Thank you po. Dream school eh, though I might want to go to UPD someday. ^^ Of course! Malaking tulong po sa 'kin ang academic clinic! In fact, my lowerclassmen ask me for advice and UPCAT updates, and I know all those thanks to AC. ^^ Yes, I see those. I read them often and share them with my batchmates. ^^

by Nicole Castro on

Extra-Curricular Activities in College

by Janina Denise H. Torralba

            College is the stage of your education during which you will have to pull out all the stops. You can goof off a little bit in elementary and in high school, but you have to be extra careful with your grades in college. Any grade you earn will stick with you forever. Yes, you may opt to retake a subject, but what your professors write on your TOR stays on your TOR.

Does this mean that you can’t have fun in college? Of course not. This does mean, however, that you have to spend your free time carefully and wisely. What better way to do so than by engaging in collegiate extra-curricular activities?

In college, a whole new world of opportunities opens up to you. There will always be sports teams, dance troupes, choirs, and academic clubs, but you will also find other kinds of organizations, or orgs for short. College has everything, from the religious (e.g. UST Pax Romana, Youth for Christ, Christ’s Youth in Action) to the unusual (e.g. UP Anime Manga Enthusiasts, DLSU PhilSEDS). Of course, you can’t forget about the student government in each university. All of these groups have a purpose. They organize activities within their respective universities and even represent the university in nationwide or international events.

Should you go for one of these groups? If you have excellent time management skills and great stamina, there’s no reason you shouldn’t. In fact, there’s nothing banning you from joining more than one group. But, as with any decision, there are a few things you have to keep in mind when finding groups to join.

Interest Vs. Skill

            Are you interested in the group’s purpose? Good. Do you have the aptitude and the energy for the group’s activities? Even better. Some groups prefer recruiting members who are already skilled in their field, but others won’t really care, as long as you have the same passion as they do. Remember, some groups will train you in their craft, while some need you to know what you are doing. Don’t be afraid to talk to the members of these groups! They will gladly be of assistance to you.

So Much to Do, So Little Time (And Money)

            Are you hoping to just have people to share your passion with, or are you planning to really get your head in the game full time? The more popular groups will keep you busy with all sorts of things such as training sessions, conferences, contests, and a lot more. In other groups, you can just lie low and enjoy being with your co-members. Determine how active your desired groups are first to make sure that joining any of them will not interfere with your studies.

While we’re on the topic of budgeting your time, you should also consider budgeting your college funds. Some orgs will require you to spend much for excursions, fairs, and personal needs (e.g. gadgets, outfits, sporting goods, collector’s items, etc.), while some will be less demanding and perhaps even funded by associations or the university itself. Your wallet matters just as much as your watch when finding a group to join.

Mind Over Matter

            Since college is mostly about preparing for your future, it is wise to keep your career path in mind when choosing an extra-curricular activity to engage in. There are several groups that cater exactly to your career path, and some of them might even be exclusive to your department. If you’re studying mass media, join your university’s radio station. If you’re majoring in music, you can join the choir or the orchestra. The possibilities go on and on. Taking up activities related to your degree program will help you hone necessary skills, earn you extra credit from willing professors, and give you an impressive resumé.

Moreover, some extra-curricular activities offer scholarships to those who take them up. Some common examples are sports scholarships and acting scholarships. In some cases, these scholarships are exclusive to certain departments, but some are open to anyone who meets the requirements for such special scholarships. You just have to look around for scholarships which you feel you have a flair for.

You have to remember, however, that these scholarships are not served on a silver platter. In addition to being skilled in a specified area, you also have to maintain a certain grade. Usually, the lowest maintaining grade for special scholarships is either 2.00 or 1.75. This is a feat for some students, especially in universities where standards are high. If you feel confident that you can do keep up with the academic and non-academic requirements of such scholarships, go for it.

But Wait, There’s More

            Want to know a secret? Some orgs will offer you tips on how to score bonus points with the professors. They might divulge your professor’s habits and idiosyncrasies, the knowledge of which might help you win your professor’s favor if you use said knowledge properly. Just remember not to rely solely on the information that will be relayed to you! Some tips are bogus, while others might be obsolete. Check for the validity of the tips first, and don’t forget to still pour in some effort in your classes.

