Five Dorm Pests You Might Encounter and How to Get Rid of Them

on March 18, 2013

Moving into your dorm to begin the first year of your college education is an exciting time. You’re living on your own for the first time and you’ll be meeting new friends. However, it is important to be aware that dorms easily collect pests, and you should know which are the five most common pests you could find in your dorm room. Knowing which pests you could encounter, why they’re attracted to your room and how to deal with them will make your first year at college a lot easier.

Five Dorm Pests You Might Encounter and How to Get Rid of Them

Check Your Dorm Room for Bedbugs

Even though your room will be cleaned before you move in, you should still check your mattress for bedbugs. Bedbugs like dark and dense areas, so be sure to check the seams of your mattress as well as any cracks, nooks or other hiding spots for bedbugs. Amazingly, bedbugs can survive in your mattress or bed frame for months without any food. If you’ve checked your room and haven’t found anything but you’re still worried, consider buying a bedbug-proof mattress cover.

It can be difficult to get rid of bedbugs. They are killed with heat and chemical extermination. It is a time consuming and expensive process; you will need to wash all your sheets and clothes in hot water before the chemical process.

Dust Regularly to Avoid Spiders

Spiders are another common pest in dorm rooms. They are attracted to moisture, light and clutter. In order to prevent spiders, dust your room regularly and keep your room tidy and free of clutter. If you do have spiders, vacuum the spider webs. Be sure you get the webs in the corner of your room and in the windows!

Close Cracks or Holes to Avoid Stink Bugs

Stinkbugs are an especially difficult pest, as you do not want to kill this one. Stink bugs release a foul odor when they’re killed, so prevention is integral. Stinkbugs tend to be a problem in winter, as they’ll enter your room through cracks and holes to escape the cold. Prevent these pests from living in your college room by sealing off entry points.

Have a Fly Swatter to Get Rid of Flies

You might find you are dealing with flies if you frequently leave opened food lying around in your room. While flies are also attracted to warm, moist areas, open food will only increase your chance of having to deal with this pest. To get rid of flies, put any unfinished food away in a sealed container, don’t leave damp clothes or towels lying around and keep a fly swapper handy.

Protect Your Clothes and Books from Silverfish

Silverfish are small brown or silver bugs that move like fish. They also like moist areas, and will destroy textiles or books. To protect your college room from these pests, be sure to hang up wet towels or clothes so that they dry properly. If you do find these bugs to be a problem in your room, consider buying a dehumidifier and put books in a sealed bag with a desiccant.

The first year you spend in the college dorms is an exciting time, and you don’t want this time to be ruined by nasty pests. Follow these tips to prevent the pests from invading your room so that you can have a pest-free year at college!

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Top Questions to Ask When Visiting a Campus

on March 11, 2013

Deciding which college you’re going to attend can be a hard decision. One way you can make the decision easier on yourself is by visiting the campuses you’re choosing between. A campus visit and tour can give you lots of information about academics and student life, but you’ll need to know what you want to get out of a campus visit. Here are five questions you should ask when you’re visiting a campus.

Top Questions to Ask When Visiting a Campus

What Are the Dormitories Like?

Every college is different and if you plan to live on campus, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Make sure you get a chance to visit a couple of dorms and see what is available. Some dorms have shared co-ed bathrooms, while others offer more private accommodation. Ask how much it costs to live in the dorms so you can plan out a budget before you decide on a campus.

Where Will My Classes Be?

If you’re just visiting campus for the first time you probably haven’t chosen your classes yet, but you can find out where the majority of your classes would be. If you’re applying for English, find out where the English department is and take a tour of the building. You can even set up appointments with faculty members or staff in the department you’re applying in so you can get more information. This is also a great way to determine what your commute from home to class would be like.

How Good Are the Basic Services Available on Campus?

This is a very important question, especially if you plan to live on campus. You should find out what the food services are like, how far away the laundry facilities are, and how much these things are going to cost. Find out if the college offers food plans, or has a cafeteria that costs less money for students. Also, it may seem silly, but you should find out how good the food is. You’re going to be eating it for a while, so it should factor into your decision.

