Top 100 education advice blogs

Posted on Sep. 13th 2010 by Alexis

1. myUsearch – “ exists to provide honest, unbiased information to help students make the right college choice, get into college, pay for college and live a happy and healthy college life,” write the authors. “Our founder was working for a college that was spending millions of dollars trying to recruit students who really had no interest in attending their college…It was out of this frustration that, the Honest College Matchmaker, was born.” Recommended posts: “Do Extracurriculars Really Help You Get into College?,” and “How to Get into College with a Low GPA.”

2. College Thrive – “I have always enjoyed writing, and I figured since I was going to be in college for the next four or so years, why not help others out and write about all of the tips and resources I come across as I go,” writes blogger Dan Northern. “I hope [my readers] find ways to make college a little less stressful, as well as find useful information and resources along the way.” Recommended posts: “How to Prioritize Tasks,” “5 Tips to Prepare Yourself for School,” and “Creating Good Habits in College.”

3. Homework/Study Tips – From, educational writer Grace Fleming posts countless articles which provide great advice for high school and college students. Some topics include how to use verbs in an essay, time management, and how to improve your home homework and studying habits. Recommended posts: “Learning Styles,”  “Organize Your Homework,” and “Top 8 Healthy Homework Habits.”

4. Study Hacks – This site is not only a great starting point for students in need of educational advice, it’s also a popular resource for education bloggers. The articles cover everything from must-read books, writing advice, and the college admissions process. Recommended posts: “An Open Letter to Students on the Danger of Seeing School as a Trial to Survive” and “Want to Get into Harvard? Spend More Time Staring at the Clouds: Rethinking the Role of Extracurricular Activities in College Admissions.”

5. Parents Countdown to College Coach – “I started writing [my blog] when I began my parent coaching business about a year ago,” explains Suzanne Shaffer. “I have been coaching parents on college admissions for about 10 years and felt my expertise in this area would be helpful. My site is geared mostly toward the “parents” of the students, but often they pass them along to their kids. I hope they learn that college admissions is not as daunting as some might think if you have the right tools and gather all the information.” Recommended posts: “Choosing a major–now or later?,” and “Top 10 Questions parents ask about college.”

6. Top Test Prep – If you’re struggling with test anxiety or you’re worried about your upcoming SAT exams, author Ross Blankenship writes numerous tips for students concerning SAT math problems and writing scores, as well as background information on the SAT exam. Recommended posts: “SAT Writing – How to Improve Your SAT Writing Scores,” “SAT Math Word Problems – How to Answer SAT Math Problems” and “What Admissions Offices Want.”

7. Great College Advice – This blog is written by a group of education consultants who provide expert advice on choosing a major, avoiding debt, applying for college, and improving your grades. Recommended posts: “Which College is the Best? What are the objective indicators?,” “Debt Free U – Investing in college and choosing a major,” and “Wanna go to med school? Forget science, major in liberal arts.”

8. Sharp Brains – If you’re a student who is struggling to get back into the back-t0-school mode, then try this site out for size. These articles cover numerous brain exercise activities as well as memorization tools, tips on multi-tasking, and treatment for ADHD. Recommended posts: “Top 50 Brain Teasers and Games,” “Brain Coach Answers: How can I improve my short term memory? Is there a daily exercise I can do to improve it?” and “10 Brain Tips To Teach and Learn.”

9. The Fat Envelope – “I’ve been an SAT tutor off and on for over 10 years,” writes Jenn Cohen, President & Chief Word-Nerd. “My husband, Gary and I started Word-Nerd because I wasn’t happy with what was available to my students for vocabulary prep, so we did it ourselves!  We hit a range of topics from SAT prep tips to college admissions to general rambling about the state of education, all with the aim of not taking ourselves (or college prep) too seriously.” Recommended posts: “Practical advice for choosing a college” and “What does my SAT score mean?

10. Jeannie’s FYI College Admission Blog – Jeannie Borin, M.Ed, has appeared on Fox News and MSNBC and was interviewed for Time Magazine, CNN and numerous other major publications. She has been on talk radio and written for the Wall Street Journal. It is Jeannie’s hope that students and families will “garner the information necessary to assist them in navigating any of their educational needs from career assessment, financial planning, athletic recruitment, art and performing art portfolios, academic tutoring, test preparation, college searches, resume and essay writing to making their final decisions.” Recommended posts: “Top 10 things Families Should Pay Attention To In The Application Process” and “Academic Portfolio Booster and Homeschooling Program Helps College-Bound Students.”

11. The Admission Game – This award-winning blog provides great advice on improving your test scores, applying for college, and college admissions interviews. Blogger Peter Van Buskirk is an author, motivational speaker, educational advocate, and a 25-year veteran of the selective college admissions process. Recommended posts: “A Guide to Understanding College Rankings,” “The Value of the College Interview,” and “Questions About Course Selections.”

12. The Huffington Post’s College Blog – Not only does this blog cover various political and educational issues, some articles also touch on how to improve your grades, the transition from college to your career, or how to get bed bugs out of your dorm. Recommended posts: “Missed Connection: The College-to-Career Gap,” “How to Make College Bound Students Financial Pros” and “The Freshman 8 And Your GPA.”

13. College Candy – “Having just graduated from college, I felt there was a major void in the media world when it came to college students,” writes Lauren Herskovic, the site’s Editor in Chief. “We have 100 student writers contributing, giving the most thorough and varied advice out there. I want students to come to CollegeCandy to learn everything from study tips to tips on how to make the most of their experience. Mostly, though, I want them to enjoy themselves on the site, laugh a lot and learn in the process.” Recommended posts: “The ABC’s Of Getting “A”s and “B”s,” “Don’t Drain Your Brain! Eating Tips for a Killer Memory & Laser Focus” and “Saturday Read: 4 and a Half Books for Back to School.”

14. Hack College – “Lectures are boring and inefficient,” write the authors, “HackCollege is educating the students of the world about effective, open source software, putting techno-political arguments in everyday language, and creating a cult of ‘Students 2.0.’ If we can change the way 1 percent of college students and faculty in the world view education and technology, we’ve done our job.” Recommended posts: “Take Advantage of Government Apps” and “Give Killer Public Presentations With These Public Speaking Tips.”

15. Student Branding Blog – These posts provide great insight as to how students can brand themselves as employees to make them more attractive for the college market after graduation. Recommended posts: “Career Development 101: How to Figure Out What to do With Your Life,” “Want To Forget Important Things? Don’t Take Notes” and “High School Grads: Get a Jumpstart on College.”

16. Campus Byte – “In 2006 I had just been accepted into The University of Texas at Austin,” writes Jay Willingham. “Within the first few weeks of school, I withdrew from all of my classes because I didn’t understand why I was in college or what my goals were. Because of this, I write about proven techniques that have helped me become a better student, make better grades, make more friends, enjoy college and graduate with a degree.” (After quitting his job he was accepted back into UT Austin and will be graduating this year). Recommended posts: “How To Choose A Major: The Ultimate Guide” and “Must-Have iPhone Apps for College.”

17. Knowledge Points – These articles provide great tips for junior and/or high school students concerning reading comprehension, test anxiety, as well as ACT and SAT tests. A lot of the articles are written from the perspective of a parent who is looking for tips on how to help their child with their education. Recommended posts: “Increase Reading Comprehension by Understanding Patterns” and “SAT or School Tests: Help Your Child Avoid Test Anxiety.”

18. College Counseling Culture – “My site is actually geared more toward adults who work with students (as is my website at,” explains Willard M. Dix, the President of College Access Counseling, Ltd. “I’ve always been interested in how much college, college counseling, and college admission are linked to American ideas about class, status, education, economics, and many other cultural aspects, but I’ve never seen much written about them.  I have over 30 years’ experience with teaching, college admissions, and college counseling, so I’ve experienced just about everything except having a child of my own to go through the process.” Recommended posts: “The Crabby Counselor Talks About the College Application Essay” and “High Hopes, Major Disappointment.”

19. Allen’s College Admissions Blog – From, the articles on this site have a combination of both educational advice and the latest in education news. Author Allen Grove has a PhD in English, and used to work as a college professor and director of a program for new college students. Recommended posts: “Should Middle School Students Be Thinking About College?” and “College Essay Style Tips.”

20. College Basics – “I am a retired high school college counselor with over 35 years experience and my business partner is a retired English teacher who has taught more than 25 years and is a certified writing consultant,” writes Maureen Hodge. “We both wanted to continue helping students so we came up with the idea of creating a website with all of the information needed to successfully navigate the college application process from the freshman year in high school through the first year of college. We devoted special attention to writing the college essay, selecting a college, interviewing, and paying for college.” Recommended posts: “Get the Best for Less When You Apply to Colleges” and “College Majors Relevant to the Job Market.”

21. Reading, Writing & Math Help for Dyslexia, LD & ADHD – Blogger Bonnie Terry is a Board Certified Educational Therapist as well as a best-selling author. Her posts include numerous case studies and articles to help educate parents, students, homeschoolers, and teachers on how to address a child’s learning problems. Recommended posts: “4 Activities to Improve Reading Skills (Part 1),” “(Part 2 – Spelling),” “(Part 3 – Reading Comprehension)” and “(Part 4 – Writing).”

22. Admitted Blog –  This is the official blog of the National Association for College Admission Counseling organization. The articles are packed full of statistical information written for students, parents, and high school counselors. Recommended posts: “New Steps to College Article Discusses Application Submissions,” “What Counselors and Parents Need to Know About LD/ADD Students” and “Is Skipping College the Right Fit for Some?