It All Comes Down to This

Try asking yourself, what suits you? What do you love? What will make you a better person or a better student (particularly in terms of your degree program)? What works for your circumstances? What will help you most in the long run? These are the things that will matter when getting involved in more than just academics.

The next four years or so of your life will not be easy, and that’s a promise. However, this doesn’t mean that they cannot be fun. After all, how will you keep sane if you will bury yourself in work all the time? You need to have a fun, fulfilling break at least every once in a while.  The fun part of college is worth spent doing what you love with people who have similar interests, and sometimes, in a way that will fuel your scholastic journey. When you look back at your college life, you will surely treasure this kind of fun.

Best of luck in college, and above all, have fun!

Looking Ahead to a Recession-Proof Career

At some point in their lives, students can’t help but think about their future and what careers they’re going to pursue.  No time is it more significant than today, with the shape that the global economy is in.

The good news is that there are recession-proof careers out there, as well as corresponding college courses to help prepare you to land those careers.  Here’s a quick look at some courses “guaranteed” to land you a high-paying job abroad.

The Courses

A lot of people are into continuous and lifelong learning, so it’s no surprise that SPED and English teachers are in demand.  Pursue an education course if you’re interested, but be aware that there may be budget cuts depending on where you go.

Science and Engineering-related courses will come in handy as the people move toward being more environment-friendly.  The current emphasis on alternative energy sources is effectively a clarion call for these scholarly people

Law and accountancy courses help produce people whose services will always be needed, regardless of the state of the economy.  These days, the field of debt management is a crucial one—someone has to do the work of auditing, preparing reports and helping those in financial need.

It’s about the Service

There will always be people out there who need to be cared for, and this is where nursing, care giving and other health care-related courses come in.  Take note that this is a bit sticky:  the country has a whole lot of nurses looking to get into the action, so you may not find the demand to be as great as it used to be.

If you prefer a more in-depth, technical approach, medicine is always good, as people are more conscious about their health these days.  The emphasis need not be on physical health alone—degrees that work on the different aspects of a person’s well being are also welcome.  These include physical therapy, the psychology and the behavioral sciences, etc.

Since everyone needs to eat, having a Culinary Arts degree or a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management will help you to meet people’s needs in a delicious, satisfying way.  Between the two, the former may be more practical, as the some people tend to shy away from eating out in a recession.

The Business of Technology and Then Some

Any degrees related to business, entrepreneurship (especially if it has the letters MBA in them), finance or economics are solid plusses in today’s changing world.  Effective salespeople will never be without money for long, especially when plenty of business alternatives exist for them.

Lastly, there are foreign companies out there looking for tech-savvy people to design computer networks for them, so don’t write off your IT or computer engineering know-how.

A Word of Warning

You may have noticed that I enclosed the word “guaranteed” in quotation marks earlier.  There’s a good reason for this:  the world is constantly changing, and what may be guaranteed today, may not be so in the future.  In fact, perhaps change is the only real thing that’s guaranteed.

Finally, I’ll leave you with some parting advice:  ask yourself what the basic human needs are—things that people no matter what the state of the global economy.  One of my mentors once said that if you can help solve someone’s problems or meet their needs, then you’ll never be out of a job.

Philippine College Scholarships

You’ve gotten through most of high school when you’re faced with a whole new challenge – college. Aside from all the independence issues that come along with it, college brings the cost of education to a whole new level. With tuition fees soaring to more than fifty grand per semester, maybe it’s time you begin looking for a college scholarship.

Believe it or not, all of the major universities in the country offer one form or another of financial aid. In fact, a good number of students in the bigger private institutions are there on a scholarship or with the help of financial aid from the university itself. If it’s a money problem you have, there’s no need to look far for a solution.

Grades for Tuition

Merit scholarships are the best and most straightforward way to jump on the free tuition boat. Every university has its own system for it: there’s the Merit Scholarship at Ateneo de Manila, the Star Scholar program in De La Salle and the Oblation Scholarship at the University of the Philippines. But just because they sound so common doesn’t mean it’s easy to get into those programs.