What Kinds of Scholarships and Bursaries Are Available For Students?

It’s a great idea to visit the financial aid office on campus so you can ask them some questions and get some financial advice. If you set up an appointment, you can ask them about scholarships and bursaries. You should ask what kinds of scholarships are available, how much money is given out on average, how easy they are to apply for, and what the chances are of receiving one. A scholarship or bursary can make a huge difference when it comes to funding your education, and applications are usually due early, so make sure you ask during your campus visit!

Armed with these four questions, starting college will be a breeze. Make the transition easier on yourself, and don’t be shy. You should leave every campus visit with all of the information required to help you make the right decision!

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Top Tips for Spending Responsibly in College

on March 4, 2013

College is expensive and most students will acquire some debt to finish their education. Having a job in college is great, but it’s also hard to study and work at the same time. With so many financial stresses, students need to learn how to spend the money they do have wisely so they don’t finish school having to deal with huge financial strains. Here are four tips for spending your money responsibly in college.

Top Tips for Spending Responsibly in College

Save on Textbooks: Buy Used, Borrow, and Sell Back

Buying textbooks is one of the first things you do when starting a new year at school, so start off on the right foot. While new textbooks may look nicer, buying used is always better for your finances. If the bookstore doesn’t have used copies, you can search online, as many students sell their textbooks online once they’ve finished a class. You can also check libraries for textbooks. Even if it’s a reference book, it’s worth going to the library a couple times a week if you’re saving 100 dollars on a book. Also, sell your books when you’re done using them! If you’re not going to use the book in the future, then you might as well get some money back.

Learn How to Cook

College is a busy time and it’s also a time for socializing, which often means going out for food and drinks with friends. However, eating out is one of the quickest ways to waste your money. Just look at it this way: every meal you cook at home is keeping money in your wallet. Try a new recipe once a week and have a couple friends over to try it out. Eating at home is often healthier, and it is much more responsible financially.

Look For Free Entertainment

You may not have much money, but that doesn’t mean you should sit inside and do nothing all day! There’s lots of free entertainment to be had, no matter what you like to do in your free time. If you like being outside, look into visiting parks or going for a hike. If you’re into arts and culture, you can get books, movies and music from the library. There are free events everywhere and all you have to do is look for them!

Do Your Research: Make Use of Student Discounts

Oftentimes, students don’t even realize they’re spending money they don’t need to spend. If you do your research whenever you’re buying something, whether it’s a product or a service, chances are you can find a way to save some money as a student. You can save on everything from Internet access to concert tickets, as long as you’re willing to ask. Most venues, such as galleries, museums, or art centers, will have student discounts as well.

If you’re a broke college student, don’t let it get you down! Use these tips to spend more responsibly and you’ll start saving in no time. From textbooks to student discounts, there are lots of ways to save money so start spending more wisely today!

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Proofreading Services: Three Ways to Ensure You Get the Best Value

on February 26, 2013

There are many proofreading services out there that are competing for your buck. How do you ensure that you get the best value from the one you ultimately will choose? Not all proofreading services are created equally, which means that you should do some screening of various companies before you make your choice. Some services are excellent in their editing services, while others are quite lax and fail to catch all grammar and spelling mistakes. Here are three ways to ensure that you get the best value from proofreading services.

Evaluate the Proofreading Services’ Own Work

Check out the various proofreading services’ own work to see if they practice what they preach – a good place to start is this website. A good first step is to go on their websites and see if there are any grammar and spelling problems on the text of their sites. Also, comb through the various pages on the sites and see if the text flows in a readable manner. If it does, then it’s a good bet that this particular proofreading service is highly adept at what it does. These services also provide links to work that was proofread by their editors. Click on these links to double-check the work they’ve done, as these can be powerful examples of whether or not their editors are competent.

Evaluate Books That Proofreading Services Have Edited

Many proofreading services showcase the various work they’ve done in order to bring in clients. Some may make references on their sites to various books their editors have proofed. Of course, it’s not practical to read through a whole book to evaluate the competency of a proofreading service, but you can at least skim through portions of the books to determine if the grammar and spelling are sound. Again, looking even at book excerpts can enlighten you about the quality of their proofreading services. It’s a good bet that a proofreading service is legitimate if every book excerpt you read is soundly edited.

