By Sam Coren
Controversy hits the college news scene this week. A new study suggests that "sexting" among college students may now be the norm. Test-optional colleges get slammed for buying lists of high scoring SAT students, while a recent high school glad sparks a fire about racial discrimination in high school course selection in Arkansas. On the lighter side of things, Amazon is bringing students another way to save boatloads of money on textbooks.
Want the details? Get the scoop on this edition of This Week in College News:
A new study from the University of Rhode Island has found that 78% of college students have received sexually suggestive messages. Over half (56%) of the students surveyed indicated that they have received sexually suggestive images. Even though the most students engaged in these activities, known as "sexting", sent these messages to someone they were in a relationship with, 17% of those surveyed admitted to forwarding the messages to at least one other person. One of the researchers, Tiffani Kisler warns, "Once they click that 'send' button, they don't know where else a message will wind up."
When most students find out they've earned the valedictorian title in their graduating class they're typically pleased as punch. Not so much for one recent Arkansas high school grad. Kymberly Wimberly, a member McGehee Secondary School's 2011 graduating class, submitted a complaint to the U.S. District Court for Arkansas' Eastern District after the school gave her co-valedictorian status with a white student with a lower GPA.
Wimberly believes that the school has a history of limiting black students' access to challenging classes. She is seeking punitive damages of $75,000 and official recognition that she is the only valedictorian of her class.
Last week Boomblerg bursted the bubble of legions of anti-standardized testing advocates by revealing that several SAT-optional colleges were buying the names of top-scoring SAT takers. Pitzer College, a small liberal arts college in Claremont, Ca., was one of the schools called out in the report.
In a response on the Huffington Post, Pitzer's president, Laura Skandera Trombley, defended the school's actions:
"Now this issue of purchasing mailing lists is in my view really a straw dog. I don't know about you, but when I throw a party I like to send invitations to the guests. This is what our admission office does in purchasing lists. We run tours 364 days out of the year, present at college fairs, visit high schools and yes, we try to get the names of as many college-bound students as we possibly can. "
Hate spending tons of money on textbooks every semester? Amazon is now offering a textbook rentals program for Kindle readers and and devices with Kindle software. According to Amazon, students can save up to 80% of the original price for their textbooks. Rental periods are availible between 30 and 360 days. Don't worry about missing being able to take notes right in the book - notes and annotations can be stored by Amazon, even after the rental period is over when the book is re-rented or bought.
By Megan Kenslea
In high school, I lived in UGG boots and flip flops, but once I arrived at college and saw my roommate’s suitcases full of shoes, I realized that my paltry shoe collection wouldn’t suffice. I’m still not a “shoe person,” but my collection has grown to include the basics.
Here are my top picks for the shoes every girl should have in her wardrobe before she goes to college:
1. Rubber Flip Flops
While most people tout them as must for communal showers, I also used mine as a substitute for slippers when wandering around the dorm. You can buy this staple at any drug or convenience store, or splurge for a more comfortable pair at a department store.
2. Dressy Sandals
For those days when flip flops just won’t do. Buy these in a neutral color for more versatility. I wear mine to class and to church, and with everything from shorts to sundresses. Pick a neutral pair in white, tan, or a metallic color that will go with anything.
3. Ballet Flats
Photo: baby shamble ♫
These shoes are a classic for a reason. Some wear them to class every day, while others reserve them for nicer occasions. You can find ballet flats at any store and in any price range, but cheaper pairs tend to fall apart after a semester. Start with a neutral pair, but don’t shy away from bright or patterned pairs – this is a great place for a pop of color in your outfit.
4. Casual Walking Shoes
When you’re walking around on campus all day, you might need a pair of shoes with a bit more support than flats or sandals. There are many options, styles, and price ranges available. Some choose casual sneakers, while others like loafers. To avoid blisters, walk around in them for a while before you wear them all day.
5. Practical Pumps
Buy a basic pair of pumps in a neutral color with a pointed or round toe. The caveat? The heel should be no higher than two inches - your best bet for these is to stay boring. These shoes are perfect for class presentations, interviews and any time you need to look presentable.
You can’t go wrong with a basic pair of wedges. More comfortable and stable than heels, they give you height without the wobble of stilettos. For a warm weather option, choose a pair of espadrilles in a bright color, and for the colder months, a suede pair in a muted color is a safe bet.
Photo: Kenzie W.
Whatever your preferences is - cowboy or riding, black or brown, motorcycle or slouchy - you can never go wrong with a great pair of boots. Perfect for brisk days on campus and great with jeans, skirts or dress, boots are an ideal shoe for the busy college girl, and a great way to express your style. This is one item you might want to splurge on – a well made boot can last you years.
8. Weather Boots
Most high school students aren’t used to trudging around in snow, slush and rain, but I’ll bet that every college girl will tell you that her rain boots are the most-used item in her closet. A well-made and comfortable pair of weather boots is essential, especially if you’re going to school somewhere that rains or snows a lot. Sturdy rain boots that can withstand snow and slush and still keep your feet warm are the best option.
By Dean Tsouvalas
Domenique Ciavattone is a junior at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., and a dual communication/global issues major. She says keeping a neat and healthy room is important for college students, and is a good investment of time that pays off in better grades, comfortable campus living and peace of mind.
1. Buy items that serve dual purposes.
Clutter, she says, is every student’s common enemy. “One great way to unclutter your space is to look for and buy those items that serve dual purposes,” she says. “I bought a lamp that is also an all-in-one organizer,” she says. “They can hold paper clips, post-it notes, pens, pencils, tape…lots of students use them and they’re available at Staples, Target and other stores.”
Furniture that also serves several different functions is key, according to Domenique. “Lots of students like to put their beds up on risers and then store things in bins underneath,” she says. “They now make ottomans with a top that opens for storage and other multifunction features that are perfect for uncluttering a room and getting the most out of your living space on campus.”
She says desk organizers are also a must to keep your work space uncluttered. “While some students say that they do most of their studying at the library, the fact is you need to keep your study area clean in your room,” Domenique explains. “When a room is messy, it is hard to work there, and I have always felt that it is important to keep the spot where you study there as clean as possible, because it’s the place you come back to…even if you do study at the library, you end up back in your room, and often finish your work, there.”
2. Keep a personal recycling bin.
Cardboard, paper, beverage bottles and other recyclables are common-clutter items in any dorm room, according to Domenique. “While most college residence halls today feature recycling bins for students, it’s good to have a container or two in your room dedicated to recycling, because you may not always want to make that trip down the hall or to another part of the building--and things can pile up fast,” she says. “I keep a couple of containers in my room exclusively for recycling, and it’s easier to dump them out once a day than to make multiple trips.”
3. Sanitize your surfaces.
Finally, she says, staying healthy on a college campus can be a challenge, especially during the colder months. “It’s easy to get sick when everyone seems to get a cold,” she explains. “I keep a container of Lysol wipes in my room and wipe down all the surfaces once a week,” she says. “It doesn’t take much time, and it is a lot better than getting sick.”
4. Keep the food situation under control.
Sheryl Delieto is a junior at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H., where she majors in fine arts and photography. She says keeping a clean living area means students must learn to handle food (and food boundaries) in a different way from their home situation, where family members typically raid what’s in sight during mealtimes or when they’re hungry—then leave it up to parents to ask them to do the dishes. The more casual atmosphere of college sometimes makes it easy to forget this, but not letting a food situation get out of hand is important, she says.