Ateneo de Manila University’s Merit Scholarship is only offered to the Top 50 passers of its Ateneo College Entrance Exam (ACET). UP also offers Oblation Scholarships to just the Top 50 as well. Considering that both schools get more than 50,000 applicants each year, you’ll really have to work hard to make it to the top of the heap.

Schools that offer scholarships typically consider more than just your entrance test score. De La Salle University, for example, conducts interviews to find candidates for the Star Scholarship that fit into their ideal student profile. Ateneo de Manila looks at community involvement and leadership potential, while UP considers extracurricular achievements.

Now that you’re looking for a scholarship for your college education, you hopefully have a good high school resume to show the admissions panels. All the schools take a look at your high school transcript and track your performance throughout your four years of secondary education. They’re usually less strict on students from science high schools, but try to make your papers impressive nonetheless.

If you’re going to look to the schools themselves for a scholarship, you’d better have at least three things:

  • An impressively high entrance test score, which is usually what gets your application noticed in the first place
  • An equally formidable high school transcript to strengthen your case to the school
  • The ideal student profile. The officials have to be convinced that you belong in their school, and that you can give something back once you graduate.

Go to the Government

The Philippine government also has quite a range of scholarship offerings if you plan to pursue a degree in math, engineering and the sciences. The Department of Science and Technology, in particular, gives out hundreds of scholarships each year to incoming college freshmen who will be pursuing those courses.

Call up the DOST-SEI office in Bicutan and ask about the courses that would qualify for their program. If the degree program you plan to get is on the list, you can go and take the DOST scholarship screening exam, which usually takes place around September. All you have to do is pass that, and you get a hefty subsidy on your tuition fees.

DOST scholars are entitled to receive up to PhP6,000 in tuition fee subsidies each school semester, up to PhP5,000 book allowance every school year and up to PhP4,000 in living allowances (stipends) every month. Do all the adding up and you’ll agree that all those zeros add up to a fairly big sum over the course of your education.

It doesn’t come without its strings, however. The contract for the DOST scholarship has a return service clause in it which keeps scholars from migrating or moving abroad right after graduation. There’s an enforced period when all scholars who have graduated will have to work in the country in order to ‘pay back’ the DOST investment in tuition fees.

Asking for Help

Should you find yourself about to enroll in the school of your choice without any money with which to pay tuition, you may also want to approach your school directly. Many have financial aid programs that will give discounted tuition fee rates to students with academic ability and/or demonstrated need. There’s a lot of paperwork to be done, but it’s worth it if you think about all the tuition money you’d save.

Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle have particularly generous financial aid offers. Many students of either school are able to attend thanks to the work of the financial aid offices. You also don’t need to be in abject poverty to get a scholarship; countless students there have qualified for full tuition subsidies, yet are very far from the poorhouse. Just be sure to ask the aid office as soon as you get your acceptance letter, as funds are often limited.

UP, meanwhile, has a socialized tuition fee scheme where you pay a tuition rate that’s commensurate to your family’s paying capacity. Most middle class families have to pay PhP1,000 per unit – about PhP20,000 per semester – but there are also many who have to shell out much less. This can also be supplemented with research assistant posts within the campus to help defray the cost of tuition.

Money need never be a hindrance to your getting a good college education. As you can see, you have quite a number of options to work with, regardless of your course or school. It just takes some elbow grease and paper pushing, but it’s well worth that degree at the end of it all.

A Job Market Forecast for New College Students in the Philippines

So you’ve made it to the college of your choice.  Congratulations!  That’s only the beginning though.  The acid test will come after you leave the hallowed halls of your university.

Preparing for work is one thing; knowing what’s out there after college is another matter altogether.  If you truly intend to join the workforce after you graduate, it helps to have an idea of what the job market is like these days.  That’s what this article is for.

The Zeitgeist

As you know, days past saw a massive migration of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to foreign soil in the hopes of providing a better life for their families back home.

That changed, however, when the global recession hit.  People the world over have lost their jobs.  It’s said that jobs related to banking, manufacturing and telecommunications are among the hardest hit.  Some businesses have closed down while others are doing their best to stay afloat.

All in all, the picture that economists have painted of 2009 does not bode well for graduating students.