23. My College Guide –  This entertaining-yet-still-educational blog advises college students on how to prepare for college. Categories include choosing a college and/or a major, college applications and interviews, or transferring to a different school. Recommended posts: “Choosing a College Major You Can Live With” and “The College Letter of Recommendation Is Not My Grandma Thinks I’m Wonderful” and

24. How to Get In – This Edvisors Company is one of the top online providers to help students with their college search and preparation. Categories include college admissions, tips college counselors, financial aid, online courses, and much more. Recommended posts: “Senior Year: Planning for College,” “How to Assemble a College Search List” and “Is it frowned upon to earn your bachelor’s, master’s and PHD from the same institution?

25. College Admissions Partners – This website has numerous resources for students which provide advice on the college application and transferring process, as well as background information on college preparation, admissions, and rankings. Recommended posts: “Successful College Application Resumes,” “Guide to BS/MD Programs” and “What Colleges Don’t Want You to Know About Financial Aid.”

26. Student Positioning Blog – “The whole idea of student positioning is to make the student as attractive as possible, as they are marketing themselves to businesses called colleges,”  writes Jeffrey Sonnergren, a College Planning and Funding Specialist. “It is a lot of fun when the student realizes that they can play offense and create leverage for merit-based scholarships, as opposed to doing well in school and SAT/ACT tests, picking a few good schools, crossing their fingers, and hoping for the best.  I would hope that student s realize that this is a high stakes situation and they can truly help themselves by applying to the best fit colleges for themselves and they can absolutely play offense. By necessity and sheer competition, there are multi-level strategies to employ for the college application process, but careful planning is the key.” Recommended posts: “Improve Your Options By Enrolling in an ACT Prep Course” and “Maximize Your SAT Scores with Successful Education Solutions.”

27. ProfHacker – From the Chronicle of Higher Education, this site is a great tool for students who want to see into the mind’s of their professors. Even though the target audience for this blog is generally teachers, the authors provide great advice for students from a professor’s perspective. Recommended posts: “An Open Letter to New Graduate Students,” “From the Archives: Time Management for the New Semester” and “Using Grading Contracts.”

28. Get Schooled – This site is full of articles for both high school grads and college students. The posts entertain readers on financial advice, how to pack for college, employment after graduation, and the latest in educational news. Recommended posts: “The Importance of Common Core Standards,” “High jobless rates for high school drop-outs” and “D’s are not allowed.”

29. College Advice – “When I was an undergraduate in college I used to wish there was someone who could advice me or tell me what their experience has been like with many college related topics,” writes blogger Sam S. “Getting help from the college advisement center is great, but it’s limited; moreover, firsthand experience of other students is really something one can relate to…It is my hope that students will walk away with something that they can really implement through out college, instead of just a momentarily intake of information. If from reading my blog one student will save $400 on textbooks or one student will be ahead of their game when applying to grad school, etc. then really that’s enough for me.” Recommended posts: “Common College Terms” and “College Tip: Get To Know Your Professors.”

30. Perfect Essay – If you’re a student who despises writing essays or is currently suffering from writer’s book, this site offers great tips on everything essay-related: from methodology, organizations, and conclusions. Recommended posts: “Your best analysis research paper help is here,”  “Write your best Master thesis and Ph.D thesis” and “Custom term papers and essay ideas.”

31. Study Prof – “I have taught college, high school, and elementary school students,” writes Cody Blair. “In addition, I’ve always been interested in how our brains learn (and don’t learn). Both of those things played their part in getting me started writing my blog. I hope students will find out how they can succeed in their school work, even if they find learning difficult. Students often struggle with procrastination, focus, and the memorization of large amounts of material. I try and give students concrete ways of overcoming those difficulties.” Recommended posts: “See That Vocabulary In Context” and “Memory Magic With”

32. Campus Grotto – This site has been featured in several publications like The New York Post, the Huffington Post, and Their articles cover a wide variety of different educational topics such as college rankings, tips for studying or employment, and how to finance for college. Recommended posts: “College Advice: 100+ Tips for Survival” and “Easiest Colleges to get into.”

33. The Thesis Whisperer – “I work in a graduate school helping PhD students from all over with ‘generic skills’ training – such as writing and presentation skills,” explains Dr. Inger Mewburn who works at the School of Graduate Research. “I like to read broadly – which is a luxury many PhD students cannot afford. This enables me to act as an information filter for students, drawing in research on other areas such as motivation and relationship management – even addiction behavior – which might be relevant. A lot of the advice out there in books for completing a PhD or dissertation is pretty one dimensional – like giving lists of dos and don’ts (my pet hate). The problem with lists and the ‘do this, don’t do that’ sort of advice is that is very hard to put into practice. Instead I like to get at the meaning behind the advice, unpack it and encourage discussion about what works and what doesn’t.” Recommended posts: “how to sell your thesis in 3 minutes (or less)” and “The goldilocks dilemma.”

34. ProtoScholar – “I felt that there were a lot of things about productivity that didn’t really address the student population, particularly the graduate student population,” explains blogger/author Rebecca, a PhD student in Education Policy. “I wanted to offer some thoughts about how to make that better. Tips, tricks, and sometimes just a different perspective.  Plus a bit about what graduate school means and is all about, particularly for those who are considering it.” Recommended posts: “How I use OneNote for my Dissertation” and “Flow.”

35. To Do: Dissertation – “When I started writing my dissertation, I didn’t see the kinds of blogs that would be helpful to my writing,” explains Katie Linder. “There are plenty of spaces for dissertation writers to talk about how they are struggling, but I didn’t come across many places that offered supportive and encouraging suggestions for getting the dissertation done. My hope is that this blog will be that space. The goal of TD:D is to talk realistically about practical steps that dissertation writers can take to finish their writing and take satisfaction and pride in their process and final product. I hope that dissertation writers can find tips on the site that will help them through writer’s block, being overwhelmed by a large writing project, and other common obstacles for dissertation writers.” Recommended posts: “5 Early Warning Signs of Dissertation Writer’s Block” and “The AB(C)D Guide to Beginning Your Dissertation.”

36. College News – These posts cover everything from sex and relationship advice, the latest in educational news, top movies at the box office, and sports updates. But most importantly, this blog also touches on crucial educational advice every college student should be aware of. Recommended posts: “The highs and lows of tuition,” and “Why you should take advantage of summer tuition rates.”

37. My College Calendar – This site is written by numerous authors who have experience working in the educational field. There are also various resources available on the site such as individual planning outlines for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, or even parents. Recommended posts: “College Applicants: Include Private Colleges and Universities On Your List of Schools” and “Top Ten Strengths and Experiences Colleges Look for in High School Students.”

38. Notes on Student Success – This site is a “companion blog” to These posts are full of academic tips that could help inspire students to become more successful throughout their educational journey. Recommended posts: “The Course Syllabus: Know It, Love It, Understand It, Benefit From It” and “Don’t Go to Grad School to Avoid Career Cluelessness.”

39. Her Campus – “My co-founders and I met at Harvard through running Harvard’s lifestyle and fashion magazine,” writes Stephanie Kaplan, co-founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Media LLC. “…girls from all over were telling us they wished their school had a magazine like this, because their only writing outlet was the campus newspaper. Our site is an online hub for everything college women need to know – a collegiette’s guide to life…In addition to our national content, we also provide local content from teams of students at 50+ schools across the country, so readers can also gain insight into what college life is like at different schools by visiting Her Campus.” Recommended posts: “Study Smarts: 10 Tips and Tools for Getting Back Into School Mode” and “The Good, the Bad and the Coffee: How Much is Too Much?

40. Inside College – Although this blog has more entertainment value than educational value, it still provides some great tips for students who need more information on scholarships, or tips on the college admissions process. The majority of the articles are lists of recommendations students should check out before applying for college. Recommended posts: “Colleges for the Shy Student,” “The Happy Colleges” and “Colleges for the Most Fun-Loving.”

41. Kaarme: The High School Counselor Week Blog – Kaarme’s motive is to expand college opportunities for all students and protect their personal data at the same time.  “A college education is not an option, it is required so try EVERYTHING you can to identify and earn one,” writes Mark North, CEO of Kaarme. “The best quality tools for finding an education should be easy to get and free to use so everyone has a chance and our world educates as many people as possible.  If you search for an education, your efforts should not be exploited or your personal information sold to third parties. Seeking an education should not be risky.” Recommended posts: “Test Preps Tips – Chewing Gum?” and “Parent Contact – How Much is Too Much?

42. The Real College Guide – This site is full of articles which educate readers not only on their education and future careers, but also health and fitness, campus life, and procrastination. Recommended posts: “Are Online College Courses All That?,” “Top 10 Weirdest Weird Majors,” “Organize Your Study Space” and “Student-tested Tips to Ace Your Final Exam.”

43. Why Boys Fail – Richard Whitmire is a former editorial writer for USA Today, and writes numerous articles on how males can improve their productivity in the classroom. The majority of the posts are summaries of other educational articles he has found on the web, and cover topics like minority teachers and students, college gender gaps, and single sex education. Recommended posts: “Reading Aloud” and “Where the (ADHD) Boys Are.”

44. Gearfire – Students who need some advice on how to save money throughout the semester should check out the articles on this site. The posts touch on numerous topics on how students can live on a cheap budget, as well as day-to-day living advice. Recommended posts: “The Big Secret Key to High School Success” and “10 Gadgets to Help You Sleep Better.”

45. Study Successful –  The topics on this blog cover everything from electronic books, to how to get motivated for school and productivity. The site’s author is a 19-year-old medical student who is studying at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Recommended posts: “Procrastination: The Convential Theory” and “5 things we can learn from the AWESOME Barney Stinson.”

46. In Like Me – Lynn Radlauer Lubell is the founder of Admission by Design, (an educational consultancy), and is also a a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School. Her posts are packed full of statistical information to help college-bound students with the admissions process. Recommended posts: “Save Money: Check Out Graduation Rates” and “How to Impress a College Admissions Officer.”

