By Sam Coren
While some college students use summer break as an opportunity for travel and relaxation, others are rolling up their sleeves and reporting for intern duty. For the rest of the summer the StudentAdvisor team will be talking to interns all across the country to get the lowdown on intern life. We're giving the spotlight to one intern a week to tell the world about their internship and what they're learning on the job!
If you haven't done an internship yet, be sure to check back every week for the scoop on different types of internships out there as well as advice on how to set yourself up for success. For this inaugural Internship Spotlight we catch up with one of our fantastic StudentAdvisor bloggers:
Winston-Salem State University
Major and Class Year:
Finance, Class of 2012
Where are you interning?
I’m working for Winston-Salem Monthly magazine, which is a subsidiary of a larger company called Media General, who also owns our local newspaper. It’s a monthly publication that circulates all over the city of Winston-Salem, NC and seeing as how they only take on one intern per semester, a good amount of work gets put on my shoulders.
What's your position there?
My position is described as an editorial intern, consisting of proofing pages of the magazine before they are published, doing research for future issues, and of course writing stories involving some incredibly interesting people.
Can you tell us about a typical day on the job?
I recall one of the busier days at the magazine; it was Friday, but enjoying the weekend was the furthest thing from my mind with the deadline on the other side of the weekend. Slowly approaching panic mode, I stopped at a local coffee shop on the way to my (other) job to get some legwork done and start piecing together sections of the story that were already finished. I failed to get several people to call me back, because after all it was a Friday and who answers their phone on a Friday, right?
With the words from my editor reverberating in head, “HAVE IT TO ME NO LATER THAN MONDAY MORNING,” I buckled down, started feverishly making phone calls, and editing like the wind, because I did not want this hanging over my head all weekend. So eventually, I got the work done (late) and all was well.
At the beginning of the internship I had the option of working from outside the office on a regular basis, and being a true introvert, naturally, I chose this option so this was more of a typical day than you might hear about with other internships.
What have you learned so far during your internship?
One thing that comes to mind is my increased ability to work under pressure. Having multiple stories to write and people to interview by a deadline on top of work and school really keeps me on my toes. There’s nothing like a static deadline to cure that recurring case of procrastination.
One other thing that I’m taking from this internship is how to speak and relate with people to get results. You have to know the right questions to ask to get the answers and results you need to get a story done.
What are your career goals, and how do you think your internship will help you achieve them?
Initially, finance-related aspirations were embedded in my brain, and writing just seemed like a fleeting hobby, soon to give way to the monetary allure of a finance degree. But shortly after I started my internship with the magazine, I realized that this very well could be the inception of a promising career. And even though the money doesn’t exactly roll in (in most cases) I’m reminded by my mentors and professors that doing the things that you love to do is really what life’s all about.
Calling all interns! Are you spending your summer interning somewhere awesome? We'd love to hear about it! If you'd like to be interviewed for Internship Spotlight, send us a note with your name and where you're interning to email@example.com.
By Purvi S. Mody
More than forty percent of students that walk into my office tell me that they want to become doctors. Most, however, don’t understand the paths they will need to follow to reach their ultimate goals. While there is one traditional route to a medical career, there are other suitable paths for students that want to accelerate their careers, for those that did not perform as well in high school as they would have liked, or those that want to complete some portion of their academic career abroad.
Below are some tips for students that one day aspire to wear that prestigious white coat:
School Come First!
Academics during high school are important for students that will be applying for science majors and for those that will apply to some sort of accelerated program. Grades are incredibly important, especially in math and science courses. Admissions officers want assurance that students can succeed in rigorous academic climates. Students should also pursue the three fundamental science courses – biology, chemistry and physics. Most kids don’t realize the importance of chemistry and physics in medicine and tend to focus their energy on biology.
Make Your Extracurriculars Count
While grades are always important, a student’s interest in medicine must be demonstrated outside of the classroom. Conducting research in a lab, volunteering in a hospital or clinic, and pursuing scientific knowledge through reading and shadowing can also be key elements in demonstrating a sincere commitment to medicine. Shadowing a doctor for a day or two is not sufficient. Volunteering in a hospital’s gift shop does not really expose a student to medicine. Students need to show significant involvement.
Want to Do an Accelerated Program? You Better Be 100% Committed
Many students are also very interested in the accelerated medical programs. These programs allow high school students to apply to undergraduate and medical school at the same time. Students that are accepted will have the guarantee of a spot in medical school assuming they fulfill the minimum requirements. These programs are really only appropriate for those students that know more 100% that they will stay committed to medicine.
Because these schools are heavily investing in students admitted, these programs are highly competitive to get into with most of the nearly fifty programs in the country offering fewer than twenty seats per year. These programs are best for students that have done exceptionally well in high school and have no doubt in their minds about their chosen career.
Consider International Options, But Be Aware of the Risks
Students that are not qualified for the accelerated programs in the US will sometimes look internationally for options. I caution students that if they are not positive about medicine, they are choosing a route that will give them little leeway for exploring other careers. If they do want to make a switch down the road, they are in all likelihood going to have to restart their college education and lose one to two years in the process. And while some of the international programs have a little more flexible in terms of requirements, they are by no means easy to get into. In these programs, students jump right into science courses and a medical school curriculum.
Some international programs have affiliations with medical and residency programs in the US and will send students back to the US to complete requirements after three or four years. These programs are ideal for students that want to pursue medicine and may not be able to get into the accelerated programs in the US. These programs are also great for students that do not care about a traditional college experience and taking courses across multiple disciplines.
Why The Traditional 4 Years of College + Med School Route Dominates
Many students opt for the traditional route because it gives them the most flexibility during their undergraduate years. While there is no guarantee of a medical school spot, there is also no commitment on their part to a specific medical program. While the accelerated programs can save students one to two years of college, they also offer less flexibility. Students must immediately jump into their premedical requirements and pursuing research and volunteering experiences. Students that also want to round out their academics with courses across disciplines will often choose the traditional route.
For those students that are considering medicine, do all that you can now to explore the career. This early exploration can help you to make the right choices down the road.
Purvi S. Mody is co-owner of Insight Education, an educational consulting firm that helps students throughout the country and internationally to achieve their educational goals. Get in touch with her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @InsightEduc.
Photo: Penn State Live
By Sam Coren
Throughout the summer colleges across the US will be holding freshmen orientations. For current college students and alumni, orientation is just a fleeting memory, but for new students it’s a source of anxiety and excitement. After all, orientation gives you that first real glimpse of what college life is going to be like for the next four years.
Between meeting fellow classmates, picking courses, figuring out possible housing assignments, and trying to stick to the orientation schedule there will be a lot of running around. So how do you make the most of your short time there?
Here are a few College Freshman Orientation Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind:
- Familiarize yourself with your degree requirements before meeting with your advisor and picking classes. This will save you a ton of time if you know which courses you need to take first.
- Pack light if you’re staying overnight. Many freshmen orientations will require an overnight stay. Chances are you can survive without your laptop for two days. Plus you’ll probably be taking home a ton of orientation swag.
- Remember to smile when you’re introducing yourself. Sure, you might rather want to be at the beach, but this is your first chance to make new connections and friends at college. First impressions are important.
- Participate in the silly “ice breaker” games. Orientation leaders in charge of showing students around campus will often try to get everyone involved in games designed to get to know people better. Even if you’re not a fan of these, try to suck it up and participate. Remember, you can always find other people to joke about them with later.
- Leave your baggage at home. Maybe you just broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe you had a bad fight with your parents. Maybe someone from high school you’re not a fan of will be at orientation. Maybe you’re one of those types who’s quick to judge people. This is not the time to sweat the small stuff. You’re starting a new chapter in life and so is everyone else at orientation – enjoy it!
