University of Montana, Missoula – Five Tips to Travel to Missoula by Amtrak Train and Bus

Missoula, Montana is the state’s second largest city and one of the most scenic metropolitan areas in the country. The University of Montana provides an academic and cultural anchor to this western Montana city. Unfortunately, Missoula lost its Amtrak service in 1979 and the only low fare airline to the city flies directly to the Southwest.

For UM students and other residents of the Missoula area, utilizing a combination of Amtrak and buses is the cheapest way to travel to other parts of the country. Here are five tips/hints for effectively traveling to/from Missoula by land:

One: If you are going westbound to Missoula, ignore Amtrak’s recommendation to connect with the train at Whitefish. On Amtrak’s schedule for the Empire Builder that runs between Chicago and Seattle/Portland, there is an indication that connecting service is available between Whitefish, MT and Missoula. Rimrock Stages, which is part of the Trailways system, provides the service. Unfortunately, Rimrock’s schedule does not work well with Amtrak’s westbound timetable.

The only bus from Whitefish leaves at 11:35 am and arrives in Missoula approximately 3 ½ hours later. That works well if you are coming from Washington State or Idaho and the train arrives at Whitefish at 7:26 am. It is not convenient if you are coming from the east and the train arrives in Whitefish at 9:16 pm. You will have to get a hotel before taking the bus home the next day.

Two: If you are coming from Missoula, you should not connect to Amtrak at Whitefish in any case. The only Rimrock bus from Missoula leaves at 8:00 am and arrives at Whitefish around 11:25 am. You will have already missed the eastbound Empire Builder train for the day. The westbound train will leave Whitefish about 10 hours later – a long wait indeed!

Three: The best way to connect with Amtrak from Missoula is through Spokane, Washington. Greyhound Lines has a convenient schedule that works well with Amtrak’s. Part of the beauty of the connecting through Spokane is that the trains arrive and depart in the early morning from both directions. Thus, if you are going to Missoula, your train will arrive in Spokane no later than 2:00 am. You can take the 5:05 am Greyhound bus and arrive in Missoula at 10:30 am. From Missoula, there is a 9:10 pm bus that arrives in Spokane at 12:35 am. The earliest train leaves Spokane at 1:15 am.

Four: Connecting in Spokane is easy since Greyhound uses the Spokane train station as its depot. Since the connections take place in the middle of the night, this is very convenient.

Five: The Empire Builder is an all-reserved train. Whether you will be experiencing Amtrak’s enhanced coach service with at-seat meal service and large pillows or the Superliner sleeping accommodations, you must make advanced reservations. By buying your tickets in advance for both Amtrak and Greyhound services, you may be able to receive discounted advance purchase fares or special fares for students and seniors.

Professors – Separate Your ‘University Self’ From Your ‘Entrepreneurial Self’ – Tips and Suggestions

If you are a professor (and I’m assuming you are since you’re reading an article that starts with the word ‘professors’), then you might have a question similar to this one: 

I am interested in developing a line of teaching tools that come from my experience teaching graduate students and faculty.  In developing teaching tools or publications that grow out of a university career, how do you carefully separate your business self from your faculty self?  Can you do both at once?

This is such a wonderful question and is one that many faculty members may have pondered in one form or another as they think about various aspects of their career and how they can develop ‘deliverables’ from their work that could be taken to a larger market or audience.  From my own experience – doing this very thing – here are some recommendations:  

  1. Establish a company that is separate from your personal ‘self.’  You need to set up a separate entity for everything you are doing related to your teaching tools (or other ideas or products that will spin off of this project). You will need a checking account that is just for your company as well as designating a credit card for this. You can start at as a DBA rather than incorporating, but I wouldn’t wait too long on that.  This is definitely a tip where ‘sooner rather than later’ is the watch-phrase.
      

  2. Begin to think about yourself separately. You have your university self and you have your entrepreneurial-separate-from-the-university self. Designate times when you are working on your entrepreneurial projects – and see it as separate time and as a separate part of your life and work. Avoid working on your entrepreneurial projects while at the university (writing, making phone calls, or whatever) but rather work on it at home. It’s not that university folks don’t frequently work on their college work at home – we all do, however, going the other direction is what you want to avoid. People are a little testy in the academy when someone shines – let alone when someone displays an entrepreneurial sense and then, heaven-forbid, actually makes money from it.
     

