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by Susan Dutca

Emotional support animals are able to attend select colleges with their owners, as schools are re-evaluating their campus policies when it comes to accommodating students with mental-health issues. Higher education institutions are also debating whether suicide-prone students should be given campus leave, in order to recover. Administrators are fighting to make decisions in the best interest of all students meanwhile discerning the troubled adolescent from a homesick student who just really wants a puppy.

About ten years ago, many colleges and universities told students to leave their support pets at home. After legal settlements at several institutions, the Justice Department allowed students to bring their support animals to campus. Felines and canines used to be the norm for support animals. Schools are now seeing applications for tarantulas, ferrets, and pigs. Studies show that support animals can help students suffering from anxiety or depression, but college disability officers are aware that online therapists are willing to write "accommodation letters" to "just about anyone" for an average fee of $150. Nonetheless, with recent legal settlements, colleges aren't prying when students show up to campus with animal and accommodation letter in hand.

This year 66 students have emotional-support animals at Oklahoma State and the university is considering building a pet-friendly dorm to "reduce complaints from other students about allergies and phobias." At Northern Arizona University, 85 students requested special accommodation but "half the requests dropped when students learned that documentation is required."

Colleges are also facing another dilemma: how to handle students at risk of committing suicide. In 2015, a survey revealed 36 percent of undergraduates "had felt so depressed it was difficult to function," with 10 percent of students having "seriously considered committing suicide." In the past, colleges were allowed to remove students from campus when they posed a "direct threat" to others or themselves. Some administrators believe that campus leave allows suffering students to "recover under close supervision...without the social and academic stresses of college life." Students, however, feel like they are being "punished," which sends them into a "deeper spiral."

In your opinion, should students be allowed to bring support animals to campus? Should suicide-prone students be given campus leave? Share your thoughts with us.

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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by Susan Dutca

Vandals allegedly trashed the 2,997 American flags planted across Occidental College's campus as a 9/11 Memorial by the college's Republican Club. The broken and trashed flags were replaced by fliers that read, "RIP the 1,455,590 innocent Iraqis who died during the U.S. invasion for something they didn't do."

The memorial, which was approved by, and registered with the college, was quickly uprooted by Sunday morning. Occidental Republicans guarded the remaining flags to prevent some students from doing further damage and "vowed to replant" and "rebuild" the memorial. In a statement, the group noted that "there was no reason to damage the memorial...this is beyond politics, this is about those lives that were so tragically taken."

The Coalition for Diversity and Equity (CODE) at Occidental offered a different explanation. "On a campus that proclaims itself time and again to be diverse, equitable and safe for all of its students, the display of American flags covering the entire academic quad disproved that proclamation…When we became aware of the purpose of this display, to memorialize 9/11, we were concerned by the complete disregard for the various peoples affected by this history. As students of color, this symbol of the American flag is particularly triggering for many different reasons. For us, this flag is a symbol of institutionalized violence (genocide, rape, slavery, colonialism, etc.) against people of color, domestically as well as globally. Additionally, if the goal of the memorial is to commemorate the lives lost during 9/11, the singular nature of the American flag fails to account for the diversity of lives lost on that day."

Even at national sporting events, where some athletes refuse to stand during the national anthem, the American flag has become an object that "cannot be viewed as something that means the same to all people." For some, it represents the opposite of freedom: a reminder of the "polarization" and "marginalization" of "people of color living within the United States."

In your opinion, was the dismantling of the 9/11 memorial justified? What disciplinary action, if any, should be taken as a result of the destruction of the sanctioned campus memorial? Would you have acted similarly if you did not agree with such a memorial display?

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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The Text Book Game

Aug 24, 2015

by Christina Zhou

You’re starting college, excited to be embarking on the next big adventure, and…is that flimsy textbook really $500? For many students, the prospect of obtaining the course booklist on the typical college allowance may seem daunting at first. However, the following tips on how to be smart when buying textbooks can help you save a lot of tears and money.

