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Reducing College Costs

June 21, 2016

College is expensive and college costs continue to climb every year but there are ways to help manage the rising costs.

  1. Apply for financial aid – even if you think your family earns too much money to qualify, send in the forms.
  2. Look for scholarships – scholarships are available to students that aren’t based on need.
  3. Apply for loans – many student loans do not require payments until schooling has been completed.
  4. Apply for grants – Grants give students money that does not have to be paid back after graduation.
  5. The Federal Student Work Program provides jobs to students.  These jobs often relate to their field of study, allowing students to get real world experience.
  6. Look for jobs through your academic institution.  Some schools offer jobs that come with tuition discounts and wages.
  7. Programs such as AmeriCorps, Vista, the ROTC and the Peace Corps will help pay off student loans or provide funds during college in exchange for a service commitment upon graduation.
  8. Tax breaks on 529 plans and larger deductions also are available.
  9. Take the first two years at a community college. Pick one that has an articulation agreement with a four-year university. It’s quite common and specifies which community-college credits will be accepted toward a bachelor’s degree at the four-year institution.
  10. If attending a four year college, take summer school at a community college near home.
  11. Get college credit early. Many high schools offer college-level classes to prepare for Advance Placement exams.

Paying for the basics

  1. The cheapest living is living at home with mom and dad, if you can.
  2. If you are planning on or required to live on or near campus, don’t buy the most expensive meal plan if you are not going to use it.
  3. Furnish your room with great finds from thrift shop rather then new decor.
  4. Be a resident assistant.  This job is typically open to undergraduate students and provides students with discounts on room and board.
  5. Ask your family to buy a home.  It may seem like a crazy idea but renting out other rooms can offset monthly mortgage payments.
  6. Paying for textbooks often costs college students nearly a $1000 a year.
    1. Purchasing books online using sites like,, and College Book Swap can help with the high costs of books.
    2. Avoid purchasing books when they are priced the highest, August, September, January and February.
    3. Purchase ebooks, ebooks are generally much lower in price and provide students access to the same information.
    4. Look for free books, one company, Freeload Press, provides some electronic texts free of charge.
    5. Consider international editions of books, some international texts are cheaper then US versions but contain the same content.
    6. Share books with other students or use a library copy.
    7. Resell your books when you are through.

College students typically have a small budget so maintain it well.  Little things add up quickly.

  1. Having a car can be a major expense if you are paying the bill.  If it is possible for you to walk or take the bus, do so.
  2. Compare cell phone plans, some carriers offer special discounts to students to help generate business.  Take advantage of these deals!
  3. Shop around for your computer.  It is hard to get through school without a computer but you can find great deals on computers if you shop around and compare prices.
  4. Find out if you are being charged for health care coverage from the academic institution, it may be duplicating the coverage you are already receiving from your parents.
  5. Stay on track in school, by graduating in four years or less, you can avoid any additional debt.

All of the tips and information above was provided by First Tax Solution LLC.

Student Life Uncategorized

Hoverboards and Everyday Risks on Campus

January 12, 2016

Two Thousand and sixteen has wasted no time in generating the first “Hot Button” issue for our higher education colleagues in on-campus housing and risk management:


Discussions about the safety of Hoverboards were heard at URMIA’s (University Risk Managers)  annual meeting. The ACUHOI (Student Housing) forum and message boards started to featue near daily posts on the topic and now we are seeing frequent school press releases banning students from bringing these motorized boards to campus (GWU and AU Ban Hoverboards). The obvious question students are asking is: “Why? If I am able to bring a skateboard or a bicycle, why can I not bring a Hoverboard?”

It is clear that the purpose behind prohibiting these boards is for one reason, safety.

Students: It’s Not Just About You

“Liability Exposure” is rarely a phrase that will cross a college student’s mind while living on-campus and parents should not count on that changing anytime soon. Calculating the risk of causing a fire in your building when cooking a late night snack or lighting incense in your room does not make for a fun Saturday night. Fortunately – college and university officials have taken a prudent path to eliminate an additional risk for both students and the institutions.

