College and University Blog

Resources, help, and insight for your college experience

College Students and the Risk of Suicide

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students and the third leading cause of death among all youth 15–24 years old. In the U.S., only accidents and homicides claim more young lives.

The number one cause of suicide for college students (and all suicides) is untreated depression. Nearly everyone has felt down in the dumps, gotten the blues, or been in a funk now and then. These periods are usually brief and pass without too much effort on the part of the individual experiencing the mood. Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder are more serious and potentially more dangerous. These depressive disorders are conditions that are diagnosed by a mental health professional based on an assessment of history, symptoms and consequences. A recent survey indicates that one in five college students believe that their depression level is higher than it should be, yet only 6% would seek help. Suicide risk is about 20 times higher for those with a depressive illness.…

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Non-Greek Greeks: Service, Academic, and Professional Fraternities

When the word “Greek” is mentioned on a college campus, social fraternities and sororities come to mind. They are also service, academic, and professional fraternities on campus.

Service fraternities provide service to the collegiate community and to people burdened by hardship in surrounding areas. These organizations select their membership without regard to academic major, gender, ethnicity, or religious affiliation. Pledges are not expected to sell themselves to the organization; instead, the pledge leaders instill faith in the organization in the pledges. The largest service fraternity is Alpha Phi Omega, which derives its principles from the Boy Scouts of America.

Academic or honorary fraternities recognize and encourage superior academic performance and leadership achievement. They are open to both men and women. There are approximately 110 different fraternities of this type. Some are open to students from all fields of study, while others restrict their membersh…

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Greek Life on Campus: Fraternities and Sororities

You will have many opportunities to get involved on campus. The Greek system may be something that interests you. Most colleges and universities have fraternities and sororities. You may have noticed them or at least the Greek letters of their name. Sororities are for women; fraternities are for men.

Whether or not to join a fraternity or sorority rests on individual preferences. Despite its popularity on many campuses, the Greek system eludes a single description that everyone agrees on. Those who belong to fraternities and sororities seem to enjoy their social, academic, and personal benefits. Those who aren’t members may appear indifferent to the Greeks, or they may dislike the system’s selective nature and perceived excesses.

Most fraternities and sororities are national or international organizations with chapters at individual schools. The organization or “Nationals” may place requirements on local chapters to standardize rituals and policies regarding membership, …

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College Students and HIV/AIDS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College Health Association estimate that 1 in 500 college students are infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV infection usually develops into Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Being HIV positive is not the same as having full-blown AIDS. Many people are HIV-positive but may not get sick for years. As HIV progresses to full-blown AIDS, the immune system gets weaker. This allows viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria (that normally don’t cause any problems) to cause opportunistic infections, making the HIV positive person very ill. Research has shown that HIV infection progressed to AIDS more slowly among young people than among all persons with a diagnosis of HIV infection.

Factors such as peer pressure, lack of maturity, and alcohol and drug use put college students at risk for HIV infection. College students may have unprotected sex with multiple partners or while under the in…

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Personal Branding: Promoting the Brand Called You

While writing a recent blog on college branding I came across a great deal of information on personal branding. Personal branding involves promoting what makes you unique and necessary. It’s why people want to hire you, work with you, have lunch with you, and generally associate with you. Your personal brand prevents you from being outsourced, ignored, or easily replaced. Your personal brand is the unique value you bring to the table. Some people get it by luck – they were in the right place at the right or win the lottery. For the majority of people, self-promotion is a conscience effort – we have to develop our personal brand purposely. Personal Branding is a mindset.

Why the sudden push to create a personal brand? Technology is a factor. Our society has adopted new forms of communication and new vehicles for promotion and self-expression. A large factor in personal branding for college students is the increasing competition for employment opportunities. The increasing c…

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Co-op Education: Gaining Professional Experience While Still In College

Cooperative education is an institution-based program which provides students with periods of work that are related to the academic and career interests of participants. The experiences involve productive work for the employer rather than observation or school-designed activities.

Most of these student jobs are salaried. Although co-op earnings vary due to numerous factors, the typical student will earn more than $7,500 annually. 25% of the employers provided benefits such as medical insurance, retirement credit, and paid holidays, vacation, and sick days.

The typical co-op program, especially in four-year colleges and universities, is for students to alternate terms of full-time classroom study with terms of full-time, employment. Program participation involves multiple work terms in addition to completion of the student’s degree requirements. The typical participant will work three or four work terms, resulting in a year or more of career-related work experience before …

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College Students and Politics - From Apathy to Enthusiasm

The strength of democracy depends heavily on active, engaged citizens – people who are building communities, solving public problems, and participating in the political and electoral processes. The younger generation is a significant and growing demographic. In 2000, the estimated population of young people between the ages of 15 and 25 was 42.2 million. The U.S. Department of Education reports that college enrollment hit a record level of 17.1 million in the fall of 2004, and enrollment is expected to increase by an additional 14 percent between 2004 and 2014. There are many college-age voters to engage.

