Four Invaluable Tips for Selecting a College Course Schedule

Selecting a College Course ScheduleOne of the biggest differences between college and high school is that no one gives you a schedule. The choice is yours, which can be a blessing as well as a curse. Before you go in blind and select whatever courses appeal to you by name, it’s important to think about what sort of schedule this might mean for you. Here are a few sage words of advice for getting started.

If you know which course you want or need to take, peruse the different options.
In school, many general courses will be taught during multiple time slots and sometimes may even have multiple professors. If you have a course in mind, check to see what your options may be. Decide which time slot best fits your desired schedule (do you prefer morning or night classes?) or, if you have no preference, do some research on the different professors. RateMyProfessors.com is a widely-used resource among college students, though you should of course be taking the ratings with a grain of salt.

Strike a balance.
Don’t want to take classes on Fridays? That’s understandable, but that doesn’t mean you should be consolidating all your classes into Tuesdays and Thursdays. Having five days off per week does not necessarily mean your schedule will be more manageable. In fact, you might just wear yourself out. Feel free to set limits on which days and times you would and would not like to have classes, but remain flexible. Try to spread your courses out across multiple days, and give yourself breaks in-between classes if you’d like to study during the day. You could even consider taking some of your college courses online to give yourself a more freed-up schedule.

Know your requirements.
Every program has a set of requirements that need to be filled in order to graduate. It’s better to take all your prerequisites and get them out of the way so that you can get your upper-level courses in during your junior and senior years. Don’t front-load on the fun classes and electives – spread them out so that as you get into your more difficult courses, you don’t feel overwhelmed with work .Most importantly, get your necessary courses out of the way as soon as you have the opportunity to ensure you graduate on time.

Think critically about important skills.
See if you can fit in courses that aren’t your strong suit, even if you don’t necessarily need them. It’ll make you more well-rounded, and more likely to succeed in the rest of your college career, if you face your weak points head-on. You’ll need certain skills in your college career whether you like it or not.

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LinkedIn’s Latest Additions Help Guide Students on Education Paths

LinkedIn for CollegeThe popular social networking site for professional connections, LinkedIn, has just announced the addition of three new tools geared toward its student userbase: Decision Boards, University Outcome Rankings, and University Finder. As the names imply, the tools have been put in place as LinkedIn’s way of helping to guide high school and college students on the right educational and career-oriented paths.

Decision Boards
The first tool is geared more toward students who have narrowed their college/university search down to a few schools. It allows these students to post the schools they’re considering and share their thoughts and concerns as a way of garnering insight from advisors. If they’ve already chosen a school, they can use these boards to talk with current students and future classmates to discuss their institution of choice. It’s a great way for students to socialize, organize their thoughts, and invite knowledgeable advisors to offer their two cents – but it’s not much help if you’re still clueless as to where you’ll be studying.

University Outcome Rankings
One concern that many future students have about where they go to school is: Do the alumni of this school get hired? What does the future hold for graduates in my field of study? The University Outcome Rankings tool is designed to answer those questions. By using an algorithm that assesses millions of LinkedIn users’ profiles, the tool is able to show how certain schools – and certain disciplines within those schools – measure up against others in terms of getting hired. According to LinkedIn, this tool is the first of its kind, and it plans to broaden its horizons geographically and in terms of fields of study in the near future.

University Finder
Every student has extremely specific criteria when it comes to choosing what college they’re going to attend. It’s not all about the cost of tuition or the availability of on-campus housing; some students want to live in specific areas, end up in specific careers, or attend schools with online college courses. This tool helps the directionless student get personalized feedback about which schools he or she should attend. Thus, students can weed out schools that don’t meet their needs more easily.

LinkedIn’s attempt to minimize the number of students who are unemployed after college or who drop out is commendable. Far too many students end up in the wrong schools or degree programs and are stuck with the consequences of their decisions. With these smarter tools, hopefully students will consider the more nuanced aspects of their futures and make better decisions.

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Online College Degrees for Foodies

Online College Degrees for FoodiesAs the old saying goes, “Do what you love, love what you do.” If you’ve always considered yourself to be a foodie, you’re probably wondering what path of education you should take in order to procure a career that allows you to embrace your love for food. As an added challenge – how can you take those classes online?

In fact, there are plenty of ways you can turn your love for food into a career with an education that is pursued online, though you may have to get a bit creative. We have a few ideas.

