College


5 Perks of Living in a College Town

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One of the major factors when deciding on what college to go to is the location. Do you want to live in a big city or a small town? They are two completely different environments, but both have advantages and also disadvantages. Here are some perks of living in living in a small college town:

 

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OSU Homecoming Walkaround by OakleyOriginals licensed by CC by 2.0

 

1. Football Season

In a small college town, football usually consumes everyone’s Saturday. It is the most fun and spirited part of the week in most cases. There’s nothing better than tailgating on a Saturday afternoon with good friends and cheering on your favorite team.

2. Cost of Living 

It should come as no surprise that living in a college town is substantially cheaper than living in the city. Everything from food to rent costs less, which is really beneficial to a student on a college budget.

3. Sense of Community

Everyone is family in a college town; at least it feels like that. People will come together in times of tragedy or happiness, and makes your college feel like home.

4. Less Traffic

One of the great things about living in a true college town is that there is little to no traffic. It takes 5 minutes to get anywhere! Odds are, the closest major highway to you is a 15-minute drive away.

5. School Spirit

Considering the majority of the population is college students, school spirit is huge. The love for your school can be felt throughout the town, and you will absolutely fall in love with your school, too.

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How to Crowdfund for College

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As college tuition costs continue to increase, college students are struggling to find ways to keep up with the demand. That’s where crowdfunding comes into play! Students and families have now begun to turn to crowdfunding to pay for their education. Here are some tips to help you alleviate that debt!

 

Piggy Bank

“Piggy Bank” by Photos of Money is licensed under CC by 2.0

 

Develop a Personal Platform

It’s important for you to create an online presence so much more beyond the initial campaign page. Crowdfunding is a social fundraising tool so social media is the best way to engage with other people! Share your campaign with friends, family, colleagues, alumni, and anyone else who would be willing to lend a helping hand! Engaging with your community increases your chances of getting the funds you need.

 

Set a Realistic Goal

Keep in mind about setting a realistic goal for your campaign. If the goal seems too far out of reach, people may not feel the need to contribute. Rather than crowdfund all 4 years of college which may be too high of a goal, think about funding a semester or 2. This way your tuition expenses won’t be as high and supporters may be willing to give more if they feel you aren’t asking for too much. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it!

 

Follow Up

Consistency is key, so when it comes to crowdfunding for your education be sure to follow up often with your supporters online. Be sure to track the progress of your campaign and share updates often to show how your supporters’ contributions are positively impacting your funding goal. The more reason you give people to make a point to return to your FB page or campaign, the more likely you’ll get them to contribute!

 

Create a Sense of Urgency

Make people feel as if it’s now or never to contribute. When you create a sense of urgency, this will cause potential supporters to become donors if they feel as though this is their only chance to help. Don’t have too long of a timeline or else some may procrastinate contributing if they feel like they have so much time left. Limit your campaign to about half the time of a semester, so about 6 weeks or so. This way you can give contributors a solid timeframe.

 

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The Value of Greek Life

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Houses in Greek life

Frat Houses at Charleston College by Yugen Deran is licenses under Public Domain

Nationally, 9 million college students are involved in Greek life. 85% of Fortune 500 company executives and 76% of congressman and senators were involved in Greek life, at some point in their lives. While Greek life can be mostly used for the social aspect it provides much more value than people recognize. Here are some ways Greek life can add value to college students:

Leadership

One of the most beneficial aspects of Greek life is that all chapters are entirely student run. Therefore, there are a lot of opportunities for students to hold a leadership position. Positions can range from president, being in charge of philanthropies, community service, or even just a photographer for the chapter to capture its special moments. No matter how big or small the position, it can teach students the importance of vital attributes that will prepare them for leadership roles later in life. These include teamwork, taking initiative, good communication, and most importantly, how to be an effective leader.

Service

One of the best things Greek life partakes in is that each sorority and fraternity not only plans their own philanthropy events, but also participates in each others to raise money for a cause. Each year members of the Greek community raised over $7 million nationally. Not to mention, members of Greek life donate more than 10 million hours annually to community service. Nationally, these philanthropies help raise awareness and money for important issues and foundations. Some foundations include St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Autism Speaks, Make-A- Wish, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Brotherhood/Sisterhood

Arguably, one of the most impactful parts of Greek life are the relationships and bonds created through it. Besides the social element of Greek life, one of the major reasons students join is to create lifelong relationships. Greek life can provide students with a sense of belonging they might not have found otherwise. College is filled with ups and downs, but having a large and strong support system makes going through it much easier.