47. Student on Campus – This site is full of unique and  informative articles about student finances, the latest technological tools for students, and social media. Some of the most entertaining posts cover popular Youtube videos, college drinking games, and how to design your dorm room. Recommended posts: “Back-to-School : Top 10 iPhone Apps for College Students,” “StudentOnCampus Recommends: Amazon Student” and “20+ Websites Which Will Save You $$$$ During College.”

48. College Blogaversity -“I write my blog to take a different twist to what everyone else in my field is saying,” explains Paul Hemphill. “The fact that I have videos with my blog makes my point. Videos are easier to do and easier to receive from the perspective of the viewer. As a result, students will more likely view my message than someone else’s who doesn’t use video.” Recommended posts: “College Double Major: Waste of Effort, Money, and Time” and “Community College – The Vital Alternative.”

49. Teen College Education – “I started my blog originally because I wanted some sort of a summer job as a sophomore going on vacation,” writes Andy S. “Then after I wrote a few articles, I started to really enjoy the topic and now I hope to spread education information to everyone I can. I feel that as a teen living through everything, I can provide unique insight into my topics. I hope that students will learn from my experiences and research so that they can have the best educational experience possible. I also hope to give students a different perspective to the daily school routines that they are used to.” Recommended posts: “Our Society of Grades,” “Secrets on How To Study For Finals” and “Top 10 Tips that High School Students Wish they Knew Before College.”

50. Pre-Med Hell – Specifically for medical school students, the posts on this site are written by a group of authors who are all undergraduate students, and they describe their articles as “rants of neurotic pre-meds.” Book reviews and interviews with their fellow classmates or doctors are also included in the articles. Recommended posts: “Exercise 101: Five Tips for a Better Pre-Med Work Out” and “Interesting Read: How to ace the personal statement.”

51. College and University Blog – This unique blog is full of entertaining articles which touch on why students drop out of school, the use of social media in classrooms, and the most common myths about college. Recommended posts: “College Dropouts: 10 Reasons Why Students Quit School” and “Building Successful Relationships with Professors: 5 Tips for College Students.”

52. The Mad Grad – These posts are a combination of educational and personal reflections, and are written by two former college students who experienced the “after-college crisis” firsthand. Their site was also listed as one of the “Top 10 Gen Y Blogs” by Ryan Stephens Marketing in 2009. Recommended posts: “College in America – Infographic” and “MTV’s hired- A great show for recent grads (or anyone!)

53. Cammy Bean’s Learning Visions –  Cammy Bean works as an eLearning instructional designer as well as as writer, project manager, and multimedia producer. The majority of her posts are directed towards students who are pursuing a career in technology, and they reflect her own insights on how students can become more successful through eLearning. Recommended posts: “The Unofficial eLearning Salary Calculator” and “The Two Faces of ePortfolios.”

54. Not Just Your Average Admissions Blog – Blogger Andrew Flagel is the current Dean of Admissions and Associate Vice President for Enrollment Development at George Mason University. His posts cover everything about the college admissions process and how students can get the most out of their education. Recommended posts: “How to live your life – what you want versus what we might” and “Cheating Harvard and Lying on Your Application.”

55. University of Venus – This is a brand-spanking new site which was recently launched in January 2010. With a mixture of personal experiences, opinions, and reflections, these authors update their readers on reading and writing tips as well as the latest in educational news. Recommended posts: “Effective Use of Chocolate aka How to Bribe Your Registrar” and “The Disappearing College Catalog.”

56. Smart College Visit – The specific goal of this blog is to help college-bound students prepare for their future campus visit. Parents could also find some helpful advice from these articles, which range from academic programs, travel tips, and how to become a successful entrepreneur. Recommended posts: “Women Entrepreneurs on College Visits – 10 Questions to Ask,” “Student-to-Student: Questions to ask on a College Visit” and “Information Overload.”

57. NextStepU –  Next Step Magazine’s blog is an “award-winning college-planning resource for teens, adult learners, and school counselors.” Post categories include financial aid tips, how to plan a timeline for college, as well as themed posts like “Tuesday Tour Day” and “Wanna Win Wednesday.” Recommended posts: “Some outstanding colleges ‘fly under the radar’” and “How does your school counselor compare?

58. College Times – The posts on this blog range from politics, science, finance, relationships, employment, humor and most of all…controversy. The topics are so diverse they cover everything from how to build a perfect playlist for your iPod, how to last longer in bed, or the latest movie and book reviews. Recommended posts: “10 Worst Beers You Should Avoid in College,” “Choosing the Best Laptop for College in 2009” and “College: When Second Choice Is Best.”

59. Find Your College Card – “FindCollegeCards blog is a blog dedicated to those currently going to college, and those preparing for college,” writes the author. “Here, you’re going to find great money saving tips, education advice, and many other articles.” Recommended posts: “Writing a College Essay in 7 Days or Less,” “How to Request Official College Transcripts” and “What Colleges Accept Low SAT Scores?

60. Life After College – Author Jenny Blake is a UCLA graduate who currently works as a Career Development Manager and internal coach. She is also the author of “Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want” which is set for release next March. Recommended posts: “Live for the Dip” and “8 Ways to Organize Your Life with Google Docs.”

61. Dissertation Research – From the Regents Center Library at the University of Kansas, this blog is full of advice for students who need help with their research papers. Post topics include statistical abstracts, transliteracy, or sites to help you with your business research. Recommended posts: “New search engine,” and “Another Free Citation Tool.”

62. Get Into College Blog –  Author Steve Schwartz works as a professional college counselor in New York City, and posts his expert advice on how students can get into college. Post topics range extracurriculars and recommendations, to SAT’s and the college essay. Recommended posts: “5 Reasons Not to Be Discouraged By a Low GPA,” “College Selection Tips | Picking the Right College,” and “College Application Supplemental Material | What to Include, What to Leave Out.”

63. My College STAT – As stated on their site: “Our goal is to humanize the erratic admission process by showing the students behind the scores. By sharing user-submitted information including test scores, grade point averages, extracurricular activities, and personal distinctions, myCollegeSTAT allows students to compare themselves with admitted students.” Recommended posts: “College Admissions: an Afternoon with the Experts” and “When Financial Aid is the Final Word.”

64.  University Parent Connection – “Our site is intended to help parents navigate their student’s college and local community,” writes Sarah Schupp. “[Our mission is to provide] comprehensive information that will easily help you navigate the university and its surrounding community during your visit, as well as provide you with helpful tips and resources when you are back home!” Recommended posts: “Five Traits That Matter in College Admissions” and “The College Transfer Process.”

65. College Puzzle – Dr. Michael W. Kirst is a professor of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University. He has also written ten books, two of which are “The Political Dynamics of American Education” (2005) and “From High School to College” (2004). Recommended posts: “Linking Secondary School Curriculum To College General Education” and “Beyond Adoption Of Common Core Standards For College Readiness.”

66. Surviving College – “Surviving College Life is every student’s guide to the ins and outs of college,” writes blogger Jamie, a recent UC San Diego graduate. “Here you’ll find tips about relationships, finances, productivity, studying, health, and beginning your life as an adult.” Recommended posts: “Ridiculously Easy Ways to Kick Distractions for Productive Study Time” and “Final Exam Survival Tips.”

67. Google Student Blog – “Jessica Bagley and I started this blog to keep students informed about products, tools, tips, programs and opportunities at Google that are relevant for them on and off campus,” explains Miriam Schneider. “We hope that students will learn about Google products that will make their lives easier and find out about ways and opportunities to get involved with our efforts.” Recommended posts: “Student Tip: Use Google Docs and Calendar to Import Class Syllabi” and “Google Scholarship program kicks off in China.”

68. Cramster Blog – This site is essentially an online community of study groups for schools, courses, or even textbooks. Users can generate their own customized quizzes or search for practice problems in subjects like math, physics, computer science, chemistry, and much more. Recommended posts: “The Study Tips to End All Study Tips” and “C’s Get Degrees… But I Want an A!

69. Layers of Learning –  “We’ve both been involved in the education world for many years, and both currently home school our children,” write Karen Loutzenhiser and Michelle Copher. “Our hope is that Layers of Learning is a source of inspiration for hands-on style learning projects for teachers and parents alike…We cover new topics every day and hope that our projects spark interest and make learning fun for kids. Every day our articles fall under one of four categories: Explorations (hands-on learning units), Expeditions (field trips), Experiments (great science experiments and projects), and Explanations (teaching tips and our philosophies).” Recommended posts: “Twelve Books To Read With Your Kids” and “Pre-school and K Curriculum.”

70. Stay Out of School – “ investigates why one of the greatest, albeit hard-headed, creative thinkers of our time advises young, creative college graduates to stay out of graduate school,” writes author Elizabeth King, who is also the President of Elizabeth King Coaching Inc., a test preparation company. Her post topics touch on art, pop culture, creativity, music, and much more. Recommended posts: “Creativity: What Is It, Anyway?” and “Critical Thinking: What Is It, Anyway?

71. iStudent Advisor –  This “interactive international higher education guide” has great advice for students who are interested in studying abroad. There are also study guide resources for those who are interested in studying in Australia, Canada, Europe, Ireland, the UK, and New Zealand. Recommended posts: “IELTS vs TOEFL: Which is Better?” and “How Important are University Rankings?

72. Admissions Hook – The categories on this blog include how to find scholarships, as well as tips and tricks from experts in the educational industry. Numerous essay editing tips are included on the site, and students can also read various writing samples. Recommended posts: “Choosing an Essay Topic,” “5 Tips for Writing a Scholarship Essay” and “5 Scholarship Essay Don’ts.”

