By Sam Coren
Every week StudentAdvisor compiles the top stories in college news. Here are some of the biggest stories that made the headlines this week:
Northeastern Physics Grad Accused of Terror Plot
Shock waves hit the Northeastern University community as news has spread all over the world of Rezwan Feradus. Rezwan, a 26-year old physics student graduated who from Northeastern in 2008, was recently indicted for allegedly plotting a terror attack on the Pentagon and Capitol with model planes rigged with explosives. Those who personally knew Rezwan have been working to dispel wild rumors circulating in media outlets such as him burning the American flag while in high school and turning his back during the pledge of allegiance.
Affirmative Action Bake Sale at UC Berkeley Triggers Backlash on SB 185
The Berkeley College Republicans have turned the classic campus bake sale into an activist showcase. On Tuesday the group sold out of cupcakes in a "Diversity Bake Sale" at UC Berkeley that had a sliding price scale. Caucasian males were charged the most and while Native American women were charged the least. Those who opposed the bake sale believed it to be inherently racist. The bake sale was in response to SB 185, a bill that recently passed in the California State Senate that would, "authorize the University of California and the California State University to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin, along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions."
Seton Hall Offering Two-Thirds Off Tuition for Top Applicants
Seton Hall University, private Roman Catholic university in South Orange N.J., will be offering two-thirds off tuition for four years to qualifying freshmen enrolling for Fall 2012. This two-thirds tuition discount brings the cost of attending Seton Hall equal to attending Rutgers University-New Brunswick, New Jersey's flagship public university, as an in-state resident. To qualify for the tuition discount students must be in the top 10% of their class and have an ACT composite score of at least 27 or a combined 1200 on the critical reading and math sections on the SAT. For more information visit Seton Hall's admissions site.
University of New Hampshire Stalls On Banning Energy Drink Sales
Good news for you UNH Wildcats who can't get enough Red Bull. University of New Hampshire has stalled on its plan to ban energy drink sales on campus. According to the Boston Globe, "conflicting reports about the caffeine and sugar content of some of the drinks, as well as negative student reaction" has prompted the delay. The school was set to remove Full Throttle, Red Bull, Moxie Energy and NOS from seven on-campus dining halls and convenience stores as well as school-owned vending machines starting in January.
Have a college news story that you think should be featured on This Week in College News? Send stories to content[at]studentadvisor.com.
By Chris Wilcox
It’s Friday night and you have some friends over to your dorm room to pregame the big party of the week. As you and your friends are drinking, you turn up the music and the conversations get a little louder. There’s a knock at the door – it’s the RA. Busted. The party's over and the RA on duty starts taking everyone's name down for violating the school's alcohol policy.
As an RA myself, I can tell you that alcohol violations are one of the most frequent disciplinary infractions I see from new college students. College drinking culture can be very tempting. Some students get a rush from bending the rules (and in most cases the law) while trying to make new friends. Despite how common campus alcohol violations are, you should not take the incident lightly if you happen to get caught.
So what should you? Arguing, making excuses, or getting visibly upset in front of everyone is not going to help the situation. Here are a few steps you can take to minimize the damage:
Talk to your RA.
If you haven’t gotten to know your RA, this is the perfect time to tap into their resources and expertise. While your RA can’t exactly tell you the consequences since each incident is different, they are familiar with the rules of on campus housing. Your RA will be able to inform you about the typical process. At some schools, you will receive an email or letter from the hall director of your building stating that must meet with him or her to discuss the violation.
During your meeting, the director will go over the report from the RA who encountered the incident and you can present your side of the story. From there, the director will decide what the penalty should be. This can range from a warning to being dismissed from housing. If you’re nervous about meeting with the hall director, bring a friend to wait outside who you can talk to immediately after. Having a support system can make a difference and ease your jitters.
When you’re meeting with the hall director, he or she has a report from the night of the alcohol violation from the Resident Assistant. There is no use in lying and saying that you weren’t in your room the night of the incident. Lying can only hurt you.
The most important thing you can do is relax. Worrying about if your parents or your coach will find out will not make the situation go away. Those are questions that will be answered in due time. Just make sure that you learn from the experience and take the process as it goes. And don't forget, there's plenty of fun to be had at college that doesn't involve drinking.
By Sam Coren
This Saturday it's the mega match up Huskers football fans have been craving since the move to the Big Ten conference. With both teams boasting a 4-0 record so far in the 2011 season, even casual college football fans are brimming with excitement over this weekend's upcoming Nebraska vs. Wisconsin game.
But how do these powerhouse Big Ten colleges compare off the gridiron? To celebrate the big game, the StudentAdvisor team took a peak at the undergrad admissions stats for both schools:
Location: Lincoln, NE
In State Tuition: $6,248
Out of State Tuition: $18,532
ACT Scores: 22 - 29 Composite
SAT Scores: Math - 670 , Verbal - 670
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Undergraduate Population: 18,526
Student-To-Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
Student Body Make-up: M: 46% F: 54%
The Good: Friendly, welcoming student body with tons of school spirit. Great opportunities for undergrads interested in research. Lots of good nightlife options in downtown Lincoln.
The Bad: Long, windy winters. Not the most diverse student body. Academic advising could benefit from more personal interaction.
Notable Alumni: Warren Buffet, Johnny Carson, and Aaron Douglas
Are you a Cornhusker? Help prospective students decide and review University of Nebraska-Lincoln!
Location: Madison, WI
In State Tuition: $9,672
Out of State Tuition: $25,421
ACT Scores: 27 – 29 Composite
SAT Scores: Math - 710 , Verbal - 670
Acceptance Rate: 62%
Undergraduate Population: 28,736
Student-To-Faculty Ratio: 22 to 1
Student Body Make-up: M: 49% F: 51%
The Good: Ranks 4th out of US Public universities for federally funded research and 2nd for expenditures. Campus easily accessible by foot. Several top ranking undergraduate programs.
The Bad: Steep tuition increases. The "college party town" vibe can be overwhelming to some. Can be tough to get personalized attention from faculty and administration with such a large student body.
Notable Alumni: Bud Selig, Carol Bartz, Esther Forbes
Want to know what Badger pride is all about? Read Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison reviews on StudentAdvisor.
Photos: beatboxbadhabit & sweet mustache
By Don Fornes
For as far back as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be a businessman. Never mind that I really had no idea what kind of business career I would pursue, or what business people actually do each day. I simply understood that business people wore important clothes, were well respected, and, well, made lots of money.
This lack of understanding persisted through college, where the most I did to prepare for a career in business was to study economics, rather than, say history or English. Nevertheless, late in my senior year I received a job offer from an investment bank in New York. The role sounded important, paid well, and was focused on two industries that I was told were good places to be – health care and high tech. Sold! I was now a global financier (not really – I mainly made PowerPoint slides and bound “pitch books”).
Many of my classmates took similar jobs. While we all found our own way to New York, there v ery well should have been a convoy of buses taking us from graduation to Wall Street.
This brings me to the subject of this post: Amidst today’s global state of affairs, do talented young graduates have a moral imperative to consider more deeply the implications of their career choices on our nation’s future? Mankind’s future?
I believe they do, and that they will find personal fulfillment as a result.
Too Many Talented Graduates Head Off to Wall Street
The United States is at a critical juncture where individual career choices will greatly impact our ability to compete in the global economy. Too many of our most talented young people are choosing lucrative careers in finance, but fail to make a positive impact on our country’s global competitiveness. These future leaders could start exciting new companies and create new jobs. They could lead innovative manufacturing companies and design revolutionary new products and services. Instead, they are opting for “golden crumbs” – the fees they earn for managing other people’s money.
Certainly plenty of idealists and altruists walk across the graduation stage each spring. Some become doctors, educators, activists or environmental engineers. This post isn’t about them. I’m focused on the graduates who pursue a career in business, broadly defined.
These young capitalists have the right to pursue wealth creation, and in the United States we applaud their success, with only a secondary consideration of what path they take to achieve their prosperity.
However, this is changing, and for good reason. Since the financial crisis of 2008, investment bankers have fallen from grace as a result of their industry’s complicity in creating the whole mess (and not paying the consequences). By association, their colleagues in hedge funds, private equity and other fields of finance took plenty of heat as well. Perhaps only venture capitalists escaped the heat, because without them we might not have Facebook, right?
