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Are Democrats More Educated Than Republicans?

So who’s smarter, Democrats or Republicans?

That’s quite the controversial question, of course.  According to a blogger at, though, it seems that Democrats are more educated than Republicans. Or hey, let me rephrase that.  People in the “blue states” (states that typically vote Democratic) are collectively more educated than people in the “red states” (states that typically vote Republican).

According to

  • States that voted for Kerry in 2004 had 21 percent more college graduates than states that voted for Bush.
  • The states that ranked the lowest for high school and college graduates were all red states.
  • Eight out of 10 of the states that ranked the highest for high school college graduates were blue states. (The number one state, by far, is Colorado — technically a red state because it went for Bush by a small margin, but effectively a “purple” state because it’s become so politically mixed.)

Is this a bunch of hooey, or is there something to this?  What do you think?

You can also see the educational background and alma maters of the Republican candidates, John McCain and Sarah Palin, and Democratic candidates, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, to see how they compare.

Paychecks Motivating College Students, Not Happiness

Add foresight to the list of Generation Y’s credentials. A recent survey by Experience Inc. indicates that students are planning now for paying off their student loans- 47% said they chose a career path based on their student loan impact.

College graduates are taking preemptive measures to deal with the financial ramifications of student loan debt,” said Jenny Floren, founder and CEO of Experience.

About two-thirds of students currently attending college are likely to accept employment with a company offering loan repayment or assistance. And sadly, nearly half of students surveyed said they’d accept a job with a higher paycheck, even if it meant not being happy with the job, as a means to pay student loans.

It’s definitely a signal to HR directors everywhere- the next time you revisit employee benefits, a student loan program is going to be imperative to attract the next generation of employees.

Outfitting Your Digital Dorm Room

The amenities in today’s dorm rooms would make not only your parents’ jaws drop, but even those students in college just a decade ago. Technology has come so far, making a busy college students’ life easier, and making those electronic toys and gadgets even more affordable.

Video games, plasma TVs and Apple computers would have one time been quite a luxury for a college student, but these items are now priced within the reach of most students. Best Buy shows that they are primed to be a veritable one-stop-shop for students and their parents’ credit cards, with such necessities as alarm clocks with iPod docks, cell phones, microwaves, gaming consoles and they even match Apple’s 10% student discount.

This report shares more of what you might find in the dorms at the University of Washington. Is your dorm room this high tech?

Is Financial Aid Reform on the Way?

With the insane price of tuition and an economy that’s making people wonder how they’re going to pay their gas and food bills — much less college — it may feel like a college education isn’t going to become more affordable any time soon.  Well, here’s what may be some good news — the “Rethinking Financial Aid” study group. So what is the group all about, and who’s a part of it?  The Rethinking Financial Aid study group consists of experts in the financial aid field. It’s led by an economics professor, a senior executive at CollegeBoard (the organization that runs the SATs), and the president of an educational foundation.  The group has spent two years investigating ways to make the financial aid system work better and to make college more affordable for everyone, and they’ve recently submitted a final report on their research. Among other recommendations, the researchers argue that the financial aid system needs to be radically simplified, and that Congress should help fund college savings accounts for lower income families. Sounds like a pretty good start? What do you think?  Are big changes on the way for our financial aid system, or do you think we’re going to be headed for more years of the same?

The 10 Most Expensive College Dorm Experiences in America

Where are the most expensive dorms in the United States?  According to BusinessWeek, here’s where to find these pricey digs:

1. University of California – Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)

2 Suffolk University (Boston, MA)

3. Marymount Manhattan College (New York NY)


4. Sarah Lawrence College (New York, NY)

5. Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)

6. UCLA (Los Angeles, CA)

7. New York University (New York, NY)

8. Eugene Lang College (New York, NY)

9. University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)

10. Manhattanville College (Purchase, NY)

Of course, all of these have something in common — huge metro areas with a high cost of living and expensive housing!

If you’re a student at one of these schools, or at a school with similarly expensive housing, should you live in the dorms, or opt out to sharing an apartment?  It depends.  Yes, these dorms are expensive, and it may not be worth it.  On the other hand, you pay for the convenience.  In addition, with the price of commuting, living where all your classes are does save you money, a factor you need to weigh in when deciding how expensive it really is to live in a dorm.

And, of course, you need to look at how much it costs to live in an apartment.  In some areas, apartment living is a bargain, and in other places, it isn’t.

Also Read:

America’s 10 Most Expensive Colleges and Universities

LA Opens Most Expensive School in the Country

Is Wikipedia a Good Resource for College Term Papers?

When I was a college student, I couldn’t have even imagined a resource like Wikipedia.  Imagine — an online encyclopedia with detailed knowledge about just about any topic I’d ever have to write about in a paper!  Back in the day (and we’re only talking the early 1990s, so it shows you how quickly things change these days), if I wanted to know about something, I went to the library for a book or the microfilm machine. (If you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky.)


But is Wikipedia really a good resource for college students?

Here’s what makes Wikipedia both really cool and really controversial.  Anyone can edit Wikipedia pages (even you). This is done so that people worldwide can share information. If a zoology professor reads something on the polar bear page that she has additional information about, then she can add it.  Or she can modify something that isn’t quite right.

Unfortunately, this means that sometimes, the things on Wikipedia that get modified are included and aren’t accurate are just plain wrong.  Because of this, many people don’t consider Wikipedia to be a credible source — and your professors might share this view and look at a college paper unkindly that relies heavily on Wikipedia.

So should you avoid using Wikipedia for college papers?  I don’t think so.  It’s still an amazing source of information, and most of the information on there is accurate.

