Thursday, December 30, 2010

Daily Dose: Foals - Olympic Airways

Homeless College Students?

When he isn't attending classes, chances are Christopher Sparks, 32, is hunkered over a computer in the library at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. He's in his second year there, majoring in computer support and administrative network.
Sparks does not study at home because he does not have one. He sleeps at the Salvation Army's Harbor Light homeless shelter on the edge of downtown Minneapolis. His bed is a mat on the floor with 80 other men.
"I hate it, but I have to survive," he said. "I wouldn't wish this situation on my worst enemy."
College officials and advocates for the poor say the economic downturn has spawned a phenomenon they're only beginning to measure and understand: college students with no stable housing, who sometimes show up at homeless shelters.
It's well-documented that as the economy tumbled, community college enrollment rose as students put off going to more expensive schools and some of the newly unemployed went back to school. But those weren't the only groups attracted to community college as a refuge from the weak economy.
"It is a growing trend that people who are persistently poor and un-housed are taking advantage of programs at community colleges," said Neil Donovan, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless in Washington, D.C.
Statistics on homeless college students are hard to come by. A federal homeless survey does not determine who is in college.
An unscientific survey of 1,061 students this fall at Minneapolis Community and Technical College found that 9.7 percent identified themselves as homeless. Since it was the first such survey, there was no way to determine whether the problem has gotten worse. But those who deal with such students say they're seeing more of them and are looking for ways to help.
"We are talking about people moving from place to place, or a family staying in a basement with no bedroom, or some people who were staying in a shelter," said Ugaso Sheik-Abdi, president of a group called Wellness Advocates for You. Sheik-Abdi, a student, conducted the survey.
In 2009, 47,204 college students applying for financial aid checked a box that identified themselves as homeless, according to Barbara Duffield, policy director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. That statistic was not collected in previous years.
Because of the survey's phrasing, Duffield said, she believes the number is larger.

Who Decides Your Political Beliefs?

Have your political views been predetermined by your brain structure or has your brain structure changed as a result of your views? Is it possible that you were born with right or left leanings? A fascinating new study conducted by scientists at University College London should spark not only interesting political debate, but raise some questions about nature versus nurture as well.
Colin Firth commissioned this study and he says he did so as "fairly frivolous exercise." The British actor says he wanted to find out what was biologically wrong with people who disagree with him.
ILLUSTRATION OF BRAIN SHOWING OLFACTORY BULB, AMYGDALA, HIPPOCAMPUS, HYPOTHALAMUS AND PITUITARY ILLUS BRAIN OFACTORY BULB PITUITARY HYPOTHALAMUSThe University College London scientists scanned the brains of 90 students and those of both a conservative and liberal member of Parliament. They found that individuals with conservative tendencies have a larger amygdala. This is the region of the brain though to be responsible for emotions like fear. This region in the center of the brain was recently the subject of news articles about a woman who couldn't experience fear because her amygdala was damaged. It would be interesting to know what her political views are.
Scientists also discovered that the area at the front of the brain known as anterior cingulate was smaller in the brains of conservative thinkers. This area is thought to be responsible for courage and optimism.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Daily Dose: Roisin Murphey - Dear Miami

In Case You Were Looking for Something Special for New Years

Only $17.00 on

How to Stay Ahead of those College Applications

Students who aren't prepared, spend much of their senior year playing catch up. Here are a few steps you can take to stay ahead of the game.
Get the Docs
Most colleges and universities require students to submit official copies of their high school transcripts. Some high schools are able to issue transcripts immediately, while others take longer. Try ordering your transcripts during your winter break. Some of your school's administrative staff will still be in the office. Order several copies of your official transcript, but do NOT open the envelope when you receive them. Doing so will automatically make them unofficial, and most colleges won't accept them.

See the Doctor
Colleges and universities require students to submit proof of immunization and vaccinations. Your high school will have a copy of your most recent vaccination record. Depending on the state where you are applying, you may be required to receive additional vaccinations. Use holidays and other time off from school to get these shots and update your medical records. If you have a negative reaction to the vaccines, you won't miss valuable class time. As you may be applying to various colleges, be sure to obtain several sealed copies of your vaccination records.
It may be too late for you to apply for Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school. However, your local community college may allow high school juniors and seniors to enroll in classes. Many times, the student may be able to receive high school and college credit for the same course.
Often, students and parents won't make college decisions until they know how much college will cost and how much aid they are eligible for from the government and other sources. Unfortunately, students cannot submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) until after Jan. 1. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Education has a free resource, the FAFSA4caster, that allows parents and students to obtain an estimate of how much financial aid they may be eligible for during the next academic year.
Do your parents' taxes
Many adults tend to wait until the April 15 deadline to file their taxes. However, parents with college-bound students should file taxes as soon after Jan. 1 as possible, because tax forms are used to complete the FAFSA.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Daily Dose: Ingrid Michaelson - You and I