  3. Avoid talking about your teaching tools, books, manuals, consulting, etc. with others at the university.  While you may be very excited about what you’re doing, others may be jealous either of what you’re doing or just the fact that you’re excited about it. There’s no need to get others worked up unnecessarily. You want to stay under the radar – not secretive, not sneaky by any means – just under the radar. Announcing what you’re doing (which tends not to be most faculty members’ styles anyway) is not going to help you in any way.
     

  4. Find others – nearby or far away – who ARE excited and DO want to know what you’re doing and talk with them about your projects. The beauty today is that we can find MasterMind members/colleagues/supporters anywhere in the world.

So, if you are someone in higher education with ideas that you know would find an audience beyond the academy, take this suggestions to heart.

6 Helpful Tips on How to Choose the Best University

Deciding on a university is the first step towards becoming independent. The list of universities that you would want to go to can be random, or comprise of those institutions that you have thoroughly researched. The process of picking out a university that is best suited for you can be a little daunting. Following are some tips that can help speed up the process and minimize the pressure.

1. Opting for the Subject of Your Choice

Choosing a course that interests you holds the utmost importance. You will not only be studying it for the next few years but, it will determine your future successes. In order to first select a subject, you need to carry out research via the internet and attend as many university open houses as possible to learn, and gather information on which field of study appeals to you. In addition to that, surfing the internet for electives, or job abundance can also assist in making the right decision.

2. Looking Up University Rankings

Every known university will have a general ranking available on the internet. The best universities have separate tables for each subject, while some have calculated averages on display. For a student, comparing the ratios of one university with another, will bear fruit. For example, the student to staff ratio in different universities will determine the amount of individual attention that a teacher can give. The lower this ratio is, the better it is for a student.

3. Scaling the Library

When you are going to a university to study, it is a given that you will spend most of your time in the library. Visiting the library while on campus tour is highly recommended as it will help you judge your environment. Checking out cafes that operate 24 hours a day should also be on your list of things to consider before choosing that particular university.

4. Researching the Courses

After selecting a course, gathering information on its components will be the next step. The university website can serve to be quite useful when a student decides to delve into the details of the course that they have chosen. Moreover, universities often have several channels through which they can be contacted, should any queries arise.

5. Student Life at a University

The primary reason for attending a university is to get a degree, but that does not mean you cannot enjoy your life on campus by indulging into various other activities that the university has to offer. Student Unions can help bring you up to speed on the events held or organized by the members of the society that interests you, or any extra-curricular activities. The same information can also be looked up on the university website.

6. Location

Perhaps the most important factor when choosing a university is its accessibility. Since becoming independent is part of the university experience, you don’t want a university that’s too close to home and not one that’s too far either. The costs that you may incur when traveling to and from home and the time consumed, are also factors that will determine your choice of university.

Reasons to Make the University of Oregon Your College of Choice

Although I graduated from the University of Oregon and went back there to complete my Master’s Degree, that isn’t the main reason I encourage young people to become students there. The truth is, there are a number of good reasons to choose The University of Oregon, and I would like to share some of them here.

1. Location and a few things the University of Oregon has to offer

The University of Oregon is located in Eugene, Oregon, a city of just over 100,000 people about 100 miles south of Portland, Oregon’s largest city. The climate is moderate with very few days a year of freezing weather and very few days of extremely hot weather. Ocean beaches are a little more than an hour away and the mountain lakes are about the same distance in the opposite direction. I-5, a major freeway runs along the eastern side of the city making the University one of the most accessible colleges in the state.

The city of Eugene is an active community which provides something for everyone. If you are the outdoor type, Eugene is noted for its many miles of bicycle paths, especially the scenic ones along the banks of the beautiful Willamette River.

During the year, running is often spotlighted, as Eugene claims to be the Running Capital of The World. The Olympic Trials for track and field were held at the University last summer, so that title may be more than just wishful thinking.

Art shows and music festivals abound. The Hult Center for Performing Arts in downtown Eugene has something going on every day of the week, and people come from all over the states (and a few nearby states) to attend the annual Bach Festival there.

Eugene offers great restaurants to suit every imaginable taste.

Lane Community College, an excellent Junior College is located just outside the city and offers a wide program of technical courses as well as college transfer classes for those who prefer to start their college education in a smaller institution. (See link to Lane Community College website for further information.)

Each fall, the Eugene Celebration draws huge crowds who turn out, rain or shine to elect that year’s Slug Queen—a rather dubious honor, but it is all in good fun. The festival continues with many other activities to capture the minds of those who are not interested in Slug royalty and it is an experience that is guaranteed to leave you looking forward to next year’s festival.