Unfortunately, civic disengagement is especially prevalent among our nation’s youth. There seems to be a generation gap in civic engagement. Americans growing up in recent decades vote less often than their elders, pay less attention to politics, and show lower levels of social trust and knowledge of politics.

Some believe that the excessive individualism of American c…

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Branding - What Colleges are Doing to Stand Out

People are infatuated with brands. They don’t buy tennis shoes, they buy Nikes. They don’t buy jeans, they buy Levis or Lucky. They don’t go to college, they go to Yale or Harvard. People seldom buy a thing. Instead, they buy a name and all the associations that go with that name. In other words, they buy a brand.

All human beings have a need to identify with a group. Branding creates a potential group that you could belong to. Let’s look at Harley Davidson as an example. Harley Davidson draws its tribe from every demographic – from the Hell’s Angels to Politicians – and their Harleys are the common denominator. Every brand would like to be seen as a club that people aspire to join — a club whose philosophy you share, a place where you can go to be yourself and to meet other like-minded people, and an opportunity to talk and share stories.

Branding isn’t all about recognizing a product. It’s about recognizing yourself in the product. If branding is all about identifi…

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College Students and Dating Violence

Our first thoughts on dating and relationships are usually associated with good things. We look for relationships that enhance our sense of well-being and make us feel good about ourselves. We dream of supportive partners who treat us kindly with love and respect. Violence can and does occur in intimate relationships, even in college. 30% of college students have been in relationships that involve physical aggression – with even more having been in relationships that are emotionally abusive.

Dating violence may involve a variety of abuses -emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or a combination of these. Dating violence can occur in a casual dating relationship or long-term relationship. It is often used as an attempt to gain control and power over a partner. Dating violence may start with demeaning remarks and then escalate to pushing, shoving, and/or physical battering.

It is important to be able to identify the warning signs and effects of abuse among datin…

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Service Learning - Earn College Credit and Get Involved In Your Community

During the last decade, there has been a demand from the public, legislators, and accrediting agencies for higher education to become more accountable for the learning that takes place in colleges and universities. One way this is being done is through service learning. There are many interpretations of service learning as well as different objectives and contexts. The core concept is that service learning combines service objectives with learning objectives with the intent that the activity change both the recipient and the provider of the service. This is accomplished by combining service tasks with structured opportunities that link the task to self-reflection, self-discovery, and the acquisition and comprehension of values, skills, and knowledge content.

An example of this is a school where students collect trash out of an urban streambed. They are providing a service to the community as volunteers – a service that is valued and important. When students collect trash fr…

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

If you are a fan of college athletics, you are probably familiar with the NCAA. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is an association of about 1,200 institutions, organizations, conferences, and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States. The NCAA is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana and is currently under the leadership of president, Myles Brand (former president of Indiana University). The NCAA is the largest collegiate athletic association in the world. It is much more prominent than the associations in other countries because of the great popularity of college sports in the United States.

The flying wedge, football’s major offense in 1905, prompted the formation of the NCAA. Because of injuries and deaths, Theodore Roosevelt encouraged reforms in college athletics. This resulted in the founding of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS). The name was changed …

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College Students - Purveyors of Pornography

Pornography generates $57 billion annual revenue world-wide—$12–14 billion in the United States alone. U.S. porn revenue is larger than the combined revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises. College students contribute greatly to this revenue.

The demand for explicit pornography has stood the test of time, but it’s method of delivery has changed. College students are tech savvy – they can easily access pornographic pictures and video on the internet. Adult entertainment companies are making a mad dash to tap into this rapidly expanding market. Internet sales of adult content – which includes images, live-chat, and live-streaming video – experienced strong growth. In fact, in 2006, Internet Sales became the second largest adult entertainment segment, with 22% of the market or $2.8 billion in sales.

Pornography is protected under free speech laws. Only purely obscene forms of speech are banned from the Internet. Obscenity is defined as mater…

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Campus Groups: How to Start Your Own

College is a center for culture and new ideas. The best thing you can do to feel connected to your college is to get involved in extracurricular activities. Try to take advantage of as many things as possible, both academic and extracurricular. Research shows that students who get involved are more likely to succeed academically and earn a degree. Getting involved is important for all students – resident, commuter, nontraditional. The nontraditional, commuter, part-time, or working student may not have as much time to participate, but will still get the benefits of being involved on campus.

Some schools have hundreds of extracurricular activities. You will find clubs, Greek organizations (fraternities and sororities can be social, philanthropic, and/or academic), student government, religious groups, newspapers, political groups, radio or TV stations, student life recreation activities, band, choir, special-interest groups, and intramural sports. They are easy to find. You …

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Is A Christian College for You?