There are a variety of reasons as to why a resident will have to leave their Hoverboard behind. Many are obvious, but others are useful to highlight.

  • Fires
    • This is by far the most popular reason. When recharging the battery of a Hoverboard, there have been numerous cases of over-heating and fires starting from battery problems.
  • Injuries
  • Theft
    • Schools have a hard enough time getting students to keep their bikes locked up or registered (University of Washington Bike Theft). Discussing the theft of a student’s $600+ Hoverboard will not be a fun conversation to have with a student.

Preventative Measures are Necessary, but Accidents Will Always Happen

School officials work tirelessly to prevent accidents and destructive situations from occurring. The Hoverboards crackdown is a perfect example of college officials reducing the likelihood of a hazard.

Although Hoverboards are not likely to be on par with the “Mayhem” contemplated in the Allstate television commercials, there will always be accidents and unexpected events in densely populated student housing.

According to the 2014 Clery Act reports, there were 2,101 fires reported on college and university campuses. These campus fires damaged student and campus property and led to more than 47 injuries. So, it is clear that keeping Hoverboard’s off campus appears to be a prudent path.

Hell No, Hoverboards Won’t Go!

Each diffusion of a trend will have its early majority, late majority and laggards. For those campuses that choose to allow Hoverboards in the foreseeable future, GradGuard’s renters insurance program will be a helpful remedy and student benefit.

GradGuard’s mission is to help protect students, as well as other campus residents, from unexpected financial losses. As a result, we applaud efforts that promote accident prevention and campus safety programs. Even in the best campus environments, accidents do happen and that is where GradGuard’s renters insurance program will be a helpful remedy and student benefit. Here are a few examples of how true renters insurance can be valuable form of protection.

  • Fires
    • If a student causes an accidental fire by recharging a Hoverboard, Renters Insurance will normally cover them for the unintentional damage they caused to the institution’s property and for the damage that may also occur to other student’s belongings.  The damage from small fires within student housing may not be large financially, but the water damage to student property, particularly electronics, can be significant and most often an uninsured student will be unable to afford the financial liability of replacing and repairing such damages.
  • Injuries
    • Remember the Mike Tyson Video from earlier this week. It shows Mike Tyson falling off his child’s Hoverboard. He takes a mean fall. If this injury occurred in my apartment, then I will have Iron Mike’s back ;). This is another benefit of GradGuard Renters Insurance – financial protection from accidents that occur in your residence.
  • Theft
    • Bikes, Hoverboards, Laptops, cellphones, etc. GradGuard Renters Insurance provides coverage for personal property. Whether your school bans Hoverboards or not, GradGuard Renters Insurance will protect your property from theft anywhere in the world.

The Bottom Line

Since I began writing this blog, I received three more emails about other schools that have banned Hoverboards. It is great to see that colleges and universities are quickly putting procedures in place when there is a looming problem and emerging risk.

It will be great to see the same concern focused on the day-to-day financial losses that impact students. It is prudent for campus officials to find new ways to protect students from the financial losses that result from burglaries and fires.The numbers are not small.

Clery data indicate that in 2014 alone, more than 13,000 burglaries and 2,000 fires were reported on campuses.

Although students may often look to their schools to replace stolen or damaged property, the real remedy is the protection that renters insurance provides.

No college or university official wants a student’s education disrupted by accidents, thefts, fires or injuries. As a result, providing a convenient way for students and particularly campus residents to enroll in GradGuard’s renters insurance program is a valuable step in promoting student success.

Student Life Uncategorized

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

August 27, 2015
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.


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.

Bring things that remind you of home

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.

Get your social media addiction under control

If you’re spending a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram 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. 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

8 Risks Students Should Consider Before Heading Back to College

August 18, 2015
8 Risks To Consider Before College

College is a unique life-stage, and, likewise, it presents some unique risks you and your family may not have considered before. Don’t be a statistic – understanding the risks of college life can help you take steps to protect yourself this school year.

