myUsearch blog

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

Balancing Family Pressure When Choosing a College

September 02, 2008 By: Pauline Diaz Category: Choosing a College

My mom was swooning after our visit to Northwestern and loved its proximity to her sister’s family. My dad was clinging to the hope that I might stay in-state and go to Colorado College. My older sister was practically begging me to apply to a prestigious east coast school, any prestigious east coast school. I, on the other hand, wasn’t interested in any of the above. And then I received my acceptance to my dream school, Seattle University.


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Stretching the College Budget: My Strategy

August 29, 2008 By: Laura Kruse Category: Aid for College, Campus Life

As a college freshman, I’ll be experiencing my first year forking out my own hard-earned cash for taxis from the airport to campus, textbooks, concert tickets, bottles of aspirin, those really colorful curtains I want for my dorm room and everything in between. I admit it: I’m really bad at saving money and am an impulsive buyer, but this all about to change (I hope). Here are a few ideas I have to stretch my college budget from August to May.


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10 Tips to Stay Fit in College

August 27, 2008 By: Elizabeth Kraus Category: Best College Tips, Campus Life

If you are like I was, you’re probably worried about gaining the dreaded freshman 15.  Gaining a little weight is totally normal and as I mentioned in an earlier post, gaining a few pounds may be totally worth it. However, gaining 50 lbs. is not. So what is the best way to curb your college weight gain? EXERCISE.


Photo by SSCusp

(this pic is ridiculous, but I couldn’t resist)

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Do Colleges Care about Your Senior Year?

August 25, 2008 By: Brady Norvall Category: Admissions insider, Application tips, Best College Tips, Get into College

Welcome to your senior year. It’s an exciting time full of change and celebration. Many people have probably told you how unimportant your senior year is. For example, they maybe told you that your grades don’t matter one iota, although usually you should do better in the first semester than the second. Or maybe they told you that colleges will not look at your grades from senior year because they already have accepted you based on your 9th-11th years.  Well, my young, goal-oriented high schooler, THESE ARE LIES. Your senior year counts. Not only does your senior year count towards your high school graduation, it counts towards the trend that you have worked so hard to set over the past three years and that you promised you would continue to achieve when you applied to college. Read the rest of this entry →

5 Courses Every College Freshman Should Take

August 22, 2008 By: David Petersam Category: Alumni advice

Have you decided on your major yet? Given any thought to your career plans?

If you haven’t, don’t worry. However, consider at least taking some core classes that will help you in practically any career you choose. Don’t wait until you’ve chosen your major before diving into these. Most colleges have these courses as freshman-level classes, so you can start laying your foundation now even if you haven’t decided what to do after you get your college degree.

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My Freshman Fears & Concerns

August 20, 2008 By: Jillianne Hamilton Category: College Tips

I’ve been counting down the days until my freshman year of college for a long time. I think I started it over 100 days to go. Now, as I write this, I have 20 days left before I pack up my life and move 130 miles away from my childhood home. (Okay, I realize 130 miles doesn’t seem like a long way to go, but the drive seems to take forever. Plus, a bus ticket from there to here costs me a pretty penny.) For someone who has always lived in a small community and never moved in her whole life, this is a huge step for me. Huge.

worried? not me.

(Photo by spaceoddissey.)

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11 Ways to Be a Green Student

August 18, 2008 By: Trish Smith Category: Best College Tips, Campus Life

You don’t have to own a hybrid or live on organic food to be a green student. Going green is all about making small changes in your life that will benefit both you and the environment. And this can be done by reducing your carbon footprint.

Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases that are produced by all of your everyday activities, and it is measured in units of carbon dioxide. Your activities can include everything from driving a car to brushing your teeth, so just by reducing the amount of greenhouse gas-producing activities you do every day, you can help preserve the environment.

So what can you do as a college student to be more green and eco-conscious? Here are 11 steps you can take:


Photo by Velcr0

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Last Minute Ivy League Apprehension

August 15, 2008 By: Laura Kruse Category: College Tips

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve suddenly become terrified of the Ivy League. In two weeks I’ll be at Yale. I’ve written about my general college fears before, but now I’m worried about the Ivy atmosphere. What if I don’t fit in? What if all those Ivy stereotypes are true? In my paranoia, my mind begins to drift to a bad place. A place where expensive polo shirts are plentiful and money grows on trees. My mind leads me to a worst-case scenario of my first day at Yale and it goes something like this:



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Dorm Room Snacks That are Actually Good for You

August 13, 2008 By: Elizabeth Kraus Category: Campus Life

If you are worried about the Freshman 15 or the scary dorm food that might be served in the cafeteria, you might want to consider buying some healthy snacks for your dorm room. The following list of instant, easy snacks are perfect for between classes, late night snacks or just to hold you over until the cafeteria opens. Trust me, having nutritious food in your room will help you to control your cravings and avoid snitching junk food.


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Where to Buy & Rent Textbooks Online

August 11, 2008 By: Jillianne Hamilton Category: Aid for College, Best College Tips

Textbooks are expensive. Everyone knows this. A recent survey stated that the average student pays between $700 and $1000 per year for textbooks. Paying hundreds of dollars for a single textbook is bad enough, but when a student has to buy several books, it adds a big chunk of money to pay- in addition to tuition, residence fees and other mounting costs. To save some money, students can buy used textbooks from other students and sometimes from the college’s bookstore. However, the modern way of dealing with textbook prices is to head online. The following links will hopefully help you on your quest to save money.


