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Your Group Project Survival Guide

by Alexis Mattera

So you're in a group for a class project and not liking it one bit? Welcome to college.

The key to group projects is not about only about dividing the work - a successful group project has its members communicate well, often and without hassle...but what if you get unlucky and end up with a group member you can't deal with?

When dealing with a group member you don't connect with, put all feelings aside and just listen to them. Hear out every suggestion, question and even decode what they aren't saying. When replying, stick to the grandma rule: Would you give your grandma attitude, be sarcastic or complete ignore what she has to say? Of course not, so don't do that to a fellow student.

What if the situation is opposite and you have a group member who is not respecting you? Sit them down, look them in the eye and tell them what you think should been done with this project. (The grandma rule applies here as well.) If you get all worked up, the other person is most likely going to take the same route and that hardly ever turns out well.

If you’ve tried all of these tips and problems within the group persist, talk to your professor. If he/she can let you work by yourself, do it. It's better than getting a bad grade and having to work even harder for the rest of the class. Plus, you'll probably do a great job anyway!

Samuel “Samwell” Favela is a journalism major at Long Beach City College. He’s interested in all things media – he enjoys blogging, Instagramming and hosting his own campus radio show – and is always excited to meet new people. Samwell’s educational journey has already taken him from Pomona to Long Beach and shows no sign of slowing down...which is exactly the way he likes it!


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Calgary Student Runs Campaign on “Puppy Room” Platform...and Wins!

by Suada Kolovic

Running for student office can be a challenge. With the majority of students uninterested in student politics and others voting based solely on the catchiness of a slogan ("He's not popular and he's not handsome, so he has time for student council" got my vote every time!), the odds really aren’t in anyone’s favor. Unless, of course, you run your campaign on providing cuddly-wuddly, wittle puppies for all students to enjoy. I vote yes!

University of Calgary student Ben Cannon recently won the role of vice president of student life after promising voters a puppy room. Other Canadian universities have already adopted the idea, aimed at relieving students’ stress by giving them easy access to canines on campus. Debbie Bruckner of the U of C Wellness Centre said the university is already working with Cannon on the logistics of a puppy room. “It sounds kind of like a silly idea at first but it’s proven scientifically, I mean, it raises your dopamine levels in your brain, lowers your blood pressure. There’s just something about it – there’s a reason why dogs are a man’s best friend,” said Cannon.

With all the pressure and anxiety that comes with attending college, providing students with puppies only seems fair, right? Let us know what you think.


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UVA Med Student Saves Man’s Life During Training Exam

by Suada Kolovic

A University of Virginia medical student who thought he was taking part in a routine training exam is now being credited with potentially saving a man’s life!

According to the University of Virginia Health System, student Ryan Jones was participating in the standardized patient program where actors are assigned a specific condition so that medical students can attempt to diagnose them and found that his “patient” actually had real life-threatening symptoms. Pretend patient Jim Malloy was instructed to portray the symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), a condition common in men between the ages of 65 and 75 years old in which a section of the lower part of the aorta starts to bulge. Left untreated, the bursting of such an aneurysm can be fatal. During his practice exam, Jones noticed that Malloy actually had symptoms of AAA and the physician overseeing the training session told Malloy to see a cardiologist. After a few months, he did and the doctor found an AAA...just as Jones had predicted.

Malloy had stent surgery at the University of Virginia Medical Center last year and has since recovered. “Don’t ever think you can’t affect a life,” said his wife, Louise Malloy, in a press release this week. “My husband, Jim, is living proof that you can.” (For more on this story, click here.)


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Report: 284,000 College Graduates Held Minimum-Wage Jobs in 2012

by Suada Kolovic

Looking for a competitive edge when applying for that minimum-wage barista position at your local coffee shop? Turns out your newly minted bachelor’s degree might just be the edge they’re looking for.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, there were about 284,000 college graduates working minimum-wage jobs in 2012, including 37,000 with advanced degrees. Surprisingly, that’s down from 2010’s peak of 327,000 but up 70 percent from a decade earlier. And with many college graduates saddled with crippling student loan debt, it’s no wonder they’re accepting positions that are low-paying and low-skilled.

Of the 41.7 million working 2010 college graduates, about 48 percent work jobs that require less than a bachelor’s degree and 38 percent of those polled didn’t even need a high school diploma. Why the surge of low-paying jobs? Three-fifths of the jobs lost during the recession that paid middle-income wages have been replaced with the low-wage variety, according to the National Employment Law Project. (For more on this report, click here.)

To our college student readers, does this report alter your perspective on getting a college education? Why or why not?


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Tips on How to Vet a For-Profit Online Program

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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Cooper Union to Charge Undergraduate Tuition in 2014

by Suada Kolovic

It’s official: After 18 months of intense analysis and serious opposition (we’re looking at you, students who barricaded themselves in the college last December), Cooper Union will begin charging undergraduate tuition for the first time.