Nevertheless, thousands and thousands of our most talented graduates are still angling for a career with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan. Many of these financiers then move up the chain to work at hedge funds and private equity shops.
A Framework for Finding Career Fulfillment
Well this has been a heck of a rant for an ex-banker… So what is the right career choice for a talented graduate?
Well, I think we need to start with a framework for career fulfillment. Borrowing from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I’ve sketched out my own hierarchy for a fulfilling career.
In my framework, making money is critical – the foundation of a capitalist career. Beyond that, each step should serve to advance the career through continued learning and growth. However, it won’t be long before any introspective person needs more than money and career progression. They will want to be passionate about what they do. This might not mean they love the subject matter or day-to-day activities, but they must be impassioned by the momentum and progression of their job.
Read the rest of Don's article on the Software Advice blog.
Don Fornes is the Founder & CEO of Software Advice and a graduate of Princeton University. Previously Don has held positions as an ERP analyst at an investment firm and as a corporate development executive at a pioneering CRM software company. He enjoys observing the evolution of software markets, including changing competitive dynamics, the impact of disruptive innovations and the success or failure of marketing strategies. Don lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Lauren, daughter Hudson and bernese mountain dog Stinson.
Photo: Mays Business School
By Sam Coren
Every year thousands of people involved in the "front line" of college admissions convene at the National Association for College Admission Counseling's (NACAC) national conference. This year's conference in New Orleans was NACAC's largest event to date, with well over 5,000 in attendance.
For the StudentAdvisor team, it was a bit like being thrown into Willy Wonka's factory. But instead of oompa loompas revealing to us how things are done behind the scenes, it was legions of college admissions folks and counselors. We met so many incredible people and had so many insightful conversations at this year's NACAC Conference that attempting to rehash them all in a single blog post just wouldn't do them justice.
After soaking up tons of information over the past 3 days I wanted to pass along what I've learned to the people who could use it the most. If you're a student or the parent of one who's just getting started with the college search and application process here are some "big takeaways" from NACAC's 2011 conference that will help you out over the next few months:
1. Trying to Decide on the Best Fit College? Go With Your Gut
This year's keynote speaker was Jonah Lehrer, author of the best-selling book, How We Decide. Choosing your best college match is one of the biggest decisions a student will have to make, so Jonah's findings, based on neuroscience studies, were of high interest to NACAC attendees. But what was most surprising from Jonah's speech was that those who strive to make the most rational choice on figuring out which college to attend aren't really being rational at all. At the end of the day, people are most satisfied making complex decisions based on instinct.
Emotions are a powerful thing - trying to cut them out of your college decision making process completely will make you run in circles and struggle with your own indecisiveness. So when you're mulling over college rankings and taking college tours trying to make up your mind on which schools are the right ones to apply to - ask yourself this: "Will I be happy here?" If the answer is "no" then you're wasting your time.
2. College Rankings are Still Very Flawed
For those parents and students out there who are familiar with US News & World Report's America's Best Colleges rankings, you might not know that NACAC has an Ad Hoc committee dedicated to assessing their accuracy. At this year's conference they uncovered a slew of issues in the calculation of the rankings and made some recommendations on how they could be improved.
NACAC's committee recommended that standardized test scores and class rank of the admitted class be canned from the criteria and instead the focus should be on the satisfaction and engagement of current students. After all, it sure does look nice on paper that the best colleges are also the most selective in terms of admissions. However, being in the most selective school with the brightest students doesn't mean much if all those students are unhappy with their experience. As someone who's read countless college reviews, I'll have to agree with the NACAC committee on this one.
The committee has also recommended that the "reputation" factor in the criteria carry a lesser weight. The reputation score, which accounts for almost a quarter of a school's ranking, is calculated based on surveys sent to college presidents and school counselors. According to NACAC's report on the rankings, "peer assessments are highly subjective and may be disproportionally influenced by social factors that do not measure institutional quality."
For more on NACAC's findings with the US News & World Report's America's Best Colleges rankings you can read the committee's full report here.
3. Beware of "Fast Apps"
One of the biggest trends, and issues, in the college admissions world is the use of fast apps or fast-track apps. For those not familiar with the term, a fast app is an application sent directly from a college to a prospective student with an invitation to apply. Some fast apps might use terms like "VIP", "Platinum" or "Special" to describe the application while others might be more subtle and not use such buzz words which give the impression of exclusivity. The controversy stems from colleges who are accused of using these in the context of "recruiting to reject" - that is, using these invite-only fast apps to boost their selectivity rating by trying to flood the applicant pool.
If you're a student and you happen to receive one of these from a school this might cause some serious confusion - especially if you end up getting rejected in the end. So if you happen to get one of these application invites - don't waste your time and money applying unless you're serious about the possibility of attending that school. Even if it makes you feel like a "shoe in" or you think it could just be a "safety school" - there's no guarantee that it's the right school for you or that you'll even be accepted.
For more on the issue of fast apps be sure to check out Eric Hoover's article, The Complexity of ‘Fast Apps’.
Were you at the 2011 NACAC National Conference this year? Share your "big takeaways" for students and parents in the comments!
By Megan Kenslea
Money is on everyone's mind this week. A steel executive promised nearly $400 million to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, and Harvard's endowment grew to over $32 billion. And, while Brooklyn College is going out of its way to cater to even its smallest residents, Cincinnati State teachers went on strike this morning after negotiations with the state and university officials failed.
Steel Exec Pledges Millions of Dollars to Pittsburgh Schools
After pledging $265 million to Carnegie Mellon University several weeks ago, a former steel executive has pledged another $125 million to the University of Pittsburgh. 73-year-old William Dietrich II, a Pitt alum and trustee of both universities, said he was moved by the approach to education at both schools. "As a graduate who personally benefited from my own studies at Pitt, I want to ensure that the university can continue to provide educational opportunities of the highest quality to its undergraduate and graduate students."
Cincinnati State Teachers Go on Strike
Nearly 200 teachers at Cincinnati State & Technical & Community College went on strike early today, During school President O'dell Owens' formal innauguration. Until late Thursday night, teachers were engaged in negotiations over Ohio Senate Bill 5, which would strip teachers of collective bargaining rights. While the school argued it needed financial flexibility, teachers countered that the right to negotiate working conditions was essential. With teachers picketing, students are conflicted. Abigail Asher said that while she has paid for two of her classes, she is concerned about her teachers. "I'm trying to support my full-time faculty, who are more qualified than whomever may be their substitutes," she said.
Harvard's Endowment Reaches $32 Billion
Even in a slumping economy, Harvard University's endowment continues to grow, earning $4.4 billion in the 2011 fiscal year. This is the second year in a row of high growth, despite an $11 billion loss in 2009. In 2010, the endowment grew from $26 billion to $27.6 billion. While the university's endowment has seen an average annual return of 12.9 percent over the last 20 years, school officials said they remained concerned over the effect the markets may have on fiscal growth. "We are increasingly conscious of the importance of results, liquidity, and risk management, given the university's high level of dependence on the endowment and also the significant downturn in the markets since our fiscal-year close," said Harvard University treasurer James Rothenberg.
Brooklyn College Spends $5,000 on housing -- For Parakeets
As CUNY Brooklyn College begins construction on a new athletic field, it has made pains to accommodate everyone affected by the construction - including a flock of exotic monk parakeets that reside atop the light posts in the current field. The school, which recently embarked on a $3.3 million dollar construction project, earmarked $5,000 of the project to provide nesting platforms for the parakeets, native to Argentina. While the state of New Jersey has classified the parakeets as "potentially dangerous," students and faculty find the project endearing. "I think we should respect the last shred of nature in the city," said Karli Klopp, a 20-year-old student at the College.
By Sodany Sor
It seems like every year the college admissions process gets more and more competitive. The benefits of attending a top-tier university are numerous: a rigorous academic curriculum, a powerful student and alumni network, and access to prestigious employers who make on-campus recruitment visits. Thus, it makes sense to see college candidates spending hours perfecting their applications. But, it can take only one mistake to undo all that hard work.
Here are 3 mistakes that I commonly see when consulting perspective college students:
1. Not answering essay questions.
Having read numerous college essays, I am always surprised to see the number of candidates who submit beautifully written essays that simply ignore the essay prompt. What’s worse are essays that sugarcoat failures, critiques, or flaws. When answering an essay question, avoid circling any issue for fear of it not being what the admissions committee wants to hear. Otherwise, you will appear to demonstrate a lack of self-awareness by answering the question without really answering. Furthermore, you risk not truly showcasing your genuine personality and what makes you different.