- Deviate from your orientation schedule. Orientation programmers spend a lot of time coordinating your schedule to make sure you have time to learn what you need to, settle your course selection business, and have time for meeting people while having fun. Be aware of the time and be where you need to be when you need to.
Don’t use your free time to start mischief either. Remember, just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you still can’t get in trouble at school. No one wants to be known as the kid who got wasted and kicked out of school during orientation.
- Feel pressured to find a roommate. Many student housing offices will give the option during orientation for students to select roommates. A lot of students feel pressured into picking a roommate at orientation rather than leaving it up to random selection, and this can no doubt lead to some serious college roommate problems later on.
If you find someone you click with immediately, that’s great. If you don’t and you start headhunting for roommates you’re probably going to regret the decision.
- Forget to take notes. A lot of information is thrown at your head during orientation. You’re also in a position where you’re constantly meeting new people. Don’t feel too shy to take notes or ask people to write down their emails so you can get in touch with them later. If you’re a gadget addict you probably have no problem whipping out your smartphone or tablet to do it either.
- Hide yourself in your room or eat alone. If you’re a naturally introverted person, this is the time to start overcoming your social fears. Remember, everyone at orientation is in the same position as you – use it to your advantage! Don’t be scared of introducing yourself or asking if you can sit next to someone. You can even try going up to other wallflowers and starting a conversation.
- Beat yourself up if you don’t end up making tons of friends right away. Remember, the people who attend the same orientation as you only represent a small fraction of the freshmen class. Even within your orientation group, you’re not going to have time to meet everyone.
Once school starts you’ll have plenty of better opportunities to get to know people through classes, student groups, and housing situations.
Photo: Tulane University Public Relations
By Megan Kenslea
Students from around the world have flocked to Emory University and Vanderbilt University in search of strong academics in a warmer climate. With both schools boasting impressive faculty and alumni, there are numerous similarities between Emory and Vanderbilt abound: both are located on the outskirts of vibrant cities, the schools are comparable in size, student body make-up, and also have a high number of students participating in Greek life. However, there are also some key differences that distinguish the two schools from one another.
So for those of you comparing Emory vs. Vanderbilt in your college search here are a few key things to keep in mind:
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
In State Tuition: $38,600
Out of State Tuition: $38,600
SAT Scores: Math 740, Verbal 730
Acceptance Rate: 27%
Undergraduate Population: 6,890
Student-To-Faculty Ratio: 7-to-1
Student Body Make-up: Male 40%, Female 60%
The Good: Emory boasts some high profile faculty, including former president Jimmy Carter, as well as a beautiful, sprawling campus, and over 400 student activities to choose from. Another plus? Dooley’s Week, a week-long celebration in the spring honoring the school’s unofficial mascot, a skeleton.
The Bad: While Emory has a number of teams playing at the Division III level, the school has no football team. Students have also complained about the hilly campus, small dorm size, and the financial aid.
What do students have to say? Read Emory University reviews.
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
In State Tuition: $40,320
Out of State Tuition: $40,320
SAT Scores: Math 760, Verbal 740
Acceptance Rate: 25%
Undergraduate Population: 6,637
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9 to 1
Student Body Make-Up: Male 42% Female 58%
The Good: The administration is attentive and perceptive, and has allocated significant funds to increase student body happiness, including a major rebuilding of Central Library, which students say is an eyesore.
The Bad: The school offers a restrictive meal plan with limited variety, and on-campus housing and parking are both expensive.
Want the inside scoop? Read Vanderbilt student reviews.
Photo: Kevin Oliver
By Purvi S. Mody
Question: My son just got his offer rescinded because he did not pass a course. What are our options at this point? Are there any schools that will take him?
Answer: This is undoubtedly a stressful time for you, but there are a few things your son should do. Have him talk to an admissions counselor at the school he was planning to attend about the possibility of taking the course again. There is a chance that the college will give him a conditional acceptance; assuming that he completes and passes an approved course, he may be able to attend in the Fall. If the college is not willing to consider an appeal, your son has a few options that will allow him to enroll in courses in September.
Consider Colleges You Were Accepted Into But Turned Down
If your son was accepted to others schools and he turned down those offers, it may also be worthwhile for him to contact those schools to find out if they are still accepting applications or if they might be willing to still offer your son a spot. Again, he'll need to be very upfront about the non-passing grade and demonstrate a willingness to retake the course this summer as well.
Quickly Apply to Colleges With Rolling Admissions
Many people are often surprised to hear that colleges are still accepting applications. If you are contemplating having your son apply to other four year programs right now, do not wait. These schools are now using rolling admissions meaning that the sooner he applies, the sooner he will have a response. And as seats fill up, the chance of getting admitted decreases dramatically.
The National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) maintains a list of colleges that are still accepting applications. You can find that online at: www.nacacnet.org/space. If your son plans to pursue this option, before he applies, have him call the admissions offices of the schools you are considering and have a very honest conversation. Again, it's important for him to be upfront about the recent non-passing grade. Tell him to ask about the option of summer courses. Remember: No one wants to want to go through the rigorous work of applying to colleges simply to receive denials.
Also, be very objective about your son’s chances of admissions. Just as you should have in the Fall, make sure that you help your son create a list of colleges that range in terms of difficulty of admissions. If he needs to get letters of recommendations and transcripts, contact your high school immediately before administrators and faculty leave for the summer.
Community College Transfer
This is a great option for students that did not do as well in high school and would like to have a second chance at applying to college. Transferring allows students to wipe the academic slate clean. When students apply for a traditional Junior Year Transfer, high schools grades and test scores are rarely even required on the application. Now this of course means that your son should do well at the community college to increase his choices two years from now. This may be your backup option, but it is not a bad option at all.
Don’t hesitate to research your options. While the sting of the offer getting rescinded might still be fresh, you just don’t have time to waste. More importantly, this setback does not have to negatively impact your son's longer term goals. He might just a different route than originally anticipated. Good Luck!
Purvi S. Mody is co-owner of Insight Education, an educational consulting firm that helps students throughout the country and internationally to achieve their educational goals. Get in touch with her via email at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @InsightEduc.
By Sam Coren
For some students, the idea of taking two majors in college rather than one, or double majoring, is exciting. It can be tough choosing between two subjects you care very deeply about. A lot of students take it upon themselves to enroll in two programs simultaneously so they can have the best of both worlds.
I've also met students who decided to double major after figuring out more than halfway through college that their originally declared major just wasn't for them. In an attempt to feel like they didn't have "useless" credits from their first major on their transcript they chose to "double down" and finish up their old degree requirements while fulfilling the new ones.
So are two undergrad degrees really better than one right? Should you even bother? Some users on Quora have excellent insights to share on the topic:
Limited Course Flexibility for Electives
"The downside to double majoring is that it dramatically limits your class flexibility. You will have very little freedom to just take cool classes outside of your two majors.
Therefore, I think double majoring only makes sense if:
1. You are interested in working in a field / position where you will rely on both degrees and where it will help you to be able to point to both degrees.
2. You have a sufficient personal interest in both fields that you want to get a rigorous education in both.
In the more likely situation that you just find a second field interesting or you think having some knowledge in the second field could someday be useful, I would recommend that you just major in the one that is more important to you (or more useful for your future goals) and take whichever classes interest you in the second department. You will gain all the benefits of the double major (absent conditions one and two above) without having to take all the boring classes that major curriculum forces on you, and you will have the freedom to also take an awesome sounding class from a totally unrelated discipline if you decide to."
Ravi Sankar is a Senior in Computer Science at Stanford University and a team member at Piazzza.
"Very shortly after you graduate, nobody gives a darn."
