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2008 College Graduates Report Higher Starting Pay

Recent 2008 college grads aren’t worried about the economy, their starting salaries are one of the few things on the rise. BusinessWeek reports that these graduates are earning 7.1% more than they were one year ago. college graduates

Business and financial majors all appearing to be seeing increased wages. Business Admin, Marketing, Economics, Finance and Accounting all saw varied increases.

While salaries are up, hiring is down. The National Association of Colleges & Employers conducted the report. Andrea Koncz, spokesperson for NACE says “Whereas last year [companies] were saying they would be hiring 16% more graduates, this year they’re anticipating hiring only 8% more.”

Career advisors at various colleges are all using “cautiously” as the word to describe their advisement. Companies are still hiring, but doing it delicately.

Ivy League Graduates Earning Higher Salaries

Wall Street Journal has published an article describing a recent survey from PayScale Inc. The results of their year-long study to learn which bachelor’s graduates earn more has concluded that those with an Ivy League background are receiving higher pay from their employers.ivy league

The survey only included those with bachelor’s degrees, about 1.2 million survey subjects. They had worked for at least 10 years and attended more than 300 colleges and universities in the U.S.- state schools through Ivy Leagues.

The study shows that the major you study in college has less of an impact on salary than the name at the top of your degree.

Dartmouth College graduates appear to be earning more than any others with the high median salary of $134,000 per year. Amongst Ivy League schools, Columbia has the lowest salary with $107,000 per year.

If you’re driven by income, it might be worth giving as much consideration to where you attend college as you do what you’ll study.

The Top Green Colleges and Universities in America

The Princeton Review has completed its annual 2009 college rankings list–and this year, they’re ranking the top green schools in America.  While many schools have made strong efforts in recent years to recycle, reuse, and become more sustainable, these are schools who have made sustainability a major mission of everyday life at the school.  Here’s their Green Rating Honor Roll (in alphabetical order):

  1. Arizona State University
  2. Bates College
  3. College of the Atlantic
  4. Emory University
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology
  6. Harvard College
  7. SUNY Binghamton
  8. University of New Hampshire
  9. University of Oregon
  10. University of Washington
  11. Yale University

College of the Atlantic

One particularly noteworthy college on this list: the funky College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.  This truly amazing school only has about 300 students, and all of them study human ecology.  The school is a child of the environmental movement, and students not only study about sustainable lifestyles–they live one.  This net-zero carbon emissions campus even grows much of its own organic food for the cafeteria, and assists other campuses at becoming more green.  If you’re really interested in environmental issues (and don’t mind going to school on a stunningly beautiful, but isolated island), this might be the place for you!

One impressively green college that The Princeton Review overlooked: Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Among other things, this progressive campus receives a good deal of its energy from wind power.

Hooray for The Princeton Review for creating this progressive ranking!

Time for Enrollment!

I’m one of those weird kids that enjoys getting their enrollment packet in the mail. Getting the packet this year not only made me excited for the school year to begin, but also made me realize just how exciting this year is going to be as a senior! As soon as I had the packet ripped open, I helped mom fill everything out and sent it on its way in the mail, since our district has a pay-by-mail enrollment option.

Well, I came back from a week in Colorado, where I had forgotten completely about my enrollment packet and when mom brought up going to finish enrollment, I got extremely excited! My senior year, how exciting!?

I enrolled on my own this year. Normally my mom comes along, making sure we get everything we need in the packets while at the school. This year I met a friend to enroll with, rather than going with my mom. I remember, especially 9th grade, enrolling in past years and being terrified of making myself look like a fool in front of the older kids. This year though was an entirely different story. I was one of the older kids, not one of the awkward underclassmen that thought about every step they made in fear of falling on their face in front of everyone else.

I walked in with my friend, knowing I was a senior, and went through the few steps left (such as getting your parking decal and ID photo taken and activated) with no problems, feeling like I was gliding past everyone else in a way that they could tell I was a senior, that I am one of the students that run things this next year! I could barely contain myself as I walked through a sea of familiar and unfamiliar faces.

As my senior year creeps closer and closer, the more excited I become. Even though it will be a difficult year, everyone has always told me your senior year is by far the greatest of your high school years. I can’t wait to experience it!

Chrysler and Ford Cancel Employee’s Tuition Reimbursement Programs

The hard time falling on U.S. automakers is now spilling over into the education of its employees. Tuition reimbursement is a sought-after benefit- but Chrysler and Ford can afford to continue writing those checks.

ford chrysler

Ford canceled the program in June- ending both tuition reimbursement and scholarship programs for employee dependents.

Chrysler did so this week. The company says it will pay for classes its employees are currently enrolled, but then the free ride ends there. White-collar, Non-union workers were specifically called out for the tuition cancellation.