The Obvious: Online Culinary Degrees
If you want to join the National Restaurant Association, you’re going to need schooling in the culinary arts. Believe it or not, there are plenty of schools that allow you to pursue culinary arts degrees online. With this training, you could make yourself more eligible for one of the estimated 2 million jobs that will open up in the culinary world over the next ten years. You’ll need this degree whether you want to become a chef, a restaurant manager, or an expert on pastries, so it’s a great place to start. If you’re already working in a restaurant and wish to advance, it may be in your best interest to get a culinary arts certification or degree as well.

Become a Food Photographer with an Online Photography Degree
If you’re artsy and have an eye for design, you could put a unique twist on your love for food by pursuing an online degree in photography. There are lots of nuances to any sort of photography – you have to work with a team of lighting technicians, dressers, and event coordinators – plus you’ve got to understand how to use fancy equipment and compose a good photo. If you’re good at it, your work could be featured on menus, in magazines, on advertisements, and more.

Open a Restaurant with an Online Hospitality Management Degree
You don’t have to be cooking or eating to be a foodie. You could be behind the scenes! Hospitality degrees equip you with the skills you need to operate a business and understand how restaurants, in particular, operate. You’ll begin to understand statistics, project management, culinary service, and more. It’s a very well-rounded field of study that opens up lots of opportunities from business ownership to co-management and more. Plus, you’ll get to learn a little about the food you love so much and share that love with your customers.

Become a Food Critic with an Online Journalism Degree
If you’ve got a knack for writing and want to taste as much food as possible, maybe consider becoming a food critic. Pursuing a degree in journalism will help you to polish up your writing skills, teach you how to think very critically, and give you the resources to start marketing your work to outlets such as blogs, magazines, newspapers, and books. Imagine being able to travel the country – or even the world – and write about the food you eat! It’s a dog-eat-dog industry, but if you’re dedicated, you could be very successful.

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Mobile Games can now Pay Off Student Debt

GivlingDo you find yourself glued to your phone playing Candy Crush while on the train, or getting involved in an aggressive match of Trivia Crack between classes? If so, this piece of news might be for you: a new online game, called Givling, awards its winners not with unlocking new levels or shiny badges, but with actual cash.

Here’s how it works: Each player gets one free game per day, and each subsequent game costs 80 cents after fees. You’re matched to a random group of three other players, and put your trivia knowledge to the test to try to get the high score. If you win, you get a cash prize, and some lucky student will get help paying off their student loans.

Givling reaches out via social media and their website to find students are struggling with debt from their education costs. People sign up, and Givling chooses some lucky individuals, who then have to provide proof of the existence of their loans. They’re then added to a waiting list. Those who are playing the games – which means they’re paying 80 cents per round – are essentially funding the payment of the student loans of those on the waiting list.

Then, there are the cash prizes, which can be won by the players. Each day at noon, the team with the highest score is announced, and they get to split the jackpot. Also, every time $10 million is raised by the players, half of that goes toward paying off student loan debt and $4 million of it is given to the highest scorers in cash. The rest is part of the daily prize.

Givling is essentially completely charitable: 90% of all the money it raises goes into the pockets of high-scorers and students with debt.

Students don’t have to play the game to get on the waiting list.

The marketing team at Givling is essentially combining crowd-funding, addicting games, and a good cause to create a genius combination. In turn, not only are players driven to continue playing, but some students are slightly less stressed financially and a major economic issue in the US is garnering attention.

The game, which has newly been launched for desktop computers, will go mobile in April. In the meantime, students are encouraged to look out for calls to be in the queue if they’re in need of financial assistance.

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2015 NCAA March Madness – Tuition, Enrollment, and Application Editions!

March Madness is here again! The weather is warming up, winter jackets are going back in the closet, and NCAA tournament brackets are getting passed around at work.  Whether you’re a college basketball fan or not, you can’t help but get caught up in the energy and enthusiasm of the tournament.  For most of us, filling out the bracket is a guessing game.  A game that watching hours of ESPN and listening to expert analyst talk about their picks can’t help.

While filling out our brackets, we thought about how the tournament would play out if it wasn’t determined by a basketball game.  What if the winners were picked by student population or applications received?  What if the winner was the school with the most expensive tuition?  It’s an interested concept that we decided to actually investigate.  We put together three different brackets, pitting school against school, with different metrics than basketball.  Check out our unusual March Madness brackets and see what you think!  We might even use these to fill out our real bracket because it’s better than our guess.  Click on each bracket to see it full size!

Tuition Bracket - Which college had the most expensive out-of-state tuition in 2014-15?