2. Not taking advantage of every section of the application.
Recommendations, for instance. Since applicants don’t write recommendations, many people view this section as being out of their control. Not true. You can definitely guide your recommenders. Most likely you will be asking your teachers for recommendations. And most likely your teachers are extremely busy with limited time and many recommendation requests. Help them help you. Give them not only your resume, but also a detailed list of characteristics (both strengths and improvement areas) and points you would like them to highlight, especially the ones you've included in your personal statement or essays.
Are there stories you haven’t managed to squeeze into your 500-word essays? If so, your recommenders can provide that color to the admissions committee.
3. Not providing a convincing reason for “Why School X?”
Admissions may feel like playing the lottery, but it’s also a yield game. The admissions committee favors candidates they believe will come to their school after being admitted. Higher yield = higher ranking. Convince the committee that you will help their ranking by providing concrete reasons for why you are interested in that particular school.
Do your research early (it will only help you in your decision-making process further on) by attending information sessions, reading college reviews, visiting campus, and talking with current students and alumni. Then, in your application, showcase your knowledge about the school’s program and elaborate on how their program aligns with your personal objectives and values. If you have a first-choice school, make that preference known at your in-person interview.
You may not be able to change your SAT score or high school transcript, but these three tips are certainly within your control. Good luck!
Sodany Sor currently works at Procter & Gamble as an Assistant Brand Manager. Prior to P&G, she provided M&A consulting services at PricewaterhouseCoopers and worked at General Electric in internal marketing. Sodany graduated cum laude from Yale University with a degree in Economics and from Wharton with an MBA in Marketing and Operations. She can be contacted at sodany.sor[at]aya.yale.edu for admissions and recruiting consultation.
By Megan Kenslea
As the new school year gets underway, college students can find themselves overwhelmed with school work and busy social lives. For new college students, it can be tricky to figure out how to get into the swing of college life. That's why the StudentAdvisor team assembled the best advice for first year college students in the new Survive Freshman year guide.
This morning, StudentAdvisor's Editor-in-Chief Dean Tsouvalas shared some of the most important tips from the new guide with Gene Lavanchy of Fox 25 Boston's Morning Show. Check out the video below to find out how to start the semester right and feel free to chime in with your own advice in the comments:
For more tips, watch Dean on Fox 25 Boston below:
StudentAdvisor's 5 Tips for Starting the Semester Right:
1. Create a routine
2. Learn how to say "no"
3. Get creative about your social life
4. Take time to clear your head
5. Visit career services
By Sam Coren
So you've had a couple weeks of classes under your belt and you're starting to feel a bit, well, overwhelmed. You find yourself constantly struggling to finish assignments, the professor is impossible to follow, and no matter how much you try to get extra help, it's just not working out. The thought of dropping a class is beginning to sound like a better option than suffering through the rest of the semester.
A Few Reasons College Students Decide to Drop a Class:
- Overloading on credits, but finding it too hard to keep up
- Declaring a major late and dealing with an unbalanced course load of many upper-level courses all at once
- Needing to dedicate more time to a required class to get a decent grade
- Working while going to school and needing to drop a class to stay focused
There are many different reasons why college students decide to make the tough decision to drop a course. If you're the type of student who's used to effortlessly acing your classes every year, it can be a tough pill to swallow. Even if you don't consider yourself to be an overachiever, admitting that you might need to scale back on the number of classes you're taking isn't easy.
Words of Wisdom From Upperclassmen on Dropping a Course
Still trying to figure out if dropping a class is the right thing to do? The StudentAdvisor team asked two seasoned college upperclassmen for their best advice on when to drop a class in college:
"I always wait at least a week into the class before I decide if I want to drop it," said Chris Wilcox, a senior at Boston University. "By then, I usually have a good understanding of how the professor teaches and if I will find the course material interesting for the whole semester."
"When is dropping class a good idea? When you realize that you’re not trying to climb and overcome an obstacle, you’re trying to smash through it with your face. And your face hurts a lot," said Stephanie Reynolds, a student at Wittenberg University.
"It’s one thing to stick it out and persevere, but it’s another thing entirely to turn a deaf ear to the voice of the universe as it tells you, 'Try something else.' To get rid of the dumb metaphors, it’s time to drop a class when it’s causing you a disproportionate amount of stress compared to your other classes, hurting your GPA, and not necessary to any degree or graduation requirement."
"When people say 'Discretion is the better part of valor,' they’re not kidding. Sometimes you have to know when to let it go. And it hurts, because you don’t want to admit defeat—to a particularly ruthless professor or a harsh subject or whatever. But you have to pick your battles wisely, or else you’ll only end up shooting yourself in the foot."
Ready to Drop That Class Like a Bad Habit? Meet With Your Academic Advisor First!
If you're thinking about dropping a class be sure to make an appointment with your academic advisor about the options that are available. Be aware that dropping a course might affect your full-time student status which in turn could cause issues with your financial aid or scholarship eligiblilty. And finally, don't forget to make yourself aware of your school's drop/add deadline for courses each semester. Dropping a class too far into a semester may impact your GPA and semester's tuition bill.
Still getting the hang of this college thing? Don't forget to check out StudentAdvisor's new Survive Freshman Year guide.
By Megan Kenslea
It’s been just under three months since StudentAdvisor launched Verified Advisors on our website, and already there are 135 Verified Advisors on the site, including 100 college representatives from around the country. Verified Advisors are experts on a variety of college topics and schools. They're here to answer your questions on StudentAdvisor and make finding your best college match easier.
Each Verified Advisor possesses a different area of expertise to assist you in getting answers to all things college. Every advisor is reviewed by the StudentAdvisor team before they get our stamp of approval so you know that they are a source of trusted information. Not sure if someone on StudentAdvisor is verified? Click on a user's profile and look for this green badge!
Here are some of our newest Verified Advisors:
Hona Amer, author of Smart Work U, graduated from college in two and a half years – and she wants to help you graduate early, too. Amer graduated from Evangel University when she was 20, and earned her MBA from Missouri State University by the time she turned 22.
Connect with Hona for student life advice and ways to save money on college.
Kristen Collins is the Associate Director at Adelphi University Office of Admissions. She graduated from Bryant University in 2009, and loves yoga, rock climbing, traveling and football.
Connect with Kristen for expert advice on college admissions.
Scott Silverman is an alum of the University of California-Riverside and works as a coordinator for the school's orientation programs. He says his goal is "to inspire others to make a difference on campus and in the community," and when he is not working, he enjoys writing, magic tricks and hiking.
Connect with Scott for advice on college orientation and greek life.
Tyler Socash is an Admissions Counselor at the University of Rochester and a 2009 graduate of Rochester. When he isn’t traveling the country to recruit prospective students to Rochester, he enjoys backpacking, hiking, and baseball.
Connect with Tyler for expert advice on college admissions.
Jon Walmer is the Director of Admission at Trine University. A Trine alum himself, Jon holds a Master of Science from the University of St. Francis, and was involved with the campus ministry in college.
Connect with Jon for admission advice.
By Megan Kenslea
Friday means the weekend for most students, but at StudentAdvisor, it also means it's time for another edition of This Week in College News. It's been a tough week this week, with a senseless murder on a college campus and the lowest SAT scores in 40 years reported. But there's also some hope coming from Washington, as the White House unveils a new plan to bring digital learning to the classroom. Check out the news below to learn more:
Bowie State Student Fatally Stabbed by Roommate
It's every college student's worst nightmare: a 19-year-old Bowie State University student stabbed her roommate to death Thursday night in their dorm room. According to Maryland State Police, Alexis D. Simpson allegedly stabbed her roommate, 18-year-old DOminique T. Frazier, in the throat after the pair got into an argument. Simpson turned herself in to police late Thursday, and has been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree assault. University officials canceled classes for the day and will hold a "community gathering for consolation and support."
White House Launches New Digital Learning Research Center
The White House today unveiled plans for a new research center that will promote digital learning in classrooms across the country. The U.S. Department of Education is sponsoring the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies, which plans to research "the ways in which technology can really make a dramatic impact on student performance and student outcomes." Plans to create the center have been in place for 10 years, but Congress did not approve funding until 2008.