73. College Admissions –  “Blogger Jeannie Borin, M.Ed, has an extensive educational background having served as counselor, school administrator, admissions director, teacher and curriculum supervisor for over twenty years in both the public and private sectors. Her affiliation with the National and Western Association of College Admissions Counselors as well as the Higher Educational Consultants Association keeps her on the forefront of innovative and current trends in college admissions and education.” She is also the Founder and President of the Los Angeles based independent college counseling firm College Connections, and writes for two other blogs: College Connections and Jeannie’s FYI College Admissions Blog. Recommended posts: “Tips For The College Fair” and “What to Do When Colleges ACCEPT You.”

74. Graduated and Clueless –  “I was inspired to write my blog based on my inability to find or create the life I wanted after I graduated and moved to Boston,” writes blogger Jeff Sanders. “I hope students and graduates will learn that college is not a real-world preparatory institution.  By that I mean college is designed to teach you how to learn, not to qualify you for any specific job.  The real world is a completely different beast that requires completely different skills than what you learned to master in the classroom.  Some skills do carry over, but the big stuff (personal finances, finding a job, office politics) is only learned through experience on the job, not in school. Take your education into your own hands and learn what you need to on your own.  Don’t rely on a school, job, or another person to hand you success.  You have to create it for yourself. Recommended posts: “Top 3 Things a Recent Grad Should Do” and “Should I Go to Grad School?

75. 168 Hours –  “I started writing my blog because I’m interested in how people spend their time now and in the past, and how we can all spend our time better,” explains author Laura Vanderkam. “The blog builds on my book, ‘168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think’. I hope students will learn that we can choose how to spend our time, and that time management isn’t about just saving five minutes here and there. It’s about filling our lives with things that deserve to be in it.” Recommended posts: “Feeding the Idea Beast” and “How did you spend the 2016 hours of summer?

76. Head4College – “I started my blog as a compliment to my college planning business, McLaughlin Education Consulting,” explains Sharon McLaughlin. “Through my college planning service, I assist clients with both the admissions process and the financial aid planning process for undergraduate and graduate school. Having worked as college administrator in admissions and financial aid for over twenty years, I knew that students and parents are frequently making college planning decisions with outdated information. Trends are changing with college entrance testing, the economy has lead to changes in financial aid funding policies and increased the competitiveness of college admissions. It is important to educate families on the current trends and issues in college admissions and financial aid, so that they make informed decisions when choosing a college and comparing financial aid awards.” Recommended posts: “The Homesick Freshman” and “For College Transfers The Time Is Now.”

77. A Better Education – “I am a former teacher but found I didn’t enjoy teaching,” writes blogger Tracy Stevens. “I left education for many years but when my son had a hard time starting in Kindergarten it reignited my passion for it…In my quest to help him find the best model, school, and help we could find him so that he could thrive, I found myself researching, reading and thinking about education all the time. I thought I might open my own school so I applied for a Building Excellent Schools fellowship and was denied because my application wasn’t about college prep and had an arts focus. I wrote to Daniel Pink after reading his book ‘A Whole New Mind,’ telling him about my experience, asking ‘what’s a girl to do?’ It was his suggestion that I write a blog about education.” Recommended posts: “Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina” and “The Nature and Purpose of Education by Maurice Holt.”

78. The Pre Req – Author Ashley Singh started blogging after she participated in a video series about her college campus, and was then asked to do a weekly video blog on the MTV show College Life. “From my site, I hope that students will learn that it’s important to take in the world around you and think about what’s going on for yourself.  Instead of accepting what is told to you and taking it all as the truth of what’s happening, the only truth that matters is your own, whatever that may be.” Recommended posts: “How to Survive Finals” and “5 Ways to Beat the Back-to-School Blues.”

79. College Blender – This site is unique because it is essentially a community of students and faculty/alumni members who want to share their opinions and advice on everything college-related. If you are a student or currently work at a college or university, you can write for the College Blender by signing up to be a member of the community. Recommended posts: “Students on Ways to Reduce Student Loan Debt” and “How to Start an Essay? Think Airplane Takeoff.”

80. Creative Learning Systems – “I have children of my own, and they attend school in New Zealand, which is totally different from the schools I knew when growing up,” writes Dr. Yvonne Eve Walus. “I was born and raised in communist Poland, where the standard of education was extremely high. As a 9-year old, I learned about non-decimal forms of arithmetic operations (binary and hex and others), two years later the syllabus included trigonometry (sine, cosine, tan etc.) In other subjects the standard was as high: discursive essays, laws of motion, ancient history, detailed biology…” Her advice for students? “You have a unique learning style, a ‘best for me’ way of learning. Find out what it is and homework will be a breeze.” Recommended posts: “Troubled Teens and Learning Styles” and “Chinese Wisdom and Learning Styles.”

81. Fragment/Framework – “I began blogging about my teaching strategies, practices, experiences, and theories a few months after I first started teaching Introductory Composition as a Master’s student at the University of Cincinnati,” writes Kathryn Trauth Taylor. “I continue my blog today as a doctoral student at Purdue.  In my field of Rhetoric and Composition, many scholars have studied and encouraged reflective practices–it is one of the core values of the field, as I see it….Through blogging, I hope to connect with other Composition instructors–especially graduate student instructors who are forming their teaching personas for the first time alongside me. My site is not really geared towards my students, specifically. Rather, I share it with peers, professors, family members, and other friends in academia.” Recommended posts: “Writing Literacy Narratives” and “Introductions & Transitions.”

82. Improve Your Learning and Memory – “As a faculty member who has seen students struggle inefficiently for some 47 years, I knew that I knew a lot about learning they did not,” writes W. R. (Bill) Klemm, a Professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University. “So I wanted to share this information. hope they will recognize their counter-productive learning behaviors, and as a result make what I say, ‘better grades, with less effort.'” Recommended posts: “Multi-tasking and Memory, One More Time” and “Music Training Helps Learning & Memory.”

83. Kapp Notes – “The blog turned out to be the perfect place for me to keep my ideas in one place and to share with my students and others in the field,” writes Karl Kapp, who works as an educator, consultant, speaker, as well as an author of several educational books. “I want [students] to learn about the industry and to gain a perspective about what it takes to be a practicing professional in the field of e-learning and instructional technology. The second thing I want students to learn is to use and become comfortable with Web 2.0 tools.” Recommended posts: “Definition: Metacognition” and “Want to Teach Math, Science and Engineering to Kids? Think Guitars.”

84. Grad Hacker – “I found that productivity blogs geared towards grad students was lacking [when I started my blog],” writes the Grad Hacker. “I may or may not have been wrong as, in hindsight, [but I] found that a lot of people had these ridiculous habits that made them seem productive, but I felt were in the end, simply ridiculous. That’s what started the How to Act Productive Series, which in the end brought over a lot of traffic to my site.” So what does the Grad Hacker want students to learn from their posts? “That keeping a list or two and doing work goes a long ways… And that there are alternatives to traditional career paths after you get a PhD.” Recommended posts: “How to Act Productive Tip #13: Start Late” and “How to Act Productive Tip #10: Bring Massive Amounts of Work On the Plane.”

85. My Montessori Journey – “I started writing the blog to document my transition from teaching elementary special education in a public school setting to teaching Montessori preschool in a private setting,” writes blogger Laura L. “At the time I started the blog (May 2008) there were only a few blogs that featured Montessori education and I had been inspired by those few quite a bit…Now there are lots more bloggers writing about their experiences incorporating Montessori principles into a variety of settings, which is really exciting. I hope that my blog readers will come away with new ideas and new ways of thinking about how to present activities to young children.” Recommended posts: “The many facets of socialization” and “Record Keeping in the Montessori classroom.”

86. Eduplan Blog –  EduPlan is a consulting firm which is comprised of numerous certified career coaches, business consultants, college and graduate school advisers, and personal branding strategists. Their posts provide various tips on essay writing, applying for college, personal branding, and salary negotiations. Recommended posts: “How to Hire an Educational Consultant” and “Top 10 Tools for New College Students.”

87. GradSpot – “After graduating from college, I was surprised at how unprepared we (grads) were to confront many of the issues that were confronting us at the start of our independent adulthood, ranging from career to financial to healthcare and other issues,” writes Stuart Schultz, co-founder and CEO of Grad Spot. “In order to make sure that future classes of graduating college students had all of the information and tools to help them not only transition to life after college but thrive in the real world, we created I hope that from and our book, “’s Guide to Life After College,” students will learn how to tackle the major issues they’ll confront in their first year or two out of college, from securing a job, to finding a place to live, to understanding health care, to getting their credit and finances in order, and more.” Recommended posts: “Why Unpaid Internships Are Hard to Find” and “Balancing Full-Time Work with a Part-Time Degree.”

88. Academic Remediation – This author works with elementary school children who are struggling to keep up with their fellow classmates. The categories on this blog include ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, and advice for students who struggling in math, reading, and writing. Recommended posts: “On Dyslexia” and “A Question from a parent on autism and reading comprehension.”

89. Omniac Education –  This blog is a great resource for parents or students who need advice on exams, the college admissions process, or how to write a college essay. The articles touch on various topics such as financial aid, SAT or ACT exams, and test anxiety. Recommended posts: “A Useful Concordance Table for the SAT and ACT” and “High School Grades Matter More Than You Think.”

90. Learning Circuits – This blog is “dedicated to sharing ideas and opinions about the state of learning and technology.” The main feature of this blog is their “Question of the Month” series where other educational bloggers can respond to a question posted in an article, which is then re-posted in the LC blog post. Recommended posts: “Voice-Over in eLearning” and “Presenting the Value of Social Media for Learning.”

