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Michigan Student Hacks D.C. Voting Site

A week after we posted about the Top 10 College Pranks of All Time, a group of students from the University of Michigan hacked a Washington D.C. voting site. What did they do once they were in? They programmed it to play the Michigan fight song. So why did they target this particular site? They didn't, the websites administrator sent out an open invitation for people to attempt to find vulnerabilities in the website. Well they obviously found one. The site was designed by The Board of Elections in Washington D.C. to give American Service Members and other Americans living abroad an easier way to vote from overseas. NPR has the full story if you would like to know more about it.

Top 10 College Pranks of All Time

An article about the Most Legendary College Pranks of All Time was recently posted by the Huffington Post. Here are some of the pranks they uncovered and included in their list. It seems like college pranks are still around, but they are not quite as grandiose as they once were. I am guessing that has to do with the fact that you can be sued for just about anything now-a-days. Sneeze on a statue and you may be liable for destruction of private property. =)

Lady Liberty On Lake Mendota, University Of Wisconsin-Madison

In 1979, the student body government of University of Wisconsin was led by the infamous Pail & Shovel Party. Their platform? Use the school's budget for art projects and wacky pranks. Their masterpiece was putting a fake Statue of Liberty in the nearby (and, at the time, frozen) Lake Mendota, placing half of Lady Liberty's head and torch on top of it.


The Great Dome, Massachusettes Institute Of Technology

One of the most famous college prank schools, the Massachusetts school is famous for its history of jokes involving the MIT Dome. The most legendary case was back in 1994 when students installed an MIT campus police car on top of the dome -- which is 15 stories high. The clever pranksters built the frame of the car in pieces on top of the dome. It's now a tradition for copycats follow up the trick by putting all kinds of strange objects on top of it, like a firetruck and a piano.


VW Bug And The Golden Gate Bridge, University Of British Columbia

In 2001, a gang of Canadian engineering students tied nylon cables to a red Volkswagen bug and pushed the bug off the eastern side of the Golden Gate bridge, leaving the car hanging 100 feet above water for more than four hours, halting both car and ship traffic. Police cut the cables before the car plunged into the bay and sank.


Pink Flamingos On Bascom Hill, University Of Wisconsin-Madison

The Pail & Shovel party struck again in 1979 by putting 1,008 fake plastic pink flamingos on the front lawn of campus landmark Bascom Hill. By afternoon, students had plucked most of the flamingos from the lawn for their own keeping. Flaming-planting soon became a tradition on campus.


Theft Of The Sacred Cod, Harvard University

In 1933, staffers from the Harvard Lampoon managed to steal the Sacred Cod, a five-foot long wooden fish that hangs from the ceiling of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. As the Museum of Hoaxes reports, the theft of the cod of was quite simple: "Three Lampoon staffers walked into the state house armed with a pair of clippers and a flower box. They waited until a discreet moment when no tourists were around. Then they quickly clipped the wires holding up the fish, tucked it away in their flower box, and disappeared." To prevent the cod from being stolen again, authorities raised it six inches higher.

To see the rest of the pranks, please check out the original article at the Huffington Post. Use AnyCollege.com to find a college where you can learn about all of their heritage and traditions.
 

Is the Web the Future of Education?

According to Bill Gates it is. Don't discount this college drop-out, he makes some really logical points in this article. He believes that you should get credit for the knowledge you gain no matter where you obtained it from.

“Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world,” Gates said at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA. “It will be better than any single university.”

Gates is a visionary, but I have a hard time believing that a Fortune 500 company is going to hire you because you have watched 100 online lectures in your free time from Harvard's web site. I also believe, for right or wrong, that it is going to be longer than 5 years before hiring managers view the knowledge you obtained from Wikipedia to be equal to a degree you could have earned elsewhere. But, the knowledge on the Internet seems nearly limitless, so I can see where Gates is coming from on this. Perhaps gates should put his thoughts into action and start Bill Gates Online University. He certainly has the means to do so.

This is a really good article and well worth the read. The full article can be found at TechCrunch. To find a school where you can obtain all the knowledge your heart desires, visit AnyCollege.com.

