Welcome to the first post on the new site! I’m going to keep it brief today and give you a quick rundown on what’s new and how to get around, and then I’ll get back to my regular posting schedule tomorrow.
1) I decided to name the site OutlawStudent.com because I think it fits the tone of what you read here. Based on the emails I get every day, when it comes to advice about high school or college or financial aid or jobs or any of the things we talk about here, I think the breakdown of the coaching & counseling you’re getting from other sources goes something like this:
- 50% are getting no advice at all
- 25% are getting bad advice from well-intentioned sources
- 5% are getting bad advice from self-serving sources
- 20% are getting good advice
So, if I’m anywhere near correct in this breakdown, then sadly enough, decent school and career advice is not easy to obtain. You’ll have to find an outlaw!
This site’s kind of like “The A-Team” — it’s where you go when your back’s against the wall and you can’t get anyone else to help you. Except I don’t shoot thousands of machine-gun bullets at the bad guys (yet).
2) Combined Sites: You all probably know about outlawstudent.com, and that it’s now OutlawStudent.com. But we’ve also had a bit lesser-known site aimed at new grads and young job-seekers called GiveMeaResume.com. We’ve also folded all of the content from that site into Outlaw Student as well, for those of you who are past the point of applying for financial aid or scholarships, but don’t yet have a job.
And apparently some of the articles are cut off at the bottom, so it’s one of my first jobs to go and fix that.
To combine the sites, we had to organize the articles a little differently so that people with different needs & problems could find the advice they need. The best way we could think of to do that was to subcategorize the articles into four groups: High School Students, College Students (not graduating soon), Recent or Soon-to-be Grads, and foreign languages (for articles translated in languages other than English).
You can see these categories by mousing over the “Articles” menu item at the top of every page. Or, you can just click “Articles” and see everything.
3) Scholarships we give. It sometimes goes forgotten around here that the groundwork for this site started in 2003 when my Google advertising agency began a number of scholarship programs. For many years, we let those scholarship applications live on the agency website, even though the scholarships really have nothing to do with our advertising work.
So we’ve finally moved all those scholarship applications over here to Outlaw Student, where they more naturally belong. They are accessible in the navigation menu under “scholarships.”
4) Scholarship Winners. If there is a neglected stepchild of our scholarship programs, it’s got to be the winners section. Historically, we’ve been absolutely horrible at posting them. Part of that is because we had them all on super-outdated HTML pages on an old website that made it a big pain in the ass to post new content, but now that’s fixed.
Now, we have more winner essays and bios available than ever before. Some of those winner pages could probably still use some cleanup, but I didn’t want to wait to launch OutlawStudent.com while we cleaned up hundreds of winner bios and essay excerpts. So I trust that if you winners out there find something amiss in your essay, you’ll let us know in the comments section of each page.
5) The Win $250 thing. I told you the re-launch of the site would give everyone a chance to win $250 without doing much work, and now that opportunity is active on the site under the “Win $250” menu item.
It’s pretty simple: If a college wants me to come speak (or a high school, but colleges are usually the ones with the budget for such things), it costs the school $1,000 plus my travel expenses. If you refer me to your school and your school books me as a speaker, I give you $250 of that $1,000.
My team and I could go through the giant, time-consuming and expensive task of contacting thousands of colleges and trying to get them to book me as a speaker. Or, I could just pay you guys to do it.
I choose the latter, and it’s no contest. I absolutely HATE adminstrative, bureaucratic tasks. HATE them. I’m here to write the articles and give you advice every day — any other boring, stressful, time-eating details that I can pay someone else to do, I will. Almost all of the little yet critical tasks here — from comment approval to translation assignments to search-engine optimizing the blog posts — are done by my killer assistant, Sheena. (Her nickname is “The Masheen,” and she once killed a buffalo on a reality TV show. I am NOT bullshitting you.)
But anyway, as a student, your college cares more about what YOU think, anyway. If I want to come speak at your school for $1,000, that’s natural — why wouldn’t I? Hell, it’s $1,000. It isn’t chump change. But it doesn’t mean anyone at your school actually WANTS me to come, though.
On the other hand, if you guys are the ones who mention it to whomever brings in speakers and seminars and stuff like that (at a college, it’s usually the student government or other established campus clubs with a little bit of money), then it means a lot more to them.
So, with this $250 thing, I’ve tried to make it as much of a win-win-win situation for everyone as possible. If you have further suggestions, let me know. If you’re interested, just mention it to whatever organization is in charge of booking speakers/guests, and send ’em to the “Win $250” page, where they can fill out the request.
NOTE: A few of you have filled out the form already, from the perspective of an individual student who wants me to come to their school and speak. I appreciate this very much and I’m glad to hear that; however, the form is really something you should pass along to the person at your school who books speakers, rather than filling it out yourself. Talking to (repeatedly! over and over again! :)) the right people at your own school and then having them contact us will go a lot further in bringing me to your campus. But thanks again, anyway!
OK, I rambled on for much longer than I’d hoped today, but you’ll have to excuse me for that — just want to make sure no one gets lost in the shuffle. Plus, I’m delirious from a raging bout of insomnia last night that kept me up until 4:30, after which I was brutally awakened at 6:30 by my 4-yo son’s screaming at his sister this morning about something apparently related to Phineas and Ferb and who used up all the ketchup before the breakfast sausages were gone.
So by all means, leave your comments and questions about the new site either here, or on whatever page you have a question about. Hope you all enjoy the new site, and tomorrow we resume our regularly scheduled programming!