Posts published in January, 2015

Very Few Chicago High School Grads get 4 Year Degrees

The Educational Attainment of Chicago Public Schools Students: A Focus on Four-Year College Degrees
High-potential students still aren’t being reached.
Robert Pondiscio for Fordham Foundation

5 Best Cheap Tablets For College Students

By Jane Hurst

As a student, it is likely that you don’t have a lot of extra money to spend. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a decent tablet at a price you can afford. You can even sell your old tablet at GadgetSalvation to upgrade to a new tablet. Not only can you get low prices, you will have the money from the sale of your old tablet to go towards the new one. Here are our top five picks for the cheapest tablets for college students.

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Not only does Samsung make some of the best smartphones in the world, it is also a leader in Android tablets, such as the Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2, with a stylus and a huge selection of apps that it can be used with. If you want a tablet to take notes with, this is an excellent option. This tablet has a 12.2 inch screen, and it is so versatile that you won’t need to have any other computer. The only thing it doesn’t offer is an official version of Microsoft Office. You will need to use other office programs, and there are many to choose from. There is even a version of this tablet that you can use to get on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, and others that use regular Wi-Fi.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

This is the flagship device for operating Windows 8.1. With a 12-inch screen, you have the visual display of a laptop, without the weight. It also has a stylus that you can use with many applications, including OneNote. If you prefer to type, there is also an external keyboard. This is a bit on the higher end of most budgets at $799, but it is going to give you all of the power you need with its Intel Core i3 processor with 64GB of storage space. You can get other models with i5 and i7 chips that offer more storage, but these are more expensive.

iPad Mini2

If you are looking for something that has the functions you need, but is at a much lower price, check out the iPad Mini2, priced at $399. This tablet has retina display, so even though it is small, you are not going to have sore eyes and headaches from using it. It offers oleophobic coating, making it resistant to fingerprints, so the viewing area is always clean and clear. If you want a tablet that is smaller and more convenient to carry from class to class, and that isn’t going to break your budget, this is a great option.

Acer Iconia

The 128 GB Acer Iconia can be purchased for as little as $700. While this may not sound cheap, when compared to others that can cost upwards of $1,000, it is a pretty good deal after all. This has a large display screen, a 12 MP rear camera, optimized Dolby home theatre v4 audio enhancement, and you get nine hours of battery life, so you can use it to take notes all day long, and still have battery time left.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

An even better low budget option is the Samsung Galaxy Tab, particularly the Galaxy Tab 4. While it is smaller in size, you get around $300 worth of free apps and other fun stuff, including three free months of SiriusXM Internet Radio, free audio books, 50 GB of Dropbox space, and even a $10 Google Play credit. You get all of this, and more, for $170 or less. The display is nice and clear, and there is 8 GB of flash memory. It is thin and lightweight, and you can easily use for multi-tasking.


Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot.


Procrastination And How College Students Can Beat it

By Melissa Burns

Procrastination is a fact of life – all people suffer from it to this or that extent. It only so happens that students are among those most often associated with putting things off. Which is understandable – after all, at school and especially at college you have to perform a lot of time-oriented tasks, and for the first time in your life are given enough freedom to decide for yourself when and how you are going to do them. In other words, procrastination is a natural result of this situation; but students must fight it if they hope to achieve any success.

Nature of Procrastination

Procrastination is a complex psychological phenomenon that can hardly be summarized in two words. If one to understand how it works, one has to understand what causes it.

The mechanism of procrastination usually works as follows: you are unwilling to deal with a task or activity. Instead of setting a time to do it and following through with your plan, you either put it off until the last possible moment or start early but waste most of the time getting distracted.

The problem has more to do with habit than to time management – those suffering from procrastination have a very good idea of what they have to do and which tasks should have priority – but cannot help but put them off and find excuses to divert attention to other things. The degree of procrastination experienced by a student may differ from case to case – some simply are not as productive as they can be, while others are literally paralyzed by this condition, putting the simplest things off for days, weeks or months.

So How Can One Beat Procrastination?

