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Five Questions to Consider When Visiting Prospective Colleges

October 21, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Show of hands, students: How many of you have known where you wanted to go to college for years? That’s a lot of you...but how many of you have visited said dream school and had a serious change of heart? Iiiiiinteresting.

Visiting colleges is an important part of the college selection process. It provides students the unique opportunity to experience the campus firsthand because while a college may look good on paper, seeing it for yourself will go a long way in determining if it’s right for you. Now before you start scheduling campus visits, the Huffington Post has compiled a list of questions to keep in mind once you’re there:

  • Which colleges should you visit? Research college websites to learn about curriculum, areas of specialty, activities and even arrange to attend upcoming events taking place at that school. Consider the campus setting/environment, size of the student body and what they’re offering in terms of financial aid and prioritize schools based on your wants and needs.
  • When should a student start visiting colleges? Starting the college visitation process as early as 9th grade is essential given the stakes and array of choices. Since admissions requirements and deadlines vary a great deal among colleges, getting an early start is a must. A student needs to see colleges and prepare early to increase their chances of being competitive.
  • What to do when you visit colleges? Get an overall view of the college through a campus tour and information session. Explore the college on your own for a better picture of what it has to offer. Sit in on classes related to your major, talk to current students about the school and campus life (and ask if they would attend the same college again), spend time in high-traffic areas to help envision yourself as part of the community and visit key areas/organizations of personal interest.
  • How do you make a great college fit as affordable as possible? It is important to be aware that there can be a huge tuition difference among colleges that are private, in state and out of state so be sure to research and apply for financial aid.
  • Examine job prospects of recent graduates. Get the statistics on how recent graduates are fairing in the current job market; consider what the average return on investment for certain majors, too.

Are there any tips you’d like to add? If so, please share them in the comments section. For more information on campus visits, visit our Resources section. And don't forget to try and fund your college education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by creating a free profile on Scholarships.com. (Our scholarship search allows you to search more than 2.7 million college scholarships and grants worth more than $1.9 billion!)

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10 Universities Where Most Classes Are Small

December 16, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

The transition from high school to college is most evident to students when they realize they’ll no longer be coddled in cozy classes of 20 students or fewer. Lecture halls with 300-plus students are the norm at most major universities, where classes tend to be impersonal, relationships with professors are typically nonexistent and students feel more like numbers than people. So for those who prefer a learning environment that provides back-and-forth discussion amongst students and professors, U.S. News and World Report has compiled a list of universities with the highest percentage of small classes.

According to the data, several universities with undergraduate enrollments below 3,000, as well as a few top ranked universities with larger undergraduate populations, reported that a vast majority of their classes have fewer than 20 students. Check out the top 10 universities with the smallest class sizes below. (For more information on this survey, click here.)

How important is class size to you? Are large lectures deal breakers in your book? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And don't forget to create a free Scholarships.com profile for a list of scholarships that are personalized to you! Whether you’re studying at a university or community college, we’ll help you find the financial aid you need to pay for school. Start your search today!

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Facebook to Offer Suicide Prevention Resources

February 26, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

Since 2011, Facebook has had a way for users to report potentially suicidal posts...just not the easiest way. Until now, it required users to upload links and screenshots to the official Facebook suicide prevention page before receiving any type of help. Starting Wednesday, Facebook will simplify the process and begin rolling out suicide prevention resources that are built directly into posts.

For the project, Facebook worked with suicide prevention organizations Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.org. According to a Facebook post written by product manager Rob Boyle and Safety Specialist Nicole Staubli, a trained team will review reports of posts that appear to be suicidal and, if necessary, send the poster notifications with suicide prevention resources, such as a connection to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline. They also will contact the person reporting the posts, providing them with options to call or message the potentially suicidal friend or to also seek the advice of a trained professional. The new reporting feature is currently available for approximately 50 percent of Facebook users in the U.S. and will roll out to the rest of the country in the next few months, according to a spokesperson for Facebook.

What do you think of Facebook’s efforts to help suicide prevention? Do you think other social media sites should follow suit? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Fraternity Shut Down Over Racist Chant

March 10, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity shut down its University of Oklahoma chapter after a video surfaced of members singing a racist chant. The video in question, sent anonymously to The Oklahoma Daily, shows members of the fraternity singing a song that includes a racial slur for African-Americans and a reference to lynching.

In response, students rallied on the campus Monday morning to protest the video. University President David L. Boren condemned their actions and closed the fraternity house on Monday, ordering members to remove their belongings by midnight Tuesday. He mentioned that the university was also considering whether those “most responsible” could be expelled, adding that he hoped they would voluntarily leave the university. Boren also posted a statement on his Twitter account in which he said of the men in the video: “You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves ‘Sooners.’ Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots.” (For more on this story, head over to The Oklahoma Daily.)

While there are plenty of upstanding Greek organizations, the stereotypical fraternity lifestyle is one endorsing excess in booze and exclusion under the guise of promoting brotherhood and academic excellence. What do you think of the latest scandal to rock a nationally-recognized fraternity? Do you think the university's actions were enough? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And if you’re interested in learning more about campus life, check out our College Prep section. While you’re there, conduct a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com for a complete list of scholarships that are personalized to you!