Whether you’re sharing a small fridge in the residence halls or a full kitchen in a campus apartment, there are new rules to learn. Because some people may buy the same products, she recommends “writing your name on the food packaging or assigning different areas of the fridge” for each roommate. “Unless you are living with really good friends, it sometimes becomes a free for all,” she says. Hurt feelings, or a messy kitchen or both are a common result.
As for shared food, Sheryl notes, a good rule is to “never eat the last of something without asking.” She also feels it is important for all roommates to “share responsibility and take turns doing the dishes” so they don’t pile up--and turn into a science experiment.
5. Bring a bike to campus.
“The best advice I would give an incoming freshman would be to bring a bike with them,” says Ashton Cortright, a senior business administration major at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. “Instead of bringing a car, or relying on others for transportation, or depending entirely on your feet to get around, having a bicycle for transportation, exercise and fun, right from the start, is a really smart move.”
On some campuses, she notes, freshmen are not allowed to bring a car. “No campus in the country prohibits you from bringing a bike—and many colleges and universities are adapting to the new interest in cycling, adding more bike racks, providing better storage for bikes and are encouraging you to bring a bike,” she says. “Frankly, there’s no better way to wake up in the morning and to arrive feeling great and prepared for class,” she adds. “It’s even better than a cup of coffee.”
She says riding a bike helps new students meet new people, fellow students, staff and faculty members who share a bond in their preferred method of transportation. “Here’s a well-kept secret that I’d like to share with freshmen,” she adds. “Having a bike means that you can get to your first class more quickly than if you walk or even if you drive, bypassing traffic, not having to find parking…as a result, you can actually sleep in a little later, each morning.”
Photos: University of Denver eggrollstan
By Marie Schwartz
An article by Alina Tugend called “Pink Underwear and Other Lessons for the College-Bound” in the NYT on Saturday, July 15, 2011 caught my eye. Apparently, today’s students are completely clueless about how to handle certain things when they first enter college, such as how to do laundry, pay bills on time, write a check, mail a package, sew on a button, tip properly, make a bed, pack a suitcase, boil water, identify when food is spoiled, and safeguard valuables. Students with cars need to know how to jump start a car, identify and fix mechanical problems, deal with a flat tire, speak to a police officer, and exchange info in case of an accident.
"Many have no idea how to keep their space clean."
I decided to investigate this further by getting a reality check from our two summer interns, Julia Bernstein, a rising sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis, and Kaitlin Ryan, a rising senior at Boston University. They confirmed that many of these tasks are indeed issues for many students, especially in the area of hygiene and proper nutrition. Some students go for months without changing sheets or throwing out trash. Many have no idea how to keep their space clean, beyond using Lysol wipes (if that).
"Students don’t think enough about their personal security."
Julia mentioned being blind-sided when she got sick and didn’t have the information she needed for the doctor, such as her immunization record. They both said that students should know how to use public transportation to get from Point A to Point B and how to buy a ticket. Kaitlin brought up the fact that many students don’t think enough about their personal security and what to do if they are robbed or feeling unsafe. Julia is conscious about where to walk and what to wear when walking home from the library late at night so that she’s not an easy target.
Teaching Your Child Life Skills Before College
In my opinion, students need to learn these things MUCH EARLIER than college. Summer programs or activities that offer travel in a foreign country and/or a home stay experience are excellent preparation for college. So is a boarding school or semester school.
My hot button is teaching students how to manage their finances at an early age. Parents should get their children in the habit of managing their own money as soon as they are old enough to go out with their friends on their own. We set up a debit card for each of our sons when they turned 16 that was linked to a separate checking account that they shared with me. They used this account to pay their cell phone bills and manage a fixed income (allowance). As they got older, I made them responsible for buying clothes, gas, and school supplies for a set amount.
What other life skills that students need to learn before college do you suggest? Let us know in the comments!
Marie founded TeenLife Media in 2007, a few years after she moved with her husband and two sons (12 and 14) to Boston. She found that there were no websites or publications that helped families with teens -- just those with babies or little kids – and the idea for TeenLife was born! Marie is passionate about experiential learning for teens as a result of living abroad in her childhood. Her career includes over 20 years of experience as a marketing executive at American Express and other companies in the financial services industry. She is active in the community and currently serves as a Trustee on the Board of the Boston Ballet. She has a BSE from Princeton University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Photo: Visions Service Adventures
By Cate Eberman
Calling all Quidditch fans! You can now play Quidditch in the world of muggles! With the recent release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, I decided to explore the relatively new world of Muggle Quidditch.
The Game of Quidditch:
The game of Muggle Quidditch is basically the same as the original one but, since we don’t have any flying broomsticks or snitch or bludgers that can fly there are some slight differences. The snitch is carried by a person who dresses all in yellow. The bludgers are thrown or kicked at players and a beater can only be in possession of one at a time. If a player is hit by a bludger they must go back to their own hoops be for continuing play. And there are a few more rules in regards to safety.
Muggle Quidditch at US Colleges:
Muggle Quidditch was started in 2005 at Middlebury College by Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe. Since its creation many colleges along with some high schools have started teams, there are also many club teams. The International Quidditch Association founded in 2007 now has over 1000 teams.
Which Colleges Have the Best Quidditch Teams?
Check out which colleges are ranked in the Top 10 on the International Quidditch Association standings:
By Megan Kenslea
So much for a slow summer...this week has been a busy one in the college news world. From the UC education system to yet another controversial remark from Larry Summers, here are some of the top stories on this
edition of This Week in College News:
Former Harvard President Larry Summers Disses the Winklevoss Twins...
...and they aren't to pleased. Earlier this week, the Harvard University professor referred to Harvard graduates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss as "a**holes." The Winklevoss twins, who famously battled Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook, replied with an open letter to current Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust, asking Faust to address "this unprecedented betrayal of the unique relationship between teacher and student." This isn't the first time Summers has caused waves with his outspoken remarks. In 2005, Summers was fired from his position as president of the University for remarks about women in science.
Peace College to go Co-ed
Students and alumni at Peace College, an all-women's college in Raleigh, North Carolina, recieved some surprising news this week. The school announced Thursday that it is changing its name to William Peace University, and, starting in fall 2012, it will begin admitting men. While the school says the change will make Peace "bigger and better," some students and alumni say they are outraged and disappointed they didn't recieve any warning from the school.
State of California May Help Illegal Immigrants Pay For College
Illegal immigrants in California may gain access to privately funded grants from state colleges and universities if Gov. Jerry Brown signs a new Bill into law. The State Senate passed Assembly Bill 130 on July 14 as part of the California Dream Act, and Brown, who supported the Dream Act during his campaign, is expected to sign the bill into law. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed similar bills when he was in office.
5,800 New Berkeley Students Get Vocal
This fall, UC Berkeley is doing something a bit different than most college orientations - incoming freshmen and transfer students will be asked to record their voices and accents for an interactive world map. The voice samples will coincide with fall seminars centering on lingusitic diversity and all aspects about languages. It's a far cry from the typical student orientation, but Berkeley officials say they hope it will serve as a way for students to get to know each other.
By Kathryn Fruh
Starting with your student's first year of high school, ease into learning about current college admissions by attending any and all presentations offered by your student’s school. Schedule an appointment with your student’s counselor to share useful insights about your child plus any issues that might impact their school achievement.