College Kids: It’s Time to Wake Up and Go to Class!

sleepingHere’s some advice from U.S. News and World Report about college students and sleep.  Their advice is pretty good, I think, and pretty straightforward.  Students need to get into a consistent sleep schedule, they say.  They need to avoid early morning classes if they’re not morning people, and if they do have morning classes, they need to sort of train their bodies into the habit of getting up earlier.

I don’t like to preach to students, but I also like to tell it like it is.  Here’s my disgustingly blunt advice to college students about sleep:

Students: WAKE UP!

As a professor, I was thoroughly annoyed by students who didn’t come to my early morning classes because they were too early.  I didn’t choose these early morning times, and in fact, the times were probably far more inconvenient for me because I had a small child at the time and wasn’t getting much sleep at night.  But that’s when I was given the class to teach–and like a responsible adult, I was there to teach it.

So kids, if you find yourself in an early morning class, you have to go.  Period.  Put it this way: in the not-so-distant future, you’re going to have an early morning job.  Do you plan on not coming in until noon and saying to your boss, “Sorry, dude.  I’m not a morning person.”  Your class is no different.  Grown-ups sometimes have to get up early and do stuff, so get used to it.

I remember one time, I was teaching a class that started at about 1:30 pm.  On the day that a paper was due, the power went out in the part of town where most of the sorority houses were.  I must have gotten five frantic calls from students who missed the chance to turn in their papers because their alarm clocks didn’t go off!  Yes, they overslept–for my 1:30 p.m. class.  (And yes, I let them turn the papers in. I’m not a sadist.)

I do understand that student culture is geared towards the night hours.  When I was in college, I used to go to bed around 1:00 a.m., and almost everyone in my dorm was still awake.  That’s how it is, and I understand that most students are up late.  And believe me, if I could, I’d sleep until noon every day.  I love sleep.  Who doesn’t?  But students, if you’re going to do well in college, you’ve simply go to lose that “I’m not a morning person” excuse–unless you want your profs to think you’re a big baby.

15 Things You’ll Actually Need in the Dorm

moving into dormsJust a couple of weeks from now, cars will be double-parked outside dormitories while parents and new college students haul most of their worldly belongings up to their new homes- a place with concrete floors, shared bathrooms and about 230 square feet to share with a perfect stranger. Sounds cozy, doesn’t it? Technically, only 115 square feet of that will belong to you- as your roommate will also bring all of her worldly possessions to occupy the other half.

You’re in college now. So be smart! Unless your parents are selling the house and skipping town as soon as you leave- your old bedroom or the attic will be the appropriate storage for off-season clothing, prom collectibles, your stuffed animal collection, and old band instruments.

Obviously, you need to bring your clothes with you. Outside of that, be resourceful and use the following list to help you downsize before you even approach the threshold of your new campus digs.

laundry bagClothing

1. One laundry basket. Sorry mom, there will be no room for sorting.

2. One laundry bag. The cliche is so true, and so affordable. You will take laundry home. (You could also ditch the basket and use only the bag.)

3. Laundry detergent. You’re not doing laundry for a family of five, so one decent sized jug of detergent should last a while.

4. Hangers. Again, pack away the off-season clothes. This is the furthest thing from a walk-in closet. Bring only what you need.

5. Table-top ironing board…. if you must. Who irons in college?

college dormElectronics
You should probably save your graduation money until you meet your new roomie- that way you don’t double-up on these items.

1. Microwave. It should be small enough to zap a burrito- not prepare Thanksgiving dinner.

2. TV. I don’t recall a single wall in my dorm that could support a 50″ plasma. Something small will do the job. You can’t afford cable anyway!

3. Mini Fridge. Mini is the key there and it will be necessary.

4. Video Games. Every guy’s dorm room will look like a Best Buy, so you can probably save space and use someone else’s.

5. Computer. It comes down to what you can afford, but a laptop makes the most sense for saving space and toting to class, study groups or home.

bath towelsBed, Bath, Kitchen and Beyond

1. Two full sets of towels is probably all you’ll need. You can only use one at a time. “Borrowing” them from home is free and acceptable.

2. One set of bedding. You can wash it while you’re not sleeping on it. Again, “borrow.”

3. A small hand-held tub to store toiletries.

4. Find out what your room/suite mates are bringing for bath mats, shower curtains, etc. before making the investment.

5. Dishes. There’s no one to tell you to do them here- so don’t! One set with a plate, bowl, cup and utensils should do it. Doing dishes in the bathroom sink is a pain. You’ll eat in the cafeteria or off of a pizza box most of the time anyway.