Many of these areas of college life are particularly risky during the back-to-school season, as students adjust back to college life and freshmen  just start out in college. Before you arrive at school, it is important to have a plan in place for these risks. There are many ways to ensure you will have a safe, healthy semester. Here are 8 risks to consider, and some ideas for mitigating those risks.

1. Theft

You bring a lot of stuff with you to college, as well as some pretty expensive items. Your laptop, smartphone and bike are college basics that carry hefty price tags… and could be attractive to thieves. More than 30,000 burglaries are reported annually related to college students, including 15,000 residence hall burglaries, according to government data.

Being diligent about protecting your stuff can help – always lock your door, never leave your things unattended, avoid bringing valuables to school, and stow your belongings safely to keep them in top condition. You may also want to look into getting a lock for your bike or laptop as well as engraving certain belongings. A safe can help protect any valuables you must bring along.

Besides being mindful of and taking good care of your possessions at school, certain insurance can help you protect your belongings. Talk with your parents to see if they have a homeowners insurance plan that will cover you (and note special coverage limitations, both for eligibility and the amount of coverage you’d receive), and if it would make sense for your family to use it for your things while you’re away at school. Consider the deductibles as they compare to the cost of your more expensive college necessities as well as whether a claim filed for your belongings would affect their premium. If you do not qualify under their coverage or decide it’s not a good fit, consider renters insurance. Some plans are designed specifically for college students and feature liability protection as well.

2. Fire

Each year, fire departments respond to over 3,800 fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks, according to the NFPA. And that’s just ON campus. Fires are a serious risk on and off college campuses, both to your health and safety, but also (and more likely) your stuff, thanks to fire, smoke, or water damage.

There are many things you can and should do to check for fire safety in your residence hall or off-campus apartment, like ensuring fire alarms are in working order and that there are two ways out of your room. Don’t delay – September and October are peak months for fires in college housing, according to NFPA research. You are at increased risk at the beginning of the year, so make sure you check for fire safety as soon as you get to your residence hall or off-campus apartment.

3. Your Health

Hopefully you’ll have a happy and healthy school year, so make sure to take care of yourself! Ensuring that you get enough sleep, enough water, eat right and take time to relax and de-stress will go a long way to staying healthy at school. Taking care to wash your hands and maintain proper hygiene and cleanliness in the dorms will help you fend off germs and lower your chances of catching something going around the dorms, like the flu or a cold.

In addition to healthy habits, health insurance can help students protect themselves from the costs of healthcare should an illness or injury occur. Talk with your parents and an insurance agent to determine what kind of plan is right for you – if you’re under 26 you may opt to stay on your parent’s plan, your school may offer a plan or you may be eligible to enroll via the health insurance Marketplace.

4. Binge Drinking

This is particularly important for first year college students living at school to be mindful of – the first six weeks can be the highest-risk time period for freshmen. All students can benefit from learning about the warning signs to help a friend in need, and an understanding of how choosing to drink can your health and studies.

5. Classes

In the past 12 months, 47.4% of college students found their academics very difficult to handle. Establishing good study habits, learning about your school’s additional resources, and setting up a routine for balancing classes, studying, and other facets of college life is paramount to keeping up.

6. Finances

Sixty-five percent of college students surveyed grade themselves a “C” or worse in managing their money. That’s not a huge vote of confidence for your financial health. In fact, 33.2% of students surveyed reported that, within the last 12 months, finances have been traumatic or very difficult for them to handle. Most often students leave college due to money matters – 54% of students stated the major reason they left college was, “I needed to go work and make money.”

7.  Your Education Investment

For many families, college is a large investment. Many families also don’t know much about the details of their school’s refund policy in the event of a medical withdrawal from school. Accidents, illness and mental illnesses can be disruptive to a students’ education, and many schools do not refund 100% of tuition after a few weeks into the semester. Tuition refund insurance can help complement a school’s refund policy if you are forced to withdraw for medical reasons.