Choosing a college is one of the most important choices a person makes in life. Where you go to college can have a profound influence that lasts a lifetime. Characteristics such as academic excellence, internships, school size, location, career opportunities, quality of faculty, variety of programs, extra-curricular activities, etc. can be found in both secular and Christian schools. Why should you consider enrolling at a Christian college?

According to the US Department of Education, Christian colleges grew over 70% from 1990 to 2004. During that same period of time, all independent four year schools grew 28% and public four year institutions grew about 13%. The growth marks a turnaround from the 1960s and 1970s, when religious colleges struggled to attract students. About 120 religious colleges closed between 1960 and 1979. Four religious colleges, including the first Buddhist college, have opened in the United States since 2001. Why is there such growth at Christian colle…

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Resident Assistants: What you Should Know Before Becoming an RA

A resident assistant, or RA, is a trained student leader whose duty is to supervise students living in the residence halls. The RA selection and training process is usually intense and quite rigorous. The RA position is very demanding and time consuming. You’ll be expected to sacrifice your weekends to cover duty shifts. You’ll spend part of your summer in RA training. You’ll be the first to arrive on campus and the last to leave. Some residents won’t like you because you enforce the rules, but it’s your job. Being an RA means being left out of many residential activities for fear of “having an RA around.”

There are benefits to taking an RA position. These benefits vary greatly from school to school and may include a single residence hall room (for assured privacy), parking permits, financial compensation/stipends, meal plans, and/or significant discount on room-rate (including full compensation). Most important are the intangible benefits. As an RA, you will do administrati…

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Eating on Campus: Trends in College Dining

You’ve probably heard the jokes about residence hall dining. While the bland foods of the past may be a reality for your parents, it certainly isn’t today. Today’s dining facilities on most college campuses resemble restaurants rather than traditional cafeterias.

Payment for college dining is commonly in the form of a meal plan, the student pays a certain amount at the start of the semester and the details of the plan are stored on a computer system. Student ID cards are then used to access the meal plan. Typically, the college tracks the student’s usage of their plan by counting either the number of pre-defined meal servings, points, dollars, or number of buffet dinners. The plan may give the student a certain number of any of the above per week or semester and they may or may not roll over to the next week or semester.

Most schools offer several different options for using their meal plans. The main cafeteria is usually where most of the meal plan is used but smaller c…

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Know Your Learning Style

It is a common belief that most people favor a particular method of interacting with, taking in, and processing information. The idea of individualized “learning styles” originated in the 1970’s and has gained popularity in recent years. A learning style is the method of learning that allows an individual to learn best.

There are three basic learning styles – Visual, Verbal, and Kinesthetic. Determining what type of learner you are can help you to develop learning strategies that may improve your GPA. Learners actually use all three learning styles to receive information, but one is usually dominant. This dominant style defines the best way for a person to learn new information. This style may not always be the same for some tasks. The learner may prefer one style of learning for one task and another learning style for another.

There are two types of visual learners – linguistic and spatial. Learners who are visual-linguistic prefer learning through written language…

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Off Campus Housing: Things You Should Know Before Signing A Lease

Living off-campus is a housing option for many students. Signing a lease may be the first legal agreement college students enter into. A lease or rental agreement is a contract that binds the landlord and tenant. A lease contains all of the terms and conditions a tenant has to follow. Carefully read every word of the document, noting any stipulations. Make sure you understand it well to avoid problems later. To be doubly sure, you can have someone else read the agreement before signing it. After you’ve read the contract, it is wise to ask the landlord any other questions you may have so that everything is clear before you commit. Sometimes lease agreements are straight to the point and may not include many other details. Make sure you know the following before signing a lease:

  • When is rent due? How should it be paid?
  • Do you charge a penalty for late payment? When does it apply and how much is it?
  • How long is the lease? Is there a penalty if you leave early?
  • Do y…

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STDs on Campus: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) have become increasingly common among college students in the United States. One in five teens gets a sexually transmitted disease each year in the United States. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, and genital warts (human papillomavirus or HPV) are the most common STDs on college campuses. HPV infects 5.5 million people, while Chlamydia infects 3 million people a year.

Chlamydia is the most frequently reported STD in the United States. It is caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis. Symptoms of Chlamydia are usually mild or absent. This mean that serious complications that cause irreversible damage (including infertility) can occur “silently” before a woman ever suspects a problem. Three quarters of infected women and about half of infected men have no symptoms. In men, the most seen symptoms of Chlamydia are a discharge from the penis, a burning sensation when urinating, or burning and itching around the opening of the pen…

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Tips for Surviving Your First College Break

Both parents and students look forward to college break, but the reality of this reunion can frequently fail to meet everyone’s expectations. You will notice both external and internal changes when you return home on break. The time you’ve spent away from your family has brought new opportunities for growth and change. The kind of freedom found in college may not be available at home. Depending on your family’s values, it may not be fair to expect the same level of freedom you have enjoyed while away. A student’s desire for more autonomy than they were used to at home can be a source of great frustration.