Get Your Child to Become a Familiar Face to Their Counselor
Encourage your child to make regular visits to the counseling center to learn about summer programs and volunteer opportunities in addition to getting to know the counselor well before the senior year. Help your child develop a relationship with the counselor who can be an ally in keeping you all informed about developmentally appropriate experiences that might enhance the student’s self-awareness, as well as interests.
Find Out the School's Standardized Test Policies
Learn what the school's policies are for the pre-ACT (PLAN) test and the PSAT (pre-SAT). Do all 10th graders take both the PLAN and PSAT? At some schools, the tests are part of the college prep program and the school district pays for the tests. At other schools, the tests are optional and are offered on a Saturday for a nominal fee.
Become Familiar With Application Requirements
Learn about general college application requirements for your instate schools. Do they require an essay? Recommendations? Have early application deadlines? Use an “Index grid” that gives a general idea of admissibility based on grades and test scores?
Start Visiting Colleges With Your Child as Early as 9th Grade
Try visiting college campuses while on vacation or visiting relatives. The point is for students to start establishing a "baseline" for how colleges differ — big/ small, liberal arts/universities, urban/rural — basic characteristics that can be defined and thus becomes a part of the student’s college knowledge. The emphasis needs to be on “exploration” and helping the student start to learn about identifying a their personal college match, as opposed to being influenced by name recognition or other’s rankings.
Have Open & Honest Conversations About College
Be clear about expectations and limitations. Perhaps there are strong feelings about distance from home or type of school. Financial issues may also impact college options. It would be appropriate to share this information with the school counselor during a Junior conference (after already having the discussion as a family) so that there are no misunderstandings as the college search process begins in earnest.
Kathryn Fruh is a post secondary counselor at Doherty High School in Colorado Springs, Co.
By Sam Coren
Since starting at StudentAdvisor 6 months ago I've read through hundreds of college reviews written by students, alumni, faculty and parents. At this point I feel like I know more about other people's schools than my own alma mater! Now that I've logged quite a bit of review reviewing experience I feel that I've got a good grip on what makes for a helpful review and what doesn't:
What's Helpful in College Reviews
Stating your major or department. This is even more important for reviews of larger colleges where there are a ton of different majors and departments to choose from. Some academic departments receive more funding and resources than others. Because of this, more often than not, two students in different majors can have radically different experiences at the same school.
Describing the condition of the facilities. Did your college just open a multi-million dollar science lab? Or is your library about to fall apart? Having an idea of what state a college's campus is in can give prospective students an idea of what to expect on a potential visit. Bonus points if you can mention what the best and worst dorms are on campus. This University of Green Bay-Wisconsin student review went as far to indicate that the school has an underground tunnel system to keep you out of the cold during the winter.
Indicating popular student activities or traditions. Whether they're officially though the college or not - letting future students know their options for spending their free time is incredibly valuable. This is even more useful for students considering schools in rural locations. Does your school have a lot of concerts? Is theater big? Is football a religion? What clubs are the most popular? Do greeks dominate the scene?
Explaining why you chose to go there. What was the major factor in choosing your college? Was it cost? Research or internship opportunities? Location? Reputation? In this University of Vermont review the student claims that the academics and atmosphere are what brought her there. Everyone chooses to attend colleges for different reasons, but when you indicate your's in your review it gives the reader a lot more insight into your opinion.
What's Not Helpful in College Reviews
Letting your personal baggage shine through. We've all had the roommate who we didn't get along with, the professor who treated us unfairly, and the bad day when we forgot our umbrella and took our frustrations out on the rest of the world. Don't let one crummy incident taint your review or your entire opinion of your college.
Writing "nothing" in "the bad" section. In every StudentAdvisor college review we always ask 3 open-ended questions: What's good, what's bad, and would you go there again. Every school has ways in which it can improve even if it's something minor like wishing there was a better dessert selection in the cafeteria. So be honest and don't be shy to tell future students what's missing from your college.
Speaking ill of other colleges. There are some situations when comparing colleges to one another can be helpful, but as far as personal reviews goes you should only try focusing on one school per review. Maybe you were a transfer student who wasn't a fan of your old school - bashing them in a review of your new school is probably not a good idea. Remember, different colleges can be a better match for different students.
The poor economy has many people in a bind. There’s a lot of value in going back to school because additional education often increases employment options. But job lay offs and impossible mortgages can damage personal credit scores, leaving students unable to qualify for loans. Don’t give up on your dream! Even if you have bad credit there are still student loan options out there that can help you pay for school.
Federal Government: The First Place to Find Bad Credit Student Loans
The U.S. Department of Education financial aid program offers low-interest-rate student loans that don’t require credit checks to qualify. These include Stafford Loans and Perkins Loans.
Federal loans are a good solution because:
• You’ll get lower interest rates and fees compared to private loans.
• The federal government will pay your interest payments while you’re in school.
• You may not need to make loan payments while you’re in school.
• You get longer, better repayment terms.
Bad Credit Student Loans From Private Financial Institutions
Qualifying for reputable, manageable private loans is always based on good credit. While you have bad credit, you probably won’t be able to get a private loan unless it has a very high interest rate and a lot of restrictions to make sure you don’t default. Remember that scam artists love a bad economy because it’s so easy to rip off people who feel desperate. Any private loan that seems too good to be true—especially for someone who has bad credit—almost certainly is, especially if it offers a very low interest rate and claims to offer all kinds of easy repayment terms.
Tips for Managing a Private Loan if You Have Bad Credit
• Carefully read all the small print and make sure they’re not going to double the interest rate on you in 3 months, or something like that. The last thing you want to do is to add more bad credit to the bad credit you already have.
• Ask someone whom you trust (and who trusts you) to be a co-signer on the loan. This will include the both of you signing a promissory note as well. Your co-signer does not have to be a parent or guardian, but he or she must have good credit.
• Once your student loan payments begin, don’t ever miss a payment and make every payment on time.
Paying Off Your Loans
After you graduate, do everything you can to pay back your student loan reliably and on time. If you can’t make the payments or if you fall behind, consider a federal government consolidation loan, offered through its direct lending program.
By Sam Coren
Let's face it. Getting advice on the Internet is like shooting in the dark. When it comes to getting good information about college it's even harder. How do you know the person advising you has relevant expertise on the subject? The StudentAdvisor team knows how difficult this can be, and that's why we've decided to roll out a process for identifying trusted members of the StudentAdvisor community on our site.
What is a Verified Advisor?
A Verified Advisor is an expert on a certain subject pertaining to college life that has had their background reviewed by the StudentAdvisor staff. When you see someone with the green Verified Advisor badge in their StudentAdvisor user profile it means they've earned our seal of approval as being a reliable, trusted source of information in our community.
How do I connect with Verified Advisors?
Getting in touch with Verified Advisors is easy!
1. Register for free on StudentAdvisor and fill out your profile.
2. Once you're logged in click the "Activity" tab in your dashboard and scroll down to see the Popular Advisors section. Once you've connected you'll be able to privately message Advisors with your college related questions.
3. Check for the green Verified Advisor badge next to a Community Member's profile and click "Connect".
Meet Our Newest Verified Advisors
Susan has 18 years of enrollment experience at Lebanon Valley College, including admissions, financial aid and retention.
Jenny Ruth Binger
Jenny is a Susquehanna University alumna who loves writing, kayaking, working and living in Selinsgrove, Pa. Connect with her for expert advice on college admissions.