  • Wait and see. Some (cruel) professors will put texts on the course booklist and never end up using them, causing students to waste money by rushing out and buying them immediately. It’s a good idea to wait a couple days to see which books you really need. Also, try asking previous students which books they used.
  • Ask upperclassmen. Speaking of previous students, upperclassmen can also be a great source for cheap textbooks. If you’re lucky, they might even give them to you for free!
  • Buy used, and online. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of students who immediately go to the campus bookstore and buy hardcover before looking up the prices of paperback from alternate online sellers. Amazon, eBay, and Chegg are good starting points for your search. However, make sure to check their approval rating before purchasing, as a good price is not worth poor quality.
  • Utilize the library. Schools will sometimes keep a copy or two of popular textbooks in the library. Get there fast before they’re gone, as you are competing with many other students for what is at most a handful of copies.
  • Embrace technology. Print might feel good, but the higher price won’t. Opt for e-books instead, to save on both money and backpack space.
  • Get your money back. Selling your own textbooks after you’re finished with them is a great method to get back some of the initial expense.
  • 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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by Erica Lewis

Many students find an area of interest outside the classroom to be involved in during high school, but being involved in extracurricular activities at college has a significant impact on your education experience and even future career. It allows you to build your resume, make new friends and provides scholarship opportunities that you might not have otherwise known about.

During the first few weeks of classes, clubs are trying to recruit new members at full force. It’s a great opportunity to discover what programs your school offers that best fit your interests. I would suggest starting out with multiple clubs and then sticking with the ones that interest you the most. Many majors have their own club, but you don’t have to be in a major to be in a club, just a desire to partake in what they offer. One of the best things about being in students organizations is the people you meet. Many organizations bring in professionals to talk about resume building, job applications and of course scholarships.

Another thing that I enjoy about clubs is the opportunity to meet other students taking the same classes as you and get advice from students who have already taken challenging courses. It’s always nice to have someone you can go to when studying for a big exam. My closest friends at college today stemmed from the relationships started in the clubs I joined. Not only do we see each other at club events, but we also enjoy doing fun activities together as well.

My biggest piece of advice with clubs is to seek out the ones that interest you the most and stick with the ones that you feel provide you with the opportunities you desire. Although clubs greatly enhance your college experience, you don’t want to become so involved that your GPA takes a hit. Personalize your college experience and utilize the resources your school offers.

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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“Dorm”-estic Bliss

Aug 12, 2015

by Christina Zhou

Unless you’re rooming with someone you already know, a college roommate can be a wild card. For many, this is the first time that they are sharing their living space for an extended period of time. As a result, tensions can run high if you aren’t careful, dragging down both your mood and possibly even your GPA. In order to maintain a good relationship with your roommate and avoid explosions in your dorm room, try some of the following tips.

  • Make rules early on. Chances are, you and your roommate will have some different habits. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but drawing up some general guidelines at the start of the school year will let you both know what to expect. (Defining what “neat” entails is a great start.)
  • Communicate, communicate, and communicate! Passive aggressiveness gets you nowhere. Try to address problems when they are small, and in an open, non-confrontational manner. In addition, a little occasional compromising goes a long way.
  • Have a fun shared activity. It can be something short and sweet. Some simple ideas would include going out to eat, participating in a club or even just going to the gym.
  • Take breaks from each other. Even the best of friends need to separate occasionally. It’s healthy for both of you to have other friends and interests. The last thing you want is to give off the impression of being an impenetrable duo.
  • Don’t try to force it. Sometimes your roommate may end up being your best friend. On the other hand, clicking on a higher level than "roommate", may just not be in the deck of cards. Maybe you two don't have similar interests or personalities that qualify each other as friendship material. Just because you were randomly paired up, doesn't mean you have to like each other to the point of friendship. If that’s the case, don’t worry! Being courteous is a must, but friendship is not something that can be forced. If you let resentments fester and don't really speak into how you feel, you plant the seed to a toxic relationship, that will one day blow up. Nothing is more awkward than living with someone you're not speaking with!
  • 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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Suicide on Campus

Aug 5, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

“Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students, claiming the lives of 1,100 students each year.” (From activeminds.org)

Whether you’re packing to go off to college this year, or preparing to leave next year, your mental health is important during this stressful period of your life. Listed below are important resources to prepare you or someone you know that may be in need of mental health services on campus.