You just need to use Wikipedia carefully.  Always verify what you find on Wikipedia with other sources.  This isn’t hard to do, as Wiki pages have their sources listed. In fact, a better strategy is to read the Wiki page for information, and then get a hold of the sources that were used to create the page.  Read these sources, and cite them in your paper, and use those sources to find additional sources.  This may require you to <gasp> go to the library, like we old school people did.

If you use actually Wikipedia pages in a paper, use them sparingly.  Very sparingly.  Professors will shake their head and mark you down if they can tell that’s your primary source of information.  And never pretend to use the sources on the Wiki page when you’re really just throwing them in your bibliography.  This is cheating, and it means your paper will lack credibility.

And just in case you’re inclined to do so, never, ever use a Wikipedia page to plagiarize a paper.  I’ve had students do that, and it boggles my mind.  Yes, your teachers know how to use Wikipedia, and if they see a suspicious paper, that’s the first place they’ll look to see if you’ve plagiarized.

Does the College Application Process Ever End?!

Monday morning I sat down with my college folder and thumbed through all its contents, going through a mental checklist of everything I was supposed to have in my folder. I looked over everything two (OK, maybe three times!) making sure nothing had dropped out or gone missing. I then proceeded to my College Adviser’s office (who also happens to be my IB counselor), ran inside and placed the folder at his desk. He slowly went through the file folder just as I had and made sure I had everything in my folder. When he told me good job and said I had everything in my folder, I couldn’t help but smile and do a little happy dance. The folder I had worked on for so many hours was finally complete and turned in.

guidance counselor

Of course this isn’t anywhere near the end of the college application process, unfortunately.

Another great thing about the Common App website is that on the website you can find not only schools’ applications, but also their supplement, if they require one.  So now that I have picked my schools, turned in my college folder, and almost completed all the little boxes for my common app, I now get to begin my supplements for all my schools! Exciting, I know…

For most schools, the supplement is simple and asks a few short questions such as “Why are you considering -insert school name here-?” or “What makes you think that -insert school name here- is a good match for you? What can you bring to the school?”. Whereas other schools have much more in-depth supplements that involve mini-essays and even a full blown essay. The point of these supplements is to add a more personal touch to your application. So rather than just viewing numbers and letters from teachers and your counselor, the supplements allow the schools to see you within the application, you get to give your application a personal touch!

So when it comes to supplements, be sure to put a lot of thought and effort into each one. Remember that a supplement can set you apart from all other applicants because this is the most personal and insightful part of the application for each school you intend on applying to.

Can You Say National Merit Scholarship?

This past week, those who received National Merit Semi-finalists were released to the public, and out of the 19 National Merit Semi-finalists who were within the USD 259 District, 18 of them were from East High School! This was also the biggest group from a single school in the state of Kansas!

east high school

For those who are unaware of what National Merit is, it’s an accomplishment based on the score you receive your junior year on the PSAT. This year the cut-off for National Merit Semi-finalists was 211. The difference between the PSAT and the SAT score is simply a power of 10. Instead of each section being worth 800, on the PSAT each section is worth 80. So any student who received a score of 211 or higher was deemed a National Merit Semi-finalist!

I couldn’t help but let my jaw drop when I heard how many East students were announced as National Merit Semi-finalists! This set a new record for the number of students receiving this honor at East, the previous record was 12 students. What makes it even better is that I know all of the students who received this honor and know every one of them deserves it because of how hard they worked to get the scores high enough to qualify. One of the 18 happens to be my best friend!

In order then to become a Finalist, each student must send in a variety of items including an essay, that will be reviewed and after those items are reviewed Finalists will be announced in the spring. For each of the 18 at East I have my fingers crossed! Becoming a National Merit Finalist opens a huge number of doors for scholarships from a lot of schools. Most State Universities or Colleges will offer a free ride! While some of the private schools may only offer a smaller amount, it’s still money for college, money you or your parents will not have to pay!

So to all the semi-finalists I wish the best of luck!

New York Student Loan Providers Agree to Adopt Code of Conduct

Tired of predatory student loan practices such as deceptive advertising and marketing that tries to mask the true cost of a student loan?  In New York, eight student loan companies have responded to a state investigation into their practices by promising to observe a code of conduct in their lending practices.

student loan

The lenders who have adopted this code are Nelnet Inc., Campus Door Inc., GMAC Bank, NextStudent Inc., Xanthus Financial Services Inc., EduCap Inc., Graduate Loan Associates LLC, and MRU Holdings, Inc. (better known as “My Rich Uncle“). All of these companies were under investigation by the state, with the exception of MRU Holdings, which voluntarily joined the efforts.

The code of conduct calls for more transparency in lending, which means that loan companies need to make the price of the loans and the loan process easy to understand and “up front” for consumers to see.  Some of the practices they have vowed to discontinue are:

  • The advertising of loan rates that only a small percentage of the public are eligible to receive
  • The use of logos on their mailing that make the companies look official, and perhaps like the federal government
  • The offering of gifts to students as incentives to take out loans with their company
  • The offering of cash incentives to students for getting their friends to take out loans with their company

This sounds like a pretty good start to me.  Perhaps national legislation is needed to make sure student loan companies practice transparency and act in a way that is in the best interest of students.

Sarah Palin Attended Six Colleges in Six Years

Sarah Palin has more experience applying to colleges than she does as governor (serving Alaska for 22 months).

sarah palin

We previously shared Sarah’s alma mater. It appears that the VP candidate did in fact attend six universities in six years, finally snagging a journalism degree from the University of Idaho in 1987. There is no evidence she worked for the school’s media, but she did work briefly for Anchorage’s KTUU as a sports reporter. Only two other Presidents have had previous careers as journalists- Benjamin Harrison and JFK.

This detailed story at WikiAnswers talks more about Palin’s college-hopping days and her lack of extracurricular participation at each.


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