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At These Universities, Sleep is a Priority

April 21, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

We've all been there: Going about our day as if we don't have a care in the world when it dawns on us that (go figure) that 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, some universities have implemented a temporary nap room while others offer free yoga and mindful awareness sessions. So which universities are prioritizing sleep?

According to the Daily Bruin, the University of California-Los Angeles recently hosted a series of events on campus to raise awareness about the importance of sleep. They even went as far as setting up a temporary nap room during "Sleep Week" and provided students the opportunity to participate in yoga and meditation sessions. The University of Alaska-Anchorage had its own event to help students learn tips about how to make small changes to improve their sleep habits. And for years, Georgetown University has put up posters on campus reminding students of the importance of a good night’s rest. "There's a weird pride in certain students when they pull all-nighters," Kendra Knudsen, a coordinator with the UCLA Mind Well initiative, told the Daily Bruin earlier this month. "They need to re-prioritize, if they don’t have time for sleep, looking at their schedule and seeing what is really important."

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 don't forget to try and fund your education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by visiting Scholarships.com and conducting a free college scholarship search where you'll get matched with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!

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UVA Dean Bashes Rolling Stone Article in Open Letter

April 23, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

The University of Virginia's associate dean of students who was prominently featured in Rolling Stone's now retracted article "A Rape on Campus" has written an open letter of protest to the magazine's publisher, according to The Washington Post.

In the letter to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, Nicole Eramo asserts that the magazine acted "too little, too late" in retracting the article. Eramo, who works with student survivors of sexual assault, had been characterized as callous and indifferent to what Rolling Stone described as a brutal rape. "Using me as the personification of a heartless administration, the Rolling Stone article attacked my life's work... I saw my name dragged through the mud in the national press, and have received numerous abusive, vitriolic, and threatening emails, letters and phone calls," she wrote.

In December, The Washington Post reported that there were numerous discrepancies in the magazine account and police later confirmed that they could not substantiate any major claims in the story. Meanwhile, earlier this month, a report by the Columbia University journalism school concluded that the magazine account was deeply flawed and called it a "journalistic failure." Eramo has retained legal counsel from a firm that specializes in defamation cases. (For more on this story, click here.)

To learn more about the University of Virginia or countless other colleges, check out our College Search tool. While you're there, conduct a free college scholarship search to fund your education with as much free money as possible.

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Man Caught Taking Candid Photos of College Women, Posting to Porn Site

April 28, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

In a world where just about every Tom, Dick and Harry has a smartphone, it seems as though any innocent bystander is at risk of becoming some stranger's unknowing subject. But what happens when your candid photo gets posted online...to a porn site? Gross!

Last week, the University of Hawaii at Manoa warned students about a man who was taking photos of women and posting them to a porn website. According to reports, the man posted candid photos of 140 women and identified them on the site as students at UH Manoa. And while all the women were fully clothed, one has to ask: What can be done? What laws were broken? Can he be stopped?! Shockingly, this man was within his rights to post these photos despite not asking permission to do so. Myles Breiner, a defense attorney, told Hawaii News Now that because the women were in a public area and were fully clothed, the photographer did not break any laws. "The fact of the matter is, there's nothing illegal," Breiner told HNN. "Unless there's some economic loss, simply someone saying something mean or inappropriate about you, unless you can show damages, there's not a lot you can do." Luckily, UH Manoa's Department of Safety announced that they had identified a person of interest and were working with the Honolulu police. "We are by no means sitting on our hands or washing our hands of this," said Daniel Meisenzahl, a spokesman for the university. (For more on this story, head over to the Huffington Post.)

Do you think UH Manoa should issue a restraining order on the photographer? If he's a student, should he be expelled? Let us know what you think. Please share your thoughts in the comments section. And to learn more about the University of Hawaii at Manoa and other colleges, check out our College Search tool. While you're there, conduct a free college scholarship search where you'll get matched with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities.

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How to Play (and Win) the Waiting Game

March 11, 2014

by Mike Sheffey

It’s that time of year: admission decision time. Those daunting, time-consuming and incredibly necessary applications that you sent off months ago have yet to result in anything concrete and you – like many high school seniors across the country – are now playing the waiting game. The process is now, for all intents and purposes, out of your control. (I found myself in this situation when I applied for college and have recently returned to the game as I wait to hear from potential employers.) Worried? Don’t sweat it. Here’s what to do while you wait:

  • Keep those grades up. This goes out to you high school seniors: There is a myth that once you’re in, you’re in for good...and it’s simply not true. You get the fat envelope because the school wants you there and thinks you will bring a good work ethic and dedication to campus. Slacking off will only prove them wrong and could cause them to rescind your acceptance. Senioritis is tough (trust me, it occurs as a senior in college as well!) but your hard work will pay off.
  • Continue applying for scholarships. Every little bit helps when funding your education so if you find an award for which you qualify, apply! Also, it’s not too late to apply for scholarships in college – there are lots of awards out there for undergraduate and even graduate students!
  • Weigh your options. Once you get in, don’t instantly say yes – do your research! Look into the college culture, the activities, the campus, the surrounding city, the class size, etc. I’m sure you’ve done the majority of this research before applying but keep at it until you are 100-percent sure the school is the place you want to live, study and socialize; if it’s not, you still have time to consider your other choices.