Robin is Co-Founder/CEO of Thinking Beyond Borders, an educational gap year non-profit. He also serves as Co-Director of the USA Gap Year Fairs, helping to promote the broad range of gap year options to students around the US. He earned a B.A. in International Development Studies from UCLA and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Rachel is an Admission Counselor at the University of Denver. She holds an MA in Counseling Psychology and spent four and a half years as the Director of the DU Hillel.
How to Become a Verified Advisor on StudentAdvisor
Think you know a ton about college? Love helping students? We're looking for Advisors on a wide variety of topics including, but not limited to admissions, financial aid, student activities, study abroad, academics, sports, relationships, parents, health, residence life and more!
To become a Verified Advisor, simply sign up on StudentAdvisor for free and fill out a profile. Once you've completed a profile send an email to Advisors@StudentAdvisor.com and let us know what college-related topics you specialize in. Feel free to include any links to articles you've written or your LinkedIn profile or résumé if you have one.
By Jeremy Azurin
Throughout my freshman year, I’ve heard many responses to what people think “college life” is. Some define it as a constant party with independence, student loans, Greek life, and the state of perpetually being broke. Others say it’s filled with all-nighters, coffee, learning, internships, broadening worldviews, and more parties. Some have said their view changed from their expectations as a high school student, and others have said it was exactly what they predicted. I, however, came in with zero expectations and quickly found out that everyone was right: it is a party filled with debt and caffeine. But at the same time you will learn plenty both in and out of the classroom.
What most people don’t mention, however, is that college life can include military life as well. For those who will be partaking the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program, college will be all of the above plus waking up earlier than the break of dawn for drills and intense physical training in order to become our nation’s next leaders, all before your first class (at noon!). This fall, close to 400 new cadets will enter Virginia Tech to live an alternative college experience where we will learn from military experts and participate in mandatory Corps labs while fostering relationships with students both civilian and non-civilian.
At Virginia Tech, you’re either enrolled in the Military Track, where you’re affiliated with the Air Force, Army, Navy, or Marine Option ROTC; or, if you’re like me, under the Civilian Track, where you’ll participate in [most of] the same activities as those on the Military Track. The only difference is that Civilian Track cadets aren’t obligated to serve in the military after graduation. But aside from that, all students will be living, eating, and training together, regardless of what option you’re on. Both tracks cultivate a sense of character and integrity along with camaraderie between the other cadets and prepare you for a life of service, leadership, and discipline - all while receiving a top-notch education.
Whether it’s for military experience, leadership enrichment, or monetary reasons, those of us in the Corps of Cadets all share a common trait: a life-long commitment to service. I’m transferring to Virginia Tech as a cadet this fall on the Civilian Track where I’ll be a sophomore academically but a freshman in the Corps. I’ve already had a year of the “traditional” college experience and, truth be told, I’m looking to spend the next three years in an alternative environment. My time in the Corps is a way to devote myself to helping others by first helping myself. The training, discipline, and mandatory corps labs and lectures are only half of this packaged deal; it’s the internal motivation, commitment, discipline, and struggle that attracts me and ultimately defines my desire to become the best leader I can be.
When I tell people I’m willingly living the military life, people usually look at me in disbelief, followed by questions such as, “Does that mean you won’t be partying? Are people going to be yelling at you all of the time? Is your entire schedule regimented? Will you spend your weekends and summers training? Will you learn how to shoot things?! Do you want to be a freshman again?!” and I’ll respond with, “Anything can happen.”
I knew what I was getting myself into when I was applying and deliberately chose to live my college years this way because of the discipline and leadership that comes with cadet life, along with the obvious emphasis of service, which is literally Virginia Tech’s Motto: Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). So yes, partying will be limited, but I’ll get over it; people will yell, but that’s expected; my schedule will be regimented, just the way I like it; and yes, if it means enduring the Corps with a great group of students, I don’t mind being a freshman again. If it means giving my blood, sweat, and tears, as long as I’m out there giving 110% of my strength, willpower, and abilities, I have no regrets.
So here’s to a great year all of the cadets entering this fall at Virginia Tech, the other senior military colleges, the military academies, and those in the nationwide ROTC program. Good luck, stay safe, don’t give up, and learn. Keep on learning. Ut Prosim.
Jeremy Azurin is a D.C. native majoring in geography at Virginia Tech where he will be a cadet this fall with Virginia Tech’s Corps of Cadets. Jeremy can be reached here. He wants to thank all of those who have served, are currently serving, and will serve this country in one way or another, especially those who will enter military academies or ROTC programs this fall.
Photos: geeknerd99 techsports
By Sam Coren
Imagine if your entire internship revolved around helping other students find internships. This week on StudentAdvisor's Internship Spotlight we head to the west coast and talk to a student who's happily climbing the ranks at InternMatch, a website that simplifies the process of connecting prospective interns with organizations. InternMatch also maintains an incredibly useful blog for current interns and interns-to-be.
Check out Nathan's Internship Spotlight profile to learn more:
University of Washington
Major and Class Year:
Finance, Class of 2012
What does your company do?
InternMatch is a free internship listing resource that helps students find and acquire positions. They are growing very rapidly and were recently part of the 500 startups accelerator in Mountain View, CA.
What's your position there?
Former Campus Student Ambassador, Current Campus Outreach Coordinator
Can you tell us about a typical day on the job?
As a student ambassador I was given a great deal of flexibility in how I wanted to market InternMatch at the University of Washington. On a typical day, I would speak in front of 3-4 lecture sessions, teaching students about the resource and encourage them to join InternMatch’s student mailing list. Other times I would be marketing for an event we were hosting on campus. This involved a combination of guerrilla marketing and departmental/club meetings to make sure our event would reach the largest audience possible.
What have you learned so far during your internship?
Having to continually speak in front of 200 students was a new experience for me. My public speaking skills (you know the ones high school teachers ALWAYS talk about) improved 10 fold during this process. I also learned the ins and outs of campus event planning. During my time as a campus evangelist, I was challenged to plan, market and execute a few different events on campus. Some may say this isn’t applicable in many professional settings, but it creates intangible skills though experience with thorough planning and organized marketing.
What are your career goals and how will this internship help you achieve them?
In terms of the future, I have convinced myself that I will not stop working until I have spent time working for Aston Martin. I’m not exactly sure where my current position will lead me, but I do know why it will help. My work involved meeting with nearly all of the department chairs at my university. Speaking with them about myself and our company taught me how to communicate professionally, yet comfortably. This may sound funny to some people, but until you’re dropped into formal meetings where you’re representing a company, you just won’t understand. There is inherent pressure in these situations, which detracts from some peoples ability to market themselves or their product.
What are the three biggest mistakes any intern could make?
I’ve had the unique opportunity to work both with my employer and away from them on my own. It would be a mistake to not consider the following during your internship:
1. Be involved: If you have the opportunity to tag along with your boss or join a project, you HAVE to do it. Its impossible to know which networking event or successful group project will propel you to the next level
2. Follow the star: Connect with a person in the organization you think will excel. Try and work with them in whatever capacity you can, because when they are promoted, your going with them. Join their company project, ask them to mentor you, anything you can do to be associated with the ‘star.’
3. So now what? These days internships act as a long term interview and it is easy to lose sight of your career intentions. Through planning and diligent networking, you can make sure you have a full time position when your internship ends.
What advice do you have for someone trying to get an internship position similar to yours?