There are two major hospitals in the area, and health care is readily available in almost every part of the city. An award winning newspaper, The Eugene Register Guard, effectively covers the news, both local and national.

2. A bit about the University of Oregon’s program, faculty, and size

Well-known for its excellence, the University of Oregon offers professional programs such as journalism, education, law, performing arts, music, architecture, planning and public policy. It is a major liberal arts and sciences university and has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s best colleges not just once but several times.

The faculty at the University of Oregon is outstanding, often drawing notable scholars who have taught at the best colleges in the entire nation. Student enrollment for 2010 is expected to be approximately 21,000.

According to the University’s website, 7 governors of the state of Oregon have been elected 7 from among University of Oregon graduates; two faculty members have been Nobel Prize winners, ten have been Pulitzer Prize winners, 19 have been Rhodes scholars, and 129 faculty members have been Fulbright scholars. Many other faculty members are also recipients of various illustrious awards.

The University of Oregon has been recognized as having a larger percentage of its students join the Peace Corp than any other college in the nation. More than 2000 of its graduates have joined.

3. Tuition fees and student housing for 2010

In today’s economic climate, tuition costs are become a very important consideration when choosing a college. The University of Oregon is about equal to other state colleges of the same size falls where college costs are concerned. Tuition for fall 2010 is estimated at about $7428, with another $1050 for books and supplies. Students who will need financial aid or scholarships are urged to visit their website to see what is currently available.

It is hard to estimate the cost of housing as so much depends on whether a student plans to live in a college dorm, share an apartment or house off campus with a friend, or live with his or her own family members.

Upscale dorms and apartments in the immediate campus area are available for those who can afford them, but there are also many rentals off campus. Unless you have relatives you plan to stay with in the area, your best bet is to get in touch with the campus housing director who can help you match your needs with what is available at any given time.

4. Transportation around the campus and town

The University of Oregon is not closed to traffic as so many colleges are these days, but it can be difficult at times to find a parking space. Students can apply for parking stickers, but the parking areas fill up quickly as they operate on a first-come, first-served basis. If possible, students are advised to use alternate transportation such as bicycles, or the public transit system which has bus stops at most corners throughout the campus area.

The public transit system is far reaching, even going to a number of nearby towns so travel around the area is fairly easy. Tokens can be purchased by students at a discounted price, and a printed schedule is available so riders can plan ahead of time for bus arrival and departure times, transfers, and routes that may not be running after certain hours at night or on holidays.

5. Sports

Autzen Stadium, the University’s football facility, has been recognized as being one of the top ten in the whole United States and ground has just recently been broken for a new multi-million dollar basketball facility. The University of Oregon Track and Field program is known not only all over the United States, but world-wide.

Outstanding athletes such as Olympian runner, Steve Prefontaine, NFL stars Joey Harrington, Alkili Smith, and Dan Fouts, track star, Alberto Salazar, and many, many more have all been University of Oregon students. Nike CEO, Phil Knight, has been and still is very active in promoting and contributing to the sports program at the University of Oregon.

The University of Oregon does not concentrate on just one particular sport, but offers fifteen different sports programs for men and women. Unlike many other colleges, the sports program at the University of Oregon is not only self supporting, but it contributes approximately 5 million dollars yearly to academic programs in other areas of the University.

6. Churches

Eugene, where the University of Oregon is located, has many churches to choose from, as well as two Bible colleges within commuting distance. In fact, North West Christian University adjoins the University of Oregon so that would be easy to enroll in classes from both schools at the same time. Eugene Bible College, affiliated with Bible Standard Churches, is only a short drive from the downtown area.

There are even more great reasons for choosing the University of Oregon as the perfect place to continue your post high school education, but those provided above should be enough to convince you to give it a second, and maybe even a third look. A link to the University of Oregon website follows so that you can study its programs in more depth to determine whether or not it is really the best match for you.

From High School to College or University – 1 – The Problems of Change

Leaving High School and going to college or university is a major change for any student. A new college or university student will find themselves in a different world to their previous time at school, a world in which they will face new challenges and opportunities in study, perhaps their first crack at independence from home, and the temptations of a potentially limitless social life.

For a High School student preparing themselves for the transition to college, there are number of factors with which it is wise to get familiar, before that first day at their new home of study. This article looks briefly at some of the differences that a student will face in their new life.

A New Class Format – Adjusting to the Lecture Style

One of the major differences students will face is the lecture style used in colleges and universities, which can seem very different to the High School recitation type of teaching. Attending lectures, and making the most of them from an educational point of view, requires a different attitude and some new study skills from the student. Making the adjustment to the college lecture room from the high School classroom is one that the student needs to make from the outset if they are to perform well.