Are Video Games in the Classroom a Good Idea?

With the rise of video games in today’s culture it was just a matter of time before they started showing up in classrooms. The New York Times recently published an article talking about this very subject. Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom follows a journalist who visits a non-charter middle school in New York City that is on the forefront of this burgeoning frontier. This particular school would probably remind you of any other middle school if it weren’t for the fact that video games play a role in their everyday curriculum.

“It is a radical proposition, sure. But during an era in which just about everything is downloadable and remixable, when children are frequently more digitally savvy than the adults around them, it’s perhaps not so crazy to think that schools — or at least one school, anyway — might try to remix our assumptions about how to reach and educate those children.”

The article raises a lot of good points and concerns. It seems that this could be a powerful learning tool moving forward, but it has some evolving to do. Definitely worth checking out if you have the time. Once you have read it swing back by AnyCollege and leave your thoughts.

Don't be a College Dropout Statistic

Why One in Four Students Leaves College before Sophomore Year (and how to make sure you don’t become one of them)

No matter how well you are doing in high school, or how excited you are to get to college, adapting to that newfound independence can be a big adjustment. Hopefully, you get the hang of it quickly and sail smoothly through the rest of your college career. The reality is, though, 25% of college freshmen “jump ship” and drop out of school before their sophomore year according to American College Testing (ACT).

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 58% of females graduated college within 6 years, compared to males that finished 52%. Those numbers rise a little bit when you look at private colleges. Females graduated 67% of the time compared to Males who only finished 61% of the time.

As you can see from the graph below, it’s no wonder why so many students drop out of college. Especially when you consider that students are spending more time per week on Leisure and Sports (3.7 hours) than Educational Activities (3.3 Hours)

 

So when you begin your freshman year, you have to decide – am I going to sink or swim? According to a Special Report – The Dropout Dilemma from Careers and Colleges, here are some common reasons why freshmen consider jumping ship, and steps you can take to keep from drowning – even if you’ve already thrown your life preserver overboard. 

Sink: By being academically unprepared. “Even when we tell seniors that they should stay involved, stay engaged, take hard classes their senior year, our pleas often fall on deaf ears ... they feel they have "earned a year off".  Many take partial and very light schedules, don't practice the good habits that they will undoubtedly need in college” says Sandy Fryer, Counseling Department Chair of Blue Valley High School in Stilwell, Kansas.

Swim: By learning good time management skills and getting to know your professors. College classes will be harder and more rigorous than high school, so organizing your studying time will be crucial. Additionally, most professors hold open office hours for you to ask them questions and discuss material outside of class – take advantage of this, or risk becoming just another nameless face.

Sink: By running out of money or falling into major debt. Students often make the mistake of mapping out funds for just their first year, then fall prey to credit card companies targeting college students.

Swim: By budgeting for an entire college career –meaning more than just tuition. Some huge expenses hide in textbooks, rent, food and other living costs. Also, quitting school to try to pay off debt is never a good idea. Yes, Bill Gates dropped out of college, and look at him now.  The fact is, though, if college were the Titanic, Bill Gates would be Kate Winslet. They’re doing great, but they are the exception to the rule.

Sink: By letting homesickness ruin your experiences and not joining into your new surroundings. While it’s natural to miss all the people you left behind, spending every night on the phone with them will seriously hinder all the new friendships and connections you should be making.

Swim: By getting involved in something you are interested in – anything! A sports team, the Greek system, an academic club or the campus radio station will all make you feel more like a part of the community.

Sink: By taking advantage of your new freedom and spending too much time partying. True, not much is usually assigned during the first few weeks of college classes. But if you neglect school for partying, your health and test scores will pay sooner than later.

Jennifer Zammit is a guest blogger for AnyCollege.com 

Women in the Workplace, is the Glass Ceiling Broken?

I have always been mildly annoyed by the rallying cries for equality for women in the workplace. Sure, stats like a woman earns 80% of man  in a similar role gets under my skin, but I have always felt that was a hangover from the past that was in the process of getting corrected. I have never personally felt that any door has been closed to me due to being a woman.

