Browsing Category

Student Life

Student Life Uncategorized

5 Things You MUST Do Before Winter Break

December 4, 2016
5 Things You Must Do Before WInter Break

Finals, the holidays, packing for break – you’ve got a lot on your mind and a lot to do (and probably not that much sleep!), no doubt. However, before you head home for winter break from college, there are some things you absolutely MUST do to make sure you leave this semester on good note and will start the next one safely, healthily and happily!

Make Sure Your Work is Done

Before you leave, make sure you’ve gotten everything in before the grading period. Check your syllabi and fill out your course evaluations, and if you can try to sell back your books now. You may want to write a thank you note to the professors whose classes you enjoyed most, it could go a long way to keeping the lines of communication open in case you’ll want to ask them for a recommendation in the future. Wrapping up this semester is the first step in starting next semester strong.  Make sure all loose ends are tied up!

  • Check your syllabi for any outstanding items
  • Email or send a thank you note to your professors
  • Sell back your books to the bookstore or find a friend who will need your copy
  • Make sure to return any library books before the break to avoid fees

Pack Up Your Valuables

Leaving school for the winter break means your things will sit in your room for a couple weeks, without you there to keep an eye on them. Whether it’s theft or damage to the building from a snowstorm, your valuables could be vulnerable while you’re away. Take your valuables with while you’re away for so long to ensure that they’ll be taken care of – like your laptop, jewelry and favorite clothes.

  • Make sure you have a way to safely transport your laptop
  • Locate and pack any jewelry or valuables like cash

Check the Dates

Before you leave school, make sure you know when the residence halls and campus close and open back up again. If these dates conflict with your travel plans, make the necessary arrangements to either stay on campus or find somewhere else to go if it is closed. Also be sure to check your travel logistics to make sure everything still works and so you’ll be sure to be on time!

  • Check your school’s break dates and if the residence halls will close during that time
  • Confirm your travel itineraries
  • Make necessary adjustments or arrangements if above dates affect your travel plans

Clean Your Mini Fridge

This is way more important than you may realize – seriously! No one wants to come back to a moldy, smelly, little fridge stinking up your whole room, so make sure to clean it out and properly defrost it before you head home for a couple weeks.

  • Throw out any perishable food in your room
  • Clean the interior of your mini fridge
  • Defrost your fridge, find a guide here

Secure Your Room/Apartment

You’ll be away for several weeks, so make sure your room is secure and clean! You’ll want to return to an orderly space with everything just as you left it. Try to give yourself time after studying to clean up your space and make sure you secure the windows, unplug your electronics and make sure everything is good to go for your weeks away. If you have Renters Insurance, ensure your inventory is up-to-date, in case anything happens to your stuff while you are away.

  • Ensure all windows are closed tight and locked, for both weather and theft purposes
  • Hide any valuables and make sure your curtains are closed
  • Empty all trash
  • Turn down the heat, but not too low so your pipes don’t freeze!
  • Unplug any unnecessary electronics
  • Check to make sure your inventory is up-to-date
  • Lock all doors after leaving

With these tips, you’ll be ready for a relaxing college winter break! Enjoy!

Student Life Uncategorized

A College Guide to Cramming for Fall Midterms

November 8, 2016


Fall Midterms are a mid-semester source of stress.  Many are complete and for some students, they will happen during the first weeks of November.    Take note – millions of college students have been through this moment in time. You are not alone.

For most college students, midterms are looming closer and closer, that one last roadblock before the relief that is Thanksgiving.  And while some of your peers may have gotten the jump on studying for exams, there are plenty others that let things get the better of them.

Fear not, procrastinators, for we have the ultimate guide for cramming for your midterm exams!