The Quantity and Quality of Work

Any High School student probably realizes that the work they will do at college or university will be more advanced. That, surely, is what going to college is all about? However, it can still come as something of a shock to new college students, to suddenly be thrust into this new level of learning. It is best to be mentally prepared for a far more demanding level of education, which will stretch the student’s mind right from the start. There will no be time to “ease your way in”. Falling behind in the first few weeks can be difficult to recover from and achieve the grades you are seeking.

New college students should also be aware that the work required is not only of a higher quality than High School, but also much greater in quantity. Those who are not prepared for that will also suffer in the early stages of college life. The workload may seem overwhelming if you are not ready for it.

Hooray, Freedom at Last

For many students who go away to university or college, it will be their first taste of freedom from parental discipline. That is an essential step that all young people have to take at some time or another, and it can be a wonderful time of your life, when the transition to adulthood really starts to take place.

However, that new found freedom can be a distraction from study if it is allowed to dominate your new college life. It is possible to enjoy the freedom of college life, and to succeed in your primary purpose of being there; that is, get good grades and graduate with honours. Both sides of your new life require self discipline, and by applying that self discipline both to your study and college social life, you can find the right balance. It is not easy, but it can be achieved.

Managing Your Finances

Many students may not agree, but one of the most important changes from being at home and going to High School, and then going away to college, is the need to manage your own finances. This is probably something you have not dealt with before, but from now on, you will probably always have to. How you deal with your finances at college may well dictate how well you do so when you get your first job.

Your personal finances are one subject for which you can plan in some detail before going to college, so that you know what to expect once you get there. Learning about budgeting your finances will stand you in good stead for years to come.

Choosing the Best Online College or University

Online College or University choices are as wide open as the day is long and you want the best that money can afford you. Online education is fast taking on its own dimension in broadening and supplementing our resumes. Getting the most education you can afford and in a time strapped lifestyle as most people are in today is challenging to say the least.

Getting an online college or university degree is just as credible as a traditional college degree but it is less expensive, more adapted to your busy life and work mix, plus you can suffer far less sideline interruptions that a land based campus would cause.

In deciding what online college or university to choose, you should consider the real interactions you expect and plan on needing before landing on your selection of education providers. Ideally, you want to find an online college or university that is geographically close to where you reside. This allows you the options of having a better opportunity to check in, meet, and have a good relationship with any professors or teachers that are associated with the online classes.

Accredited online colleges offer much the same level of education as campus classes and yet by not having all the distraction, you can better focus on studying and at the times that allow you to turn off all your other commotions.

Psychology Degrees Online is a popular field to enter and the spectrum from which this profession is leading us, you could be doing yourself as well as others a real service. Online graduate programs and online master's degrees are other levels of education you can complete from the comforts of your own home.

While online college or university classes can be flexible, you still have some obstacles that may be somewhat different, than the campus lifestyle classes. Finding the time in your busy schedule to stay focused and regimented to do the required class time is very challenging. It is easy to do the class, but making yourself stay the course, literally is hard.

Distance education is the new community college mentality. Finding a less costly education and conveniently accessible. Many local community colleges are seeing more and more students using online college and university choices and less classroom students.

Another stigma that is easily overcome with online education is the age of the student to the rest of the class. If you are now older and want to go back to get or finish your degree, or even expand your education to a graduate or masters degree, you don't have to concern yourself by feeling like the oldest person in the class.

The choices are many and the specializing of classes offered are detailed, but if you really want to further your education or get a specialized class on virtually any subject, online college or university studies is the way to get it.

Cheerleading Scholarships For College And University Attendance

In addition to the availability of scholarships based on grades, ethnic backgrounds, academic majors and hobbies, there are also specific ones for cheerleaders. College sports are an important part of school both for students as well as the local community. Games are participated by many in the town and creates a bond between those at school and local residents. Also, those who excel in college sports can move into the professional arena.

If you've been involved in high school cheerleading, think about applying for a scholarship to reduce your college costs. In addition, apply for other scholarships as you may qualify in the areas of dance or gymnastics. There are also a variety of scholarships based on different factors such as being left-handed or being involved in community service, so pursue every relevant area.

Here is just a sampling of the many colleges that offer scholarships for cheerleading:

Lincoln Memorial University, located in Tennessee offers scholarships in cheerleading up to one thousand dollars.