Well, that’s apparently because they haven’t been. The Wall Street Journal  reports that single, childless women between 22 and 30 (also known as “me”) are earning an average of 8% more than their male counterparts. Take that, suckas!

Other than our charm, intelligence and strong work ethic, what else could be causing this? A huge factor is education. Women are over 25% more likely to get a bachelors degree, which prepares them for the types of jobs that are important in the United States’ service-based economy.  The current recession has been especially hard on blue collar labor, jobs that are disproportionally held by men.

It’s not all rainbows and puppy dogs for women in the workforce just yet, though. The increase in women’s earnings is because 20-something women are more educated than men. Comparing women and men with the same level of education, men still get paid more on average. Jerks.

But the real question is this - why don’t you get your butt in a classroom  so you can get paid more?

-Shanak

(Shanak is a Guest Blogger for AnyCollege.com. She most recently returned from Turkey where she blogged for us during her travels.)

 

Scholarships for College Freshmen are Often Wasted

Higher education is one of the biggest expenses a person incurs during a lifetime. Many people attend college thanks to scholarships for college freshmen and student loans. If you're fortunate enough to be attending school on a scholarship or with a lot of help from parents or family, then you may not be considering your financial situation carefully enough.  In fact, many freshmen waste their college scholarship.

Those who pay for their own college, work their way through college or make big sacrifices to get there often do better financially because they are already well-trained in money management and time management. College preparation isn't just about taking entrance exams and attending parties, after all. Money management and budgeting will help make your freshman year less stressful.

First of all, if you don't already have your college textbooks, be prepared for the high cost of them. Depending on the classes you take and the required books, it's not unusual to spend $300 on textbooks for just one semester. The cost can actually be much higher than that. Look into buying used books through various places online that offer them, eBay and through the college library. There also may be a rental program that allows you to pay a fraction of the cost of the book and allows you to return it when the semester is over.

If you worked a job during high school then you already have some money management skills. Perhaps you've been saving for years through odd jobs or an allowance. But if you're not familiar with handling a budget and juggling money to make ends meet, your year as a college freshman could be an eye-opener. Just as you're now living independently in a dorm and essentially learning to be an adult, you're also now in charge of a budget. If you have a meal card with a set number of dollars loaded on it and that has to last to the end of the week or month, you'll very quickly find that making wise food choices means that you won't be forced to grab something out of a vending machine and call it a meal when you're food allotment runs out.

If you want to make your food dollars and your general budget stretch and still have some money to go with friends to a movie or to get a pizza on whim, sit down at the beginning of every week or month and write out a tentative budget. It doesn’t have to be too detailed or complicated, but make yourself aware of how much you can safely spend on different things instead of just guessing as you go along and then finding that you're running short. Financial maturity is part of being adult, and as a freshman year college student, it's one of the things that you'll learn that's at least as valuable as any class credit.

Visit AnyCollege where you can compare colleges and universities and find college tips on how to handle financial independence. 
 

Best Laptops for College Students...iPad?

Recently we posted blogs dealing with Studying Tips and Time Management in College. While a majority of students lean heavily on their laptops to get the job done, we wanted to know if the iPad is a good fit for college life, can it help with your time management and studying habits? Is it a possible computer replacer or is it a higher end gadget for those looking to show off their money and technological habits? Well, we’re about to find out.

With the emergence of the iPad several months back and the new fall school year just underway, the idea of the device’s practicality has risen on college campuses. As you can see from the Google Trends graph below, the popularity of the iPad is on the rise and is primed to pass laptops by the end of the year.

The iPad’s usability in class for note taking may not take the advantage over the laptop, except in the area of size and portability, but it does hold its own. You can use a Bluetooth keyboard for faster, more conventional typing or simply use the on screen keyboard as your makeshift notebook. Was there mention that you can open up an application and draw diagrams and other figures with the touch of your finger? Well, you can!

In addition, to its user-friendly typing and doodling functions, the iPad also offers the perks of whipping out Wikipedia or a dictionary app quickly in case you’re looking for clarification during a lecture or just want to be the star student with the answer to the question.