Continue Reading

Student Life Uncategorized

College Survival 101: Living with Your Roommate

September 15, 2016

Adjusting to living with a roommate can be hard because you never know how it’s going to go or what to expect. Here are some tips for a successful roommate experience:

  1. Don’t stress. Remember this is probably your roommate’s first time living away from home and with someone they do not know, so you are probably experiencing the same concerns as you. It’s always good to talk to your roommates before move-in day, talking to them and just beginning the process of getting to know each other may put you more at ease.
  2. Plan ahead. Not only will talking to your roommate help calm your nerves but it also gives you both time to discuss who will be bringing what. Especially when moving into the dorms, the spaces can be small and having two fridges, microwaves, televisions, etc. will only limit your space. Some people also like to coordinate furniture and other things like that.
  3. Negotiate and compromise. This is necessary when living with anyone. Negotiation will keep everyone happy and feeling comfortable in their living space. If you like to blast music at all hours of the night but your roommate has an 8 a.m., by not blasting your music you are showing courtesy and — who knows — maybe your roommate will return the favor!
  4. Build a relationship. I’m not saying you need to best friends until the end of eternity, but having at least a cordial relationship really can make a difference. If you and your roommate become really close friends that’s great, but no need to force a relationship.
  5. Respect. Simple, treat your roommate how you’d like to be treated. All about the compromise and negotiation, never demand anything and always have an open, honest line of communication.
  6. Have a Plan. Make sure you and your roommate are on the same page about what happens if your belongings get damaged or stolen from your dorm. Look into renters insurance policies to protect everyone’s belongings and liability.
  7. Have fun!

Living with your roommate in college can be fun, but it can also be stressful. Check out these tips to start off on the right foot!

Student Life Uncategorized

7 Free Apps To Simplify College Life

August 31, 2016

College life involves a huge amount of responsibility. You now have to depend on yourself to stay on track and manage time and money effectively. Luckily, we’re living in an age where you can access almost anything, anywhere. If you invest a few minutes now to download some helpful apps and organize yourself, your sanity will thank you later.

Here are a 7 of our favorite apps to help simplify your life in college:


Brainscape  |  SiteiOS App

You’ll need to do a lot of studying in college and a good amount of that studying will likely involve committing information to memory. Create digital flashcards with Brainscape to help you with that! Becuase it’s an app, you’ll be able to keep your flashcards with you wherever you are. Kill time on long bus rides or while you’re waiting for your friends by making good use of it and boosting your productivity!


Todoist  |  SiteiOS AppAndroid App

So much going on at school! If you don’t already have an established way to keep track of all of the things you need to do, consider Todoist. It has a simple interface and will allow you to quickly log whatever task needs doing at a later time. This way, when you’re trying to figure out whether you forgot to complete anything before the start of a new week, you’ll have a single place to reference and keep yourself on track.


MyScript Smartnote  |  SiteiOS App – Android App

Some people are better note takers when they write, rather than when they type. If this sounds like you, it may be a good idea to download an iPad app for that exact purpose. You’ll get all of the benefits of having digitized notes, along with a note-taking style that feels more natural to you.


Evernote  |  SiteiOS AppAndroid App

Even if you prefer taking notes by hand, don’t disregard Evernote. If you ever need to keep a lot of information on hand, and would like for that information to be easily searchable, look no further. You can keep various people’s contact info, your schedule, copy/pasted tidbits from your online research, even photos of the handwritten notes you took, all in one central location that has been made easily accessible from almost anywhere.


Chegg  |  Site – iOS AppAndroid App

Taking a lot of Gen Ed requirements this semester? Why permanently store and spend hundreds on textbooks that don’t relate to your major, when you can rent those same textbooks for a fraction of the price? You can then put that extra money toward better athletic gear or more fun activities around campus! Already bought your textbooks?  You can sell them back to Chegg at the end of the semester and get some of that money back.


Venmo  |  SiteiOS AppAndroid App

Chances are, as you continue to spend time with your friends, there will be times when you have to spot one another. Because college students are on a tight budget, it’s important to be able to pay back and be paid back in these situations. Venmo is a pretty widely-used app just for this purpose. Because it’s so popular, it’s one of the more reliable digital methods of exchanging money. Plus, at the end of a semester, you’ll be able to look back on your transactions and see where that money went… something that isn’t as easy to do with cash.