The first step to avoid potential problems is a conversation with your parents before break begins. If you’ve made any big changes that they aren’t aware of, now is the time to tell them. When you are sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner is not the time to tell everyone you are now vegan. Family members may want to know in advance that you’ve got an obvious tattoo or piercin…

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How To Do Your Own Laundry

When you go away to college, you are responsible for many things you used to take for granted. Doing laundry is one of these things. You have a few options when it comes to clean clothes. You can take all of your clothes home and let your mom do your laundry. This method is cost and time effective and produces the results you need. This is only an option if you have a lot of clothes or go home fairly often. Another option is to purchase a large bottle of Febreeze and spray each piece of clothing until it smells clean. This method is cost effective, somewhat time effective, but not very sanitary. Your final option involves actually learning how to do laundry. This option is probably your best bet. Laundry is easy when you know how.

Before beginning your laundry, you need a few supplies. Round up the following:

  • Quarters

Washing and drying your clothes costs money – usually $.75 to $1.75 per load per machine. Many laundromats have change machines. If yours doesn’t, get …

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Sex in College: What You Should Know About Hookups

There seem to be three types of dating relationships in college. First, there are casual relationships where you and your person of interest just hang out with a group of friends, not really going out. The second type of dating relationship is one where the couple is connected at the hip. They study together, they eat together, they socialize together – they do everything together. The third type of college dating relationship is the hookup.

Hookups are when a couple get together for a physical encounter and don’t expect anything else. Lest you think college students are all lecherous, hooking up doesn’t mean having sex, although it can. A hookup usually lasts only one night and is usually between two people who are strangers or brief acquaintances. Some physical sexual interaction is typical, but it may range from kissing to sexual intercourse. Hookups are usually spontaneous and rarely result in a relationship. Hookups are usually defined by alcohol, physical attraction,…

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Crime on Campus: What you Can Do to Keep Yourself Safe

If you pay attention to the media, you probably think that the crime rate on college campuses is high. If you compare campus crime date to national crime date, you’ll find that college campuses are relatively safe places.

A college campus is a microcosm of society in general. Crime is going to occur. Crimes seen on college campuses include murder, forcible and non-forcible sex offenses including rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, vandalism, and arrests for violations of liquor, drug and weapons law violations.

The biggest problem on college campuses is theft. About 40,000 property crimes occur at colleges and universities yearly. Thefts occur in academic buildings and residence halls. Students will leave their door unlocked or their belongings unattended and run down to the cafeteria or vending machines – when they return, they find their laptop has been stole. Rarely is a room broken into. Theft is usually a crime of opportunity. Use comm…

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Violence in College: How Safe Is Your Campus?

College campuses across the United States are facing the growing problem of violent crime on and off their campuses. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has determined a violent crime to be one of four offenses: 1) murder and non-negligent manslaughter, 2) forcible rape, 3) robbery, and 4) aggravated assault.

Awareness of violent crime on college campuses burst into the public’s consciousness with the reporting of several tragic cases in the 1980s. These incidents put to rest the long-cherished notion that colleges and universities are somehow cloistered enclaves – far removed from the threat of crime that haunts the rest of society.

Colleges are required by the federal government to keep crime statistics and to share them with students, faculty, and staff. The Campus Security Act was the first federal legislation to address the issue of crime on college campuses and reflects a national commitment to increase campus safety. The Act requires that institutions publi…

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Graduate School: Is it Right for You?

People choose to attend graduate school for various reasons – a chance to learn more, get a better job, earn a bigger salary, or just a way to avoid the “real world”. Whatever your reason, there’s a lot to consider before making the commitment to attend grad school.

Grad school isn’t for the casual learner. It entails long hours, hard work, research and writing, lots of reading, and more than likely, financial debt. Grad students must be very serious about their studies. Maturity and dedication are necessary.

If you’ve decided that a graduate degree is something you want to pursue, do some research to find a school that is right for you and your goals. It’s important to know what you want to study. Unlike undergraduate programs, graduate schools focus on a few areas within a specific discipline. Make sure the schools you are considering have the field of study and research programs that match your interests. If you are unsure of the exact focus you want to pursue, choo…

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The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) - What to Expect

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a standardized test required for acceptance into some graduate schools. While the GRE is required for most advanced degree programs, check the requirements of the school you are applying to to make sure they require it. If you are seeking entry into medical school, business school, or law school, you do not have to take the GRE. Each of these programs requires a specific test (medical – MCAT; business – GMAT; law – LSAT).