Procrastination is a complicated issue, and its reasons may be completely different from case to case. Sometimes it is rooted in perfectionism – you have extremely high standards for your work, always have to redo everything multiple times before it satisfies you, get frustrated and are afraid to enter this cycle again. It may be low self-esteem – you don’t believe in your ability to do the task, and if you are unable to do it anyway, why bother starting it now? It may be something else entirely – procrastination is as varied as people suffering from it are. That is why methods of dealing with it are very different – if one doesn’t suit you, it doesn’t mean you cannot successfully use another one.

Cut the Task into Smaller Segments

Most often, we procrastinate because the task seems too difficult and overwhelming. It is so big you don’t know where to start. Well, to deal with it, change its nature: break it up into multiple manageable tasks, preferably – the ones you can do in one go.

Don’t Think. Just Do

The task looks unmanageable. It will take too much time; you’d better put it off until you can dedicate a whole day to it.

Don’t do it. Start right now. If the task is really big it may take dozens if not hundreds of hours to complete – and you will never have that much time to spend on it in one sitting.


If you’ve been putting the assignment off for so long that now you know for sure there isn’t enough time for you to complete it on time, seek help from an online writing service – they can be real life-savers in a pinch.

Kill Interruptions and Distractions

According to MagicDust, the best way of dealing with procrastination is eliminating the very possibility of getting distracted from work. Set a fixed amount of time every day that you will spend on work and nothing but work. Allow no distractions. Turn off your cellphone, Skype, Viber or whatever means of communication you favor. Don’t check e-mail, don’t watch TV, don’t go out for a cup of coffee or a snack, don’t chat with your roommate. Remember – after getting distracted you will spend from 10 minutes to half an hour to get into gear again, so don’t allow this to happen.

If you are unsure about your willpower, start small – set aside half an hour to fully dedicate to work, and gradually increase this amount.

One Thing at a Time

If you have a lot of work, ask yourself: what task is the most important one? If I do nothing but this today, will I be satisfied with the results of my day? If the answer is yes – start doing it and stop worrying about all other things you are not doing right now.

Create Artificial Motivation

The results from achieving the task may be remote and abstract – in other words, not enough to motivate you to do it right now. So what? Create artificial motivation, treat yourself. Set a reward you will give yourself after completing the task or its especially obnoxious part.

Remember – procrastination is not only counter-productive, it is deadly. By putting things off, you don’t really benefit from getting more free time. You live under constant shadow of undone work. Life that can be spent happily and productively is wasted in frustration and worry.

Don’t let this happen.

Melissa is a student of journalism. She is passionate about digital technologies and tries to implement them in the sphere of education. – See more at: – See more at:

How One Selective College Works

Title: How College Works
Author(s): Daniel F. Chambliss & Christopher G. Takacs  for Teachers College Record
Publisher: Harvard University Press, Cambridge
ISBN: 0674049020, Pages: 224, Year: 2014
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How College Works reports on the methods and findings of an ambitious and elaborate 15-year ethnographic study of Hamilton College by the authors, long-standing faculty at that prestigious institution. Their project began in 1999 at the behest of then-President Eugene Tobin and the Dean of Faculty, David Paris; for the past ten years, funding has been provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Their study was intended to investigate what constitutes a good undergraduate education, and to use that information to recommend interventions to facilitate that outcome. The authors begin their story by posing questions that resonate with many in higher education: “In an era of fixed or even shrinking resources, can the quality of collegiate education be improved at no additional cost? Can students get more out of college without spending more money?” (p. 1) They argue yes and assert, “We believe there are methods—simultaneously reliable, powerful, available, and cheap—for improving what students gain from college.” (p. 1). The authors confidently argue that stakeholders—from senior executives to middle managers, and to some extent faculty, students, and their parents—can receive high dividends with a basic understanding of how college works.

The book itself is organized into eight chapters, first describing the origins of the study, its methods and ongoing development, and then the findings and their implications. The prose is narrative and non-technical, and weaves a number of illustrative stories about students and their navigation of the collegiate environment. The book includes many excerpts and examples—from an impressive 394 interview participants—spanning a variety of needs and viewpoints. Mundane tasks such as registration, studying, and other aspects of daily life at university are elaborated through their connection to broader policy decisions such as course sizes and scheduling. The authors demonstrate how decisions made by academic leaders affect students and faculty, illustrating a systemic review of the phenomena of institutional life.