I would highly recommend a student to take on the quarterly (or semester) challenge of being a campus ambassador, it’s a fun process. InternMatch lists their personal intern opportunities on their website, so check for a position at your campus weeks before each coming term. To land the position you have to prove you are a creative marketer and outgoing communicator, in addition to being well connected within clubs and/or departments on campus.
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 Brad Moore
An elective is rarely a class that you can get passionate about. Most of the time it’s a too-easy, skim-the-readings, and flirt-with-the-girl-in-the-Uggs kind of experience. Occasionally you'll perk your head up once a week to say anything just so you can get those sought-after participation points. At least that’s how it feels, according to my classmates’ classroom decorum.
I talk too much in class. I raise my hand for everything, and I admit that sometimes I don’t even have anything to add, really. I have even said the exact opposite of what I believe just to get anybody else to talk, and then I shake my head in agreement with them as if they convinced me otherwise. You’d be surprised how popular this can make you, though whether or not that’s a good thing is debatable.
Unconfidence Speaks in Simple Phrases
Once that discussion gets started—the one where everyone is now contributing—one of my biggest pet peeves about the modern classroom rears its ugly head. It prefaces at least 70% of classroom responses. That’s about the percentage of people who think UFO’s are totally aliens from outer space, so naturally we should be concerned about this. It starts with one simple phrase:
“Well, I was gonna say…”
Or the alternative:
“I feel like…”
And it ends with:
“…But that’s just my opinion, I don’t know…”
Think about how many times you’ve said these phrases in classes that ask you to speak up and state your opinion. I started noticing it the Fall semester of my junior year in a class where we read autobiographies. About six people in a row replied to their classmates with a phrase that is already implied by them electing to contribute to the conversation. I noticed that I was doing it nearly every time I answered a question, but I didn’t know why. After a good dig through my past class schedules, the reason finally dawned on me.
Freshman fall semester electives. Specifically a course entitled “Race on the Stage.”
It's Okay to Be the Odd Man Out
Approaching college from High School is pretty terrifying. When you’re dropped into a class that has all ages of students, you really don’t want to sound like the dumb freshman in the room. Especially at a school like Temple University, where it’s not hard to be a white minority in a class that focuses on racial issues.
This class felt like I was a football being spiked into the landmine-filled world of college classroom discussion. I learned very quickly that the easiest way to share the opinions that some of my classmates might not like was to place them behind the comfortable veil of modesty that comes with the statement, “Well I was just going to say…” It implies that you were not, in fact, going to share your opinion, but rather decided to sit back and watch the conversation develop, only to find yourself pushed to finally share your thoughts slightly against your will. It’s easy, it’s common, and it’s a total cop out.
It’s almost like saying “It is what it is,” only safer. And safe isn’t a good thing in intellectual discussion. You should want to delve into shark-infested waters and not be afraid to get your leg bitten off. You should have the gumption to call out someone’s weak argument, and the same gumption to realize when you were wrong. Without that brevity you’re merely skimming the surface of the expensive detour from your major.
College Offers the Best Environment for Respectful Arguments
I address this issue because as we get further into the millennium our Bachelor’s degrees seem less and less valuable. Even though they’re viewed that way in the workforce, our brains and our wallets sure don’t see it that way. And if we’re going to sit there and coast through school with only a piece of paper to show for it, then we’re going to be doing ourselves a massive disservice.
Speak up, let your voice be heard, compromise when you feel bested or enlightened, and don’t be afraid to disagree. People might not like it, but they’ll at least respect you for sticking to what you believe in.
But that’s just my opinion, I don’t know.
Brad Moore is a senior at Temple University where he is a Film and Media Arts Major at the School of Communications and Theater.
By Laura Snyder
If you didn’t land your dream job after graduation, new grads still have options. The assistant director of career development at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. Dwayne Keiffer suggests these ways to gain experience in your field of interest while holding down a part-time job to pay the bills:
“Explore opportunities to volunteer with organizations to demonstrate your commitment to their company," says Keiffer. "This can be especially effective when pursuing opportunities with a non-profit organization. When opportunities open up within the organization, you will have experience from working as a volunteer. You will also be building your network within the organization.”
"You may approach an organization and work out a short-term internship after graduation. You could offer to work for an organization for a specific period of time (perhaps 2 or 3 months). At the end of your internship period request a review with your supervisor at which point the company has the option to continue your employment on a full-time basis. While you are at the organization, you have the opportunity to prove your value. If the internship does not result in a full-time job offer, it will provide you with additional experience to put on your resume for future job opportunities.”
“Some graduates are taking time off after graduation. If you choose to take some time off after graduation (sometimes referred to as a “Gap Year”) it is important that you have a purpose for this time. If your plan is to travel, have a stated purpose for your travel e.g. to gain a better understanding of the economic and social structures of Germany. If you goal is to perform volunteer work your purpose might be to build an orphanage in a developing country or to perform volunteer assistance to the flood ravaged southern states etc.. Don’t sit around and have nothing to show for it. Be active. A gap period is not an excuse to “check out”. It is an opportunity to pursue meaningful experiences that will increase your marketability as a young professional.”
“Don’t ignore temporary positions,” says Nichole Lefelhoc, associate director of career development and internships at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pa. “With the economy still in ebbs and flows, some employers are turning to temporary employment agencies to bring in new employees. From the employer’s perspective, it’s a way to test out new employees to see if they’re a good fit before bringing them on for permanent employment.”
She says to remember that, regardless of your job hunting strategy, the trick is to keep at it. “Finding a full-time job is a full-time job. It’s important to dedicate time everyday toward the search. The wrong mindset is that if you set up accounts and post your resume on job search websites that the job will come to you. You must pursue the position.”
By John Incantalupo
Are you taking to the road for college visits this summer? Each summer parents and students take to the “proverbial road” via subway, SUV/Mini-Van, and airplane to tour colleges. Visits help (when recorded!) in the college admissions process - admissions officers love when students are interested enough to visit.
Many will visit up to 10 colleges, along with checking out the localities, and cities and towns around the institutions. Organizing multiple visits (or even one or two) can be a nightmare! Why not use the technology we have in our homes and pockets to make the task easier?
Here’s a list of cross-platform apps that can help at every stage of the college visit trip. You’ll be able to use the majority of these applications, regardless of whether you’re an iPhone, Android or web user. Most are easy to use, and some are even fun!
Much of the planning process is all about setting up to-do lists and checking off completed items as you go along. Here are two apps that will aid you greatly in planning your college visits.
37Signals is a company that has developed some of the most useful web-based applications on the planet. Basecamp is their project management software, and it is chock-full of features that will make your college visit planning a snap. Easy to use, pretty to look at and ultimately useful, there is a free plan which will allow you enough features to get your visits organized.
Basecamp works on just about any Web browser, and across all mobile devices (Windows Phone 7 users may have to use Kompass - a Basecamp app for Windows Phone 7). Because the mobile app is an HTML5 web-based app, all your changes are synced between your home computer and your mobile device.
Plan and organize at home, then take your mobile with you! What could be easier!
2. Remember The Milk
Remember The Milk or RTM is more of a traditional To-Do list with added features.
The web app is free to use, upgrade to the premium, for a price to use with mobile devices. There are native iPhone, iPad and Android versions that will cost you $25 per year to use, but the avid users of RTM don’t mind the added expense! They know how fantastic an app this is.
RTM is easy to use, almost intuitive in its simplicity - and will get the organizing job done!