Evaluate Submissions to Article Publishing Sites

The final way to ensure you get the best value from proofreading services is checking the articles that these proofreading services submit themselves to various article-publishing sites on the web. Since these article-publishing sites post the articles without any editing on their part, you can reliably evaluate the caliber of a proofreading service’s editors and writers. As a bonus, you may even be able to determine the business philosophy of the proofreading service you have in mind by evaluating their published articles.

Using proofreading services means that you want your work to be seen in the best possible light. Not all proofreading services are created equally, of course. Using these three methods of evaluation will help you to get the very best value from whichever service you are considering for your written work. Any good proofreading service will be transparent about its work because it wants to prove to prospective clients that it is of a high quality. Before using any service, always be certain that you’ve evaluated the caliber of its editors and writers to your satisfaction.

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Must-Have Apps for Students

on February 25, 2013

The days of pencils and dog-eared notebooks are over. These days, students are heading off to high school and college with laptops, tablets and smartphones in their backpacks. Predictably, developers in the software industry have been obsessively creating a host of apps for these devices designed to improve students’ productivity and their quality of life. Extraordinarily useful, these apps are probably the most affordable ‘must haves’ for this back to school season.

Must-Have Apps for Students

Your Information Butler Has Arrived

If you’ve ever been in the middle of writing an important essay and found yourself a little lacking in the information department, you’ll know how frustrating it is to have to stop just to find a single piece of data. The developers at WolframAlpha have devised a solution to this common problem by creating an app that puts almost immeasurable amounts of information literally at your fingertips. All you need to do is type in a question or phrase, and the system delivers more than enough information to beef up your faltering thesis. With data on multiple topics, from mathematics to shopping, it’s easily the most indispensible app you’ll download all year.

Leave Your USB Stick at Home

There’s no need to cart your fragile (and often errant) USB stick around college with you now that Google has introduced the Google Drive system. After downloading the software, you can create and store documents both on your hard drive and online in the Drive database. You can then access them virtually anywhere a connection can be established, including your smartphone. In fact, this ‘cloud’ system the Internet giant has adopted sends your documents to all your linked systems immediately, so you’ll never have to worry about losing work.

Don’t Be a Starving Student

Poverty and the academic life tend to go together. It’s almost a rite of passage that those studying to make something of themselves need to suffer in the process. Do yourself a favor and negate that unfortunate stereotype by learning how to manage your meager savings with a banking app specifically designed for students. Spenz is an application developed by students from the University of Toronto that allows users to catalogue every cent they spend. Not only does this help to better understand spending patterns in order to see exactly where your student loan is going, it also serves as a reminder to make better financial choices. With custom budget options and personalized coupon alerts on the products you purchase the most, it’s an absolute requisite in your app arsenal.

Technology has overtaken the classroom and although the elderly among us may bemoan this development, statistics are stacked in technology’s favor. A recent study by the US Department of Education discovered that students who use technology experienced measurable gains, regardless of socio-economic status or race. The real challenge now is how to choose the products that will be of greatest help. Luckily, cool new apps are easy to find and are always in the works to help the academically ambitious succeed.

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Reasons Why Professor Rating Websites Can’t Always Be Trusted

on February 18, 2013

You want to sign up for a college course next term, but before you do, you wonder how the professor will be and decide to check a professor rating website. After all, an effective professor can make a class exciting and fresh, making it that much easier to excel in the course. On the other hand, a bad professor can bore you, stress you out, and have a negative effect your performance. However, before you visit websites such as www.ratemyprofessor.com or www.ratemyteacher.com, you should keep in mind that these ratings might not always be reliable. Below are a few reasons why.