Mint  |  SiteiOS AppAndroid App

So, you and your friends are all set, making sure nobody owes each other money. Now it’s time to track your overall budget. Mint is a great service that you can connect to your bank accounts to keep track of where your funds go every month. Though you likely already have a pretty good idea of your overall spending picture, with Mint, you may start to pick up on some patterns that had previously gone unnoticed.



Protect your sanity and stay organized with free apps for college students!

Student Life Uncategorized

9 Tips to Start a Successful New Semester

August 25, 2016
Everything You Need to Know to Start Your Semester Off Right

It’s that time of year! Whether you’re a returning student just starting to get back into the swing of dealing with a structured schedule, or an incoming freshman trying to start your college experience off on the right foot, it’s important to take steps to set yourself up for success this semester.

Continue Reading

Student Life Uncategorized

6 Things College Students Should Do To Prepare for the Fall Semester

August 13, 2016
6 things to prepare for the fall semester

The fall semester has arrived. Maybe you don’t want to believe it, but coursework, papers and lectures are becoming a part of your daily life again. What have you done to prepare yourself for the upcoming academic year at college?

If you haven’t put much thought into it, check out this to-do list for returning college students:

Set personal and academic goals

What do you want to accomplish this year? Maybe you’d like to make more friends or be more social. Maybe you’d like to study more and party less. Or try out for a sport or take more advantage of the campus gym. Or perhaps there’s a club you’d like to join. Whatever your goals are, write them down someplace where you’ll be able to reference them often and gauge your progress.

Same with academic goals. Are you aiming for a 4.0? Or do you want to pull your Cs up to Bs? Maybe you’d like to write better papers. Or you’re applying for a prestigious grant and need to work on meeting the requirements. Whatever your goals, keep them written down someplace. Define the steps you’ll need to take to achieve them, be it seeking help at the tutoring lab or asking one of your professors to mentor you through the grant application process.  

Get into a routine

Few things are as shocking to the system as going from totally irresponsible to totally responsible within one day or two. If you’ve been partying all night (or, more likely, watching Netflix all night… ) and sleeping all day, stop. Set a date for the party to end and make it soon. Give yourself some time to start getting serious again. Though college life should also include fun and leisure, the point of it is earning an academic degree and you should be taking your time there seriously, not wasting it.

Start waking up earlier, defining tasks to be done each day and going to bed sooner. Lay off the booze and the socializing. You’ll be glad you came back to school with a calm mind and clear head rather than stumbling onto campus with the summer’s parties still wreaking havoc on your body.  Plan your semester and year.  Welcome the support of your parents and suggest ways they can help keep you on schedule.  


College requires an awful lot of reading. If you haven’t been spending any time reading over the summer, you might want to crack open a few books to get back into the swing of things. If you know what courses you’ll be taking next year, read books that are related to those topics to get ahead on classroom discussions. If you’re not sure what to read, here’s a curated summer reading list for college students from the Washington Post.

Set a budget

College fees and tuition, books, food, entertainment can all put a strain on your budget. If you’re a returning student, you should have a good idea how much money you spent the previous year. Take a look at areas where you could save or, if money is an issue, consider getting a part-time job while in school to supplement your spending. Most colleges have a job board posted in the student lounge, library or counseling centers. Make sure you have your financial situation sorted out before returning to college, so you can be the first in line for highly coveted on-campus jobs.

Protect your stuff – even things from home

Be careful with your expensive property.  Your backpack can be filled with thousands of dollars of electronics and books.  Easily resold by thefts that are looking for an easy buck.   Be sure to get a renters insurance policy that is designed for students – a low deductible plan that offers real coverage for your property and personal liability such as the one offered through GradGuard can really be helpful.   Better than expensive stuff – bring to campus framed photographs of friends and family, a tupperware of your mother’s cookies, your high school yearbook or some other memorabilia. Even though you have your friends at school, sometimes it can be hard to be away from home. Bring something with you that will help when you miss your friends and family.