3. Google Maps
As far as I’m concerned, there is only one app you’ll need for mapping out your trip. That app is Google Maps.
Whether you are travelling by rail, car, plane or on foot, Google Maps will get the mapping job done for you. The Google Maps app will open on any computer in any browser, as well as work on just about any mobile device. Check out the Google Maps mobile webpage for more info on what features are included on your mobile device.
If you are an Android user, you’re probably aware the Google Maps app on your device is also a turn-by-turn GPS navigation system in your hand! On the iPhone and other mobiles you’ll be able to use Google Maps Street View to check out the actual locations you’ll be visiting.
The best way to use Google Maps for college visits is to bring up the app on your home desktop or laptop and search for the colleges you’ll be visiting. When you find them, “star” them. You’ll then be able to find the locations on your mobile device by listing your “starred” locations.
You can also use the “directions” feature to get door-to-door directions and distances to your colleges - AND include multiple points (colleges) - so you’ll get a great idea of the mileage and time it will take from college to college, and for the whole trip.
Once you’re on the ground, use the Google Maps “walking” directions to get to your exact locations on foot.
I know, crazy isn’t it...but this is the world we all live now!
Once you get to your colleges, you’ll want a way to quickly jot down notes so that you can remember the pros and cons of each visit.
Sure, you can use a pen and paper, but why not harness all that tech you carry around with you.
There are several cross-platform apps that will make it a joy to use your iPhone, iPad or Android phone or tablet to catalogue your notes for instant retrieval where ever you are!
Evernote is a full-featured note-taking and “capturing” app which can be very useful for keeping track of the colleges you’ve visited. There is a free version and a premium version. I believe most users will find the free version to be more than enough to keep track of college visits - but if you start to use it for EVERYTHING you may want to upgrade!
I’ve used Evernote since 2008, which I realized in doing the research for this blog post! All my notes from that year are still online, I find this to be remarkably helpful for cataloguing important items.
Think about using an app like this for college visits - and imagine if you have several children, being able to go back and look at the notes you made for the older child! Invaluable!
You can set up notebooks for each individual college you’re visiting, and then keep all kinds of notes in it. You can include links to the college’s web site, review sites, forums dealing with the college - and, of course, your own visit notes which you can upload contemporaneously from your mobile device.
Evernote works in every browser, and also has native apps for Android, the iPhone/iPad, Palm, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 - really just about any mobile device.
SpringPad is a very, very smart note taking app. Although slightly more complicated to use than Evernote, this is the app to use if you’re plugged in, wired up and ready to go!
SpringPad also works on the “notebook” concept - but the items you can add to the notebooks are varied and include contacts (you can connect your google or facebook contacts).
Once you add a college to your notebook as a contact, including the address of the college, you’ll have a google map attached to the entry - and can easily get directions (and all the other Google Map goodies) to the college.
Other types of entries include: check list, packing list, shopping list, alarm, event, task, bookmark - just about anything you can think of! Your individual college notebook can contain all kinds of info about the visit, and the college.
Download the SpringPad app for your mobile, and you’ll have it all in the palm of your hand - add notes to the notebook while you’re at the college. I always like creating an immediate “pros and cons” list - a very good way to sort out your first impressions.
Geo-location Aware Apps
Foursquare is a geo-location app that is experiencing unprecedented growth in popularity. Some are even betting on Foursquare being as popular as Facebook and Twitter in the near future.
I like using Foursquare for both it’s social media features, as well as its mapping and “tips” features.
With Foursquare, users “check-in” at locations they arrive at, using a mobile device. Foursquare is available on both the iPhone and Android platforms and syncs to the web-based version of the app.
Foursquare users are awarded badges for achieving various levels and locations, which makes it fun to use and popular with teens. Colleges are just starting to get on the Foursquare service, but users often leave their own tips when visiting and attending colleges.
This is where the app becomes invaluable on college visits - even if just to find the favorite local burritto joint!
If you’d like to find out more about using Foursquare for college admissions check out How to Look for College Using Social Media.
Gowalla is similar to Foursquare with a few different features, and it basically works the same way. Connect with your friends to see where they are, visit new locations and leave comments.
One feature I really like about Gowalla is the “Trip” feature, and some colleges have found it to be useful as well. Check out the “Trips” feature, and you’ll notice several trips curated by Penn State University - they harness the power of these geo-location apps by creating on campus tours of several types - really cool!
Using Tech for College Visits
You know you have the tech in your hands! You have it in your Blackberry, your iPhone, your iPad, your netbook - your desktop!
Harness this power for college visits - make them easy, fun and productive whether you’re a parent or student!
Parents, this is a chance to show your high school student just how cool you REALLY are (don’t worry they’ll never admit it!) - and students, here’s your chance to show your parents just how organized and together you can really be (don’t worry, your parents will still nag you!).
Enjoy your summer college visits! I’ll be monitoring the comments section below to answer any questions you may have.
John Incantalupo is co-founder of bragTAG, the High School Resume on Facebook. You can check out more of the bragTAG team’s advice on social media and college admissions at the bragTAG College Bound Blog.
By Marcy Black
Planning a campus visit can be a logistical challenge, whether it’s a quick pass through the local community college, or a week-long tour of distant colleges and universities. Here are some questions to consider before you leave.
What type of "visit" are you planning to do?
When you don’t have much time, a drive through campus will give you a quick impression of the institution and its neighborhood. Is it in a leafy suburb or gritty urban setting? Contemporary construction, or aging Gothic stonework? Do you see smiling faces, or grim expressions?
The "Day Visit"
Most people try to schedule, at the minimum, a half-day visit to attend an information session and take a campus tour. A full day on campus allows time for an admissions office interview, a meal in the cafeteria, a class, impromptu conversations with students, and meetings with faculty and coaches.
Many schools will arrange for a prospective applicant to spend the night with a student in a residence hall. Your host could be a student in your major, or an athlete in your sport. You might be able to set up an overnight visit with a sibling, friend, or currently enrolled student from your town.
How Many Colleges Will You Visit?
Pre-application: It’s a good idea to try to visit the top three schools on your application list. If you have the time and money, you can use campus visits to explore many options. Even if you don’t start out thinking you’d enjoy attending a technical institute, a single sex institution, or a giant state university, you may change your mind after a campus visit. A driving tour can cover a lot of ground, but don’t be too ambitious. Schedule visits to no more than two schools a day. Ten in five days may leave you exhausted and with blurry impressions of the schools.
Post-acceptance: If you are not certain about what school you will attend, campus visits to the schools that accepted you may help you decide. Spring open campus events for accepted students are a great way to meet your future classmates.
When will you visit?
It’s never too early to introduce children to higher education. Visits to colleges can easily be incorporated into family vacations, even at an early age. But for the teenager, visiting colleges takes on more immediacy.
Junior year is the time to get serious about visiting schools. Federal holidays in the fall and spring vacations offer opportunities to check out college campuses.
Senior year students should be zeroing in on their top picks in the fall, and visit those schools. Post-acceptance trips to visit campuses are essential if a student is still undecided about which school to attend. Most colleges offer campus programs for accepted students in the spring. Without the anxiety about getting accepted, teens can mingle with their prospective classmates to see if that school is a comfortable fit.
Iowa’s Grinnell College gets the most visitors in August, when families have vacation time, and April, when accepted students visit the school. College Visits, a Charleston, S.C.- based company that takes groups of students on packaged tours, does the bulk of its business February to April, during high school winter and spring breaks.