I had two distinct and competing reactions to the book: a very positive and a very negative one. First, the sheer ambition and successful shepherding of such a long, complex, mixed-method, and creative ethnographic research program is to be lauded. The authors rightly note that this is a deep study of one prestigious and well-resourced institution. The students who attend Hamilton College are known to be intellectually and personally accomplished; they are also generally quite economically and experientially privileged. Chambliss and Takacs recognize that findings might be more applicable for other selective, residential liberal arts colleges than other types of institutions. There are no criticisms being given about this here: the College is described candidly, and readers can decide for themselves whether something that works at Hamilton might work at their own institution.


Make Your College Students Interested In Your Subject

  By Lesley Vos

Being an educator, you understand perfectly: not all those students are bad who behave badly. When you see your student is capable of studying well, your task is to help them improve their school performance and make a right choice in order to use their potential fully.

Are you ready to give a second chance to your students?

The #1 problem you will definitely face with is your students’ motivation to go back to study. What can you do to increase it?

First of all, find out what the real reason of your students’ motivation loss is. It can be:


  • bad relations with fellow students;
  • a student’s little faith in his abilities;
  • mismatching of a student’s learning speed with a speed everyone expects from him;
  • no interest in your subject;
  • no satisfaction with the process of learning (it can happen when a student does not notice his progress and he pays attention to failures only).

Depending on reasons your students are not motivated to perform good at school, you may try several methods to change that: help a student and his fellows understand each other; develop an individual learning schedule for him; diversify your trainings to increase interest in learning (games, movies, video lessons); use different reward systems, etc.

What else you can do to increase your students’ interest in learning:


  1. Develop their intellectual curiosity. A student should be interested in acquiring new knowledge. Encourage active issues, try to respond to them as informative as possible. Expand students’ horizons with new interesting facts about the area of the subject you are teaching.


  1. Encourage the emergence of your students’ new ideas. Encourage them to participate in all kinds of intra-school and urban public events.


  1. Praise students for their efforts. Encourage the most conscientious of them by any means.


  1. Adjust the students’ parents to ensure that they have contributed to their kids positive motivation for school, helped them organize time for homework.


  1.  Prove the relevance of the studied concepts, processes and phenomena. Establish their relation to the practical human activity on specific examples.


  1.  Use a variety of learning tools. Prefer a modern technical equipment, such as: computers, interactive white boards, DVD players, etc.


  1. Use a variety of the educational process organizing forms, diversify them. In addition to traditional lessons, let your students take part in competitions, travels, intellectual games, etc.


  1. Add a problematic method of teaching to main methodological apparatus. Do not seek to present ready-made knowledge, let your students master the ways of self-preparation. At the beginning of the lesson you can set the task and give students time for self-study of a new phenomenon, arming them with means and methods to resolve it.


  1. Involve students in the collection and registration of visual material for your classes. This could include anything: let them collect herbarium or draw tables; the most important moment is to let them exhibit independent creative work.


  1. Organize competitions between classes: which of them will have more honors or better grades, or who will produce better visual aids, etc.

A student’s attitude to your subject depends not only on his interest in the studied materials. General atmosphere, relations with a teacher, and the collective form of presentation play a very important role too. Give your students a second chance and try to make them motivated and interested in your subject: this is you who can help them make a right choice and change their school performance for better.

By Lesley Vos, a private educator of French language. She works as a career specialist for college students and writes for blogs, sharing her teaching experience and writing tips with others. Find her on Google+ or check some of her writings at this blog.

Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues For 2015

As legislative sessions get underway in most states, higher education will be among many competing priorities on state lawmakers’ agendas. This brief provides a summary of the top 10 higher education policy issues most likely to garner state legislative activity this year.