What Can We Do?

The good news is that we don’t have to simply resign ourselves to the situation.  There are things we can do about it.

For one thing, governments are scrambling to mitigate the effects of the crisis.  In the Philippines alone, emergency jobs have been set up for retrenched Filipino workers.  The setup is supposed to be a win-win situation:  the government gets more people to work on infrastructure and other projects while workers get paid.

Besides those, there are professions out there that tend to be recession-proof, simply because they fill people’s basic needs (food, for instance).  If you’ve ever considered a career change, or if you have skills or interests that lie along these same lines, now is probably a good time to adjust and to explore possibilities.

If you’re not already a subscriber of lifelong learning, now may be a good idea to become one.  Read books and attend seminars.  If need be, consider going back to or continuing your schooling.  If you keep learning and growing, and you should do fine.

Hope Springs Eternal

Albert Einstein once said that (and I paraphrase), “Problems cannot be solved with the level of awareness that we had when we first encountered them.”  In other words, we need to graduate to the next level of awareness in order to solve our problems.  It helps to see this global recession as a means of growing and maturing.

As with all kind of tough times, it never hurts to pray.  The Philippines is supposed to be the only predominantly Catholic country in Asia, and what better time such as this to appeal to a Higher Power for help?

Economic forces may be beyond our control, but we always have a choice about how to respond to any given situation.  More than anything else, it’s our attitude, rather than our aptitude, that will help us survive and thrive during these tough times.

The Current Most Popular College Courses in the Philippines [2011-2020]



During certain points in the school year, it’s not surprising to see masses of seniors trooping to various university campuses for the purpose of taking their entrance exams.  After all, that’s a major step in being able to attend the college of their choice.

Picking a college to attend is only half of the decision, though.  The other half involves choosing an actual course to pursue.  With the myriad of choices available, how does one narrow things down to a more manageable list?

One strategy is to find out what most college courses people are into these days.  Don’t sweat it, as we’ve compiled a helpful little list for you.  Here they are, in no particular order.

Medical Courses:

The aging population of developed countries, medical tourism and the expansion plans of developing ones have given rise to the increase in demand of health care workers.  According to the Department of Labor and Employment, the manpower request for graduates of health related courses has been steadily increasing by 2.3% yearly.

Nursing: while there seems to be a temporary surplus of nurses in the country, it is expected that the demand for graduates of this course will continue to increase within the next 10 years.

The current top overseas destination of graduate nurses are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, Kuwait, United Kingdom, US, Qatar, Taiwan, Ireland and Trinidad and Tobago.

Specialized nurses [operating, ER, anesthetic, scrub, theatre, critical care/ICU, pediatric, cardiac, burn, pediatric, oncology, catheter, and trauma] will also be in demand in European countries like Belgium, Spain, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. Asian countries like Bruniei, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan on the other hand will need Dental Nurses, Chief Nurses, Head Nurses and Nurse Managers.
Other medical workers like Doctors, midwives and Physical therapists will also be in demand in countries like Poland, Belgium, Germany and Singapore.  A more detailed list of countries needing such personnel are listed below:

Medical Doctors: Australia, Korea and Saudi Arabia
Pharmacist, Orthodontists, Pediatric Technologists: Saudi Arabia and USA
Medical Technologists: Saudi Arabia, USA and New Zealand
Physical/Occupational Therapists: USA
Speech Therapists: USA
Optometrists: Oman
Male Dieticians: KSA, Qatar and UAE
Dental Lab/Dental Assts: KSA, Qatar and UAE
Medical Technicians (Bio‐Medical, Anesthetics, Laboratory, Respiratory, Emergency, Medical Gas and Medical Records): Saudi Arabia and Qatar
Microbiologists: Saudi Arabia
Caregivers: Israel, Japan, UK, Switzerland, Taiwan Belgium, Libya Macau


The growing lack of skilled educators in developed countries has also sparked the rush towards education courses.  Specially needed are elementary, secondary, science, math, physical education and childcare teachers, professors and lecturers in KSA, Libya, Seychellles, Macau, US and South Korea.