SAT Scores Lowest in 40 Years
SAT reading scores are at their lowest in 40 years, College Board reported Wednesday, with the average falling four points to 497. College Board reports that declining scores are due to an increase in test takers from a more diverse population. While that may be the case, though, The Atlantic reports that based on the demographic breakdown of scores, the achievement gap is widening. According to Bob Schaeffer, the Public Education Director for Fair Test, a non-profit advocacy group, "a very rapid gain in both academic proficiency and narrowing of the achievement gap has stagnated in this decade."
Linn State Drug Tests Students; ACLU Files Lawsuit
Most students are used to submitting GPAs and SAT scores to colleges, but Linn State Technical College in Missouri is going a little further: the school is requiring students to submit to a mandatory drug test, and the American Civil Liberties Union has a problem with that. The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit this week accusing Linn State of "violating the constitutional rights of its students by forcing them to submit to mandatory drug tests as a condition of their enrollment." A Missouri judge granted a temporary restraining order to stop the drug tests.
Coming Up: StudentAdvisor heads to NACAC!
Finally, StudentAdvisor will be in New Orleans next week for the annual National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). If you'll be at NACAC, here are three reasons you should stop by the StudentAdvisor booth (#130). Still not convinced? Check out our super awesome video, featuring the one and only Dean Tsouvalas, for a preview of NACAC.
By Ken Procaccianti
So, I heard you don’t eat broccoli. Why not? Are you a recovering broccoli addict? Do you not eat broccoli for religious reasons? Did you have a bad experience with broccoli?
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Why would anyone care so much that you don’t eat this member of the cabbage family?
Well, replace “broccoli” with “drinking” or “alcohol” and those are questions I’ve received all my life.
I don’t drink. And, it’s not because I’m a recovering alcoholic or really religious. I don’t drink because I’ve always been able to have fun without it, even in college.
I entered college as a member of the men’s soccer team. An injury in my sophomore year derailed my athletic aspirations, and without two-a-days on my schedule, I suddenly had a lot of free time. I was instantly struck by what seemed like a huge void of fun stuff to do around campus for people like me who didn’t want to get sloshed every night.
Soon thereafter, I started Hammered.org to showcase the many ways to have a good time without alcohol and other drugs. Rather than preach to fellow students, Hammered.org demonstrates that you can have fun without booze for one night of your weekend, your entire life, or anytime in between. Here’s how you can have fun without drinking:
Free is good.
Don’t rule out an event because it is free. On Hammered.org, we often highlight free festivals, concerts, fairs, movie screenings and a lot more. Not only will you have a great time, it’ll cost you less than a Natty Ice.
Fun, out-of-the-ordinary and sometimes offbeat.
Keep it interesting. Check out the local independent movie theatre’s midnight shows. Look for free student admission at local museums. Eat some good food at international cultural festivals. Flash mobs may have jumped the shark, but keep your eye out anyway for some impromptu public shenanigans.
Be a tourist.
Be a tourist in your own city, minus the fanny pack and fold-out map. You’re most likely living in a new place. Check it out. See the sights. Do all the touristy stuff. Don’t take it for granted because four years from now, someone from back home will ask, “how is that <insert major landmark>?” and you won’t have an answer.
Still looking for ideas? Check out Hammered.org. We do the work for you by digging through all the pub crawls, happy hours and beer pong tournaments to find fun stuff to do without alcohol, drugs or ping pong balls. After all, meeting people and having fun at college shouldn’t be limited to screaming in someone’s ear while standing on the sticky floor of a house party or bar.
Ken Procaccianti is the founder and CEO of Hammered.org. Hammered.org showcases fun local stuff to do without booze. Hammered.org currently serves the Boston area and will soon be expanding to other cities. Sign up for the free weekly email at Hammered.org, like ‘em on Facebook and follow ‘em on Twitter.
By Melanie Malay
The StudentAdvisor team is heading down to New Orleans next week for the annual National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) conference. And we couldn't be more excited! We love getting to meet people who work hard at the "front line" of college admissions. Enrollment officers, high school guidance counselors, admissions consultants: these are the people who live and breathe college admissions 24/7.
College admissions folks play huge role in StudentAdvisor's fast-growing community of Verified Advisors as they help students find their best fit college. So if you're heading down to 'Nawlins next week for NACAC's big dance and you haven't met with the StudentAdvisor team yet, don't miss out!
Here are the Top 3 (of 5,796) reasons to meet StudentAdvisor at Booth 130:
1. Freebies you can actually use.
That’s right, we’ve got some fun freebies to send you home with (better than beads)! Also, you’ll have access to even better freebies if you sign up for a free account at StudentAdvisor.com before visiting us! Go to StudentAdvisor , click the “Sign up” button on the top right corner of the page, and select “I’m here as an: ADVISOR” when you sign up. It’s that simple. Then make a point to stop by Booth #130 to claim your free gift!
Speaking of free stuff, feel free to check out some of our college guides on topics ranging from campus tours to FAFSA advice. We'll be handing out some hard copies at the booth - these are awesome presents to bring home to your students.
2. Tell us what's going on at your school - you could be featured on THIS blog!
StudentAdvisor is all about featuring the latest happenings on campuses across the country. It doesn't matter if your school is big or small - if it's cool and happening on your campus, we want to know about it! Are you doing a mobile scavenger hunt for freshman orientation? Doing something radically different in your admissions process this year? Tell us! We'd love to hear about it and spread the word.
3. You can meet Dean!
Dean has been making TV rounds talking about the great things StudentAdvisor.com is doing, like giving away 24 scholarships ($1000 each) in 24 hours to your prospective students. Even though it might still be pre-mature in his career to solicit an autograph, he’s still definitely someone you’ll want to meet in your lifetime! Funny, charming, social media aficionado (chartering the Top 100 Social Media Colleges …AND the world’s best high fiver. Seriously.
Try Gold Bond for the itch. For the “still curious”…StudentAdvisor is leading the charge in the all-inclusive college search, discovery, comparison and review for prospective college students and their parents. Come join the trusted college conversation!
And don’t forget to increase the quality of your freebies by signing up for your free account at StudentAdvisor.com before you stop by our booth at NACAC (booth #130).
We’ll see YOU in the Big Easy!
Video Music: Pitx - "Bye Bye 2010"
By Sam Coren
"Why does my opinion matter? I already graduated." That's a common response I get from people who graduated in the past 5 years after I invite them to review their college on StudentAdvisor. If hindsight is 20/20 then college reviews from alumni are worth big pots of magical gold to a prospective college student. When I was looking at schools I would've given anything to sit down and talk with graduates from the schools I was interested in.
Why? Because while current students can give you the skinny on where to find the best parties or what professors to avoid, a graduate can answer that nagging question: "Was it worth the money?" Being able to look back holistically on the entire experience leading up to getting your degree and how it paid off in the end is something only grads can do.
When you think about the big picture, your undergraduate years will only account for a small percentage of your life. The memories and your general sentiments will carry over multiple decades. Do you really want to go off into your professional life feeling a great sense of "buyer's remorse" over an experience that didn't help you in the end?
So what makes for a good college review from a new graduate? Sharing your story with brutal honesty. Check out the following Ohio University review from an alumnae:
Ohio University took a military brat from the Washington DC area and over four years, turned her into a confident, intellectual, open-minded, ambitious and successful woman who now lives and works in London. The professors in the Scripps School are top-notch and I was impressed with the level of professionalism and ambition in my peers.
Although it's pretty cool that Athens, Ohio is all about the university, you do have to drive a good 45 minutes to a shopping mall (Parkersburg, WV) or a couple of hours to Columbus, OH. But if that's the worst thing about the school, I think that's pretty good!
Would I do it again?
Yes, I did not want to go to OU at first. My parents had been alums and were always telling me how much they loved going to school there. I was convinced I wanted to move to a big city and go to college right smack in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. Because I wanted to study Journalism and OU was top-rated for my degree area, I finally let my mom drag me up there for a campus tour. It took 7 hours to drive there and for all 7 hours, I was deadset against going to college in Ohio. But then I saw the green and leafy campus and spoke to students on the campus tour and I could see myself there. I could really imagine myself working in the mac labs at Scripps, eating late night pizza at Goodfella's, and exercising at Ping. (Of course the exercising never really happened!) I had never really been able to see myself at any of the other colleges I visited. OU felt like a place where I could really belong.
Although OU has a party school reputation, you can party or not. There is a place for everyone and don't let the party reputation fool you. We studied as hard as we partied.