Active Minds (http://www.activeminds.org/) is a mental health organization that focuses on college students. They probably have a chapter at your university that can provide support, resources, and peers for you to connect with.

ULifeline (http://www.ulifeline.org/static/must_select_a_school) is an online center that connects you with resources specific to your school as well as information about different conditions and solutions.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org/) is an organization focused on helping individuals with all mental illness. They have great resources for breaking the stigma, finding counselors and getting help.

Your university website—If you have a pre-existing condition such as anxiety, depression, or high stress, check out the health services page. Look into the details of the services. Do you need insurance? Where are the counselors? Are they available 7 days a week? Make sure that both you and your parents feel comfortable with the protocol your school has set up to deal with mental illness. While you’re on this website, it’s a good idea to put the phone numbers of the wellness center in your phone. You might also want these emergency numbers as well:

1-800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Prevention Life Line. It can also be accessed online here: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. Remember, if you or someone you know is in danger, please call 911.

Chances are you will encounter mental illness during your time in school. The good thing is that by reading this, you are already informed about resources online and on campus. There are people who care about you and your safety is important. Speak up, reach out, get help.

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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by Chris Bernardi

The disease of addiction has ravaged college campuses, evident by the fact that 80 percent of college students drink alcohol, 40 percent binge drink. College students make up one of the largest groups of drug abusers nationwide. Young adolescent’s ages 18-24 already have an increased risk of addiction- those enrolled in a full-time college program are twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Several factors play into substance abuse at the collegiate level. With the high demands of coursework, part-time jobs, internships, and social obligations, many students turn to drugs to cope with stress. A heavy course load has more students than ever taking stimulants, such as Adderall, to help them stay awake long enough to study or complete assignments by their due date. In a time where one is exploring many new aspects of life in personal and professional realms, college students are curious to self-explore and dip into drug experimentation.

But what drugs are being abused? The four most common substances that are consistently abused among college students are alcohol, Adderall, marijuana, and ecstasy. Because drinking is socially acceptable, the vast majority of substance abuse on college campuses spurs from the use of alcohol. In college, drinking often goes hand-in-hand with house parties, sporting events and student get-togethers. Since the use of alcohol on college campuses is widespread and often condoned, college students drink more frequently than their peers who aren’t in college. What students fail to realize is that excessive drinking is not only a major health concern in the long-term, but can lead to immediate tragedies such as assault, injury, arrest and even death.

Adderall, dubbed the “study drug” and other stimulants are increasing in popularity as students face the pressure to meet their study requirements. As we continue to see a shift in the leniency for marijuana legalization, more students have turned to pot as their drug of choice. On some campuses, marijuana use outweighs that of alcohol. Ecstasy, the “party drug” most common at raves and concerts, has made it’s resurgence in recent years in its pure form of MDMA or molly.

Other factors, such as being in a fraternity or sorority also contribute to increased drug abuse rates. College students as a group are similarly considered high-risk for developing eating disorders.

Do you feel like stress, work load and curiosity are valid excuses for college students to use drugs? Does knowing these statistics/facts change your perspective on going to college, or ideas on drinking/drugging at college?

A better statistic would be 80% percent of students that conduct a college scholarship search at Scholarships.com find free money for college. Let's be part of that group.

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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Jobs During College

Jul 30, 2015

by Ashley Grego

While some students are fortunate with affluent upbringings, others have had jobs since the day they were legally allowed to join the work force. Even with a heavy course load, some of these students still have to work. Typically, three types of jobs are common during college: work-study, on-campus and off-campus.