Mike Sheffey is a senior at Wofford College double majoring in computer science and Spanish. He loves all things music and has recently taken up photography. Mike works for an on-campus sports broadcasting company as well as the music news blog PropertyOfZack.com. He hopes to use this blogging position to inform and assist others who are seeking the right college or those currently enrolled in college by providing advice on college life, both in general and specific to Wofford.

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Dealing with Uncertainty About the Future

March 20, 2014

by Julius Clayborn

I celebrated my 20th birthday this past year with cake, candles...and tears! Though they were more so tears of shock than sadness – I could not believe I was now going to be considered a "twenty-something" – I had to come to terms with the reality of no longer being a teenager. This also meant I had to address the imminent future and the work and real world responsibilities I would soon be faced with. I knew that I wasn't ready for my life to be filled with such things; I couldn't even remember to go to my professor's office hours (which she repeated over and over again) let alone remember to complete bigger tasks that would inevitably accompany adulthood!

I felt really confused and alone during this period of introspection because everyone else seemed to be handling adulthood just fine. But upon blurting out the absurdity of not wanting to grow older being afraid of what lies ahead, I soon discovered some of my classmates felt the same way. We realized that we weren't so much afraid of aging, but of not knowing what was next to come: We were uncertain about our futures, we didn't know what jobs we would obtain (or if we'd even get hired right after graduation), we didn’t know where we'd live and if we'd live up to expectations. That uncertainty was what resided at the crux of our fears.

What I've come to understand is that no one is ever completely sure. And I feel like life is kind of supposed to be that way...unpredictable and full of surprises. If we knew how everything was supposed to be already, there would be no growth. And with no growth, there is no learning. Now I embrace the unknown. In fact, I welcome it with open arms because I am positive that come what may, I will be stronger, wiser and better because of it.

Julius Claybron was born on Chicago’s South Side in the Harold Ickes public housing projects. At the age of five, he lost his father to diabetes and was raised by his mother and grandmother, who helped him to enroll in Urban Prep Academy – a public all-male college-preparatory high school – during his sophomore year. Julius started to read when he was just two years old and still enjoys escaping in books during his spare time. He is currently in his junior year at Cornell University, where he is an English major with a minor in Africana Studies.

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Getting Sick at College: How to Cope

September 16, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

As students begin the fall semester, news of the H1N1 swine flu virus spreading across college campuses is everywhere. But whether the flu has hit your college or not, getting sick at school is a real concern and can quickly derail your semester.

Living far away from home, many college students aren't well-equipped to take care of themselves and stay on top of their coursework while ill, especially if they contract something more serious than a cold. While the flu's getting all the attention now, other common illnesses can put students out of commission for days, or even weeks, causing them to miss class, miss work, and get behind on projects that are crucial to their success in school. Missed work due to illness can even jeopardize your financial aid. Part of taking care of yourself when you're sick at school is taking care to minimize the impact of illness on your semester.

Beyond attending to your immediate needs (seeing a doctor, getting rest, etc.), the most important thing to do if you get sick is to contact your professors, preferably before you miss a class or an assignment. If you're really ill and need to miss more than one class or an important assignment, quiz, or test, the earlier you establish communication, the better it will go. If you have a diagnosis, you can share it, but don't go into the minute details of what your body is doing and don't assume that because you're sick with something verifiable, your professors will instantly cater to your every whim. A doctor's excuse doesn't always go as far as demonstrated willingness to take responsibility for your missed work and to work with your professor to get caught up. Most instructors will be willing to provide you with information and course materials from missed classes, and depending on circumstances and how you approach the situation, they may allow you to make up work, as well.

If you're going to miss a lot of school or you have professors unwilling to budge, contacting your academic advisor is a good step, as well. A note from an advisor carries more weight than a call from a student, and if you lack the time or energy to address each professor personally and immediately, talking to your advisor can save you some time. They can also give you advice and information on what to do about missing class, and help you keep from falling behind.

Finally, once you're healthy, back in class and taking care of your missed work, there may still be other matters to attend to. Even if you have tried your hardest, you may wind up with too much work to catch up in a class. If talking to your professor and your advisor about incompletes and other options doesn't bear fruit, you may need to drop classes or you may see your GPA suffer.  If you have scholarship awards or other financial aid, lower grades or less than full-time enrollment can have an impact on your eligiblity for these awards. Be aware of the GPA and enrollment requirements for your scholarships and grants (even some student loans) and if you are in danger of not meeting them, talk to the scholarship provider or your financial aid counselor to find out your options. Your financial aid office is also a good place to stop if illness has generated medical bills or lost income for you--they may be able to adjust your aid package to help you deal with these expenses.

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