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First Lady Gives Pep Talk to Department of Education

On February 2, First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Department of Education to give employees a pep talk.  She praised new Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and said that she herself was a product of the department’s work.

Here’s what the First Lady had to say.

The Importance of Sleep for Students

student sleeping on booksI can count the number of nights I get eight hours of sleep on my two hands. I cannot count the number of nights I’ve had less than four hours (or even stayed up all night) even when you include my toes! But this is not something I’m exactly proud of. Recently in Psychology, we discussed the sleep cycle and how your body uses time while you sleep to revitalize itself and restore itself to keep you healthy. It makes me wonder why International Baccaulaureate kids don’t start dropping like flies once we hit our senior year!

The recommended sleep dose for teenagers is anywhere between 8.5-9.25 hours. This is enough time for your body to recuperate and prepare itself for the day to come. Any amount under or above can be detrimental. (more…)

Is “No Frills” College Education the Answer?

Is generic just as good as name brand?

Is generic just as good as name brand?

To save money at the grocery store, people buy no-frills peanut butter and canned corn and pain reliever.  To save money on a college education, should students have the option for a “no-frills” education?

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania is getting ready to experiment with such an idea.

So what does no-frills education mean?  It means no sports, no extracurriculars, no student gym, limited student services, and the like.  Without these “extras,” the price of education would be cheaper. School would be in session year round and would operate at an accelerated pace, and this would further keep costs down for students.

Is this a good idea? (more…)

Wordless Wednesday: Obama’s Promote Community Service

President Obama says community service is key to affordable college tuition.

Google and NASA Launch Singularity University

NASA, Google, and some of the foremost authorities in science and technology have teamed up to create a new school, dubbed Singularity University, that is looking to solve “humanity’s grand challenges”. The university is named after the idea of the singularity – an extremely rapid period of technological progress. This sounds like the coolest school ever.

Modeled after the International Space University, the school is meant to expose some of the world’s most promising graduate students and professionals to a broad range of cutting-edge technologies and research with subjects including bioinformatics, networking, genetics, law, heath, and entrepreneurship.

Learn more here.

College Students are More Politically Engaged

student politicsHere’s a report that I feel is great news. According to the Higher Education Research Institute, college students are more interested and involved with politics than they have been in 40 years.

According to this report, about 36 percent of college freshmen reported that during the past year, they talked about politics frequently. In addition, almost 90 percent said they talked about politics in the past year at least occasionally. (more…)

The Worst Colleges in America

Browse the library or the Internet, and you’ll find dozens of “best college” rankings lists. But where do you find information about the worst colleges?  Radar Magazine provides an annual list of the Worst Colleges in America.  Keep in mind that these rankings are pretty subjective — but hey, aren’t all college rankings?

They explain the research behind their list – “Our annual college survey is an exhaustive, semiscientific guide to the most substandard schools in America, incorporating statistics on academics, graduation rates, and student life from a diverse array of sources, including the Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, and the U.S. Department of Education.”

According to Radar Magazine, here are the worst colleges in America:

University of Bridgeport is America's Worst College.

The Worst College in America: University of Bridgeport

Worst of the Big Ten: Michigan State University

Worst Trust-Fund-Baby College: Bennington College

Worst Ivy League School: Cornell University

Worst Christian School: Liberty University

Worst Party School (tie): San Diego State University and California State University, Chico

Worst Military Academy: Virginia Military Institute

Worst Women’s School: Texas Woman’s University

How to Survive a College Admissions Interview

Applying to a college or university can be stressful enough, but what do you do if the school wants to interview you as part of the application process?  To most students, the prospect of a college admissions interview sounds pretty nerve-wracking, especially since you probably haven’t done many interviews before.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to help you get through a college admissions interview.

DO answer the questions honestly, and be yourself.  College admissions interviewers can spot fakeness easily, so it’s pointless to try to answer the way you think they want you to answer.

DO be polite.  Thank the interviewer for his or her time. Be respectful.

    DO project confidence with your introduction.  Be sure to use your first and last name. “Hi, I’m Marissa Jackson,” sounds more professional and confident than, “Hey, I’m Marissa.” Shake the interviewer’s hand and make eye contact.

    DO research the school ahead of time. Read their website and other promotional materials, and read some reviews of the school from other sources. By familiarizing yourself with the school, it will be easier to answer the interviewer’s question.

    DO have a good answer to the question, “Why are you a good fit for our school?”  Your answer should be based on research you’ve done of the school, and it should be honest.

    DO ask questions, and especially questions that demonstrate that you’ve done some research about the school. This will show the interviewer that you’re really interested, and that you’re responsible enough to take the time to do some research. In addition, there’s no reason not to take advantage of this opportunity to speak with a school representative, and ask any questions that you need to know to make your decision on where to go to college.

    DO dress appropriately.  Business casual is fine for an interview: a nice shirt, professional looking pants or a skirt, spiffy shoes.  Guys, wear a tie.  Girls, avoid cutesy accessories and cleavage.

    DO send a thank you note afterwards.

    DO chat with your guidance counselor ahead of time for some interview tips.

    DON’T ever be late for an interview.

    DON’T worry if you’re a little nervous.  Yes, you want to project a reasonable amount of confidence.  However, the interviewer is perfectly aware that high school students get nervous at these interviews, and will not be put off or surprised if you’re a little jittery.

    DON’T leave your cell phone turned on.

    DON’T chew gum, but do freshen your breath prior to the meeting.

    6 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills in Class

    Students, are you listening?


    In my experience, one of the the biggest problems of many students was simply that they didn’t listen in class well enough. Because of this, they missed information they needed for exams and papers, and generally didn’t get as much out of school as they could have. I think listening is a skill that just isn’t taught enough in high schools.

    Here are six easy tips to help you listen and concentrate better.

    1. Remove distractions. It used to be that if students wanted to zone the teacher out, their only choice was the student paper. Now there’s texting, IMing, iPods, and all kinds of ways to escape.  Of course, it’s more tempting to text your friends than it is to listen to a boring lecture, but if you really want to do well in class, put these away.
    2. Listen with your eyes. Keep your eyes on the lecturer as much as possible. This will help you pay attention and keep your mind from wandering. (more…)

    How to Apply for a College Scholarship

    How to Apply for a College Scholarship

    College isn’t getting any cheaper. So, wouldn’t it be great if you could have some – or all – of your school costs paid by someone else? College scholarships aren’t just handed out to anyone. They’re reserved for a special few. If you think you will pass muster, you need to know the best ways to apply, so you can take part in higher learning on someone else’s dime.

    Look Early, Look Often – You should take the carpet bomb approach to your scholarship search. Start the search early, and don’t leave any stone unturned. Doing so will give you the ability to investigate as many opportunities as possible, and avoid missing early deadlines. That said, you don’t want to apply for every scholarship you find. There are only so many hours in the day, and a finite amount of scholarships that fit your profile. (more…)


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