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

Jun 12, 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 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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Ten Shocking Celebrity College Majors

Jun 9, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

Due to the stagnant economy, students are flocking to majors considered "safe" (economics, engineering and computer science) and steering clear of ones that develop creative thinking and imagination (the humanities). It makes sense: The objective after graduation is to obtain a lucrative career to pay for that prestigious college education and the best way to do that is to select a major where the potential for a generous return on your investment is high. Interestingly enough, that same thought process applied to some of our favorite A-listers way back when they were considering college majors! Don’t believe us? Check out some of the more surprisingly "safe" majors chosen by celebrities below:

If you’re struggling with choosing a major, head over to Scholarships.com’s College Prep section for tips on things to consider before making a definite decision. And while you’re there, we invite you to do a free college scholarship search to find financial aid opportunities that are tailored to you!

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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New York Teen Accepted to all Eight Ivy League Schools

Apr 6, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

Applying to some of the top schools in the country is unquestionably unnerving but after months of stress, sleepiness nights and chronic stomach pains, it all seems worth it when you read those magical words, "Congratulations! You've been accepted." Most would celebrate such an occasion with screams of triumph, followed by an immediate Facebook update or witty tweet sharing their enthusiasm...but what would the proper celebration be when you've been accepted to not one but all eight Ivy League schools? Ask Harold Ekeh.

Ekeh has hit the admissions jackpot, receiving acceptance letters from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale. This outcome, however, wasn’t just luck, for Ekeh is quite the accomplished and well-rounded student: The Elmont Memorial High School senior founded a college mentoring program, was names a 2015 Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist, directs a youth choir at his church, plays the drums, is part of Key Club and Model UN and was elected to the homecoming court. And although he’s yet to make a definitive decision as to where he will enroll this fall, there seems to be a frontrunner. "I am leaning toward Yale. I competed at Yale for Model UN, and I like the passion people at Yale had,” he said. Ekeh will spend the coming weeks visiting all the schools before making his final decision. (For more on his story, head over to New York Post.)

Share your thoughts on Harold Ekeh's story in the comments section and be sure to let us know where you're headed this fall. And for information on the Ivies or countless other universities, use our College Search tool today! 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!

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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Surprise Gift from UNC’s Beloved Coach Dean Smith

Mar 27, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

In a touching posthumous act of gratitude, beloved University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith's trust has mailed out $200 checks to each of the nearly 200 lettermen he coached with the message, "Enjoy dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith."

The letter sent read, in part: Each player was important and special to Coach Smith and when he prepared his estate plan, Coach wanted to reach out to each of his lettermen. Accordingly, Coach directed that following his passing each letterman be sent a two hundred dollar check with the message 'enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith.'

According to Sports Illustrated, Smith mentored 184 players while at UNC from 1961 to 1997, most notably, Michael Jordan. Over his tenure as a coach, his team had a record of 879-254. He retired with more victories than any other coach in Division I men's basketball history, led the Tar Heels to two championships in 1982 and 1993, to 13 ACC Tournament titles, 11 Final Fours, an NIT championship and directed the United States Olympic Team to a gold medal at the 1976 Summer Games. (For more on this story, check out The Huffington Post.)

If playing college basketball is in your future, check out our Sports Scholarship section. For even more financial aid opportunities, conduct a free college scholarship search today!

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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This Year’s Quirkiest College Admissions Essay Prompts

More Colleges Posing Offbeat Essay Questions

Mar 3, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

When you envisioned your college application process, I'm sure you thought you were more than prepared. This was the moment you were told to draw on your strengths and articulate every achievement – countless community service hours, a stellar GPA and the fact that you were senior class president – and every sentence would be so perfectly and meticulously thought out that who you are would just leap right off the page. You prepared your answer on why you belonged at your dream college and pinpointed what you had to offer...until you reviewed the actual application and found a serious curveball: I doubt you expected celebrating your nerdy side could get you in!

In addition to traditional essay prompts, more and more institutions are jumping on the unconventional question bandwagon and are interested in knowing not only why students want to gain admission but just how creative they can be when challenged. Here are some far-from-average questions schools are asking this year:

Tufts University

Celebrate your nerdy side.

University of Chicago

What's so odd about odd numbers?

Lehigh University

You’ve just reached your one millionth hit on your YouTube video. What is the video about?

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech.

University of Notre Dame

A good story starts with a good beginning. Get us hooked in the first 150 words.

University of Richmond

Tell us about spiders.

Soon-to-be college applicants, what do you think of this approach to the admissions essay? Are you a fan of the challenge or frustrated by the fact that you are expected to impress them with your achievements and extracurricular activities and be witty, too? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And if you're interested in learning more about applying for college and the application essay, 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!

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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10 Gifts College Students Will Love

Dec 23, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Newsflash: Christmas is just two days away and if you haven't found the perfect gift for that special college student in your life yet, the pressure is definitely on. And if you're looking to spread some Christmas cheer – yes, even "mature" students love presents! – check out our top picks for gifts they might actually enjoy.

  • Cash
  • GoPro
  • Wireless Bluetooth speakers
  • USB rechargeable battery
  • Fitness tracker
  • Cards Against Humanity
  • Stainless steel water bottle
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Netflix membership
  • Single-serve coffee maker

Any gifts you'd like to add? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And for information on finding money for college and how to properly fund you college education, check out Scholarships.com’s Financial Aid section and conduct a free scholarship search today!

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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What Are Your Favorite Celebrities Reading?

Nov 18, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

With the holiday season almost upon us and winter break just weeks away, you might want to start considering how you'll spend your free time. And while working and internships are ideal, winter break also provides you with the opportunity to read for pleasure. There are a range of benefits gained from non-required reading that are not confined to just reading ability: Leisure reading has shown to help students be more articulate, develop a higher order reasoning and think more critically. Not sure what to read? Check out the titles from some of your favorite celebrities below for some book-spiration:

  • Lena Dunham – Bad Behavior
  • Emma Thompson – Bring Up the Bodies
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger – Incognito
  • Elizabeth Gilbert – Rome
  • Ira Glass – North Country: The Making of Minnesota
  • John Grisham – All the King’s Men
  • Anne Lamott – I Knew You’d Be Lovely
  • Colin Powell – The Summer of 1787

Are there any books that you're currently reading that you’d like to add? Please share them in our comments section. And as always, don’t forget to create a free profile Scholarships.com to get matched with awards that reflect your unique interests and attributes.

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 (3)

18 Year Old Makes History in This Year’s Election

Nov 7, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

With this year’s midterm elections behind us, have you ever wonder: “Man, I could do a better job than [insert disappointing political official’s name here]”? Only to realize almost immediately that crushing sense of defeat given the fact that you’re too young and inexperienced to run… or are you?

Saira Blair, an 18-year-old West Virginia University freshman, won a seat on the West Virginia House of Delegates after defeating her Democratic opponent 63 percent to 30 percent. Doing the majority of her campaigning out of her dorm room, Saira will be the youngest state lawmaker in the nation. She campaigned on a pledge to work to reduce certain taxes on businesses and holds anti-abortion and pro-gun positions. "When I made the decision to run for public office, I did so because I firmly believe that my generation's voice, fresh perspective and innovative ideas can help solve some of our state's most challenging issues," she said. Studying economics and Spanish, Blair will defer her next semester so that she can attend the legislature’s 60-day session in the spring and will resume her coursework in the fall. (For more on this story, click here.)

What do you think of an 18 year old becoming the youngest state lawmaker in the country? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And as always, don’t forget to create a free profile Scholarships.com to get matched with awards that reflect your interests and attributes.

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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