Tuition Bracket – Which college had the most expensive out-of-state tuition in 2014-15?

Enrollment Bracket - Which school had the largest undergraduate enrollment in 2014-15?

Enrollment Bracket – Which school had the largest undergraduate enrollment in 2014-15?

Application Bracket - Which college received the most undergraduate applications in 2012?

Application Bracket – Which college received the most undergraduate applications in 2012?

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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How Open-Source Textbooks could be the Relief Students Need

How Open-Source Textbooks could be the Relief Students NeedA recent survey of over 2,000 college students revealed that the average college student can spend as much as $1,200 per year on textbooks and supplies alone. That just adds insult to injury when one considers the amount of student loans that are to be accrued – not uncommonly an insurmountable six digits or more.

What if at least some of that financial stress could be alleviated? It might just be in the cards. A new report shows that it may be possible for college students to save, on average, $128 per class just by using open-source textbooks. These textbooks are essentially online versions of traditional textbooks, and have already been tested at five colleges, confirming the potential for substantial savings.

It’s true that the cost of textbooks isn’t nearly as much as the cost of tuition, so the savings may not seem significant in the long run. However, for some students, not having to pay for textbooks could mean not having to take out yet another loan and not having to pay the accompanying interest. It could mean having a larger budget for meals that semester – or even a larger budget for extracurricular activities. So even if you think textbook costs are a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things, the truth is that on a semester-to-semester basis, many students have to come up with textbook costs up front, which is often not easy to do.

Additionally, it has been shown that textbook prices have put a damper on the quality of education for many students. Due to being unable to buy the textbooks up front, they wait until several weeks into the semester to purchase their reading materials, causing them to fall behind. Or, they devise alternative plans for acquiring the reading materials, which may fall through, resulting in an inability to study at home.

The plan is for open-source textbooks to be created under an open license so that students can access them for virtually free. This also means that instructors can download the material, pick and choose what they’d like to teach and in what order, and eliminate any unnecessary pages, which makes it easier to tailor materials for specific courses.

Of course, it will be a while before open-source textbooks are fully adopted. Professors need to make the decision to use free materials, and more schools have to commit to opening open-source libraries. That being said, it’s reassuring to know that the cogs are in motion, at least at some schools, and this could be the future of education.

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Good News for Recent Grads: The Job Market is Looking Better

Young Man Nervous about Job InterviewEver since the recession of 2008, the news has been plagued with stories about how much debt college students had racked up, and for naught. College graduation rates were steady, but there simply weren’t the job openings to keep pace, and, needless to say, people were angry. Some prospective students began questioning the value of education itself, and others began choosing their majors more carefully.

2015 comes bearing good news for recent grads, however: the job market has most definitely perked up, and there seems to be a positive trend happening. A recent survey showed that more than half of the students who graduated college in 2014 were able to find jobs within six months of getting their college degrees. Individual college reports confirm that employment rates are on the rise.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers just released a sneak peek of their First Destination Survey results, which demonstrated that 52.9% of people who graduated bachelor’s programs in 2014 were employed full-time by this winter. 7.3% had earned part-time employment. Many went on to further their education – 16.8% had enrolled in graduate studies – which explains some of the unemployment. Roughly 18.7% of those students, according to the survey, were unemployed or awaiting an acceptance letter to grad school. These numbers, especially compared to recent years, are extremely promising.

From this point forward, the NACE will encourage participating colleges to survey students in a manner that’s more geared toward collecting data about post-graduation employment rates. In the past, the data was difficult to analyze for this purpose considering the survey wasn’t administered with proper consistency. This year, 98 schools across the US administered the survey, and an overall 66.5% of students responded, which is much more than the previous year.

Something to consider is that, according to Lisa Howick, the associate director of career and leadership development at The University of the South in Sewanee, “students don’t jump into conventional jobs right from the start” anymore. Many students go for internships, part-time jobs, or jobs outside of their industry after they graduate. This could skew the numbers, making it appear that the unemployment rate or part-time employment rate is higher (or more crucial) than it really is.

In any case, students will continue to be surveyed at least 6 months, if not a year, after they graduate in order to get an accurate idea of what graduates can expect.

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How to have a Student Budget-Friendly, but Still Rad, Spring Break

465103840There are few college students out there that don’t know the struggle of pinching pennies while still trying to have an active social life. With spring break approaching, striking that balance feels almost impossible, especially when all your friends seem to be talking about their upcoming extravagant getaways. If you still want to ring in the spring season and enjoy your extended break but don’t have the cash to go all out, we’ve got some ideas for making it work.