This eighth annual synopsis, compiled by the state relations and policy staff at AASCU, is informed by last year’s state legislative outcomes, gubernatorial priorities, as well as trends and events shaping the higher education policy landscape. Some issues are perennial in nature, such as tuition policy and state higher education appropriations (#1 and #2 our on list), while others reflect recent policy dynamics, such as changes to campus sexual assault policies (#3 on our lis

January 6, 2015
AASCU releases Policy Matters brief “Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues for 2015” (Read)

Best Apps To Help Save College Students Money


By Jane Hurst

As a college student, one of the most difficult challenges you are going to face is handling your finances. While you know that you need to pay for tuition, books, food, lodging, etc., you still want to go out and have a good time and enjoy yourself while you’re still young enough to do it. In order to be able to have it all, you need to understand budgeting, and know how to stick to a budget. Here are some apps that help you to do just that.

  1. TextbookMe – Find the lowest possible prices on all of the textbooks you need by comparing prices through online retailers. Use the ISBN’s, authors, or titles to find the books you want, and order them online for the best deals.
  2. Cloudswave – While this is geared towards business owners, Cloudswave is great for anyone who wants to create a budget they can stick to. You can even buy other apps through Cloudswave at low prices. There are chat and messaging features, as well as budgeting, expenses management, and much more.
  3. LearnVest – This is a great app that makes creating and sticking to a budget easy. This app links to your bank account, and files all of your spending into specific folders, such as Groceries, Eating Out, Entertainment, etc. You can also create your own folders. Set budgets for each folder, and you will know what you need to spend, and how much you can spend.
  4. AirfaresFlights – This site compares discount airfares on over 100 airlines including as Air France, Emirates, Air Canada, Air India and Air China.
  5. Mint – This is a popular app for budgeting that connects to your bank account. You will receive automatic updates when you make purchases, and you can create all kinds of budgets, even breaking them down into very specific categories. You can even use this app to stay out of credit card debt. You likely have your first credit card, and Mint will make sure that you don’t charge more than you can afford to pay with the Cash vs. Credit feature. This lets you see all of your credit balances, as well as how much available cash you have.
  6. Slice – All of your online purchases will be recorded and stored here, from shipping info to actual receipts for purchases. You will receive notifications when items ship, so you will be there when they arrive if you don’t live on campus. You can upload your complete purchase history to a budgeting app as well.
  7. CheckPlease Lite – This is an easy-to-use app that is ideal for college students, especially those who like to split the bill when they are out in groups. CheckPlease Lite will split up the bills evenly, and even calculate the tip. You can have the bill split in as many as 100 ways, so there is no reason for anyone to not chip in their fair share.
  8. PocketBudget – There is nothing to be confused about when you use this app. You will see your main budget displayed in a pie chart, and all of your transactions are listed on another page. This is strictly a budgeting app, and there are no bells and whistles, just straightforward budgeting.
  9. CICO – Extremely useful online estimator tool that will help you find the best car insurance. Insurance rates change quite regularly, and insurers are always coming up with new offers. Check them on CICO!
  10. Check – This app used to be called Pageonce, and it is a payment and bill tracker. By using Check, you can keep an eye on all of your bills, which can be difficult when you are on your own for the first time. Pay bills from the app, and you will never have to worry about being charged late fees. You can even use this app to track any investments that you may have.
  11. Mobile Banking Apps – Your own bank will offer a mobile banking app you can use so you can do all of your banking, even if you don’t have time to personally visit the bank.
  12. PayPal Mobile – Don’t wait for people to pay you money they owe any longer. As long as you all have PayPal accounts, you can send money to each other. You can also use this app to pay online at stores, restaurants, banksJane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot.

Career Choices Of the Future For College Students

By Melissa Burns

We live in probably the most fascinating historical period so far – every day brings something new, technology develops at breakneck speed, the world changes more in twenty years than it changed in a century before that.

But it has its downsides, and they come from the same source: today you cannot say whether the job you are studying for is going to be in demand ten years from now or will become completely obsolete. That’s why it pays to be prepared and look before you leap: here we’ve compiled a list of careers that are going to prosper in the years to come. For sure.

