myUsearch blog

Honest college information — choose, apply, get into and pay for college.

A College Freshman’s Perspective: My First Trip Home

December 08, 2008 By: Laura Kruse Category: College Tips

When I got off the plane in Connecticut this August, I was already worried that home was disappearing behind me. I wondered what it would be like to return home at Thanksgiving. Would I feel like I’d never left, like no time had passed and nothing had changed? Or would I feel out of place, like home wasn’t home anymore? I think a lot of first semester college freshman struggle with losing their sense of home. Here’s my experience going back for the first time.


 Photo by xybermatthew

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Finally.. Good News for the Financial Service Industry — Money for College

December 05, 2008 By: Elizabeth Kraus Category: Aid for College

Ok. So I get press releases all the time, but I think this one is really worth a post. Since the media only seems to cover bad news about the struggling economy, I am happy to report a bit of good news for families in the hard-hit financial service industry. The Gordon A. Rich Memorial Foundation has just announced that it will award five $50,000 scholarships to students whose parents or guardians work (or worked) in the financial services industry. Here is the release:


Photo by ClintJCL

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Cheap & Easy Holiday Gift Ideas for College Students

December 03, 2008 By: Jillianne Hamilton Category: Campus Life

Even though Kraft Dinner might make up a large part of your diet, it sadly doesn’t translate so well into a good holiday gift. Since most college students are pinching pennies anyway, the holidays can be a pricey time of year. Plus, with final exams happening around this time of year, finding the time to do your holiday shopping can be difficult.

So, what is a college student to do? Here are some helpful suggestions and tips for easy and cheap holiday gifts.


Photo by mysza831.

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Dorm Life & Living With a Roommate

December 01, 2008 By: Jillianne Hamilton Category: Campus Life

To be perfectly honest, I was nervous about living with a perfect stranger before moving into my college dorm room. I tend to have unique tastes and interests and some people think I’m a bit… odd. For instance, I suspected that my roommate wouldn’t appreciate my action figure collection (which includes John Lennon, Edward Scissorhands and Jack the Ripper) or my choice of wall art (I have posters of Dexter, Chicago, Sweeney Todd and The Rocky Horror Picture Show in my bedroom). A major bonus of the residence that my college offers is that the dorm units are like apartments. Each unit includes a full kitchen, full bathroom and two separate bedrooms. Each bedroom comes with a desk, double bed, TV (with basic cable), set of drawers, closet and night table. So, even if I didn’t get along with my roommate, we could always escape to separate bedrooms. But thankfully, that’s not the case.

(This is my dorm kitchen. Photo by Jillianne Hamilton.)

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Budget Cuts Threaten Community College Students

November 28, 2008 By: Kate Scozzaro Category: Top Stories

Imagine that one day, the entire University of California shut down. That would be 262,845 students without a college to attend. That’s a quarter of a million students that no longer have the grasp of higher education within their reach. This number represents the amount of actual students that will be turned down by California community colleges. Last week, Scott Lay, C.E.O of Community College League of California, sent out a release stating that budget cuts may deny these students acceptance to a community college. Read the rest of this entry →

Out-of-state College: Tales of Homesickness

November 26, 2008 By: Laura Kruse Category: Campus Life, College Tips

When I went to summer camp for the first time when I was nine, I missed my parents and my home so much, I cried every night. Of course, I have matured since then. I’m more independent. I can go a few days — make that months — without seeing my family and my friends from home. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get homesick. I decided to go to college out-of-state, and knowing that I can’t jump in the car and drive home for the weekend doesn’t make my homesickness any better. I think this is an important factor to consider when deciding if you want to go to an out-of-state college, but it also shouldn’t deter you from going to school across the country if you think that’s what will be best for you.


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Recession 101: College Applications and Shallow Bank Accounts

November 24, 2008 By: Brady Norvall Category: Admissions insider, Advancing your career, Application tips, Best College Tips, Choosing a College, Get into College, The financial insider, Top Stories

During this time of economic volatility, we are all beginning to realize that life as we know it will forever be different. But that doesn’t change the ever-present questions on the mind of most high school seniors: What are my college options? What colleges should I apply to? Do I want my parents to foot the bill for an expensive education?

So what exactly should you do to gain access to the best college opportunities during this uncertain time?


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Going Back to School in a Recession?

November 21, 2008 By: Elizabeth Kraus Category: Choosing a College, Top Stories

Have you been laid off? Searching for a job without any luck? About to graduate without any job opportunities on the horizon?

Going back to school can be a great way to survive a recession, but is it the right move for you? To find out, we interviewed Senior Vice President and Chief HR Officer John Heins from Spherion, a leading staffing and recruiting company that placed over 300,000 job-seekers last year alone. Here is what he had to say:

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Ivy League Students Speak: College Application Advice

November 19, 2008 By: Laura Kruse Category: Best College Tips, College Tips, Get into College

When I interviewed my fellow Yale freshman suitemates about tips for getting into the Ivy League, they agreed that the admission process is often more about luck than strategy. While it’s important to keep this in mind if your heart is set on an Ivy League school, there are things you can do to improve your chances of admission. I asked my suitemates what they thought was most important for people to keep in mind when applying for college. Here’s what they had to say.


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College Marketing: Tired of Colleges Spamming You?

November 17, 2008 By: Elizabeth Kraus Category: Choosing a College

If you are considering going to college next year, you may have noticed that your inbox and mailbox are a little more full than usual. A bombardment of emails, brochures and even phone calls from colleges might make you wonder: How did these colleges get my name? And, how can I stop them from hassling me? Well to find out, we went straight to the source.