Reasons Why Professor Rating Websites Can't Always Be Trusted

Ratings Websites Usually Attract Polarizing Opinions

If you feel strongly about someone or something, you are more likely to speak up about it. This means that some individuals who strongly liked or disliked the class can skew a professor’s ratings upward or downward. Take a look at the comments section on these pages and you will often see polarizing comments; either a student will have absolutely loved the professor, or they downright hated him. When strong emotions come into play, a student is less able to form an objective idea of the professor’s actual teaching ability.

Student Opinions Are Often Affected By Their Individual Grades

No one is ever happy about a bad grade. The problem is that it is usually very tempting for a student to blame their poor performance on the professor instead of taking personal responsibility for it. Bear in mind that just because a course is difficult, it does not necessarily mean that the professor is ineffective or that the course will be useless for you.

Because course difficulty is often taken into account when students use these rating websites, some professors may have lower scores despite being excellent teachers. Unfortunately, there will often be one or two students who failed the class or performed terribly due to no one’s fault but their own, and they will go onto these websites and bring down the ratings of the professor to vent their anger and frustration. Conversely, a professor who marks easily might rank highly on these websites but really be less effective as an instructor who does not actually enhance your education.

The Ratings Are Not Always Representative of the Majority

Although it may seem like a lot of people are commenting on and rating their professors, when you compare the number of users on the website with the actual number of people who took the class, you quickly realize that the raters represent only a small fraction of all the students who took that particular course. This means that the opinions and rankings you see on the sites are not necessarily representative of the opinions of most of the students in that class.

This goes back to the idea that students who feel most strongly about the course will be most inclined to rate their professors. Another important thing to consider is that newer faculty members or instructors often have not taught a lot of courses yet and so have fewer people rating them. The opinions of 30 percent of one class of 50 people, for instance, may not be reliable because the sample size is just too small.

Of course, this is not to deny that professor rating websites have any validity. Some sites can help steer students away from truly horrible professors and towards some great instructors. The ratings and comments can also give you a general sense of the professor’s teaching style and what to expect from a course if you are really lost. Usually, if you find that a large number of people have rated the professor and the majority of them have agreed and given legitimate, logical, and well thought out comments to justify their ratings, then you can depend upon their validity a little more. Otherwise, take these ratings with a grain of salt. After all, everyone has different preferences for teaching styles and class formats. What did not work for some people might end up working very well for you!

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The Real World: Five College Movie Myths That Just Aren’t True

on February 11, 2013

Going off to college can be an exciting experience. You may feel both uncertainty and excitement, depending on what you’ve heard. Interestingly enough, many people receive the bulk of their information on college life not from their educators or parents but from movies. However, the silver screen often does not depict the real world very accurately, so here are five college movie myths that just aren’t true.

The Real World: Five College Movie Myths That Just Aren't True

You Don’t Have to Study

Other than that one frame in the montage where the dumb football player receives help from the nerd to avoid getting kicked off the team the week before the big game, you will probably see very little studying in a college movie. Filmmakers gloss over the fact that the primary goal of attending a post-secondary educational institution is to become educated. While this is understandable in the context of making a more entertaining film, (no one wants to watch a movie about midterms), real world college actually involves quite a bit of tedious studying.

There’s a Party Every Week And Every Student on Campus Will be There

In almost every college movie the protagonist is asked whether or not he will be attending “that party this weekend” by the cute but kind of nerdy girl he meets in class. It seems like there is never a shortage of parties that happen every weekend. While you will undoubtedly attend some parties in college, it is unlikely that you will go to a crazy, out-of-control party every weekend.

Everyone Comes from a Wealthy Family That Pays for Everything

This one is just a fact of life. Partying, studying, and meeting new people are all things you will do in college, but oftentimes you will need to focus on the financial side of things as well. There is a possibility that you may need to take out a student loan or work a part-time job. In reality, many college students out there come from families with moderate income.

Every Student Lives on Campus

You will never watch a college movie where the protagonist lives off campus. Dorm life just makes for a more exciting movie. But the reality of the situation is, most colleges don’t have enough dorms to fit all of its students. Many people are required to commute from home or from their rented basement suite to class.