91. StuVu – The blog otherwise known as Student View allows college students to post their own photos, videos and reviews of their college experiences to other students. Some of the posts provide entertaining advice like how to cure a hangover, or tips on how to get into the college spirit. Recommended posts: “Last Minute Grade Improvement” and “Switching Majors in College.”

92. Algebra Homework – The authors of this blog write about the different online resources that are available for students who are struggling with their algebra homework. Recommended posts: “Simplifying Algebraic Expressions,” “Advantages of Taking Online Lessons for Algebra Homework Help” and “The Need of Algebra and Geometry Help.”

93. College and University Search – From the College Bound Network, these articles provide expert information on everything related to the college admissions process, such as high school transcripts, application deadlines, and recommendation letters. Recommended posts: “Rankings, Schmankings–How Do I Get Into These Colleges?” and “Confusing College Admissions Lingo — Defined!

94. Playing Your A Game – Author Kantis Simmons is an “educational guru” who delivers “content rich information through books, articles, keynotes, seminars, e-mails, consultation, and conferences.” His tagline is “helping students play their ‘A’ game in school and life,” and he has been invited to speak at many schools and conferences to talk about how students can achieve academic success. Recommended posts: “7.25 Ways to Overcome Apathy or Lack of Motivation in School as a Student” and “Key Questions to Ask Your High School Counselor and College Advisor Today!

95. StudentStuff – This unqiue blog provides numerous tips which cover everything from Diet Coke and long-distance relationships, or how to work out to music. Post categories include health and fitness, career and money, activism and awareness, or studying abroad. Recommended posts: “Don’t Wait…Study Abroad Before it’s Too Late” and “Planning your major: Why You Should Work for Money and Not Love.”

96. The Ivy Coach – Bev Taylor, the Ivy Coach’s founder and president, has been featured in numerous broadcasts and publications like the US News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and many more. She provides expert advice on how to find the right college, letters of recommendations, and issues that are facing educational counselors. Recommended posts: “Waiving Rights on the College Application” and “Senior Slide and its Impact on College Admissions.”

97. College Jolt –  The articles on this blog provide background information on the different types of college majors, as well as campus politics, what students should bring to college, and the perks of being a student at a community college. Recommended posts: “The Sophomore Slump: Suppressing the Slide” and “Time Wasters: Least convincing excuses for missed assignments.”

98. Rethinking Learning – This site is geared more towards teachers who are looking for a forum to converse about the future of education. There are also politically-driven videos posted on their website which highlight three educational issues: Learning, teaching, and fairness. Recommended posts: “Tread Softly on Their Dreams” and “Mentoring and Coaching – Do you need it?

99. eduFire – Even though updates are scarce, this entertaining blog writes about a variety of different topics like homeschooling, educational technology, tips for teachers, and the latest in educational news and politics. Recommended posts: “Entrepreneurial Education (time for us to coin a phrase…)” and “Micro-Learning: You Heard it Here First.”

100. That Rooftop Voice – Heather Trahan is a doctoral student in the English Department at Bowling Green State University, but she is also a teacher for a General Studies Writing course as well.  Her poems been published in the Detroit’s Metro Times, Word Riot, Slow Trains, the Healing Garden Journal, and many more. Recommended posts: “The writer who doesn’t believe in writer’s block gets writer’s block” and “Advice for grad students–how to stay relaxed, and remain joyful.”

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Where to find interest-free student loans

Posted on Sep. 12th 2010 by Alexis

Interest-free student loans

Interest-free student loans may sound like a dream for many students, but they do exist.

Student loans from the federal government’s “unsubsidized” Stafford student loan program could force students to pay up to $10,000 more than they borrowed because of interest rates.  Interest-free loans, on the other hand, are ideal because borrowers are only required to pay back the exact amount that they borrowed.

Here is a list of some of some charities and organizations who are currently offering interest-free loans to students:

  • Abe and Annie Seibel Foundation Almost 800 Texas residents who are enrolled in a full-time program at a college or university in their state can apply for a $4,000 loan from this organization. The student must have someone co-sign their loan, (specifically an adult with good credit), so if the student fails to pay back their loan on time, their co-signer will then take full responsibility for payments. In order to qualify the student should be a high school graduate from a Texas high school. Application deadline: February 28th.
  • Bill Raskob Foundation – This organization is a “small family foundation” and offers student loans worth a minimum of $1,000 per year; however most of the loans average between $3,000 and $6,000 per year. Approximately 60 sophomores, juniors, or seniors are eligible, but they will not accept your application if you are an undergraduate student in your first year of study, or if you are pursuing more than one degree. Application deadline: April 1st.
  • Central Scholarship Bureau of Maryland – Nearly 150 students who are residents within the state of  Maryland can apply for loans worth up to $10,000 per year. Applicants must be a full-time student and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. Also, their family must have an adjusted gross income of less than $90,000, but each applicant will be evaluated individually. In order to obtain the funds, the student must have a co-signer. Application deadline: May 10th.
  • Evalee C. Schwarz Charitable Trust for Education – Students who have grades and scores that are in the top 10 percent of their class can apply for loans worth a minimum of $5,000 or a maximum of $15,000. In order to qualify the applicant must be a graduate, undergraduate or high school senior, and they must be attending a school within their state, however there are some exceptions listed on their website. Application deadline: April 10th.
  • Jewish Free Loan Association – Even though these loans can total up to $3,500, specialized programs may have higher limits. These loans will be given out to about 650 residents in the Los Angeles area regardless of their faith. Their co-signer must be a resident of California, older than 25, and have a “steady source of income” as well as an “established credit record.” Applicants must be a permanent resident of Southern California, however some exceptions do apply. There is no application deadline.
  • Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund – Citizens of Latin American or Caribbean nations who are interested in studying in the U.S. can apply for this loan, however the applicants must return to their home countries within a year after graduation. The loans can total up to $15,000, and after returning to their home country they must “apply their knowledge and training” to their community, and also “continue to promote cultural exchange and development in the region.” Students studying in any academic field besides English as a Second Language (ESL) can apply for the loan, and they must have a valid visa which allows them to study as a full-time student in the U.S. The co-signer must be a U.S. citizen or be a member of an institution which has been accepted by the committee.  There is no application deadline.
  • Military Officers Association of America Scholarship Fund – Nearly 1,500 students who are children of active or retired military members can receive up to $5,500 from this organization. In order to qualify the applicant must have a grade point average of at least 3.0. These loans are renewable annually for up to five years if the student is enrolled in a full-time undergraduate study. However, the organization reports that “assistance is available” for students who have not yet earned an undergraduate degree. Application deadline: March 1st.

If you do not qualify for any of the above loans, try contacting your school’s financial aid office and/or department chair and ask if they offer interest-free loans at your school.

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Where to buy or rent textbooks online

Posted on Aug. 29th 2010 by Alexis

Top textbook not only offers free shipping both ways, after 30 days you can get a full refund for an unopened book, or a 75% refund for a book that you have already used. There are three different types of rental periods: Semester (125 days), Quarter (85 days), and Summer (60 days). If you decide to return a book within 30 days of receiving it they will deduct a $5 shipping fee per book ($10 maximum).

This site gathers information from various textbook sites and calculates each price as well as the total shipping amount. Its easy-to-use format helps users compare different textbooks costs, and they also offer product and author reviews. Some textbooks are eligible for a refund if they are returned after 30 days, however this varies depending on the seller. There are also special deals so you can get free shipping.

There are no shipping fees, and once you receive your textbook you will be provided with a prepaid UPS shipping label. You can rent your book for the Semester (130 days), Quarter (85 days), or Summer (55 days), but they also offer 15 or 30 day extensions. If you return your textbook within 30 days after you order it you will receive a full refund, and if you want to purchase your textbook after renting it they subtract the rental fee off of the cost. However, if you damage or lose your textbook you will be charged for the full value.

This is another site that offers free shipping both ways. You have 10 days to return a book after the due date otherwise you will be charged a minimum fee of $10. You will also receive an e-mail or a textbook message to remind you when your book is due, but beware because if you lose or fail to return your textbook you will be charged 140% of the retail price.

Amazon is a great option for students because they are one of the largest book stores on the Internet, and there is also a section where you can sell your new or used textbooks. There is free shipping for any order over $25, and you are allowed to return unopened items after 30 days but you will be charged for shipping.

This site is a “free textbook exchange service” so students can connect with each other and trade textbooks free of cost. First you select the school you are enrolled in, (there are over 50 American schools signed up on the site), and then you can search for a textbook by its name, author, or even course title.

There are three different types of rental periods, (60 days, 85 days, or 125 days), but if your semester is longer than 125 days you can get a free extension as long as you provide documentation from your college or university. You can return your book after 30 days and get a refund if you include your packing slip, but there is a return fee of $5 per book (maximum of $10). If you rent a textbook and it is not returned on the due date they will extend your rental by 15 days at no cost, but if you don’t return it after the 15 days you will be charged with a replacement fee.

You can rent books off this site for 60, 90, or 190 days, and you are provided with a prepaid return label upon delivery. If your textbook is not returned on the given due date you will be charged with a 15 day extension fee and you will be notified via e-mail. If you do not return the book after the 15 day “grace period” or if the book is returned damaged you will be charged for the full list price.

This site offers free shipping for anywhere in the U.S., but international shipping costs are approximately $3.97. You can return your books 30 days after purchasing them for a refund, or 45 days if you purchase them internationally, however you will have to pay for shipping. Right now the site is promoting a “Bargain Bin Blowout” which allows users to purchase 5 used books for $15.

If you order over $25 in textbooks from this site you will not be charged for shipping, but this does not qualify for rented or used textbooks. You can rent textbooks for 60, 90, or 130 days and you are given the option to extend your rental period if you’re interested. If you don’t return a rental on the given due date they will provide you with a 15 day extension, but if it still isn’t returned after those 15 days they will charge you the full retail price minus the rental cost. The site also offers free return shipping for textbook rentals, and you can get a full refund if you return a book within 21 days of it being delivered to you.

