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Cleveland Law School Offers “Risk-Free” J.D. Program

March 25, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

The decision to pursue a law degree is not one that should not be taken lightly. Analyzing your hopes and needs prior to applying will help you decide whether it’s worth your time, effort and money. It’s also crucial to examine the possible downsides: crippling student debt, high unemployment rates and declining starting salaries. At this point, if you’re still interested in studying law, you might want to consider a law school that’s offering the country’s first “risk-free” juris doctor program.

Following a recent trend among law schools to attract prospective students, the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University announced that beginning this spring, a student who decides to not continue law school after successfully completing their first year of studies can graduate with a Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) degree without taking any additional courses. And although students with this degree will not be permitted to sit for the bar exam, this approach will provide students with a foundation in law without preparing them to practice. “The new opportunity removes at least some of the financial and personal risk inherent in a large educational undertaking and comes at a time when people appreciate more guarantees,” said Craig M. Boise, Cleveland-Marshall’s dean. He added, “For these students, the first year of law school might have seemed like a waste and a hard-to-explain item on their resumes. Now they can leave with a master’s degree that we believe will be attractive to employers.” (For more on this story, click here.)

Law school hopefuls, does the “risk-free” J.D. program at CSU’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law help quell your anxieties given the weak legal job market? Do you think this program (which is essentially one-third the cost and time of a traditional law program) would be viable or not? Let us know in the comments section.

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UPenn Students’ Robotic Arm Invention Can Make You Stronger

December 11, 2013

UPenn Students’ Robotic Arm Invention Can Make You Stronger

by Suada Kolovic

Have you ever encountered a situation where superhuman strength would have come in handy? Sure, who hasn’t? Well, thanks to four engineering students from the University of Pennsylvania, it seems as though comic book-like brawn may soon become a reality.

The Titan Arm was designed to help ordinary individuals undergoing physical rehabilitation or those who would benefit from a little extra muscle. The upper-body exoskeleton is essentially a battery-powered arm brace attached to a backpack that would provide the wearer with the ability to carry an additional 40 pounds. The students – Nick Parrotta, Elizabeth Beattie, Nick McGill and Niko Vladimirov – have already won at least $75,000 in prize money for their design. "There is certainly a market, but it's slowly emerging because the systems are not perfect as yet," said Paolo Bonato, director of the Motion Analysis Lab at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. With that in mind, the Titan Arm team hopes to refine their prototype, considering different control strategies, more innovative materials and manufacturing. (For more on this story, click here.)

Do you think the Titan Arm has the potential to change lives for the better? Let us know in the comments section.

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Udacity Discontinues Free Certificates

April 18, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

With the cost of a college education continuing to skyrocket, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become increasingly popular. If you’re not familiar with MOOCs, they provide students with the opportunity to study high quality courses online with prestigious universities – we’re talking Harvard, Yale and Stanford – for free. Well, at least, that used to be the case: Udacity, one of the three MOOC providers, said on Wednesday that it would no longer give the opportunity to earn free, “non-identity-verified” certificates.

On the bright side, students will still be able to view Udacity’s online-course materials without paying but those looking to earn a certificate to prove they've mastered the material will have to pay for it. The policy change, effective May 16th, is to help employers take MOOCs more seriously, Udacity’s founder Sebastian Thrun said in a blog post. “Discontinuing the ‘free’ certificates has been one of the most difficult decisions we’ve made,” wrote Thrun. “We know that many of our hardworking students can’t afford to pay for classes. At the same time, we cannot hope that our certificates will ever carry great value if we don’t make this change.” Currently, Udacity offers two types of courses: full and free. (The “full” courses cost $150 per month and include personalized support, project-based assignments, job-placement services and the coveted verified certificate while the free courses only include access to the online course material.) “We keep working hard to bring you the best learning experience. Sometimes it means making tough choices – this was one – to maximize the learning outcome for our students,” he said. “I can’t wait to see more employers seek you out for the skills you develop on Udacity.” (For more on this story, click here.)