"I did it both ways. First time in college: double majored (also double minored, can we not talk about what a crazy overachiever I was?). Yes, it did quite nearly drive me crazy, though I'll admit I wouldn't trade a minute of it.
Second time: single major, was working already in a field where I'd rely on two fields I had thought about majoring in, but decided to keep the second one as something I could take classes in as I had time and interest, not a major. (Which Ravi Sankar suggests in his answer.) And I had a minor that was different from either of those two (long story, but minoring in the second interest wasn't allowed).
Although I ended up only two classes short of a true double-major, I'm glad I did it that way. The pressure was much less—and the two classes I didn't take bored me to tears just reading the course syllabi.
Also: Very shortly after you graduate, nobody gives a darn. (It may distress you just how quickly no one gives a darn!) If you know your stuff, you know your stuff. End of story.
So based on my own experience, I recommend not double majoring. It leaves your college experience much more open—even if you do end up indulging your passion for the second topic, the choice is made much more freely."
- Kelly Erickson
Kelly Erickson is a small business Experience Designer and author of the Maximum Customer Experience Blog.
So where do you stand on the concept of double majoring? Did you double major in college? Do you regret it? Share your thoughts in the comments.
By Dan Klamm
College career centers represent a wealth of opportunity, knowledge, and experience in regards to the job search process. Unfortunately, these offices are also highly underutilized by the college student population. When I was in college, I visited my school’s Career Development Center a grand total of two times during my four years. Now as a staff member in Career Services, I can see how utterly stupid I was to squander such a valuable campus resource.
Think about it: career counselors work with students and employers all day every day. They live and breathe the job search; they know the ins and outs of resume writing, interviewing, negotiating salaries, and finding job opportunities. Many of them have been doing this work all their adult lives. (The most senior member of my office has been in his role for the last 25 years.) Doesn’t it make sense to use the considerable expertise of these folks instead of embarking on the job search alone?
In addition, Career Services staff members have a number of personal and professional connections in a variety of industries. They usually hear about job openings before the general public, and they keep up to date with the latest trends in hiring. These are the people you want on your side during the job search, so that when they hear about that special job opportunity in your niche field, they immediately think of you and drop you an e-mail.
Here are some ways to connect with your campus career center:
Visit Early and Often
First and foremost, visit the office for career counseling early and often in your college career and get acquainted with the full range of services. Don’t wait until the last month of your senior year to run in screaming “HELP! I’m lost!” You want to be a household name so that the counselors know you and can give you pointers all along the way during your four years.
Open Our Emails!
Pay attention to Career Services emails. As the person who sends email blasts to 12,000 students at Syracuse University, I am very disappointed when students tell me they delete my emails without reading them. While not every single message will be life-altering, many of the emails will tip you off to a special career event taking place on campus, a guest speaker, a networking event, or a chance to get some face time with one of your preferred employers. Don’t ignore our emails — we’re trying to help you!
Volunteer at Our Career Fairs
Next, consider volunteering at career fairs. Employers always need help unloading boxes and setting up their tables. This is a great way to make connections with employers when there are not a billion students jockeying for their attention, and also to cultivate goodwill with career center staff.
Come Work With Us
If you’re particularly ambitious, take on a job or internship with your career center. Most offices have student employees who are trained to critique their peers’ resumes. If there is no existing position which fits your needs, show initiative in creating one. I have about 25 marketing-related assignments on my desk at the moment. If a student walked in and said he/she wanted to take on a project, I’d jump at the chance to get some help. This type of work looks good on your resume and puts you in the know with everything that is going on at your career center.
In this economic climate, you need to take advantage of everything available to you in order to get a leg up in the job search. If you are not connecting with your campus career center – you better believe that your competitors are. This leaves you at the back of the pack. Is that really the place you’d like to be?
Dan Klamm (@DanKlamm) is the Outreach & Marketing Coordinator for Career Services at Syracuse University. In this role, he manages the marketing efforts for Career Services and promotes career-related events and happenings on campus. Dan regularly delivers presentations to classes and student organizations. He also meets individually with students to assist in crafting their resumes and preparing for interviews. Dan is a 2008 graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
By Sam Coren
Chances are if you're reading this you're one of the millions of people trying to figure out a way to deal with the rising cost of attending college. Even students who attend public colleges are feeling the burn as many states are under pressure to slash higher education spending to fight budget deficits. The Ohio State University is currently looking at a 3.3% increase in tuition and fees. Students at state colleges in Michigan are facing up to a 7% hike starting in the Fall. Oregon's 7 public colleges are looking to raise their tuitions an average of 7.5%, with a proposed 9% increase at Portland State University.
Across the country people are worrying about these traditionally affordable higher education options beginning to seem out of their reach.
So how can college-bound students and their parents cope with the never-ending barrage of college tuition increases? Here 8 ways to reduce the cost of attending college:
1. Check Out Scholarships Offered By Schools
Most colleges and universities offer merit or non-need-based scholarships to academically talented students. Students applying to colleges should look into the scholarships availible for accepted students and which ones they may be eligible for. Take a look at StudentAdvisor's Scholarship Secrets guide for more information on applying for school and third-party scholarships.
2. Take the PSAT Seriously if You're Still in High School
The National Merit Scholarship Program awards scholarships to students based upon academic merit. The awards can be applied to any college or university to meet educational expenses at that school. The first step toward eligibility is to have a qualifying PSAT score, so be sure to practice before you take it your junior year when it counts.
3. Look Into State Scholarships and Tuition Assistance Programs
It's common for states to offer tuition assistance programs in order to help grow certain sectors of the economy and help students in need. For example The Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program (NEALP) in Ohio provides funding for nurses who intend to serve as instructors or students who intend to serve as nurses after graduation. Students should obtain the eligibility criteria. Check with your state’s higher education office website to see what programs are availible.
4. High School Athlete? Consider Playing in College
Many colleges offer scholarships to athletically talented students. If you play or intend to play a varsity sport in High School, you may want to consider having a college athletic career. Parents and students should be careful, however, to weigh the benefits of an athletic scholarship against the demands of this type of award. Whether you get an offer from a NCAA D-I or D-III school, participating in college-level athletics is a major time commitment.
5. Start at a Community College Then Transfer
Another way students can save a lot of money on college costs is to attend a community college for one or two years and finish their education after transferring to a 4-year school. Some community colleges even have guaranteed transfer agreements with public schools such as the MassTransfer program for students in Massachusetts. Under the MassTransfer program, state community college students will automatically be accepted as transfer students at UMass-Amherst providing they have a 2.5 or higher GPA.
6. Take AP or CLEP Exams to Earn College Credit Early
If you're mulling over high school course selection give some serious thought into taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes in the subjects that are your strongest. Not only does it help admissions officer see you enjoy academically challenging yourself, but scoring high on AP exams can help you save money on the cost of college courses. The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) serves a similar purpose but are better suited for non-AP Exam subjects or adult learners.
7. Forgo Dorm Life and Commute
Living on campus can be prohibitively expensive for some students. Deciding to stay home and commute to school can save you as much as $6,000 a year on room and board. Alternatively, if commuting from home is not an option, consider getting an off-campus apartment near your school. Many students find that living in an off-campus apartment and budgeting groceries is cheaper than living in on-campus housing and paying for a meal plan.
8. Consider Schools With Cooperative Education Programs
Cooperative education programs allow students to alternate between working full time and studying full time. This type of employment program is not based upon financial need, and students can earn as much as $7,000 per year. As an added bonus, students will graduate with relevant, full-time work experience when they enter the "real" job market. Some schools with major co-op programs include Rochester Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Drexel University, and Georgia Institute of Technology.