You’re Either a Jock, a Nerd or Slacker

In most college movies, other than maybe the protagonist, everyone else is a stereotype. You have the football captain with the near-failing grades who dates the stuck-up cheerleader, the nerd who lives in the computer lab, and the tattooed slacker who is never doing anything remotely related to college. In the real world, college is where many people break out from who they were in high school and become more rounded individuals. In college you have the opportunity to explore many more paths without judgment or criticism.

Regardless of whether you’ve been paying attention to college movie stereotypes or not, one important thing to keep in mind about your college experience is that it is your college experience. College is a time when you get to decide what classes to take, what types of people to befriend, and what to do with your free time.

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Keeping Healthy: How to Avoid Getting Sick at College

on February 4, 2013

Nothing gets in the way of busy student life like a virus. With exams to write, studying to do and lectures to attend, you need to ensure you are taking proper care of yourself. Getting the most out of your education is crucial and nothing is more of an inconvenience than a drippy nose or fever. The last thing you want is to spend any more time in your dorm room than necessary, and if you follow the tips below, chances are you won’t have to.

Keeping Healthy: How to Avoid Getting Sick at College

Keep Your Hands Off Your Face!

The average person touches their face up to 3000 times a day. That same person also has approximately 50,000 germs on their hands at one time. These nasty little monsters need an entryway to worm their way into your body and do their damage. Conveniently, your face has five of them. The mucus membranes in your eyes, nostrils and mouth are ideal for the bacteria you’re carrying on your hands to transport themselves into your system. In order to drastically reduce your chances of coming down with something, wash your hands often and try not to touch your face.

Avoid Dips Like The Plague

As a student, there’s a good chance that you’ll attend some sort of party on a regular basis, and that generally means one thing – shared food. Do yourself a favor and stick to the beverages. You simply can’t guarantee cleanliness of the chef who whipped up that appetizing snack. Considering the staggering amount that the average person touches their face and the fact that most people don’t wear gloves when they’re cooking, chances are there is something other than roasted garlic in that dip.

There’s also the hygiene of the other guests to consider. With the amount of hands touching the chips and dipping, the spinach and artichoke bread bowl everyone is gathered around could easily be a festering pit of flu germs. If you want to avoid spending a week alone with a temperature of 104 degrees, being careful is the best tactic.

Avoid Binging on Alcoholic Beverages

Every time you consume more than the recommended daily allowance of alcohol in one sitting, you are doing damage to both your body and your immune system. Research has proven that binge drinking can suppress your immune system for up to 24 hours, which in the midst of cold and flu season is more than enough time for an infection to set in. Limiting your drinking can make a major difference in your overall health. However, if you do find yourself pub-crawling, make sure that you rehydrate and get a good sleep to help fortify your immune system.

For many students, being at college is their first time away from home and all the familiar comforts home provides. Mom isn’t around to force bed rest and liquids, and there’s no baby aspirin to lower fevers. Being sick alone is never pleasant, but with some preventative measures it can be avoided. Take your health into your hands – into your thoroughly washed and sanitized hands, that is!

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Grades Aren’t Everything: Getting Into College With a Lower Average

on January 28, 2013

The college application season has come, and for whatever reason, your grades aren’t quite what they should be. Maybe you had a severe illness or a family emergency during a major exam or project; maybe your work schedule got in the way of studying; maybe after stressing out about every assignment for years you just burned out. Don’t worry – a low average is not the end of the world. Most colleges recognize that grades aren’t everything, and look for other criteria during the admissions process. There are still a few things you can do to make sure you get into your program of choice.

Grades Aren't Everything: Getting Into College With a Lower Average

Get Some Volunteer Experience

Volunteering is a fantastic way to spruce up your college application and make a difference at the same time. Volunteering demonstrates community engagement, initiative, and a strong work ethic, all of which are qualities that impress college recruiters. If possible, it is always best to put in a high volume of hours at one position rather than take on several positions for short periods of time. Start coaching soccer in the spring or go to your local food bank to see if you can deliver hot meals to shut-ins. Even the smallest community will have volunteer opportunities if you know where to look. The community centre, sports arena, or Optimist Club will have a list of opportunities.