University of Central Florida has scholarships for those with cheerleading backgrounds and they can cover one thousand dollars or more a semester.

Wallace State Community College in Alabama provides generous scholarships for those with skill in this area.

Texas A&M University will give students up to 800 dollars in award money with abilities in this field.

Don't forget that if you are involved in college sports as well as a related area you will need to balance your academic courses with these activities. College courses can be demanding and it is important to think out the schedule for practices with your load of classes.

During the semesters where you have more games, it is best to adjust your schedule so you can assure you'll have adequate study time. Stress in balancing these two areas can lead to both academic issues as well as performance issues in sports.

In addition, if you don't get a scholarship you can still apply for student loans. The beauty of grants and scholarships is that they do not need to be paid back. However, if you don't qualify for a scholarship and wish to pursue college, getting a loan will enable you to do so and follow your
dreams.

Jobs are very competitive today and having a college education will give you a distinct advantage over others without this background. In addition, it is an important way to meet friends with similar interests and have wonderful experiences.

Developing a College or University Mace

Colleges and universities often employ a “mace” to connect the institution’s customs with the best traditions of higher education dating to the first universities founded during the Middle Ages.

A mace symbolizes authority, learning and scholarship, history, reputation, and values. It suggests commemoration, elegance, honor, pageantry, purpose, quality, solemnity, stability, and continuity.

During my service as the President of Cornerstone University we developed a mace for the university. While the product of our efforts is spectacularly beautiful, that result was by no means guaranteed during development because we were forced to learn by trial-and-error. We discovered articles about the history and significance of the academic mace, but we did not find helpful “how-to” content. Helping you with process is the purpose of this article.

First, your president should endorse the effort and preferably be enthusiastically engaged. His or her leadership can smooth bumps in a process that will require months and may take years.

Second, identify a Mace Development Coordinator. The importance of who this person is and what vision, talent, and work ethic he or she brings to the task are not possible to overstate. This project needs a champion, because the president has neither the time nor maybe the expertise to give to it. Developing a distinctive mace involves a unique combination of knowledge and skills: artistic, philosophic, administrative, political. Identifying a highly regarded coordinator who possesses these gifts-and who “gets things done”-is key to success. I found a retired, emeritus professor of music who was eager to continue contributing. She was a god-send.

Third, take time to research carefully and thoroughly the history of university maces, the style of maces used in universities around the world, the artistry and symbolic significance of mace workmanship, and the types of academic events wherein university maces are presented. Perhaps visit other colleges and universities to view their maces and to learn how those maces were developed. Only after this review is completed should you begin the long process of drawing a sketch in which the shape, size, and evolving symbols of the mace can be visualized and evaluated. This is an iterative experience. You’ll embrace, than abandon, a series of “great ideas.” Metal versus wood. Philosophic versus practical. Academic, athletic, regional or state images? Length or height, weight. Precious gems and metals? Cost. Maces range from inexpensive functional pieces to unique, “priceless,” objects d’art.

Fourth, at this juncture we found it helpful to share a progress report with personnel and selected constituents, inviting their feedback. We worked especially closely with three or four professors whose expertise in philosophy, traditions of the academy, and our university’s history protected us from inadvertent errors of presentation. Throughout the process, the Mace Coordinator regularly kept me informed as President, which allowed me to contribute ideas and to connect the project with appropriate supporters. We found this interim exposure also generated interest and excitement in the project.

Fifth, if appropriate, connect your mace physically, not just symbolically, with your institution’s heritage. For example, identify a piece of wood or metal taken from the original campus or Old Main and include this element in your mace’s design. Our institution was founded by religious leaders in a church, so we contacted the current leadership of the church, requesting their assistance. They graciously gave to the university a piece of original oak from which our woodcarver crafted a part of the university seal featured on the mace. This element is not only beautiful, it is emotional, packed with meaning, honoring our forbears, and reminding our students the university was not born yesterday. And the people attending the church were warmed by the university’s remembrance.

Sixth, once you’ve determined, at least generally, the materials and probable design of your mace, the next step is to search for craftsmen or women with qualitatively superior artistic and technical skills capable of making a university mace at the level of excellence you require. We made our mace from Honduran Mahogany and found, amazingly, an incredibly skilled-and fast-woodcarver in our city. Precious gems were donated and installed by local jewelers. A nearby fine furniture business donated and completed our mace’s polished lacquer finish, highlighting the mace’s intricately carved features and preserving the wood’s natural tones. Both a local architect and a sculptor contributed their design expertise. Area carpenters crafted and contributed a Michigan cherry wood armature, along with a black marble base, to create the mace’s pedestal. I recommend you give first preference to regional craftsmen or women in order to facilitate communication, preserve local character, and promote constituent engagement. Who you select also influences the time required to complete the project.