By Amy Rosenbaum
Summer reading can be hit or miss. Sometimes, you’ll love the assigned books, and sometimes you’ll want to lie down in front of a running lawnmower before you read another page. Here at StudentAdvisor, we completely understand, so we’ve compiled our completely voluntary and totally awesome summer reading picks.
There’s something on this list for everyone, and it’s guaranteed to prevent any yard work-related accidents from summer reading despair:
If you love rocking heroines like Katniss from The Hunger Games ...
... then check out Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore. Katsa is Graced with the ability to kill, and Fire is forever being hunted for being a Monster. Their survival is in their own hands, but certain things—politics, friendship, and love—are worth risking their lives for. You won’t want to put either book down.
Can’t get enough dystopian?
Try Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. It's set in a world wrecked by massive storms and floods caused by global warming. Or pick up Matched by Ally Condie, which is set in a world where every choice—from what you do, what you eat, and who you marry—is regulated by the government. Nailer and Cassia have their own separate journeys that pit them against everything they know, but you’ll love exploring their societies and thinking about all of the issues their authors raise.
Want to read some epic fantasy?
Open up The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s a totally original adventure with a complex hero, a logical magic system, and not an elf in sight. This series will definitely keep you busy for a while, as this book is 662 pages and its sequel is 1008 pages. It’s worth every page.
Wish history wasn’t so boring?
Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief is not your average historical fiction. Set during World War Two, you see the war through the eyes of two German kids who grow up because of and in spite of the terrors around them. The writing style is engrossing, lyrical, and surprisingly humorous for the subject matter. This story will stick with you for a long time.
For lovers of Twilight...
If you haven’t already, crack open the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater for a new twist on the werewolf mythology. You’ll fall right into these books about love and heartbreak against all odds. Best of all, the prose is as beautiful as the story. With the third and final book coming out later this summer, there’s no better time to start reading about Grace and Sam.
How about some contemporary fiction?
If you’ve ever been confused by crushes or felt like a total outcast, look into Girl Parts by John M. Cusick or Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Girl Parts is a side-splittingly funny book about a jock, a loser, and a female companion robot who’s figuring out what it means to be human. Anna follows an American girl reluctantly shipped off to a French boarding school. There, she learns that navigating the line between love and friendship is way more complicated than learning a new language.
So, you like to read about zombies: Who doesn’t?
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is chock full of living dead. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, this completed trilogy speculates what would happen to humans if a virus, spread through saliva, turned people into “the Unconsecrated.” It’s spooky, heart-pounding action with just the right amount of romance.
Never dived into a graphic novel?
You’ll be blown away by Craig Thompson’s Blankets. This autobiographical account of growing up, finding love, losing it, and finding your way again has the most incredible artwork. Alternately realistic and surreal, the drawings add so much to the story, conveying emotion and making the pages go by incredibly fast. It’s a great introduction to the graphic novel genre.
Well, there you have it, StudentAdvisor's Summer 2011 Reading List. If you want more great fiction recommendations be sure to check out Amy's blog Simple Little Bookworm. Grab a book, hang out at the beach, and get your read on!
Photos: presta HertzaHaeon
By Sam Coren
Change and college go hand in hand. This Week in College news we'll cover a stories shaking things up in student life. But is change always good? Also, you'll find yet another reason why you should be very careful with what you post on Facebook. We'll let you be the judge on this week's round up of college news stories making headlines:
While it's no surprise to many that a Catholic institution of higher learning would have single-sex dorms, the inspiration behind eliminating the co-ed residences came as a surprise to many. The President at Catholic University cited that studies indicating that instances of college binge-drinker were higher among students in co-ed dormitories. However, the decision has drawn many critics who believe moving to single-sex dorms to curtail drinking may backfire.
Those of you who are fans of House MD might have noticed that the good doctor's bitter attitude toward patients isn't too much unlike many doctors in real-life. In an attempt to initiate health care reform at the academic level, University of South Florida launched a new medical school program called SELECT, which stands for Scholarly Excellence, Leadership Experiences and Collaborative Training. The goal is to accept more medical students who have a high emotional intelligence in order to have more "empathetic" doctors in the future.
Good news for residents of the Old Dominion state considering public college options. Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed the "Top Jobs" legislation that will increase enrollment at Virginia's state colleges by 6,000 and provide an additional $100 million in funding. 4,000 slots will be provided to community colleges while 2,000 will be allocated toward the state's 4-year schools for freshmen and transfer students. The 2,000 slots being reserved state residents at 4-year colleges comes after complaints of a sharp rise in out-of-state students at University of Virginia and The College of William and Mary.
Another warning for students to be careful about their social profiles. A Molloy College softball player was suspended from the team after the coach came across her Facebook her postings containing inappropriate song lyrics and an argument with her housemate. The student is now filing suit against the school for racial discrimination after feeling she was singled out for being Hispanic.
Photo: The Doctr
By Stephen Jennings
99.9% of People Don't Do This!
Looking for a way to stand out when interviewing and put yourself in the best position to get hired? I’m going to share a secret with you on how to prepare for an interview and I promise if you do this, you will stand out head and shoulders above the other candidates interviewing. I can say this because I have practiced this myself and have taught others this little know secret with great results.
Make contact with a customer of the company you will be interviewing with and find out why they like working with that company, what sets that company apart in their eyes, do they believe it would be a good place to work and why? You will be amazed at how helpful the people will be and willing to share.
Before I share the how’s let me give some credibility. The last time I was interviewing for a position with a top medical company, I reached out to a customer of the company and was able to meet with them for about 20 minutes. I asked them the above questions which led to them sharing even more information about the company.
During my interview when I was asked, “Tell me what you know about our company, why do you want to work here?” I was able to give the standard answers that everyone finds on the company website, but I then said “I also believe in going the extra mile and so I wanted to see what your customers thought of you to make sure this would be a place I wanted to work. I met with XYZ Company (in this case it was McKesson Medical), would you like to know what they said?” At that moment you could have heard a pin drop.
Guess how the rest of the interview went after that; great! They were asking me all kinds of questions on how it went, what they liked about them, did they offer any suggestions for improvement etc. I was no longer just another person interviewing with them, I made myself stand out and they took notice.
I went on to get the offer and was told that they never had anyone go to one of their customers and talk with them about their company. In fact, one of those interviewing me told me after I accepted the offer that they were so blown away with how I presented myself and stood out above everyone else interviewing.
Steps I Took
I looked on the company website to find some of its customers. Luckily, one of them was only about 30 minutes from where I lived but this can also be done over the phone just as easily. I got dressed in what I would interview in, coat and tie and I went to that customer’s location. I simply told the person working the front desk that I had an upcoming interview with a company they did business with and that I’m doing so research on that company.
I want to see what its customers think of it to help me know if I really want to work there. I’m looking to simply talk with someone here that works with that company and see what they think. Who would you suggest I talk with? I ended up getting put in contact with their head buyer, I was provided their name, contact number and e-mail. In fact, they contacted them while I was there, explained the situation for me and the buyer said for her to set up a time the following week for me to come and meet with him.
This same situation works great over the phone if there is not a customer site close by to visit.
Stay focused, have faith and have fun!
Stephen Jennings is the author of Graduate With A Job, Getting College Students Hired & Equipping Them for Career and Life Success.
Photos: bpsusf Jeff Keen
By Julie Mastrine
When it comes to sustainability, universities sometimes find themselves in hot water—schools that teach about global warming and pollution can seem hypocritical if their practices are not eco-friendly.
That’s why many universities have taken steps to reduce their impact on the environment, whether through landscaping, green efforts in the dining commons, or raising awareness on campus.
Conserving Campus Green Space
One university has gone even farther. Sewanee: The University of the South purchased nearly 3,000 acres of land for conservation—with a price tag of $4.3 million. The land is located on the southern Cumberland Plateau, where the campus sits in Tennessee. Besides the conservation of natural resources, the area is used as an outdoor academic laboratory and for recreation.
