6 Tools to Help You Get through Freshman Year

Categories: College Life

classroomWell, you did it. You’re finally here. 18 years of life, 12ish years of school, all leading up to this: college. Maybe you’re going to school in your hometown or maybe you’ve moved across the country, but regardless of your individual circumstances, this is going to be a big adjustment. We’ve assembled six of our favorite tips to help you hit the ground running.

1. Google Drive for Collaborative Note-Taking

First of all, if you’re not on board the Google train already, Google Drive is a free suite of online office software designed to compete with Microsoft Office. But it’s so much more than that: with Google Drive, multiple people can work simultaneously on the same document in real-time, making it perfect for collaboration with classmates.

Here’s how you do it: when you join a class, seek out some likely classmates who you believe you can rely on. If they’re already your friends, great, if they aren’t…well, get out there! You should be making friends anyway!

Once you’ve assembled your study group, create a Google Drive Folder and share it with them. Just like that, you’re all working on the same document. This allows you to work on a master notes document. With three or four of you following the lecture at once, you’re sure to get everything the professor mentions. Best of all, you can be sure that you have access to the notes even if you happen to miss a class.

2. Whatsapp for Free Text Messaging

Cell phone plans can be very expensive, especially for a student on a limited budget. Luckily, as the world becomes increasingly data-driven, alternatives are starting to crop up. WhatsApp is an app you can use to send texts and pictures using your data connection, which means that you aren’t using up your monthly text message allotment. Best of all, if there’s a wifi connection available, it will use that, saving your data for when you’re on the go. Since most universities blanket their campus in wi-fi, you’ll be free to text to your heart’s content.

teacher3. RateMyProfessors.com for Investigating Your Professors

Would you go to a restaurant without looking it up on Yelp first? Then why wouldn’t you check out the professor before signing up for a class? RateMyProfessors.com is an indispensable service for college students, allowing you to read ratings and comments about professors before you sign up for that class. No surprises here!

4. Amazon.com for Used Textbooks

Textbooks are one of the major expenses of going to college. Before you buy books at the on-campus bookstore, check out their price on Amazon.com. If the book is a few years old, you’re likely to find a used one for substantially cheaper than at the bookstore.

5. EasyBib.com for Compiling Bibliographies

You know what’s annoying? Losing points on an assignment because of small errors with your bibliography or works cited page. EasyBib.com makes it super easy to create and download a complete works cited page for your paper—just add the books, websites, and articles you use as you go, and download it at the end. You can even use your phone to scan a book’s barcode to add it that way. Never waste time on a bibliography ever again!

6. Petition for What You Want

The petition is one of the most underappreciated tools in the enterprising college student’s arsenal. Think you deserve a Fine Arts credit for that literature class you did the summer after your junior year of high school? Go to your advisor and explain yourself. If you can clearly and logically explain why you think you deserve the credit, your university will usually be happy to oblige you. You never know until you ask.

Making the Most of It

No one goes through college absolutely certain they’re doing it exactly right. It’s a time of rapid change and uncertainty for everyone. These tools are sure to help you get through your freshman year, which in many ways is the hardest.

But wait! There’s just one final tool we want to give you. You can’t download it and it’s not available to be purchased in any store: it’s open-mindedness. Remember, college is a time to experience new things and grow as a person. Get out and get involved. Try not to spend too much time pent up in your dorm room, and when you are there, leave your door open in case a new best friend walks by. Practice saying “Yes” to things. This is your new life—now go live it!

Russel Cooke is a journalist and business consultant based in Canyon Country, CA. and Louisville, KY. He thoroughly enjoyed his time spent in college, and considers it his best series of learning experiences to date. You can follow him on Twitter @RusselCooke2.

Image credits: Shutterstock.com

Original Post Date: August 21st, 2014

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12 Scholarships Expiring in September

beachSummer is almost over and fall is on its way. You probably have just a little bit of free time left before your classes begin for the upcoming semester. Somewhere in between end-of-summer parties, school shopping, and everything else on your checklist, try to fit in some time to apply for a few of these great scholarship opportunities!