The GRE is supposed to show how advanced your critical thinking skills are. Because it doesn’t examine any specific area of study, you can’t really study for it the way you can other tests. Even though you can’t predict exactly what will be on the test, knowing what to expect will definitely give you an advantage.

The GRE tests your verbal, quantitative, and analytical skills. Think of these as language, math, and thinking skills. A question will be presented and you’ll have to pick the one correct answer out of the f…

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Big Business: Alcohol Advertising and College Sports

College athletics is BIG business. Athletic programs across the country are feeling increased pressure to raise more and more funds. What price are institutions of higher learning willing to pay for those sports dollars?

Alcohol advertising is pervasive in college sporting events. According to a recent report in USA Today, “NCAA tournament games led all other sports events in alcohol-related TV advertising in 2002, with 939 ads costing $28 million. That compares with a combined 925 ads aired during the Super Bowl, World Series, college bowl games and the NFL’s Monday Night Football.”

The alcohol industry sees nothing wrong with advertising during college sporting events. They deny that the ads promote underage alcohol use. They claim that the vast majority of people watching and attending college sports, as well as the majority of students in college, are of legal drinking age. Research by Nielsen Media shows that almost 90% of all college football and basketball view…

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A Look at the Spending Habits of College Students

While some students struggle to make ends meet, the stereotypical college experience of eating Ramen Noodles, wearing clothes from Goodwill, and drinking cheap beer is quickly disappearing. Much of this can be explained by the changing demographics of today’s students. Less than half (43%) of college students are 18-21. The typical college student is in their mid-twenties, either lives at home or on campus, and has a job. Students no longer expect to complete college in 4 consecutive years, and many fluctuate between full-time and part-time study over a period of 5 to 7 years. The older the student, the more money he or she generally has.

The typical college student gets an average of $757 a month from jobs, parents or other sources. Most money comes from work. 75% of students maintain jobs while attending school, earning $645 per month on average. 20% have secured an on-campus job and 42% are spending school breaks working. Parents contribute too, contributing an average of…

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College Students and Credit Cards

College is a great time to get your first credit card. It’s fairly easy to get a credit card while you’re in school, even if you have little or no prior credit history. If you manage your credit card use wisely and keep your spending under control, you can learn the basics of finance and establish a solid credit history. Once you’re out of school, your good credit will save you money and a lot of hassle.

The idea of a credit card is appealing to both students and their parents. Students can use the card to make purchases they may not otherwise have been able to afford and parents can be comforted knowing their child has something to protect them in case of a financial emergency. Some students and parents choose to use debit cards and prepaid “credit cards” during freshman year and wait to apply for credit cards until sophomore year or later.

Students should be careful when selecting a credit card. Often they are bombarded with credit card offers in the mail or solicitat…

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Financial Aid for Nontraditional Students

Financial aid isn’t just for traditional students. Most of the financial aid resources that traditional students rely on are available to nontraditional students. Students age 24 or older, are considered independent students for financial aid purposes, so only your income and assets (and your spouse’s, if you’re married) will count in the financial aid formulas.

Nontraditional students are the fastest growing segment of the postsecondary population: 41% of college students are over 25 and nearly 12% are over 40. Educational costs are a concern for nontraditional students. More than 22% of perspective adult learners who choose not to enroll cite cost as an obstacle. In the past, the bulk of financial aid went to traditional, full-time students in degree programs. Today, the financial aid picture is changing due to the large numbers of nontraditional students attending college.

Nontraditional students are required to apply for financial aid the same way as traditional stud…

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Preventing Sexual Assault on Campus

The term sexual assault encompasses a range of behaviors from unwanted touching to rape. Definitions of rape and sexual assault vary, with each state having its own legal definition. College students are not always sure about what constitutes rape. There are many myths surrounding rape – if the woman was flirting or wearing sexy clothing, she was asking for it; it’s not rape unless the man injures the woman, etc. According to most legal definitions, if the victim did not agree to the sex, it’s rape, regardless of the circumstances.

One in four college women surveyed are victims of rape or attempted rape. One in six female college students report having been a victim of rape or attempted rape during the preceding year. Unfortunately, sexual assault is fairly common at college parties. 90% of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol. Some predators use alcohol or drugs in order to undermine a woman’s ability to resist sexual advances. Some men target drunk women because they are …

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What to Look for When Buying a Computer for College

While most schools make computer facilities available in dorms, classroom buildings, and libraries, it’s extremely helpful to have your own computer in college. When you are typing a paper at 4 am, a computer lab in another location may not be convenient. A computer purchased freshman year will probably last all four years you’ll be in college.

Before deciding on a computer, familiarize yourself with your school’s computer policies. Very few schools require that a specific model be purchased, but most have a general set of requirements you’ll want to make sure you know. Commonly, these are simply recommendations and aren’t particularly demanding. Sticking to the guidelines may make getting help from the school’s help desk easier.