Whether you’re in the classroom, at the library, in your dorms, on the bus or on the go, the iPad doesn’t seem to fail in delivering. You can draft essays, articles, blog posts, important emails to teachers, and spreadsheets all from the comfort of your little bundle of technological joy.

Beyond the classroom, you get access all your social media sites like facebook, Twitter, You Tube and the like. Listen to your itunes, watch DVDs, surf the web, chat online and find any other method of procrastination that you can fathom with the versatility of the iPad.

Starting at $499 and peaking at $829 the iPad is a revolutionary device that could be seen as the catalyst for the future. Does that mean that you should ditch your desktop or laptop for the iPad? No.

During college you’re going to value having your desktop or laptop in the long run because for just a smidge more than the iPad you can have the assurance that a decent computer will have more storage, act as a more sophisticated gaming device and possess quicker and more powerful capabilities all around. However, if you’ve got the extra $500 to spare – if you’re a college kid that answer is probably a resounding no – you could benefit from an iPad. It’s portability, applications and convenient features do allow the user to stay in touch in just about every way imaginable – minus a desired camera feature.

Overall, the iPad is a great device. Is it suitable for a college student? Absolutely. Is it better than your trusty computer? Probably not, at least not yet. Who knows what the future will hold…feel free to share your opinion at AnyCollege.com.
 

Freshman 15

 Freshman 15, freshman fifteen, avoiding freshman 15

In one of our previous blog post Adjusting to College Life, we touched on the Freshman 15 and felt it deserved a post entirely devoted to this topic. “Freshman 15” is a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of College freshman across the nation, a somewhat somber reminder of what they can expect after their freshman year. Most freshman enter into their first year of college with the full expectation of gaining weight their freshmen year.

These freshmen would be able to avoid these extra pounds by simply understanding what causes the “freshman 15” and what they can do to avoid freshmen fifteen weight. Here are some good tips that will help educate you on the freshman 15 and give you tips on how to combat it. 

Freshman 15 Causes 

The Freshman Fifteen are caused by the perfect storm of lifestyle changes, with multiple factors coming together to cause weight gain. Freshmen who are worried about gaining weight during their freshman year need to realize that their new lifestyle change will require a change in habits.

Freshmen are known for eating on the go. With random and busy schedules, freshmen can rarely find time to sit down for a meal. When freshmen can sit down for a meal, they are limited to whatever they can fit in their mini-fridge and cook in a refrigerator. This often leads to poor food choices, which can lead to weight gain.

Freshmen are also notorious for staying up late on a regular basis. The snacks that you eat during the late hours of the night will come back to haunt you, as your body is more likely to store sugars and fats at night. A simple snack of fries and a pop, over the course of a year, can lead to significant weight gain.

Freshmen fifteen statistics show that freshmen are less active in college. When you move to college, your lifestyle changes, and the idea of going to the gym for a workout is less attractive. Many freshmen do not have cars, making getting to the gym difficult. The combination of bad foods, late night eating, and fewer workouts will lead to a Freshman 15. 

Avoid the Freshman 15 

Freshmen are constantly looking for tips to avoid freshman 15 weight, trying to learn how to avoid the freshman 15. There are some simple and easy tips to follow that will help individuals to lose freshman 15 weight.

One simple tip is to control your eating habits. Set specific times for snacks and meals, keeping flexible for last minute schedule changes. The most important time to set is a cut-off time; do not let yourself eat past a certain time of day. Stopping your food intake around 8PM or 9PM will help you to avoid the freshman 15.

Another tip is to post pictures of yourself in the places that you eat. These “Freshman 15 pictures” will help to keep you motivated, reminding you of the body that you would like to keep as you debate your food choices.

The best tip for those looking to lose the Freshmen 15 is to go on a steady and reasonable diet. Crash dieting never works for those who gain the freshmen fifteen, as they simply gain the weight back when they stop the diet. Small diet changes, including fewer carbohydrates, no fast food, and no soda, will help you to avoid the freshman 15.

Freshman 15 Stories 

Most stories start out with “why me” and “what did I do wrong?” It’s usually the perfect storm of a change in lifestyle and diet. If you follow some of the advice above, you may actually have a good story to tell about it. Just be sure and keep your head up and realize there are ways you can overcome these challenges physically and mentally.