Stay Close and Travel by Bus
For most trips, the plane ticket is the most expensive part. Traveling to Cabo around spring break? Yeah, you and everybody else – and that demand is only going to drive costs way up. Try going somewhere closer by and taking the bus instead. Bus tickets cost only a couple of bucks and can take you pretty much wherever you want to go (within reason).

Crash with Friends
If you’ve been wanting to visit that one friend from high school who moved to Boston or have a cousin in New Orleans, see if they’ll put you up for a week. That way, you have lodging for the cost of taking them out to dinner or buying them a nice gift. Don’t have friends to visit? Get adventurous, try Couch Surfing. Bonus: you can have your host show you inexpensive things to do in the area.

Monitor your Meals
One of the best parts of travelling is the food, and of course, you want to have some nice meals. Try cutting it down to one per day or less. Restaurant portions are usually huge, so you can save some of your leftovers for a late night snack. Throughout the day, you can snack on granola bars or fruit – even stock up on some muffins from the hotel’s continental breakfast, if you’ve got access to that. Get creative and save your pennies for the meals that are worth it.

Go Camping
The obvious destination for spring break is the beach, but staying on a resort is extremely pricy. See if a group of your buds would be interested in camping near a river or lake – you can get the same outdoors experience without singing your life away to Sandals. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of beach towns that allow you to put up your tents and have fires right on the sand. It’s the best of both worlds.

Watch the Bar Tabs
Planning on going out every night of your vaca? That’s fine – but bar drinks are extremely pricey. Go in with your friends on some drinks to keep where you’re staying and have a few at home before going anywhere. You’ll save yourself tons of money over the course of your trip.

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35 Graphs That Will Change the Way You Look at Higher Education

1. Share of College Enrollees by Race/Ethnicity

1 - Share of College Enrollees by Race Ethnicity

Source: Imgur

 

2. Average IQ of Students by Gender Ratio

2 - Average IQ of Students by Gender Ratio

Source: Randal Olson

 

3. Percentage of Bachelor’s Degrees Conferred to Women, By Major

3 - Percentage of Bachelor's Degrees Conferred to Women, By Major

Source: Randal Olson

 

4. Where Are the Most International Students in the U.S.?

4 - Where Are the Most International Students

Source: Imgur

 

5. How Educated Are Today’s 27 Year Olds?

5 - How Educated Are Todays 27 Year Olds

Source: The Atlantic

 

6. Who Finishes College?

6 - Who Finishes College

Source: Washington Post

 

7. SAT vs. Graduation Rate – Public Vs. Private

7 - SATvsGraduation

Source: /r/DataIsBeautiful

 

8. Where Kids Go to College: State Area Proportional to Number of Students Attending College

8 - Where Kids Go to College

Source: Nefarious Plots

 

9. Average SAT Scores by Family Income

9 - Average SAT Scores by Family Income

Source: Imgur

 

10. College Textbook Prices vs. Consumer Prices

10 - College Textbook Prices vs. Consumer Prices

Source: Imgur

 

11. Median Earnings by Age and Education Level

11 - Median Earnings by Age and Education Level

Source: Imgur

 

12. Impossible To Work Your Way through College

12 - Impossible To Work Your Way through College

Source: Randal Olson

 

13. State Cut Higher Education Funding

13 - State Cut Higher Education Funding

Source: Imgur

 

14. State Funding Per Student

14 - State Funding Per Student

Source: Randal Olson

 

15. US Spending on Imprisoning Students vs. Educating People

15 - cost per inmate copy

Source: Mic

 

16. 20-year ROI from Going to College, by State

16 - 20-year ROI from Going to College, by State

Source: Imgur

 

17. 1500 Colleges Plotted by 30-Year ROI and Total Cost

17 - 1500 Colleges Plotted by 30-Year ROI and Total Cost

Source: Radio Open Source

 

18. ROI on College Compared to Alternative Investments

18 - ROI on College Compared to Alternative Investments

Source: Brookings.edu

 

19. Where Does Your College Tuition Go?

19 - where does your college tuition go

Source: Radio Open Source

 

20. Cost of Attending College

20 - Cost of Attending College

Source: Dadaviz

 

21. Who Is Receiving Financial Aid?

21 - Who is receiving financial aid 121 - Who is receiving financial aid 2

Source: Chegg

 