I wish I hadn't worried about going to a college in a small town because the people are great and open-minded. The town is small and leaves a lot to be desired in terms of shopping, but I'm a better person because of this school and this town. It didn't hold me back from launching myself onto the big, wonderful world. I now live and work in England and although Athens, Ohio, isn't somewhere I can easily get back to these days, Ohio University is somewhere, something I will always be grateful for.
Read more Ohio University reviews.
By Sarah Sagan
My freshman dorm was a hotbed of Greek life rumors. “Did you hear that one house hides a scale under their door mat to see how much prospective members weigh?” “I heard that these sororities judge anyone who is not eating a salad at lunch.” “You have to spend at least $500 on a new recruitment wardrobe.”
I don’t think these rumors are atypical for a school with a strong Greek life environment. While they may not be surprising, such rumors are nonetheless damaging for perceptions of what it means to join a sorority or a fraternity.
Now that I'm a senior, I may not be as wise as I would like think. However, when it comes to Greek life, there is a tip or two I have picked up along the way. There are a lot of misconceptions of Greek life that are either false or overly exaggerated. I think many would agree: it is worthwhile to set the record straight.
So if you're getting ready for rush week here are a few things to keep in mind:
Throw out all your preconceived notions about Greek Life.
During my freshman year at an undeniably Southern university, my information sources for Greek life was the university rumor mill. We obsessed over rankings, recommendations and legacies. As a Northerner with little exposure to Greek life, the information was overwhelming and, as I later came to find out, totally exaggerated.
Determine if you're ready for a commitment.
It is important to say that Greek life is not for everyone. Greek life is a time commitment, financial commitment, and the decision to commit to the bonds of sisterhood or brotherhood (yes, that sounds terribly cheesy, but bear with me). However, if you have developed a tight-knit community at your university or if you already are involved on campus, it is valid to wonder if Greek life is needed to further enrich your collegiate experience. Consider your motivations for joining Greek life and whether or not these motivations align with what you want to get out of your college experience.
Don't choose a house based on rankings.
Rankings also are not everything. Every school with a Greek community has an idea of where each sorority or fraternity stacks up to the others, whether it is published on a college gossip website or simply an accepted hierarchical order that has become engrained in a social psyche. Of course rankings damage Greek unity and create unhealthy competition, but we cannot eliminate such imaginary rankings overnight.
The fact is, you will be spending a lot of time with your new sorority or fraternity. If you do not like the members, external rankings will not change your misery during recruitment rounds or pledging. Sisters and brothers for life, right? Choosing a community of individuals who match your personality, ethics, and interests is the best way to ensure an ideal Greek experience.
Accepting a bid? Go where you can be yourself.
So, if you want to go Greek, how can you be the most successful? By staying true to yourself. Be honest about which houses you feel most comfortable, where you feel the most at ease. A recruitment trick from the year I joined a sorority was to ask yourself the question, “At which Greek house would you be least embarrassed if you spilled a glass of red wine on a brand new white carpet?” Preference card complete.
Sarah Sagan is a senior at Vanderbilt University studying Political Science and History. She is a member of Alpha Chi Omega - Zeta Omicron chapter.
Photo: Murray State
By Sam Coren
So by now you've moved in, hung up some posters, and started making friends in your new college residence hall. But something is still missing - the "wow" factor. Looking for the last items to make your dorm room the envy of all? During the making of StudentAdvisor's Ultimate Dorm Living Guide we polled our student testers to find out which products they thought were the best.
Here are the best dorm items from StudentAdvisor's Ultimate Dorm Living Guide according to college students:
1. Umbra’s Pongo Portable Ping Pong Set $40.00
“The bag carrying case makes it easy to go from dorm to dorm. This is hours of fun.” Jay P., UMass Lowell
2. Blackberry Playbook 16GB $499
"Compared to the iPad this product was a lot smaller so it would be easier to carry around and bring from class to class." Chris B., University of Nebraska - Lincoln
3. Livescribe Echo SmartPen $99
“The Livescribe Smartpen is the best thing to happen to college students. It audio records the professor's lectures so I don't have to worry about keeping up with every word the prof is saying or if I can't read my writing, or even understand what things meant days or weeks after the fact. If I'm reviewing for a test, all I have to do is tap my pen on a certain word and the audio recording will start playing what the prof was saying at that moment when I was writing. Hallelujah!!” Tina K., Emmanuel College
4. Juice Pack Air $49 or $79
“Being on a city campus rarely gives you the time to stop and recharge your phone. This keeps it charged all day and is a must for the on-the-go student.” Jeremy L., MIT
5. Cool Bar by Keter $79
"When you're hanging out with your buddies the last thing you want to do is get up and walk inside to grab a new drink out of the fridge! With the Cool Bar all you have to do is lift the top part to reveal the secret cooler underneath filled with frosty beverages - heaven on earth!" Evan D., McGill University
6. Wizard Wall $14.99
"It's really cool! We use poster board and small white boards on our dorm walls all the time, so this is a great combination of the two. Plus it sticks right to the wall so you don't have to worry about putting holes in your wall trying to hang a whiteboard."
- Nicole P., Boston College
7. Samsung ST700 DualView Digital Camera $279.99
"I love the front screen and all its functionality. It's even light enough to carry around campus."
- Sara A., Merrimack College
8. Pop Phone $29.90
“When using my phone touch screen I’m always accidentally muting and hanging up on people. This retro-cool phone avoids that and makes it easy to use at my desk.”
- Thuy P., Emerson College
9. Plush Comforter $24.99
"Once you wrap yourself up in this blank you'll never want to leave!"
- Megan K., Boston University
10. Black & Decker Smartboil® Plus 1.7-L Programmable Kettle $49.99
“Whether you are making coffee, instant oatmeal or soup this boils quickly and with the auto shut-off I don’t have to worry about setting off alarms.”
- Denise M., UMass Lowell
By Dean Tsouvalas
While many of today's college students were children when the September 11th terrorist attacks occurred, the memories of that horrific day ten years ago remain. This year New York University and Columbia University will be holding multi-event tributes, exhibitions, and discussions all month long to remember the victims and reflect upon how the world has changed. Students and faculty at American University in Washington DC have published numerous research findings relating to the event such as the School of Communication's 9/11 Then and Now and Growing Up in the Shadow of 9/11 projects.
At other colleges, trees have sprouted, plaques have been mounted and scholarships established in memory of their alumni who died on September 11, 2001. Here are what some schools around the nation are doing this year to commemorate the 10th anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history:
Lafayette Student Organizes World Trade Center Remembrance Week
Shannon Moran, a Lafayette College student, is responsible for coordinating a massive effort dubbed “World Trade Center Remembrance Week” at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. The week involves numerous campus events which are open to the public, starting on Sept. 6 with an arts and music program geared to the attacks.
"I graduated with multiple students who lost parents in the attacks. Every Sept. 11, these students were not in school because they were at the services in the city," said Moran. "Every time I drive around my town, I see the streets renamed after those who lost their lives in the attacks and am reminded. Every time I watch the news and see that more men and women are dying overseas, I am reminded."
University of Denver Unites the Community
In addition, colleges are planning remembrance events for the 10th anniversary. One of more unusual will be “The Gathering” at the University of Denver which will celebrate a “tolerance picnic” that was held 15 days after 9-11-2001. Concerned that restaurants in Denver serving middle-eastern food were seeing a large drop off in customers after 9-11, then-Chancellor Dan Ritchie held an outdoor picnic catered by nine Denver middle-restaurants. This year, on September 12, the University of Denver will close all dining halls for lunch and will have one big group meal catered by nine restaurants specializing in middle-eastern food to mark the 10th anniversary of that event and to promote understanding and unity.
Susquehanna University to Add Piece of World Trade Center to Current Memorial
At Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA, which lost two alumni in the attacks – Colleen Supinski ’96 and Chris Vialonga ’93--the University erected and dedicated a memorial to them in October 2002. Susquehanna has obtained a 124-pound piece of debris from the World Trade Center and will add it to the memorial during a rededication ceremony that is being planned for September 11, 2011.
University of Rochester Remembers Six Alumni
The Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester dedicated a plaza in honor of two alumni, Jeffrey R. Smith and Zhe “Zack” Zeng. Smith worked for Sandler O’Neill on the 83rd floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. Zeng was an EMT who grabbed some supplies from his office at the Bank of New York and headed toward the World Trade Center after the first tower collapsed. Zeng was filmed by a TV crew, still in his business suit, administering first aid to a woman on a stretcher. Then the second tower fell. Six Rochester alumni died in the attacks that day. They will be remembered in a story in the university’s alumni magazine.