Some families defer any visits until after college acceptances have been received. Visiting schools to which a student has already been admitted allows the student to concentrate on realistic options. Though it’s tempting to tour on a holiday so you won’t miss high school classes, try to ensure that you visit while college classes are in session. An empty campus won’t give you a true picture of the place.
“Classes may be in session in the morning, but you generally will not feel the buzz and bustle of any campus until about 4 p.m.”, says private educational consultant Mark Montgomery of Denver.
What should you know before you go?
A lot of research can be done ahead of time before you arrive on campus. College search websites (such as StudentAdvisor) can give you information about admission requirements (average test scores and GPAs of admitted students), the size of the school, student-faculty ratios, specialized academic programs, cost, financial aid policies, and even college reviews. Carol J. DelPropost, Assistant Vice President of Admission and Financial Aid at Ohio Wesleyan University, recommends that students create a spreadsheet to organize this information, adding custom categories (like sports, or certain majors) of special importance to them. She says, “This thoughtful organization will help them to take control of their search right from the start.”
Photo: UWW Resnet
By Sam Coren
It's time for the second installment of our StudentAdvisor Internship Spotlight series! Every week we invite college interns across the country to talk about where they're working this summer and give our readers the inside scoop on some seriously cool internships. And when it comes to cool internships, why not consider learning the ropes at the company that recently earned its second title as The Best Place to Work in Boston?
This week caught up with HubSpot Intern Angela Bray to discuss what it's like to work at a fast-growing marketing software company. Between ping-pong tournaments with execs, a no-vacation policy, and a company full of bright, fun-loving people is there anything not to love?
Major and Class Year:
Print Journalism, Marketing minor Class of 2013
What does the company do?
HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing software platform for small and medium-sized businesses. More than 4,000 companies use HubSpot to generate over 500,000 leads per month. The company also just won Boston Business Journal’s #1 place to work (for medium-size companies)!
What's your position there?
I’m a marketing intern on the MOFU (middle of the funnel) team, and also co-producer of the weekly MarketingUpdate (HubSpot TV) show.
Can you tell us about a typical day on the job?
I typically work from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Each day is different; I’m all over the place!
My team has a stand-up meeting every morning at 10:45 at which we each share what was done the previous day and what will be worked on the current day. As a co-producer of MarketingUpdate on Fridays, I manage the #HubSpotTV live results on Twitter, responding to some and sending the good ones to whoever is on the show (usually Mike Volpe and Karen Rubin) so they can answer/comment right then and there. In addition to that and working with the equipment, I archive the episodes on the hubspot.tv blog.
I usually work on a webinar once or twice a week, answering questions from the audience and recording the session. Once a webinar ends, I edit and archive the recording online along with the presenter’s slides. Then I write a blog post using the content covered in the webinar to post on HubSpot’s blog.
Other tasks: create landing pages, certify landing pages, complete Content Camp landing page/blog post report cards, blog posts on marketing news, blog posts accompanying David Garland video interviews, archiving group demos data, publishing eBooks to Kindle and iTunes. I just wrote an eBook based off a webinar, and am working on my own right now!
And the best part? I’m never bored or without work.
What have you learned so far during your internship?
I have learned so many things! In a broad sense, I learn at least five new things from each eBook I read or webinar I attend. More specifically, I have learned the tactics and process of generating leads. I’ve been able to explore how HubSpot creates and offers quality content in the forms of blog posts, eBooks, guides, and webinars.
Although I am on the marketing team, I’ve been fortunate to learn about the other departments including sales and development through company meetings, intern training and mass emails.
What are your career goals, and how will your internship help you achieve them?
As a result of courses, jobs and internships over the past year or two, I’ve decided content creation, specifically in the areas of social media and blogging, are things I must incorporate into my career plans. I enjoy these things and can dedicate myself to them. Social media and blogging can be worked into any industry, since they fall into the marketing category.
My internship at HubSpot will help me achieve my career goals because it already has me doing real work! I’m doing and learning things beyond what’s taught in school. Everyone in the company is required to write two blog posts per month; I published 20 in my first month! Working on webinars has allowed me to create blog posts in any form (how-to, top list, tips, informative, commentary) which will be necessary for any job involving blogging. When it comes to social media, every company needs to be able to use it! I had a great knowledge of using social media as an individual, but this internship has taught me how to use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. as a marketer for a company.
What are the three biggest mistakes any intern could make?
1. Not hitting “reply-all” on emails
2. Not knowing that the mass amount of food in the kitchen is available for everyone
3. Not getting work done in a timely manner- anyone working at HubSpot can space out work and such, but it MUST get done.
What advice do you have for someone trying to get an internship position similar to yours?
Make yourself easy to find! Employers look through hundreds of applications. If you have just a Facebook, but your competitor has a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn... you’re out of luck. Your resume should highlight skills relevant to the position for which you’re applying. Look at the job description requirements, and list each on your resume, adding a few lines exemplifying your experience/knowledge of each.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Deborah Hutchison
Yikes! The fall semester is around the corner. While some students are returning to live in dormitories others will choose to live off-campus in rental apartments or houses. Two people or a group of students will decide it might be fun, easy and economical to share a living space together. Even if you can techincally afford to live on your own, you just might not want to come home ot a big empty apartment after class. Did you know that Prince William and Kate Middleton decided to live together with a group of college friends before they were married?
If you choose to cohabitate with someone or a group, make the roommate living experience positive for everyone. Once you decide who you will live with and where you will live it’s time to set expectations and clear guidelines for living together. Sit down and have a conversation with your roommate(s). Take a moment to create a roommate agreement so you all understand what you are committing too.
Here are 7 issues to discuss and agree upon for a healthy living relationship. Avoid misunderstandings or difficulties that may come up due to sharing a living space with other roommates:
1. Discuss finances and shared expenses
Paying rent is all well and good when everyone pays on time but one person’s idea of time maybe the day the rent is due and yet the other person may think 10 days later qualifies as rent payment full filled. Who pays for shared expenses like utilities, groceries, and renter’s insurance to name a few best to make those decisions upfront.
2. Decide on the living space arrangement.
There is usually always a master bedroom. How do you choose who gets it or the only garage parking space? Does one person pay more for the bigger or better space or do you flip a coin? Good idea to discuss this before the movers show up with your queen size bed to find out you lose the coin flip and get the smaller bedroom.
3. Assign household responsibilities.
Physical house cleaning, grocery shopping laundry…shared or split or? Nothing is more irritating than to come home and find your favorite food gone from the refrigerator or the shared bathroom once again has your roommate’s toothpaste all over the sink.. Yuck!
4. Define household policies.
Talk about general policies and set guidelines for overnight guests, partying, study time and even pets. It’s one thing to let a roommate bring a dog or cat but will you be responsible if something happens to it? Then again what if your roommate’s pet is a snake are you ok with it …..might want to know before it slithers into your room by accident one day.
5. Schedule regular meetings.
Not all roommate meetings should revolve around airing grievances! These meetings can function as a way to celebrate how well you are all living together or how you might improve.
6. Outline specific consequences.
Consequenses should be outlined for not full filling commitments to the your co-developed guidelines written in your roommate agreement. Allow for stuff happens but have things in place in the event that guidelines have been blatantly ignored or are causing harm.