8. Travel

Travel is a part of life for many college students – whether it’s commuting, traveling away to school or studying abroad. There are many different types of insurance and benefits that can help students protect themselves while traveling or while away. Some protections to consider are travel insurance for trips and roadside assistance if you have a car on campus. Some student benefit plans combine many protections in one product, like the Student Protection Plan.

How do you stay safe at school?

Student Life Uncategorized

Exercising in College

July 14, 2015
exercising in college

It’s almost time for school to start back up! It’s crazy how fast this summer has flown by. For incoming freshmen, I’m sure you’ve heard of the “freshman 15”. Well, sorry to break it to you, but it is not a myth. But it isn’t just a thing for freshmen, it can happen to anyone in college no matter what year! Working out probably isn’t the first thing on your mind in college, but it is extremely important for your overall health… and your grades. Studies show that students who exercise regularly at college get better grades. For many students, it’s difficult to balance working out with college life. Here are some helpful tips on how to make working out in college easier!

Taking the Long Route
Most people walk to class, which is already great exercise. However, a lot of people take the shortcuts to get from here to there. Making small changes in your schedule like skipping the shortcuts or not taking the bus are great ways to increase your daily exercise. Another great way is to take the stairs instead of an elevator.

Wearing Gym Clothes To Class
One of the biggest problems while being at college is lack of time. Not enough time to study. Not enough time to sleep. Not enough time to get to class. Well I have a fix for the common saying, “I don’t have enough time to workout!” Wear your gym clothes to class! It is a huge time saver! Instead of needing to go back home to get your clothes, you have it with you. If it is colder or you don’t feel comfortable wearing your clothes to class, you can pack your clothes into your backpack before leaving for class. This provides you more time to schedule in a workout! Plus, if you’re already dressed for a workout, it’ll be harder to make excuses not to do it.

Register for Exercise Classes that Count as Credits
There are a ton of extra curricular activities that can be added into your class schedule. Some of these include swimming, yoga, basketball, weight lifting, self-defense, and others! They basically have everything you can think of and many classes can be great stress busters, thanks to the great breathwork in a yoga class or even the heart-pumping cardio of a step aerobics class, to help you blow off some steam. My school at Indiana University even has a rock climbing class! This is great because they are usually 1 or 2 credits and basically automatically requires you to get exercise in your schedule. Getting class credits for this is also a major plus.

Make a Reward System
Getting yourself to workout is always tough for some people including me. A lot of people have different systems that help them work out. A system that I like to use is a reward system. If I workout at least 3 times a week, I reward myself with something I never get. Usually it is a meal at one of my favorite restaurants! Having something to look forward to, like your favorite latte from the campus coffee shop, helps a ton when you’re starting to do something you don’t exactly like to do like working out or waking up for those 8am classes.

I can’t stress enough how important exercising in college is! Not only does it help your physical body but it also helps your mental health! College is stressful enough and working out helps reduce some of that stress and can help you get better grades.


Student Life Uncategorized

5 Things That Can Derail Your College Success

July 7, 2015
5 things that can derail your college success

Go to college or get a job. Not sure about you, but I always chose to attend college when I played the Game of Life as a child. $40,000 in the bank. Two or three turns later. And I miraculously had a high paying job. Yeah. Real life doesn’t work like that.

In real life college graduation is not assured when you begin to pursue higher education. In fact, 44% of American students who enter college never receive their diploma. And graduation is not as simple as spinning the wheel a few times. College graduates need to fight to graduate by making good decisions every step of the way. Here are five possible problems that could make or break your college education.

Mismanaging Free Time

Freedom! Freedom from parent supervision. Freedom from all of the adults who treated you like a snot nosed brat in high school. The problem? College students aren’t as free as they sometimes act.