The Jeremy L. Glick memorial Scholarship at the University of Rochester honors an alumnus who was among those on Flight 93 who banded together to thwart terrorist efforts to crash the plane into the U.S. Capitol. The award goes to undergraduates who are fraternity or sorority members and who have financial need. Mr. Glick was a member of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.
Eckerd Honors Fallen Alum With Scholarship Fundraiser Golf Tournament
At Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, an alumnus who died at the World Trade Center, and who had a passion for golf, is honored with a golf tournament. Held annually since 2002, the tournament has raised more than $150,000 in funds for the Matthew T. McDermott Endowed Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded annually to one or two seniors of the men’s or women’s golf teams who have shown leadership on and off the golf course. Each year Matthew’s widow, Sue, and their three children, Kara, Kelly and Matthew Jr., come to Florida from New Jersey to participate in the tournament.
Candelight Vigil at Stonehill College
In the 9/11 attacks, three Stonehill College alumni and one Holy Cross priest died: Timothy Coughlin '80 and Timothy Reilly '82 worked on in the World Trade Center while James Hayden '76 and Fr. Francis Grogan, C.S.C. were on United Flight 175. This Sunday, September 11th at 7:30 p.m., the College will hold a candlelight procession from the residence halls to the May Pavilion near the Shields Science Center for a 9/11 tenth anniversary prayer service. There will be a reading of the names of victims with a Stonehill connection and a reflection by the Vice President for Mission Paul DaPonte.
Mount Holyoke and South Hadley, Mass. Walk Together in Peace
Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., and members of neighboring towns will join together to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 with a multifaith service that will begin at the South Hadley town common and continue in Abbey Memorial Chapel on Sunday, September 11, at 3 pm. “The theme is ‘Walking Together in Peace,’ ” says Reverend Gladys Moore, dean of religious and spiritual life. “It will be about reflecting on what it means to live together in peace and compassion in a post-9/11 world.”
Pre-Game Ceremony at Baldwin-Wallace
Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio will hold a special 9/11 football-game ceremony and observance in a pre-game ceremony on campus on Saturday, September 17. (The home team plays away on 9/11). Don Delapenha is a 1985 B-W grad who played football for the college; he died in the WTC. His wife and three children will be in attendance at the game on the 17th and the kids will serve as honorary team captains for the game. The college’s president, Richard Durst will offer thoughts and remarks and there will be a moment of silence for Don and all 9/11 victims.
Interfaith Peace Ceremony at Harvey Mudd
Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., is taking part in an interfaith peace walk and rally--a combined observance with The Claremont Colleges and the city of Claremont, co-organized by the Chaplain’s Office. On Sunday, Sept. 11th, Harvey Mudd is providing small flags in the dining hall for students to plant in the grass along the central mall area on campus.
3 Days of Community Service at Wheaton College
Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., will hold an observance, a talk by 9/11 widow Cindy McGinty, and three days of community service on September 9-11. McGinty, whose husband was killed while attending a meeting in the World Trade Center, has spent the past decade working to transform the focus of September 11 from a national day of mourning to one of community building through service. On Friday, September 9, she will bring that message to Wheaton when she speaks at 12:30 p.m. in the courtyard outside of Watson Fine Arts during the college’s 9/11 Service of Remembrance. McGinty is the co-founder of My Good Deed (the original inspiration for the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance) and co-founder of the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, which supports survivors of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. She was a resident of nearby Foxboro, Mass., at the time of her husband’s death.
Is your school doing something special to memorialize the events of 9/11? Please share what's going on at your college with us in the comments.
Photo: Magic Madzik maveric2003
By Sam Coren
Students all across the country will be sharpening those number 2 pencils and gearing up to take the ACT exam soon. While college admissions exams are not exciting on their own, the anxiety leading up to test day can send you into a tizzy. And if you're a terrible procrastinator about the whole "study and practice" bit, you might be feeling more nervous than students who were more on top of their test prep.
But fear not - whether you've been burning through practice tests all summer long, or haven't even cracked an ACT test prep book, here are a few ways to maximize what's left of your time. And don't forget to take it easy the night before the test - you don't want to start the ACT test feeling burned out from a frantic cram session:
Brush up on your Math skills with Khan Academy.
If you've got major Math Anxiety like me then you're probably going to need the most last minute practice in this department. On the ACT's Math section there will be 14 questions on pre-algebra, 10 on elementary algebra, 9 on intermediate algebra, 14 on plane geometry, 9 on coordinate geometry, and 4 on elementary trigonometry.
Now if you're taking the test and haven't had geometry or basic trig yet you're probably stressing out. Don't worry - Salman Khan's critically acclaimed free Khan Academy video series has great crash courses to help you. Here's the video covering basic trigonometry and the series on geometry.
Hit up the free practice questions (again).
The ACT test makers have free sample questions on all the test sections. You can click through all the possible answers and it will tell you why each possible answer is wrong or incorrect. Be sure to read through the reasoning why a certain option is wrong - especially on the English and Reading sections. This will give you a better understanding on how these sections are scored and hopefully clear up have any recurring misunderstandings.
Practice drafting outlines for the sample writing prompts.
In addition to free practice questions for the required sections of the test, the ACT provides sample writing prompts of the optional writing section. There are also sample essays and a scoring explanation that you should read through. One key test taking strategy for the writing section is being able to quickly outline your thoughts to structure your essay. This prevents you from "rambling on" and keeps your essay coherent when you have a gameplan to refer back to while you're writing.
Since each essay prompt will ask you to take a position on an issue you need to provide clear examples to support your argument. Being able to jot down and organize these talking points before you start the essay will help you develop a logical flow for presenting them and form a concluding statement to tie them together.
First time taking the ACT? Don't forget that there's still time to register for upcoming ACT Test Dates if you want a second crack at it.
By Sam Coren
One of my favorite things to do when I was a student at Northeastern University was read the infamous Huntington News campus crime log after the first week of the new semester. Why? Because every other report was about some freshman going crazy with their new-found freedom and breaking the rules in ways that display astonishing levels of stupidity.
My personal favorite? The time a new Husky had the bright idea to lean out his dorm room and scream that his roommate was selling marijuana for all of Boston to hear. This shenanigan led to a major drug and alcohol bust. Not only were the students kicked out of Northeastern before they even started their classes, but they faced some serious legal consequences.
Fortunately, I have good faith that the readers of StudentAdvisor who happen to be new college students aren't that dense. But what about trying to avoid being "that freshman" all the seasoned college students can spot from a mile away?
Here are a few hot tips for breaking those nasty freshmen stereotypes:
1. Don't be a jerk to your RA.
While not all resident assistants (RA's) are going to be your best friend, or even pretend to, getting on their good side is in your best interest. Be friendly and respectful to your RA because you never know when you'll be locked out of your room or end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and they're the only ones who can save your butt. Don't fight them or argue when they tell you to quiet down or to get rid of something in your room that you're not allowed to have. More often than not the freshmen residence halls are the least desirable positions for these students who are working long, hard hours for their room and board - don't become the thorn in their side.
2. Dress appropriately for the weather.
Newbie college students, for the most part, don't realize just how much more time they'll be spending outside as they're shuffling from class to class. If you're going to school in the parts of the country that get all four seasons you need to keep that eye on the forecast every morning. Nothing is worse than getting all your expensive textbooks soaked because you forgot to bring an umbrella or ruining your new pair of kicks because you forgot to wear snow boots.
3. Take that lanyard off your neck!
I love swag as much as the next freebie hoarder, but there's no bigger indicator of your freshman status than if you're wearing that lanyard with your keys and student ID on it around your neck at all times. Unless you're going for a jog around campus and don't have pockets in your gym shorts, keep the ID in your wallet and the keys in your pocket. The "lanyard on neck" look is the equivilent of having your mom stitch mittens to your coat.
4. School yourself on public or campus transit.
At bigger schools getting from one side of campus to the other can be quite a long hike. Many colleges operate their own shuttle bus fleets that can cut down on the time it takes to get to class and save you from a few blisters. If you're in an urban college, learning to use the city's public transit system is crucial.