7. Commit to your agreement.
We are all different people, whether you’re the studious roommate or the party animal, create clear guidelines and set boundaries with a written agreement. Then sign it and honor it.
Clarity in defined guidelines is a win - win situation. Have the conversation to address positive living arrangements to prevent emotional issues and potential toxic situations. Whether you end up marrying your roommate (Princess Kate today) or are buddies who go your separate ways do yourselves a favor by establishing the details of your living arrangements.
Deborah Hutchison is co-author with Judge Lynn Toler (Divorce Court TV) of the book "Put it in Writing...Creating Agreements Between Family and Friends". Deborah is the founder of ASaneApproach.com where she offers written agreements/emotional contracts to help people navigate some of life's more complicated arrangements with family and friends.
Image: Copyright A Sane Approach
By Purvi S. Mody
Over the last two years, California residents have been dealing with the consequences of a failing budget. One of the areas that has been hardest hit has been the University of California system, which can over the next year lose another half-billion in funding. As a result, the Board of Regents made the decision to admit more out-of-state students that pay full tuition rates that equal three times that of what a California resident pays.
Nearly One-Third of Accepted Berkeley & UCLA Students Were From Out-of-State
The UC Office of the President has reported that out-of-state students account for an overall 18 percent of admitted students, an increase of four percent from the previous year. And the most selective UCs showed the greatest increases. UC Berkeley and UCLA reported that nearly one-third of their accepted students were non-residents. But Dr. Vu Tran, Director of Admissions at UCLA, stated that while UCLA hopes to enroll 150 more non-residents, the University made a firm commitment to California residents and also plans to enroll 400 more residents this year. UCLA was the only UC to report a higher acceptance rate than last year. While many families have felt squeezed out of the UCs this year, this shift can also have many positive returns.
Out-of-State Tuition Rates Lessen the Blow of Education Budget Cuts
The first benefit is obviously financial. The additional fees that non-residents pay can help to offset the the cuts the universities are facing from the state budget. This money will allow the schools to continue to provide the high quality programs that we have come to expect from the UC system. Fewer classes will be reduced or altogether cut. More professors will be retained. Research centers can continue to operate. Advising programs can provide staff for students throughout their education. The UCs can also continue to financially support California families that cannot afford the full cost of a UC education. First and foremost, the Universities can provide the world-class education that they have been providing for decades.
Geographic Diversity in the Student Body Benefits On-Campus Life
The more geographically diverse class can also be advantageous. Much of the learning that students experience on campus comes from their peers. They learn about different experiences, lifestyles, cultures, and religions. They also learn first-hand about different political and economic systems. A diversity of students should make class discussions more interesting because of the varying viewpoints.
Admitting More Out-of-Staters Raises Brand Recognition for the Schools
Admitting more non-residents will also increase the value of the UC brand throughout the United States and internationally. This can be especially beneficial for the schools that are not currently internationally ranked or recognized. As students graduate and then go back to their home states and countries, they will increase awareness of the University of California system. These students are also more likely to donate to their alma mater further increasing their monetary value. There is also a greater chance that more top companies will recruit on campus.
Other Top-Tier Public Colleges Continue the Trend
The Regents’ decision to admit more non-resident students is a major change for the UC system, but it is a policy that many other public universities have long held and its benefits are obvious. The engineering and business programs at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign often attract non-resident applicants. These two programs are highly ranked internationally and the degrees students get carry value wherever in the world they are. University of Michigan aims to enroll nearly one-third non-Michigan residents. That is the same percentage that University of Washington at Seattle had in their freshman class last year. And while the State of Texas mandates that students in the top 5% of their graduating class must be admitted to UT Austin, more and more non-Texas-residents are sending in applications. And the University of Virginia remains one of the most competitive schools to get into.
Non-resident students will likely make up less than 10% of the Freshman class at the University of California next year. Many of the admitted students will opt to attend other schools. The Admissions Offices knew this in advance and expected a much lower yield for these types of applicants. In an ideal world, the UCs could admit as many in-state students as before and have space for non-residents as well. Hopefully admitting more non-residents now will give the University of California more financial flexibility in the future.
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
If you were lucky enough to graduate this past Spring, I recommend savoring this summer as much as possible. Why? Come September it will hit you like a sack of bricks when realize that you won't be going back to school. Whether you like it or not, you'll have to learn how to live in the real world.
Now that I'm two years past my own college graduation I feel like I can bestow some sage-like advice upon this year's pack of new graduates:
Set a realistic budget or else you are going to end up in a huge world of debt.
Whether you have a job yet or not, learning how to manage money properly is crucial. Figure out how much money you need to allocate toward housing expenses, food, paying off debts, transportation etc. If you're not sure how much you can afford on rent (and I say rent because being a property owner in your early 20's isn't a good idea for most people) a good rule of thumb is to not spend more than a third (~33%) of your monthly income on rent and utilities. Some might say don't even go above 25% if you're living in a place with a high cost of living and have a lot of debt to pay off. Start saving money now.
Understand that it's much harder to be social and make friends than it is while you're in school.
One of the things I've noticed is that making plans with people post-college requires you to plan most of your evenings at least 5 days in advance. Unless you happen to be BFF's with your neighbors, which is becoming increasingly rare in today's society, you just can't count on having spontaneous outings with other people anymore. When most of your friends are 9-5ing it, weekends become a precious commodity and require you to book activities with your friends weeks in advance.
Try making friends with some of your coworkers, even if they aren't the same age as you - those after work hang out sessions help keep you sane during the weekdays. If that's not an option take up a hobby that involves built-in socialization - for instance if you play an instrument find people on Craigslist who want to jam. You can also meet people who believe in the same causes as you through volunteer work.
Make a serious effort to take care of yourself physically.
This is even more important if you're an office dweller and don't commute via walking or bike. College students are used to having to walk everywhere. Post-college most people who earn a living working at a desk probably walk less than a mile each day. Join a gym, start running, lay off carbs and junk food, start biking, eat more veggies, etc. - if you don't those pounds are going to sneak up on you. Also, your mom isn't making your doctors appointments anymore, so be sure to get a yearly physical.
Speaking of moms, it's a good idea to keep in touch with your family if you're moving away.
Doubly so if your parents helped you out with your education in anyway. Thanks to technology, you don't even have to worry about making long distance calls anymore. I make a point to call my folks every Sunday just to say hi and catch up. Half the time I don't even feel like I have anything interesting to say, but parents really do appreciate that you're thinking of them and staying in touch - even if it's just a 5 minute call or a quick email.
Keep expanding that mind! Just because you're out of school doesn't mean you should stop learning.
Whether it's for your career or for your own personal interests, keep looking for ways to learn new things. Personally, I subscribed to a bunch of economic magazines (by the way magazine subscriptions are dirt cheap now) so I could have a better understanding of complex current issues. If you live near a major city or university there are always free/cheap events to hear lecturers and panelists on just about any topic you could think of.
Have a life outside your job.
The second I found a job after I graduated I dedicated so much of my energy into it that I barely had a life outside work. A year later I found myself so mentally drained that I had to do some soul searching to figure out I needed to make some immediate changes. Consequently, these changes started with finding a new job so I could have the time and energy after work to focus on music projects I loved doing. The average worker changes jobs about every 5 years. Gone are the days when someone signs their entire career and life away to one company.
Remember: You are your own person. Make time to peruse your passions and hobbies. Make time to stay in touch with friends and family. Treat yourself well and be confident about who you are. The rest will fall into place.