Scholarship

These days, partying and Greek life are thought of synonymously. However, Greek life does’nt solely consist of social fraternities and sororities. Every school has a variety of service and specific industry Greek organizations. These strictly focus on academics and networking, each in a given field, as well as community service. These allow students to immerse themselves with peers in the same field or with similar interests. However, even in what most would consider “social” Greek organizations, the members strongly support and encourage the academic pursuits of their brothers and sisters.

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10 Things to Look for in a College

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Picking a college is no easy task. There are nearly 2,000 colleges around the US to choose from, and for the common indecisive teenager, the researching process can resemble a hungry beagle’s trip to a dog food factory; with so many different options, where do you even begin? In the end, iorder to decide where you will ultimately spend these four (hopefully) wonderful years of your life, there are a couple of things you need to consider:

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College” by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC by 2.o

1) Location

The first, and one of the most significant factors, is location, location, location. When you pick a school, you aren’t just married to your dorm, major, and the buildings you take your classes in, but to the city, town, or lack-thereof that surrounds them. Do you want to spend your weekends exploring New York City or Los Angeles with your new college pals, or would you rather be in a more isolated area like the middle of Pennsylvania or Utah, thus creating a closer bond between you and your dorm-mates and a closer focus on schoolwork? Do you want to commute so that you are closer to home, or would you rather take on your new adventure on the opposite coast? How about a state you’ve never even visited before? Wyoming? Utah? Arizona? There are so many possibilities, and these are all questions you need to ask yourself before coming to your ultimate decision. A lot of this process is figuring out what you want to get out of your college experience and then making your decisions. The greatest piece of advice I can give you is to visit your school’s campus before committing. You never know what you’ll like or dislike about a school until you see it in person, and if you’re lucky, sometimes you’ll take one step on campus, and just know (See Gut-Feeling).

2) Size

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to school size. While smaller colleges can be disliked for resembling high schools through their small classrooms and low student populations, they can also be very comforting for some students, who prefer a close relationship with their professors and small close-knit groups of friends. You also have to get used to knowing everyone on campus and having everyone know you, and sometimes your business. Because of that, other students may prefer larger schools that provide more programs, larger classrooms, and a large population of students, so that they’re constantly meeting new people. It all depends on which style fits you!

3) Major/ minor

It’s alright if you don’t know what you want to major or minor in from the get-go; figuring out what you want to do in life is what college is all about! However, for the lucky few who already have their plans in order, it is essential that you look for schools that offer the programs that you want to be involved in, or the possible major that will guide you towards the future you see ahead for yourself. You might love everything about a certain school but, if it doesn’t have the proper programs to bring you where you want to be in life, then what purpose do you have attending? Remember, as important as it is for you to enjoy your college experience and love your campus, it is equally if not more important that you receive a proper education while doing so. It would be a real shame for you to pick a school and then have to decline an acceptance because you can’t study what you want. Always act in your future self’s best interest; you’ll thank yourself later.

4) Cost

College isn’t cheap and college loans aren’t any fun, so before picking a school, check to see how much it costs. Can you or your family afford the school you are looking at, and if not, what plans do you and your family have to make everything work? Are schools offering you money or reducing tuition for you to go there? Make sure you also consider the cost of dorming in addition to the cost of tuition; if you’re close enough, it is often more affordable to commute to school rather than live there. You must look into these factors when applying to avoid running into any issues down the road.

5) Gut Feeling

A lot of people talk about how they knew that they wanted to go to a school just based off the feeling they had when they walked on campus. For some people this may seem ridiculous because this never happened for them, but take it from someone who experienced it, if your gut tells you to go to a school, do it. Instincts are important in many decisions that we make and college is no different. When you know, you know.

6) Alumni/ Job Opportunities

This is one of the most overlooked aspects of picking a school. As aforementioned, having a great college experience is important, but many do not consider the time afterwards. Does your school have the necessary means to help you get a job or teach and assist you in writing a resume or cover letter? In addition, one of the best ways to get a job out of college is through your school’s alumni network and if it doesn’t have a good one, you could be at a disadvantage.