Sewanee has also launched a summer institute for pre-college students interested in environmental science. The Sewanee Environmental Institute’s Pre-College Field Studies Experience provides an introduction to environmental studies. Students spend two weeks studying the plant and animal life of the Cumberland Plateau and learn how conservation strategies are being used to protect their ecosystems.
Another university has transformed much of its landscape for sustainable efforts. Birmingham-Southern College installed an Urban Environmental Park on campus, creating an area for students to relax and learn. The space also provides a living laboratory for Urban Environmental Studies majors.
The park is fitted with Wi-Fi and features a stage with electrical outlets for outdoor teaching. It harbors a slew of eco-friendly features, including systems to clean storm water before it leaves campus. It also features lighting designed to reduce light pollution—lights are projected downward and placed in trees to reduce the number of poles in the area.
Along with the Urban Environmental Studies Park, Birmingham-Southern College is also the home to the Southern Environmental Center (SEC) , the largest environmental education facility in Alabama. Stationed in a remodeled building that used to house an indoor pool, the center strives to teach students and the community how they can protect the environment. It teaches complex topics, like pollution and water quality, in a way that the majority of the general public can understand. The center includes an Interactive Museum and EcoScape gardens, which illustrates organic gardening.
Switching to Solar Energy
In an effort to curb fossil fuel use, Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. recently installed 112 solar panels on the roofs of residence halls to create the fourth largest solar thermal project in the country. All of the hot water needs of 470 students are met by this extensive solar collection system. This offsets greenhouse gases equivalent to taking 130 cars off the road every year.
Universities are considering greener ways to expand, too. Instead of building brand new structures on campus, Misericordia University is recycling vacant buildings in downtown Dallas, Pa. So far, they’ve built new residence halls and the College of Health Sciences Building in recycled and renovated buildings.
Another university taking similar steps is Albright College in Reading, Pa. The school recycled 95 percent of the vacated Reading Army Reserve Center. When the building was demolished in 2009, materials such as brick and concrete were pulverized and recycled instead of being dumped in a landfill, as is typically done in demolitions.
Making Current Buildings More Green
Instead of creating new buildings or landscaping, other universities are simply making existing structures more environmentally friendly. Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., has adopted a commitment to lower its total carbon emissions while reducing the release of other harmful greenhouse gases. The Susquehanna University Climate Commitment outlines an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy and guidelines for campus renovation projects.
Supplying More Eco-Friendly Resources
Other universities have taken more immediate approaches, like Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa. The college practices sustainability in its dining commons by choosing manufacturers that utilize eco-friendly practices, such as using windmill power in production or providing plant-based or recyclable bottles. Messiah College employs similar initiatives in the dining halls, including using local produce, recycled napkins, fair trade coffee and growing organic food in the campus’ community garden.
Raising Student Awareness
LVC also has a green blog, which includes posts outlining eco-friendly products at the college store, tips on practicing Earth Day and YouTube videos of Green Man and Enviro Boy, LVC’s sustainable super heroes. The videos show the characters, played by students, fighting crimes against the environment and villains such as the Paper Monster, who signifies paper waste in the computer labs on campus.
Photos: Nazareth College Kristin Harvey
By Jeremy Azurin
Networking events can be a great way for you to meet potential employers looking for internship help. Apart from giving the chance for employers to meet prospective employees on a personal level, they give you an opportunity to meet potential employers outside of the work environment. If handled properly, you could very well be on your way to a potential internship!
Do Your Homework First
Before you attend the event, you must take care of some of the logistics. Which companies will be attending? Is this a formal suit-and-tie event, or is it an informal meet-and-greet? Will there be food? As with all career events, regardless if it’s a career fair or networking event, you must do all of your research. Take a lazy afternoon to peruse the company website of each person attending. Then dive deeper into the ones you're interested in.
Ingest anything and everything you might want to bring up in conversation. Find out who from the company will be attending the event and what position they hold so you know who to ask about internship opportunities. You shouldn't be asking if you know nothing about their business!
Practice Your Pitch
After you’ve prepped your research, devise an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short summary of who you are, your interest in the company, and most importantly, what makes you stand out. This is how you’ll present yourself when you’re making conversation with each of the employers. Elevator pitches should last thirty-seconds to a minute, but the shorter the better, so you shouldn’t be spitting out every goal and piece of experience from your resumé.
Instead, give the highlights of your background, and if your pitch goes well, chances are things will fall into place and the employer will gain interest and then draw out the details themselves. That is when your pitch turns into a full-blown conversation.
Mind Your Manners
If the networking event is a dinner (or even happy hour), food can either make the affair a casual yet professional experience or into an unpleasant ordeal. If it is an informal event, keep your composure and don’t drink yourself into a frenzy. Remind yourself that this is in fact an opportunity to secure an internship. However, if it is a formal dinner, manners and chivalry are just as important as your pitch. You must know which fork to use, [for gentlemen] when to stand up, where to sit, and how to properly excuse yourself, among others.
Mixing etiquette and networking can be very tricky, and somewhat conniving, though. For example, you know how you’re not supposed to salt your meal before actually eating it? Well in the eyes of a potential employer, this could mean [the employee] takes action without thinking it through. Big mistake. You want to avoid blunders such as this by brushing up on your etiquette skills to ease the stress of your main goal: to obtain that internship!
You’ve done your research, dusted your best suit, prepared your pitch, brushed up on your protocol, and now comes the dirty work. At the actual networking event, have multiple copies of your resumé (on resumé paper!) and business cards ready. Look for your employers and have at it; you’ve practiced your pitch and now all you have to do is sell yourself. Stay away from touchy subjects such as politics and religion and stick with the company itself, all while maintaining a strict professional demeanor
At the end of the event, e-mail all of the people whom you’d like to continue a relationship with, thanking them for a great time but focusing on your interest in future student employment. Bring up topics that you discussed just in case they might have forgotten you among other enthusiastic students.
Stick to Your Gameplan
And just to recap, keep these 5 tips in mind as your gameplan for any face to face networking event:
1. Remember names! Nothing is more embarrassing than addressing the wrong person in a follow-up thank you e-mail.
2. Create a pitch for each employer. While it may seem tedious, an individually tailored pitch could be an advantage that separates you from other students. After all, your “Objective” on your resumé should be different for each position, why not your pitch?
3. Be genuine. Your passions and credentials should be sincere and authentic and should by all means match your resumé!
4. Don’t rely on networking with friends. While it decreases the stress, independence shines through if you’re alone. If you do happen to attend with friends, make sure you articulate your goals-otherwise your friend might end up with your internship!
5. Lastly, always ask questions. Never ever go into a networking event (and interview, for that matter) without producing a list of questions. It shows interest in the company.
Good luck and happy networking!
Jeremy Azurin is a D.C. native majoring in geography at Virginia Tech. He will be interning at the State Department thanks to a networking event this summer. Jeremy can be reached here.
Photos: Boblet MikeBlogs Mays Business School
By Susannah Faulkner
Coming to college as a freshman is tough enough without a food allergy. At first, it can be both difficult and embarrassing to have to turn down that peanut butter sandwich, late night pizza, or can of cheap beer, as well as having to explain your dietary situation. But, having a food allergy or other dietary need in college should not be a hindrance: you can truly make it an opportunity to grow, to educate, and to raise awareness.
Living with both celiac disease and a dairy allergy, I understand what it is like to endure those first few months of freshman year as the “anomaly that can’t eat anything.” When I first started at Ithaca College in the fall of 2007, there was little to no support or options for students with food allergies or dietary needs. I was stuck eating bland salads and making frequent trips to the local grocery store. But, all that changed when I decided to make my case known and reform the college dining experience at Ithaca.