One of your first considerations will be whether to buy a laptop or a desktop. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Which is better will depend on the needs and preferences of the user.



  • Best value: gen…

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Nontraditional Students: Earning College Credit for Life Experience

The “typical” college student of the past was 18-22 years old, lived on campus, attended college full time, and enrolled in college directly from high school. Fewer than 17% of college students currently meet these criteria. The following characteristics are common among students identifying as nontraditional students:

  • They are generally over the age of 25
  • They have interrupted college for more than one academic year
  • They may require special services to attain their degree
  • They manage other responsibilities (such as career or family) while attending school

Nontraditional students face the same stresses as traditional students. Studies have indicated that nontraditional students had considerably more time and role conflicts than other college students. Nontraditional students display significantly lower levels of academic stress and report being more satisfied with their academic experience. They also reported less worrying about their performance. The stress fe…

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The Internet vs. The Library

The ability to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information is known as information literacy. To be information literate, one must first acquire the foundational skills and competencies associated with general education – critical thinking and reasoning abilities, written and oral communication skills, etc. In our information based society, students must develop these skills early on so they are prepared to take advantage of opportunities, whether they are work or school related.

The ability to find and retrieve information can be a challenge if you are not sure where to start. With vast resources available on the internet, students must make choices about how to access information and then which information resources to use.

Students tend to use internet search engines, such as Google, to locate information resources rather than library online catalogs or databases of scholarly journal articles. These search engines index only the “surface Web”. Less than 7% of the info…

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Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC): Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Training in College

ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) and Naval ROTC Programs are offered by the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and the Air Force. Their goal is to train qualified men and women to become officers in those services upon graduation from college. ROTC is available at more than 1,000 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. These include those that host ROTC units or detachments and those with cross-enrollment agreements.

During college, students take a full course load. Included in their curriculum are military science courses that provide the student with specialized knowledge needed by an officer. ROTC candidates are required to wear uniforms once a week during military labs, drills, presentations, and other practical training activities. During the summer, ROTC candidates get a taste of military life during the summer – such as midshipmen cruises in Naval ROTC.

Scholarships are not necessary for participation in ROTC, but many ROTC students receive scholarships every ye…

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Improving Your Reading Comprehension in College

We’ve all done it – read an article or chapter and not recall much of what we read. Scholarly reading is different than reading for enjoyment. Many students don’t recognize the difference and read everything like a novel. Scholarly reading requires critical reading skills. Critical reading means reading with the goal of finding deeper understanding of the material. It is the act of analyzing and evaluating what you are reading while you are reading it or as you reflect back on what you read.

In order to improve reading skills, you have to improve your overall knowledge. Reading comprehension is more than just understanding the words written on the page. It entails understanding the references and concepts made in the reading. This is a great reason to take a variety of classes in a variety of subject areas. The more you know, the more your reading skills will improve.

Some of your classes may require more reading than others. Regardless of the amount of reading required…

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Tips for a Successful Study Group

Study groups may be your saving grace in college. Study groups may be a requirement for some classes, but most of the time they are informal and established by the students in the class. Small groups are groups of 3-5 people meeting to focus on an issue. There has been a significant amount of research done on small group performance and groups of two lack power while groups of more than 5 can become unmanageable.

Small groups often out-perform individuals. They are able to generate more options when brainstorming, resulting in more ideas generated in a shorter time. Small groups can better evaluate ideas. By working with other people, you can more easily correct misinformation, bias, and erroneous assumptions. Working in small groups also provides you with encouragement, support, feedback, clarification, and help.

Some things to consider when forming a study group include:

Form study groups after a few classes. You’ll want to determine who the reliable students a…

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How to Manage your Money In College

Tuition, books, and the occasional pizza are just some of the expenses you may have as a college student. If it seems like you never have enough money, a few money management tips may turn things around.

It is essential to know where your money goes. Track your spending for about 2-4 weeks. Write down everything you spend. Make sure to include even the smallest purchase. Look at your finished list carefully. It will probably become obvious where you are spending money and where you can cut down. Use this information to curb your expenses and spend your money wisely. You’ll usually start to curb your spending just by tracking your expenses.

Watch for emotional spending. Money can buy us pleasure, friendships, or give us a feeling of power. Be careful not to let money substitute for emotional needs that need to be addressed in other ways.

A great tool to manage your money is to map out a budget. List all sources of income – financial aid, money from summer jobs, mone…

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College Students and Taxes

Filing taxes is another wake-up call to the real world. If you don’t have a paid job and your parents are claiming you as a dependent, you don’t need to file an income tax return. If you have a paying job regardless if your parents claim you or not, you should file. A few things you should know include:

Make sure to file your return.