Classes must be attended, assignments completed, and tests passed. According to an article on College Parents of America, students spend around fifteen hours in class each week, and should devote at least two to three hours studying for each hour they spend in class.

The problem? Many students fall prey to all of the unmonitored fun they can have. You want to go to that frat party or binge watch Game of Thrones? Why not make the ability to attend the party or watch another episode a reward for completing your assignments?

Sleep Deprived

Many students, unwilling (or unable) to forego all of the activities they desire, spend their college career in a sleepy daze. A 2014 study, Causes and Consequences of Sleepiness Among College Students, by Shelley D Hershner and Ronald D Chervin, found that continual sleepiness throughout college “can result in lower grade point averages, increased risk of academic failure, [and] compromised learning.”

The moral of this story? Sleep in a little. Take cat naps. And start studying for exams a week in advance. Twenty-four hour cram sessions, are not as efficient as they might seem.


Students aren’t stupid. They understand to some degree that they cannot function effectively without sleep. Energy drinks, caffeine, and various other stimulants are one common answer that many college students use to cure their fatigue.

Yes, some stimulants are legal; and yes, they can help in small doses, but they should never be used as a long-term solution. The negative health effects can be just as detrimental to your academic success as sleep deprivation. Drowning yourself in Red Bull, Monsters, Red Bulls, and even Coca-Cola could lead to heart attacks, addiction, caffeine withdrawal, jitters, and vomiting.

Did I mention that the drinks could potentially lead to ulcers?

You’ll have to decide yourself, but in my opinion, the health, finance, and academic risk are not worth the ability to crank a few more hours out of the day.

Alternate Course Requirements

Never sign up for a course or program without discovering the nitty-gritty details. Dr. RuthAnn Althaus, a program coordinator at one of Ohio University’s master programs, warns students that they should double check that the online program they are applying for does not require students fulfill “campus visits” or are held to any “attendance obligations.” On-campus programs can have similar requirements. Here are a few to be on the lookout for:

  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Workshops
  • Labs

You can usually discover these side requirements in either the course description or in the introductory syllabus. If you need the class to graduate, you might ask the professor to provide an alternative assignment you can complete. Just remember to make the request early, so you will be able to drop the class without academic repercussions.

Lack of Funds

The Game of Life got one thing right: college is expensive. Right off the bat, players take out a $40,000 loan to cover their education. The price of college is pretty close to modern day tuition. As of the 2013-2014 school years, the average tuition of a 4-year public college degree was $40,917 (Although some students, depending on the university, are paying far more.) What isn’t accurate is how easy it is to repay the loan. A loan of $40,000 dollars might take decades to repay. Decades. Is it any wonder that many students run when they realize the student loans are piling up? Don’t run yet. Let’s spend a bit of time exploring a few alternate choices.

  • Check to see if your current or potential university has any government grants. (Ohio University’s nursing program offers a federal grant to help unemployed nurses working in underserved areas.)
  • Pursue scholarships offered by your school and offered by various other institutions and companies.
  • Apply for a work study or locate a part-time job.
  • Locate an employer who will pay for your education.

The game of college life is a long and arduous task. Successful completion of your degree will require hard work, perseverance, lots of money, and the ability to make the right choices. Some students may be able to make it to the finish line by making all the wrong choice, but why take the chance you might fail. After all, the only thing worse than sinking 40K into college is sinking thousands of dollars into a college program you never complete.

Written by Samantha Stauf. Samantha Stauf is a marketing specialist who enjoys writing career, business, and education articles. You can find her at Twitter at @samstauf.

Student Life Uncategorized

10 Online Tools You Should Use While Studying Abroad

June 9, 2015

Starting out in a new country and culture is never easy. Especially when you don’t speak the language of the people around you. But don’t worry,  nowadays there are many tools at your fingertips to help you get by when studying in another country. The Internet has helped simplify studying abroad by making it easy to find essential information concerning accommodation, maps, language learning and more.

To ease your transition to studying in a new country, check out these 10 tools!

