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  • Writer's pictureAllison Styffe

Spotlights: Buy Stocks, Become a Bearcat, & Beat the Odds

CAREER: Stockbroker

Median salary: $62,270

Education needed: Bachelor's degree Job growth: 4% (as fast as average)

If you're into memes (who isn't?), then you probably know all about the "stonk"market debacles that have transpired this year — GameStop, Reddit, Robinhood...ring a bell? It's become apparent that we're entering an era in which individuals are looking for ways to manage their own investment portfolios. Nevertheless, the fact remains that stockbrokers themselves are the experts in this arena, and people without the time or energy to research and stay up-to-date with market trends and investment opportunities will continue to hire those experts to do the job right.

The professionals we often call stockbrokers actually can have a variety of titles, like "securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents" (phew, that one's a mouthful!) and "registered representatives" and "investment advisors." We'll keep it simple for now, though, and stick with the term stockbroker. But what is it that they do? Investopedia breaks it down for us:

"A stockbroker is a professional trader who buys and sells shares on behalf of clients....Buying or selling stocks requires access to one of the major exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the NASDAQ. To trade on these exchanges you must be a member of the exchange or belong to a member firm. Member firms and many of the individuals who work for them are licensed as brokers or broker-dealers by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

While it is possible for an individual investor to buy stock shares directly from the company that issues them, it is much simpler to work with a stockbroker.

Until recent years, it was prohibitively expensive to get access to the stock markets. It was cost-effective only for high net-worth investors or for large institutional investors, such as the managers of pension funds. They used full-service brokers and could pay hundreds of dollars for executing a trade.

The rise of the internet and related advances in technology paved the way for discount brokers to provide online services with cheap, fast, and automated access to the markets. More recently, apps like Robinhood and SoFi have catered to micro-investors, allowing even fractional share purchases. Most accounts in the markets today are managed by the account owners and held by discount brokers.

A bachelor's degree in finance or business administration is typically required for stockbrokers. A strong understanding of financial laws and regulations, accounting methods, principles of economics and currency, financial planning and financial forecasting all are useful for working in the field."


COLLEGE: Willamette University

Location: Salem, Oregon

Tuition: $53,624

Size: Small (2,136)

Did you know that Willamette was the first university in the West? Strategically located next to the state capitol, Willamette University is well situated for not just an outstanding education, but also its ability to provide students with extensive internship and job opportunities in Oregon’s executive and legislative offices, as well as the nearby hospital and Salem industry.

This small, private university might be the perfect place for you to call home for the next four years if you enjoy small classes (76% of classes have fewer than 20 students), love collaborating with peers and engaging in active discussions, and desire a strong liberal arts education.

Political Science is, of course, a strong program, as Willamette also boasts a top-notch law school. Other popular majors include theatre, exercise and health science, economics, Japanese studies, and history.

Willamette University also has an extensive study abroad program with especially strong ties to Asia. Tokyo International University of America is co-located on the campus of Willamette. There are typically about 100 Japanese students living on campus. Willamette's Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Studies is unrivaled, and the opportunities for building connections with the Japanese community on campus are plentiful and rich.

The study abroad partnership with Tokyo International University of America, in Kawagoe, Japan, is one of the most unique programs available through Willamette University. Students who take advantage of this exchange will enroll in a Japanese Studies Program in which they take intensive Japanese language classes – three hours per day, four days a week. They will live with host families in Kawagoe and take their meals as part of the family each day and become very embedded in the daily life and culture of Japan. An awesome aspect of this program is that it's open to students with any level of Japanese. Start where you are!

The Willamette Bearcats compete in Division III athletics, with strong programs in men’s soccer, track and field, and baseball. Both men’s and women’s cross country teams have multiple West Region championships under their belts. Sports are very integrated into the lives of all Bearcats, with about 65% of Willamette students participating in the many intramural and club sports available.

Willamette University is the best little school you may not have heard of, and it’s worth checking out! There is a close-knit community to be found here, and the academic advising and admissions teams have routinely blown us away with how they go the extra mile to meet student needs. Willamette has extended its application deadline and we suggest you take advantage of this opportunity if you haven’t already made a college decision. They exclusively use the Common Application, and the sooner you apply, the sooner you seize your future!


SCHOLARSHIP: Beat the Odds

Amount: $4,000 (renewable)

Deadline: TBD for the class of 2022; Application opens in May

Type: For those who have overcome adversity

The Beat the Odds Scholarship program was started in 2007 to emphasize the critical role that education plays in helping students meet challenges and land on a path to success. It is a partnership between Stand for Children Oregon and The Renaissance Foundation. The Beat the Odds Scholarship is a $4,000 scholarship, renewable for up to four years, for students who are overcoming adversity and succeeding in school. The statewide application for students in the class of 2022 will be posted in May.

This scholarship is for students who will feel empowered by telling their story. Recipients are filmed for a biographical video and participate in all related publicity. Stand for Children hosts a fundraising luncheon in Portland each year, and a reception in Eugene. Beat the Odds recipients accept their scholarships and may be asked to speak at these events.

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