You may not have made much money, but if you’ve had money withheld from your paychecks, you probably have a refund coming. If you haven’t received your W-2s, your final pay stub for the year will have the pertinent tax information, such as your income and how much was withheld. You can go online and download tax forms. You have many options to file your taxes electronically, but some people find it easier to prepare their taxes on paper forms and then transfer the information to the electronic version. If you need a little help with tax preparation, you have some options. Many college accounting departments offer free tax help so students …

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Improve Your Listening Skills, Improve Your Grades

One way to raise your GPA is to master the skill of listening. It is a common misconception that listening and hearing are the same thing. Hearing refers to the ability to detect sound. Listening requires concentration.

Listening is based on three basic skills: attitude, attention, and adjustment.

  • Maintain a constructive attitude.

Staying positive is essential for open-mindedness. Don’t assume a lecture is going to be dull and boring. If the lecturer makes statements or presents ideas that you don’t agree with, don’t assume that he/she is wrong.

  • Strive to pay attention

You must focus your attention on the lecture. What you are hearing will enter your short term memory. From there, it will be processed into ideas. Attentive listening insures that the ideas are processed.

  • Adjust where needed

Be flexible enough to follow a lecture regardless of the direction it may take. If you find yourself completely lost, ask a clarifying question.

Students sp…

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Working While Attending College

For many college students, working while attending college is a harsh reality. You need to figure out how to balance a job with everything else you have going on. Scheduling becomes very important.

There are basically two types of jobs – on-campus and off-campus. On-campus employment will take your class schedule into account when they schedule you to work. Working on campus eliminates a commute. Check with your student employment office for open positions. Many colleges offer work in your field of study, which could be invaluable. Some campus jobs come with perks – food, entertainment, etc. If you are eligible for the Federal Work-Study program, go to your financial aid office to find out how to take advantage of this opportunity. These jobs can be on-campus and off-campus and are usually at a non-profit organization or public agency. Flexible hours are usually available.

If you choose to work off-campus, be sure your boss knows your class schedule. Be honest about you…

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Time Management Tips for College Students

Many students discover they are lacking in time management skills when they arrive at college. In high school, others managed your time for you. Your parents and teachers were involved in making sure that you got where you needed to go and that your work got done. You will learn quickly that in college you will have less in-class time, more work outside of class, and a great deal of freedom. You and you alone, are now in charge of determining how your time is spent.

You must make a commitment to your work and take studying seriously. This means balancing your academic and social activities to ensure that you are able to complete all coursework. Carrying a full load of college credits is basically equivalent to a full-time job. You should plan on 2-3 hours of studying outside of class for every hour spent in class. For a schedule of 12 credit hours, this would mean 24-36 additional hours of outside work to adequately understand the material. If you really like the subject mat…

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The Importance of Attending Class

Class attendance facilitates learning in a variety of ways. Lectures supplement reading assignments. Classroom presentations present information differently than the text. Discussion and elaboration of topics provides current information that may not be found in the textbook. Hearing the comments and questions of others can answer your questions. Instructors can use class discussion to enhance critical thinking skills. They can pose questions that require students to make connections between concepts and relate what they are learning to real life. The more students analyze and examine material, the better their retention will be. As you can see, attending class on a regular basis gives you much more than just credit for attendance.

Most people who fail a course did not attend classes regularly. Regular class attendance requires discipline and time management skills. These skills are beneficial no matter what career path you choose. Attending class also increases a student’s…

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Meningitis on Campus

Meningococcal disease is a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection caused by a virus or bacteria. It can lead to meningococcal meningitis, (an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord) or meningococcal septicemia (an infection of the blood). Meningococcal disease, caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in young adults in the U.S. Viral meningitis is usually less serious and goes away on its own.

Meningococcal disease affects 1,400 to 3,000 Americans each year and is responsible for approximately 150 to 300 deaths. Adolescents and young adults account for nearly 30 percent of all cases of meningitis in the United States. Approximately 100 to 125 cases of meningococcal disease occur on college campuses each year, with 5 to 15 students dying as a result.

Five predominant strains of N. meningitidis account for most cases of meningococcal disease. These are A, B, C, Y, and W-135. Th…

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College Students and Religion

Early in the semester, you will probably see campus bulletin boards fill with fliers advertising religious organizations on campus. Most campuses have groups supporting most religions – Islam, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Protestantism, Sikh, Judaism, LDS, and Baha’i to name a few. Some campuses even have groups for agnostics and atheists. These organizations support spiritual growth while providing opportunities for fellowship. Students who are having a rough time making friends and fitting in often find like-minded people in religious fellowship. Some religious organizations on campus are small while others are larger and better known. Some larger religious organizations on campus include, The Newman Center (Catholicism), Hillel (Judaism), and Campus Crusade for Christ (Christian).

