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How to Ensure a Successful College Visit

Jul 6, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

Summer is in full swing and for most high school students, that means it's time for college tours! Throughout my four years of high school, I visited and toured nearly 20 different universities to find what worked for me. In an effort to ease your college touring adventures, here's what helped me:

  • Plan ahead. During the summer and school breaks, college tours fill up quickly. Remember to book your tour, hotel and other details in advance. Try not to plan too many visits on the same day, as tours can be a lot of walking.
  • Get in touch with Great Aunt Millie. Whether they're across the country or in a neighboring state, chances are you know someone who can serve as an "excuse" to visit that school you've been dreaming of. If you don't have family near one of your schools, consider finding a fun family attraction nearby; after long days of college tours, everyone needs a little fun! (Pro tip: Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio is awesome if you're taking a road trip to visit Midwest schools!)
  • Communication is key. Even though it may seem like it, your parents can't read your mind so tell them what is important to you in a school. In my experience, parents can use a reminder that college applications are hard and time consuming; the tour process is mainly to help you decide which schools you will apply to.
  • Stay positive. Remember that college is a buyer's market: When looking at schools, you have the deciding power. The more you can see yourself at a school, the better your application will be. Trust me, the readers will see this as they review your materials.
  • Be honest with yourself. If you're like me, you started off with over 20 potential schools. At some point, you'll need to cross some off the list. Listen to your gut and trust that you will end up somewhere great!
  • Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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    The Educational Value of Facebook

    Jul 2, 2015

    by Chris Bernardi

    Are you one of the billion users who enjoys posting or viewing status updates, pictures or articles on Facebook? While Facebook and other social media sites have often been viewed as a distraction in the workplace and classroom, a first-of-its-kind study shows the educational value of these forums that can help students learn scientific literacy and other complex subjects.

    Conducted by Michigan State University’s Christine Greenhow, the study found high school and college students engage in vigorous, intelligent debates about scientific issues when using voluntary forums. The study was composed of 16-25 students who voluntarily joined a Facebook app that dealt with climate and related science news such as coal-burning regulations and environmentally friendly housing. After analyzing the student’s activity on the app, Greenhow found that their discussions on various science issues were on-topic, civil and sophisticated. The findings contradict previous studies which supported critics’ theories that excessive social media use distracted kids from academics, spurred loneliness and depression, and facilitated cyberbullying.

    “One of the things we struggle with as educators is how to take students’ spark of interest in something and develop it in ways that can serve them,” said Greenhow, assistant professor of educational psychology and educational technology. “If students had these kinds of niche communities to be part of, in addition to their formal curriculum, that could really provide a rich environment for them.” These finding make a case for the use of social media outlets as learning tools: They provide a huge push to integrate new technology into classrooms and should spur more consideration to this informal online learning that occurs in students’ natural environments.

    Would you use a Facebook app that allowed you and your classmates to debate educational material? Do you think Facebook is more of a distraction to students than educational tool?

    And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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    College Life , High School News , Just for Fun , Tips

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    Enrolling at a Branch Campus vs. a Main Campus

    Jul 1, 2015

    by Ashley Grego

    When most people hear Penn State, they think of the college town located in State College famous for Beaver Stadium and football. It's less likely that people think of the other Penn States - the branch campuses. Technically, they are the same university...but perception is different.

    Although main campuses may offer more activities, different classes and a completely different lifestyle than branch campuses, it doesn't necessarily mean one is better than the other. In fact, there are benefits of branch campuses that students should consider before attending the main campus.

    First, branches are smaller and offer students a closer experience with professors and students. If students prefer one-on-one connections with their professors and classmates where everybody knows each other's names, branches can offer this. This can also make for an easier transition for students coming from smaller high schools.

    Second, some branches are completely different from the main. Some branches specialize in specific majors – a benefit for students in those majors. (For example, UConn's Avery Point campus in Groton offers specialization for marine sciences.) Another example of this is branch campuses outside of the country. Unlike study abroad, the student will not be attending a different college and earning transfer credits toward their university: They will be attending their school branched overseas, like Carnegie Mellon's branch in Qatar. Another benefit? Experiencing college abroad can be cheaper than study abroad!

    Third, regardless of attending a branch or main, all of the diplomas (at least at most schools) will say the same thing. Even though I attend UPJ, my diploma will read "graduate of the University of Pittsburgh." This can provide an automatic boost to students who may think attending the branch will negate the rest of their resume.

    The last benefit of attending a branch campus is even if students do not plan to attend the branch campus for all four years, transferring credits will be easier. By staying within the same university system, students are less likely lose any credits because most classes at a branch campus are at the main campus.

    Although branch campuses are not for every student, they are certainly something to consider!