1.     Computer Technology

All jobs that have anything to do with computers, networks, programming, coding, web design and suchlike are on the increase and are going to remain so for a long time. We can hardly imagine what this field is going to look like in a decade or so, but we may be completely sure: it is not going to go away. We have already entered the digital age, and the grasp of computer technology over our reality will be getting more and more firm as the time goes by.

2.     Business

Business has always been the main engine for progress of humanity, and with the growing globalization of world economy it is going to strengthen its positions even more. Both large corporations and small businesses are hiring specialists in market and process analysis, financial advisors, business operations managers, compliance officers and other specialists, and the demand for them is only going to increase.

Some colleges have general business courses, some, like Brown Mackie College, have specialized curricula developed with the participation of employers and, therefore, specifically tailored to current economic situation.

3.     Healthcare

The percentage of senior citizens in developed countries has been increasing for decades – and old age brings with it diseases. It is only natural that the demand for high quality healthcare and all the jobs within this sphere is going to increase as well. That is why all those who train as doctors, nurses, chemists, pharmacists, medical technicians and suchlike are making a surefire investment in their future.

4.     Scientific Research

We live in times of fascinating breakthroughs in medicine, biology, manufacturing, engineering, physics and other fields of human knowledge. Every year humankind widens the horizons of knowledge and find out more about the universe, effectively removing ‘fiction’ from ‘science fiction’ – if you have any inclination to join those who build the future, it is high time to do so, for their work is going to be more and more important.

5.     Environmental and Conservation Sciences

‘Green’ seems to be the byword of today. Green energy, green industry, green transportation, green everything. Environmental engineering, conservation studies and similar fields are in their initial stages of development, but there are going to grow in importance as the humankind gets more and more interested in limiting the harmful effects our activities have on our common home, the Earth.

6.     Athletic Trainers

The society is slowly but steadily growing more and more health-oriented – and it doesn’t just mean that people are going to visit doctors more often. They try to take care of their health so that they don’t have to visitor doctors at all – and here personal athletic trainers come into the picture. Not everybody is ready to create his or her own workout programs or do the research to do so – those who help people stay fit are going to have a lot of work to do in the decades to follow.

Take a good care at these fields – probably it is time to change your career choice, or adapt to the changing situation in some other way.

Melissa is a student of journalism. She is passionate about digital technologies and tries to implement them in the sphere of education. – See more at:


New Community College Students: Nobody Ever Told Me What To Expect

by Melinda Mechur Karp & Rachel Hare Bork — For Teachers College Record

Background: Low community college completion rates are an area of concern for policymakers and practitioners. Although many students require developmental education upon entry, research suggests that even students who are deemed “college-ready” by virtue of their placement test scores or completion of developmental coursework may not earn a credential, suggesting that college readiness encompasses more than academic skill.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to provide an empirically grounded description of the role of the community college student. Drawing on sociological role theory, we articulate the largely unspoken expectations, behaviors, and attitudes to which students must adhere if they are to be successful. In doing so, we begin to clarify a piece of the college success puzzle that has heretofore been underexamined. We also extend current literature on college persistence by integrating theories of psychosocial identity, social roles, and college persistence.

Research Design: The study uses qualitative data from semistructured interviews conducted with community college students (n = 97) and faculty and staff (n = 72) from a study of student success courses in three community colleges in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). We examined a subset of interview questions investigating the expectations that staff and faculty hold of community college students. We used analytic induction to categorize disparate expectations into discrete components of the community college student role.

Findings: Relying on sociological conceptions of the role, we find that the demands and expectations placed on community college students are different from other social positions with which individuals are familiar, particularly with regard to the level of fluidity and demands for self-awareness. We also identify four distinct components of the role of community college student: academic habits, cultural know-how, balancing multiple demands, and help seeking.

Conclusions: Our data clarify the nonacademic components of college success that contribute to academic readiness. We also find agreement between our data and other college persistence literature focused on other student populations. Our findings extend current understandings of the psychosocial transition to college by paying attention to the cultural elements of the community college student role. This paper concludes with suggestions for future research.