College students take different approaches when it comes to religion. Some students will continue practicing the religion they were raised in, while others will explore and choose beliefs …

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The Dreaded Freshman 15: How to Avoid Gaining Weight in College

You’ve probably heard of the dreaded “Freshman 15”. It’s true that many college students gain weight their first year of college. Studies show that the average weight gain is only 3-10 pounds, occurring over the first two years of college. Most of the weight gain occurs during the first semester of freshman year.

There are some very valid reasons for this weight gain. College offers numerous temptations. You are free to eat what you want when you want it. You can eat french fries and ice cream every night of the week, if you want. You may get less exercise than you did before starting college. College is a time for change and these changes can be stressful. Some people eat in response to this stress or other bad feelings they may be having.

Some weight gain is normal. If your weight gain is significant, it carries health risks. If you are overweight, you are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breathing problems, and joint problems. If you are an…

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What to do if you get sick

It is difficult to be sick when you are away from home. You are accustomed to being taken care of when you are ill and suddenly you are on your own. Making a decision about what you need to do to take care of yourself may be more of a problem when you are not feeling well.

If you are sick, there are a few things you can do to feel better and reduce the time you spend feeling bad:

  • Listen to what your body is telling you. If you feel tired, take a nap or at least lie down and rest. If you’re hungry, eat something.
  • Get more sleep. If you’re in college, you probably aren’t getting the necessary 7-9 hours of sleep each day. When you’re sick, you need to sleep so your body has time to recover.
  • Drink lots of fluids. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking nourishing liquids like chicken soup, 100% fruit juice, and water. Stay away from dehydrating beverages like alcohol and soda.
  • Treat your symptoms. Make sure that any over-the-counter (OTC) medicine you take…

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Writing the College Research Paper

A college research paper requires a more abstract, critical, and thoughtful level of inquiry than what you are probably accustomed to.

Your professor may hand out sheets of possible topics or actual thesis statements to defend. You may be able to approach your instructor with a topic idea that exists at the same level as the suggested topics. You may be forced to do this if you are given few guidelines. Some instructors give students a word count and a deadline with little direction on subject matter. You may get frustrated from the beginning if you feel you don’t have any knowledge or authority about your subject. Have faith in your own abilities. Nobody expects you to be an expert.

Start by jotting down anything that comes to mind about your assigned or chosen topic. Do not edit your ideas. You are looking for related concepts, associations, and connections.

After you’ve come up with a clearer idea of your topic, do some preliminary research. This will help to refi…

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Dealing with Test Anxiety in College Classes

Test anxiety is common among college students. Anxiety can be reduced through thorough preparation. Even small amounts of work can restore a feeling of control. Procrastination feeds anxiety and worry.

Some nervousness or apprehension surrounding exams is normal and can be a powerful motivator. However, for some students, test-related anxiety is so extreme that it leads to poor performance and interferes with learning.

Test anxiety can develop for a number of reasons – a prior bad experience with test taking, lack of preparation, lack of confidence, fear of failure, and performance anxiety to name a few. Often times, worrying about how anxiety will affect you can be as debilitating as the actual anxiety. Anxiety can build as an exam approaches and can interfere with the student’s ability to prepare sufficiently. Poor preparation can contribute to test anxiety. Inefficient time management, poor study habits, and lack of organization can contribute as well. Student’s …

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Talking to your Professors

It’s a good idea to get to know your instructors in college. You may wonder how to approach someone that may seem unapproachable or that may intimidate you. Some instructors will not be as easy to talk to as others. If you follow a few simple guidelines, your discussion will not only be helpful, but possibly enjoyable.

  • Visit during office hours. Check your class syllabus for office hours. If the instructor’s office hours don’t fit into your schedule, schedule an appointment. “Dropping in” or trying to talk before or after class is not a good idea – your professor is very busy and you may not get the attention you deserve. It isn’t that your professor doesn’t want to talk to you, but professors have other responsibilities besides teaching your class.
  • Make sure you have legitimate issues to discuss. A few examples of “legitimate” issues include:

You can’t understand why you performed poorly on an exam or other assignment. (If the reason for your poor performance was…

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Taking Good Lecture Notes

It has been shown that learners recall more information from lectures with purposeful note taking and active listening. Listening is essential for academic success, but most students come to college with poor listening skills. Research shows that individuals only recall 50% of what they hear.

You can train yourself to be an active listener by consciously listening to what your instructor is saying. Pay attention to qualifying words, such as sometimes, usually, rarely, etc. Notice words that indicate a change of direction – but, however, on the other hand, etc. Look for meanings and implications. Practice active listening and your note taking will become easier.

There are numerous reasons to take lecture notes in class:

  • Taking notes forces you to listen carefully.
  • Notes provide a gauge to what is important in the textbook.
  • Personal notes are usually easier to remember than the text.
  • Writing down information helps you to remember it.
  • Lecture notes are…

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