Photo by wohnai.

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Top 10 Things I Learned Applying to College

August 08, 2008 By: Daniel Ni Category: Best College Tips, Get into College

Because Top 10 lists may be the most popular thing this side of Tiger Woods, I think it’s appropriate that I use one to explain what I’ve learned over the past year from the stressful college admissions process.

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Packing For College (Part 2 of 2): 25 Items NOT To Bring

August 06, 2008 By: Jillianne Hamilton Category: Best College Tips, Campus Life

Despite what many people will tell you, there is such a thing as being too prepared. Yes, it’s true - there are some things that you can (and probably should) just leave at home or give to a friend for safekeeping. 

(Photo by Ryan Forsythe.)

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Picking the Right College for You, Part 2

August 04, 2008 By: David Petersam Category: Choosing a College

In Picking the Right College for You, Part 1, we were discussing the types of colleges and universities out there. There’s quite a lot to choose from, so the best thing you can do is find the right type of education and setting that fits you and proceed from there. We already covered liberal arts colleges, the Ivy League, residential colleges, honors programs and research schools. Now let’s focus on some other types of schools.

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Things You’ll Forget to Buy for Your Dorm Room

August 01, 2008 By: Elizabeth Kraus Category: Campus Life, What to bring

So you’re scrambling to get everything ready before you leave for college and you’re probably wondering what you are forgetting. Before you hyper-ventilate, remember there will actually be stores in your college town. However, don’t relax too much because the stores on campus will be packed with thousands of freshman just like you. Oh, and don’t forget. You can rest assured that the stores will hike their prices to give you unsuspecting freshman a nice, warm welcome. But wait, you’re not an unsuspecting freshman. Are you?

Read this post so you don’t fall victim to the freshman shopping mousetrap.


Photo by Dan Nicholas

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Are Cocaine and Cigarettes the Only Ways to Fight the Freshman 15?

July 30, 2008 By: Elizabeth Kraus Category: Campus Life

Until I was about 16 years old, I could eat anything without gaining a pound. Then, one day it hit me. My body changed virtually overnight and my metabolism caught up with me. I tried every diet and exercise plan out there, but the weight stayed. I looked to my thin friends and classmates to find their secrets, but it seemed every thin college student had a freakish metabolism, an eating disorder, was addicted to cocaine, or subsisted solely on diet coke and cigarettes. It was then that I decided to give up. I spent most of my college life about 20-30 pounds overweight until one day, about six years later, the weight finally came off. So what was my secret?


Photo by Kevin Labianco

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Picking the Right College for You, Part 1

July 28, 2008 By: David Petersam Category: Choosing a College

School selection can be an overwhelming task for college-bound high school juniors. There are literally thousands of colleges and universities to choose from.

Although every educational institution is unique, it is possible to place most colleges and universities into one of several broad categories. A helpful first step in school selection is to understand what these types of institution are and whether they fit your personal preferences and learning style. So let’s take a look at the types of colleges and universities and the pros and cons of each.

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Packing For College (Part 1 of 2): 25 Must-Haves

July 25, 2008 By: Jillianne Hamilton Category: Best College Tips, Campus Life

Since the first days of college are upon us, we thought it would be a perfect time for an article on college preparation. Of course you’re going to remember to bring your favorite pillow, your cell phone and your iPod. But would you have remembered to bring a flashlight? How about vitamins? Here are some items that you might want to bring along to college. (You’ll thank me later.)

alarm clock

Photo by Tony Newell.

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Easing the Pre-College Jitters

July 23, 2008 By: Laura Kruse Category: College Tips

In less than six weeks I’ll be leaving for my freshman year of college at Yale.  College is that thing all my friends are doing. The word I’ve heard fifty times a day for the past year. The place I’ve stared at on websites and in brochures. The thing I’ve been planning on for years. The thing is, I’m possibly not ready for it at all. When someone asks me how I feel about leaving for school I respond with one word: scared.


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So, You’re a First-Generation College Student

July 21, 2008 By: Brady Norvall Category: Admissions insider, Choosing a College, Get into College

If there is one demographic that is highly sought after by colleges and universities around the country, it’s the first-generation college students.  Because the financial aid process is so tragically unclear and never certain, first-generation college students are likely to stay close to home and attend a public university. In most instances, this is just fine.  However, limiting your applications to schools close to home can be risky because you won’t know what the financial aid package will be until you are admitted.  In other words, don’t hesitate to apply to your dream school just because it’s too expensive on paper.  Although the process seems tedious, don’t let it break your spirit.  Move forward, continue pursuing your dreams . . . Read the rest of this entry →

A Summer Checklist to Get You Into College

July 18, 2008 By: David Petersam Category: Admissions insider, Get into College

You’re a college senior. Believe it or not, at this time next year, you’ll most likely be preparing to attend the college of your dreams. Now the question is, how are you going to get into your dream school? What should you be doing to prepare yourself for those all-too-fast approaching college application deadlines?

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