Consider your health and habits

Student health issues are real.  The stress of living on your own and being in an active community can expose students to illnesses and injuries that can disrupt your education.  Take a moment to consider what will happen if you are forced to withdraw from school mid-semester.  Most times, schools will not provide 100% refund of your tuition so you could be risking thousands of dollars of tuition and fees.  If you can’t afford the cost of an extra semester be sure to have your families purchase tuition insurance.  Tuition insurance has to be purchased before classes begin but is often an affordable way to protect yourself and your education.  In addition, watch your habits. If you’re spending a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or Whatsapp, then chances are you’re going to have a hard time breaking that habit when classes start. Start to set time limits for yourself in the weeks before school starts. If it’s hard for you to stick to it, then you know it’s a problem. Check out this article on how to kick your social media addiction.


Cari Bennette is a blogger and ghost writer and contributed to the original article in 2015.  She works at custom writing service and shares her advice on academic writing, grammar and editing. Cari loves to blog about education and college life, follow her on Twitter.

Student Life Uncategorized

Using Senior Year to Prepare for the Professional World

August 11, 2016

Congrats! You’re almost there. Just one or two semesters stand in your way of a degree.

You may remember the term Senioritis being used often when you were a senior in high school. How enjoyable was it to be the oldest kids on campus while not having to worry about much except what college life was going to bring? As you’re welcoming your final year of college, you may start feeling the urge to do the bare minimum just to get you to your diploma. However, it is in your best interest to make sure you keep organized, go to your classes, and stay motivated for the remainder of the year to set yourself up for success in the beginning of your professional life.

As a senior, it’s important to really start thinking about your job prospects after college. Now that you are close to finished with your major, you may have a better idea of where you’d like your career to take you. To finish the year strong and set yourself up for success, make sure you follow these tips as you prepare for graduation:

  1. Visit the Student Career Center
    If you haven’t already been there, the student career center is a helpful source of information for navigating the job market. Career centers often have an abundance of workshops to help you fine-tune your resume or practice your interviewing skills.
  2. Attend career Fairs
    Universities generally provide a career fair at least once per semester. Career fairs are a great way to start putting your professional self out there and seeing what kinds of skills and experience various employers are looking for in entry-level candidates.
  3. Brush up on your networking skills
    You should also start to network as much as you can. Talk to your teachers, advisers, parents’ friends, and colleagues. Find out what’s going on at businesses they are connected to and see if you have the opportunity to learn more about what types of roles may be open and what the requirements are. If you don’t have one already, create a LinkedIn profile and start making professional connections.
  4. Start the job search
    Next, start job searching on your own. There are plenty of websites which employers use to add current and upcoming vacant roles. Create an account on websites like Indeed, StartJobs, and CareerBuilder. These sites also provide helpful resources for job seekers of all levels.
  5. Enjoy the rest of your time in college
    Make sure to work in some time to spend time with your friends and enjoy this time in your life! Taking steps to prepare for the real world is without a doubt important, but so is nurturing your friendships and keeping yourself sane.

Please visit GradGuard for all of your insurance needs.

Student Life Uncategorized

5 Steps to Protect Yourself From Theft on Campus

August 9, 2016
Protecting your valuables at college

As much as we may like to think that it will never happen to us, the unfortunate fact of the matter is that theft is a real thing that happens to the best of people.

And especially in such a closed in environment as a college campus, it can be a breeding ground for thieves. In fact, a public safety officer of Arizona State University described the campus “a Mall for Thieves”. In fact, campus crime is a major issue.

The most comprehensive analysis by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting recorded approximately 73,545 university and campus crimes in 2014.

Living independently – on campus or off – brings new forms of risk to college life and it is important to recognize that you are responsible for your personal property as well as any damage you may create.

It is important to note that colleges report that they do not replace stolen student property.  As a result, many schools recommend their campus residents purchase renters insurance from GradGuard.Renters-97% of housing-do-not-replace-computers and bikes renters factoids

However, there are a few things you can do to ensure your peace of mind – and your stuff – stays intact.