Study abroad lifestyle tools

1. Cheap Tickets

As the name says it, this website offers cheap tickets for absolutely everything: vacations, hotels, cars, cruises, flights and events. Users just have to choose a category and fill in the forms. Then, they have the possibility of sorting the results depending on best value, lowest price, distance, star rating and reviewer score.

You can choose to book both flights and hotels. In this way, the total sum of the package will be lower. After choosing the hotel, the app will display info on the flights. Then, one can even select to rent a car. In this situation, the tool warns you on the additional costs and the minimum age the driver must be.

2. Hostel World

Hostel World is practically the gold standard for booking a hostel around the world. You can find rooms on the cheap pretty much anywhere you’ll roam. Additionally, the website offers free online travel guides. Depending on the selected country, individuals have access to travel tips, free pocket guides, videos and travel itineraries.

You can download the pocket guides because they are really useful, containing info on: transportation, embassies, cheap places to eat, locations to go after dark, places that one must not miss, events that take place every month, internet access points, cheap stores, and budget tips.

Additionally, the team has put together a perfect day scenario for every city.

3. Budget Your Trip

In here, users have the possibility of checking up prices and experiences directly from other travelers. This is first-hand honest information, not influenced by any company.

Then, individuals can create their own trips and calculate the necessary budget using the website’s online tool.

The team also offers travel guides for cities all around the world, but they are not free.

The website offers an overview of interesting places to visit. Users just have to choose one country and the itinerary appears. There are three different alternatives – pick the one you like the most, or if money and time allows you, go for all of them!

The suggested itinerary also contains info on accommodation, cities and regions and a general overview.

4. AroundMe

This is a smart phone application that also works on tablets and iOS. It is perfect for getting by in a new city. With its help, one can find the nearest restaurants, banks, gas stations, or hotels. Moreover, users can book a hotel room or find a movie schedule in their area.

The app’s look is very simple and makes it easy to use. Additionally, you won’t need to carry heavy guides with you anymore!

5. TravelSafe Pro

This app works on every smart phone and contains essential information about places you want to visit. It includes a data base with emergency phone numbers and embassy contacts.

The app does not need Wi-Fi in order to function, so you can use it anywhere, anytime.

It is easy and simple to browse. One can find the necessary info in no time!


Language learning tools

6. SoundNote

This app is amazing for students! It allows you to audio record and take notes. And that’s not all – one can tap on a word from the notes and the playback goes directly to that moment of the recording! In this way, you will never miss a thing!

However, the tool is not free and it only works with iTunes or iOS. But the price is so low, that everyone can afford it.

7. Essaymama

This online writing agency is able to help international students create impressive writing.

The website’s educational blog suggests helpful study tips and infographics that will get your language writing skills to the next level. Besides, the blog has such tools as wordcounter, citation generator and essay writing guide, that will help students to fulfill their college writing tasks easier and faster.

Not to mention that the team of professional writers can assist you in proofreading and editing all kind of texts. With their experienced help, you’ll do well in your classes.

8. WordReference

This is a reliable dictionary for international students. It provides dozens of translations and alternatives, each one fit for a different context.

On the language forums, one can start new topics and ask the help of native speakers. Also, this is a great means of getting to know people from that particular country. You can even make friends!

The most useful tool in here is the “Verb conjugations” one. Unfortunately, the team has only uploaded data for three languages: French, Spanish and Italian. Consult this section whenever you are not sure about a verb’s form.

9. Sounds

This app comes from Macmillan and it provides pronunciation help for English learners. It is compatible both with iOS and Android.

The app has a Practice mode that contains in listening, writing and reading.

The vocabulary word list is not free, but not expensive either. It includes over 650 high frequency words that come along with their Macmillan definitions.

With this tool, students can learn and practice English whenever they have some spare time.

10. iTranslate

This app works with Windows operating systems. It is able to translate words, text and phrases from and to over 90 languages. It is the vital help that will break the language barrier for users, wherever they may go.