Faced with a $12 million annual budget deficit, the Board of Trustees voted last week to reduce the full-tuition scholarship to 50-percent for all undergraduates admitted to the institution beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2014. “The time has come to set our institution on a path that will enable it to survive and thrive well into the future,” said board chairman Mark Epstein in an announcement to students and faculty members in the college’s Great Hall. “Under the new policy, the Cooper Union will continue to adhere to the vision of Peter Cooper, who founded the institution specifically to provide a quality education to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.” None of the 900 current undergraduates would be affected but those considering enrolling in the fall of 2014 and beyond could pay $19,275 a semester.

After the speech, opponents of the decision gathered outside the Great Hall and staged what they called a walkout, arguing that any tuition would alter the essential character of the prestigious school. What do you think of the announcement and the corresponding criticism? Let us know in the comments section.


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10 Med Schools That Received the Most Applications

by Suada Kolovic

If you’re actively considering a career as a physician, you’re well aware of the long, rigorous and demanding road ahead. With challenging coursework and fierce competition in the forecast, not everyone is up for the challenge...but that hasn’t necessarily translated into fewer students applying to medical school. According to U.S. News & World Report, medical school experts have predicted a shortage of doctors throughout the next decade but no shortage of prospective students. In 2012, total applications increased by 3.1 percent with the average number of applications at the top 10 medical schools totaling approximately 10,812. Check out the top 10 medical schools that receive the most applications for the most recent school year below:

Did your top-choice medical school make the list? If so, would you consider other schools with less competition?


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Study: College Students Are Constantly Texting in Class

by Suada Kolovic

In what some would consider the most obvious study of all time, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln confirms that the majority of college students are seriously distracted in class and found that smartphones are to blame: According to the study, the average college student checks his or her phone a whopping 11 times a day in class while a mere 8 percent said they never use their phones during a lecture. Of those students using their phones during class, 86 percent said they were texting, 68 percent admitted to checking email and 66 percent were on social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Despite these percentages, students generally downplayed their overall distraction. Fewer than 5 percent considered it a "big" or "very big" distraction when classmates used digital devices and fewer than 5 percent considered their own use to be a "big" or "very big" distraction. "I don't think students necessarily think it's problematic," said Bernard McCoy, associate professor of broadcasting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "They think it's part of their lives."

Being plugged in at all times isn't a new phenomenon: Students have always faced distractions in the classroom but with smartphones and the constant stream of stimuli they provide, a new challenge on focusing and learning has emerged. Do you have a problem using your phone during class? If so, would you consider it to be a serious hindrance to your education?


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FAFSA to Recognize Same-Sex and Unmarried Parents by 2014

by Suada Kolovic

The Department of Education has recently announced that the FAFSA will soon undergo a few changes to accommodate students with same-sex or unmarried parents who cohabit in order to more accurately ascertain an applicant’s financial situation.

The forms, which will be introduced for the 2014-15 school year, will allow students to designate their parents as “Parent 1 (father/mother/stepparent)” and “Parent 2 (father/mother/stepparent)” rather than just mother and father. “All students should be able to apply for federal student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "These changes will allow us to more precisely calculate federal student aid eligibility based on what a student's whole family is able to contribute and ensure taxpayer dollars are better targeted toward those students who have the most need, as well as provide an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families."

The department has said that the changes will not impact a vast majority of applicants but it could potentially (read: very likely) translate into reduced aid for students with same-sex or unmarried parents. Why? Those parents who do not benefit from filing joint tax returns will likely disqualify their children from financial aid if it’s found that jointly they are above the income threshold. So while the changes are considered progressive, they’re just slightly off the mark when it comes to helping “unique family dynamics.”


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Rapper Juicy J Awards Student $50,000 College Scholarship

by Suada Kolovic

While it may come to no surprise that Michele Obama is urging young students to pursue a higher education, she’s not the only one who understands its value. Take for instance Rapper Juicy J: He recently awarded a young woman a $50,000 “twerking” scholarship! Did we mention that her winning entry involved no twerking at all?

Last August, the Oscar-winning rapper launched the Juicy J Scholarship Foundation and tweeted that he would award the scholarship “to the best chick that can twerk.” He later admitted that entrants were not required to do the popular dance move and that he would give the funds to the college-bound recipient who needed it most. And that individual was Zaire Holmes, a 19-year-old student at the State College of Florida. Holmes, a full-time mother and student, said in her video submission that her aspirations of becoming a doctor would require 11 years of schooling and that financial aid alone would not cover her expenses. Touched by her story, Juicy J announced her as the winner and said, “You remind me of myself. When I was 19, I was like really, really working hard.” After her big win, the South Florida native shared her hopes of transferring from the State College of Florida to either the University of Florida or the University of South Florida to study medicine. (For more on this story, click here.)

What do you think of the rapper’s take on giving back to the community? Let us know in the comments section.


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