Your dorm room will come with plenty of light, a phone, a dresser and some shelving. By now you’ve hopefully been on a campus tour and know the size limitations of your dorm. By all means, take photos from home and your favorite blanket- just take into consideration the limited personal space of your roommate, and your own need to not be bogged down in clutter. Put it this way- imagine living in a hotel room with another person for a year.

An added bonus to less stuff? The elevators will be jam-packed with people, making the stairs a faster alternative!

Is it Worth Having a Job in High School?

Having a job in high school is something I believe every kid should experience. It’s a time where little jobs are available (since most places prefer not to hire under a certain age because of the reputation teenagers have gotten,) but even the simplest of jobs are a great starting point and a great way to start building a resume. What I want to discuss though is whether or not it’s a good idea to have a job during the school year.teen jobs

Summer jobs are a great way to keep you busy during the long vacation. Not all jobs require 30-40 hours and 5 days a week. Most jobs will hire you on as part-time which can be anywhere from 10-25 hours (I believe, it may vary depending on where you work) or some places even have a seasonal option, allowing you to return just when you want to work. Of course, some kids may be interested in keeping their job during the school year because either they really enjoy their job or just enjoy having extra money to spend from time to time.

Keeping a job though during the school can be a very difficult thing to manage, even working only a few nights a week for a couple of hours. I had a job this last year while I was trying to raise money for myself to go to NYC over spring break, and with my course load at school and all my other activities I was involved in outside of school, it wore me out. I spread myself thin doing so much. But if you aren’t as involved at school or don’t have a heavy course load like I do, and find you can handle having a job, I would highly recommend it! You can experience a lot of things when you have a job that you won’t be able to experience anywhere else!

Having a summer job is something I would highly recommend at least one summer during your high school years, and if you can handle it, than keep a job if you love it enough during the school year! Keep in mind that if your job begins to interfere with things such as grades/performance at school, than maybe having a job is too much and school should always come before a job.

Amazon Kindle Kicks Textbooks to the Curb

It’s no secret that textbooks are expensive, and that they weigh a ton, especially when walking around campus. For some college students, lugging that bag of books across the quad is as close as they get to weight kindle

Considering that it’s 2008, do college students really have to own textbooks the way their parents did? For that matter, their great grandparents?

We don’t think so. Earlier this year, released an electronic, wireless reading tool called the Amazon Kindle. You can download entire books from a selection of 140,000- including current New York Times Best Sellers. At any one time, it can store more than 200 book titles. You can download and read newspapers from around the world, as well as access more than 350 blogs, and Wikipedia.

What does this mean for hump-backed college kids? No more textbooks. Amazon is working to release an 8.5″ x 11″ screen model in the new year (currently has a 6″ display). This newer Kindle model will allow Amazon to broaden the marketability of the product- and ideally make it available to college students to download their college textbooks (roughly a $5 billion business in the U.S.).

The Kindle is ideal for college students because its wireless connection is similar to that of a cell phone- so you don’t need a wifi connection. The current Kindle weighs just over half a pound, making it effortless to toss in a bag, or carry in your hand.

The current Kindle sells for $359; the larger version will no doubt cost more. While that might give you sticker shock- consider one semester’s worth of printed books will usually cost more than that. Full-version book downloads currently cost $9.99 each.

College Students Should Ask About Average Total Student Loan Debt

If you’re looking at colleges, one of your main considerations is probably going to be cost.  You’ve got your eye out for certain numbers: Price of tuition, Total expenses per year, Average total financial aid package and Average need-based financial aid package.

But here’s a question students and parents don’t often think to ask, and it’s this:

What’s the average student loan debt of a graduating student?

student loansThe answer to this question isn’t a mystery.  If you ask someone in the admissions office, they’ll tell you right away, or look it up. And this information is readily available on websites for organizations like The Princeton Review.  No one tries to keep that information secret. It’s just that people don’t often ask.

Why is this an important question?  It gives you a good sense of how much need realistically is not being met by the college and other financial aid sources.  The FAFSA tells schools what a student’s “official” need is–but that doesn’t always reflect reality. If students are taking out excessive amounts of loans, that’s a good sign that they need for money that the school can’t offer.  On the other hand, if the average loan amount is less than at comparable schools, that’s a good sign that the school is more affordable than you might think.

Of course, a little bit of iva advice would make you understand that the loan debt statistic isn’t perfect.  If there are an unusual amount of socioeconomically privileged students at the school, that debt number might be low because many students won’t need to take out loans.  And if there’s an unusual amount of socioeconomically disadvantaged students, these students might be eligible for special aid, therefore freeing them from the burden of loans.

However, imperfect as this information may be, be sure to find out about average student debt, as you need as much information as you can get about how much a college education is going to cost you.


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