Seventh, as the mace development project nears completion, write a set of standards governing when and how the mace will be presented. Remember, to develop your institution’s traditions by associating a certain aura with your mace you must handle it in a special way. Consider these guidelines: the mace should be used in all official ceremonies and only in official ceremonies (not borrowed for a fraternity party or an athletic championship); a Mace Bearer, a position of high honor, should be chosen for his or her accomplishments; the Mace Bearer should wear white gloves to signify elegance and to preserve the finish of the mace; the mace should lead all processionals and recessionals; the mace should be placed in a position of prominence and dignity on the speakers’ platform, etc. You may also wish to designate a Mace Trustee, a person charged with caring for the mace before and after the event, including delivering the mace to the event location and returning it to the Office of the President after the event’s conclusion. Appointing a Mace Trustee is a practical matter, but it also provides the university with another opportunity to involve individuals in the august traditions of the university.

Eighth, the university mace should reside in the Office of the President, which will be responsible for securing and displaying the mace. Institutions have placed their maces in other locations, but I believe the symbolic authority vested in the mace is reinforced by residence in the Office of the President, somewhat like the key to the city in the mayor’s office.

Ninth, when we unveiled our mace, I was able to say that all funds necessary for the development of the mace had been contributed by friends of the university. This comment always goes over well with the faculty and the CFO.

Tenth, finally, when your mace is finished, I recommend a mace commissioning ceremony during the fall or perhaps a special convocation. When you present and explain the mace’s symbolism you are celebrating the values and the growing prestige of the institution.

The university mace we developed was quickly embraced as an iconic addition to the university’s tradition. Those who bear it speak of the honor accorded them. It connects us with those who have come before and those who will come hereafter in the pursuit of learning. Like great art, it moves us. It is the university.

College And University Debt Bomb Is About To Blow – That Bubble Is Ready To Burst

It’s over, there is no possible way to ever save the college loan crisis, and when this bubble bursts it will greatly affect all Americans. As of October 1, 2016 there were 44.2 million people in the US that have student loan debt, most of these student loans have parents or grandparents as cosigners, and it gets worse, as the fallout rates or technical default rates could be as high as 50%. If this doesn’t worry you, then you are not paying attention.

Recently there was an article in Activist Post titled: “America’s Problem with Student Loans Is Much Bigger than Anybody Realized,” by Shaun Bradley published on February 2, 2017. The article stated the sum of all fears:

“The Department of Education recently released their findings that repayment rates on student loans have been grossly exaggerated. Data from 99.8% of schools across the country has been manipulated to cover up growing problems with the $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans.”

The article also noted that the default rates are 50% now, and huge numbers have never made a single payment, others no payments within 7-years and the default rate went from 38% to 50% in less than 2-years. Why? Most likely due to all the talk about “free college for everyone” during the recent presidential election, and if you will recall both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both talked about college tuition loan forgiveness, and free college for everyone.

Right now, the bad debt equals more than $650 Billion, and the taxpayer is on the hook for a good chunk of that, but we will all feel the fallout regardless. Welcome to the power of socialism.

The USA Today noted that; “Approximately 90% of private student loans are co-signed by a parent, according to a 2012 report by the CFPB and the Department of Education – that’s up significantly from previous years,” in an article titled; “The dangers of co-signing a student loan,” by Jessica Dickler of CNBC put forth on January 16, 2016.

We all by now know that most of those leaving school with degrees will not work in the job categories of that knowledge set. Only 15% are expected to still be working in fields for which they got their degrees, and many of those jobs won’t be around in the next 10-years.

What are we doing to fix the problem? Nothing it seems, college tuition increases continue each year, and new semesters start twice or three times a year, more debt, more students, more loans, more defaults, the bubble is on autopilot but the rubber is about to splatter all over the room, and unfortunately, it’s too later. Of course, everyone is going to find someone to blame; Obama Administration, Banks, Students, Universities, and those wealthy one-percenters of course. Sure, the left will blame capitalism and the right will blame socialist – does it matter now?

Didn’t we just recover from the mortgage crisis bubble, and 2008 crash? What did we learn? Not much apparently. Well, way to go humans, you got caught up once again in your BS and echo chamber – I had hopes for you, but you keep proving yourselves incapable – humans? Please think on this.