Culinary Arts and Hotel & Restaurant Management:

The rise of tourism as part of the development plan of quite a number of countries here in Asia, the Middle East and some parts of Europe has also catalyzed the demand for Chefs, tour guides, hotel mangers and other tourism related workers.  Demand for skilled workers in this area has been increasing steadily by a factor of 3.5% yearly for the past 5 years garnering a total of 160,300 manpower requests from several countries.
Top destination countries of graduates of these courses are Libya, Kuwait, UAE, CNMI, Oman, KSA, UAE, Korea, Macau, Singapore and Romania.

Banking and Finance Courses:

The increasing inter-connectedness of the global economy as well as the growth of the global financial market has also increased the demand for graduates of banking and finance graduates.  Of special mention in this category are Accounting Clerks, Bookkeepers, Auditors, Cashiers, Credit Card Analysts, Finance Analyst/Specialists, Accountants (Account Officer, Analyst), and Risk Management Officers.  These workers are in demand in developing countries and financial centers such as Libya, Kuwait, Singapore and Switzerland.

Engineering Courses:

Projects regarding megacities construction in the middle east, plans to increase manufacturing capacity, and the rise of renewable energy have all resulted to the shortage of skilled engineers worldwide.  The last 5 years alone have seen 256,000 manpower requests from different countries.  The demand for engineering graduates has been steadily increasing by 2.5% yearly.
Engineering Graduates of the following fields are poised to take advantage of this global demand:

  1. Civil Engineering: Structural, Design, Safety, Planning and Contract
  2. Electrical Engineering: Manufacturing, Construction and Renewable energy
  3. Mechanical Engineering: manufacturing, real estate and renewable energy
  4. Mining Engineering: Mining
  5. Geodetic Engineering: Mining and real estate
  6. Metallurgical Engineering: Mining
  7. Chemical Engineering: Manufacturing
  8. Industrial Engineering: Manufacturing

Top Destination countries are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Macau, Belgium, Germany, Norway and the USA.


A particularly interesting development in the most popular college courses based on global demand is in relation to cyberservices.  Demand for skilled workers in this industry has been increasing rapidly at about 6.4% yearly which is more than twice the other courses.  The last 5 years alone has seen more than 400,000 requests for manpower both locally and internationally.

In demand workers under this category are:

Creative Industries

  1. Broadcast Engineer
  2. Video Editor
  3. Video Graphic Artist (Animators)
  4. Visual Artist Designer
  5. 3D modelers
  6. 3D Artist
  7. 3D Animators
  8. Flash Animators
  9. Animation Artist
  10. Clean-Up Artist
  11. In-between Artist/In-betweener
  12. Clean-Up Art Checker
  13. In-between Checker
  14. Animation Checker
  15. Web Designer
  16. Multimedia Artist
  17. Library builder
  18. Layout artist
  19. 2D digital animator
  20. Graphic Assistants


  1. Java Programmers
  2. Oracle Developers
  3. Web Developers
  4. IT Programmers
  5. Software Development
  6. Computer Programmers
  7. Developer (Software, Web)
  8. IT/Information Technology (MIS Developer, Platform Engineer)
  9. Specialist (Learning Solution, System and Technical Support)
  10. Systems Analyst


  1. Accountant (Back Office Processing)
  2. HR Outsourcing Specialist (Back Office Processing)
  3. Call Center Agent
  4. Medical Transcription Editor
  5. Medical Transcription
  6. Financial Accountants
  7. Technical Support Engineers
  8. Autocad Operators
  9. Legal Researchers
  10. Legal Analysts

Top Destination Countries of the graduates of these courses are:  Saudi Arabia, UAE, India, Singapore, Australia and US.

It’s All Up to You

Hopefully, I’ve gotten the gears in your mind turning.  Now that you have a more manageable list to refer to, your next order of business is to reconcile your needs and wants with what the world needs and wants.

We’ll talk a little bit more about that in another article, though.  For now, keep in mind that this list will only applicable for so long.  The world and its preferences are constantly changing, and consequently, its most popular courses will change along with it.

Source: Project JobsFit of DOLE

10 Things to Consider when Choosing a College Course or a College Major

Choosing a college major for some is easy; some people know exactly what they want to be when they grow up.  For others, choosing a college major is probably one of the hardest decisions they will make in their life.  It doesn’t help that there are now a lot of college courses and college programs among which you have to choose.