Here are the steps that I took to help make living with a food allergy at college so much better:
1. Make your case known.
Many colleges do not require first year students to document their food allergies or dietary needs on any medical forms. Make an appointment with one of the head doctors at your college’s health center and explain your situation with him or her. Also, all colleges and universities have a campus nutritionist, but this service is often not advertised.
Contact your nutritionist so he or she too can be aware of your dietary situation. Lastly, introduce yourself to the managers of the dining halls that you frequent the most. That way they can help you if you have any questions about cross contamination, ingredients, or nutrition information.
2. Keep emergency backup meals in your room.
Some days, I would be disappointed that there would be little to nothing that I could eat in the dining hall for lunch or dinner. I started to keep backup gluten free pasta and allergy friendly microwavable meals in my room for such emergencies.
3. Research your options for housing and meal plans.
Thankfully, the American Disabilities Act covers our food allergies and dietary needs. In that case, your college’s Residential Life and Dining Services are required to accommodate to your needs. Many colleges offer students with dietary needs an apartment with a kitchen or a reduced meal plan. Make an appointment with your college’s director of Residential Life and/or Dining Services to check out what options are available for you.
4. Band together!
This is by far the most rewarding and the most fun part of living with a food allergy or dietary need in college. Some options include starting a monthly dinner for people with food allergies (or a more specific dietary need like celiac disease), hosting a forum to talk about the situation on campus, and/or forming a club or student organization for students living with food allergies.
At Ithaca, I worked with our Student Government Association to band students together to make our voice heard on campus. Administrators and Dining Services are very receptive to this, and even started a Gluten Free Pantry in our dining halls to accommodate to our needs.
In addition, I helped to form the IC Food Allergy Awareness Club, which meets twice a month to discuss issues on campus, to enjoy delicious allergy friendly meals, and to just hang out and bond. Finding other students with dietary needs really helps to make college feel more like home.
5. Become an advocate.
If you can start to embrace living with food allergy instead of viewing it as a hindrance, life in college, and in your years to come, will be met with much more joy and opportunities. Help to educate students, staff, faculty, and community members of your dietary need. Reach out to other students who are unsure of their problems and are seeking counsel. Not only will you be helping others, but also you will be making yourself better by becoming an advocate.
Make your voice heard on campus and keep your head held high! Change is possible, and all it takes is one passionate person with a mission.
Susannah Faulkner is a recent graduate of Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics. She served as the Vice President of Campus Affairs for Student Government Association and was the Co-Founder of the IC Food Allergy Awareness Club. She plans on continuing to raise awareness for celiac disease and food allergies for the rest of her life.
By Matt Gardner
Buying a car, hunting for an apartment and landing a summer job are three of the most tedious and painful experiences you may ever encounter. With patience and the right tools, finding a summer job becomes less of a chore and more enjoyable once you know what you’re looking for. A summer job can help you greatly in the future - especially when it comes time for writing a resume after you graduate.
If you’re looking just to make money, you’re taking the wrong approach.
It sounds delusional, but it’s true despite your parents enforcing the, “It’s summer, you pay for it” rule. If you find a job based on the money you’ll hate it — I guarantee it. The stress isn’t worth the extra few bucks and once the stress kicks in, you won’t be as good at your job any more. The more fun you’re having, the better you’ll be at your job and the better you are, the more money you’ll make. It’s the passionate ones that eventually make all the money.
Find something that you love to do.
Find something you’re passionate about and run with it. If you like sailing try teaching younger kids how to sail. Not only do you get to sail, but you’ll make new connections that will help in the future. Don’t like working for other people? Do you own thing; be a self-starter. Like fashion? There are plenty of fashion gigs no matter where you are, but you can always do more. Start a blog in your spare time about fashion. You can do the same thing with cooking or anything that you’re passionate about. The more you show your passion, the more people will follow.
The moment you walk into any store, restaurant or business that the people like what they are doing, are doing it just for the money, or are complete zombies. The people that like that they are doing have passion and will make the experience enjoyable simply because they like what they do. Don’t do something unless your passionate because the people you encounter will remember it.
It’s all about who you meet.
The connections you make during the summer are ineffably important. You’re building an audience for your future with every hand you shake or every peer you meet. These people are your most valuable assets. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve used connections to help start my own business, make other connections, and grow professionally.
Finally: don’t quit. This is the most important rule of being successful. The summer is only three months long. If you land a job that you hate, it’s better to stick it out until the end, than to quit because once you quit you’re now a quitter and nobody wants to work with a quitter. The second best advice is to find a job that you won’t hate so you don’t put yourself in the position of feeling like you have to quit. Take your time and explore every opportunity. Money will follow passion. Chase your passion this summer, you’ll be glad you did.
Matt Gardner is a 22-year-old entrepreneur from Annapolis, Maryland. He’s the founder of Rockadoo, Summer Sweat and Use Reminders. He formerly worked for Apple in Cupertino, California. Matt is passionate about hockey, technology, cooking and loves marrying technology with simplicity.
By Megan Kenslea
It’s hard to believe that you are graduating high school. After all, you were the freshmen when I was a senior three years ago. In my mind, you are still awkward ninth graders, but in reality, you’re the ones wearing the caps and gowns these days. I’m jealous. My last week of high school was the best. From yearbook signings to prom, grad parties to graduation itself, there was never a dull moment, and the summer that followed was the same.
While it’s important to use this time to prepare for college and the future, it’s also one of the last chances you’ll have to spend with your friends and family before most real world responsibilities set in. I recieved a lot of advice that summer, but there were some things no one told me.
As a gift to you, here is some of the best advice I didn’t receive for graduation:
The Silly Memories are the Sweetest
My favorite memories from the end of high school are also the silliest: the 80’s-themed dance party my friends and I had at my house, the impromptu costume party we had another time when we discovered my old dress-up trunk, and the night I spent reading gossip magazines by headlight flashlight in a park with my best friend.
Savor the small moments with your friends. I don’t remember who had the “cool” parties, or even what the blockbuster movies were that summer. What I do remember is how much fun I had doing ridiculous things with the people I cared about the most.
Make New Friends
It seems counter-intuitive – why make friends if you’re going to leave in a few short months anyway? That’s what I thought, but after graduation, I got to know classmates that I hadn’t known well before, and ended up making some really good friends. I went on a date with a classmate I barely knew, was introduced to a friend of a friend who was attending the same college as me, and reconnected with an old friend from elementary school. Your date might be a total dud (mine was), but as people start to scatter around the country, and the world, you’ll wish you spent more time with them when you had the chance.
Stop Fighting With Your Parents
I may have had a blast spending time with my friends, but living with my parents was a different story. After graduation, I felt so cool. I was finally 18, a legal adult, and I thought that meant I could do whatever I wanted to. My parents had different ideas. I resented them for everything, especially the non-negotiable curfew they enforced. I fought with them all summer, and I wasn’t the only one of my friends to do so.
What I didn’t realize was that as I was itching for more freedom, they were trying to spend as much time with me before I moved out. It might seem like a chore now, but take some time to really talk to them one day – you might have a lot more in common than you think, and chances are, you’ll miss having them around once you’re gone.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fall
I fell a lot in high school, both literally and metaphorically: along with many sprained ankles, fractured wrists, and even a broken tailbone, I also made a lot of mistakes and took risks that didn’t always pay off. However, while I got cut from the school musical and was pretty much a permanent sub on my field hockey team, I also had an article published on a national web site and won awards for my debate skills in Model U.N.
