate about first hand, giving you the chance to discuss topics with the experts. A college or university education is incredibly valuable. Maximize your money and learn from actual professors instead of from students trying to get another degree.

Smaller Campuses = Less Registration Stress

If you still like the idea of being one of thousands at a large research institution, consider looking a bit closer for any unappealing – and unaddressed – realities tied to the school. A rule of thumb says that the larger the college or university, the more difficult it typically is to get into classes. Nearly any student at UCLA or Berkeley has stories of waking up early and waiting in hours-long lines to secure seats in Gen. Ed. classes. Yikes! Thankfully, there are many schools without this issue. It isn’t by chance that they are often smaller schools either. Claremont McKenna and Amherst, for example, rarely have these problems because they accept fewer students and keep the size of their majors in mind when hiring new faculty.

Work for a Purpose, Not for Attention

Students of smaller colleges and universities are often happy to learn that their professors and school officials get to know them at a deeper level thanks to significantly smaller student:faculty ratio. The ideas you share in class are remembered, rather than drowned out by hundreds of other voices in packed lecture halls. More of your energy can be placed towards completely understanding your materials and applying the newly concepts in the real world, and less time can be wasted vying for your professor’s limited attention.

 

Whichever type of school you’re interested in, one thing is certain – you’ll need to apply. Join us for one of our College Essay Workshops in August where you’ll have live, in-person guidance from the March Consulting staff. By the end, you’ll have perfectly polished essays ready to submit to any school on your list.

 

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Email

{ 0 comments }

We are excited to welcome Sports Recruiting Specialist, Anthony Moronez, to the March Consulting team. Beyond guiding student-athletes through the collegiate sports recruiting process, he is dedicated to helping others grow as students, athletes and individuals.

Do you ever wonder what makes you different from the other 5000 athletes in your sport? What is that skill, attitude, or trait that makes you unique? I talk with tons student-athletes that think they are devoted and in love with the sport they play, but there is a difference between “thinking” you are and actually “being” able to make it as an athlete. So how do you work towards “making it”? Glad you asked.

Immersion

First things first, you need to be totally obsessed with your sport. You need to breath, sleep, and think about it 25/8. I didn’t say 24/7 because you need to be more obsessed with your sport than is physically possible.

Track Your Goals

A good habit to start would include marking down daily activities that you did to better yourself for your sport. This includes what you did at practice, what stretches you did, what you ate, anything you can think of that you believe contributed to that day’s work for your sport.  Remember that your body is your instrument and what you fuel it with, what you make it do can transform the way you approach your sport.  I’ve never heard of an Olympic athlete consuming junk food to get a gold medal.  Similarly, you should be setting big and small goals to get you where you want to go.

I highly recommend you get a white board, as it will end up being your best friend during this process. (You can grab one for $10-15 at stores like Target). There’s no right or wrong way to track your progress. You can list things out, make a chart, keep track of your times, etc. Make big goals first, like running a mile in six minutes, and then map out exactly what you need to do to get there.  For example, if your current mile is seven minutes, map out week by week how you’re going to improve your speed until you achieve that six minute mile.  If you don’t reach it, adjust your approach.

Motivate Yourself With Those Who Have Gone Before You

Print out your idol or inspiration for your sport and post him or her on your bedroom wall. It might sound creepy, but trust me, seeing that person everyday when you wake up at 6 a.m to go practice will definitely give you some motivation to get out of bed. If you want to get even more detailed, write out the traits and skills you admire about your idol that you want to work towards as well.

And let’s not forget about those grades! To even consider to be a college bound athlete, grades are just as equal, if not more important than the sport you’re playing. Be just as devoted as you are to your classes as your sport.

Remember you are a STUDENT-athlete, not an athlete-student. There is a reason why the “student” comes first.

I’m excited to join the March Consulting staff as the Sports Recruiting Specialist. I love to work with student-athletes as they journey through the world of collegiate sports recruiting. Schedule an appointment today!

-Anthony

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Email

{ 0 comments }

School is officially out, you’ve got your high school diploma in hand, and you’re sporting that free t-shirt your college gave you when you deposited. Life is looking good. But suddenly an impending cloud looms over your summer horizon. The grey doom and gloom of uncertainty hangs in the distance. It hovers over some date, probably in August or September. The dreaded first day of college.

Your mind races with questions: Who will my roommate be? Will I like my classes? Will I be able to FIND my classes? How do I make friends? Will I be homesick? Will I even make it to Fall Break??? The impending cloud grows taller and grayer. Is that a tornado forming?

Okay, maybe it doesn’t feel that dramatic to you. But, the beginning of college can hold a lot of uncertainty. Every school is a little different, but if you’re feeling unsure, here’s what you can generally expect that first week of college.

 

Move-In Day

This is it! The big day! You’ll drive up with your parent’s mini-van filled to the brim and wonder how you’ll ever fit it all in half of a dorm room. Check out your school’s website for room dimensions and what pets/appliances you’re allowed to bring before you leave home. You don’t want to drive your iguana aquarium and toaster oven across the country just to send it back with Mom and Dad.

