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The Digital Textbook Divide


Apr 15, 2013

Online and digital textbooks are a growing resource for college students. They can be cheap, interactive, fun and sometimes more useful than their traditional predecessors. And now there is a surge of technology for professors to use as well, including ways to digitally check if their students are reading the assigned material. [...]

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It’s finally April and summer is just around the corner but there is one thing holding us back from enjoying some time off...FINALS! They can seem so excruciating when all we can think about is going home, interning or studying abroad but here are some tips to help you get through this often dreaded time: Manage your time. Confirm your finals schedule with your professors so you can prepare appropriately, ensuring you have enough time to both study and sleep. Input alerts on your computer and phone and set a few alarms the night before tests so you don’t oversleep. Don’t stress. Don’t overwhelm yourself to the point that you feel miserable. Be calm, take some deep breaths and make sure you get plenty of rest. Try to end your day thinking about something other than your finals; if not, you may have a sleepless night and that will not help. Treat yourself. If you aren’t one to study or find yourself having difficulty focusing, set a goal to reach a certain section of your material and then treat yourself. It could be to 30 minutes of watching TV or going online – meeting your goals deserves some credit and will help you return to your work refreshed. Study groups. If you are able to study with others, form a study group. You may be able to learn more from your peers than you thought: I have studied with classmates before and it helped me A LOT when I took the final. I strongly suggest this method if you need help in a specific class because perhaps one of your study partners will explain the course information in a way that’s easier to understand and retain. [...]

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Balancing relationships on campus can be a task. For new college students, the freedom can be quite overwhelming: Students are no longer under the microscope of their parents and can come and go and do as they please. As amazing as it sounds, however, it is key to remember the pros and cons of this autonomy. [...]

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The academic year is winding down – before you know it, it will be finals week and time for semester grades! – and this is a critical time to decide if you want to drop a class or stick it out to the end. If you’re on the fence about what to do, you must consider some critical points. Deadlines: Check your school’s academic calendar to find out the different deadlines for withdrawing from classes. These dates will tell you the last day to withdraw and still receive a portion of tuition back, the last day to withdraw without academic penalty and the last day to withdraw passing. Financial Aid: Before you drop a class, consider how many credit hours you are taking. You must be a full-time student to receive financial aid and if at any time during the semester you drop below the required amount of hours, you may have to pay that money back. Grades: If you miss the right deadline to drop a class, you will receive an automatic F. If the reason you are dropping is because of your current grade, consider if there is anything you can do to bring it up. Failing a class can bring your GPA way down and if there is a way to avoid this, take it! [...]

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Imagine a place where every time you bought a pack of cigarettes, you would be funding a college student’s education. In the near future, that place could be California: The California Residents College Accessibility and Affordability Act of 2014 would increase tax by $1 for every pack of 20 cigarettes and the money would be deposited into a fund for financial aid. [...]

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Hey everyone! Thought I’d talk about online classes this week. People typically opt for online classes to free up some space in their schedules during the academic year. You can take them during the summer or simultaneously with your regular classes to knock out some credits. You can also seek out courses not typically offered at your college or university. The benefits of online courses, in my opinion, greatly outweigh the negatives...but I’ll let you readers sort it out. [...]

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We all know that school is hard sometimes but life after graduation can be much harder if you do not do what’s necessary to stand apart from the crowd. When graduating high school and entering college, you will find many opportunities to enter academic and social organizations, most of which will require application processes that ask about your involvement and leadership skills. Realizing you don’t have much on your resume? No worries: You still have time. [...]

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Every time I learn about a school shooting, I feel less safe at my university – my paranoia has become so severe that I won’t study in the library because this location has been a target in several shootings – and I’ve often wondered what could be done to prevent incidents like this from occurring again. With the recent situation at UCF still fresh in our minds, let’s discuss: Would allowing guns on campus make a difference? Some may think so while others are very much opposed. [...]

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During my time at college, I found myself unhappy and unfulfilled. I despised my major and I wasn’t a fan of my campus. This being my second college, I figured it must be that college itself wasn’t for me, so I decided to drop out. I took a few months to experiment with careers that didn’t require college degrees but my choice to leave school kept haunting me. [...]