Make Sure You ACT

Bomb the SATs? Fear not, for you have a second chance. The SATs are an aptitude test, meaning they test your reasoning abilities not your knowledge. The ACT is a knowledge and memory test that can improve your chances of getting into a good college. It has four parts: English Language, Reading, Mathematics, and Science. In each category it is possible to score between 1 and 36. Scores from the categories are then averaged for an overall score. 50 percent of test-takers score below 21; if you can score above 21 then you’re doing well. Many universities require certain minimum ACT scores. Admission to New York University requires a 29, for example.

Play College Snakes and Ladders

Sometimes you have to move sideways before you can move forward. If your grades are not good enough for the program you want, but are good enough for a similar program at a less prestigious college, then apply for the less prestigious college. A new school means a new opportunity to get good grades. Most colleges allow students to transfer to other institutions after first year. If you can work hard and get high enough grades in first year, you may be able to transfer to your original preferred college for the start of your second year.

Don’t Give Up

Everyone walks a different road to success. Some go to Ivy League schools, some go to community college and some don’t go to college until age 40. A college education is valuable, but that’s not to say that education has to happen immediately after high school. Take night courses to improve your average. Take a year off and travel the globe. Find an apprenticeship.

There are a number of activities to keep you occupied for a year and that will help you look good on a college application further down the road. Whatever path you choose, practice diligence and stay hopeful – it will be well worth the effort.

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Top Five Must-Have College Gadgets

on January 21, 2013

Going off to college for the first time can be both a stressful and exciting experience. This is especially the case if you are moving onto campus instead of living at home and commuting. With plenty of new people to meet, a completely new environment, and a much more demanding course load, the college experience can be a lot to take in at once. Don’t fret though, as there are a few gadgets that can help make this transition smoother for you.

Top Five Must-Have College Gadgets

Select the Perfect Laptop for School

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but there is more to picking a laptop for your college education than simply choosing one that looks slick and handles video games well. Don’t forget that you’ll be carrying the laptop around class to class, and then to dorms and libraries. This is why you should be looking for a laptop that is thin and lightweight. While it is important to purchase one with a processor and graphics card powerful enough to watch videos and run programs for schoolwork, it is unlikely that you’ll need a bulky and noisy one that can run the newest video games on the market.

Take Notes on a Tablet PC

Now this gadget is very closely related to the last one, but it is so useful that it deserves its own mention. A tablet PC is essentially a laptop with a rotatable screen that you can write on. While this feature may seem like just an extra gimmick, it can actually drastically improve the efficiency of your note-taking and studying habits. Imagine yourself sitting with a laptop in a lecture. When the prof starts bringing out the diagrams, taking notes on a laptop can be tedious. Regardless of how fast you can type on your laptop, it is nearly impossible to draw diagrams quickly without a stylus. Therefore, with all the diagrams and arrows you’ll need in your notes, it would be a smart idea to invest in a tablet PC.

Develop a Healthy Social Life with a Smartphone

Other than schoolwork, another aspect of college that is equally as important is developing a healthy social life. A smartphone will enable you to keep in touch with all of your new friends by texting, video calling, and on online social networking. Your schedule will likely be packed too, and many smart phones offer great calendar features.

Keep Warm in Winter with a Space Heater

Depending on the local climate, and whether or not your dorm allows them, space heaters can be a lifesaver in the colder months. Often dorms have centralized heating, meaning you will not be able to control the temperature in your room with a thermostat. Many space heaters also come with cold and warm air settings, so they can also keep you cool in the summer.

With a Coffee Maker You’ll Have No Trouble Staying Awake

Studying long nights and waking up for early lectures and exams is every college student’s life, so if you want to wake up every morning to an invigorating cup of coffee, consider purchasing a coffee maker. Even better, spend a little more for a coffee maker with a timer. Set the brew time to fifteen minutes before you wake up, and you will have a steaming pot ready for you when you open your eyes.

Technology has always helped make people’s lives easier and it is no different with college life. Set aside some funds and invest in these five must-have gadgets for college to help alleviate some of the stress you may encounter.

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