Do you agree with Udacity’s policy change? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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Ten Surprising Celebrity College Majors

May 16, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Due to the stagnant economy, students are flocking to majors considered “safe” (economics, engineering and computer science) and steering clear of ones that develop creative thinking and imagination (the humanities). It makes sense: The objective after graduation is to obtain a lucrative career to pay for that prestigious college education and the best way to do that is to select a major where the potential for a generous return on your investment is high. Interestingly enough, that same thought process applied to some of our favorite A-listers way back when they were considering college majors! Don’t believe us? Check out some of the more surprisingly “safe” majors chosen by celebrities below:

If you’re struggling with choosing a major, head over to Scholarships.com’s College Prep section for tips on things to consider before making a definite decision. And while you’re there, we invite you to do a free college scholarship search to find financial aid opportunities that are tailored to you!

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Harvey Mudd College Makes History, Awards Majority of Engineering Degrees to Women

May 27, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

While it was once rare to see women in higher education, there are now more women than men attending college in the U.S.. And while most would argue that historically women have been underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), it seems we’re starting to turn the corner: Harvey Mudd College awarded more engineering degrees to women than men at its commencement ceremony on Sunday. Hot dog!

Harvey Mudd College, a Claremont, Calif.-based school renowned for its engineering programs, said 56 percent of its graduating class were female. College President Maria Klawe played a pivotal role in gearing a concentrated effort to raise the number of women studying in STEM fields since she took over in 2006 and Elizabeth Orwin, a professor of engineering and incoming chair of the engineering department, said she attributes part of the school’s success to having a large female faculty. "Harvey Mudd has a high percentage of women faculty in the engineering department, so female students have more role models and examples of different pathways through engineering,” Orwin said in a statement. "We also have a significant number of experiential learning opportunities which instill confidence early on in our students, which I think is particularly impactful for our women students." (For more on this story, click here.)

Though a lot of progress has been made, inequalities still exist between men and women: While women may be the majority of college students today, they still typically earn less than men and occupy a smaller percentage of high-paying jobs. The good news is there are organizations offering scholarships to women to try and close these gaps – to find additional information about scholarships, grants, internships and fellowships that can help women attend their college of choice, please conduct a free college scholarship search.

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Tips on How to Vet a For-Profit Online Program

May 30, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Not every student goes the four-year route when it comes to getting a college education and instead explores non-traditional options that include for-profit institutions. And while proprietary institutions may not have the best track record, not all for-profit schools are alike. To help you differentiate between the good and the bad, experts at U.S. News & World Report have compiled a few tips on how to vet an online program. Check out their suggestions below:

  • Investigate the true cost of the program. Draft a budget reflecting the actual cost of the program, including the price per credit hour and the cost of books, support, technology and other necessities. Next, explore scholarship options. Scholarships are a great way to cover part or sometimes even all of the cost of a college education. Creating a Scholarships.com profile is a great place to start!
  • Explore your options. Before committing to a for-profit online program, be sure to do your homework. When looking at different schools, be sure to compare career services departments and their ties to the industry in which you hope to eventually work.
  • Check for accreditation. To help ensure that the for-profit school you are considering is reputable, check to see whether it is regionally accredited. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of the accreditation agency, make sure it is recognized by one of two authorities on the matter – the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the Department of Education.

Do you attend a for-profit institution? If so, how did you decide on your school?

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Michelle Obama Tells Students “My College Story Can Be Yours”

June 17, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

First Lady Michele Obama has always been a champion of higher education. Whether she's petitioning for more low-income students to attend college or drawing parallels on her own college experience in order to encourage students, promoting a college education has always been among her top priorities. In fact, she recently expanded on her personal college story with a piece in Education Week, where she promoted her latest Reach Higher campaign.

The Reach Higher Initiative is an effort to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether in a professional training program, community college or four-year college or university. "My message to these young people is that while all of us adults – teachers, administrators and policymakers – have to do a better job of giving them the best schools and opportunities for their future, at the end of the day, they also need to step up and take responsibility for their education themselves," said the first lady on the need for young people to take the future of their education into their own hands. “That means going to class every day, setting their goals high and working like crazy to achieve them. That's been the story of my life and my husband's life, so when I talk to these young people, my hope is that they see that our story can be their story, too – as long as they're willing to dedicate themselves to their education,” she added. To read her full commentary on the importance of completing a college education, head over to edweek.org.