Some bus services for colleges and cities even have public GPS tracking so you can use your computer or smartphone to see when the next bus is coming in real-time. Check out the Next Bus website to see if your school or city's transit system is listed.
Oh and before you ask for directions: look at a map first! Google Maps offers a public transit or walking option when you're searching for directions.
5. Learn to say "no" and vote with your feet.
One of the things that freshmen fail to realize is that many schools have strict "no tolerance" policies when it comes to just being a bystander in the case where someone else is breaking the rules. What's that mean? Let's say you go visit a friend down the hall and they just so happen to be passing around a bottle of vodka. Everyone who lives in the room is under 21 and taking shots, but you choose to stick around and not partake in drinking. After all? College is for making friends right - why bail out on your new neighbors? Five minutes later an RA passes by and catches what's going on.
What happens next? Everyone gets written up for an alcohol violation, including you for just being there and not doing anything to stop the situation or reporting it. This is where that bit about not being a jerk to your RA can really help you out if you can calmly explain what happened. However, you need to understand that you could've avoided all this drama by just walking away from a situation where people were blatantly breaking the rules (and the law).
Learning to say "no" takes a lot of courage, but it can save you from a lot of unintended consequences. Also if you go to a school with a strong religious affiliation it might be a good read through your student rule book a few times since there may be extra rules such as curfews and policies on visitors of the opposite gender that aren't obvious.
6. Don't bring your laptop to class if you're only going to check Facebook (and turn off that cell phone while you're at it).
Since I've graduated in 2009, more and more students are opting to get "netbook" style laptops - cheap, highly portable notebook computers - with the idea that they'll tote it around to all their classes for notes. In addition, more college campuses are moving toward campus-wide wifi access. While some students are more diligent than others in their digital note-taking habits - others can't resist the novelty of always being "connected" after getting through high school with a pen and notepad.
Not only are you doing yourself a disservice by not giving 100% of your attention to what your professor is trying to teach you, but you're also being a huge distraction to the classmates. The people sitting behind you don't need to see your party pics from last night.
As for keeping your phone on in class? Yes, people around you can still hear it even if it's on vibrate. Shut it off - millions of other college students before you have made it through their classes before the era of everyone having a cell phone, and so can you.
7. Understand that college is not a "safe zone" from the eyes of the law.
There seems to be an unwavering sense of invincibility among new college students. Realize that just because you've got into college doesn't mean you've been given a cart blanche to bend the law and get away with it. Colleges have a duty to report crimes that happen on their property to the authorities. Also, many schools have strict "honor codes" which sometimes entail disciplining you if your less than legal antics happen off-campus and get reported to the school by local law enforcement.
Don't end up "that freshman". Just use good judgment and common sense and you'll have a safe, fun, and drama-free first year of college. Good luck!
By Megan Kenslea
This is it.
Today is my last first day of school, and I couldn’t be more petrified.
I’ve been enrolled in some form of school since I was in diapers, but for me there’s always been something magical about the first day of school, with new books, new clothes, and new classes. It’s hard to believe this is the last year I’ll go school supply shopping, worry about my first day outfit, or fret over which teacher I have. I spent my whole childhood racing to grow up, but now, as adulthood looms before me, all I want to do is go back.
Trivial freak-outs aside, I do worry that I’ll get too caught up in the race to graduation to focus on having fun. About a month ago, I started making a list of friends I want to visit this year, and by last week, the list evolved into a thirty-item bucket list of things I needed to do before graduating college.
Here are the top items on my senior year bucket list:
1. Have a beer with a professor.
I have friends who used to grab a drink with their professors at the Boston University campus pub, and I was always jealous of them. Not because they were drinking with a professor (although, let’s face it – that’s pretty cool), but because they knew their professors well enough to do so. This year, my goal is to get to know at least one professor that well. Whether you're looking for a stellar recommendation, career advice, or just someone to grab a coffee with after class, having a professor on your side can benefit you now and for years to come
2. Befriend a freshman.
Weren’t you always jealous of that kid in your freshman class who seemed to know all the upperclassmen? I know I was. A cool older friend to offer some sage senior wisdom? Sign me up! Now that we’re seniors, we might not have anyone to look up to, but freshman that you don’t even know probably look up to you. Even just a recommendation for a professor could mean a lot. As a senior, we’ve been through it all, and paying it back is a nice gesture.
3. Visit friends at other schools.
After high school, my friends scattered to colleges across the country, but I’ve only visited a few of them. Judging from their stories, their college experiences seem a lot different from mine. So, because it’s my last chance to do so, I’m taking some road trips this year. From tailgates in the South to small liberal arts colleges in New England, I’m excited to see what college is like for my friends.
4. Go on Spring Break.
Maybe not a “girls gone wild” spring break, but I definitely don’t want to spend my last college vacation watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns in my basement, either. Whether it’s a week at the beach, Alternative Spring Break, or even just a visit to a friend, a change of scenery would do anyone good before the final countdown to graduation begins.
5. Dress to impress.
That means I’m calling for a moratorium on the leggings/UGG boots/oversize sweater uniform. Yes, it’s easy (and so, so comfortable), but jeans and flats are, too. And I don’t know about you, but I feel ten times prettier, more confident, and even smarter when I look nice than when I’m wearing a ratty sweatshirt. Shallow? Maybe, but your professors should be able to recognize you when you’re not wearing gym clothes.
6. Get out of the apartment.
After a long week of classes, work, and extracurricular activities, sometimes the last thing I want to do on a Friday night is go out. But it’s my last year of college, so this year, I pledge to rally. Even if it’s just a quiet game night with friends, there will be no more Saturday nights at home in my pajamas with the Golden Girls. You can sleep when you graduate.
7. Talk to your classmates.
Most of us have mastered that perfectly timed cell phone glance every time we walk past someone we only sort of know. This year, I vow to look up from my cell phone and say hello to my classmates. What’s the worst that could happen? They’ll think you’re a little overzealous. But you could also get to know someone pretty cool.
8. Update your resume.
It’s time. I’ve had internships and leadership roles in college, yet I still have high school activities and awards on my resume. Before you begin the job hunt in earnest this year, take out the high school accomplishments, add your college ones, and bring it to your career service center to get it looked over’s. Spelling errors or grammatical mistakes might be excusable for college freshmen, but they’re definitely not okay for a soon-to-be college grad.
9. Enjoy the surroundings.
I’ve lived in Boston my whole life, and I’m pretty sure that once I graduate, I’m not going to stay here. There’s so much to do in the city, yet I’ve never taken advantage of it. This year, I’m going to venture out into the city and beyond. From country fairs to Red Sox games, my last year here will be the busiest – and best – yet.
Not everyone will have the same senior goals as me – so tell us, what’s on your senior year bucket list?
By Hona Amer
Hona Amer is a Verified Advisor on StudentAdvisor. Be sure to check out her book Smart Work U for more tips on cutting down college expenses:
What if someone was willing to pay your college tuition bill for you and it didn’t include your parents, grandparents, or friends? Every college student would sign up. Scholarships and grants are tools that can help you pay for your college tuition. If you are in college, you have probably started to look for scholarships. Maybe your parents talk to you about it all the time. They want you to find scholarships; you want to find scholarships for yourself, but the process is overwhelming. People are talking about getting free money for college, but you are struggling with how to make it a reality.
Scholarships and grants are similar but have some differences. Scholarships are usually based on academic merit, while grants are usually based on financial need. Grants are most commonly awarded through the government, whereas scholarships will usually come from institutions, corporations, and the private sector. Large corporations give academic or financial need scholarships every year. By searching for corporate scholarships online, you will find corporations that give annual scholarships to students just like you. Through scholarships and grants, you could potentially go to college for free. Yet, there is a slight catch.
Applying for Scholarships and Grants
Securing scholarships is probably the area that requires the most assertiveness on your part. Rarely do scholarships sit and wait for you. Applying for scholarships is similar to applying for a job. There are a bunch of applications all vying for one position. Similar to a job application, you want to stand out among the scholarship applicants. When you are applying, ask yourself what the person giving the scholarship would be looking for in an applicant. Then, show how you exceed those qualifications through your application. While you don’t want to fabricate the information, highlight your strengths and the reasons you should be the recipient of the scholarship. Even simple things such as having a professional email address and avoiding grammatical errors on your application will help you stand out above the rest.