Feel free to share you freshman 15 stories on AnyCollege.com.
 

Top 10 iPhone Apps to Help You Succeed in School

Top 10 iPhone App to Help You Succeed in School

Students are starting to head back to school and following them is a myriad of new technologies. With over 1.5 million iPhone 4 handsets and 3 million iPads sold to date, it’s a good bet that a large number of those are in the hands of students.

AnyCollege recommends leveraging your iPhone or iPad to make your college life a better one. A recent article on Mashable discussing must have apps as the semester starts. These apps aim to help students from grade school to grad school, so read more about them below!

 
1.      Open Culture
 
     This app is free and gives you access to a large selection of video and audio collections that are intellectual and educational. The app also allows you to listen to lectures from universities around the world.
 
     Radio shows and podcasts are also available for download that will plug you into some of the most cutting edge thinkers in the world. Worth a download if you are looking for an educational way to relax.
 
2.      Mental Case
 
Tired of writing out flashcards to study for your test? Now you can create them on your iPhone and study whenever, wherever. The big thing this has over traditional flashcards is that you can record audio and insert images into the cards.
 
The cost is $4.95 and that also grants you access to a feature that allows you to reference 21 million + cards ranging from anatomy to psychology.
 
3.      Rate My Professor
 
Back in the day there used to be “black list” papers that floated around campus telling you which professors/classes to take, or stay away from. Now there is an app for that.
 
This app allows you to search by school and then by professor/class. This could come in handy and save you a lot of “why did I take this class” moments. Doing your “homework” on professors could help make or break your semester.
 
4.      myHomework and iStudiez Pro
 
You guessed it, this app helps you stay organized in the homework department. From calendar view, color coding and reminder, you should take advantage of myHomework to keep your homework on track. Best of all, it’s free!
Need help keeping your schedule/life organized? Then iStudiez Pro is for you. For $2.99, you can enter in all of your classes, lectures, frat parties and football games to make sure you never miss any of them.
 
5.      Free Translator
 
Let’s face it, a lot of people have a tough time grasping a foreign language, its okay, there is an app for that too. It’s not the most robust translator out there, but it should help you get by if you’re in a pinch. Fee based foreign language apps may offer more functionality, but you can’t go wrong trying out this free option for awhile.
 
6.      Chegg
 
Just when you think you are broke, you realize that you still haven’t bought your books yet! Yikes! Well Chegg is here to help you out. This free app allows you to RENT your books opposed to buying them.
 
You can search by author, title, scan the books barcode or by the ISBN numbers. Yes you have to return them eventually, but who really needs to hold on to a micro-biology book for 4 years?
 
7.      Blackboard Mobile Learn for iPhone
For those students that are at a school that utilized the Blackboard platform, this app is for you. It allows you to easily access your schools Blackboard account while you are on the go.
 
This app is free and has a very user friendly interface, definitely worth the download if you have the need.
 
8.      Quick Graph
 
Who needs a TI-83, 84 or 89, when you have this app? Okay, okay, so maybe it doesn’t have all the features that the TI’s have, but this will let you do something that those won’t, graph in 3D!
 
9.      Formulus Free – Formulas for Calculus
 
In college it seems that Math boils down to one constant, formulas. This free app allows you to keep track of the plethora of formulas that you are supposed to memorize. No longer do you have to put an asterisk next to all those formulas in your notebook, just plug them into this app for future reference.
 
10.  Free Books
 
Free Books should really change their name to $1.99 Books, because that’s what it costs to download, but I digress. This is actually a pretty decent app considering you have access to over 20,000 classic books once you pony up the entry fee.
 
You will find many of the classics that you may have to read in your English Lit class, so this could be a big money saver for you if you don’t mind reading it off of your screen. If you aren’t crazy about reading it off of your screen, fear not, the app does also allow you the option of downloading it to an e-reader, or you can send it to yourself via email.
 

In conclusion, these apps could definitely make your student life an easier and more productive one. If you are interested in finding a college to use these apps at, swing by AnyCollege to find a school in your area.

Source: Mashable

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