Report Shows Fewer Students Going Overseas to Study

When I reminisce about college, I don’t think about sitting in an auditorium with 2,000 Intro to Astronomy students or standing in line for quarter beers at Kam’s.
My most vivid college memories aren’t even set at my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They’re set 4,000 miles away in Europe, where I spent my junior year abroad.
That’s where I got to study English literature, in England.
I didn’t just read about the fall of the Berlin Wall; I hopped on a train to Germany and watched it crumble in person.
I hitchhiked from England to the Eiffel Tower for charity, snuck into an opera at La Scala, explored the Louvre and Prado, and toured Dachau’s concentration camp.
I’ve yet to meet one person who studied abroad and wished they hadn’t. (Then again, I’ve never crossed paths with Amanda Knox.) The only regrets I hear are from those who stayed home.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Bailey Gucinski of Naperville. The 20-year-old junior at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., returned home this month after a semester studying marine biology in Australia.
“It really fueled my desire to see what else is out there beyond the United States,” Gucinski said. “It makes you realize how big the world is.”
A recent State Department-funded report says the ranks of those studying abroad dropped slightly in the 2008-09 school year, the most recent data available. This marks the first time the numbers have dipped during the 25 years the Institute of International Education has tracked the information.
The not-for-profit group found that 260,327 U.S. students received college credit abroad during 2008-09, down 0.8 percent from the previous year.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Daily Dose: Two Door Cinema Club - Something Good Can Work (The Twelves Remix)

After all the holiday music, I am Feeling Funky....

Mexican Violence Casts Fear Over College Bowl Game

The cartel and drug violence in Cuidad Juárez has sown fear into residents along the Mexican and U.S. border – an angst that has now spread to college athletics.

It has manifest in, of all places, the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. That's where the Miami Hurricanes will battle the Notre Dame Irish.

The coaches of those teams will not allow their players to cross the border into Cuidad Juárez.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly took his team's passports before they flew to El Paso as a precaution. The Hurricanes didn't bring passports, either, and met with both local law enforcement and the FBI on Sunday shortly after arriving in Texas to further underscore the potential dangers of crossing the border.

Fans from both schools have also been urged to be cautious. 

Mexican law enforcement have said more than 3,000 people have been killed there this year alone, and tens of thousands have been murdered since the country's president, Felipe Calderón, attempted an all-out crackdown on the cartels in 2006.

Read more:

Dont Let the Flu Ruin Your Holiday Break

Make no mistake, it's cold and flu season. It's nearly impossible to escape exposure -- but here are the best ways to avoid being struck down.

Echinacea is an antibacterial and antiviral herb that can turn into a healthy brew. Try just three grams a day if you feel sick. A recent study shows three cloves of garlic a day could help fight those nasty ailments. If you don't like the taste, experts recommend mixing it with olive oil and lemon juice and putting it on your salad.

How about ginger? The root can act as an antihistamine and decongestant. One simple tea recipe with ginger, honey, and a hint of lemon and you can help clear nasty congestion. You can't go wrong with olive leaf extract. It is an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. By putting only three to five drops in warm water, you can help get rid of a sore throat.

Experts say that no matter what you use as treatment, you should start taking it right away. Viruses duplicate within the first 48 hours of symptoms.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Daily Dose: Florence + the Machine - Last Christmas (Wham! Cover)

Top 10 Classic Christmas Movies

"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946)
This tale of a man down on his luck and in financial straits who wished he'd never been born is more timely than ever considering the current economic climate. And I dare your heart not to warm when George Bailey runs through the town wishing every inanimate object a Merry Christmas.
"A Christmas Story" (1983)
No matter how old you are, the themes in this movie are universal, from getting bullied to waiting until your father gets home to trying to navigate your way around while wearing a snowsuit. It's one of the funniest, and most realistic, portrayals of Christmas of all time. Not to mention, it inspired thousands of kids to lick a frozen flagpole (if you've never tried it, go ahead and do it right now ... we'll wait).
"A Christmas Carol"
This classic Dickens tale never gets old. In fact, its popularity is so immense, there are dozens of movie versions to pick from. Our top three? "The Muppet Christmas Carol," the animated "A Christmas Carol" starring the voice of Jim Carrey and the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim.
"Love, Actually" (2003)
Love actually is all around and nothing will make you feel it more than this modern day holiday hit. Intertwining several love stories in the weeks leading up to Christmas, it's sweet, funny and worth seeing alone just for the scene in which Hugh Grant dances to "Jump (For My Love)" by the Pointer Sister.
"White Christmas" (1954)
Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye AND Rosemary Clooney. All in one movie. All singing and dancing. Enough said.
"Christmas in Connecticut" (1945)
Although not as well known as some other Christmas movies made around the same time, this comedy of errors is just as timeless. A famed food writer played by Barbara Stanwyck has been lying for years about being the perfect housewife, when in reality she's not married and can't even boil an egg. So when her boss and a returning war hero invite themselves to her "farm" for a traditional family Christmas, she must figure out a way to cover her deception.
"The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993)
Tim Burton's cult hit is the perfect antidote to the abundance of overly-sweet holiday movies out there. This off-beat animated musical tells the story of Jack Skellington, king of Halloweentown, who discovers Christmas Town and is so taken with the holiday that he tries get his ghoulish friends to help him put on Christmas.
"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (1989)
The harder Clark Griswold (played by Chevy Chase at his finest) tries to create the perfect Christmas, the worse things get. This classic comedy is sure to make you feel better about having to deal with all those tangled lights and obnoxious family members.
"Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (1966)
We love you, Jim Carrey, but we're going with the animated version for this one. Although technically not a movie, the magic of DVDs has brought this TV special into our homes whenever we want and it just isn't Christmas without hearing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."
"Bad Santa" (2003)
For the bah-humbug that resides in all of us (more in some than others), "Bad Santa" is the perfect movie to watch when all the Christmas cheer seems a bit too much to take. Surprisingly, however, this black comedy has a feel-good message at the end.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Daily Dose: Joshua James - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Which Colleges Make You the Most Money