Work-study is an on-campus job usually open to students with financial need. According to the U.S. Department of Education, thirty-four-hundred universities in the country actually offer work-study programs. Unlike the other two types of jobs that will be presented later in this article, work-study pay goes toward tuition only. Therefore some students in the work-study program who have financial obligations outside of tuition, must then also pick up a second job.

A second common type of job common amongst college students are on-campus jobs. A student with an on-campus job may hold the same position as a work-study employee, but have the freedom to spend their paycheck on anything they would like. On-campus jobs can range from librarian assistant, postal clerk or even cook. The greatest benefit of these jobs are that students living on-campus do not have to worry about commuting.

Last but surely not least is the off-campus job. All of my jobs and internships, except one, have been off-campus. In terms of benefits, I personally think these positions are the best. From my experience, even though the commute may be inconvenient, off-campus jobs are open to anybody and give students more opportunities to explore outside of school. A wide variety of positions are available to the student, specifically opportunities to hold a position geared toward their major.

Additionally, I find that outside of campus, employers are less focused on the “student” title and more of the “employee” title. Employers can offer more hours than work-studies and on-campus jobs as well as responsibility, providing students with more real world skills that will benefit them as a post-graduate adult in the workforce.

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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by Emily Rabinowitz

Every week we hear a new story about sexual assault on the college campus. By now the fact that 20% of females and 5% of men “reported being sexually assaulted either by physical force or while incapacitated” is no longer surprising. What most people are surprised about is the fact that 82% of the time, the perpetrator is known to the victim.

We all know that college is the time to explore new experiences, especially when it comes to relationships and intimacy. However, whether you’re an upperclassmen or a high school student, it’s important to know what resources are and should be available at your school and community if you ever find yourself in a position where you or a friend are in need of help.

Title IX is a civil right that ensures non-discrimination on the college campus based off of gender and sex. Each school is different in what services they provide via Title IX but they are required by law to have an established procedure for dealing with sexual assault cases.

Hotlines: Your school may have a crisis intervention team or health office that you can contact if you feel the need. However, many individuals do not immediately feel comfortable sharing their story with officials or friends. There are a variety of hotlines that provide anonymous services:

Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network (RAINN) offers an online hotline here: https://ohl.rainn.org/online/ and a telephone line: 800-656-HOPE.

National Domestic Violence hotline offers online services here: http://www.thehotline.org/ and on the phone 1-800-799-7233

National Teen Dating Abuse Online Helpline can be accessed here: http://www.loveisrespect.org/

*Remember, if you are in immediate danger, call 911.

It is always a good idea to review the policies your school has set in place and make sure that you feel comfortable with them. Because the majority of sexual assault instances occur with acquaintances, be sure to brush up on your understanding of consent and have an open and honest conversation with your partner.

Does reading this article make you sick to your stomach? Do something about it and conduct a college scholarship search at Scholarships.com to see what student body is waiting for you to lead them.

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)

by Erica Lewis

Food is important to any college student. Who doesn't love food? When college begins, it's important to think about all of the dining options that are available. Many campuses offer dining halls on campus, with smaller schools having one or two options and larger universities boasting more choices. There are many advantages to eating on campus, the biggest one being convenience: Not only are your options close by but payment is often as easy as swiping your student ID. Many students may be tempted to eat off campus but that can mean going through a lot of money in a hurry.

Whether on or off campus, it is important to think about the amount of money being spent on food; however, this is especially important if living off campus where you can't necessarily eat at the dining halls for every meal. Buying fast food can seem like a cheaper option but it will add up over time. Money can be saved by buying food at the grocery store; your meals will usually be healthier, too. This could be the nudge you need to learn how to cook!

Finally, I recommend taking advantage of any opportunities to get free food! This varies from campus to campus but there are usually plenty of chances to get free food if you look for them. (At UNL, for example, many of the less-popular sports offer free food to students for attending.) Other opportunities could be handouts from your campus rec center or from your RA at dorm floor meetings. As a college student, you'll quickly learn to take advantage of anything that's free!

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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