All Posts By

Nate

Other Student Life

Rate My Professor

December 6, 2019

One of the best pieces of advice often given to incoming college students is to “take professors, not classes.” Having good professors makes all the difference in college which is why Rate My Professor is an absolute must-use site.

RMP is a website that allows students to, well, rate their professors. Students rate professors and the difficulty of their class on a scale from 1-5. Students are also asked whether they would take the class again and are forced to leave a written review. This is an extremely useful tool when deciding which professors to take classes from and can make a huge difference in your college success. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when using RMP. Here are five tips to help you use RMP to its full potential:

Number of Reviews

First, it is very important to keep in mind the sample size that a certain professor has on RMP. If a professor only has 10 reviews, then RMP might not be an extremely useful resource in this case. Pay attention to the number of reviews a professor has!

Consider the Rating

Students that leave reviews are typically on one extreme end of the spectrum: a vast majority of reviews on RMP are by students that either absolutely love or absolutely hate the professor. This means that a lot of professors have an overall ranking of around 3. This does not necessarily mean that they are a bad professor! When this is the case, you need to do a little deeper research.

Read the Reviews Carefully

Third, you must read the reviews that students leave. This is where you will find out if the professor favors homework or exams. You will learn whether his lectures are engaging or monotonous. Former students will tell you if attending class is necessary or if you can get by without going. Every student has a preferred style of learning, and it is important to choose professors that match your style.

Read Reviews for the Right Class

Pay attention to which class students leave reviews for. Every review will show which class the student took. Some professors are good at teaching one class and not so good at teaching other classes. This might mean that a professor has a relatively average overall rating while still excelling in one of the classes they teach. For example, an economics 110 professor can have great ratings from his Econ 110 students and less than average ratings from his 400 level students.

Leave a Review!

Make sure to pay it forward by leaving a rating on RMP after you take a class. RMP has helped all of us immensely, so it’s really the least we can do. Be honest in your review and write something that will be useful for future students considering your professor.

Choosing classes for the next semester can be a little daunting, but definitely be sure to use Rate My Professor to make that decision just a little easier.

Health Other

Free is Better!

September 6, 2019

College is expensive! Luckily, there are loads of zero cost resources available to you on campus. You are paying thousands of dollars to attend school so get your money’s worth. Here are a few “free” resources that every student should take advantage of:

Gym/Pool: Nearly every university has a weight room and pool available to students. Check with the fitness center to see if free fitness classes are also offered.

Tennis/Racquetball/Volleyball/Basketball Courts: Not only is there free access to these facilities, but most universities also offer free equipment rentals. There are usually scheduled nights where you can drop in and play a pickup game.

Sporting Events: A lot of universities offer free admission to sporting events. Football and basketball games are always popular, but you might have just as much fun at a volleyball or tennis match. In addition, free shirts are everywhere at sporting events.

Tutors: Paying for a personal tutor can be extremely expensive, but many universities offer free tutors. In addition, utilize your university’s writing center, where qualified students will edit your essays and research papers for free.

Software: Using your student email address, most universities offer free software downloads. This typically includes Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and much more. Before you buy any software, make sure to check if it is available through your university, as you will likely get a discount.

Food: There is free food EVERYWHERE at university. If you pay attention you will see flyers for events almost every day offering free pizza, ice cream, etc. The only real cost is your time (which might not be worth that much if you play Fortnite as often the average college student).

Intramurals: There are intramurals for several sports, including flag football, volleyball, basketball, kickball, tennis, and frisbee. Intramurals are great for the guys who peaked in high school when they were the captain of the varsity basketball team, but they are also a great way to meet people and stay active. Be warned, intramurals can be very competitive. If you want to play intramurals but don’t want to get in any fights, then consider playing on a coed team.

Counseling: University may expose you to more stress then you have ever experienced in your life. It’s completely normal if you start to develop depression or anxiety. Luckily, universities offer complimentary counseling services. Do not be afraid to use these resources! You might be surprised at how many people utilize them.

Using these resources will enrich your college experience without breaking the bank. For more ways to save money, refer to the Not-Rich Guide made by students at the University of Michigan. Although this guide is specific to the University of Michigan, much of the advice is applicable wherever you go to school. Your university may even have its own “Not-Rich” guide or something similar to assist you in saving money!