22. US Student Loan Debt Outstanding

22 - US Student Loan Debt Outstanding

Source: Dadaviz

 

23. College Degrees Award Per Capita

23 - College Degrees Award Per Capita

Source: Randal Olson

 

24. How Education Level Has Affected Annual Salary in Different Generations

24 - How Education Level Has Affected Salary

Source: Pew Social Trends

 

25. Annual Wage by Education

25 - Annual Wage by Education

Source: Fortune

 

26. Income Bracket Compositions by Education Attainment

26 - Income Bracket Compositions by Education Attainment

Source: Imgur

 

27. Taste In Music by SAT Score

27 - Taste In Music by SAT Score

Source: Labnol

 

28. How Professors Use Their Time

28 - How Professors Use Their Time

Source: Imgur

 

29. Where Apple, Google, and Facebook Get Their Recruits

29 - Where Apple, Google, and Facebook Get Their Recruits

Source: Imgur

 

30. Average Length of Dissertations by Major

30 - Average Length of Dissertations by Major

Source: Imgur

 

31. 4 Decades of College Degrees, In 1 Graph

31 - 4 Decades of College Degrees, In 1 Graph

Source: NPR

 

32. Most and Least Lucrative College Majors

32 - Most and Least Lucrative College Majors

Source: NPR

 

33. Annual Earnings by Undergraduate Major

33 - Annual Earnings by Undergraduate Major

Source: Dadaviz

 

34. What Happens When You Graduate and Get a Real Job

34 - What Happens When You Graduate and Get a Real Job

Source: Imgur

 

35. US Colleges Who Students have the Toughest Time Paying Back Loans

35 - Toughest Time Paying Back Loans 135 - Toughest Time Paying Back Loans 235 - Toughest Time Paying Back Loans 3

Source: Imgur

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Sleep Deprivation is a Major Issue for College Student, Says Study

533994665According to the 2013 National College Health Assessment, students named sleep (or lack thereof) as one of the top three factors that play into their academic performance. Whether there isn’t enough time in the day for them to complete their assignments or they’re struggling to balance work and play, students find their eyelids getting heavy while listening to a lecture or reviewing course materials. The result is a lack of focus, the inability to pay attention, a plunge in their motivation, and generally not performing at their maximum potential.

If you’re a college student plagued with drowsiness at inconvenient times, what can you do to combat it? It’s important to first determine the cause, then come to a solution from there.

Problem: Inability to Fall Asleep
There are many reasons you might be tossing and turning at night, and one of the main things for college students is distractions. It’s important to sleep in a dark, quiet room, which may mean coming to an agreement with your roommate. More commonly, though, the culprits are your electronics. Studies have shown time and time again that cell phones, tablets, and laptops are too over-stimulating as bedtime approaches and that we should avoid them an hour or more before hitting the pillow – for all you know, this could solve your sleep problems once and for all.

Another reason college students miss out on precious z’s is because of an inconsistent sleep schedule. You can’t sleep in until noon or later on Sunday and expect to be tired enough to snooze at 11pm that night. You won’t be tired enough, you’ll toss and turn until the early hours, then you’ll be a zombie in your 8am lecture. Try to maintain some semblance of a structured sleep schedule – even if you’re out late Saturday night, try to wake up within a few hours of the time you would get up on the weekdays.

Problem: Not Enough Hours in the Day
We get it – you need to write that 10-page paper, but you also want to go to the football game. You try to do both, and you end up pulling an all-nighter. Writing yourself a schedule isn’t the most “fun” college student activity, but it’s definitely necessary at times. If you know you’ve got an event you’re going to want to attend, pencil in blocks of a few hours here and there to work on the things you need to do. Ultimately, scheduling and prioritizing (which means, yes, you might have to pass up a social event here and there) are imperative to getting enough sleep.

Problem: Waking Up Tired
Maybe you are getting enough sleep, technically, but you’re still tired when you get up and can’t seem to shake the feeling. There are a few things you can try in this case. One idea is to get an app like Sleep Cycle, which uses your movements and the time you fall asleep to wake you up at the best point in your sleep cycle during whichever time frame you tell it to. It could be that you’re waking up from a very deep sleep, which could result in you feeling like you’re not well-rested. You could also get a device with sleep tracking, such as a Fitbit, which will tell you which nights your sleep is restful and which nights it isn’t. You could figure out the factors affecting your sleep from there. If neither of these help, it may be time to see a doctor, as stress, depression, and other issues could be causing tiredness.

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