    And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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    As More States Legalize Marijuana, “Cannabis College” Aims to Educate Students

    Jun 30, 2015

    by Chris Bernardi

    If you walked into a seminar hall and were met with visions of tie-dyed t-shirts advertising High Times and marijuana-leaf tie clips as far as the eye could see, you may think you had stumbled onto the set of the classic movie Dazed and Confused. In actuality, you may have been in Washington, D.C. for a presentation by Oaksterdam University – the self-described “Cannabis College” – where more than 100 students recently took part in a 10-session seminar focusing on education in regions with recently loosened marijuana laws.

    With nearly two dozen states having already legalized marijuana, Oaksterdam officials are trying to educate marijuana users, growers and purveyors. “It’s really important that you spread education because there’s way too much that people don’t realize,” said Oaksterdam provost and dean of faculty Aseem Sappal. “You’re going to continue to pass laws, and all of a sudden you’re going to start a dispensary, which is great. But who’s going to teach you how to open that dispensary? Who’s going to teach you how to cultivate?”

    Since its founding in 2007 as a mix of trade school and advocacy group, Oaksterdam University has been thriving as students are eager to pay $800 to attend these weekend sessions. Seminars are so popular that they sell out two months in advance; fourteen-week semesters at Oaksterdam’s flagship campus in Oakland, Calif. are booked six months ahead of time. Plans to potentially expand by opening campuses in New York, Los Angeles and Colorado have already been discussed. Sappal argued that “it’s just a matter of time before the entire nation legalizes.”

    What are your thoughts on Oaksterdam University, aka Cannabis College? Would you attend one of the school’s in-demand seminars or do you think the administration is just blowing smoke?

    Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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    The Perfect College: It Exists...But It's Different for Everyone

    Jun 29, 2015

    by Erica Lewis

    My name is Erica Lewis and I attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where I am majoring in food science and technology. I chose UNL because it was the right fit for me: It was close to home but far enough away that I didn't feel like my parents were right there! UNL also offered many great scholarship opportunities, which made it more affordable than many of the other schools that I looked at. Finally, I'm a huge sports fan and the Huskers are so much fun to watch!

    I chose to major in food science and technology because it combines my love of food with my love for science...that may sound a bit cliché, but it's true! I already knew how to cook but now I get to learn about the components of food and how they are affected by various cooking methods and so much more. Like UNL as a whole, the food science and technology department also offers many scholarship opportunities, which was really nice to know when comparing my options.

    In my spare time, you can typically find me at club meetings, Husker games of any kind or watching TV while working on homework with my friends – the great part about college is you can choose to create the schedule you want and do what you want with your free time! I was interested in becoming a Scholarships.com virtual intern because I knew it would give me the chance to tell other students about my college experience and help them make their decision on which college to attend. I know that choosing a college can seem a bit daunting at times so I want to help readers make the choice that's best for them!

    And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

    Comments (1)

    Top 5 Lessons of a Part-Time Job

    Jun 24, 2015

    by Emily Rabinowitz

    The summer before my senior year, most of my peers interned at prestigious companies, traveled the world, or spent hours writing college essays and studying for the SAT. I, on the other hand, got a part time position earning $8.25 an hour at Old Navy.

    As I prepare for college this year, I can safely say that my job experience is one of my biggest assets. Here's what I learned:

    • Responsibility. One of my first shifts was the infamous One Dollar Flip Flop Day. With constant lines and eight-hour shifts, I learned responsibility. When on the sales floor, I could not lapse into rudeness even when I had a difficult customer, check my phone even when my friends texted me, and I most definitely could not disobey my superiors.
    • Social Issues. Over the course of the past year, I worked every major holiday from Black Friday to New Year’s Eve, allowing me to understand that the world does not stop because school went on vacation. I started to realize how many parents might have to sacrifice Christmas morning with their children in order to put dinner on the table.
    • Spending. My favorite meal at Chipotle costs about $12 - that is over an hour of work! This came as a shock to me and triggered me to begin tracking my spending and even opening a savings account to lock away future funds.
    • Experience. Having a year in retail, let alone employment, made me marketable. I was able to secure a second job within a month of applying. My job will also transfer with me to college.
    • Respect. In a workplace environment, everyone is your equal. In learning to respect my colleagues, I have gained insight from people in dozens of walks of life.

    Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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    Head vs. Heart: Which Should You Follow When Choosing a College?

    Jun 22, 2015

    by Ashley Grego

    Choosing my school wasn't a heart-driven decision. My heart eyed up Pitt Main and the possibilities of finally living in the city I've loved my entire childhood. I so badly wanted to go there; however, it was illogical in more than one way: My hometown actually is Johnstown - where one of Pitt's branch campuses is located - and not only does Pitt-Johnstown supply me with the identical diploma as a Pitt Main student, it also saves me roughly $10,000 a year because I commute. Putting aside my dream of life in the city was difficult, but I knew going to Pitt-Johnstown made more sense.