1. Harvey Mudd College: Mid-career median salary: $126,000 Starting median salary: $68,900 

2. Princeton University: Mid-career median salary: $123,000  Starting median salary: $58,900 

3. Dartmouth College: Mid-career median salary: $123,000 Starting median salary: $54,100 

4. Harvard University: Mid-career median salary: $121,000 Starting median salary: $57,300

5. CalTech: Mid-career median salary: $120,000 Starting median salary: $69,900 

See the full list of schools

Hope Your Christmas is Better Than This Kid

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Daily Dose: Colbie Caillat - Mistletoe

1 Counselor for Every 1,600 Students

The American College Counseling Association recently conducted its annual survey. The survey examined on-campus counseling services including the number of students an average seeking treatment, the number of students afflicted with psychological problems and the availability of counseling services. Some of the findings were downright disheartening.

The ACCA has found in recent years that the number of students with psychological problems has increased. The 2010 survey reaffirmed this trend with 91 percent of campus counseling directors surveyed noticing the trend. In addition, directors have noticed increases in individuals with psychiatric medication issues, self-injury issues and crisis issues requiring immediate response.

Although the number of students with sever psychological problems has increased over the past five years, the number of students taking advantage of counseling and the availability of counseling services has not increased accordingly.

Of the 133 student suicides reported by the campuses surveyed only 13 percent of these individuals were seeking or had sought counseling. The remaining 87 percent had not sought any counseling which raises some important questions and concerns. Why hadn’t these students sought help that they clearly needed? Were they unaware of their campus’ counseling services? Were they too afraid or embarrassed to seek help? Or were the counseling services simply inadequate or unavailable? The survey doesn’t provide answers for all of the questions, but it does provide some clues.

According to the survey, the on-campus counselor to student ratio is 1 to 1,600. The ratios at smaller schools are better, but given the abundance of students with psychological problems it is surprising that the ratio has not changed by much over the past few years (according to the 2008 and 2009 surveys).

The survey also says that 28.6 percent of counseling centers report a waiting list problem during the busy time of the year. Although counselors and directors are doing the best with the services they can provide, these findings just provide more evidence that on-campus counseling services are simply not adequate to handle the number of students seeking them

Christmas Flash Mob

I am not a signer or a dancer but I think it would be fun to be part of a flash mob.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Daily Dose: The Bird & The Bee - 12 Days of Christmas

I Know Youre Texting in Class

Texting during class is an everyday experience for no-preference freshman Kathlyn McQuillan and many other students, according to a recent survey released by Wilkes University administrators in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
About 91 percent of 269 students surveyed at Wilkes University said they have texted during class, and almost half said it was easy to do without their instructor noticing.
According to the study, about 10 percent of students admitted to texting during a test or exam. 
However, only 3 percent texted about exam-related material.
McQuillan said she texts every day in most of her classes. In an attempt to minimize distractions to other students, she keeps her phone on vibrate and hides it in her lap or under her desk, McQuillan said.
“I don’t think my professors really notice,” she said. “I normally see everyone else doing it, too.”
At MSU, statistics and probability professor Dennis Gilliland, who teaches lecture classes in rooms that can seat up to about 350 students, said in an e-mail he has not noticed texting in his classes, although he cannot speak for all his students.
“Admittedly, my focus tends to be on students sitting toward the front of the class, so I cannot speak to the issue in regard to students sitting at the back of the lecture hall,” he said in the e-mail.
Texting in class might negatively affect students in school, which might not come as a surprise to some, said Linda Jackson, a psychology professor who studies technology and youths, in an e-mail.