Brad J Ward, Electronic Communication Coordinator for Butler University and the author of - Thoughts on Higher Education Recruitment, was kind enough to grant me an interview. Here is what he had to say.


Photo by Oran Viriyincy

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What the Higher Education Opportunity Act Means for You

November 10, 2008 By: Pauline Diaz Category: Aid for College, Top Stories

In August, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was officially signed into law in the hopes of making colleges more affordable, accessible, and responsible. Political buzzwords and legal mumbo jumbo aside, how will this new legislation affect your college plans and college experience?

photo by cdedbdme

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Online Degrees Now Accepted by Employers

November 07, 2008 By: Jillianne Hamilton Category: Choosing a College, Distance Online Learning

It was only a few years ago when a degree received from an online university was not  viewed positively a résumé. Employers did not consider the applicant’s education to be at the same level as someone who attended an actual college. However, many people turned to online degrees anyway because of the convenience of attending class from any location, at any time of the day.

graduation cake

Photo by CarbonNYC.

But now, research shows that employers have finally started to take online degrees seriously.

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Avoiding Helicopter Parenting When Choosing a College

November 05, 2008 By: Jillianne Hamilton Category: Choosing a College, Get into College

When kids are choosing, applying and figuring out how to pay for college, it’s important for parents to be involved. But the question is: How Involved? A helicopter parent is a term used to describe parents that “hover” over their children and try to control their decision-making process. While helping is important, being too involved (i.e.: forcing your child to go to your school of choice, writing your child’s college admissions essay for them) is not helpful to your child or the college in which they are applying to.  

So how do you provide the help your children need without turning into a helicopter parent? I discussed college admissions and helicopter parenting with lawyer, mother and author of: CEOmum - Parenting is a Full Time Job, Daille Nation-Ashley, or “Dee”.


Photo by DanieVDM.

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Should the Economy Affect Your College Search?

November 03, 2008 By: Andy Burns Category: Aid for College, Choosing a College

Although Halloween is over, your scariest concern may not be. With all this talk about the economic downturn, you might be wondering how the economy will affect your college search.  With a sagging stock market, federal bailouts, and an increasing unemployment rate, our economy might look more like a haunted house than the dilapidated house down the street.  What does this mean for your college plans?  Should you delay going to college and simply enter the work force?  Can you afford college?  Should you avoid applying to certain colleges because of their cost?  These are valid questions, but I encourage you to take a deep breath.  You’ll get through it.  And let me tell you how… 


 Photo by md91180

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SAT and ACT: Is There an Alternative?

October 31, 2008 By: Elizabeth Kraus Category: Get into College

Today we have a guest post from Sarah Scrafford who regularly writes on the topic of college admissions and online universities for a number of blogs:

These is college entrance exam time for colleges and this has brought an intense debate over the effectiveness (or rather, lack of it) of the SAT and the ACT as a valid measuring stick for college admissions. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) report released last month has caused some confusion — questioning the credibility of these tests. 

The SATs were introduced as a way to allow all high school graduates, irrespective of race, culture and status, an equal opportunity of gaining admission to any of the educational institutions across the USA. However, after a considerable amount of research, the NACAC commission has found that wealthy students are at an advantage because of the extra coaching and training they can afford.

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My Favorite College Sites & Blogs

October 29, 2008 By: Jillianne Hamilton Category: College Tips

I’ve been writing on my college blog (Kill Jill Goes To College) since February and I’ve been blogging for myUsearch since April. So, I know my way around college websites and the college blogosphere. Here are some of the best college websites out there.

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8 Important Financial Aid Tips

October 27, 2008 By: Laura Kruse Category: Aid for College

College application season is upon us. You’re a high school senior trying to keep up in classes, striving for the perfect college essay and filling out college applications like it’s a full time job. Sorry to break it to you, but there’s one more thing you need to be thinking about: Financial Aid. The FAFSA may not be available online until January 1, but if you start thinking about financial aid now, your life will be much easier in the spring — And for the next four years.

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Ten Tips for Applying to College

October 24, 2008 By: Pauline Diaz Category: Application tips, Get into College

I’m surprised I even remember applying to college. I figured after a year, I would’ve repressed the mornings eaten by hours of tests, afternoons spent stressing over what to wear to an interview, and late nights editing my personal essay. But the truth is, I did learn a few things from the college admissions process itself, and hopefully what I’ve learned will keep you from a few of your own unnecessary freak-outs.

Self-Portrait As A Stressed-Out Bride To Be

photo by BrittneyBush

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What Can Students Do to Fight AIDS?

October 22, 2008 By: Elizabeth Kraus Category: Campus Life

Today we have a guest post from Kate Otto, program director for the Keep a Child Alive College Program. The organization helps fight AIDS in Africa and has organized a Student AIDS Summit on November 14-15 to inform US students about what they can do to help stop the AIDS pandemic. Kate contacted me to let me know what an important part students can play in fighting AIDS, so I asked her to write down a few ways that students can stand up and help out:

The average high school or college student has never known a world without AIDS and in fact, many students are the same age as AIDS.  More than 25 years into the pandemic, over 25 million are dead as a result.  Even though it is 100% preventable and 100% treatable, AIDS continues to kill millions of people each year. So, what can you as a student do to fight the spread of HIV and the global AIDS pandemic?

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How My Friends Pay for College

October 20, 2008 By: Kate Scozzaro Category: Aid for College

It feels like everywhere you turn, life is becoming more and more expensive. There’s the cost of food, gas, rent, bills… it never seems to end. When applying to college, you look for the one with the best reputation or the one that supports your major. You look for the school that will ultimately become your niche. But what kind of price tag should you expect?


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