Taking risks may have led to some minor setbacks, but it also led to some very real rewards. Now is the time to try something you’ve always wanted to – start a blog, take a tennis class, or learn how to cook. You might not be good at everything you try, but you could also discover something you really love to do.
Leave High School in the Past
Graduating from high school is an exciting time for most people because it’s a chance to turn over a new leaf. While there are some things you’ll want to hold onto – your friends, your good work ethic, or your favorite pair of jeans – one thing you shouldn’t take with you is emotional baggage. Forget about feuds you had, teachers you hated, or colleges that rejected you. Whether you’re going to college, to work, to the military, or anything else, it doesn’t matter if you were the most popular person in your class or the most reviled.
You have the opportunity to start with a clean slate, so let go of the past and focus on how you can make things even better for the future.
By Purvi S. Mody
We are in the midst of graduation season and with it comes change. Whether your child is heading off to college across the country or down the street, graduation marks the end of his childhood and the beginning of his independence. And graduations should be as much a testament to your child’s completion of high school as it should be for your constant devotion and tireless effort raising your child. You now have the next few months of summer to really prepare your child for his next step in life.
You will undoubtedly make countless trips to the store to buy your child the necessary accoutrements for college. But the most important thing you can do for him is to give him the skills to be successful even when he is not under your watchful eye. Simple things such as buying groceries, washing clothes, and going to the ATM can cause even the highest GPA toting student some anxiety. And beyond the seemingly trivial everyday tasks that he will now have to complete on his own, he will also have to balance studying and social life successfully.
Here are just a few things you should make sure your child understands before he heads off to school:
1. Money Matters
For many teenagers, how to handle money typically meant begging their parents for a few dollars every week. But now your child will get inundated by enticing credit card offers that mean financial freedom. Sit down with your child and set up a financial plan and budget. Whether you are footing the bill for college or he is getting loans and scholarships, your child will be dealing with large amounts of money. While you can still control the reigns by setting limits on credit cards in your names and bank accounts, educating him about money will be invaluable.
2. Time Management
For the first time ever, your child will have complete control over his schedule. You will not be there to wake him up when his snooze button fails. You will also not be there to urge him to study when all his friends are going out. While time management is something that he should have been developing over the last four years, the desire to let loose can overcome even the most well-intentioned student. Sit down and seriously talk to him about staying focused and about the importance of balancing work and fun.
3. Grades Matter
There is a common tendency for students to let their academic guard down during their first semester in college. But urge your child to remain focused on the end goal. Grades are important for graduate school. And some employers will also look at transcripts before making summer and full-time offers. While some majors and colleges can be more rigorous than others, that is hardly reason enough for a major dip in GPA. Encourage your student to talk to an advisor, build a strong relationship with a trusted advisor, or find alumni mentors to give the right guidance along the way.
4. Encourage Common Sense
Many students have a sense of invincibility when they start college. And while administrators place great emphasis on campus safety, students too must keep their guards up even on the most prestigious campus or the most suburban setting. Talk to your child about safety and practicing common sense. This may require you to go beyond your comfort zone, but in the end your child’s safety is more important than anything.
5. Call Home Often
While he will not call you as often as you would like, encourage regular communication. This will help him stay grounded while he is away, and it will also make you feel much more comfortable with the separation. And try to keep the conversations not just focused on grades.
Graduations are called commencements because they mark a new beginning for your family. Enjoy this moment, but then make the next couple of months memorable and productive. Your job being a parent will actually never end, which is probably happy news for most moms and dads out there!
Purvi S. Mody is co-owner of Insight Education, an educational consulting firm that helps students throughout the country and internationally to achieve their educational goals. Get in touch with her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @InsightEduc.
By Sam Coren
Is it a luxury bean bag? A shower carry-all? A rice cooker? A Scentsy candle? Last year when we unveiled our College Dorm Essentials Guide students and parents flocked to StudentAdvisor to see what they should arm themselves with before making that big move to college.
This year we plan on putting together a new guide with the latest and greatest dorm room items for the new freshmen class. Tell us what products you can't live without in your dorm and pass the good word along to the new college students! Your suggestion just might be featured in the new guide.
Simply comment on this post and let us know what your "must-have" dorm items are!
By James Jackson
Freshman year has come and gone, the parties, the excessive studying, and the socializing are all over. Now comes summer vacation! Your friends from high school are slowly trickling back into town and all you can think about is hanging out and taking a break from the books.
The first day you get back is like a spectacle, your parents want to do anything and everything for you because they’re just glad to have you home. And from the time you get back, until whatever time you decide you want to go to sleep (remember you can pretty much do anything the first day), you’re treated like absolute royalty.
Then, overnight, something changes.
Cars need to be washed, grass cut, rooms cleaned; it’s like you never left! It just got real, and how quickly it hits you, it’s like a slap in the face.
Parents get joy out of knowing its their house (which they make very clear at every opportunity), their rules, and if you’re like me and expect to come home and lay around the house all day, think again.
So if this is your first time coming home to your increasingly needy parents during the summer break, here are some rules to help keep you halfway sane:
Hang out with friends as much as possible.
Obviously, unless you’re extremely anti-social, you’ll want to hang out with friends. Being a college student, it’s natural for us to go out with close friends, acquaintances, or people we just met an hour ago. Its something we have to do.
Do something constructive with those mindless four-hour stints on Facebook and organize a meet-up with some people you haven’t seen since high school.
Pick your battles; better yet, don’t argue at all.
Now you have rules. Not the lackadaisical RA rules, but the ones parents love to enforce, like curfew. And chores; one of the few things you will never be able to get away from, no matter how hard you try.
I remember the worst fight I ever had with my parents was during a summer I was back from college when they said mow the lawn (on a Saturday morning!), I didn’t feel like it, and it turned out to be a whole thing that took at least a week to straighten out. Looking back, totally not worth it so don’t argue over the little things, if they want you to do something, just do it, the whole “rebellious” thing is for high school.
Realize they think you are the same person you were when you left.
You’re getting to be more self sufficient, and that newfound independence tends to drive parents crazy, whether they like to admit it or not. Try and negotiate with them, more likely than not, they’ll listen to what you have to say and will be willing to bend the rules once they realize that they’re dealing with a different person than the one that left them five months ago.
Get a job.
Staying out of the house is a sure fire way avoid conflict, but take it a step further, and do something meaningful with time you spend away. Get a job you halfway enjoy. Not one that makes you miserable, and sucks the life out of you (been there), just one that keeps a little money in your pocket, and doesn’t take up all your time, because after all, it is summer break.
Better yet? Volunteer!
They say you know you’ve found your passion when you’re willing to do it for free. Volunteering is a great way to find out exactly what that passion is. Doing things and being in environments that are somewhat foreign to you that you still love to do, allows you to learn so much, and frankly, you’ll meet some awesome people.
I saved this one for last because this one is what proved to be the most valuable for me after my freshman year at the same time, showed my parents that I was serious about something, in turn, caused them to get off my back about every little thing. Every response was, “I’ll do it later, I’m reading!” And lets face it, what parent doesn’t want to hear that? Now, every summer, I start a new project that involves some level of reading, on something that I know I’ll enjoy.
Like it or not, you’ve begun your journey to adulthood, and although it might be hard for your parents to accept that, give them some time, they’ll come around. Show them that you’ve become the adult that you feel you are, (whether you are or not), sit back, and watch things fall into place.
James Jackson is a finance student at Winston-Salem State University. James is also a tech assistant at a law firm and writer of anything that sparks his curiosity. You can follow this increasingly curious mind on Twitter or shoot him an email at jamesjacksn[at]gmail.com.
By Sam Coren
Memorial Day weekend sunburns and hangovers aren't enough to keep college stories out of the news for long. This week you'll learn about how one FIU student dodged a deadly pellet, how one non-profit organization is helping tornado victims, and why more students are choosing ROTC. And because it's Friday we can't help but feature the latest sensation in Rebecca Black parody videos.
