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4 Reasons your textbooks will cost less soon

Textbook prices, which have nearly tripled in the past 20 years, may finally start to decline thanks to some new laws, technology, and upstart companies. Undergraduates who take advantage of the new alternatives could easily slash their textbook costs in half this coming academic year. That means the typical student could save more than $300. “We’re making progress,” says Nicole Allen, who heads the affordable textbook drive for the Student Public Interest Research Groups. “Things are changing for the better.”

For more information visit US NEWS

Princeton Review says Clemson Students are the Happiest

The newly published Princeton Review sites Clemson as having the happiest students.

How does your school compare? What makes the students happy on your campus?

Wordless Wednesday: Going Greek?

greek life

Will Greek be a part of your College Life?

Taking Your Car to College

My mom and I have had this conversation way too many times to count. I argue that I think having my car at college will be a good idea and that it’ll come in handy, whereas she sees it as a waste, especially when you are going to a college in a bigger city that has good public transportation. When I think of public transportation though, I think of dirty buses that scary people ride! But after riding public transportation, I began to view it in a much different light. Also, bigger cities such as New York have subways, which are also a convenient way to travel quickly around the city, as long as you know where you are going!

cars on campusAnother way to get around, especially on campus, would be a bike! OK, it may sound like a dorky idea, but especially if you are on a much bigger campus without a car, a bike would be easier than a car to use around campus. Even with a bike you can ride to places that are relatively close to campus and if you ever need a ride, I’m sure a student with a car would be willing to take you somewhere.

Of course, another factor that must be considered is the cost of gas. At the rate gas is going, taking a car to college is almost ridiculous. You always hear college kids joking about being broke because they are in college, imagine paying for gas that is $7 a gallon, where are you going to get money for food!? So considering how expensive it could potentially be to have your car with you on campus, it might be better for you as a college student to take your bike or just consider public transportation!

So if you and your parents ever get into a heated discussion about whether or not you get to take your car to college, take into consideration where you are going and how much it would cost for you to keep your car with you. Because ultimately, it could be better to not take your car!

The Top Ten Universities, Says U.S. News and World Report

So U.S. News and World Report comes up with an annual list of the top schools in the United States.  And the top 20 list is just full of schools you’d never expect to find there–NOT! Here’s the 2008 list of top 10 schools as according to U.S. News and World Report:

  1. Princeton University
  2. Harvard University
  3. Yale University
  4. Stanford University
  5. University of Pennsylvania
  6. California Institute of Technology
  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  8. Duke University
  9. Columbia University
  10. University of Chicago

america's best collegesSo if I sound a little sarcastic, it’s not because I don’t put any stock whatsoever in school rankings.  When you’re choosing a college, it’s important to get as much information as you can about the quality of a school–and rankings are a solid piece of data.  And I’d be naive if I didn’t believe that the reputation of the school a student attends isn’t helpful, at least to some degree.

But the thing is, rankings aren’t everything–especially when you’re talking about an undergraduate education.  Too many students roll their eyes when their guidance counselors proclaim, “It’s not about the name of the school.  It’s about finding a school that fits you personally.”

Students, you’ve got to look past the name and spend some time figuring out what you really want from a college education.  Personal attention?  A particular major? An opportunity to do research with professors?  An urban college campus?  A political college campus?  Figure out what you want, and then find colleges that fit your needs.  If some of them are big name schools, terrific–but maybe they won’t be.  And that’s okay.

Curious about the top high schools in America? See this report from Newsweek.

Wait, My High School is Ranked Top in the Nation?

I just came home from a camp this last week and found emails upon emails with one containing a link showing the top 1300 High Schools in the US. Come to find out, East High is ranked #472 on this list. What a shock it was for me to actually find my own high school on this list!

wichita east high schoolMaking such a list not only makes me swell with pride for my school, but also makes me to realize just how good of an education I am getting from East, especially being in the IB program there. According to Newsweek, the schools were ranked by a ratio (that was devised by the man of the name Jay Mathews) that takes the number of AP, IB, and/or Cambridge tests taken by students at the particular school in 2007 and is then divided by the number of graduating seniors. Knowing that East did well enough to make it in the top 50% of this list is amazing! This goes to show also that not only are there smart kids in the IB program, but that those students take AP classes and do well enough to help get East on the list.