There was once a time when choices were simple: good or evil, ketchup or mayonnaise, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts.  Nowadays, you have to choose between shades of gray, one gazillion condiments and a plethora of majors.

The trick in making a college major choice, they say, is to narrow things down as you go along.  This article will help you do that.  The following are some of the things you must consider when choosing a college course.

Choosing your college major consideration # 1:  Your Interest

The most basic consideration in the choice of a college major or college course is, of course, what you want.  Is there something that you’ve always wanted to get into, something that resonates within the very fiber of your being?  If so, that may be where you’re meant to go.

In the event that you don’t know or don’t feel that siren song, fret not.  You can always go for career assessment care of your local guidance office.  That would certainly make choosing a college course more systematic and easier.

Choosing your college major consideration #2:  Your Aptitude

Choosing a college major also entails an assessment of your skills and talents.  You may know what you want, but do you know what you’re good at?

Interest and aptitude are two different things.  Ideally, you should pursue a college course or choose a college major that allows you to explore both.  In this less than perfect world, however, this is usually not possible for some people.  In that case, you’d have to weigh your priorities:  pick a college major you will be good at or pick a college course that is in line with your interest?  Better yet, find a college course that you will be good at and has the potential of arousing your interest.

Choosing your college major consideration #3:  Your Values

Every career comes with non-quantifiable stuff:  fulfillment, meaning and purpose, pure altruism, you name it.  They help determine what you’d like to get out of a career (and a college major) besides material compensation.

Choosing your college major consideration #4:  Money Matters

Money matters, in more ways than one.  Money matters because it will dictate what course you can or cannot afford.  Money matters should therefore be part of your college major choice.

If it’s one thing you must always factor in, it’s reality.  This can be broken down into a number of sub-considerations.  How much money does the course require you to invest?  How much money do you actually have on hand to invest?  How much money will you (approximately) make if you take up a career in line with that college major?  How much money would you like to earn after college?

Choosing your college major consideration #5:  Time and Practical Considerations

You should also be aware of what you’re getting into when choosing a college major.  What will your college course require you to do?  Are you willing to do it?  As a case in point, if you’re squeamish about the sight of blood, why should you decide to go for a Nursing Degree?

How much time are you willing to invest in your college course and major?  If you want school to be over and done with as soon as possible, then you should probably not choose a college course that won’t be useful without further study.

Choosing your college major consideration #6:  Your Commitment

Choosing a college course requires you to look inwards and assess your commitment to your chosen path.  Assuming that you have the issue of money and other practical considerations settled, do you actually possess the skills and the patience to go the distance?  Moreover, do you actually want to do so?  There’s also a chance that your parents may be expecting you to tread a certain academic path; will you have the strength and the will to stick it out against all odds?

Choosing your college major consideration #7:  The Times

Nope, you don’t have to read the Times to know what college course to pick (Yup, that’s a lousy joke).  Kidding aside, don’t ever forget to consider the times in your decision-making process.  Case in point:  the global economy was in a bit of a slump at the time I wrote this article.  There are instances when certain courses may appear to be more profitable or more popular than others due to current circumstances.

Choosing your college major consideration #8:  Other People’s Feedback

Besides guidance counselors, family and friends, you may also want to ask other people for their opinions regarding the matter.  College alumni and alumnae always make for interesting interviews-been there, done that.  Professors and classmates will also have a lot of significant input to offer.

Choosing your college major consideration #9:  Your Choices

Also, do remember that there are some benefits to doing things by the book-or more specifically, the college’s catalogue of courses.  Take a peek and note the unit and credit requirements for each course, along with whatever minors and electives you can take as part of the package deal.

Choosing your college major consideration #10:  Spiritual Considerations

Finally, know this:  you’ll most likely change courses-even careers!-as you go along, so don’t be overly fixated on any one course.  No one course is the end all and be all.  There are numerous examples of people out there who majored in one thing and built a career or three out of another.

If you’re a believer, though, I strongly recommend that you pray about it ask God what He wants you to take.  After all, only He knows what path you will ultimately tread.