Other Student Life

Do Your Homework Before You Buy Your Books

July 22, 2019

You’ve probably heard every college student out there complain about having to buy books. You can’t really blame them though; buying books for one semester can cost hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars. Here are a few tips to help you avoid wasting money on books.

Don’t buy any books before the first day of class. This might sound crazy, but it will save you a lot of money. Every class has a “required” book list, which leads students to believe they need to have every book on the list. This is not true! Go to the first day of class and ask the professor (or the TA) how much the book will be used. They might say that you will only have one or two assignments out of the book all year or that the reading from the book is optional. Most of the time, however, the professor will probably reinforce that the book is “required,” but it still might not be true.

Talk to someone who has taken the course. Find someone who has taken the course and ask them. They will know better than anyone if you really need the $300 Introduction to Philosophy book that you are never going to read again. Students who have already taken the course will be your best resource in knowing if you actually need the books on your list. 

*Note: if someone tells you that you don’t need a book for a class and they are on academic probation, they may not be the best source of information. Talk to someone who did well in the class.

Unfortunately, there are some books that you will need; there will be no way to do well in the class without them. You can still avoid wasting money if you play it smart.

Buy/rent from Amazon or another online site. You should probably never buy a book from your university bookstore. It will be overpriced, and the store will give you very little money if you resale to them at the end of the semester. The exact book you need can easily be located online using the ISBN number. It is very rare that you won’t be able to find the book you are looking for on Amazon, Redshelf, or some other site. If it is cheaper to rent than buy, always rent (especially when dealing with textbooks). You’re never going to even think about opening your Econometrics book after the semester is over. It won’t happen. You can rent a digital version that you can access on your computer or a hard copy that gets mailed to you. 

Consider buying an older edition of the textbook. There may be a class that will require the 6th edition of the textbook. However, the 5th edition will be nearly identical to the 6th edition and will be much more affordable. As long as major changes weren’t made to the text, you will be fine buying older versions of the textbook. This is something you can check with people who have taken the course. You are not the first student that has attempted to use the 5th edition instead of the 6th. Find someone who did and see how they fared. 

The only thing worse than buying expensive books is buying expensive books you don’t need. Or that you could have rented for much less. Do your homework before you buy your books, follow these tips from GradGuard, and you will save thousands of dollars during your time in college.

Health Other

Finding That Drive to go to the Gym

June 13, 2019

Another week passes by and you didn’t go to the gym once. Maybe you are starting to reconsider paying $20/month to feel guilty every time you sleep in. Most of us want to go to the gym. But we also want to avoid academic probation. And watch New Girl. And sleep for more than four hours. Actually getting yourself to the gym as a college student can feel impossible at times, but these tips will make it easier.

Find a Gym Buddy

Having someone to go to the gym with is crucial. Knowing that someone is expecting you to meet them at the gym at 5:00 am might be just the push you need to get out of bed. Odds are they need that push too. Having a gym buddy creates a symbiotic relationship where you and your workout partner can motivate each other to “get jacked” (or do yoga).

Put it in Your Calendar

Saying “I’ll go when I have time” is not an effective strategy for making it to the gym. You’re a college student; you never have time! Plan a time, put it in your calendar, and stick to it. If you don’t know what time of the day you are going to the gym then you will never go.

Note: Most gyms are going to be crowded early in the morning and later at night. If working out in a full gym bothers you then try to go between 11a-4p.

Create a Workout Schedule

Don’t overcomplicate this part. Maybe you know you want to do cardio on Monday and Wednesday and weights on Tuesday and Thursday. Your workout schedule does not need to be overly specific, but it does need to exist. One of the main reasons we don’t go to the gym is because we have no idea what we are going to do when we get there. If you have no idea how to create a workout schedule, Google it. Thousands of workout programs are available for free online, so find one that will work for you.

Find Something to Listen to

Whether it’s tunes, podcasts, or audiobooks, having something to entertain you while you are at the gym will help motivate you a little more. Try finding a podcast or audiobook you enjoy and then commit to only listening to it at the gym; that way you will feel more inclined to go and have something specifically set for when you are there.

Though getting that gym motivation isn’t always the easiest, it is a great stress reliever for college students. With these wellness tips from GradGuard, you will be on your way to a healthier, less-stressed you!