Do you find encouragement in sharing similar struggles with someone so successful? Share your thoughts on Michele Obama's Reach Higher Initiative in the comments section. And for more info on adjusting to college life, check out Scholarships.com: We've come up with some resources to ease you into that transition with information on everything from choosing the right school to deciding whether or not a state university is right for you. Browse through our College Prep section for more info!

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California Gov Signs Bill Allowing Higher Fees for Popular Community College Classes

October 11, 2013

California Gov Signs Bill Allowing Higher Fees for Popular Community College Classes

by Suada Kolovic

If you’re a high school senior and you don’t think a traditional four-year university is for you, attending a community college does have its perks. Whether you’re interested in completing your general courses or testing the waters with a major that you're not absolutely set on, community colleges offer students the luxury of figuring out their educational path for a fraction of the cost...or at least they used to: California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that would allow a handful of community colleges to charge inflated prices for in-demand courses. Let’s say it all together now: Booooooo!

The higher costs – $200 per unit instead of $46 – would only affect the shorter summer and winter sessions. Supporters insist that the pilot program would prevent more students from being shut out of courses they need to graduate but critics said that lower-income students would be denied the opportunity to obtain course credits essential to their educational success. "The state would be shifting the burden for funding access from the state general fund to the backs of students," said Vincent Stewart, the community college system's vice chancellor for governmental relations, after the California Legislature approved the measure. "Creating a pay-to-play fee structure, where students who have greater wealth and means can get on a fast track, is patently unfair."

Even with the rate per unit almost quintupled, the overall cost of studying at a community college is still considerably less when compared to traditional options but is it fair to charge more? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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Top 10 Worst College Majors

July 18, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

With recent college graduates facing an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent and substantially lower starting salaries, we have to ask: What path should students take in order to flourish after graduation? And while there isn't one direct route that translates into post-collegiate success, H&R Block has compiled the top 10 majors with the highest unemployment rates for recent college graduates:

  1. Anthropology & Archaeology – 10.5%
  2. Film/Video & Photographic Arts – 12.9%
  3. Fine Arts – 12.6%
  4. Philosophy & Religious Studies – 10.8%
  5. Liberal Arts – 9.2%
  6. Music – 9.2%
  7. Physical Fitness – 8.3%
  8. Commercial Art & Graphic Design – 11.8%
  9. History – 10.2%
  10. English Language & Literature – 9.2%

What are your thoughts on the majors that made the list? Do you agree with the sentiment that these majors that aren't in high demand should be avoided or should students be encouraged to pursue their passion regardless of potentially high unemployment rates? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. For more information on how to choose a major,the most popular college majors and 10 things to consider before choosing your major, head over to Scholarships.com’s College Prep section.

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UVA Welcomes “Game of Thrones” Course

July 24, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Are you one of the millions of Americas suffering from “Game of Thrones” withdrawal? Do you stay up late at night pondering how the Lannister’s will pay their debts next season? Wonder if Ser Gregor Clegane will turn into Cersei’s dream Frankenstein Monster? Speculate when winter will freaking come already?! Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait close to 10 months to get our next “Game of Thrones” fix...unless, of course, you’re at the University of Virginia: This summer, UVA is offering an English course on the wildly popular HBO show. Thronees rejoice!

According to UVA Today, the discussion-based class will be taught by associate professor of English Lisa Woolfork over four weeks this summer. The course will be divided between the first “Game of Thrones” novels and the first three seasons of the show. “One of the goals behind this class was to teach students how the skills that we use to study literature are very useful skills for reading literature and TV in conjunction,” Woolfork said. “‘Game of Thrones’ is popular, it’s interesting, but it’s also very serious. There are a lot of things in the series that are very weighty, and very meaningful, and can be illuminated through the skills of literary analysis.” (For more on this story, click here.)

While classes rooted in popular culture is not a new phenomenon on college campuses – Frostburg State University in Maryland has been offering “The Science of Harry Potter” as a three-credit seminar for years – what’s your stance on the educational value of offering such a course? Do you think colleges are pandering to students’ wants verses needs? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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