7) Average Class Size

Class size dictates a lot of your academic experience at the undergraduate level. Small class sizes are usually more discussion based and more hands on while larger class sizes are more lecture based and can even be taught by teacher assistants. What sort of model works best for you and what do you want to get out of this experience academically?

8) Campus Culture

What do students at your prospective school do in their free time? Have you considered whether or not the schools your interested in are ‘party schools’? If you prefer to focus on your studies and stay away from alcohol, have you researched whether or not there are ‘substance-free’ dorms? Understanding a school’s culture is a good way to predict what your experience will be like at a given university. The problem is that it is often difficult to get a straight answer as to what a school’s culture is like (even on tours). Check out College Confidential and other online sites in order to get a feel for the culture of a university from the students’ perspectives.

9) Average GPA/ SAT

I think that it is important to set yourself up for success when you apply to schools. Try and figure out which schools are your reaches, which ones are right up your alley, and which which are your safety schools. You shouldn’t ever sell yourself short, but it is still a good idea to check out what the average GPA/ SAT or ACT score is for a certain school so that you can gauge if it is a realistic option or not. Average GPA/ SAT or ACT scores are important for understanding how rigorous a school’s coursework may be. That’s not to say that if you are below the average that you won’t be accepted, but it does show what to expect academically from a school and if you will fit in.

10) Happiness

When it comes to picking the right college, the single most important factor is your happiness. At the end of the day, you could go to the best school in the world but if you aren’t happy the experience will all be for naught. Make sure you are satisfied with everything from the campus, to your classes, to the overall environment; remember, you will be spending four years of your life there. Make them count.

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Easy to Forget Essentials for Your First Apartment

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Whether you’re moving in yourself or you’re helping a friend, son, or daughter move in, you’ll have a long list of things to bring. There are lots of obvious ones and you might think you have the list covered, but it’s easy to forget the little things. Here are some essentials that you might forget.

packing

Kitchen1” by liz west, found on flickr.com under license CC BY 2.0.

Tupperware

You’ll remember plates and bowls, forks and knives and spoons, even pots and pans. But you’ll go to put away leftovers from the first meal you make and realize that you have no way to store food! Make sure to buy containers of all sizes that you can use to store food and to pack meals for work, class, or wherever you’re headed.

Plunger

Among toilet paper, hand soap, cleaning supplies, and a shower curtain for your new bathroom, you might forget this important item to have. It’s not easy to always rely on the landlord for fixing issues in your apartment, so a plunger is an important one to have (and it might save you some embarrassment).

Extension Cord

Odds are that the outlets in your new apartment are not in ideal locations, and there may not be enough to begin with, especially since we have so many electronics and appliances these days. It will be helpful to have an extension cord that you can use in your living room or bedroom that will give you the freedom to place your outlets where you want them.

Scissors

You’d be surprised at how often you could need scissors. You might need to cut tags off of clothing and new items, open up boxes, or use a pair in the kitchen! You could get creative too – use them to un-jam drawers, pick up small objects that drop behind the couch, or get crafty. Even if you don’t use them often, scissors are a small but important essential for any type of home.

Iron

Even if you don’t think you’ll ever iron your own clothes, it’s a good thing to have. You might be going off to a formal event or a job interview and in the last minute realize that your dress or pants look terrible with the wrinkles. Having an iron on hand will help you avoid looking disheveled when it’s most important.

Tool Kit

If you’re like me, you have no idea how to use tools besides a basic screwdriver. But while living on your own, having a DIY mentality is more important. There are some issues that you will end up needing outside help for, but projects like hanging decorations and shelves on the walls, fixing loose screws, and putting together IKEA furniture are easily done by yourself with a simple tool kit.

Flashlight

Smart phones have a built-in flashlight these days so having a regular flashlight might seem outdated, but you never know when it will come in handy. What if your electricity goes out and you don’t want to waste your phone battery? What if it’s dead at a time you’re trying to peek into a corner to look for a lost item? What if you spontaneously want to go camping?! A flashlight is a good item to own.

First Aid Kit

This one is a classic essential that many people still don’t have. Nothing fancy necessary, and hopefully there’s a pharmacy near you anyways. However, it never hurts to have an ample supply of band-aids, a thermometer, alcohol wipes, Neosporin, gauze, and some painkillers for day-to-day surprises.

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