What in the world is going on? Read on!
What happens when a double dog dare goes awry? Gabriel Mendigutia, a Florida International University student, was sent to the hospital for emergency surgery after his girlfriend aimed an unknowingly loaded pellet gun in their backyard and was dared to shoot. The pellet struck his heart and he was rushed to the hospital for surgery. His miraculous survival was accredited to the unusual anatomy of his heart.
After a string of devastating Tornado outbreaks in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri and now Massachusetts there may be some financial relief available to college students. USA Funds, a nonprofit organization that helps Americans benefit from higher education, announced that it has allocated nearly $400,000 to help college students whose education plans have been adversely affected by recent tornado outbreaks. Eligible schools may apply for grants through the Disaster Relief Fund for Postsecondary Education Students.
Schools, in turn, may use the funds to assist lower-income students who suffered financial hardships as a result of the tornado outbreaks. Schools will be able to award supplemental financial aid of up to $1,000 per student to help them pay education-related expenses for the 2010-2011 or 2011-2012 academic year.
With the removal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, more of the nation's top colleges, including Harvard University and Stanford University, are begining to reinstate ROTC programs on campus. Over the last four years ROTC participation grew 27%. Some credit this growth to the recession and the attractive scholarship opportunities the program has to offer.
More often than not, when a college president says goodbye to the graduating class it's met with a stoic's poigniant advice and congratulations. Not the case if you're graduating from Oberlin College. To send off the Class of 2011, Oberlin's President, VPs, and Deans decided to take on Rebecca Black's bane of YouTube, "Friday".
By Megan Kenslea
A Year Later, Five Things I Wish I Knew
Starting college is difficult for everyone, but for transfer students who don’t get the hand holding freshmen do, life at a new school can be overwhelming. I know – last year I transferred from the University of Delaware to Boston University. To help you avoid some of the blunders I made, here are a few suggestions from someone who has been there, done that and made that mistake you’re about to make — sometimes more than once.
1. Don’t put off telling your friends.
One of the most difficult things about transferring was telling my friends at Delaware. I had a close-knit group of friends, and leaving them behind was hard. But as tough as it is to tell your friends, you have to. I had trouble finding the right time to tell my friends I was leaving, so I kept putting it off, which made it harder. I ended up telling a lot of my friends at inopportune times. Worse, I didn’t tell some of them at all. Don’t do what I did. There is no right way to tell someone that you’re transferring, but if you value their friendship, you need to let them know you are leaving, and you need to tell them in person. They don’t deserve to find out when you suddenly switch networks on Facebook.
2. Throw your plans out the window.
…at least for now. Before I got to B.U., I had the next two years planned perfectly. I would double major, study abroad for a semester, and join a sorority – all while finishing my degree on time. A year later, my life looks a lot different than I expected it to.
I’m not in a sorority, I have only one major and no plans to study abroad, and I am still not graduating on time. I didn’t accomplish anything I planned to, yet I still had an amazing year. I joined Model U.N., traveled to conferences around the country, and was even our club’s Vice President this spring.
No matter how much you plan, you can never anticipate what will happen when you get to your new school. Leave some wiggle room for the unexpected.
3. Your school calendar is different now. Learn the new one.
Most important, learn when certain deadlines are, like tuition payments. The fee for missing a payment is usually around $100, which I discovered the hard way after missing my first tuition payment. Another deadline I didn’t anticipate was for course registration. Spots for classes fill up fast everywhere, but at my new school, I needed an advisor’s approval to unlock a registration code. Most advisors probably won’t be too pleased when you email them frantically two hours before registration (mine wasn’t). It’s a good idea to plan at least a week ahead. Other dates I didn’t know, but should have: school-recognized holidays, special schedules, scholarship applications and housing lotteries. Keep a list of important dates you need to know on your wall so you don’t forget them.
4. Stop Facebook stalking your old friends!
The first few weekends at a new school are some of the loneliest, and it’s tempting to Facebook stalk friends at your old school. Don’t. It’s easy to convince yourself that you made the wrong decision transferring, and looking at their pictures will only make it worse. I spent my first Saturday night at B.U. scrolling through my old roommate’s Facebook albums, and with each new tan face smiling back at me, I became more depressed.
All of the very real reasons I transferred flew out of my head, and I wanted desperately to go back and join in on the fun. If you can’t find someone to hang out with, find something fun you can do alone instead. Watch a favorite movie, read a favorite book, or explore – anything is better than sitting alone at your computer.
5. Don’t let the questions get to you.
As a transfer student, you will undoubtedly get the standard questions: why did you transfer, did you hate your old school, are the academics better here, did you get rejected here in high school, etc. Most people are just curious, but sometimes the questions can get overwhelming. This is one of those things that get easier with time. After a while, you’ll be able to anticipate what questions you’ll get.
At this point, I’ve polished my auto response for why I transferred: “I loved my friends, and the school was great, but I really wanted to be in a city.” As boring as my response is, I’ve found that, with the odd exception, it’s all people really want – or need – to know.
By Kevin Craig
If you're reading this article intently, chances are, you're among the 50% of college students with outstanding student loans and must be frantically looking for a way to deal with your debt. High college costs of tuition, books, and housing have forced many students to borrow loans to fulfill their educational necessities. Many of them attempt to simplify the repayment procedure and prefer to combine both federal and private loans into a single consolidated loan, rather than securing separate federal and private consolidated loans.
However, there are potential issues involved with consolidating private and federal loans together. Federal student loans offer some added advantages to the consumers and those benefits can be lost if you consolidate federal and private loans together.
What are the Differences between Federal and Private Student Loans?
Federal student loans work in the best interest of students and offers advantages that are not at all available with private loans. For example federal student loans are tax deductible, these loans can be deferred if the borrower returns to school once again and most importantly U.S. Government may partially or completely forgives your student loans if you are employed with federal volunteer programs or working in military service or teaching in economic development zones.
On the contrary, private loans offer no advantage for consumers. They are just like any other private loans which are generally borrowed from private lending institutions and will be repaid like any other secured or unsecured loans.
The Cons of Consolidating Federal and Private Loans
Unfortunately, all the above mentioned disparities between federal and private student loans cannot coexist if you intend to pay both your private and federal loans through one payment gateway.
If you replace both your federal and private loans with a single consolidated private loan you will invariably lose all the benefits of federal loans.
Here are a few consequences of losing those benefits:
- As private loans come with variable interest rates along with volatile indexes and rise over time into double digit percentages, it can pile up the debt burden even more.
- The consumer is not able to claim paid interest as a tax deduction.
- No matter what your current financial condition is payments cannot be delayed in anyway.
- You won’t be able to apply for loan forgiveness in any way.
- Payments will no way be forgiven if the borrower returns to school.
- After death, outstanding student loan debt will be passed on to the borrower’s next of kin whereas in federal loans student loans are forgiven after death.
Keep your federal student loan consolidation separate from private loan consolidation.
If you keep the federal student loan consolidation and private loan consolidation separate, you might be able to enjoy the government benefits in a better way. When you have incurred both federal and private student loans, you should always consolidate your federal loans first. By doing so, you can lower the number of open items on their credit reports and can boost your credit ratings. This can also help you to win better terms on a private loan consolidation in future.
To conclude, if you are planning to consolidate your federal and private loans and don’t want to lose the benefits associated with federal loans, then combine your federal student loans first to ensure your financial freedom sooner than later.
Kevin Craig is a financial writer associated with various finance related Communities. He has been providing advice on debt settlement and debt consolidation programs since 2007. With his advice, many people are now living a debt free life.