1. Lock your doors. It seems like common sense, right? However, a lot of people don’t feel the need to lock their doors often. Certainly, your door doesn’t need to be locked 24/7, but if you or your roommates are sleeping, or are not going to be home, it really is essential. It takes a few extra seconds, but can mean the difference to coming home to your Macbook, television, and Xbox, or coming home to an empty room. The same goes for your car doors, too!
2. Don’t advertise. In college, it’s inevitable that you’re going to be bringing some expensive equipment with you. Having a laptop is essential, and there are often many other items that would cost a pretty penny to replace. So, while you can’t avoid having them with you, you can avoid what you broadcast about them. You don’t need to be shouting about how expensive your stereo or computer were, or how you just got that new state of the art gaming system. This is like a big red flag for thieves, and it’s not all that hard for them to figure out where you live once they’re interested. Be smart about what you say to whom.

3. Write down serial numbers and take an inventory. In the unfortunate event that you are a victim of theft, it’s a good idea to have a list of your electronics’ serial numbers tucked away in a safe place. This can often help the odds of getting a stolen item back, as the police have a definitive idea of which is yours. Also, if you take an inventory of your belongings, which you should store online or in the cloud, you’ll know exactly what you’ve lost, so it is easier to replace in an insurance claim or easily for the authorities to track down.

4. Lock it up. Often in college, there is a need to have important documents such as your birth certificate, social security card, or papers from banks and loan lenders handy. However, if these are stolen, it can spell disaster. The best bet is to purchase an inexpensive lock box, preferably a fire proof one, to keep all of your important documents and artifacts in. For added protection, you can even purchase a bike lock and chain it to your bed or a shelf in your closet to be certain it can’t be removed from your room by anyone but yourself. The same goes for bikes themselves, too. You have to chain your bike up or it will almost be guaranteed to disappear.

5. Get Protected with Renters insurance. Renter’s insurance for students is really a smart idea.  Not all plans are the same.  Many renters plans available through the internet have a high deductible.  Starting at $500 it doesn’t cover the smaller claims and provide much value to students.  In addition, other plans require good credit or a credit check to secure coverage.

GradGuard’s™ renters insurance program is the only one that includes Exclusive Student Endorsement in each policy that contains unique college benefits such as:

  • Campus residents can receive preferred pricing (10-15% lower than standard rates)
  • All residents of campus housing will be approved – no individual credit checks
  • Full replacement coverage & world-wide property coverage
  • Affordable deductibles starting at $100.

Be sure to protect yourself both with both renters insurance and with good habits.

Student Life Uncategorized

Things That Cost More Than Renters Insurance

August 5, 2016

Chances are you’re bringing quite a few things along to college with you this year. Some of those things, such as your bike, laptop, and X-Box are big-ticket, expensive items that you need to make it through the semester a sane human being. So, what would happen if those items were stolen or damages? You’d be out a lot of cash just trying to replace them.

On a college student budget, replacing a laptop could be disastrous. In addition to being diligent about your stuff, students can also consider protecting their stuff with GradGuard Renter’s Insurance!

Renters insurance provides valuable financial protection for your stuff and personal liability. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average annual cost of a renters insurance policy is $184; that is less than $16 per month! That doesn’t seem out of reach even on a student budget. Actually, $16 per month is just 53 cents a day!

There are some things in college you spend more on like…

  • Coffee (just a plain black drip coffee costs more if you are getting one every day)
  • Going to the movies with your friends. Even if you just see 1-2 movies a month it will cost more than renters insurance.
  • Newspaper
  • Dorm laundry facility
  • Bus or subway rides
  • Your cell phone
  • A pack of gum/mints
  • A bottle of water
  • Late night pizza
  • Late night Jimmy John’s
  • Making copies at the library (they can get expensive!)
  • Gas for your car (if you are commuting or want to go home every weekend)

Some of these things might not apply to you, but when you think of the things that can happen in college where something of yours might need to be replaced due to covered damage or theft, having renters insurance is definitely worth the price! Make the smart buy and get protection with the only renters insurance that contains an exclusive college student endorsement – with unique features and coverage designed for college life- from GradGuard.