Recommended Reading:

(1) Article: WSJ (Wall Street Journal), “Student Debt Payback Far Worse Than Believed – Revised Education Department numbers shows at more than 1,000 schools, at least half of students defaulted or failed to pay down debt within 7 years,” by Andrea Fuller, January 18, 2017.

(2) Book: “Campus Politics – What Everyone Needs to Know,” by Jonathan Zimmerman, Oxford, 2016, 146 pages, ISBN: 978-0190627409.

(3) YouTube Video: “Did You Know”

Top 10 Study Tips For University Success

While it may be true that not everyone learns in the most effective way by doing the same things, there are certain fundamentals that you can follow in order to virtually guarantee yourself academic success during your time at University. No matter what degree you take or what College you’re enrolled in, University classes are all structured in similar ways. Lectures, text book readings, assignments, projects, quizzes, midterm and final exams. Knowing the format of the class beforehand allows students to create a strategy that when implemented and stuck to, results in good grades and less stress. Here are our top 10 study habits you should try to implement into your strategy for academic success at University!

#10 – Take Extensive Notes

Probably the most tedious of our top 10, taking good notes is hard to do consistently. In our ADHD world, many students find it difficult to maintain their focus long enough to record the information given out during lectures. However, when it comes time to write a quiz/test/exam you’ll be glad you have that pile of notes to review and refresh your brain with. Taking good notes is in itself an act of learning, as one cannot write something down that doesn’t make sense on some level. This small act goes a long way in creating the foundation for a solid understanding of the material being covered. Taking notes also has the added bonus of keeping your brain occupied and awake by staving off restlessness and boredom. An excellent method I learned in my first year of Engineering was to scribble down everything that seemed useful in some manner, almost as if you were transcribing the lecture. Later that day, transfer and rewrite the notes into an understandable form in another notebook. This will cement the information into your mind, moving the material from your short term memory into your long term. Lastly, notes have become a source of income for many students as those who take excellent notes are often sought after by the lazier students who are willing to pay a premium for a great set of notes to study from. You will not only get good grades, but you will be getting paid to do so as well. If that’s not a win-win I don’t know what is!

#9 – Obtain Old Exams and Assignments

If possible, try to find exams and assignments from previous years to give yourself a good idea of what subject matter the instructors are most likely to test you on. They don’t have to have the answers to be useful and in fact for many students they are even more useful without because this way the student can attempt the exam/assignment as a check of their knowledge, identifying any weak areas that they should go back and re-study. Old exams and assignments are often made available through class websites, student union websites, or through College clubs or associations. One common tactic many students use for science classes with a lab section is to find a graded lab notebook from a previous year. Labs are notoriously difficult in terms of time constraints and for what’s expected from a student lab report. Having a format to follow along with is an incredible help and knowing where not to make mistakes is invaluable as well.

#8 – Begin Studying For Exams EARLY

Between academics and your social life, time is not something you’ll have lots of throughout your University career. But one thing you should always make time for is exam studying. There’s nothing worse than leaving all of your studying for the night before an important test or exam. The stress causes your brain to panic and when you panic, you won’t learn as well as you normally would. Studying a little bit each night during the week leading up to the exam will not only make you better prepared but it will remove most of the stress you’d have if you had left your studying for the last minute. Early exam studying allows a student to identify weak spots in their understanding and to prioritize their studying accordingly. Just imagine studying until the early morning of the day of your exam only to find you’ve completely ignored a section that you have little to no understanding in. Don’t let that happen by studying EARLY!

#7 – Use a Laptop During Class If Possible

If permitted, use a laptop for note-taking during your lectures. Most students can type faster than they can write so they will be able to record much more information than they normally would. If the classroom has WiFi you’ll have the added ability to research topics you’re unsure of during lulls or breaks in the lecture. If a professor uses a word you’ve never heard before, just alt-tab over to dictionary.com and look it up! Or, if the lecture is completely flying over your head, e-mail the professor from your seat and set up an appointment to discuss the day’s lecture. There are many uses for a laptop during class, I’ll let you imagine the other not-so-academic uses. Many students have grown up with a computer being a staple in their lives so it’s only natural to use it as a tool for learning as well. It’s an easy transition for your brain to go from Facebook to Powerpoint! If a laptop purchase is in your future, refer to our article for tips on choosing a budget laptop for students.