Shipping costs approximately $3 depending on where you live and how fast you want it shipped to you, and you will also be given a free UPS return shipping label with your textbook. If your order total is more than $59 you could be eligible for free shipping, and if it is over $250 you can choose a “bill me later” option which allows you to pay for your textbooks within 90 days. If you decide to return your book within 30 days after receiving it you will be charged for shipping along with a 10% restocking fee. Also, if your book is not returned by the given due date you will be charged 20% off the list price, and after a week you will be charged for the full listed price.

Unlike other textbook websites, the seller of the textbook decides how long you have to return an item to get a refund. Not only that, some sellers may not accept returns at all so pay close attention to the details provided when you order your textbooks. Shipping costs a minimum of $3.49, but if you buy two or more items from the same seller you can get a shipping discount.

This site has a “Free Textbook Giveaway” so students could be eligible to win free textbooks for a year. Items are refundable 30 days after the purchase date, and you can also sell the textbook back to the site if you choose to. If an item is returned “due to customer error” you could be charged a restocking fee of up to 15% of the total price, but if an item is returned “due to seller error” you will get a full refund. Shipping costs for rentals are free, however this depends on how quickly you want your textbooks delivered to you.

Formerly known as CencageBrain, this site lets you download the first chapter of the book you ordered for free while you’re waiting for its delivery. There is free shipping for textbook purchase orders over $25, and you can get a full or partial refund 30 days after purchasing your textbook. If you do not return your textbook a week after the due date they will give you an extra week free of charge, and you can extend your rental for up to 130 days. Shipping costs approximately $3.99, and if you damage the book or do not return it a week after the due date you will be charged for the full price.

There is a 14-day “Money Back Guarantee” for all used and new textbooks, (but you will have to pay for shipping). Shipping costs $5.95 if you want your textbooks shipped to you within 3-7 days, and you also have the option of choosing the standard shipping of 5-20 days, which costs $3.65 per book. Users can also research the prices of the textbooks they want via text messaging.

Standard shipping costs $4.65, but expedited shipping could cost $8.14 or more. There is also a list of items you can get for free if your total purchasing order is more than $57. Heavy books may have additional shipping charges, and if you are not satisfied with the condition of your item you have 60 days to get a refund.

When you order a book off this site you will be provided with a prepaid return shipping label, and you are eligible for a full refund if you return the book 10 days after you received it. If you ordered the wrong book and you have to return it, you will be charged a $10 restocking fee. You also have the option of extending your return date by 15 or 30 days, or even a semester.  If the book has “minor damage” you will be charged a third of the list price, but if it has “major damage” you will be charged the full price. Although delivery costs can be expensive, you could be eligible to receive coupons codes which you can enter to get free shipping.

If you sign up to become a EKeggy member you can get a $5 discount off your textbooks, and they will pay for the shipping if you want to return your book. Shipping costs approximately $2.99, and you can rent textbooks by the semester (125 days), or the summer term (61 days). If you do not return a rental 5 days after its due date you will have to pay a 6% late fee every week until the book is returned.

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Top 20 financial aid twitterers

Posted on Aug. 27th 2010 by Alexis

1. @Fafsahelp – Get tips on everything related to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and read up on the latest news concerning student loans and scholarships.

2. @studentloaninfo – This “Student Loan Ninja” updates readers with articles she discovered while surfing the web, all of which discuss student loans and financial tips for students.

3. @BethWalker_CFC –  Beth Walker is a “college funding expert” who posts numerous links to articles each day which provide various tips on scholarships, and how to save and/or apply for college.

4. @Student_Loan_US –  Specifically for college students in America, these links cover the latest in private student loans, the Student Loan Consolidation Program, and politics.

5. @MoneyCollege – These tweets provide links to other articles about student loan horror stories, credit card debt, student employment, and even free music downloads. Users can also send in their own “college financial survival” tips to the author.

6. @CollegeBlogs –  The financial aid guru Lynn O’Shaughnessy discusses the latest in educational and financial news for college students; many of the tweets reference articles published on her blog, the College Solution.

7. @securestudent – Read up on the latest in financial literacy news that is circulating around the web. Some tweets link to articles which provide tips on how students can avoid debt and maintain their bank account balance.

8. @StudentLoanNews – Some of these posts discuss student scams and loan repayment rates, but the majority of the tweets cover the latest political issues and events which are affecting the cost of higher education.

9. @educationmoney – Read up on the most frequently asked questions regarding student loans and bad credit, as well as tips for high school graduates and the latest in educational politics.

10. @GraduateCheap –  These tweets cover numerous scholarship contests and opportunities for low or middle-income families, Pell Grants, and financial aid for minority students and single mothers.

11. @CollegeGamePlan – This humorous twitterer updates followers with articles he found which discuss tips on student debt and taxes, college applications, financial survival, and student loans.

12. @College_Experts – Get advice from college advisers and counselors who provide information on student loan debt, how to get accepted into college, or how to ace your exams.

13. @planettuition – This twitter account provides up-to-date news on financial aid, statistics on student loans and employment, as well as facts on the future of higher education.

14. @DodgeCollege – From textbook rentals and salaries, to college costs and student loan debt, followers of this account get updated on the latest in tuition costs, scholarships, and educational news.

15. @MYFinc –  Learn how to “map your future” and your finances by reading articles on identity theft, tuition costs, how to raise your credit score, and employment after graduation.

16. @nasfaa – From the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), read up on the latest in American politics and how it affects your education.

17. @GradGuard – These tweets cover numerous complex issues every college student should be aware of, such as tuition and renters insurance, refund policies, and health care.

18. @intstudentloans – International students or students interested in studying abroad could learn a thing or two from these tweets. Stay up-to-date on the types of student loans that are available in different countries.

19. @CheapScholar – Doug Schantz works as a college administrator and his goal is to help others find out ways to make make education more affordable for college students. His posts discuss the cost of textbooks, tuition discounts, and health insurance tips.

20. @Green_Panda – College students/graduates can check out this twitter account to read up on personal finance, student scams, cheap travel options for students, and “what is cool on the web” regarding the latest in student loans and education.

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Studying at a top university may be cheaper than you think

Posted on Aug. 21st 2010 by Alexis

Studying at a top university may not be as expensive as you think

Students who are strapped for cash could pay half the tuition costs at some of the top universities, such as Harvard, Princeton or Yale.

Every year the U.S. News & World Report publishes rankings of over 1,400 institutions, which include national universities, regional universities, regional colleges and liberal arts colleges. Ultimately, the annual report serves as a great starting point for future students who are interested in researching into graduation rates, the cost of tuition and financial aid. After researching over 1,400 colleges and universities in the country, U.S. News discovered that dozens of top colleges are now offering tuition discounts and financial aid so needy students can pay as little as $20,000 a year.

(Check out the U.S. News & World Report’s list for “Great Schools, Great Prices,” or click on any of the following links to view other rankings included in the annual report)

The institutions are ranked according to 16 different factors which include graduation rates, class size, faculty resources, selection of students, financial resources, “alumni satisfaction,” freshmen SAT scores and the ratio of professors to students. Resources for financial aid account for 10 percent of each ranking, as well as the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants. U.S. News also researches the average spending per student on instruction, student services and research. However, the amount spent on sports, dorms and hospitals is not included.

Even though the full cost of tuition at Yale University is approximately $53,000, nearly 54 percent of students who were eligible for financial aid paid $13,600 for the 2010-11 school year. The remaining 46 percent were from upper class families, because Yale charges each student according to his/her annual family income: Any student from a family earning less than $60,000 per year can become eligible for $50,000 in grants; however, a student from a family earning up to $200,000 a year can become eligible for scholarships so in tuition costs, he or she pays about 10 percent of the family income each year.

At Harvard, some students pay less than $15,000 a year, while at Princeton, nearly 60 percent of students are eligible for a 69 percent discount off the $52,000 full tuition cost.

Some “lesser-known” colleges have been offering scholarships to almost every student; for example, only 2 percent of the students at Ripon College in Wisconsin ended up paying the full cost of tuition ($35,000), while the remaining percentage paid at least half of the tuition cost, depending on their qualifications and family finances. Also, nearly 84 percent of the students received need-based grants, or were eligible for merit scholarships depending on their grades and/or talents.

According to U.S. News, the college with the lowest tuition cost after scholarships was the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, where out-of-state students paid an average of $8,000 annually.

Also, at Aquinas College in Michigan, over 80 percent of students paid a little over $12,000 thanks to grants, and at Amherst College, one of the top-rated liberal arts colleges, 57 percent of students who were eligible for financial aid paid approximately $13,000 in 2009.

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Facebook’s RoomBug application matches students with their future roommates

Posted on Aug. 14th 2010 by Alexis

Incoming freshmen at five different American universities are using a Facebook application to send roommate requests to other students. The application helps students find a roommate through “online scouting,” and matches each student according to political or religious views, study habits, and even cleanliness.

The creators of RoomBug describe the application as one that allows students to “do their own roommate matching at on-campus residences and off-campus student properties across the nation.”  They explain that their mission is to “empower residents in the roommate selection process.”

As of right now, students at Emory University, the University of Florida, Temple University, Wichita State University and William Paterson University can use the application to fill out a form and describe their living preferences. If they find a “match” on the application which fits their description, the student can then send a request to other users.

Approximately 25 percent of the 5,179 incoming freshmen at the University of Florida are using the application.

“We decided that rather than continue to fight against the social media that is so much a part of our students’ lives, we need to get engaged in that social media,” explained TJ Logan, who works as the associate director of housing at the University of Florida.