I had school pride before I knew this and didn’t think it was possible to have more school spirit, but after finding my own high school on this prestigious list, I couldn’t help but sit here at my computer and smile, having a little celebration. Reading East High on the list made me realize just how important and amazing the education I am getting at East and through the IB program. I am fortunate enough to be at a public school and in such a program as the IB program that cares enough about their students and their education to push them to do well not only in school but also on important tests. Knowing that is what makes my pride spill over!

So for those of you that also found your school amongst the other schools ranked, I hope you reacted in such a way as I did. Because knowing you get an education that’s good enough to be ranked with other schools across the nation is a pretty big deal!

Best High Schools in America

high school lockersNewsweek published a report of the top 1300 high schools in the U.S. The rankings take into consideration Advanced Placement classes, International Baccaulaureate programs and Cambridge tests. This information was pulled fromthe 2007 school year. The ranking also includes information for subsidized lunches.

For 2008, the top 10 High Schools in America are:

  1. BASIS Charter – Tucson, AZ
  2. Talented & Gifted – Dallas, TX
  3. Suncoast Community – Riviera Beach, FL
  4. Science/Engineering Magnet – Dallas, TX
  5. Stanton College Prep – Jacksonville, FL
  6. Preuss UCSD – La Jolla, CA
  7. Academic Magnet – North Charleson, SC
  8. Paxon School for Advanced Studies – Jacksonville, FL
  9. Oxford Academy – Cypress, CA
  10. International School – Belleville, WA’s own Becca Driskell is an International Baccaulaureate senior at Wichita East High School in Wichita, KS. The school ranked #472.

Social Butterfly or Wall Flower?

High school is one of the best times to work on ones social skills! High school isn’t all about the grades, and although grades and academics should be your main focus, making yourself social though is also a very important aspect of your high school years!

teenagersThere are many ways in high school to be social.  Some can be simply eating lunch with a group to attending school related functions such as football/basketball games or dances.  By doing these things you cannot only make many friends, but also develop social skills that seem to be critical these days when looking for any sort of job.  Looking at almost any job, you interact with people on a different number of levels and while some may interact with people more than others, social skills still seem to be a critical skill for those who are entering the work force.

Of course, there is a point where a high schooler can become ‘too social’. When a student begins to slip academically this is when parents should step in and draw lines that their student shouldn’t be allowed to pass.  Academics and school should come before all the other stuff because ultimately your academic record is going to get you somewhere, not how many parties you attended. Another thing to be cautious of is pictures from parties that are posted online. I have heard that many schools have been looking at potential students’ Myspace and Facebook pages to see what the student is like outside of school and having pictures of you doing things such as drinking and other activities that are frowned upon may not be the best thing! So make sure if you do stuff like that, that pictures and such aren’t posted to where schools can see them because this may harm your chances of being accepted.

So although I may urge you to be social and develop your social skills, realize that being social shouldn’t cut into your academics. Set your own boundaries, because you know your boundaries the best! Finding balance between school and social activities when boundaries are developed will come even easier.

10 Great Colleges and Universities for Under $25,000

Looking for a bargain?  Hoping to graduate from college with a minimum of debt and still wind up with a first rate education?  Here are 10 great schools, public and private, where you can get an outstanding education and still pay less than $25,000 in tuition per year.

1. St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City, Maryland

St. Mary’s is a honors college, which means that every student in the school is an honors student.  Since it’s a state school, tuition is affordable.  Yet with only 1,850 students and super low 13:1 faculty student ratio, the experience is more like a liberal arts college than a public university.

2. Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Virginia

If there was a list of “most improved” schools, this small public university in southeastern Virginia would be high on the list.  Once known as everybody’s safety school, CNU recently has undergone a $400 million facelift. SAT scores are up 200 points, enrollment is up 400 percent, and the facilities are among the nicest in the nation.

3. Rice University, Houston, Texas

All right, this is cheating a little bit, a year of tuition at Rice will run you $25,606 a year.  But since The Princeton Review calls Rice the #1 Best Value Private College in the United States, it’s worth mentioning.  With about 3,000 students, this liberal arts university has an incredible faculty student ratio of only 5:1!

4. New College of Florida, Sarasota, Florida

If you’re in state, tuition at this Florida honors college will only run you about $4,000 a year (and about $23,000 out of state). The Princeton Review calls this innovative place the #1 Best Value Public School in the United States.  It’s pretty darn competitive too–the average GPA of incoming freshmen is over a 3.9.

5. San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California

SFSU is the quintessential urban school experience–excitement, diversity, great teaching, and students who are politically and academically engaged.  And the best part–it’s in San Francisco!  In state tuition is only about $2,500 a year, and out of state tuition is only about $12,500.

6. University of Minnesota-Morris, Morris, Minnesota

Located in Morris, MN, this public liberal arts school has an enrollment of about 1,600 students and is an absolute bargain, compared to the many pricey private liberal arts schools in Minnesota.  Tuition for both in and out of state students is under $9,000.

7. University of Denver, Denver, Colorado

DU may be one of Colorado’s best kept secrets. Located south of downtown Denver, this competitive private university is home to about 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students–and tuition runs about $21,000 a year.

8. Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Yeah, it’s located in a not-so-great area of Detroit, but this school of 20,000 students has a reputation for being one of the best state universities in the United States.

9. Marymount Manhattan College, New York, New York

A bargain college on the Upper East Side of Manhattan?  Absolutely!  With an 11:1 faculty student ratio and an outstanding communication program, this school of 2,000 undergrads and a $21,000 a year price tag is more exciting than a sale at Manolo Blahnik.

10. Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, California

This incredibly unique Catholic school has no textbooks, lectures, or majors–and no big price tag either.

20 Easy Ways to Annoy Your Professor

Want to impress your professor? Then here’s a list of things for you not to do. Trust me—I used to be a professor, and if you’re looking for a way to get under your professor’s skin, here’s your guidebook!

  1. Whine about everything, especially your grades.
  2. Hand in papers with crinkled up corners instead of a staple.
  3. Text message your friends during class.
  4. Play Sudoku during class.
  5. Have your cell phone ring in class. Choose a loud, obnoxious, and preferably somewhat obscene ring tone.cell phone
  6. Send emails full of misspellings and text speak. For bonus points, address your professor as “dude.”
  7. If asked to participate, ignore the request. Or better yet, make tangential remarks that don’t make any sense, or semi-obscene remarks. With a little creativity, it’s easy to derail a class discussion.
  8. Miss deadlines, and always have a sob story for why you can’t get things in on time.
  9. Never proofread. Ignore spell check.
  10. Tell your professor that the assignment is unfair because that other professor who teaches this class doesn’t give that assignment.
  11. Whine about how your friends got better grades than you.
  12. Bargain for points on assignments and tests. Spend at least half an hour arguing about 2 points.
  13. Always come in late.
  14. Miss class frequently–and then ask questions that were answered in detail on days you weren’t there.
  15. Make it clear that you are doing as little work as possible to earn a C.
  16. Whine about your professor on a public message board.
  17. Email a question about tomorrow morning’s exam to your professor at 2:00 a.m.and then act annoyed that your professor isn’t accessible enough to students.
  18. Look chronically bored. Pretend like you are twelve and your parents have dragged you along to a family dinner or church or something. Roll your eyes and sigh.
  19. Complain about your professor to other faculty members. (Yes, this will get back to your professor.)
  20. Never say hi or make eye contact—unless you need something, of course.


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