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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! [...]

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Ah, the post-high school Facebook dilemma. We’ve all had it: These are people that you’ve known for a long time or could be people you grew up with but now you just don’t want to see the sixteenth picture of their cat or their statuses that no longer interest you in any way. What do you do? [...]

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Whether you are applying to or already attending college, organization is key to staying on the right track. It’s always important to keep up with important files and papers concerning your academic path but how helpful is that if you cannot find what you need when you need it? Organizing can be simple and easy if you know how to do it! [...]

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Undocumented students are ineligible for federal aid or loans and as a result, many of these students have a difficult time paying their way through college. Accruing enough funds to turn a collegiate dream into reality isn’t easy but one appropriately-named student group at Cornell University is certainly doing its part to ease the financial burden. [...]

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So I went to a punk and pop punk music show this past Friday in Greensboro, NC and that got me thinking: College is a challenge but you’ve got to make time for the things you truly value. (For me, that’s music.) It’s takes some effort to keep doing the things you love when you have three tests to study for, an essay to write, a job to keep up with and extracurricular activities, but I think that keeping up with your passions is a great way to stay grounded in this hectic yet exciting time in your life. [...]

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Regardless of your school’s size or location, there are many ways to get involved on campus. If you put yourself out there, you’ll meet students and faculty, discover new interests and find enjoyable ways to spend your time when you’re not in class or studying. [...]

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Though most of my posts have been geared toward college students, this one is for the parental readers out there. Scholarships aren’t only available to high school and college students but to younger students, too: Not many parents know that they can find scholarships for their children who are as young as 10 years old! What’s more, the scholarship programs available to young children aren’t as competitive, since not many parents know to search so early for financial aid. [...]

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The “freshman 15” is not a myth: It’s more of a warning because the “freshman 15” can easily escalate into the “freshman 20-40.” Adjusting to a new campus and a new meal plan can really have dramatic effect on your body...but only if you let it. [...]

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Looking for an edge in the college admissions process? Sure...who isn’t? If you’re considering applying to some of the most competitive colleges in the country, you’ll need to find some way to distinguish yourself from the thousands of other hopefuls vying for a spot. Adding details of perseverance and overcoming adversity to your essay is a great place to start but be wary about what personal anecdotes you decide to share because you never know where your private story will end up: An admissions officer at the University of Pennsylvania was fired after she posted and openly ridiculed excerpts of students’ application essays on her Facebook page. Not cool. [...]

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So it’s about that time (at least in my semester) for the first slew of college tests and essays...and time for stress! But don’t let it get you down - here are some tips I like to consider when I feel overwhelmed in my studies: Professors know that they all seem to schedule tests around the same time in the semester; they will take that into consideration. Find a study place. If you’re anything like me, studying in your dorm/room/apartment just leads to distraction. An empty classroom, the library, a study center or a lab might be a better option for those of you who want to stay focused. STAY OFF FACEBOOK...or at least set specific intervals. Complete ‘x’ amount of studying then give yourself five minutes of Facebook/TV/video game time. But just realize these distractions are not going to result in anything productive with your studying. Caffeine is good, but too much can have the opposite reaction: Beware the crash. Manage your time! I’m terrible at this one: I let the little things get the best of me, they add up and the next thing I know, it’s midnight and I’m just starting the important things. Get your little things (emails, Facebook, blogs, meetings, hobbies, etc.) done so you can focus! When it’s time to study, STUDY! Music always helps – slow, chill music especially. Just avoid writing lyrics in place of your essay. (Been there, done that!) It’s the first test! You clearly don’t know how a professor’s tests will be and there is always a learning curve. If you get in the classroom and are lost on test day, study how the professor tests so you’ll know how to better prepare for the next exam! [...]

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After classes, homework and studying, college students often discover that they have some free time on their hands. Some take on extracurricular activities (both fun and professional) but realize it would be cool to make some money as well. Instead of rushing off campus to score a job at the local mall – something that can be difficult for students without cars – see what kind of employment options are available on campus first. [...]

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