The application allows students to fill out a 5-point questionnaire, so rather than providing a “yes or no response,” users can rate their answers on a scale of 1 to 5. All of the users are asked questions based on their:

  • Neatness level
  • Preferred bedtime
  • Visitor frequency
  • Activity level
  • Academic vs. social focus

Once they have completed their own questionnaire, users answer the same five questions to describe their “ideal roommate.” For the final question, students must then select whether they would like to live with a smoker or a non-smoker.

Users can choose whether they would like their “lifestyle filter” to be turned on or off. If the lifestyle filter is turned on, all of the answers they have provided about their “ideal roommate” will be applied, and the number of roommate matches will be limited to only those who fit their preferences.

But the RoomBug application isn’t the first of its kind: Over 83,000 students at 775 American institutions are already using URoomSurf, and students can create their own profiles, complete surveys, and then view their online matches. And two years ago Tulane University announced their partnership with a similar application called RoommateClick.

But not everyone is praising the use of social media as a roommate-matcher, as some feel this gives rise to racial, religious, or sexual profiling.

“As you leave behind high school to redefine and even reinvent yourself as adult, you need exposure to an array of different ideas, backgrounds and perspectives — not a cordon of clones,” writes Maureen Dowd, a reporter for The New York Times. “College is not only where you hit the books. It also should be where you learn not to judge a book by its cover.”

“The Science of Roommates”

RoombugPicking your future roommate is a serious decision that should not be taken lightly: Studies show that your roommate’s lifestyle could not only have a positive or negative impact on your education, it could also affect your state of mind as well.

According to a University of Michigan survey of 1,600 freshmen at two different universities, college students are more likely to fall into a state of depression if they live with a depressed roommate. Another group of researchers at Harvard found that non-drinkers who live with a partying roommate actually receive lower grades, and this is especially the case if two partying roommates, specifically males, live and drink together.

Also,  if a student lives with a roommate who has a video game addiction, studies show that their grade point average is 0.2 lower than students who don’t live with video game addicts.

In another study conducted with freshmen at Marquette University, it was discovered that females who live with heavier roommates are less likely to gain weight as opposed to those who live with thinner roommates. Margo D. Maine, who is a psychologist and specialist in eating disorders, explained that women between the ages of 17 and 19 are more at risk of developing eating disorders if they live with a “calorie-counting roommate.”

“Peer pressure is intense in that first year of college, probably more intense than in any other year of life,” states Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a research psychologist at Clark University and author of ‘Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road From Late Teens Through the 20s.’ “Everyone around you is a stranger and you want to fit in…One way to find that place is to go along with what other people seem to be doing and what they seem to want you to do.”

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For-profit colleges accused of misleading students with false information

Posted on Aug. 7th 2010 by Alexis

On August 4th, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report which unleashed a storm of controversy surrounding recruiters at for-profit colleges. In the study, government investigators posing as students were sent to 15 randomly selected for-profit colleges and reported that they were given misleading and/or false information about program costs, quality and graduation rates.

The colleges were randomly selected according to whether they received 89 percent or more of their total revenue from federal student aid, or whether they were in a state that was listed as one of the top 10 recipients of Title IV funding.

The 15 colleges that were randomly selected are:

1. University of Phoenix (Arizona)
2. Everest College (Arizona)
3. Westech College (California)
4. Kaplan College (California)
5. Potomac College (D.C.)
6. Bennett College (D.C.)
7. Medvance Institute (Florida)
8. Kaplan College (Florida)
9. College of Office Tech (Illinois)
10. Argosy University (Illinois)
11. University of Phoenix (Pennsylvania)
12. Anthem Institute (Pennsylvania)
13. Westwood College (Texas)
14. Everest College (Texas)
15. ATI Career Training (Texas)

The low-down on for-profit colleges

The GAO report defines for-profit colleges as “institutions of post-secondary education” that are either privately owned, or owned by a public traded company.

The report also states that their net earnings tend to “benefit a shareholder or individual.” Approximately 1.8 million students have been lured to for-profit colleges because of their online courses and open admission policies. In 2009, students who were enrolled at these colleges received more than $4 billion in Pell Grants and over $20 billion in federal loans which were provided by the Department of Education.

But apparently the “scale and scope” of these colleges has changed during the past few years; originally they offered certification programs such as cosmetology and business administration, but now the report states that they have “expanded” their programs to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level programs as well.

The report also states that students who were enrolled at for-profit colleges are more likely to “default” on their federal student loans than students from other colleges. (The average annual tuition at for-profit colleges in 2009 was approximately $14,000, while the annual tuition at community colleges was around $2,500). Because of this, students who enroll at these colleges tend to have more problems with their credit record which in turn harms their chances of applying for auto loans, mortgages and credit cards.

Undercover applicants uncover “deceptive and questionable marketing practices” at for-profit colleges For-profit colleges accused of misleading students with false information

Due to Federal statutes and regulations, colleges and universities are required to provide information about their graduation rates if it is requested. However, at 13 out of the 15 randomly selected for-profit colleges, undercover applicants were given false or misleading information about the school’s graduation rates. Also, nine out of the fifteen schools did not provide their graduation rate information either in person or online, and four out of the thirteen colleges did have information on their websites, but the GAO reports that it was quite difficult to find.

One investigator pretending to be an applicant reported that recruiters from three different colleges told him to lie about his savings so he would qualify for financial aid. Another undercover applicant reported that recruiters used “high pressure marketing techniques,” by scolding the applicant after she stated that she wanted to speak to a financial aid representative before enrolling;  in another case two representatives grilled the applicant about his “commitment level” for half an hour.

“College representatives exaggerated undercover applicants’ potential salary after graduation and failed to provide clear information about the college’s program duration, costs, or graduation rate,” the report stated. “Admissions staff used other deceptive practices, such as pressuring applicants to sign a contract for enrollment before allowing them to speak to a financial advisor about program cost and financing options.” And just to make your blood boil even more, here is a list of some of the most ridiculous statements told to GAO’s undercover applicants by these for-profit college recruiters:

  • Paying $14,495 for a computer-aided drafting certificate was “really low.” (The GAO reports that completing the same certificate at a nearby public college costs approximately $520).
  • If you recruit other students to our school you could win an MP3 player or a gift card to a local store.
  • Signing an enrollment agreement doesn’t necessarily mean that you are legally binded to the school.
  • After graduation, getting a job is a “piece of cake.”
  • Community colleges force students to take classes that may not be helpful for their career.
  • Student loans are different than car loans because “no one will come after you if you don’t pay it.”
  • Paying back student loans “should not be a concern.”
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More schools offering financial aid for retirees and senior citizens

Posted on Aug. 6th 2010 by Alexis

senior citizens going back to schoolAs the baby boomer population slowly drifts into retirement, more and more of these retirees are heading back to college to upgrade their job skills and educational background.  Unbeknownst to some, many colleges and universities are now offering scholarships for seniors so they can enroll in a course at a cheap cost, or at no cost at all.

Depending on the college or the university, senior citizens can apply for tuition waivers or discounts, or enroll in continuing education classes which last anywhere from four to eight weeks. Some schools allow senior citizens to audit a class for free, (meaning they can attend a lecture but they do not have to complete any assignments). In order to qualify, a senior citizen may be required to provide proof of age, state residency, retirement documentation, bank statements, or their high school diploma.

According to a survey conducted by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), approximately 84 percent of community colleges in the U.S. offer courses for students aged 50 and older. States that currently offer tuition waivers for some of their public colleges are: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

The GO-60 Program at Penn State University offers free tuition to those who are 60 years and older. In order to qualify for the program the applicant must be a Pennsylvania resident who is retired or working part-time, or a former Penn State alumni or employee.

At Northern Michigan University, Michigan residents who are 62 or older can apply for free tuition through the Senior Citizen Scholarship Program. However, applicants are still required to pay the student discretionary activity fee which costs $30.26, and the program does not apply to online courses.

The University of Delaware has an Over-60 Tuition Free Degree Program which offers free tuition to Delaware residents aged 60 and over. Seniors who are currently taking classes as Continuing Education students are not eligible for the program, and the applicants still have to pay for late registration charges, fees, and textbook costs.

The Prime Timers Program at Georgia Perimeter College allows those who are aged 62 or older to complete an associate degree program for no cost at all, however they are required to pay for their own textbooks as well as various activity, technology, athletic and student support fees.

Over 3,000 senior citizens have already applied for the Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver at the University of Connecticut, Connecticut State University, or at one of the 12 community colleges. In order to qualify the applicant must be a Connecticut resident and aged 62 or older.

The Evergreen Program at Boston University allows those who are 58 and over to audit undergraduate classes for $100 per course or attend “special seminars” taught by the university faculty.

Last year as part of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, a senior scholarship program was created to help support those who are 55 or older get funding for their education. The program awards $1,000 to a senior citizen who volunteers more than 350 hours out of the year, and they can choose to use the money for their child’s, grandchild’s, or foster child’s education.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI) currently offer 93 non-credit senior citizen programs which can cost anywhere from $25 to $450. Seniors can enroll in a course at any of the 118 participating colleges and universities, some of which include the University of South Dakota, San Diego State University, Texas Tech University, and Florida International University. (To find the one closest to you click here).

These are just some of the many programs that are available for seniors who are interested in applying for tuition discounts or scholarships. Because many colleges and universities generally do not publicize these opportunities, senior citizens are encouraged to call their local college or university to see if they are eligible for any scholarships or tuition waivers.

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Five Lessons from PayScale’s College “Return on Investment” Data

Posted on Jul. 30th 2010 by Amelia

For the past month the Internet has been abuzz over the PayScale study that attempts to quantify the value of a college degree. Francesca Di Meglio, writing for Bloomberg backed a position that is now seeing growing national support: College: Big Investment, Paltry Return.