Create a Scholarship Strategy
You can eliminate the scholarship struggle by utilizing a scholarship strategy. Create a systematic approach to applying for scholarships. Prepare a document of basic information that you need on all scholarship applications. This will include your name, address, and other personal information. Many applications will ask about your major or future career plans. Writing a couple standard essays that you can customize for the specific scholarship will help you fast track your way through applying for scholarships. Save that document and refer to it every time you apply for a scholarship. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you apply. Customize each application to the specific guidelines and submission requirements. If you are no longer a freshman, it does not mean that you shouldn’t apply for scholarships or grants. Review the guidelines for each scholarship or grant to make sure it includes applications from current college students.
Don’t Limit Your Options
As you are on campus, you will become aware of other scholarship opportunities that you were previously unaware of. When I was in college, I was surprised at how many scholarships I found out about after I started college. Colleges will award scholarships based on academic performance, athletics, for being the valedictorian of your high school class, fine arts, music, scholarships based on financial need, and even other departmental scholarships. Apply for the school-based scholarships that are applicable to you.
Finally, ask questions, take initiative, and submit many scholarship applications. Don’t just apply for large scholarships. Every dollar you receive from scholarships and grants will help you go to college for free. Remember, the people who apply for scholarships are the people who get scholarships. And those are the people going to college for free.
Hona Amer fast-tracked through college in 2½ years and graduated with her Bachelor of Business Administration degree at age 20. She graduated with her MBA the same month she turned 22. Her book, Smart Work U, helps high school students, college students, and parents make smart decisions about college in order to graduate early, debt-free. Today, she enjoys assisting students as they navigate the University experience through. Connect with Hona on StudentAdvisor or on Twitter @honaamer.
By Megan Kenslea
Anyone from Boston will tell you that you'd be crazy to drive through the city on September 1st. With more colleges located in and around the city than I can list, September 1st is the biggest moving day of the year. As a lifelong Boston resident and current Boston University student, I should have known that. Yet, through a series of events beyond my control, I found myself sitting through forty-five minutes of traffic yesterday just to get through Kenmore Square. (If you aren't from Boston, it usually takes about two and a half minutes to drive through Kenmore.)
One good thing about September 1st in Boston? Allston Christmas. Allston is one of Boston's most populated residential areas and is the off-campus neighborhood of choice for legions of college students. While September 1st can be a veritable nightmare, its also kind of like a giant anti-yardsale. Imagine the visible spoils of college life strewn through the street: discarded couches, mattresses and dressers up for grabs on every corner as far as the eye can see.
This video, a new favorite of the StudentAdvisor team, sums up the day pretty perfectly:
By Sam Coren
All across America students are swarming back to campus as another school year begins. While you were in the middle of moving in and dreading the thought of sleeping for the next semester on a Twin XL bed, the college news stories just kept popping up. This week we found both a professor and a student succumbing to the dark side on the war on drugs. On the lighter side of things, you'll be quite surprised to find out where the nation's first all-vegan college dining hall just opened up.
No clue what we're talking about? Fear not! It's time for another edition of StudentAdvisor's This Week in College News:
University of North Texas Opens Fist All-Vegan College Cafeteria
Being a vegan living on campus can be tough. Dealing with a slim selection in the cafeteria and having your food prepared alongside carnivorous options isn't ideal for the hungry college student who values animal rights. Luckily, the University of North Texas recognized this issue and decided to open the first-ever all-vegan college cafeteria.
According to the school, the decision to convert one of the school's five cafeterias into serving up all-vegan cuisine came after the overwhelming popularity of "Meatless Mondays". But if you're absolutely jonesing for fried chicken don't worry - UNT has converted another one of their five cafeterias into one dedicated to southern home style cooking.
Dartmouth Chemistry Grad Student Busted for Meth Lab
It's not uncommon to hear about chemistry students gone rogue, but for one to do it at Dartmouth is another story. Randy Lambreghts, a 28-year-old chemistry grad student at Dartmouth College, was arrested earlier this week for the attempted manufacture of methamphetamine/amphetamine. According to reports he was running a meth lab out of his off-campus apartment which also housed several other Dartmouth students.
Imagine if your beloved professor turned out to be a motorcycle gang king pin. Students and adminstrators at Cal State San Bernadino are having a hard time wrapping their heads around how Stephen Kinzey, who taught kinesiology at the school for 10 years, was charged with charged leading a methamphetamine drug ring that involved several other dealers.
CSSB's President Albert Karnig told the press that the school had no prior knowledge of Kinzey's possible involvement with drug trafficking in a motorcycle gang. Karning issued the statement: “To our knowledge, this is the first notice that anyone on our campus has had regarding this situation. Our university police department and the entire campus community, as relevant, will work as closely as possible with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to assist with the investigation to help assure that all the facts are accurate. If the allegations are indeed true, this is beyond disappointing.”
By Sam Coren
So you've unpacked your parents' minivan and claimed the upper bunk, but something seems a bit "off" about this new dorm room now that you've just moved into. You and your roommates are struggling to figure out how you can make four cinderblock walls feel more cozy and less like a jail cell. Luckily for you, StudentAdvisor Editor-in-Chief Dean Tsouvalas knows a thing or to about sprucing up a dorm room after organizing this year's Ultimate Dorm Living Guide.
This morning, Dean was invited by the hosts of NECN's The Morning Show to give the rundown dorm room ideas that can ease the transition from home to residence hall. Better yet? Dean's got dorm shopping suggestions for students on any budget. He won't just give you the scoop on the coolest new gadgets, but also some serious money-saving dorm must-haves that won't destroy your wallet.
Find out when to splurge or save on your dorm room shopping list and check out the video below:
By Megan Kenslea
Chances are if you're reading this, you've recently had to deal with that bittersweet goodbye of sending your child off to college. If it's your first child going away to school, it may be even more difficult to adjust after achieving this milestone. As the eldest of three children, my parents and I have gone through many “firsts” together. From soccer practices to the prom, we navigated the scary waters of suburban adolescence together. Though we hit some bumps along the way, we made it to high school graduation on the whole unscathed. College was a different story.
After just one semester of freedom at school, my parents and I started to fight about everything. Nothing was off-limits: from what classes I was taking to how much money I was spending, it seemed like every conversation ended in a shouting match. I thought they were being unreasonable; they probably thought I was a nightmare. I had a whole new life at college, and I wasn’t sure how my parents fit into it.
It’s taken three years, but we’ve managed to work through a lot of problems that we had freshman year. Hopefully you can avoid the bumps in the road that I did and maintain a positive relationship with your child all through college by following these bits of advice:
Stay in touch – on their terms.
If they’re lucky, they’ll be so caught up in the excitement of freshman year that they might forget they have parents all together. Don’t worry if they don’t call you back right away – in most cases, that’s a good sign. Whether it’s a weekly phone call, regular emails, or a sporadic Skype session here and there, let your student figure out what ways of communication work best for them. Don’t be afraid to nag them a bit if they fall completely off the grid, but it’s important to let them adjust to their new surroundings without having to worry about calling mom back every five seconds.
Understand that their social lives have changed.
For most college freshmen, it’s the first time living away from home, and with that comes the first taste of freedom. Different students will have different reactions to their newfound freedom, but their first visit back home will be rough for both of you. Family rules that worked in high school probably won’t anymore. Instead of laying down the law right away, talk to them and work out new rules that you both think are appropriate. Curfews, family time, cars, and computers are all things you should talk about. Be flexible, but also make sure your child knows the consequences for breaking the rules.
Let your student take control of their academics.
Lots of parents want to be involved in their child’s academics, and with good reason. With the cost of college so high, it’s natural to want to make sure your student is making smart choices, but there is a line between offering advice and meddling. Feel free to give them advice about choosing a major, picking courses, or talking to professors – if they ask you for it. Things you should never do? Call their professors, edit (or write) their papers, or call them constantly about studying for test. Your student will learn the hard way that pulling an all-nighter is miserable – and be the better for it.
Teach them how to manage money.
College is the perfect time to teach your child how to manage a budget and spend responsibly. A great way to do this is to help them create a budget. If you’re going to give them spending money, figure out how much you can afford each month and help them budget for expenses like laundry, food, school supplies, and personal care items. If your child will have a car on campus, make sure to allot for gas, insurance, and maintenance fees, too. If you’re not giving your child money, you can still help them figure out how much money they’ll need to make or save each month. Make sure to talk your child about overdrafts and credit card debt, too – before the bills pile up.