#6 – Use Your Time Wisely

In between classes as well as before and after school, there are many opportunities to sneak in some studying or homework that many students either don’t realize or just don’t use. I’ve known people who would study on the bus during the ride to and from school. I’ve also known people that would combine their time at the gym with their study time! Just bring your notes and instead of watching the TV’s and listening to your iPod, wear ear plugs and read your notes. You get a workout for your body and for your brain! Always keep your notes handy and try to use any spare time you have even for simple review to make sure you’re on top of the material. All of those small moments you fill with studying will really add up to a solid understanding and you’ll find that you require less studying when exam time arrives. That’s huge.

#5 – Get Your Questions Resolved ASAP!

University classes tend to operate with the “snowball effect” as the primary method for topic progression. That is, the information is cumulative and the last stuff you learned will be instrumental in understanding the next stuff! So anytime you don’t understand something or have a question about the subject matter, get your question answered as soon as you can. Whether by asking during or after class, through an e-mail or phone call to the prof, or even by asking a fellow student, you need to stay on top of the subject matter in order to be ready for the next stuff that’s coming. Don’t let the holes in your understanding be knowledge pits for the future!

#4 – Get To Know Some of Your Classmates

This one can be extremely difficult and stressful for many people these days. Meeting people is becoming increasingly difficult in a world of social stigmas and fears of disapproval. I’m not going to tell you how to meet people, just that when you do, the benefits will be immediately apparent. Having a buddy to sit with during class, having someone to lean on for notes from a lecture that you missed, being able to bounce questions and ideas off of somebody, and most importantly having someone to check your assignment answers with before you hand it in, are all spectacular reasons to swallow your nerves and start saying “Hi! My name is….” to the people in your class.

#3 – Explore Other Class Resources

Many class outlines will have “optional” reading listed along with the required textbook. This is often a HUGE opportunity for easy marks and guaranteed success in the particular class. Professors are humans just like me and you. Their job is to relay the required material and then test you on it. If they’re using the required textbook as reference for the learning part, where do you think they’re going to get the material for the testing part? If you said “the required textbook”, you’re wrong and you need to stop thinking like a high school student! Professors will often take test questions out of their favorite textbooks, resulting in quality assessments from a trusted source. Those favorite textbooks are often listed as optional reading material either on the class website or on the course outline. Also don’t forget the mighty Internet. YouTube is an insane resource for How-to’s, recorded lectures from other schools, and general knowledge videos on every subject matter imaginable. Use Wikipedia and Google as well to find extra(often better!) resources on whatever it is that you’re struggling with.

#2 – Pre-Read Lecture Material

I discovered this one by accident, even if it is, or should be common sense. One night I was bored. Really bored. I grabbed a text book for a class whose lecture I had the next morning and I began reading from the point we stopped at in the previous lecture. It was difficult to understand and took a lot of focus to push through it but the next day in class while listening to the Professor, it crystallized in my mind and was easy from then on. It had the added benefit of being committed to my long term memory giving me a greater and more thorough understanding of the material. It makes sense if you think about it, I was essentially learning the material twice. Once independently and once with the help of an expert. These combined into a solid understanding that I still possess to this day. Now I’d love to suggest that you do this for every class, every night. But we all know that isn’t reasonable so what I do suggest is that you use this technique for anything that you deem to be very difficult or abstract. That way you’ll have a great head start on understanding and mastering the hard stuff, leaving plenty of time for filling in the gaps with the easy stuff!

#1 – Go To Class!

While going to class sounds too simple to be our #1 most effective studying habit, it truly is and I’ll tell you why. Going to class not only keeps you disciplined and focused on what you’re at University to do, but it also lets you absorb the subject matter simply by sitting through the lectures. If you’re an auditory learner this is huge because just listening to the lectures will create an understanding that should be enough to pass the class in itself! If you’re a visual learner then watching the notes being written on the board or reading through the slides during the presentation will give you the necessary understanding to pass the class. Going to class also ensures you have the latest news on assignments, tests, quizzes, and exams straight from your Professor’s mouth. You don’t want to be that student that shows up for class once a week only to find there’s a scheduled test on that day! Simply going to your classes like you’re supposed to is much more powerful than most students realize. If you look at the nine tips before this you’ll see that most of them actually require this step as a pre-requisite so that should also be an indicator of how important it is to attend your classes without fail.

As a student who has both failed classes and received honors in classes I can definitely say that the above tips and techniques will work for you. Whether you use some or all of them is up to you, but just remember that University is an individual sport and you’ll only get out of it what you’re willing to put in! I hope you’ve found these tips useful and informative, good luck and stay classy!