Di Meglio notes the general theory that has seemingly been expounded at every turn in recent months:

“Over the past decade, research estimates have pegged that figure at $900,000, $1.2 million, and $1.6 million” but “the value of a college degree may be a lot closer to $400,000 over 30 years.”

She notes that the amount “varies wildly from school to school” but that there are “only 17 schools in the study whose graduates can expect to recoup the cost of their education and out-earn a high school graduate by $1.2 million. At more than 500 other schools, the return on investment, or ROI, is less—sometimes far less.”

Not too surprisingly, many of the most expensive, private colleges do in fact produce outstanding return on investment or ROI (see accompanying chart of the top 10). Whether it is MIT, Notre Dame, Harvard, Harvey Mudd, Dartmouth, Princeton or Stanford, students completing a bachelor’s degree program at these elite schools can expect rates of return topping 12 percent.

But the Payscale data has led many other publications to take less productive schools to task. One,, tackled the mismatch between a school’s quality ranking and its position in regards to return on investment.

The list of the 20 Prestigious Colleges That Offer An Ugly Return On Your Investment, included some of America’s most highly-esteemed schools: Oberlin, Rutgers, UNC Chapel Hill, Middlebury, Wellesley, University of Wisconsin (Madison), Wesleyan, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Johns Hopkins and the University of Chicago. also produced the 20 Colleges With High Tuition, Low ROI, i.e. those schools charging a pretty penny but whose graduates do not earn seven figures. That list featured the likes of Franklin Pierce University, Lesley University, Philadelphia University, Rollins College, Sacred Heart University, Roger Williams University and Skidmore College.

The Rankings

Needless to say, those high on the list were pleased with their standing and could offer many reasons why their institution obtained such lofty numbers. On the other hand, spokespeople for those on the lower end of the rankings questioned the validity of the process and the data.

To come up with their rankings, PayScale examined pay reports from 1.4 million graduates of U.S. colleges and universities that did not have an advanced degree. In addition, when calculating college costs, PayScale did not assume a graduate earned his or her diploma in four years.

Instead, they took the actual number of reported years it took a student to graduate from each institution to compile the costs of college. In addition, PayScale also attempted to take into account those who attended school yet never graduated.

The entire analysis is explained on the PayScale site. That analysis includes the usual statistical jargon and depending on the institution PayScale reports a margin of error on the 90% confidence interval of just 5 or 10 percent.

The attempt to quantify the results however is extremely interesting as the rate of return on investment is a concept everyone can relate to. Going back to Di Meglio, she notes that the S&P 500 Index averaged about 11 percent a year in returns.

“Only 88 schools out of the 554 in the study had a better return than the S&P,” writes Di Meglio. “Everywhere else, students would have been better off—financially, at least—if they invested the money they spent on their college educations and never set foot in a classroom.”

The idea is simple, in far too many cases, students would have been better off investing the cost of college in the stock market.Thirty years later, they would have had a better return on their investment and would be able to add to that return all the money they earned from putting their high school diploma to work.

The Real Lessons from PayScale

Of course, the very nature of the PayScale survey data, the idea of trying to quantify the value of a college degree in dollars does not address any of the other benefits of a college education. Whether it be the critical reasoning skills, the amazing experience or the values of an educated populace, there are many other ways a college degree has value.

But it is imperative that students understand fully what the overall return on a college degree will be. Only then can one assess the costs associated with that degree.

When taking out the rhetoric and the defensiveness, there are five key lessons from the PayScale survey.

Lesson One: Major/Career Choice Matters Greatly

One reason for a potential low return on investment is most definitely one’s career choice. A focus on liberal arts, teaching, social services and other similar academic majors lead to careers in lower paying occupations.

In contrast, graduates who go into careers in engineering and science have an enormous advantage when it comes to potential career earnings. It is for this simple reason that a school like Harvey Mudd would produce a great monetary return whereas a small liberal arts college like Skidmore would produce a lower ROI.

Ones career choice is critical in terms of both job satisfaction and earnings, most particularly in that order. When looking at ROI, be sure to carefully examine schools based on both elements.

Lesson Two: Finish and Finish in Four Years

The best way to make your return on investment high is to minimize the costs of your education. And one of the most critical factors is to stay on task and complete your program in four years.

Taking five or six years to complete a program means 25 to 50 percent more in costs as well as one to two years less time earning a paycheck. Keep your nose to the grindstone and remember why you are attending school – to earn a diploma.

But as much as it means to finish in four years it must be said that finishing is critical as well. Nothing is worse than shelling out tens of thousands or a hundred thousand dollars plus only to be applying for jobs with just a high school credential.

Lesson Three: Limit Your Borrowing

Given that the highest rates of return were in the 13 to 14 percent range we can truly see that borrowing for school is a net negative. Remember, only 88 schools out performed the market and returned 11 percent plus.

Imagine now when you factor in borrowing money to pay those college costs. Such a step raises your cost of attendance significantly when the interest rate on loans is factored in.

And nothing is more important to understand than borrowing for one of the lesser paying occupational fields is truly bad practice. It might make some sense to borrow for a career in engineering but it makes almost no sense to borrow funds if you plan to enter the teaching profession.

Lesson Four: Do Your Homework

While those elite private schools sat at the top of the ROI list, many public schools proved to be equally good values even while being far cheaper to attend. But the key is to look in state as most often the ROI fell a couple of percentage points when factoring in the additional costs for out-off-state students.

Twenty six different schools could offer a rate exceeding 12% for in state-students:

Cal Berkeley, Cal San Diego, UCLA, and Cal Poly; the Universities of Florida, Washington, Delaware, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, and Virginia; other well-known public schools like NC State, James Madison, Purdue, Texas A & M, Virginia Tech, and William and Mary; and the surprises like the Colorado School of Mines, the Georgia Institute of Technology, St. Mary’s of Maryland, Binghampton and the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Once again though we can see that career major choices matter greatly by examining the schools in the above list. And a further examination of the PayScale list will provide a number of schools you should think twice about attending.

Lesson Five: Advanced Degrees Matter More

The PayScale survey examines only data for those with a bachelor’s degree as their terminal degree. Many experts indicate that a bachelor’s degree is essentially the 21st century equivalent of the 20th century high school diploma.

The recent Georgetown University Center on Education & the Workforce indicates that advanced and professional degrees are more likely the factor today for a serious ROI. According to the Georgetown study, the gross lifetime earnings for someone with a professional degree is nearly $4.7 million.

So if the goal is truly to increase earning potential, we can add the concept of pursuing an advanced degree to that of ones choice of major. In fact, we might say that if you are thinking about going to college, you should be thinking about more than a bachelor’s degree from the very start.

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Submitting Resumes Online – Automated Tracking Software Changing the Game

Posted on Mar. 9th 2010 by Amelia

Last week we took a look at the various resume types and gave a few pointers as to the theory behind each format. This week we take a second step and look at the creation of a resume that will be submitted online via a job board or company web site.

It is extremely important for job applicants to realize that the same technology that allows you to create several different resumes and forward them at the click of a mouse is also being employed on the other end by large businesses. Today, resumes and applications submitted online generally go automatically into a database for storage and analysis.

iStock_000008959134XSmallWhat may be a surprise to readers is that those files are often scanned first by sophisticated software before ever being seen by a person at the human resource office. In fact, a resume submitted online will most likely need to pass specific muster or it will never touch human hands.

Applicant Tracking Software

With companies receiving hundreds of resumes (in some instances, thousands) for every job opening, recruiters today utilize technology to help them manage the volume of materials submitted. Applicant tracking software systems (ATS) are used to help recruiters in all facets of the process, from storing the applicant files to recording all communications that take place between the recruiter and an applicant.

Recruiters can handle the first step in the screening process by programming the software to review the submitted resumes according to key criteria. To do so, the recruiter will take some key words or words from the job advertisement or from the job description and let the software package scan the resumes for this specific language.

The ATS software will select from the database only those resumes containing the key words or phrases. Once the applicant pool is reduced, the recruiter may take the new list and run a second scan, a third, or any number for that matter, using another set of words or phrases each time.

Essentially, the recruiter, without ever laying eyes on the resumes directly, utilizes technology to weed them down to a manageable number that he or she can then review individually.

The Need for Targeted, Properly Formatted Resumes

First, when submitting online, you should avoid using the functional resume format and instead create a specific targeted resume that is adjusted for each opening. Most importantly, the resume must be loaded with the aforementioned key words and phrases.

To be sure you have included those words, review the job advertisement language carefully for the skills and expectations noted. Better yet, get a copy of the job description for the position and review it as well. To be sure you hit all corners, use both the title and the abbreviation at some points just in case – for a human resources opening you want to use the phrase human resources as well as the accepted abbreviation, HR.

iStock_000007155263XSmallSecond, you should use global and generic job titles and descriptors and avoid using unique phrases or titles that a prior employer might have used. The suggestion is to use a simple phrase such as sales professional to describe any position held that involves sales (as opposed to inside sales, outsides sales, manufacturer’s representative, direct consumer sales, etc.).

Lastly, it seems that most ATS software packages cannot scan power point or PDF formats. Others also struggle with the use of fancy formatting.

Applicants should use traditional text formats such as Microsoft Word and minimize the use of text highlighting such as the use of italics, underlining or bolding. Though those elements might make the hard copy more visually enticing, they can only confuse the automated system.

Online Submissions

So remember, when submitting a resume online to a large job board or company you may well be screened multiple times by a computer software package. While such a concept clearly does not allow a company to personalize the process and may well weed out some great people in the initial phases, when a recruiter is receiving hundreds if not thousands of resumes for each opening, personalizing the process is out of the question to begin with.

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