1. American Academy of Chefs College Scholarships

Deadline: September 1      Award: varies
Must be majoring in culinary or pastry arts

2. ABFSE National Scholarship

Deadline: September 1      Award: $500 – $2,500
Must be majoring in funeral service or mortuary science

3. Arthur M. Godfrey Aviation Foundation General Aviation Scholarship Competition

Deadline: September 1      Award: $5,000 – $10,000
Must be studying aviation

4. NEWH Icon of Industry Scholarship Award

Deadline: September 15      Award: $3,500 – $5,000
Must be pursuing a career in the hospitality industry

5. Asian Women in Business Scholarship

Deadline: September 15      Award: $2,500 – $5,000
Must be women of at least 50% Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry

6. Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards

Deadline: September 15      Award: $1,000
Must be of Hispanic/Latino descent

7. Heather Burns Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: September 22      Award: varies
Must have sickle cell anemia disease or another life-threatening disease (lupus, diabetes, etc)

8. QuestBridge National College Match Scholarships

Deadline: September 26      Award: Full tuition
Must demonstrate outstanding academic ability despite facing economic challenges

9. Latham Diversity Scholars

Deadline: September 26      Award: $10,000
Must be enrolled in law school and intend to practice law in a major US city

10. Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology Scholarship Awards

Deadline: September 30      Award: $1,000 – $100,000
Must undertake an individual or team research project related to math, science, and/or technology

11. Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship

Deadline: September 30      Award: $1,000 – $10,000
Must be minorities who are enrolled in a technical degree program

12. “Launch Your Dreams” Scholarship Competition

Deadline: September 30      Award: $2,500
Must be US veterans and/or spouses and children of veterans

Find these and thousands more scholarships on Cappex!

image credit: thecareerist.typepad.com

Original Post Date: August 14th, 2014

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How to Buy, Sell, and Rent College Textbooks like a Pro

Categories: College Life

The school year is quickly approaching. Not only does this mean school supply shopping, it also means textbook shopping. There are many different ways that you can go about this seemingly ominous and expensive task. Don’t worry, our tips below will help make it easier and cheaper for you!

used_textbooks1. Buy used from your campus bookstore.

Most campus book stores offer students the option to buy used books. Book stores will run out of used books quickly, however, so get in there early so you’re not forced to buy new. If you can’t make it to the book store in person, buy from your online campus book store if available.

2. Share with a friend.

The cheapest alternative to book buying is to share. Split the cost with a friend or classmate and share the book between the two of you. As long as you trust your book partner and can arrange study schedules that allow both of you to use the book for the appropriate amount of time, you cannot lose with this option.

3. Utilize hand-me-downs.

Before thinking about going to the book store or splitting the cost of a textbook with a friend, reach out to all of your school friends and see if anyone has taken the class before. If they have, ask if they would be willing to loan you the book or sell it to you for cheap.

4. Check the library.

The campus library or your local public library might carry some of the textbooks you need, especially novels and other books required for liberal arts classes. Renting from the library can save you a lot of time and money…just be sure to renew them as needed to avoid any overdue fees.

5. Utilize book buyback programs.

Many campus book stores will buy back your books after the end of the semester, quarter, or trimester. These programs usually take place on specific days only, so be sure to mark your calendar so you don’t miss it. Once the date passes, campus book stores usually will not buy books back. Though you won’t get full retail value back through these programs, it feels good to have a little cash in hand once you complete a class.

6. Rent online.

This is generally a cheaper option than buying or renting from the campus book store. There are many different online companies you can rent textbooks from, but make sure you return them on time.

7. Buy and sell online.

Do some research online to find the best price for your textbooks. You might be able to find a used version for cheaper. If applicable, be sure you’re purchasing the latest edition as some websites might try to sell an older edition that might be out-of-date. Once you’re done with your books, you can re-sell them online to help out other students like you and even make a profit!

image credit: voices.dyc.edu

Original Post Date: August 7th, 2014

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