    Once starting at Pitt-Johnstown (UPJ, as we call it), selecting my major was more heart-driven. Even though I got high honors in high school, I knew the science world wasn't in my direct future, maybe unless I wrote about it and talked about it - two things I am very confident in and enjoy doing - which led me to the journalism major. I realized early on, however, that it wasn't my exact fit; I wanted to explore other forms of writing and speaking instead so I became a double major in communication and writing. I now plan to do something within the sports industry or get my master's degree from Carnegie Mellon...I hope! Outside of school, I run a sports blog, work, am a NAHL ice girl and play D2 college club hockey at a nearby university. I also intern at my school's sports center and love shopping.

    The reason I was interested in this internship is because of my own personal goals and the company itself. I am constantly looking to build my resume and found this as an amazing opportunity. I know that the real career world is a competitive market and I want to have the experience to stand myself out. Looking forward, I look to blogging about anything that comes to mind, from my own experiences to addressing bigger issues in higher education.

    And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

    Comments (2)

    Sleep-Deprived College Students: College to Open Nap Rooms

    Jun 22, 2015

    by Suada Kolovic

    We’ve all been there: Going about our day without a care in the world when it dawns on us that (go figure) our term paper on the pros and cons of procrastination in the creative process is due tomorrow. Panicked, we consider emailing our professor an excuse about a death in the family but given we killed off Nana (who’s actually alive and well back home) last semester during finals week, we decide it’s best to pull an all-nighter. The next day, we’re irritable, unmotivated and just plain sluggish and while the simple solution is to overcome procrastination and not leave an assignment until the last minute, the Art Center College of Design has suggested a different approach: a nap room on campus.

    The Pasadena, Calif.-based college opened its first nap room last year in an effort to combat exhaustion among its mostly commuter students. "Our Nap Room is available for students four weeks during each 14-week term. We are a year-round program with three terms a year," said spokesperson Teri Bond. "The room is available 24 hours on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during those four weeks each term." And while there isn’t a determined space just yet, Art Center students are hoping to follow in the footsteps of the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of Michigan in instituting a permanent nap room on campus. (For more on this story, click here.)

    If you’re a fan of napping between classes, do you think it’s your university’s responsibility to provide nap rooms for students? Let us know what you think in the comments section. And for a more detailed look into the Art Center College of Design or hundreds of other universities, check out our College Search.

    Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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    College Culture , College Life , College News

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    Denied Under Nazis, 102-Year-Old Jewish Woman Gets Doctorate

    Jun 22, 2015

    by Suada Kolovic

    I'm sure you've heard the age old adage "It's never too late to earn your college degree." And for Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport, those words rang true: Nearly eight decades after not being allowed to defend her doctoral thesis under Nazis because she was part-Jewish, the 102-year-old Syllm-Rapoport became Germany's oldest recipient of a doctorate on Tuesday.

    Syllm-Rapoport, a retired neonatologist, submitted her thesis to the University of Hamburg in 1938, five years after Adolf Hitler took power. When she handed in her doctorate thesis, her supervisor at the time, Rudolf Degkwitz, wrote in a letter in 1938 that he would have accepted her work on diphtheria if it hadn't been for the Nazis' race laws which, he said, "make it impossible to allow Miss Syllm's admission for the doctorate." "For me personally, the degree didn't mean anything, but to support the great goal of coming to terms with history — I wanted to be part of that," Syllm-Rapoport told German public television station NDR. (For more on this story, head over to the Wall Street Journal.)

    Share your thoughts on Syllm-Rapoport’s inspiring story below.

    And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

    Comments (0)

    Unique Programs + Strong Community + Terrified Excitement = My Ideal College

    Jun 19, 2015

    by Emily Rabinowitz

    Why did I choose NYU? As a recent high school graduate, this is a question I get a lot, especially with NYU's expense and daunting inner city location. The best way to describe the way I feel about NYU is terrified excitement. Unlike any of the other 18 schools I visited, NYU scared me in a way that was challenging and empowering. I saw endless opportunities in their massive travel abroad program, thousands of community service partnerships and dozens of research facilities.

    In addition, I was strongly attracted to NYU's unique applied psychology and global public health dual degree; after talking to faculty about this major, I discovered that it is one of the only degrees of its kind in the nation! Made of a tight community and sponsoring the integration of health and psychology, NYU gave me a way to stand out from typical psychology majors and kick start my career.

    As a virtual intern, I'm excited to have the opportunity to share advice and engage in meaningful discussion. Writing has always been a passion of mine (National Novel Writing Month, anyone?) and I look forward to using it to inspire my peers on Scholarships.com.

    And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

    Comments (1)

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