You can also use the voice input and output and listen to the words. Now all you need is a Windows operating smart phone!


With the right tools, international students can easily integrate and accommodate into new environments. Pick the apps that best fit you and always be on top of your abroad experience.

Student Life Uncategorized

Getting Involved on Campus

March 24, 2015

The spring semester is underway! With that being said, it is never too late to get involved. Another semester, another opportunity to do fun things and find ways to get more involved with the campus community and its surrounds! This is the perfect time to get out there and meet some new people, experience new opportunities, learn something new, and have an amazing time! Your campus has so much to offer and is just waiting for you to take advantage of them! There are many different ways to get involved on campus. Here are some awesome opportunities to help stay busy and push yourself in the right direction!

Join a Club

There are many different clubs that you can join! Whether it is a club about yoga, Harry Potter, or charity work, you can always find one that peaks your interest. It is a great way to meet people with similar interests as you! If you can’t find a club that pertains to your hobby or interest, make one!

Continue Reading

Student Life Uncategorized

Why Do College Students Skip Class?

March 20, 2015

The age old question… why do college students skip class? You answer is definitely of interest to your parents, if they’re helping you pay for college. Class120 and Crimson Hexagon set out to answer this question by analyzing your Tweets. They came up with many excuses for why college students aren’t attaining perfect attendance in their classes. I’ll let you be the judge – are these reasons legit?


Skipping Class

Student Life Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Break Checklist

November 18, 2014

Midterms are over, essays are written, and the pre-final nerves are about to kick in. That means that it’s time for Thanksgiving break! This is a great time to relax from your intense study schedule and, if you’re lucky enough to be going home for the break, spend some quality time with your friends and families. Before you catch your flight or ride home or wherever you may be celebrating Turkey Day, make sure you follow these tips to get ready to leave school!

Homework Assignments

This is one of the most important things to check before you leave for break. A lot of professors tend to have various homework assignments due the week after Thanksgiving break. I know this is the last thing you want to think about, but it’s necessary to bring home the materials that you will need to finish these assignments. Even worse, some professors will make an assignment due the week OF Thanksgiving break. A lot of people tend to forget about this because you’re not at school and don’t have schoolwork on your minds. Write this down in your planner or set a reminder on your phone. You don’t want to forget about it!

Missing Class

If you’re leaving school the day before or a few days before school officially lets out, make sure to let your teachers know! Letting them know in advance will allow you to ask about what content you’ll miss, and will show your dedication to the course material. I would go to them after class or at office hours to tell them personally. Since most professors have a lot of classes with a lot of students, sending an email is the perfect way to remind them of when you will be missing class.


A lot of students have to catch a flight to get home. If you’re one of these students, this tip is for you! Make sure to have plenty of things to do during delays. A lot of flights around this time have trouble flying due to various weather issues. If you have a delay or a layover, a great thing to do to fill this time is school work! Your brain hasn’t fully turned off school mode during this time and some information from class might still be fresh in your mind. Another thing that you can do during this time is to take advantage of the free time and read a book or catch up on your favorite show. This is a great time to finish one of those books that has a movie coming out over Thanksgiving break. Most importantly, remember to tell your parents that you have a delay so they don’t worry about where you are because I know they will.


Before you lock up your dorm, apartment, or house, make sure you do some last minute cleaning. Remembering to take out the trash and cleaning out the refrigerator of things that will go bad during break is very important! The worst thing in the world is getting back from a break and having your house smell bad. Gross! Other easy tasks to do is vacuum your floors, clean your bathroom, and make your bed. It’s always great getting back and having a clean room to sleep in!

School Policies

Different schools have different policies for leaving for breaks. These are usually to unplug everything from the outlets, turn the AC or heat to a certain temperature, throw out your trash, and open your blinds. These are just a few so make sure to check your school’s list! This is important to check especially if you’re planning on coming back to school early.

Make sure to check off these tasks before you leave for Thanksgiving break!