Take the opportunity to talk with your roommate, resident assistant (RA), and floormates. At many schools the freshmen move in earlier than anyone else. This means everyone you see is also new to this whole college thing. Don’t be afraid to ask a random buddy to go to Welcome Week activities with you. Who knows? She could end up being your best friend for the next four years! Or it could just be that guy you walked to the activities fair with once, but that’s fine. It’s only day one after all.

Before Classes Start

Get to know your roommate. Even if you’re not cut out to be best friends, you still want to live peacefully with them for the entire year. Sit down and talk through roommate expectations, so you’re not leaving passive aggressive sticky notes about the towel on the floor during midterms.

Use your first couple days on campus to orient yourself. Find where your classes will be. Scope out the library, fitness center, and different dining options. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask! Your RA is a great resource who can point you in the right direction to find all the answers you need.

Check your email and/or online class portal for messages from professors. Some will ask you to bring a specific book to class or prepare a reading or assignment for the first day of class.

The First Day of Classes

“FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!” You might be just as excited as Nemo when you head off to Introduction to Creative Writing, or you might want to hide in your dorm. But don’t worry. There’s not much you can mess up the first day of classes. Here’s a step by step list of how to master your academic day one:

Step 1: Show Up

Step 2: Read the Syllabus

That’s it. It’s that easy. But when I say read the syllabus, I mean highlight deadlines, note the attendance policy, and learn this document inside and out. You don’t want to be caught off guard half way through the semester by a paper you didn’t realize was due.

The First Week

There will probably still be fun welcome events for freshman through the first week of classes. Take advantage of opportunities to meet people and enjoy free food. (As upperclassmen will tell you, FREE FOOD IS NOT TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY). Go to the student activities fair and sign up to try something new.

However, you’re officially a student now. Make sure you’re starting out the term strong academically by keeping up with reading and homework. Create a schedule for yourself, and write down all your assignment deadlines. Also, don’t be afraid to take a break from it all and just chill in your dorm. It’s perfectly fine to take time for yourself if that’s what you need.

The First Weekend

There’s always a lot of options in college, including what you do on the weekends. Especially the first weekend, your school is sure to offer game nights, concerts, and other activities. Other students may offer some options that are, hmmm how shall I say it, less school-sanctioned. However you decide to spend your weekend, remember this is just the first weekend of many in college. Everything in moderation. You don’t want to end up in the emergency room. Because then you’ll be that freshman who ended up in the emergency room. Don’t be that person. I’ll leave it at that.

Every Week After That…

“But Kat! What if the first few week goes terribly?” No worries. The first week is important, but it isn’t “make or break” for your entire collegiate career. Just like any new experience, it will take time to adjust to a new schedule, make new friends, and find your place on campus. If you want even more details on what to expect and advice on how to get the most out of your four years, grab a copy of Put College to Work. No matter what happens those first 7 days, you’ll continue to have opportunities to succeed. You just have to take them.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Email

{ 0 comments }

Oh, the holiday season. So many family get-togethers and parties with friends. That one crazy uncle pulling yet another practical joke. Grandma making the best food. And of course, your aunts, cousins, and mom’s friend’s dads wanting to know what you’re up to.

Thinking about college? Where are you headed? What to do you want to study? What can you even do with that degree?

When the questions start coming in waves, it can feel like you’re suffocating under the barrage of people’s curiosity, particularly if you still don’t know what you want to do with your future.

However, this scary time can also be a very useful tool. With a little prep, and a little change of mindset, you can turn these nosy questions into networking opportunities and possibly move one step closer to securing your future career.

Do Some Digging

Before you head into family festivities, do some research on your own family. Talk with your parents and identify if there’s anyone in the family that could have connections in the field you’re considering. Is there someone you could job shadow? Someone who works for a business you want to intern at? Take note.

Strike Up A Conversation

The nice part of networking with family and friends is that you already know them (at least somewhat). Strike up a conversation. People generally love to talk about themselves and their work. A quick prompt like, “Hey Aunt Marty, I’d love to hear more about your work at the hospital,” may be all you need to launch into a potential job shadowing experience.

Or Let the Conversation Come to You

You may be surprised the connections your great-aunt Maria has. Don’t shut down conversations off the bat when someone asks nosy questions about your future plans. Express your long-term goals “I want to be a pediatric nurse” and short-term goals “I’m looking to job shadow this summer.” People can’t read your mind, so the more you mention opportunities you’re looking for, the more others can help connect you to said opportunities.

Make the Ask

Sometimes the hardest part of networking is shifting from hearing about someone’s job to asking how that job could help you. Unfortunately, there’s no magical solution, so just take a deep breath and ask: “I’m interested in getting more hands-on experience. Do you know if your company has internships available?” or “I’d love to see more of what your job entails. Would it be possible for me to shadow you?”

Be Respectful

This is a holiday party, after all. Not everyone may be wanting to take a look at your resume on the spot or send an email to their boss about an internship for you next summer. Get people’s contact information, if you don’t have it already, so that you can follow up with them in a couple days. And of course, like any networking experience, make sure to send a thank you.
Instead of getting sucked under in the tormult of probing questions, set your mind on networking and finding connections. Who knows, you could land your next internship over a plate of grandpa’s fried turkey.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Email

{ 0 comments }